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Acting President Osinbajo extols Maitama Sule’s virtues

Nigeria’s Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, says the late Dr. Yusuf Maitama Sule, was a patriotic Nigerian who never wavered in his belief in the unity and stability of Nigeria.Prof. Osinbajo stated this in his tribute to the late elder states…

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Watchdog Says Chinese Town Is Major Ivory Smuggling Hub

HONG KONG � An environmental watchdog group says its investigation has found that a little-known town in southern China is a major hub for ivory smuggling by organized criminal gangs.

The Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Investigation Agency said in a report Tuesday that it uncovered a network of ivory trafficking syndicates operating out of Shuidong in Guangdong province, near Hong Kong.

The group says its investigators worked undercover posing as buyers to win the trust of a smuggling group and tracked one of its shipments from Mozambique.

Syndicate members told the EIA theirs was just one of 10 to 20 ivory trafficking groups operating out of Shuidong, the group said.

They claimed that 80 percent of all poached ivory smuggled from Africa to China passes through the town – a startling figure that’s impossible to corroborate.

China has taken steps to curb the demand for ivory that wildlife groups say fuels the mass slaughter of tens of thousands of elephants in Africa every year. It started shutting down ivory carving factories in March and is planning to ban all domestic retail sales by the end of the year. Hong Kong, a major transshipment hub for illicit wildlife trading, is preparing to ban local ivory sales by 2021.

The EIA said Beijing needs to follow up its policies with enforcement, though its decision to close down its domestic ivory market was “admirable.”

“What EIA discovered in Shuidong, however, clearly shows transnational criminal networks are operating with near-total impunity,” said Mary Rice, the group’s executive director. “It is vital that enforcement agencies in Africa and China put these criminals out of business immediately.”

The group said it shared its findings with the “relevant enforcement authorities.” Local government officials said they weren’t aware of the report while police in Maoming city, which includes Shuidong, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The EIA investigators encountered the Shuidong syndicate members last year in Mozambique, which has become more popular with Chinese smugglers after neighboring Tanzania cracked down. Shuidong emerged as an ivory trading hub thanks to its role as a center for the sea cucumber trade, the report said. As China grew wealthier over the past few decades, Shuidong traders fanned out to Africa to feed growing demand for the delicacy. They were well placed to move into the illegal ivory trade when demand in China soared starting in the late 1990s.

The EIA’s report said three Shuidong syndicate members revealed details and methods about their operation to smuggle more than two metric tons of ivory from Mozambique’s Pemba port to Shuidong by sea via Busan, South Korea.

They bribed customs officials and shipping agents along every step of the shipment’s journey, it said.

The EIA said the syndicate has now moved on to Nigeria because “yellow ivory” from forest elephants native to West and Central Africa was becoming more profitable than “white ivory” from East Africa’s savannah elephants.

Source: Voice of America

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9 Killed in Suspected Boko Haram Militants Attack in Niger

Officials in Niger say suspected Boko Haram militants have killed nine people and abducted dozens more in an attack on a southern town.

Local officials said Monday that the gunmen came into the village of Ngalewa, near the country’s border with Nigeria, on camels and horses. They said the militants took around 30-40 people, mostly women and children, late Sunday and threatened to hold them until other extremists are released from prison.

The town is near the city of Diffa, where another attack took place on Wednesday, also blamed on Boko Haram militants. In that incident, two suicide bombers blew themselves up in a refugee camp in the town, killing two other people and injuring 11.

Boko Haram’s insurgency began in northeastern Nigeria in 2009, but has since spread to Chad, Cameroon and Niger. The insurgency has claimed 20,000 lives and displaced more than two million people. Boko Haram says it is fighting to create an Islamic state in northeast Nigeria.

Nigeria’s army, with the help of troops from neighboring countries, has pushed the militant group out of a large tract of land � about the size of Belgium � which the militants had controlled until early 2015.

However, suicide bombings and gun raids in mostly busy public areas, such as mosques and markets, have continued in northeast Nigeria and neighboring Cameroon and Niger.

Source: Voice of America

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Committee nullifies 4 sports federation presidential elections

The Nigeria national sports federation’s elections petitions/appeal committee has nullified the election of Athletics Federation of Nigeria AFN and three other national sports federations.

The committee is headed by chairman Abulrasaq Salau, with Mr. Tunde Popoola, Mallam Tunde Kazeem , Mr. Aminu Kasimu Idris, Mr. Emmanuel Zira, Col. Emeritus Mahraja, and Mamudu, as members as well as Danjuma A. Muhammad who served as committee Secretary.

