FBI uncovers fresh evidence against Hushpuppi [THE NATION]
THE tide seems to be rising in the United States against suspected internet fraudster, Ramon Abbas, popularly called Hushpuppi, after the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) unveiled how he allegedly laundered unemployment benefits of Americans.
Abbas was arrested in Dubai last June and immediately flown to the US to face a four-count charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering conspiracies, international money laundering and engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity.
The Nigerian pleaded not guilty to the charges during his initial court appearance in Chicago in July.
He has since been transferred to California with October 13 set for his trial.
The FBI, in an affidavit filed on September 14, with the United States District Court, Central District of California, alleged that Hushpuppi using his email address, registered on a website whizzlog.com (“Whizzlog”) which is a marketplace for buying US Bank Logs to perpetrate fraud.
The FBI said it found in Abbas’ email address “registration contamination from Whizz Log.”
Also found therein were “numerous confirmations and receipts of bank logs he purchased.”
One of the messages cited by the agency read “Your order was successful. You have purchased (the “Financial Institution”) bank log with a balance of $9,839.44. Purchase Price: $955. The bank log details are in your account. Login to your Whizz Log account to view.”
He allegedly bought a “bank log with a balance of over S9,000 for as low as $900.”
If convicted of conspiracy to engage in money laundering, Abbas would face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
Fuel, electricity price hike: FG rules out wage increase [THE NATION]
THE Federal Government has ruled out wage increase on the heels of the latest hike in fuel price and electricity tariffs.
But it could come up with palliatives to cushion the effects of the new price and tariffs.
Some ministers and top government officials are due to meet in Abuja on Sunday to discuss the demands of workers who have served notice of a strike through the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).
The workers want the fuel price and electricity tariffs scrapped immediately.
Tomorrow’s meeting, tagged “Government Side” is expected to take far-reaching decisions which could avert a shutdown of the country in the next two weeks.
A top government official told The Nation on Friday that Nigeria’s current economic situation could not accommodate any wage increase.
“Of all the demands of the NLC, we will not accept wage increase when it is obvious that we have lost 60% of our revenues because of fall in crude oil prices and COVID-19,” the source said.
“Increase in wages will trigger more inflation and lead to social discomfort for . This option does not look feasible at all.The nation’s economy cannot accommodate it.
“We are however weighing different options for a win-win situation for the government, the labour and Nigerians in general.”
Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President Ayuba Wabba said on Tuesday that the gains of the nation’s minimum wage had been eroded by the new fuel price and the hike in electricity tariffs.
Wabba, who spoke at a session with government representatives, said: “The question now is what do you have on the table to actually cushion the effect on workers and their families because they have been pushed to the wall. They are already enraged.
“Already the value of the minimum wage has been eroded; that is the reality. If Ghana compares their minimum wage with our own, you will see their minimum wage.”
Expected at tomorrow’s meeting of government officials are Labour and Employment Minister Chris Ngige and the Minister of State r, Mr. Festus Keyamo; Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipreye Sylva;Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed; Power Minister Saleh Mamman, Works and Housing Minister Babatunde Fashola and others.
Police restrict govs, VIPs to hotels [THE NATION]
GOVERNORS and other very important personalities (VIPs) who have converged on Benin ahead of today’s governorship election in Edo State will not be allowed the luxury of moving about during voting.
It is part of the measures put in place by the security agencies to prevent manipulation of the voting process.
The move, however, appears not to have gone down well with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which accused security agencies of harassing and threatening the lives of its governors who had gathered in Benin ahead of the poll.
The verbal war between the PDP and the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the election also heightened with the PDP claiming that the immediate past national chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, was trying to instigate the arrest of Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu.
Oshiomhole denied the allegation.
Although the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, did not specify the number of the party’s governors so harassed or their names, the chairman of the party in Rivers State, Akawor Desmond, was categorical that 300 policemen laid siege to the hotel where Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State lodged in Benin.
Secondus, at a press conference in Abuja, alleged clampdown on PDP governors by security agents in Benin ahead of the elections.
The party expressed shock that ‘security agents were detailed to surround the lodging of our governors to harass and intimidate them.”
It wondered why APC governors, “including the governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje; his Imo State counterpart, Hope Uzodima as well as the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, are left free in the comfort of the GRA, Benin residence of Comrade Oshiomhole.
