Buhari travels to Saudi Arabia on official visit

President Muhammadu Buhari will on Tuesday depart Abuja for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for an eight-day official visit.

Buhari, who would be accompanied by his aides on the journey, will also be performing the Lesser Hajj Pilgrimage, also known as the Umrah, while in Saudi Arabia.

A statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, on Monday, acknowledged that the journey would his last to the Kingdom as Nigeria’s President.

“President Muhammadu Buhari will travel to Saudi Arabia on official visit from Tuesday, April 11th to 19th on his last trip to the Kingdom as President, during which he will perform Umrah, the Lesser Pilgrimage.

The president is expected back in the country before the celebration of Edil-fitr.

Tension as pressure mounts on APC to throw Speakership race open

Tension looms among members of the House of Representatives over seemingly pressure on the leadership of the party to throw election of the Speakership position open. 

At the last count, about nine members of the House, cutting across four geo-political zones, have directly or indirectly indicated interest in the position, The Nation reports.

They are Deputy Speaker Ahmed Idris Wase (Plateau-North Central); Chairman of the House Committee on Navy, Yusuf Adamu Gagdi (Plateau-North Central); Chairman House Committee on Disaster Preparedness, Abdulraheem Olawuyi (Kwara-North Central) and Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Aliyu Mukthar Betara (Borno, North East).

Others are Chairman of the House Committee on n Media and Public Affairs, Benjamin Kalu (Abia-South East); Chairman, House Committee on Land Transport, Tajudeen Abbas (Kaduna, North West); Chairman, House Committee on Water Resources, Sada Soli (Katsina-North West); Abubakar Makki Yalleman (Jigawa-North West) and Usman Sani Jaji (Zamfara, North West).

A member-elect from the South West told The Nation that there was pressure on the party leadership to throw the contest open by those he said have deep pocket.

He said: “I can tell you that there is pressure to throw the Speakership race open. If that is done, those with deep pocket will use their money influence to pick the Speakership position.

“But right now, nobody knows what the kind of the party is. They appear to be waiting for the return of the President Elect before announcing the zoning formula for the principal officers of the National Assembly.

So far, there has been no serious contender for the position from the South West because the President and the Speaker cannot come from the same area for the sake of equity and justice.

“But for now, the odd favours either the North Central or the North West in the zoning formula. But don’t forget that the North West is also interested in the position of the Senate President, just like the South East.

“So far, there has been no serious contender for the position from the South West because the President and the Speaker cannot come from the same area for the sake of equity and justice.

“Also, we are aware that Betara who is from the North East and the same state with the Vice President Elect is also interested in the position. But his supporters are of the view that if Osinbajo and Gbajabiamila can come from the same zone, there is no reason why Betara cannot be Speaker”

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According to The Nation, it was also gathered the party is working hard to avoid a repeat of the 2015 episode when Yakubu Dogara emerged Speaker against the choice of Gbajabiamila preferred by the party.

Already, the opposition parties in the House are said to be waiting for a slip by the party to grab one of the presiding officer position in the House by teaming up with one of the candidates interested in the job.

Pending the outcome of the supplementary election scheduled for this weekend, the opposition parties have higher number of members in the House than the APC with 163 members as against APC’s 161 members elect so far.

Tinubu greets ‘progressive’ Adebanjo at 95

The President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has congratulated a leader of the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, on his 95th birthday.

While thanking God for the gift of longevity, the President-elect praised Pa Adebanjo for his contributions to progressive politics and good governance in the country. 

The elder statesman is one of the few remaining disciples of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

Tinubu noted with admiration Adebanjo’s consistency over the years in fighting for good governance and social justice in Nigeria.

The President-elect particularly commended Pa Adebanjo for his leading role in the fight against military dictatorship, his pro-democracy struggles in NADECO and remarkable leadership within the Afenifere fold.

In a statement by his media aide, Tunde Rahman, the President-elect said: “I congratulate Baba Ayo Adebanjo on attaining 95 in good health. Baba is one of the few remaining disciples of our late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

“I wish Baba Adebanjo good health, renewed strength and, above all, continued grace of God.”

Papa Adebanjo has remained consistent in sustaining the ideals of progressive good governance and social justice. 

“I salute his courage over the years and the useful role he has played in ensuring that Nigeria remains a strong, united and prosperous country. 

