Iran’s Supreme Leader rejects talk with U.S.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei on Tuesday, said that Iranian officials had unanimously ruled out talks with the U.S.A at any level.

Khamenei was quoted by his official website as saying that“Through negotiations, the Americans are seeking to impose their demands on Iran and prove the effectiveness of maximum pressure campaign.’’

He said Washington’s maximum pressure campaign against the Iranian nation had failed to achieve its goals.

According to him, talks with the U.S. will only be possible within the framework of P5+1 group consisting of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.

Khamenei said Washington should return to the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal that it abandoned in 2018, if the U.S. wants any talk.

“Otherwise, no talks at any level will be held between Iranian and American officials, neither in New York nor in other places.’’

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman on Monday also ruled out the likelihood of any meeting between the Iranian and U.S. presidents in the upcoming UN General Assembly meeting in New York.

U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in May 2018 under the pretext that the deal was not comprehensive.

Subsequently, the U.S. administration launched a “maximum pressure campaign’’ and reinstated sanctions on Iran’s economy, mainly on Iran’s oil exports. (Xinhua/NAN)

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2019 UCL Champions Liverpool falls to Napoli

Some exhausted Liverpool players as they fall to Napoli
Some exhausted Liverpool players as they fall to Napoli

Liverpool began their Champions League title defence with a 2-0 defeat away to Napoli at the Stadio San Paolo on Tuesday.

Dries Mertens scored from the penalty spot with eight minutes remaining after Andy Robertson tripped Jose Callejon inside the box.

Napoli substitute Fernando Llorente added a second in stoppage time to put the result beyond doubt.

In the other Group E game, Salzburg made an impressive start with a 6-2 victory at home to Genk. (Reuters/NAN)

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Alleged N400m theft: Army court martial former GOC

Alleged N400m theft: Army court martial former GOC
Alleged N400m theft: Army court martial former GOC

By Sumaila Ogbaje

The Nigerian Army has commenced the trial of the former General Officer Commanding (GOC) 8 Division, Sokoto, Maj.-Gen. Hakeem Otiki, over alleged stolen N400 million by some soldiers under his command.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, while inaugurating the General Court Martial on Tuesday in Abuja, said the trial was in line with the Armed Forces Act Cap A20 Laws of the Federation 2004.

The General Court Martial is to be presided over by the Chief of Policy and Plans, Nigerian Army Headquarters, Maj.-Gen. Lamidi Adeosun, as the president of the court.

Members of the court are Maj.-Gen. A.A Tarfa from the Headquarters Training and Doctrine Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen. F.O Agugo from Department of Army Transformation and Innovation and Maj.-Gen. J.S Malu from the Headquarters Nigerian Army Engineers.

Others are Maj.-Gen. M.A. Muhammed from the Headquarters Nigerian Army Signal, Maj.-Gen. C.T Olukuju from Land Forces Stimulation Centre while Maj.-Gen. C.C Okonkwo will serve as a waiting member.

Buratai also appointed Maj. A. Muhammed from the Headquarters Directorate of Army Legal Services as the Judge Advocate of the court.

The prosecuting officers are Maj. J.A Orumo, Maj. J,A Obot, from the Office of the National Security Adviser, Maj. I.A Suleman from Guards Brigade.

According to the convening order issued by Buratai, the General Court Martial as composed is to assemble at Army Headquarters Command Mess Abuja for the purpose of trying the accuse person.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the army authorities had in July begun the interrogation of the former GOC over the missing N400 million.

Five soldiers had been confirmed to have carted away a consignment containing the money, while on an escort duty from Sokoto to Kaduna states in July. (NAN)

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Buhari re-appoints Adeyemi, Adeleye Special Assistants

Buhari eager to fight corruption to a standstill
President Muhammadu Buhari

By Rotimi Ijikanmi

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the re-appointment of Mr Segun Adeyemi and Mr Williams Adeleye as his Special Assistants (Media) attached to the Office of the Minister of Information and Culture.