The PDP said it considered “the siege as provocative and completely unacceptable, as there cannot be two sets of laws for the citizens of our nation.”
It added: “Inasmuch as the APC governors are given liberty to stay in Benin City, our governors will not allow themselves to be harassed or stampeded to leave the state.
“At any rate, we are confident that our governors will not allow themselves to be stampeded.”
Policemen lay siege to Wike’s lodge in Benin, Rivers PDP chair alleges [THE NATION]
In a separate statement, Rivers State PDP Chairman, Akawor Desmond, alleged that more than 300 policemen on Friday night stormed Wike’s hotel in Benin with a view to forcing him out of town.
He said the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, would be held responsible should anything happen to the governor.
His words: “The attention of the entire people of Rivers State has been drawn to the siege laid to the hotel where the Governor of Rivers State Nyesom Wike is lodging while on official assignment in Benin, Edo State.
“Recall that Governor Wike was appointed Chairman of the PDP National Campaign Council for the Edo governorship election. This is the same position Governor Ganduje of Kano State occupies for his party, the APC.
“Governor Ganduje and Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State are all in Benin, Edo State carrying out their assignment for the APC without any molestation or intimidation.
“And in a breach of the pledge they made, security agencies have decided to harass and intimidate Governor Wike who has not done any wrong.
“May I on behalf of the entire Rivers people warn that we shall hold the IGP responsible for anything that happens to our governor.”
Rivers State Information Commissioner Paulinus Nsirim said the people of Rivers State feared for the life of the governor in Benin City.
EGO-CLASICO! Stamford Bridge on fire as Chelsea host Liverpool [THE NATION]
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool will face Frank Lampard’s Chelsea in an English Premiership League match tomorrow afternoon that will surely ignite the on-going rivalry between the two coaches and also see two heavyweight teams facing against one another. The Reds will harbour hopes of keeping their winning ways intact after beating Leeds United 4-3 in their last outing. On the other hand, Chelsea will be keen to deliver a solid performance against Jurgen Klopp’s team after defeating Brighton 3-1 in their away game.
The managers’ tiff against each other started at Liverpool’s home ground when Lampard lost his temper for the first time as Chelsea boss when his side were defeated 5-3 by the Premier League champions.
The Blues’ boss was furious a foul was awarded when Sadio Mane went down outside the area – a free-kick which was subsequently buried by Trent Alexander-Arnold. His expletive-ridden rant at Klopp and his coaching staff came after a member of the Reds’ coaching staff allegedly told Lampard to ‘shut up.’
“It’s not a f***ing foul,” Lampard yelled at Klopp, who proceeded to tell him to ‘calm down’. You can f*** off and all,” Lampard added “Only title you’ve ever won and you think you can give it the big one, f*** off.’”
Lampard later said he regretted swearing during the touchline bust-up, but refused to apologise for his passionate defence of his side.
“In terms of the language I used, I do regret that,” he said. “These things get played a lot on social media. I have two young daughters on social media, but in terms of my passion to defend my team, then no [regrets].
“I would have had a beer with Jurgen Klopp to toast their success. There were things I didn’t like from their bench, not Jurgen Klopp, but their bench. Emotions run high in this game.”
Edo: Obaseki, Ize-Iyamu lock horns in 12 battleground LGAs today [PUNCH]
At least 12 out of the 18 local government areas of Edo State will play a decisive role in Saturday’s (today) governorship poll as incumbent Governor Godwin Obaseki, who is the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, clashes with the leading opposition All Progressives Congress governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
Although 14 parties fielded candidates for the poll, observers have argued that the election would be a two horse race between the PDP and the APC.
According to analysis by Saturday PUNCH, the 12 battleground local government areas are Egor, Ikpoba/Okha, Oredo, Ovia North-East, Ovia South-West and Uhunmwode.
Others are Akoko Edo, Owan West, Owan East, Etsako East, Etsako West and Etsako Central.
Six out of the 12 battleground LGAs are located in the Edo South Senatorial District where both the incumbent and the leading opposition candidate hail from.
Interestingly, the Edo South Senatorial District has the highest number of voters totalling 1,281,414 votes, according to the figures released by the Independent National Electoral Commission. This represents about 74 per cent of the entire voting populace which INEC put at 1,726,738.