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“We pray that Almighty Allah grant Baba more years so he can witness the dawn of a new era where the hopes of our people for a better, stronger, more secure and more prosperous Nigeria will not only be renewed but come to full realisation.

“I wish Baba Adebanjo good health, renewed strength and, above all, continued grace of God.”

Viral assault video: Rivers Police CP orders arrest of operatives

The Rivers Commissioner of Police, Okon Effiong, has ordered immediate identification and arrest of policemen in a trending video harassing and assaulting an unidentified man at  Elibrade junction, Emohua Local Government Area. 

Effiong in a statement by the Rivers Police Public Relations Officer, SP Grace Iringe-Koko, assured members of the public that the policemen would be investigated in line with the rules guiding the conduct of police personnel.

He said: “As a defender of human rights, the CP assures members of the public, that the Police Officers will be investigated in line with extant rules underlying the conduct of police personnel; and appropriate sanctions meted accordingly.

“The Command further assures the good people of Rivers State of its unalloyed commitment to promoting the rule of law. People are enjoined to report cases of human rights abuse and infractions.”

PDP lost presidential election due to poor management of party affairs — PDP Chieftain

Sen. Obinna Ogba of the Peoples Democratic Party (Ebonyi Central) said on Sunday that the party deservedly lost the 2023 general elections because of the mismanagement of affairs by its National Working Committee.

Ogba told a news conference at his Nkalagu hometown in Ishielu Local Government Area that the NWC shot itself in the foot by giving the governorship ticket to a “wrong candidate.”

The senator, who lost the party’s governorship ticket after a protracted legal tussle decided by the Supreme Court, cautioned that the NWC should not suspend any member.

“The fact remains that it is the NWC members who deserve to be suspended starting from the national chairman.

“The national chairman lost his polling booth, ward. Local government area and state and the same thing applied to all the conspirators who offered tickets to whoever understood their language,” he said.

Ogba added, however, that there was still hope for the PDP because it is loved by the people.

“What we need is the right leaders to manage the party’s affairs because no party is stronger than the PDP.

“The Labour Party made strides during the elections, especially during the presidential election because it had mainly our former members who felt annoyed at the state of things in the PDP,’’ he said.

He noted that PDP leaders supported the All Progressives Congress governorship candidate for equity and fairness in the state’s power rotation formula.

“Political parties are only avenues to get to various political destinations.

“Leaders of the PDP in Ebonyi made us believe that the northern district should produce the next governor and I am happy that those I supported won their elections,’’ Ogba said.

FULL LIST: UK stops recruiting healthcare workers from Nigeria, 53 others

The government of United Kingdom has placed Nigeria and 53 other countries on the red list of countries that should not be actively targeted for recruitment by health and social care employers in the country.

According to Punch report, the announcement was contained in the revised code of practice for the international recruitment of health and social care personnel in England.

It is recommended that employers, recruitment organisations, agencies, collaborations, and contracting bodies check the red country list for updates before any recruitment drive.

It defined active international recruitment in the code as the process by which UK health and social care employers (including local authorities), contracting bodies, recruitment organisations, agencies, collaborations, and sub-contractors target individuals to market UK employment opportunities, with the intention of recruiting to a role in the UK health or social care sector. It includes both physical or virtual targeting, and whether or not these actions lead to substantive employment, Punch has reported.

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The code of practice applies to the appointment of all international health and social care personnel in the UK, including all permanent, temporary, and locum staff in clinical and non-clinical settings.

This includes but is not limited to allied health professionals, care workers, dentists, doctors, healthcare scientists, medical staff, midwives, nursing staff, residential and domiciliary care workers, social workers, and support staff.

Recall that in 2021, the UK suspended the recruitment of healthcare workers from Nigeria and 46 other countries, noting that the increasing scale of health and social care worker migration from low and lower-middle-income countries threatens the achievement of their nation’s health and social care goals.

The WHO on March 8, 2023, listed Nigeria and other 54 countries as facing the most pressing health workforce challenges related to universal health coverage.

The red and amber country list does not, however, prevent individual health and social care personnel resident in countries on the list from making a direct application to health and social care employers, but rather without being targeted by a third party, such as a recruitment organisation, agency or recruitment collaboration.

The PUNCH earlier reported that there are currently 11,055 Nigerian-trained doctors in the UK, based on statistics obtained from the UK General Medical Council, the government body that maintains the official register of medical practitioners.

