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NAIJA NEWSPAPERS: TODAY'S THE PUNCH NEWSPAPER HEADLINES [22 DECEMBER, 2017].


Below are the headlines found on The Punch Online Newspaper for today, Friday, 22 December, 2017.

Fri, 22 Dec 2017
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested Dr. Ngozi Olojeme, the Deputy Chairman, Finance Committee of the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation in the 2015 presidential election, The PUNCH has learnt.

The suspect, who served as the Chairman of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund from 2009 to 2015, was, in June, declared wanted for allegedly diverting N69bn from the agency.
 
Olojeme, who is also the widow to Felix Obuah, the late Chief Security Officer to Jonathan, was said to have fled the country shortly after her sacking by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.

The suspect, who was also the convener of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme sub-committee on Public Works and Road Rehabilitation, finally reported at the EFCC on Monday after which she was detained.

A detective at the commission stated, “After months of running, Mrs. Olojeme finally turned herself in. She is currently being detained and we have identified most of her properties.”

The NSITF, which was headed by Olojeme, is a social insurance scheme designed to provide compensation to employees who suffer from occupational accidents or diseases in the line of duty.

The organisation is funded by deducting one per cent from all government and private sector employees enrolled in the scheme.

However, according to documents made available to The PUNCH, Olojeme and some directors in the company allegedly diverted billions of naira, including funds meant for the payment of allowances of its staff as well as compensation for contributors.

Trouble started for Olojeme shortly after her sacking by Buhari in 2015.

The EFCC subsequently received a petition alleging that over N50bn from the Employee Compensation Scheme fund, paid by Ministries Departments and Agencies and private companies, as well as another N18bn being the contributions of the Federal Government as take-off grants to the NSITF, was allegedly mismanaged and diverted into the personal accounts of Olojeme and Umar Abubakar, the Managing Director of the NSITF.

The EFCC immediately set up a team of detectives to look into the allegations.

The commission looked into the bank accounts of the NSITF and allegedly discovered suspicious transactions and diversion of funds.

Some funds were said to have been traced to the accounts of some consultants and contractors who were alleged to be mainly fronts for Olojeme and other directors in the NSITF.

Several directors and contractors were invited to explain their own side of the story, many of whom have since returned funds to the EFCC.

An EFCC report, made available to our correspondent, read in part, “It was discovered that the NSITF accounts in First Bank of Nigeria and other banks have witnessed a total turnover of over N62,358,401,927 between 2012 and 2015 from the Employee Compensation Scheme contributions.

Fri, 22 Dec 2017
No fewer than 128 countries defied President Donald Trump on Thursday and voted in favour of a United Nations General Assembly resolution calling on the United States to drop its recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Trump had threatened to cut off financial aid to countries that voted in favour. While 128 countries backed the resolution, which is non-binding, nine voted against while 35 abstained.

According to Reuters, 21 countries did not vote.
Trump’s threat appeared to have some impact, with more countries abstaining and rejecting the resolution than usually associated with Palestinian-related resolutions.

Nevertheless, Washington found itself isolated as many of its Western and Arab allies voted for the measure. Some of those allies, like Egypt, Jordan and Iraq, are major recipients of US military or economic aid, although the US threat to cut aid did not single out any country.

A spokesman for the Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called the vote “a victory for Palestine” but Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, rejected the vote.

Earlier this month, Trump reversed decades of US policy by announcing that the United States recognised Jerusalem – home to major Muslim, Jewish and Christian holy sites – as the capital of Israel and would move its embassy there.

“The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation,” US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, told the 193-member General Assembly ahead of Thursday’s vote.

