Archive for July, 2017

Angel Tee wins two international awards in two months

20424151_2056494387710031_4722059369268517898_oDublin based Nigerian singer, Angel Tee was among the winners of the maiden edition of the recently held in UK. Angel Tee who recently released a chart topping single, ‘Heartbreaking’ had earlier in far away Barcelona, Spain beaten other nominees to take home the ultimate award for best international female artist.

She dedicated the award to her fans all over the world.20451794_2057014894324647_6965520191333615211_o

Congratulations Angel Tee, more awards in your cabinet and more money in your account. @angeltee6

Republicans investigates Hilary Clinton over election conspiracy

 Democrat Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election to President Donald Trump, but some Republicans in Congress are intensifying their calls to investigate her and other Obama administration officials.

As investigations into Russian meddling and possible links to Trump’s campaign have escalated on both sides of the Capitol, some Republicans argue that the investigations should have a greater focus on Democrats.

Democrats who have pushed the election probes “have started a war of investigative attrition,” said GOP Rep. Steve King of Iowa, a member of the House Judiciary Committee.

Several officials from former President Barack Obama’s administration and Clinton’s campaign have appeared before or been interviewed by the House and Senate Intelligence Committees as part of the Russia investigation, along with Trump campaign officials. The GOP-led committees are investigating whether Trump’s campaign had any links to Russian interference in last year’s election.

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., has continued a separate investigation into whether Obama administration officials inappropriately made requests to “unmask” identities of Trump campaign officials in intelligence reports.

The House Judiciary Committee, which has declined to investigate the Russian meddling, approved a resolution this past week to request documents related to the FBI’s now-closed investigation of Clinton’s emails. In addition, Republican on that committee wrote the Justice Department on Thursday and asked for a second special counsel, in addition to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, to investigate “unaddressed matters, some connected to the 2016 election and others, including many actions taken by Obama administration.”

“The American public has a right to know the facts — all of them — surrounding the election and its aftermath,” the lawmakers wrote.

Republicans want to investigate the unmasking issue and also Clinton’s email scandal that figured prominently in the campaign. They also frequently bring up former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony that she told him to call the Clinton email investigation a “matter” instead of an investigation during the campaign.

Nunes wrote his own letter to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats last week, saying that his committee has learned that one Obama administration official had made “hundreds” of the unmasking requests.

Even though he remains committee chairman, Nunes stepped back from the Russia investigation earlier this year after he was criticized for being too close to the White House. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, took over the leading role.

The committee has conducted bipartisan interviews of witnesses; Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner appeared on Tuesday, a day after talking to Senate staff. But partisan tensions have been evident.

GOP Rep. Pete King of New York, who’s on the House Intelligence Committee, said after the Kushner interview that the committee investigation into Russian meddling is a “sham.”

“To me there is nothing to this from the beginning,” he said of his committee’s own probe. “There is no collusion … it’s the phoniest investigation ever.”

Both the Senate and House committees have interviewed or expressed interest in interviewing a series of Democratic witnesses, including Obama’s former national security adviser, Susan Rice, and former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power — both of whom Republicans have said may be linked to the unmasking. Rice met with staff on the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this month, and Power met with the panel Friday.

“Ambassador Power strongly supports any bipartisan effort to address the serious threat to our national security posed by Russia’s interference in our electoral process, and is eager to engage with the Senate and House committees on the timeline they have requested,” Power’s lawyer, David Pressman, said in a statement.

Cut down your embassy staff, Russia tells U.S

Putin calls for expulsion of 755 U.S. diplomatsRussian President Vladimir Putin said Sunday the United States would have to cut its embassy and consulate staff in Russia by 755, heightening tensions between Washington and Moscow three days after the U.S. Congress approved sanctions against Russia.

In response, the U.S. State Department deemed it “a regrettable and uncalled for act.”

Russian’s Foreign Ministry on Friday ordered a reduction by Sept. 1 in the number of U.S. diplomatic personnel in Russia. It said it is ordering the U.S. Embassy to limit the number of embassy and consular employees in the country to 455 in response to approval of the new package of American sanctions. The White House has said U.S. President Donald Trump would sign those sanctions into law.