Mr Joe Mutah, the Chief Press Secretary to information and culture minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed disclosed this in a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday.

He said the re-appointment letters of the two SSAs, which were signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, stated that their appointment took effect from Sept., 6 2019.

Adeyemi and Adeleye served in the same capacity between November 2015 and May 2019.

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Johnson says #Brexit deal emerging


Boris Johnson favourite to succeed Theresa May - Poll
Borish Johnson UK PM

Britain’s Boris Johnson said that a Brexit deal was beginning to emerge, but the EU said he offered nothing to break the impasse during a visit to Luxembourg where he was harangued loudly by protesters and rebuked for trying to shift the blame,

Don’t make the EU the bad guy,” Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said after a meeting with Johnson, describing the uncertainty over the timing and conditions of Britain’s exit from the European Union as a “nightmare”.

The British prime minister joined European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker for lunch at the Bouquet Garni restaurant, an 18th-century building of bare stone walls and low ceilings in the medieval heart of Luxembourg.


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GenCos releases 3,306 MWH of electricity to national grid – report


Electricity power line
GenCos releases 3,306 MWH of electricity to national grid – report

By Constance Imasuen

Electricity Generation Companies (GenCos), comprising gas-fired and hydro stations, said they released an average of 3,306 MegaWatts/Hour of electricity into the national grid on Sunday .

The Advisory Power Team, Office of the Vice President, disclosed this in a daily energy report made available to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday.

The report noted that the electricity sent out by the GenCos was down by 4.49 megawatts from the figure released on Saturday.

It, however, said that 1,591 megawatts could not be generated due to unavailability of gas.

The report noted that zero (0) megawatts was not generated due to unavailability of transmission infrastructure during the period.

Similarly, it said that 2,963.40 megawatts were not generated due to high frequency resulting from unavailability of distribution infrastructure.

According to the report, zero (0) megawatts was recorded as losses due to water management procedures.

The report revealed that the power sector lost an estimated over N2 billion on Sunday  due to insufficient gas supply, distribution and transmission infrastructure.

On sector reform/activities, it said that the dominant constraint for Sunday was high frequency resulting from unavailability of distribution infrastructure.

The report noted that the peak generation attained on Sunday was 4 186.8 megawatts. (NAN)

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Shell deploys cameras to track spills, crude theft


Shell Worker

By Edeki Igafe

The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) says it has deployed state-of-the-art high definition cameras for quick detection and response to crude oil theft and spills from its facilities.

Mr Igo Weli, SPDC General Manager, External Relations disclosed this at a workshop on Monday tagged: “2019 Pipelines Right of Ways Media Engagement” in Warri.

Weli, who was represented by Mr Alaye Dokubo, said the cameras would also help in tracking vandalism of SPDC Joint Venture (JV) assets.

“The cameras are attached to specialized helicopters, which carry out daily overflight over our facilities. This measure has improved the surveillance of our Joint Venture assets,” he said.

The general manager also said that SPDC had implemented anti-theft protection mechanisms on key infrastructure, such as wellheads and manifolds to address constant attacks from vandals.

He noted that the development would prevent and minimize sabotage-related spills.

Weli said the daily loss of over 11,000 barrels of oil per day in 2018 and the threat to the integrity of the SPDC JV assets necessitated the approach to protect critical national assets.

“We collaborate with community leaders, traditional rulers, civil societies and state governments in the Niger Delta.

“This is to implement several initiatives and partnerships to raise awareness on the negative impact of crude oil theft and illegal oil refining.

“Such public enlightenment programmes on the negative impacts to people and the environment help to build greater trust in spill response and clean-up processes,” he said.

Weli said that SPDC would sustain its air and ground surveillance to complement the efforts of government security agents in checking crude theft, pipeline vandalism and illegal refining.

He commended the effort of the Operation Delta Safe in protecting critical oil and gas assets and appealed to other government security forces to intensify their activities around oil and gas facilities.