“We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations, and so many countries come, calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit,” she said.
 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Olaleye Aluko, Abuja The Nigerian Air Force has said its special aircraft mounted with newly installed surveillance cameras are searching for the remaining Chibok schoolgirls in the Sambisa general area of Borno State. The air force said the special aircraft went on Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance missions daily with the hope of sighting the Chibok [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja The Federal Government has said it cannot give the exact time when the East-West Road will be ready for use. The government said there was no definite dateline for the completion of the dualisation of the highway which was awarded 11 years ago during the administration of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. The Minister [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Simon Utebor, Yenagoa The coalition of Niger Delta militants on Thursday sent a protest letter to President Muhammadu Buhari over his alleged double standards in the handling of security issues in the country. The militants, under the auspices of the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, slammed the Federal Government for the controversial proposal to deduct $1bn [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Afeez Hanafi Badoo, the ritual cult group, has again unleashed terror on a family in Itesiwaju Community Development Area, Ibeshe, Ikorodu, killing a man, his son and sister-in-law and injuring his wife. The mans wife reportedly sustained serious injuries and was said to have been admitted to the Ikorodu General Hospital. The PUNCH learnt that [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Sesan Olufowobi The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, on Thursday said workers in the state must be in the right frame of mind to implement his vision of transforming the state into a smart city. He said counselling workers would not only make them to feel relevant, but would also boost their productivity in the [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
I think they should be subjected to drug tests, but there should be some criteria. You do not just subject everybody to drug tests as that would not make sense because it would look like harassment. It should be for certain offices. It should begin from the political party level or the Independent National Electoral [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
John Ameh, Abuja There was drama on the floor of the House of Representatives on Thursday when the Peoples Democratic Party members celebrated the defection of one of their colleagues to the All Progressives Congress. The defector, Mr. Johnson Agbonayinma, hails from Edo State. Unlike in previous cases where the PDP lawmakers protested against the [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Samson Folarin The Lagos State Government has opened a dispatch centre in Fadeyi for the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency to improve response time to emergencies in the state. The state Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, said the new Lagos Response Unit was adequately equipped with emergency equipment to complement the existing dispatch points at the Cappa [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Samson Folarin A non-governmental organisation, The Good Samaritan Foundation, has called on privileged Nigerians to support internally displaced persons across the country. The group, which is based in the United Kingdom, lamented the plight of the people in the camps and said it would address some of their challenges. A statement on Thursday said the [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
John Alechenu, John Ameh, Olusola Fabiyi and Godwin Isenyo The Peoples Democratic Party has alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari is planning to be the sole presidential candidate in the country during the 2019 elections. It argued that this was the reason agents of the All Progressives Congress were bent on causing dissatisfaction among PDP members [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Leke Baiyewu, Abuja There was a mild drama at the Senate on Thursday when the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, deferred the planned debate on the proposed withdrawal of $1bn from the Excess Crude Account by the Federal Government to fund the war against Boko Haram. The upper chamber of the National Assembly had, [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Adelani Adepegba, Abuja The Federal Government has declared Monday, December 25, Tuesday, 26, 2017 and Monday, January 1, 2018, as public holidays to mark Christmas, Boxing Day and the New Year. The Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. Abdulralman Dambazau (retd.), made the declaration on behalf of the Federal Government in a statement on Thursday in [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Olaleye Aluko, Abuja The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board has warned telecommunication service providers to stop multiple charges on candidates attempting to register for the 2018 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination. It noted that nobody must suffer for the providers poor network service. The JAMB said on Thursday that it would insist on a refund by [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Adelani Adepegba, Abuja The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has warned policemen against associating with the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra. He told them to avoid getting into trouble by being wary of those who do not mean well for the country. He said this in Abuja on Thursday during a meeting with Squadron Commanders [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Samuel Awoyinfa, Abeokuta Chief Magistrate Adeola Adelaja of the Magistrate Court I sitting in Isabo, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, on Thursday barred journalists from covering the arraignment of students of the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta, who were arrested on Tuesday. The Chief Magistrate after entering the courtroom sent journalists sitting at the press gallery [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Enyioha Opara, Minna Thirteen passengers died on Thursday when two Toyota Hiace buses had a head on collusion along the Minna-Bida Road in Niger State. The Niger State Command of the Federal Roads Safety Commission confirmed the accident. Speaking with newsmen in Minna, the FRSC Sector Commander, Yusuf Garba, said the accident happened at Gada-Eregi [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