Further findings revealed that the remaining six battleground LGAs are located in the Edo North Senatorial District where the immediate past Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, and the state deputy governor, Philip Shaibu, hail from. The deputy governorship candidate of the APC, Gani Audu, also hails from Edo North.
Figures from INEC’s voter register show that Edo North Senatorial District has 564,122 voters.
However, the Edo Central Senatorial District which has 364,998 voters is expected to be dominated by the PDP. According to Saturday PUNCH findings, the Edo Central Senatorial District has been historically dominated by the PDP.
Meanwhile, INEC put the number of registered voters for the election at 2,210,534. However, 483,796 PVCs were not collected, leaving 1,726,738 voters eligible to take part in today’s election.
According to INEC’s breakdown of the eligible voters with permanent voter cards in the 18 LGAs, Akoko Edo has 115,343 voters; Egor has 158,817; Esan Central has 40,831; Esan North-East has 66,790; Esan South-East has 58,802; Esan West has 83,467; Etsako Central has 42,042; Etsako East has 67,715; Etsako West has 128,188; and Igueben has 34,988.
Others are Ikpoba/Okha with 214,822; Oredo, 240,197; Orhionmwon, 102,739; Ovia North-East, 113,167; Ovia South West, 77,468; Owan East, 77,827; Owan West, 46,245 and Uhunmwonde 57,290.
According to the delimitation of the state, elections would be conducted in the 2,627 polling units in 192 wards in the 18 LGAs of the state.
FG bars Emirates Airlines from operating in Nigeria [PUNCH]
The Federal Government has barred Emirates Airlines from operating in Nigeria.
According to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, the ban will take effect from Monday, September 21, 2020.
The tweet read: “The PTF sub-committee met today with EU Ambassadors to discuss Lufthansa, Air France/KLM ban. The meeting progressed well. Emirates Airlines’ situation was reviewed and they are consequently included in the list of those not approved, with effect from Monday, September 21, 2020.”
The Federal Government had last month vowed to enforce the principle of reciprocity in granting permission to airlines to resume operations.
Before the resumption of international flights in the country, the Federal Government had announced that Air France, KLM, Etihad, RwandAir, Air Namibia, Royal Air Maroc, Lufthansa, TAAG Angola Airlines were not granted approval to commence flight operations.
Cabo Verde and South African airlines were also denied approval as international flights had yet to resume in their countries.
Middle East Airline, British Airways, Delta, Qatar, Ethiopian Airlines, Emirates Airlines, Air Peace, Virgin Atlantic, Asky Airlines, Africa World Airways, Air Cote D’ Ivoire, Kenya Airways, EgyptAir, Turkish Airlines were all granted approval to resume operations in Nigeria.
EgyptAir, Virgin Atlantic, Turkish Airlines, Africa World Airways, Kenya Airways, and Middle East Airlines were announced as the airlines permitted to use Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, while British Airways, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Africa World Airways, and Middle East Airlines were granted approval to use Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Sirika said the country would go ahead and implement the principle of reciprocity to all countries that had banned flights from Nigeria.
Cross River landlord sets tenant ablaze over N11,000 rent [PUNCH]
A landlord, David Ntiero Okon, has been arrested for allegedly setting his tenant ablaze in Calabar, Cross River State, over her failure to pay N11, 000 house rent.
The incident happened on Wednesday at No 9, Ansa Ewa Street, Cobham Town in the Bayside area of Calabar South.
The landlord allegedly poured fuel on Mrs Mary Samuel’s room and ignited a fire that engulfed the one-room apartment.
An eyewitness and security guard who is a tenant in the house identified only as Obongette stated that Mary, who lived in the house for over seven years, owed the landlord N11, 000 after her fish business dwindled because of frequent attacks by militants in the Calabar Water Channel.
He said, “The woman was a fish seller and on Wednesday morning, she went to buy fish at Oron in Akwa Ibom State and when she returned in the evening, the landlord asked her to pay the balance of her annual rent. She said she didn’t have any money but should be allowed to sell her fish the next day to raise money to pay the rent.”
Obongette added, “The landlord was angered by the woman’s appeal and accused her of refusing to pay the rent. When the woman went to bathe, the landlord poured fuel in the room. After bathing, as she stepped into the room, the man ignited a fire which engulfed the place.
“As the woman shouted and tried to escape, the man locked the door and when people came to rescue her, he brought out a machete and chased them away, threatening to kill anyone who dared to rescue the burning lady.”