“In its June 2019 monthly report, NNPC, which controls Nigeria’s 55 per cent interest in the SPDC JV, reported a 77 per cent rise in oil pipeline vandalism.

“Also, 106 pipeline breaches were recorded in June, up from 60 in May,” Weli said.

Also speaking, SPDC’s General Manager, Safety and Environment, Mrs Chidube Nnene-Anochie, said majority of spill incidents on SPDC pipelines were as a result of sabotage.

Nnene-Anochie, who was represented by SPDC’s Compliance Monitoring Leader, Temitope Ajibade said the company was worried by the continuous increase in cases of sabotage and theft.

“Oil spills due to theft and sabotage of facilities as well as illegal refining, cause the most environmental damage from oil and gas operations in the Niger Delta.

“SPDC removed more than 1,160 illegal theft points from its pipelines between 2012 and end of 2018.

“The attendant spills from the theft points are sometimes made worse by challenges of access to the incident sites to investigate and stop leaks.

“We track the progress of our spill response from when we learn about the leak to when clean-up is completed and certified by regulators,” she said.

Nnene-Anochie said that one of the key priority for Shell companies in Nigeria remained to achieve the goal of no spills from its operations.

“No spill is acceptable, we work hard to prevent them. However, SPDC cleans and remediates areas impacted by spills from its facilities irrespective of the cause,” she said. (NAN)

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Seven-year-old Nigerian robotic kid aims for World title

Winners of 2019 World Robot Olympiad, from left, Christian Peter-Jesse and Brendon Ikem
Winners of 2019 World Robot Olympiad, from left, Christian Peter-Jesse and Brendon Ikem

By Olanrewaju Akojede

Seven-year-old 2019 World Robot Olympiad (WRO) joint champion Brendon Ikem has said that he aimed to be the best Artificial Intelligent (AI) developer in the world.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ikem, emerged champion alongside his pair Christian Peter-Jesse at the just-concluded 2019 World Robot Olympiad (WRO) held at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island on Saturday.

The 2019 WRO Nigeria serves as the qualification stage to the upcoming WRO in Gyor, Hungary from Nov. 8 to Nov. 10, the qualifiers may have about 22,000 participants according to the organisers.

The theme for the 2019 WRO is “Smart Cities”, had over 120 students drawn from the public and private schools in attendance.

The 2019 WRO Nigeria was put together by Arc Lights Foundation, the national organiser of the programme since 2011.

The 2019 WRO Nigeria serves as the qualification stage to the upcoming WRO in Gyor, Hungary and the qualifiers may have about 22,000 participants according to the organisers.

Ikem, a pupil of Children’s International School, Lekki, Lagos, said that the robotic education means a lot to him, adding that he would love to be the world renowned AI.

“I am excited and happy to be the winner of 2019 WRO, I did not win last year but I came second, so, I am more determined to be the champion this year.

“I practiced and worked hard for this because robotics means a lot to me. I want to be the best in the world.

“ I will work hard to become the world champion,” he said.

Ikem’s father, Obed, an Engineer, said many preparations had gone into the preparation of his child before he became champion.

“So, much preparations had gone into his winning. We have been preparing for this for a long time. We had to teach him coding and build an application for him.

“I am a researcher and I gave him a lot of support towards realisating his dreams. Nigeria can be a great nation through Artificial Intelligence,” he said. (NAN)

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10,000 Nigerian girls forced into prostitution in Burkina Faso – Ambassador 

The Nigerian Ambassador to Burkina Faso, Ramatu Ahmed says no fewer than 10,000 Nigerian girls are forced into prostitution in Burkina Faso.

Ahmed disclosed this in an Interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN)  in Ouagadougou on Monday

She said the  victims of sex-trade were mainly underage girls kept in appalling conditions in Ouagadougou and in mining camps across the West African country.