John Ameh, Abuja Members of the House of Representatives on Thursday raised the alarm over a sharp rise in drug abuse among youths in the North and demanded urgent measures to be put in place by regulatory agencies. The lawmakers said Codeine and Tramadol were drugs abused daily by youths because they were easily accessed [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Olufemi Atoyebi, Ibadan The Olubadan of Ibadan land, Oba Saliu Adetunji, on Thursday lost one of his queens, Olori Kudirat Aduke. A statement by the monarchs Director, Media and Publicity, Adeola Oloko, added that Olori Aduke died in the early hours of Thursday at the age of 71. The statement said, The Olori passed away [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Tony Okafor, Awka The Anambra Police Command on Thursday paraded seven persons allegedly involved in the sale and hawking of mint naira notes. The suspects made up of six males and a female were arrested at Ogbogwu and Building Materials market in Onitsha while two others were said to be on the run. Parading the [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Justin Tyopuusu, Jalingo The Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku, on Thursday proposed budget estimates of N96,597,789.308 for the 2018 fiscal year. Tagged budget of Sustainable Growth, the N96.5bn 2018 estimates recorded a decrease of 12.32 per cent over the 2017 budget of N110bn. Ishaku said the decrease was as a result of the lower expected [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Catalan separatists won a crucial snap poll Thursday, plunging their region into further uncertainty after a failed independence bid rattled Europe and triggered Spains worst political crisis in decades. With turnout at a record high and over 90 percent of the ballots counted, the election handed a mandate back to the regions ousted separatist leaders, [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Friday Olokor, Jos The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, on Thursday received the Aare Ona Kakanfo-designate and the National Coordinator of Oodua Peoples Congress, Otunba Gani Adams, with a promise that he would lead the Senate delegation to his installation on January 13 2018 by the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III. Senators present [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja The Federal Executive Council on Thursday approved the Copyright Bill and the Suppression of Piracy and Maritime Offences Bill. The approval was given at a meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), disclosed this to State House [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Kayode Idowu, Maiduguri Borno State Government has shelved its plan to declare Friday (today) as a public holiday to mark the capture of Sambisa Forest from the Boko Haram insurgents. The state Commissioner for Home Affairs, Information and Culture, Mohammed Bulama, in a statement issued on Thursday in Maiduguri explained that the holiday was cancelled [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Femi Makinde, Osogbo A former deputy governor of Osun State, Mr. Iyiola Omisore, has said the Peoples Democratic Party in the state will unite to stop the ruling All Progressives Congress from destroying the state. Omisore, who said this at the factional secretariat of the PDP in Osogbo on Thursday, stated that the crisis rocking [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Samuel Awoyinfa, Abeokuta The Ogun State Government says it has paid the December, 2017 salaries and the 13th month bonuses to workers in the state civil service. The state Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Wale Osinowo, disclosed this while defending the ministrys budget estimates before members of the state House of Assembly on Finance and Appropriation. [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
The Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, has urged homeowners in the state to partner his administration by paying their taxes so as to fulfil the remaining promises to the citizenry. Amosun stated this during the distribution of Certificates of Occupancy and building plan approvals to another batch of beneficiaries at the Arcade Ground, Governors Office, [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi A truck operated by the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc on Thursday rammed into and damaged an aircraft belonging to Air Peace at the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos. The airline said in a statement by its Corporate Communications Manager, Mr. Chris Iwarah, that the incident, which occurred in the morning during the [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Success Nwogu, 'Femi Asu, Okechukwu Nnodim and Ted Odogwu As fuel queues grew longer at the few filling stations that sold the product in Lagos and Ogun states on Thursday, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation said it noticed the current hiccup in the supply chain a few days ago. Motorists lamented that they had to [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Ifeanyi Onuba, Abuja The Nigeria Customs Service announced on Thursday that it recorded its highest revenue collection ever with a total of N1.01tn in the 2017 fiscal year. The Public Relations Officer, NCS, Mr. Joseph Attah, said this during a press briefing held at the Customs headquarters in Abuja. Attah, who described the revenue performance [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja The Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), on Thursday said he was in the dark on why the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission arrested the Chairman of Innoson Motors, Innocent Chukwuma. Malami said this while answering questions from State House correspondents at the end of a meeting of the [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum, Downstream, Joseph