The legislation, which also targets Iran and North Korea, seeks to punish Moscow for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and for its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria.

“We had hoped that the situation will somehow change, but apparently if it changes, it won’t be soon,” Putin said in an interview televised on Rossiya 1, explaining why Moscow decided to retaliate. “I thought it was the time to show that we’re not going to leave it without an answer.”

Russia is open to cooperating with the U.S. on various issues, including terrorism and cybercrime, but instead it “only hears unfounded accusations of meddling in U.S. domestic affairs,” he said.

Putin said more than 1,000 people are currently employed at the Moscow embassy and three U.S. consulates in Russia. They include both Americans and Russians hired to work in the diplomatic offices.

The Russian leader did not explain how the figure of 755 positions was calculated.

In a statement, the State Department said: “This is a regrettable and uncalled for act. We are assessing the impact of such a limitation and how we will respond to it. We have no further comment at this time.”

The State Department declined to give an exact number of American diplomats or other U.S. officials in Russia, but the figure is believed to be about 400, some of whom have families accompanying them on diplomatic passports.

The vast majority of the more than 1,000 employees at the various US diplomatic missions in Russia, including the embassy in Moscow and consulates in St. Petersburg, Vladivostok and Yekaterinburg, are local employees.

Asked about the potential for additional sanctions against Washington, Putin described the reduction in diplomatic staff as “painful” and said he currently opposes further measures.

“We certainly have something to respond with and restrict those areas of joint cooperation that will be painful for the American side, but I don’t think we need to do it,” he said, adding that such steps could also harm Russian interests.

Putin mentioned space and energy as the main areas where Russia and the United States have successfully pursued projects together.

Along with the cap on the size of the U.S. diplomatic corps in Russia, the Russian foreign ministry on Friday said it also was closing down a U.S. recreational retreat on the outskirts of Moscow as well as warehouse facilities.

The diplomatic tit-for-tat started under former U.S. President Barack Obama. In response to reports of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, Obama ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and shut down two Russian recreational retreats in the U.S.

Securiy tension as Badoo kills another 4 in Ikorodu

Suspected members of the dreaded Badoo boys struck, yesterday, at Oke-Ota area of Ikorodu, Lagos, leaving four members of a family dead, with a fifth member undergoing treatment at an undisclosed hospital.

However, the cult group has devised a new method of onslaught, as they no longer leave their weapon of murder at the scene of crime.

Nobody could say the exact time the incident occurred. But residents were said to have been attracted by the victims’ damaged window through which the assailants gained entrance. On close inspection, members of the family were found in pools of their blood.

Confirming the incident, Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Olarinde Famous-Cole, said: “The incident was reported in the early hours of Sunday (yesterday), where Police operatives of the Lagos State Command responded to a distress call at Oke Ota, Ibeshe, Ikorodu area of Lagos State.

“Mobilising to the scene, the Police operatives found it extremely difficult to locate the house, which was situated in a thick forest where it is remotely impossible for anybody to identify a dwelling house.

“On arrival at the scene on foot, the house where a family of five was attacked, was a room and parlour apartment with an opened window. There was no visible form of security.

“It was reported that three died on the spot, one died while receiving treatment at the hospital and the last member is alive and responding to treatment.

“No visible trace of violence or clues linked to the cult group was found. No stone was found at the scene. A case of murder is being investigated by Police detectives, which doesn’t fit into the normal method of the group’s operation.

“The Lagos State Police Command is using this opportunity to call on LCDA, CDA chairmen, traditional rulers, who may be aware of residents staying in isolated areas, which are no longer safe, to report/identify with the Police in order to stop people from dwelling in insecure areas without proper social structures.

“The Command also wishes to inform members of the public to come forward with useful information that will aid the Police and should not resort to jungle justice while investigation is ongoing, so as not to jeopardise investigation that may lead to the arrest of the alleged suspects who are on the Command’s watch list.”