Ahmed who had been in Burkina Faso since August 2017,  said  that over 200 Nigerian girls had been voluntarily repatriated this year.

According to the Ambassador,  many of the girls who were promised jobs in the country and Europe by the human traffickers are not willing to return home.

“The spate of human trafficking here in Burkina Faso is a big concern to the embassy because at present, we have nothing  less than 10,00 Nigerian girls who have been trafficked into Burkina Faso as commercial sex workers  and most of these girls are underage, most left school and are roaming about doing commercial sex work in Burkina Faso.

“This apart from been a dent to our country, it is also a sort of concern as far as their health is concerned, This is very serious to us and most of the girls who wants to go back as a result this voluntary repatriation do it because they were tricked, they did not know the condition there are going to found themselves here.

“For every Nigerian girl that escapes and wants to go back, there are more than 10 in the bush that are willing to carry on.

She said the Embassy is partnering with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) office in Ouagadougou to assist in the voluntary repatriation of some of the victims of human trafficking.

“200 girls have been repatriated to Nigeria  by the embassy , this is apart from the ones that runs to the churches , some to other Civil society Organisations(CSOs) and the International Organisations on Migration (IOM).

In fact, the IOM is complaining to the embassy that most its money meant for West Africa is used to repatriate Nigerian girls back home and they are complaining that with time, they would not be able to cope with the number.

“So if the embassy alone have repatriated 200 girls, you can imagine how many girls the IOM has repatriated and  the reason they are complaining.

Ahmed also appealed to Nigerian parents and guardians to monitor their children and wards more closely and not to be swayed by promises of greener pastures abroad.

“I am pleading with  Nigerian parents that they should know what their children are doing, most of the girls said  that their parents don;t know what they are  here  and some will tell us that their parents  know and some will say that they were sent by either their father, mother, Uncle.

“This is problem that emanates from the family, for the girls, i  wish to tell them that anybody they see that comes to tell them that he is taking then to somewhere, either employed as hair dressers or work in the shop, these are human traffickers.

Anybody that will tell them not work in Nigeria but to move outside is simply a human trafficker and they should be weary of such persons. she said

It will be recalled that the U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report (TIR) 2019, Burkina Faso is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking.

NAN reports that the Director General of National Agency for the Prohibtion of Trafficking In Persons (NAPTIP), Julie Okah Donlie while briefing the ECOWAS Parliament on the spate of trafficking in West Africa in December 2018 said that 500 girls were trafficked from Nigeria on daily basis.

She added that a whopping 20,000 Nigerians girls were also discovered in Mali.

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Ahmed bemoaned the activities of Nigerian syndicates operating in Burkina Faso, vowing that the Embassy will continue to track them down and bring the perpetrators to book in collaboration with the local authorities. (NAN)

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Court remands butcher who ‘raped 25-year-old’

Court remands butcher who 'raped 25-year-old'
Court remands butcher who ‘raped 25-year-old’

By Judith Ezeudogu

An Upper Area Court, Mpape, on Monday, ordered that a 34-year-old butcher,  Abu Mohammed, who allegedly raped a 25-year-old woman, be remanded in a correctional facility in Keffi, Nasarawa State.

The judge, Hassan Mohammed, who made the order, adjourned the case until Sept. 20, for hearing.

The police charged the defendant, who resides in Karu Abuja with rape and  criminal intimidation, which he denied.

The Prosecution Counsel, Vincent Osuji, told the court that the complainant, who was also the victim, reported the matter at the Karu Police Station, on June 2.

He alleged that the defendant met the victim and her friend drinking at Eagles Lodge Karu and asked to join them.

”The defendant slipped some drugs into the complainant’s drink and she lost consciousness.

”After she lost consciousness, the defendant took the complainant to his house and raped her,” he alleged..

The prosecutor also alleged that the defendant stole her necklace and infinix phone worth N162,000.

Osuji said that the offence, contravened  the provisions of sections 283 and 397b of the Penal Code.  (NAN)

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