FRESH FM TOP NEWS THIS WEEK

The hottest and most trending news articles for this week in all categories captured in one shot. Find articles ranging from News to Sports, to Politics, to Entertainment, to Economy, to Metro plus, and many other categories. See below the top news for the week:

NEWS

  • Reps Minority Caucus Asks EFCC to Investigate Bala Usman Over Alleged N165bn Loot

The Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the suspended Managing Director of the Nigerian Port Authority, Hadiza Bala Usman over alleged mismanagement of N165 billion. The Caucus disclosed this in a statement signed on Monday by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Honourable Ndudi Elumelu.

They insisted that such huge economic crime against the nation should not be left to an administrative panel of inquiry, but committed to an anti-graft agency for an independent investigation. It, therefore asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to immediately “take in the indicted Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman, and commence a system-wide investigation with a view to prosecuting her, if found wanting”.

  • Lagos To Launch Buses To Replace Motorcycles, Tricycles

The Lagos State Government has announced that it would launch buses to replace motorcycles popularly known as Okada and tricycles known as Keke to ply inner roads in the state. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu disclosed this on Monday during a security stakeholder’s town hall meeting in Ikeja, adding that over 500 minibusses would be deployed next week.

He said the move is to alleviate the pain residents of the state go through following the restriction of motorcycle and tricycle operations. The governor said his administration would relaunch the State Residents Card very soon, to ensure that the database of Lagos residents is kept up to date. According to him, the database will form a critical part of the state’s security architecture.

  • Buhari Approves New Security Measures For South-East, South-South

Following the recent attacks on security officials and facilities, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved new security measures for the South-east and South-south regions of the country. The acting Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, disclosed this on Tuesday after a security meeting in Abuja presided over by President Buhari.

The IGP who briefed journalists alongside the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno; and the Chief of Defence Staff, Lucky Irabor, refused to disclose the new measures, saying a decision was reached at the meeting not to, henceforth, publicise measures to be deployed to tackle insecurity in the country. He also asked law-abiding citizens to cooperate and work closely with the security agencies in order to tackle the security challenges in the regions.

  • Southern Governors Ban Open Grazing, Ask Buhari To Address Nigerians

Southern Governors have banned open grazing of cattle across states in the region and urged the President to address Nigerians on the state of the nation.
The Governors also called for the restructuring of the country to address increasing agitations in different parts of the nation, while restating their commitment to the unity of the country.

The Governors stated these at the end of their meeting in Asaba, the Delta State Capital, on Tuesday. They were received by the host, Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa.

In February, the Nigerian Governors Forum, representing all 36 states in the country, said it had reached a consensus on the “need for the country to transition into modern systems of animal husbandry that will replace open, night, and underage grazing in the country.”

  • FG To Prosecute 400 Suspects For Funding Terrorism – Lai Mohammed

The Federal Government is set to prosecute 400 suspects arrested for allegedly funding terrorism in the country. This is according to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who stated this on Tuesday during a press conference in Lagos.

He also reiterated the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in tackling the menace of insurgency, banditry and other security threats across the country. He described attacks on security formations as a declaration of war against the country, condemning the assault on security operatives.

POLITICS

  • Oyo to pay N3.7b wage arrears to illegally sacked council chiefs

Following Friday’s Supreme Court judgment which declared the sack of elected local government officials illegal and ordered the payment of their salaries and allowances, Oyo State will cough out N3.7 billion. The elected chairman, vice chairman, and councilors had two years of their tenure left when Governor Seyi Makinde fired them.

The money is for salaries and entitlements for 68 chairmen, 68 vice-chairmen, and 610 councilors, democratically elected in the 33 local government areas and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs). The chairmen, vice-chairmen, and councilors assumed office on May 14, 2018, after the election. They are of the All Progressives Congress (APC). But the governor, who is of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), within hours of his swearing-in on May 29, 2019, sacked them by fiat, saying their election violated the constitution.

  • Imo Governor Sacks 20 Commissioners

Imo State Governor Hope Uzodinma has sacked 20 commissioners and dissolved the State executive council. This was announced on Wednesday shortly after the state executive council meeting in Owerri, the state capital. The Commissioner for Information and Strategy Declan Emelumba told journalists that the reason for the dissolution is to rejig the activities of the state government after one year in office.