Biafra is not possible, Orji Uzor Kalu tells agitators

Former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu has said that the agitation for Biafra country by the Igbos cannot be made possible now, calling on the Igbo to rather channeled their energy for Igbo to become President of Nigeria.

Kalu said rather than despite energy for secession they should up their political ante and play politics of inclusion which can earn the Igbo the nation’s president sooner.He also take a swipe on Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti state over his comment in a recent interview that he (Kalu) was misleading the Igbo to embrace the All Progressive Congress, and also on his (Fayose) comments on President Muhammed Buhari.

Dr. Kalu made this statement in Lokoja on Saturday while delivering a lecture at an Igbo gathering for the inauguration of Igbo Support Group for Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, which he titled: “Mainstreaming Igbo in Nigeria Politics”.

He said, “We must fix Nigeria to work for all inclusive of all aspiration of all. We (Igbo) have made progress but it is not yet Uhuru for us. This is not the time to pop champagne but a time for conscious reflection on the road we have passed, where we are and where we intend to be in the years ahead.

“As Igbos, we must stop listening to people who says Biafra is possible. If we want Biafra we must first ensure that referendum is included in the constitutional review.

“Nigeria should be thinking of annexing other Africa country rather than dividing it. China is 2 billion and not talking about secession. But Nigeria with less than 200 million populace is talking secession.”

On the recent quit notice giving to Igbo by the Arewa youth, Kalu said, “Recently, we have witnessed a rise in ethnic activism. A lot of people have expressed fears that Nigeria may be coming to an end. Well in politics, you have to entertain all manner of fears while working on possibilities. However, because of that fears, we have seen a ‘quit notice’ order from some northern youth groups. I will focus on the possibilities. And the first is that a United Nigeria is an easier possibility than a balkanized country. I see a more united country rising from the ashes of hate and fear.

“However, the issues raised have causes some to wonder if the Igbo have leaders. Of course, Igbo’s leaders are talking and dialoguing. In politics, you often dialogue more than you talk. So in managing a diverse country like Nigeria, you need to dialogue and communicate rightly. That way you will be able to manage tension. In this regard, I want to specially thank the leadership of Ohaneze Ndigbo led by Chief John Nnia Nwodo for the matured way they handle the quit notice.

“People are naturally attached to their religion, customs, and tradition. People take offence at the abuse of their religion, customs and tradition. This is because any such abuse is considered an affront. I am not sure of any Igbo man who will like a non-Igbo resident in his village transgressing the custom of his people. If you will not like that, don’t do it to another person. That is the golden rule. If you do just that, the source of friction and trouble will be defeated.

“I believe the Igbo are in a better position to understand that all politics, like they say, is local. It therefore suggest that the Igbo must see the need to align properly and seek strategic partnership of other interest groups and political blocs to achieve whatever developmental ideas that they have; such as the shoot for the presidency.

“In politics, you market yourself and make yourself a strategic ally. It is when you achieve this that you put your cards on the table. If the Igbo work themselves into a very strategic political partner, while not putting their eggs into one basket, we can then put the cards on the table before our partners to determine what we get for and what they get from us. We cannot however do that when we remain antagonistic to one another. We cannot achieve it when we scare everyone away with hate. We cannot achieve it if we think its Igbo and Igbo alone. We must build necessary networks. We must build alliances across political divide. This are very important so that our own stories can be told and heard too. If we don’t build such alliances, we may not be able to market our demands.”

On Governor Ayodele Fayose, he said, “I call on my friend, Governor Ayodele Fayose to focus his criticism of President Muhammed Buhari on his performance rather than his health or family issues. When I was a governor I was at logger head with former president Olusegun Obasanjo but it was purely on government activities. I never went personal. Fayose should take a cue too.

“His (Fayose) recent interview in the Interview Magazine where he said I was deceiving the Igbo’s into joining APC is uncalled for. I’m taking the Igbo to the central stage of politics and decision taking. I was a founder of PDP, if PDP were to be a company, I would own 90 percent. PDP Balkanized Nigeria. PDP cannot come back to power. So I advised Fayose to stop hate speeches. It is distractive, bad, not brotherly and against the spirit of brotherhood. We must not allow our country just like the Rwanda genocide to thread the path of hate speeches.”

