Below are the headlines found on The Guardian Online Newspaper for today, Tuesday, 31 October, 2017.

Tue, 31 Oct 2017
After many months of dillydallying, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday sacked the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), David Babachir Lawal, and the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ayo Oke.

Buhari said the decision to sack the duo, who were ‎earlier suspended over allegations of fraud levelled against them, followed his acceptance of the recommendation of the panel to terminate their appointment.

And swiftly, the president announced the appointment of Mr. Boss Mustapha as the new SGF. The appointment takes immediate effect.

A statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, yesterday said the president also approved the setting up of a three-member panel to, among other things, look into the operational, technical and administrative structure of the NIA and make appropriate recommendations. The three-man committee included the National Security Adviser (NSA) Babagana Monguno, and the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who headed the Presidential Committee which investigated the allegations against Lawal and Oke, had told newsmen that only President Buhari would determine the fate of the duo.

Osinbajo who gave the indication after he submitted the report of the panel in August was, however, silent on the recommendations in the two-volume documents he made available to Buhari in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Lawal was grilled by the panel over the N220 million meant for the welfare of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in North-East while Oke was suspended over the discovery of large amounts of foreign and local currencies by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in a residential apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, to which NIA has made a claim.

Tue, 31 Oct 2017
Forty-seven years after the Nigerian Civil War, the Federal Government yesterday accepted to pay the victims a total of N50 billion as compensation and spend N38 billion to evacuate abandoned bombs.

A breakdown of the compensation, as adopted by the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, showed that N50 billion is to be paid directly to the victims of the war in 11 affected states in the South-East, South-South and parts of the North-Central regions.

The remaining N38 billion will go for the evacuation of abandoned bombs and other lethal weapons as well as the construction of schools, courts, churches and mosques in the affected areas.

According to a consent judgment read by Justice Friday Chijioke Nwoke in Abuja yesterday, the Federal Government is expected to pay the N50 billion into the United Bank of Africa (UBA) account with number 1018230076 belonging to the nominated counsel for the war victims, Chief Noel Agwuocha Chukwukadibia, while the N38 billion is to be paid into another UBA account with number 1016296801 belonging to Deminers Concept Nigeria Limited for both RSB Holdings Nigeria Limited and Deminers Concept Nigeria Limited, who are expected to evacuate all the abandoned bombs and other dangerous weapons in farmlands, schools, churches and mosques of the war victims, and also, for carrying out construction.

Also, the Federal Government will, by the consent judgment, establish a National Mine Action Centre in Owerri, Imo State for victims in the South-East.
To ensure transparency and accountability, “the Federal Government will also set up a Special Purpose Vehicle that will comprise all necessary stakeholders in the terms of settlement.”

The consent judgment further indicated that medical experts employed on behalf of the Federal Government to screen and identify true victims of the war, acknowledged that 685 persons were selected and classified as survivors, while 493 of them, including those who sued the government, were confirmed as victims of either landmines or other dangerous military ordinance, including locally fabricated weapons, and consequently confirmed to be entitled to compensation.

Tue, 31 Oct 2017
The National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, yesterday refused to comment on the calls for President Muhammadu Buhari to seek re-election in 2019 polls.

Tinubu told State House Correspondents after a closed-door meeting with Buhari in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, categorically that he should not be dragged into the matter.

“Don’t discuss that one with me,” he said.

The APC chieftain, who dismissed insinuations of the existence of a cabal in Aso Rock, described the suggestion as a myth.

He also described the reports that he had been sidelined by a cabal in the scheme of things under the Buhari-led administration as “fake news.”

“I have confidence in this President and there is no doubt about that. We worked hard to bring about the government, there are certain things that are unpredictable and those are things that can lean itself to gossips, insinuations and all of that.

“But once you create leadership and is functioning, you don’t have to babysit that leadership unless there is a loss of confidence and I don’t have that.

“You know me. I’m not known to shy away from talking my mind and rebelling if it is necessary, and taking charge of things that I believe are necessary. What is the myth in this leadership thing? What is cabal?

“We are the party of the people for the people and by the people and this is democratic environment.

“Each of us has our role to play and that is why we are playing it. I don’t believe in the myth, I believe in confidence building, the trust that we have in the President.

He said the APC government was on course and would remain focused on those necessary things about development, welfare and progress of Nigerians.

Besides, Buhari also yesterday met behind closed-doors with the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Although Tinubu did not join the first meeting between Saraki, Dogara and Oyegun, he met separately with the President shortly after the leaders had left the Villa.

Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Governor of Zamfara State Abdul’aziz Yari, was also part of the initial meeting with the President as he was sighted in the same car with Dogara and Saraki as they drove out.

The two meetings came ahead of a third one scheduled to hold between Buhari and the national caucus of the party.