Out of the 28 commissioners, eight were left to carry on with their activities for continuity and strategic administration. The commissioners are Health, Information, Tourism, Women Affairs, Works, Finance, Youths, and the Ministry of Technology. Emelumba also assured that a new executive council will be constituted soon. The sacking of the 20 commissioners comes one month after the governor reshuffled his cabinet and appointed new Commissioners for Finance and Health.

  • 2023: PDP Insists On Electronic Transmission Of Election Results

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has no excuses not to use the electronic direct transmission of results in the 2023 general elections and other future polls. The party’s position is predicated on INEC’s announcement of its readiness to conduct online (electronic) registration of voters for future elections in the country.

This was disclosed in a statement signed on Tuesday by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan. The PDP insisted that if INEC can use the electronic platform for the registration of voters it could as well deploys the same technology for electronic transmission of results in future elections including the 2023 general elections. The PDP also called on the APC leadership in the National Assembly not to delay the Electoral Act amendment bill.

  • Ignore ploy to pit Igbo against Yoruba – Ohanaeze to Sanwo-Olu

Ohanaeze Ndigbo has urged Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to ignore rumors of planned attacks on Lagos State by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). It said Ndigbo cannot indulge in acts that will harm the peace and cordial relationship between Igbo and Yoruba, especially in Lagos, which is the “second home of several Ndigbo”. President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide Prof. George Obiozor described the rumor as a ploy to pit Ndigbo against the Yoruba

Sanwo-Olu assured the Ohanaeze leadership of continued good governance, security of lives and properties of all residents in Lagos. The governor expressed assurance that Ndigbo are great people, and promised that his administration would continue to foster harmonious relationships with every tribe and ethnicity in the state.


ECONOMY

  • Over 16,000 jobs’ll be created when renovation of National Theatre is complete – GM

More than 16,000 jobs would be created during and after the ongoing renovation of the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, Prof. Sunday Ododo, General Manager of the 44-year-old complex, said on Thursday in Lagos. Ododo told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that most of the jobs would come from the fields of music, movies, fashion and information technology.

Ododo, while assessing the progress of the project, said that work had begun with the contractors fully mobilised to site. He said he was particularly excited at the prospects of many youths securing jobs at all stages of the renovation.

  • Power Restored To National Grid After System Collapse – TCN

Power has been restored to all the 330kv transmission stations across the entire grid, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) said on Thursday. The company disclosed in a statement that electricity was restored to the transmission stations at about 5:54pm on Wednesday. Power was restored to the transmission stations a day after TCN announced that the nation’s electricity grid had suffered a system collapse, leading to a power outage in various parts of the country.

But the company’s General Manager (Public Affairs), Ndidi Mbah, had noted that experts were already making effort to fully restore electricity on the grid. According to her, a total system collapse of the grid was recorded at about 11:01am on Tuesday, as a result of voltage collapse at some parts of the grid.

  • Naira falls to N411.25/$1 at I&E window

The naira recorded marginal depreciation at the official window after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced indefinite extension of its ‘Naira-4-Dollar’ scheme. The naira dropped to N411.25/$1 on the Investors and Exporters (I&E) Window from N410.33/$1 after the CBN’s policy extension was made public.

The CBN had promised that the new policy would provide Nigerians in the Diaspora with cheaper and more convenient ways of sending remittances to the country. The policy, which gives N5 rebate for every one dollar sent by Nigerians in diaspora to the country, allows direct payment into the account of beneficiaries, after receipt of the remittance inflows.

The policy extension was to enable the CBN boost Nigeria’s foreign exchange market liquidity by attracting additional dollar inflows through diaspora remittances.

  • Experts seek more investment in agriculture for food security

Nigeria may experience soaring food prices beyond this year unless urgent steps are taken to tackle insecurity and other factors impeding agriculture, stakeholders in the sector have warned. They identified poor farming activities and lack of access to credit facilities as other factors threatening food security in the country.

National President of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Kabir Ibrahim, told newsmen that with the prevailing skyrocketing food prices, it will be more costly for the nation to feed itself without bumper harvests from the wet and dry seasons farming.

He called on the federal and state governments to focus on real farmers in the implementation of their interventions in the sector. The AFAN boss called on the Federal Government to consider evidence-based policies and programmes, learn from interventions and other countries that have been successful.