He however concluded that Igbo can no longer be ignore in the politics of Nigeria, just that the Igbo has not seen themselves so, “Igbo can no longer be ignored or shove aside. If Igbo stop paying taxes in Lagos, the IGR of Lagos will drop by 60 percent, because 70 percent of manufacturing and commercial activities in Lagos is owned or control by Igbo. Igbo must find a new political discourse, show interest in how in the past their areas were developed on personal contributions without federal or state interest.”

Ben Murray Bruce blasts Yakassai over comments against Atiku on Restructuring

The Senator representing Bayelsa East in the National Assembly, Ben Murray Bruce, has reacted to the statements attributed to elder statesman, Tanko Yakassai, in which he criticised former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar’s call for Nigeria’s restructuring.

According to Murray-Bruce, Yakassai failed to comprehend the visionary ideas detailed by Abubakar who had said that Nigeria could be restructured in six months if the necessary political will was exercised.

Abubakar, while speaking at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) in a lecture series organized by the Senior Staff Club of the University, stated that Nigeria failed to realize her potentials as a result of refusal of the political leaders to restructure the country. 

However, Yakassai in lampooning Abubakar’s views said: “I thought, as a politician that he (Atiku) is, that he has read our constitution from A-Z before suggesting that we can restructure in six months.

Murray-Bruce further said that when a nation has the political will to restructure, she can achieve it in one day or at least begin the process, since only an Executive Order was needed to transfer key institutions from the federal to the states governments.

He added that even areas in the process of restructuring the country that required constitutional amendments could be fulfilled within six months as disclosed by Atiku Abubakar.

To buttress his point, the Senator alluded to how the National Assembly resolved the imbroglio the nation faced when late President Musa Yar’Adua was away on medical vacation for too long, stressing that it only took a day the National Assembly to come up with the Doctrine of Necessity in 2010.

Murray-Bruce said on Sunday morning: “I have just read Alhaji Tanko Yakassai’s criticism of former Vice President, Waziri Atiku Abubakar’s stance on restructuring and it is quite clear that Alhaji Yakassai failed to comprehend the visionary ideas and details that the former Vice President introduced into the restructuring debate at his speech at the University of Nigeria, Nsuka on July 19, 2017.

“I am a member of the National Assembly and participated fully in the budget process and I must say that Alhaji Yakassai is wrong to tie restructuring to just one budget cycle.

“Waziri Atiku Abubakar’s ideas on restructuring specifies how he would do away with quota systems by increasing Nigeria’s educational capacity through the return of seized schools back to the missions and handing over federal universities back to the states while more resources will be devolved from the Federal Government to the States and LGAs to enable them build more primary and secondary schools.

“You do not need a budget to transfer schools from the Federal Government to the state government. You only need an Executive Order. I am rather surprised that Alhaji Yakassai does not know this.

“Why would anyone be against such a plan that would not require a constitutional amendment and will almost immediately take care of the over 12 million children out of the formal education system in Northern Nigeria? This number is twice the population of Togo, our next door neighbor. Is Alhaji Yakassai, as a Northern elder, satisfied with this situation? Shouldn’t he rather applaud Waziri Atiku Abubakar for wanting to fix this problem?

“And even in those areas that require constitutional amendments, Waziri Atiku Abubakar is right to say that Nigeria can restructure within six months.

“Let me ask Alhaji Yakassai how long it took the National Assembly to come up with the Doctrine of Necessity in 2010? It only took a day. When a nation has the political will to restructure she can achieve it in one day or at least begin the process!

“Northern elders like Alhaji Yakassai should celebrate Waziri Atiku Abubakar who has shown that True Federalism can work. He employs more people in Adamawa state than the Adamawa state government proving that you do not need oil to survive as a state government in the process.

“Finally, let me add that at that event at the University of Nigeria Waziri Atiku Abubakar, predicted that the automobile industry will be moving away from diesel and petrol powered cars in favour of electric and alternative energy powered cars. This, he stated, was one of the reasons why Nigeria must restructure now or risk being bypassed by the global economy.