Nigeria has the third highest number of foreign doctors working in the UK after India, and Pakistan.

The UK, however, in its revised code of practice said the health and social care organisations in England do not actively recruit from those countries the WHO recognises as having the most pressing health and care workforce-related challenges unless there is a government-to-government agreement to support managed recruitment activities.

The countries placed on the red list of ‘No active recruitment’ in alphabetical order are Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia.

Other countries are Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Federated States of Micronesia, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Samoa, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Republic of Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Brain drain: UK places Nigeria on red list for health workers’ recruitment

The government of United Kingdom has placed Nigeria on the red list of countries that should not be actively targeted for recruitment by health and social care employers in the country.

This is coming one month after the World Health Organisation listed 55 countries, including Nigeria facing the most pressing health workforce challenges related to Universal Health Coverage.

The United Kingdom Government said Nigeria and other countries on the red list should not be actively targeted for recruitment by health and social care employers unless there was a government-to-government agreement, The Punch reported.

According to the information obtained from the website of the UK government titled ‘Code of Practice for the international recruitment of Health and social care personnel in England,’ and reported by Punch, it said country identification follows the methodology contained in the 10-year review of relevance and effectiveness of the WHO global code of practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel.

“Consistent with the WHO Global Code of Practice principles and articles, and as explicitly called for by the WHO Global Code of Practice 10-year review, the listed countries should be prioritised for health personnel development and health system-related support, provided with safeguards that discourage active international recruitment of health personnel.

“Consistent with the WHO Global Code of Practice principles and articles, and as explicitly called for by the WHO Global Code of Practice 10-year review, the listed countries should be prioritised for health personnel development and health system-related support, provided with safeguards that discourage active international recruitment of health personnel.

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“Countries on the list should not be actively targeted for recruitment by health and social care employers, recruitment organisations, agencies, collaborations, or contracting bodies unless there is a government-to-government agreement in place to allow managed recruitment undertaken strictly in compliance with the terms of that agreement.

“Countries on the WHO Health Workforce Support and Safeguards list are graded red in the code. If a government-to-government agreement is put in place between a partner country, which restricts recruiting organisations to the terms of the agreement, the country is added to the amber list.”

It said if a country was not on the red or amber list, then it is green.

The red and amber country list does not, however, prevent individual health and social care personnel resident in countries on the list from making a direct application to health and social care employers, but rather without being targeted by a third party, such as a recruitment organisation, agency or recruitment collaboration.

The amber countries where international recruitment is only permitted in compliance with the terms of the government-to-government agreement are Kenya and Nepal.

It added that active recruitment is permitted from green-graded countries where there is a government-to-government agreement with the UK in place for international health and care workforce recruitment.

“Green-graded countries without a government-to-government agreement with the UK are not published in the code of practice for England.

“The government-to-government agreement may set parameters, implemented by the country of origin, for how UK employers, contracting bodies, recruitment organisations, agencies, and collaborations recruit. These organisations are encouraged to recruit on the terms of the government-to-government agreement.

“The green country list will be updated as new government-to-government agreements are signed with the UK. It is recommended employers, contracting bodies, recruitment organisations, agencies, and collaborations regularly check the list for updates prior to embarking on any recruitment campaign.

“Green-graded countries with a government-to-government agreement for managing international health and care workforce recruitment are India, Malaysia, Philippines, and Sri Lanka,” it added.

Blackmailer records sexual intercourse with ladies, sells nudes in Lagos

A man identified as Bendega has been accused of using his mobile phone, laptop and camera to snap pictures and record videos of him and his female lovers engaging in sexual intercourse without their consent.

It was gathered that Bendega, after perpetrating the crime, was also accused of selling his lovers’ nude videos and pictures and blackmailing them into silence whenever they got to know about his illicit action, Punch Metro reported.

While most of Bendega’s ex-lovers were afraid to speak up on the issue due to stigmatisation, some of the victims shared audio conversations and screenshots of the chats when Bendega threatened them on WhatsApp with Punch Metro correspondent.

One of the victims, who gave her name only as Mokogwu, while demanding justice, said she decided to speak on the matter to prevent other unsuspecting ladies from becoming victims.

She said Bendega was fond of manipulating women only to have sex with him and use a mode of operation she described as an “open blank system” to record the sexual activity or take pictures of his unclad lovers.