HEALTH

  • FG Reimposes COVID-19 Restrictions, Shuts Bars, Recreational centres, Limits Public Gatherings

The Federal Government has reintroduced COVID-19 restrictions across all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). This new directive is to take effect by midnight of Tuesday, a member of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, Dr Mukhtar Mohammed, declared. Mohammed, who is the Head of Technical Secretariat of the PSC, made the announcement while briefing reporters on Monday in Abuja.

With the restrictions imposed, mass gatherings in public spaces have been restricted to 50 people at any given time. According to Mohammed, the government has directed that bars and nightclubs should remain closed and the nationwide curfew will be in force until further notice. He added that only essential international travels would be encouraged, and all existing protocols must be strictly adhered to. The PSC member, however, stated that there was no limitation to intra-state travel.


EDUCATION

  • JAMB may shift UTME 2021

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has hinted of possibility of postponement of the 2021 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).
The examination (UTME) is slated to hold between June 5 and 19. The examination body however confirmed that the mock examination that is slated for May 20 will go on as scheduled.

Registrar of JAMB, Prof Ishaq Oloyede, said these on Friday during a virtual meeting with relevant stakeholders ahead of the examination. Prof Oloyede blamed the development on the difficulties being experienced by the candidates in their efforts to register.

He said about 600,000 candidates who have indicated interest to participate in the 2021 UTME are yet to register. The board stated the decision to either postpone the examination or to continue as scheduled would be taken later on Friday at a meeting billed to hold with concerned individuals and institutions.

  • Minister prioritises girl-child education

Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Kedem Tallen, has described the education of the girl-child as a top priority for her ministry just as she called for support for girls to enrol, stay in school and complete their education. She spoke when she received a team from the National Institute for policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), and the development Research and Projects Center (dRPC), a local non-profit organisation which have been conducting joint researches on gender-based violence, women economic empowerment and other areas.

Mrs. Tallen urged both organisations to contribute to ensuring that the “girl-child in every community enrols in school, attends school without missing days and most especially completes school,” saying she was convinced that educating the girl-child was also address problems facing Nigerian women. She also underscored the importance of economic empowerment for women as a means of addressing 50 per cent of the country’s economic problem. She said when women are empowered the family and society are also empowered.

  • Lagos introduces volunteer teachers’ mentorship corps

To improve school governance and administration in public schools, the Lagos State Government has introduced a Volunteer Mentorship Programme for public school teachers and administrators. Retired and experienced school principals, teachers and administrators will be engaged to serve as mentors and will coach existing school personnel across the state.

Disclosing this during an interview at her office, the Education Commissioner, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, said the initiative was in line with Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu’s Education Transformation Plan aimed at improving the capacity of school personnel. She added that the programme would create opportunities for education stakeholders to support the government in mentoring teachers/ school administrators.

WORLD

  • US Approves Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine For 12-15 Year Olds

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 12 to 15 years old. “This is a promising development in our fight against the virus,” said President Joe Biden. The FDA previously granted an emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to individuals aged 16 and older.

The FDA said some 1.5 million Covid-19 cases in individuals aged 11 to 17 years old have been reported to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2021. The course of the disease is generally milder in children but they can pass it on to older, more vulnerable adults. Pfizer and its partner BioNTech said in March that their two-dose vaccine regimen was shown to be safe and highly effective in a trial of 2,260 12 to 15 year olds.

  • Uzbekistan Jails Anti-Corruption Blogger For 6.5 Years

A court in Uzbekistan has sentenced a blogger known for speaking out on corruption to 6.5 years in jail on extortion and libel charges, his lawyer told AFP on Tuesday. The case of Otabek Sattoriy, a popular video blogger from the southern town of Termez in the Central Asian country, was widely viewed as a test for authorities who according to rights groups have been clamping down on free speech ahead of a leadership election in October.

A court in the southern Surkhondaryo region sentenced Sattoriy to six years and six months in jail on Monday, lawyer Umidbek Davlatov told AFP, calling the verdict “completely unfair” and pledging to appeal. Rights groups have pointed to cases against Sattoriy and other bloggers as well as harsh new laws punishing online criticism as signs that the former Soviet republic is sliding back into its hardline past.

  • Taliban Declare Eid Holiday Ceasefire As Violence Soars In Afghanistan

The Taliban on Monday declared a three-day ceasefire for this week’s Eid al-Fitr holiday, following a sharp spike in violence as Washington goes about withdrawing its remaining troops from Afghanistan.