This, sources said, may not be unconnected with the behind-the-scene works preceding the preparation for the declaration of interest by Buhari for the 2019 presidential election.

Tue, 31 Oct 2017
A federal judge temporarily blocked President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender personnel from serving in the US military on Monday.

US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ordered the government to “revert to the status quo” that was in effect before Trump ordered the contentious ban.

At the same time, however, she allowed to let stand a block on military funding for sex reassignment surgery for members of the armed forces.

Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama took the historic decision to allow openly transgender troops to serve in the military, a move that was due to go into full effect in July this year.

The new administration announced in June a six-month delay on implementing that ruling. In July, Trump surprised Pentagon leaders by announcing on Twitter a ban on transgender people serving in the armed forces.

“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” Trump tweeted.

“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

Tue, 31 Oct 2017
Chelsea star, Victor Moses is the most conspicuous absentee in Coach Gernot Rohr’s list of players for Nigeria’s last World Cup qualifying game against Algeria and the international friendly with Argentina in Russia next month.

The Chelsea right wingback, who has been nursing a hamstring injury for over three weeks, has not trained with the London club since October 14 when he was inured in a game against Crystal Palace. But he seems to be getting back to fitness, although not enough to play in Chelsea’s Champions League game against Roma today.

In the list released by Rohr are three debutants, Tyrone Ebuehi, a defender, Chidiebere Nwakali and Francis Uzoho. Three other players are on standby, including former super regular, Kenneth Omeruo.

Skipper John Mikel Obi leads the squad that also includes his deputy, Ogenyi Onazi, thus rubbishing the rumour that Rohr would use the game against Algeria to try out players that have not had a look in into the side.

The three goalkeepers in the squad are Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Daniel Akpeyi and Francis Uzoho, while the defenders are William Ekong, Abdullahi Shehu, Tyronne Ebuehi, Leon Balogun, Uche Agbo, Chidozie Awaziem and Olaoluwa Aina.

The midfield has Mikel John Obi, Ogenyi Onazi, Wilfred Ndidi, Oghenekaro Etebo, John Ogu, Mikel Agu, Chidiebere and Nwakali.

To contest for starting shirts in attack are Ahmed Musa, Kelechi Iheanacho, Moses Simon, Alex Iwobi, Odion Ighalo, Henry Onyekuru and Anthony Nwakaeme.

Joining Omeruo in the standby list are Alhassan Ibrahim and Russian-Nigerian, Brian Idowu.

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) said yesterday that all the invited players are expected to arrive in a camp in Morocco next week Monday before the delegation flies to Constantine on November 9.

It added that the Super Eagles will fly to Krasnodar, Russia from Constantine on November 11 on a 45–seater chartered aircraft for the international friendly against Argentina, which will hold on November 14.

Tue, 31 Oct 2017
Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has dismissed the sack of Babachir Lawal and Ayodele Oke, as an afterthought and a face-saving measure. A statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, disclosed this.

The statement said: “What Nigerians expected from a president who rode to power on the basis of integrity, is a total cleansing of his government. It is not by setting up panel to investigate corruption allegations involving his men and reluctantly sacking a few of them.”

According to Fayose: “The president only acted because of the outcry of Nigerians, especially over the fraudulent reinstatement of the former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdullahi Maina.

“Enough of using panels to shield people accused of corruption in Buhari’s government. Rather, they should be arrested, detained and prosecuted by the EFCC, as being done to others perceived as the president’s enemies.”

The governor lauded the people whose resistance forced the president to act, saying: “Once again, Nigerians have proved that the power of the president is not greater than the people who elected him.

“Apart from prosecuting the sacked officials, Nigerians are interested in the report on the $43 million discovered in an apartment at Osbourne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos.

He urge the president to take action on the allegation by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, over $25 billion contract awarded by the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru.

The governor cited other cases to include the allegations of corruption against the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, as well as the circumstances surrounding, Ibrahim Lamorde, who, as the former EFCC Chairman was accused of corruption by the Senate, and later appointed as the Commissioner of Police at the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) Ikoyi.

Fayose urged the president to explain how Ahmed Gambo Saleh, was appointed as the Supreme Court Registrar, despite his indictment over an alleged N2 billion fraud.

He tasked Buhari to unmask those behind the fraudulent reinstatement of Maina, since the report on it was submitted to him last week.

Meanwhile, the former Edo State Governor, Adams Oshimhole, yesterday lauded the appointment of Mr. Boss Mustapha as the new SGF.

A statement by Oshiomhole said the appointment “has come at a very auspicious time when the All Progressives Congress (APC) and government are making efforts to rejuvenate the system for enhanced service delivery to the people.

“Mustapha saw the entire processes of the formation of the party and the electioneering and management of all the factors that led to the victory of the party at the 2015 general elections.

“He is not just a seasoned party man who understands the dynamics of management, but also very much abreast with governmental administration and responsibilities.”
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