“Of course he was criticized and painted as crying wolf by the likes of Alhaji Tanko Yakassai , yet only 8 days after he gave this warning, Atiku was vindicated by the news from the UK which was reported in ThisDay’s front page on Thursday July 27, 2017 with the headline: ‘Doom for Nigeria, Britain Moves to Ban Petrol, Diesel Cars by 2040’.

“This again serves as a warning to Nigeria to heed the warnings of patriots like Waziri Atiku Abubakar and others like him, that while we still have a few good years of income from oil we need to urgently diversify our economy which will only be possible if we embrace restructuring.”

Trump threatens to end insurance payments if no healthcare bill

 Image resultU.S. President Donald Trump threatened on Saturday to end government payments to health insurers if Congress does not pass a new healthcare bill and goaded them to not abandon their seven-year quest to replace the Obamacare law.

In a Twitter message on Saturday, Trump said “if a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!”

The tweet came a day after Senate Republicans failed to muster enough votes to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare bill commonly known as Obamacare.

The first part of Trump’s tweet appeared to be referring to the approximately $8 billion in cost-sharing reduction subsidies the federal government pays to insurers to lower the price of health coverage for low-income Americans.

The second part appeared to be a threat to end the employer contribution for Congress members and their staffs, who were moved from the normal federal employee healthcare benefits program onto the Obamacare insurance exchanges as part of the 2010 healthcare law.

Trump has previously threatened to suspend the payments to insurers, which are determined by the Department of Health and Human Services. In April, he threatened to end the payments if Democrats refused to negotiate over the healthcare bill.

Responding to Saturday’s tweet, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said that if the president carried out that threat, “every expert agrees that (insurance) premiums will go up and health care will be more expensive for millions of Americans.”

“The president ought to stop playing politics with people’s lives and health care, start leading and finally begin acting presidential,” Schumer said in a statement.

Trump later urged Senate Republicans to try again on a healthcare vote. The Senate is in session for another week before it is scheduled to begin an August recess.

“Unless the Republican Senators are total quitters, Repeal & Replace is not dead! Demand another vote before voting on any other bill!” Trump said in a subsequent tweet.

Many insurers have been waiting for an answer from Trump or lawmakers on whether they will continue to fund the annual government subsidies. Without assurances, many plan to raise rates an additional 20 percent by an Aug. 16 deadline for premium prices.

With Republican efforts to dismantle Obamacare in disarray, hundreds of U.S. counties are at risk of losing access to private health coverage in 2018 as insurers consider pulling out of those markets.

   In response, Trump on Friday again suggested his administration would let the Obamacare program “implode.” He has weakened enforcement of the law’s requirement for individuals to buy insurance, threatened to cut off funding and sought to change plan benefits through regulations.

Meanwhile, some congressional Republicans were still trying to find a way forward on healthcare.

Senator Lindsey Graham said in a statement issued late on Friday that he and two other Republican senators, Dean Heller and Bill Cassidy, had met with Trump after the defeat to discuss Graham’s proposal to take tax money raised by Obamacare and send it back to the states in the form of healthcare block grants.

Graham said the move would end Democrats’ drive for a national single-payer healthcare system by putting states in charge.

“President Trump was optimistic about the Graham-Cassidy-Heller proposal,” Graham added. “I will continue to work with President Trump and his team to move the idea forward.”

However, a majority of Americans are ready to move on from healthcare at this point. According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Saturday, 64 percent of 1,136 people surveyed on Friday and Saturday said they wanted to keep Obamacare, either “entirely as is” or after fixing “problem areas.

When asked what they think Congress should do next, most picked other priorities such as tax reform, foreign relations and infrastructure. Only 29 percent said they wanted Republicans in Congress to “continue working on a new healthcare bill.”

Asked what they think Congress should do next, most respondents picked other priorities such as tax reform, foreign relations and infrastructure. Only 29 percent said they wanted Republicans in Congress to “continue working on a new healthcare bill.”

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