She said, “I had an affair with Bendega from October 2020 to September 2021. I met him when he was house hunting; we went through the process together, and I lived with him on and off till our love affair ended.

“I just knew something was up and checked his laptop which he borrowed me for a course and I found out that he was distributing and selling my nudes, and also had folders of several women he had non-consensually filmed, neatly filed and labelled on his laptop.

“I just knew something was up and checked his laptop which he borrowed me for a course and I found out that he was distributing and selling my nudes, and also had folders of several women he had non-consensually filmed, neatly filed and labelled on his laptop.”

“He harassed and stalked me for months after I left him; he sent explicit pictures and videos of myself I never knew existed to try to shut me up.”

Another victim, while sharing her experience on social media, explained that Bendega told her he was using nude pictures and sex videos to cure his addiction to pornography and masturbation.

She wrote, “I found out that he had a collection of nudes. Each folder had a name tag. He said it was his addiction and that he was working on getting better. He made it seems like he needed my help and support and he deleted them to show me that he was trying to be better.

“I never sent any of my nudes before and I found it weird when he asked for them. But he said he enjoyed it and that he preferred I sent them to him rather than him asking. I would try to take it and send it but I would often forget. The first time we had sex, he started to record us.

“He casually placed the laptop on the chair in the hotel room and stepped out. I noticed the red light on the laptop and I closed it. He downplayed it when I confronted him after he came back to the room. I saw on the laptop that he had another recording of another girl he had had sex with.”

However, attempts by our correspondent to get a reaction from Bendega proved abortive as his mobile number had been switched off.

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Also, a text message sent to the number had yet to be responded to as of the time of filing this report.

Reacting to the development, the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Agency, in a post using its Twitter handle, @lagosdsva, said the agency had contacted one of the victims, adding that efforts were on to address the case.

When contacted, the agency’s Executive Secretary, Titilayo Vivour-Adeniyi, who confirmed the case to PUNCH Metro, said the matter had already been presented to the police and would go public once the investigation commenced.

 “We are working with the police. The case has already been presented to the police station. We are in touch with one of the survivors. Once investigation commences, we will do well to inform the public about it,” she said.

When contacted, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Ben Hundeyin, asked our correspondent to send a text message.
However, he was yet to respond to the text message our correspondent sent to his mobile phone as of the time to filing this report.

Mother who beat 4-month-old daughter to death over failed relationship sentenced to life imprisonment in US

A 29 year old Houston Texas woman who beat her four-month-old daughter to death over a failed relationship has been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Tradezsha Trenay Bibbs was found guilty of felony murder for April 16, 2016, killing of 4-month-old Brielle Robinson, and she was sentenced on Monday, April 3, 2023.

Bibbs had previously been found guilty of capital murder, but the judgement was overturned, leading to a new trial for Bibbs, Nigerian Tribune reports.

Authorities were called to the Red Carpet Inn on the Gulf Freeway in 2016, where they discovered Bibbs and Brielle sharing a room.

According to court documents filed at the time and reported by Nigerian Tribune, Bibbs told officials when she heard her daughter crying, she scooped her up by the arms and dropped her on the bed, causing the child to fall to the floor. She continued hitting her kid until she stopped sobbing in the face, chest, ribs, and legs.

Later, Brielle was sent to Texas Children’s Hospital, where medical staff discovered that she had sustained significant brain trauma and several fractures.

Bibbs initially told officials that Brielle had slipped from her car seat to the concrete but later admitted fabricating the story.

“Bibbs deserved a life sentence for what she did to her child,” Forcht said. “She beat her countless times and seemed to care about as much about the death of her daughter.”

She told police that a few hours after checking into the motel with the baby, she stopped caring about the child’s welfare and frequently dropped and “popped” the youngster in the face.

When the infant stopped wailing, Bibbs allegedly repeatedly hit her in the ribs and chest before dialing 911 when her breathing ceased.

According to Keaton Forcht, an assistant district attorney, Bibbs killed her daughter because the father of the child no longer desired a relationship with the mother.

During the week-long trial, jurors heard evidence that emergency-room doctors said Bibbs did not seem interested in the baby’s medical care or the consequences for the fatal head injury she inflicted.

“Bibbs deserved a life sentence for what she did to her child,” Forcht said. “She beat her countless times and seemed to care about as much about the death of her daughter.”

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