Akinlaja, has said that legislators will investigate the allegations of petroleum products' diversion by oil marketers. According to a statement issued by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Thursday in Abuja, Akinlaja stated this when he visited the NNPC, adding that the [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Oladimeji Ramon The Lagos State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria on Thursday re-elected its chairman and secretary, Apostle Alexander Bamgbola and Dr. Israel Akinadewo, for another three years. The General Assembly of the body also returned the vice- chairman, Rev. Emmanuel Oguntosin; assistant secretary, Rev. Fr. Matthew Ogunyase and the Treasurer, Bishop Stephen [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Samuel Awoyinfa, Abeokuta The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, has said that the Federal Government will provide cheap funds to farmers at five per cent interest rate to procure agricultural equipment so as to enhance food production. He said this on Thursday at the launch of Ogun State's produced MITROS rice at the [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Everest Amaefule, Abuja The National Council on Privatisation chaired by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has approved the sale of the five remaining subsidiaries of the National Mining Corporation. The Bureau of Public Enterprises stated this in a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Thursday by its Head of Public Communications, Mr. Chukwuma Nwokoh. [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Everest Amaefule, Abuja The Federal Government has earmarked N20bn for exploration activities in the solid minerals sector in 2018. The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, disclosed this at the 2017 end of year ministerial press briefing held in Abuja on Thursday. He also stated that the sector made a leap in [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Punch Editorial Board Lamentation by the Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, on the paucity of funds for critical infrastructure projects exposes our poor public finance management skills and our penchant for misplacing priorities. His revelation that only 16.55 per cent of the N192.2 billion earmarked for rail and other key projects in the 2017 budget for [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Anna Okon The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said it is worried about the draft Non-Governmental Organisation Bill presently under consideration in the National Assembly, especially its impact on private sector. The bill seeks the establishment of an NGO regulatory commission for the supervision, coordination and monitoring of the NGOs, civil society and [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Frances foreign minister on Thursday urged Libyas unity government to act on a United Nations plan for 2018 elections and a national dialogue to stabilise the war-torn country. This calendar is the indispensable political solution for Libya and it must be implemented now with the utmost speed, Jean-Yves Le Drian said after talks in Tripoli [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
The Central Bank of Nigeria and the Deposit Money Banks under the auspices of the Bankers' Committee may have spent a lot of money trying to educate the young and the old on banking matters. This underscores the importance of financial literacy. A recent CNN article titled 'Americans are 'financially illiterate'' reports that a survey [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Anna Okon John Holt has said that it celebrated its 120th anniversary by donating various gift items to orphans, indigent persons, internally displaced persons and prison inmates in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Maiduguri and Enugu as part of its corporate social responsibility. The Group Managing Director, Dr. Christopher Ezeh, was quoted in a statement by the [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
One of the leading hypermarket brands, SPAR Nigeria, has opened a shop at the Tejuosho ultra-modern shopping centre, Yaba, Lagos. A statement obtained by our correspondent on Thursday said the launch was chaired by the Chief Financial Officer of the shopping centre, Mr. Babatunde Ige, and graced by the General Manager, Mr. Edwards Stevenson. It [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Apple on Thursday confirmed what some conspiracy theorists suspected, that it intentionally slows performance of older iPhones as batteries weaken from age. The admission played into concerns that Apple was stealthily nudging iPhone users to upgrade to newer models by letting them think it was the handsets that needed replacing and not just a matter [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
A truck operated by the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company on Thursday rammed into an aircraft belonging to Air Peace at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, disrupting its flight operations. Air Peace confirmed the development in a statement signed by its Communications Manager, Mr Chris Iwarah, in Lagos. Iwarah said that the incident occurred in the [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Lithuania said Thursday that it would push the European Union to abolish its law on daylight saving time, claiming that most people find it annoying to have to adjust their clocks twice a year. The Baltic nations parliament voted 76 to seven, with seven abstentions, in favour of the governments proposal to open negotiations with [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Ayo Olukotun On Wednesday, the Federal Executive Council approved, on the recommendation of the National Universities Commission, the provisional licensing of six new private universities bringing the number of private universities in the country to 74. Each time a private university is licensed, the decision is justified on the grounds that there is a need [] 
Fri, 22 Dec 2017
Fola Ojo The Peoples Democratic Party was once Nigerias most dominant and intimidating party. In its past life, its spread was an electrifying metastasis. Its reach was deep. At a point not long ago, it controlled 18 of the 36 Nigerian states while three opposition parties shared the rest. In states of the federation it []