He said after the woman’s death, people in the area gathered and took the corpse to the landlord’s apartment and laid it there till the next day.
“Police came yesterday (Thursday) afternoon and carried the corpse and also arrested the man because we ensured that he didn’t escape. The house was built by his late father,’’ Obongette said.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Irene Ugbo, confirmed the incident, adding that the landlord had been arrested and the corpse deposited in the mortuary.
She said, “Investigations are going on to unravel what really happened.”
Two Rivers pastors arrested for raping corps member [PUNCH]
The Police in Rivers State have arrested two pastors for allegedly raping a 27-year old member of the National Youths Service Corps.
The corps member is observing her primary assignment at the Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state.
The pastors, identified as Austin Emmanuel and Peter Davies, are currently being detained at the State Criminal and Investigation and Intelligence Department, Port Harcourt.
Emmanuel reportedly invited the victim to his house for an indoor birthday party and in the course of the celebration, he was later joined by Davies.
It was gathered that the suspects offered to pray for the victim and in the middle of the prayer, they applied a-yet-to-be-identified liquid on her face which made her unconscious.
Speaking with journalists, the corps member said she experienced pains in her private parts after regaining consciousness.
She said, “Actually, it was after I regained consciousness that I was feeling pain in my vagina. I told my mum and she reported to the police and they said that they should take me to doctors without borders for checkup. I found out that I was fingered according to the report and saw bruises seen all over my body.”
Meanwhile, parents of the victim, Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Bonko called on the Rivers State Police Command not to allow the accused persons go scot free to serve as a deterrent to other persons.
The father of the girl said he had approached the International Federation of Women Lawyers in the state to ensure the prosecution of the case.
“When I saw her, she was not in her senses. I started asking questions. Then they told me that they have arrested the suspects. I saw the suspects and they told me what happened.
“We took her to a psychiatric hospital. They tested her and did everything. Wherever we went, the NYSC followed us on the matter. An NYSC official reported the issue to the headquarters. If we allow this matter to die, they will do the same thing to other female corps members. That is why I decided to come to FIDA,” he explained.
Edo guber: We’ll crush troublemakers –DIG Oyebade [SUN]
The Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Research and Planning, Adeleye Olusola Oyebade who is heading police operations for the Edo State governorship election coming up today, (Saturday) has vowed that his men will not spare anybody no matter how highly placed who tries to foment trouble or prevent the electorate from exercising their franchise at the poll.
“Let me tell you, we are not going to spare anybody who plans to disturb the peace and tranquility of Edo State before, during and after the governorship election. Our men are fully on ground. We have deployed over 31,000 officers and rank and file and they are fully covering all the nooks and crannies of Edo State. Whoever plans to foment trouble will regret his action. We are fully determined to ensure safety of people and properties and we will not compromise that. We are fully ready, we are on ground and we are assuring the Edo electorate that they have the freedom and peace to choose whoever they like in today’s election.
“What I am saying is that anybody who intends to disturb the election on Saturday September 19, 2020 in Edo will never go unpunished. He or she will face the full wrath of the law of the land”, the police boss stated in an exclusive interview with Saturday Sun.
While restating that they have every logistics already provided by the Inspector General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, DIG Oyebade said that’s enough motivation to carry out their duty in the Edo election without fear or favour.
Talking tough on their preparedness to crush trouble makers, Oyebade said “We are not going to take any chance, rather we warn criminals to steer clear of the Edo election . Any attempt to snatch ballot boxes and papers will be resisted. Our Air Wing will adequately patrol and ensure peace at the riverine areas before, during and after this governorship election.
“IGP Adamu said the security architecture to be adopted during the periods; before, during and after the election should be such that will provide a level playing ground for all parties involved. We are here to ensure a hitch-free, fair, credible, all inclusive and safe election in Edo state”.
I don’t joke with sex toys –Nkechi Blessing [SUN]
For screen diva, Nkechi Blessing, life is dull without sex toys. To her, the tools of sexual enjoyment are so important, she doesn’t joke with them.
In a chat with Inside Nollywood, Nkechi made it clear that if an opportunity presents itself and she finds herself in the Big Brother House, she would rather satisfy her sexual desires with different sex toys rather than have actual romp in the full glare of the cameras.
The role interpreter, who is fiercely rooting for Olamilekan ‘Laycon’ Agbeleshe to win the Big Brother Naija’s N85 million, says she would do anything to partake in the popular reality show.