Violence has soared since May 1 — the deadline missed by the United States to withdraw the last of its troops — and while the Taliban have avoided engaging American forces, attacks against government and civilian targets have not stopped.

Early Monday, the Taliban instructed fighters “to halt all offensive operations against the enemy countrywide from the first till the third day of Eid”. The Taliban declared similar ceasefires last year to mark Islamic holidays. The government usually reciprocates, but Afghan peace council chief Abdullah Abdullah said Monday what the country needs is a permanent ceasefire.


ENTERTAINMENT

  • Picasso Painting Sells For $103 mn In New York

Pablo Picasso’s “Woman Sitting Near a Window (Marie-Therese)” sold Thursday for $103.4 million at Christie’s in New York, the auction house said. The painting, completed in 1932, was sold after 19 minutes of bidding for $90 million, which rose to $103.4 million when fees and commissions were added, Christie’s said.

Christie’s had estimated the painting — bought by an online bidder in California — would sell for $55 million. The sale confirms the vitality of the art market despite the Covid-19 pandemic — but also the special status of Picasso, who was born in 1881 and died in 1973.

The painting, depicting Picasso’s young mistress and muse, Marie-Therese Walter, was acquired only eight years ago at a London sale for 28.6 million pounds (about $44.8 million), less than half the price offered Thursday. Five works by the Spanish painter have now crossed the symbolic threshold of $100 million.

  • Iyabo Ojo sues Yomi Fabiyi, demands N100m for defamation

Popular Nollywood actress, Iyabo Ojo, has taken legal action against her colleague, Yomi Fabiyi. She demanded N100m for damages caused by his ‘defamatory publication’. Fabiyi had staged a protest on Wednesday demanding release of Baba Ijesha, who has been detained for allegedly molesting a minor on bail. In a letter written by Ojo’s lawyers, The Maverick Forte Legal, it noted that during Fabiyi’s protest, defamatory statements which were attributed to Ojo were inscribed on some placards.

Some of the placards read: “Nigeria Police please allow the law to dictate to you not Iyabo Ojo, Princess and co; Please release Baba Ijesha.” Another read: “Iyabo Ojo and Princess promised to kill Baba Ijesha if released on bail in this era?” But Ojo denied making any statement to kill Baba Ijesha or unlawfully interfere with the responsibilities of the Nigeria Police Force.

Ojo’s lawyers demanded Fabiyi “publishes a full retraction of the said defamatory publication on his Instagram handle for seven consecutive days and acknowledge that the allegations are false, misleading and entirely defamatory of client’s character” within 14 days. They added the retraction and public apology must be circulated and published by some media outlets.

SPORTS

  • ESPN agrees $1.4 billion rights deal for Spain’s La Liga

US sports broadcasting giant ESPN has acquired television rights for Spain’s La Liga in a record deal worth $1.4 billion over the next eight seasons starting from the 2021-2022 campaign, the company said Thursday. A statement from ESPN said all 380 La Liga games each season would be available live through its streaming platform ESPN+, with selected games on its traditional ESPN networks.

The deal covers English and Spanish language broadcasts and also includes La Liga’s second division fixtures. ESPN already broadcasts other domestic Spanish competitions including the Copa del Rey and Spanish Supercup. The value of the agreement was not revealed in the ESPN statement but a source with knowledge of the deal confirmed to AFP it was worth $1.4 billion or $175 million for each of the eight seasons covered.

  • Japan to expand virus emergency as 350,000 sign ‘Cancel Olympics’ petition

Japan’s government is expected to widen a virus state of emergency Friday, just 10 weeks before the Tokyo Olympics, as campaigners submitted a petition with more than 350,000 signatures urging the Games be scrapped. With Tokyo and other areas already under emergency orders until the end of May, three more regions — including northern Hokkaido, which will host the Olympic marathon — are set to join them.

The widening emergency, aimed at combatting a fourth wave which is putting Japan’s medical system under strain, comes with public opinion firmly opposed to holding the Games this summer, fearing further infections. Kenji Utsunomiya, a former candidate for Tokyo governor, urged Games organisers to “prioritise life” as he submitted the 351,000-signature petition to city authorities.

  • Champions League final moved to Portugal

UEFA has confirmed that the 2021 Champions League final will now take place at Estadio do Dragao in Porto, with 12,000 Chelsea and Manchester City supporters set to be in attendance.

The Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul had been due to stage a European showpiece, but the UK government’s decision to place Turkey on a red list of Covid-19 travel destinations has forced a scheduling change.

Two Premier League heavyweights will still lock horns on May 29 and will also be cheered on by 6,000 fans from each club as lockdown restrictions at major sporting events begin to ease.

  • Iniesta has ‘big goals’ after extending career with Kobe

Spanish football legend Andres Iniesta said Friday he wants to “achieve big goals” with Japan’s Vissel Kobe after signing a two-year contract extension.
The former Barcelona maestro, who has battled back to action after a serious thigh injury, inked the two-year deal on Tuesday, his 37th birthday.

The World Cup-winning midfielder joined Kobe in 2018 in a deal worth a reported $30 million a year. He helped Kobe, currently fifth in the 20-team J-League, reach the semi-finals of last year’s Asian Champions League. After his arrival in Japan, Iniesta led Kobe to its first trophy — the Japanese Super Cup title in 2020. Kobe’s tech-billionaire owner, Hiroshi Mikitani, has said Iniesta’s presence in Japan has helped improve the quality of the entire J-League.

  • Smith Rowe Scores As Arsenal Beat Chelsea

Arsenal dented Chelsea’s bid to finish in the Premier League’s top four as Emile Smith Rowe punished Jorginho’s blunder to seal a 1-0 win on Wednesday.
Midfielder Jorginho was guilty of a woefully misplaced back-pass that ended with Gunners youngster Smith Rowe slotting home early in the first half at Stamford Bridge.

Thomas Tuchel’s home side were bereft of quality in the final third as they succumbed to only a third defeat in their 26 matches in all competitions. The Blues remain in fourth place, but their bid to qualify for next season’s Champions League via a top-four finish is now on a knife-edge.

Beaten for the first time in six league games, Chelsea’s final two top-flight matches against the Foxes and Aston Villa next week now take on extra significance. That will deny Tuchel the chance to rest players before the Champions League final against Manchester City on May 29.

  • Man City Crowned Premier League Champions After Man Utd Defeat

Manchester City were crowned Premier League champions for the third time in four seasons after Manchester United crashed to a 2-1 defeat against Leicester on Tuesday. Pep Guardiola’s side are 10 points clear of second-placed United and have wrapped up the title with three games to spare. In the midst of a grueling run of three games in five days, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer effectively handed the title to arch-rivals City by picking a weakened team with 10 changes.

Having surrendered the title meekly to Liverpool the previous season, it seemed City were heading for a period of regression. But Guardiola masterminded such a superb recovery that City turned the title race into a procession, giving him three Premier League crowns to go with three La Liga trophies with Barcelona and three at Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.

METRO PLUS

  • Boko Haram fight: Army recalls soldiers from study leave

Following intensified insurgency attacks across the country, particularly in the North, the Nigerian Army has recalled a large number of its personnel studying in civil institutions (universities and polytechnics) across the country, according to a leaked memo by the Nigerian Army Headquarters, Department of Army Training, Abuja.

In the memo dated May 11, the Nigerian Army also suspended the sponsorship of personnel in civil institutions with the exemption of students in the final year. This is happening as the army continues to suffer heavy casualties in its counter-insurgency operations that have seen hundreds of Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists also neutralised by gallant Nigerian troops. It is however unclear whether the recalled personnel will be deoployed for administrative purpose or combat operations in the war front.

  • How I lured, raped 6 other ladies by offering them phoney jobs – Killer of Akwa Ibom jobseeker

Uduak Akpan, the suspected killer of 26-year-old Akwa Ibom jobseeker, Iniuobong Umoren, has confessed that he had lured and raped six ladies on the pretext of offering them employment. Akpan made the revelation on Friday when he was paraded alongside his father by the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner of Police, Andrew Amiengheme. Umoren, a graduate of Philosophy from the University of Uyo, was lured and reportedly killed by Akpan who later buried her in a shallow grave in his father’s compound. The late Umoren left her house on Thursday, April 29, 2021, for a phoney job interview orchestrated by Akpan before she was allegedly killed by the suspect.

Akpan on Friday confessed that he tricked the deceased to his village in Nnung Ikono Ufio, Uruan Local Government Area of the state, saying that had done the same thing to six other ladies but claimed he did not kill them. He said as he was about to make love with Umoren when she became violent and started beating him. Akpan said he hit her with a stabiliser in self-defence.

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