A total of 21 petitions were received by the committee from National Sports Federations.

Brown Ebewele petitioned the committee challenging his disqualification as the Technical Representative on the board of Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN).

The Committee therefore reinstated him as the representative of coaches/technical association to the board of AFN.

In the case of Charles Musa Yayock who alleged that he was disqualified on the day of the election as representative of the North West Zone without valid reason, the committee decided that the petitioner was wrongly disqualified at the zonal level and nullifies the election of Alhaji Gusau who was elected as AFN president and ordered a fresh election to be held at both the Zonal and National level.

Ms. Rosa Collins petitioned the committee and said she was disqualified and no reason was given after she won the NAWIS election at the constituency. The committee therefore upheld the election of Rosa Collins and nullified the election of the President of the AFN Board and also ordered a fresh election for the president of AFN Board.

And on the election of the Nigerian Cricket Federation, the committee said it found no reason to nullify the results of the election as conducted by the electoral committee and therefore upheld the election of Mr. Aimola Oludare and other candidates as duly elected.

Petitioner Ifeanyi Udeh, a delegate and participant at the Gymnastic Federation of Nigeria election noted the anomalies that took place during the conduct of the election for the post of the president and vice president.

But the Appeal Committee adjudged the petition as not valid and was dismissed.

The 3 man Electoral Committee in the Gymnastic Board wrote a formal report to the Appeal Committee highlighting the irregularities in the election conducted into the various positions.

The committee therefore nullified all the elections conducted in respect of the Gymnastic Federation of Nigeria both at the zonal, vice presidential and presidential levels and ordered fresh elections to be conducted.

Mark Jacob who contested under the Nigerian Handball Federation petitioned the committee alleging that he was improperly excluded as Ex-officio/sponsor/philanthropist by the electoral committee from participating in the vice presidential and presidential elections but the Appeal Committee adjudged the petition as not valid because and dismissed.

In the Nigeria Judo Federation, Musa Oshodi and 26 others petitioned the committee on the zonal election of the south � west zone which went into 4 rounds and the vice presidential and presidential elections were inconclusive.

The Committee therefore decided that arrangement should be made to conclude the South West Zonal election and the election for the Vice President and President is upheld having been smoothly conducted and concluded.

Bala Usman who contested under the Nigeria Kick Boxing Federation, petitioned the committee contesting the conduct and result of the election of board members in the kick boxing federation alleging that disqualified candidates were allowed to contest and results of election was falsified.

The Appeal Committee in its decision adjudged the petition as not valid and the petition was dismissed.

George Ashiru, a candidate who contested in the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation petitioned the committee over his nomination as ex-officio member asking the seven man body to look into the reason the he was told that his name was not on the list by The Chairman of the electoral committee at the presidential Election.

The Committee decided that the petitioners’ name was wrongly substituted, and consequently nullified the presidential election and directed that fresh election be held and reinstate Mr. George Ashiru as the Ex-officio/philanthropist/sponsor on the Board of the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation.

The committee also nullified South West zonal election and ordered a fresh one.

And in the Nigeria Weight Lifting Federation, Osun State Sports Council wrote to the Ministry renouncing the nomination of Mr. Loius Okoro as representative of the State of Osun. The Committee noted the complaints of the Osun State Sports Council but upheld the election of Mr. Louis Okoro as South �West zonal representative on the Board

Tonobok Okowa’s petition over the result of the vice president and president election in the Nigeria Weightlifting Federation as a result of irregularities resulted in the nullification of the election and a fresh to be conducted on the above mentioned positions.

Source: Voice of Nigeria

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Nigeria remains resolute in anti-corruption fight

The Nigerian government will remain resolute in its fight against corruption in spite of the daunting challenges.Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo said this in Lagos at the 5th Annual Christopher Kolade Lecture on Business Integrity entitled: ‘…

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Kano state to establish more trade corridors

The Kano State Government has said it would set up additional trade corridors to ease business activities in the state.?The state Commissioner for Commerce, Alhaji Rabiu Bako, said this at the opening of a one-day workshop on ECOWAS Trade Liberation Sc…

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Nigerian Navy strengthens operations in Niger Delta

Poised to strengthen its operations in the Niger Delta region, a new Flag Officer Commanding the Eastern Naval Command has taken over the mantle of leadership.He is Rear Admiral Victor Olugbemi Adedipe, the immediate past Deputy Commandant of the Armed…

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Bayelsa State injects N1bn into basic education

The Bayelsa State Government has approved one billion naira to enhance development of its basic education sector in rural communities.Governor Seriake Dickson, who noted that his administration resolved to release the fund, said another one billion was…