Hear her: “I have strong conviction that Laycon is the man because of his intelligence and talent, not his physical look. I am sure that is what drew most people to him. If the opportunity presents itself, I’ll partake in the reality show. But I’ll never have sex in the House. Never! I will rather go in there with numerous sex toys. I don’t joke with my toys. I will use them instead of having sex on TV. But not that those having sex (on television) are bad, I am only speaking for myself.”
On the backlashes she’s been getting for supporting Laycon and not a female housemate, Nkechi said she’s not perturbed. “I am not a feminist. I have a mind of my own. Women supporting women is what we have been clamouring for and I have been doing that all my life. So, what is bad in supporting a man? I can’t support all the housemates at once. This is a game and it has nothing to do with my personal life,” she stated.
Insecurity: Life in Nigeria nasty, brutish and short, Anglican Bishop laments [SUN]
Bishop of Anglican Communion, diocese of Kaduna, Timothy Yahaya has said that life in Nigeria has become nasty, brutish and short, owing to increasing rate of insecurity across the nation.
Bishop Yahaya in an address delivered on Friday at the 3rd session of the 21st Synod of the Anglican church in Kaduna called for overhauling of the security architecture as part of measures to safeguard lives of the people. He lamented that a situation where citizens die carelessly on daily basis due to insecurity calls for additional and renewed efforts by government to ensure normal life in the country.
“Insecurity in Nigeria has reached an alarming dimension that not only needs an emergency stakeholders approach but needs a total overhaul of our security architecture. Life in Nigeria has become nasty, brutish and short.
“Today, it is either Boko Haram, gunmen, banditry, kidnapping, yahoo boys, or herdsmen. Life has become very cheap in our country. Only a single American George Floyd died and the whole world was and is still shaking.
“In our case, citizens die needlessly on a daily basis and life moves on as if it is normal. Synod calls on government whose primary responsibility it is to safe guard life and property to do more. Synod salute our gallant armed forces for standing and fighting for Nigeria, Synod pay her respect to those who had paid the supreme price and call on government to take care of their families”, Bishop Yahaya said.
FG protests US, UK visa ban [SUN]
The Federal Government, has told the United States and the United Kingdom that the country has ample provisions in its laws to sanction violators and perpetrators of electoral violence and fraud in the country.
The government said it took note of the concerns of some of its partners, specifically the United States and the United Kingdom governments regarding the elections in Edo and Ondo States.
The government also noted that both countries expressed their intention to take punitive measures against those they decide will be involved in what they termed as ‘undermining democracy.’
The government stated this, following the visa imposition by the United States Government on election offenders during the November, 2019 elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States, its threat on the Edo and Ondo elections and the decision of the Government of the United Kingdom to apply same sanctions.
The Federal Government, in a statement issued by the Spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ferdinand Nwonye, further said it would be considered disrespectful of the sovereignty of Nigeria for any outside authority to sit in judgment over the conduct of its citizens and apply punitive measures such as visa restriction, unilaterally.
The government however said it appreciated the support and encouragement of its international partners such as the EU, but urged its equally valued partners such as the UK and US to cooperate with its relevant agencies by providing them whatever concrete evidence of observed misconduct to allow its laws and regulations to take their course.
“It is important to highlight that the responsibility for the conduct of elections in Nigeria solely resides with the Independent National Electoral Commission and State Independent Electoral Commissions. The Federal Government, and especially the President, is committed to providing all necessary logistic, financial and security support to the electoral process.
“The President has continually urged all parties and contestants to peacefully conduct themselves before, during and after the elections, and supported patriotic non-governmental initiatives such as the Abdusalami Abubakar Peace Committee.
“Furthermore, it should be noted that there are ample provisions in our laws to sanction violators and perpetrators of electoral violence and fraud. It would be considered disrespectful of the sovereignty of Nigeria for any outside authority to sit in judgment over the conduct of our citizens and apply punitive measures such as visa restriction, unilaterally.
“While we appreciate the support and encouragement of our international partners such as the EU, we urge our equally valued partners such as the UK and US to cooperate with our relevant agencies by providing them whatever concrete evidence of observed misconduct to allow our laws and regulations to take their course,” the government said.
The government also expressed solidarity with the government and people of the United States of America as regards their forthcoming election, which it said, hoped will be free from interference and violence.