Monday, 27 June 2016

Why we re-opened Silverbird, Rhythm FM – AMCON

A day after they were sealed by Nigerian officials for loan default, some subsidiaries of Silverbird Group reopened for business on Friday afternoon, with apologies to their “viewers, listeners and online subscribers.”

The Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, has now explained why that happened. You recall on Thursday, they had effected a court order to take possession of Silverbird Galleria Limited, Silverbird Promotions Limited, and Silverbird Showtime Limited which are part of the media group owned by businessman and politician, Ben Murray-Bruce, and his family.

The takeover was necessitated by an alleged failure of the three companies to repay about N11 billion
credit they obtained from Union Bank of Nigeria.

AMCON, a federal government-backed agency established to manage delinquent loans of big firms and individuals, said it had purchased all the debts as part of a bailout deal it reached with Union Bank when it was in distress.

The three businesses, with offices in Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt, were emblazoned with red caveats that informed the general public that they had been taken over by the government.

In his reaction to the takeover, Mr. Murray-Bruce said his businesses are going through “tough times.” He sued for calm, saying,
“The situation is being resolved and things will be back to normal.”
That much came to pass on Friday, at least in operational context, when Silverbird Television and Rhythm FM, two of the many subsidiaries of the group, announced their return to air.
“The Management of Silverbird Communications Ltd., owners of Rhythm FM and Silverbird TV sincerely apologise (sic) to its numerous viewers, listeners and online subscribers over the disruption of our operations across television, radio and online media.
“This was due to a situation beyond our control. However, we are pleased to inform you that we are back on air on radio, television and on our online platform,” Rhythm 93.7 FM, based in Lagos, said in a statement posted on its Facebook page Friday afternoon.
“We thank you for your patience and understanding at this time.”
PREMIUM TIMES also confirmed that the stations were back on air in and around Lagos on Friday evening.

But Mr. Murray-Bruce and his brothers would not be in charge of running the businesses, said Kunle Adegoke, an attorney working with Muiz Banire, the debt recovery manager overseeing the takeover.

Mr. Adegoke told PREMIUM TIMES on Friday evening that the reopening of the businesses should not come as a surprise to Nigerians. He said they were only repossessed by the authorities but not liquidated.

The lawyer said AMCON would continue to superintend the affairs of the businesses in order to make them more effective and profitable, but added that Mr. Murray-Bruce and his brothers would be carried along in the day-to-day running of the businesses.
“That is true. The purpose of receivership is to ensure the businesses are run consistently and to recover the loan that is outstanding against the three companies,” Mr. Adegoke said. “So, it is to that effect that we directed this afternoon that they should reopen the businesses.”
“That the receiver has taken over the finances of the organisation together with the administrative office. The purpose being that if the essence is to recover the money that is outstanding against these companies, then also the receivables that would come from the businesses should be the fundamental target pursuant to the order of the court.
“So we have directed that the television should go back on air and the radio.
“The essence is not to kill the business but to make it profitable. So that is the situation right now. What we have decided as the receivers is to ensure that the existing management would have to work with us to ensure that things are perfectly run,” Mr. Adegoke said.
Mr. Murray-Bruce’s businesses are only a few of many companies that AMCON has taken over or is in the process of taken over because they defaulted on their loan obligations.

The Bayelsa Senator, however, said he did no wrong in defaulting on his loans.
“There is no shame in taking loan,” he said in a Twitter session.”If I didn’t take loans, I wouldn’t be able to employ 1000 Nigerians.”
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Photo - Man shares story of how he was beaten up while trying to help some girls from being assaulted

The man (Themarvincohen) shared the story and photo on Instagram 
 "Last week Thursday I went out to #Cantare @montecasino to celebrate one of my boys birthdays. Lots of fun was had. Good times. All good things obviously need to come to an end and I was leaving to go home. On my way out to the parking lot I ran into a group of girls in the elevator, we got to talking and they told me they are not comfortable going home with the guys they had been drinking with and asked if I could help and come with them get their stuff out of these guys car. I know I should've directed them to security but I agreed to help out. They approached the guys to get their stuff and the guys started becoming aggressive with them, they didn't want them to go anywhere because they had been buying them drinks all night. I stepped in and tried to calm the situation down by telling the two guys to chill, the girls didn't want to leave with them. They then jumped me, I tried to run when they got weapons out the car but they caught me and attacked me pretty badly. The guards eventually stepped in and picked me up off of one of the guys I was wrestling with on the ground and put me in the elevator, he said I was cut badly. They took me to the Monte ER area and bandaged me up then called an ambulance to take me to hospital. I opened up a case of attempted murder and the two guys were arrested on Tuesday morning back at Monte Casino again. They confessed to everything. Now we wait for the case to go to court. I'm telling this story as a warning to be vigilant about who you drink with and to guys, you can't expect women to sleep/leave with you just because you bought them drinks. We need to start respecting the word NO. Stop being assholes. We bringing our whole gender down. #IThankGodImAlive #JusticeWillBeServed #SayNoToRape"
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Kidnapped expatriates regain freedom with injuries in Calabar

The seven kidnapped workers of MacMahon Construction Company, a contracting firm in the Mfamosing plant of the United Cement Company of Nigeria Limited, were on Sunday released by their abductors with various degrees of injuries, Punch reports.

It was learnt that an undisclosed amount of money was paid as ransom by the company to secure the release of the workers consisting five foreign expatriates and two Nigerians.

Gunmen believed to be militants had last Wednesday kidnapped the expatriates and two Nigerians who were on their way to the office and in the process killed the driver of one of the vehicles that
conveyed the workers.
Following their kidnap, foreign expatriates had stopped going to work at the Mfamosing plant of UniCem for fear of being abducted.

A source, who disclosed the release of the kidnapped victims, said all the seven abducted workers were released with injuries.

The source, who said he could not fathom why they were all injured, noted that they have all been taken to the hospital for treatment.

“All the seven of them were released in the early hours of today with injuries. Nobody knows why they were injured but they are receiving medical attention,” he said.
Meanwhile, foreign workers had deserted the Mfamosing plant of UniCem as a result of the development.

A Nigerian worker in the company disclosed that the company has become a ghost community as even top management workers from the country have become scared of going work.
He said:
 “Since the kidnap, foreigners have stopped coming to work. Only the Nigerian workers have been consistent. Even as at Friday, some top management Nigerian workers did not come.
“I understand that the foreigners have all left Calabar for Lagos pending when the security situation will improve. You cannot imagine that those that were kidnapped had armed police escort. The armed men ran to safety first and they left the workers to their fate.”
But the Cross River State Security Adviser, Mr. Jude Ngaji, who confirmed the release of the abducted workers, said it was not true that they all sustained injuries.
“I can confirm that they have been released. I was with them a short while ago. It is only the two Nigerians that had injuries while one or two others have scars. They have all been treated and they have also had contacts with their families. Their spirits were high,” he said.
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This woman had breast cancer because she refused to have children (photos)

When Susan Leeming found she had stage three breast cancer at 42, she was relieved she had no children to distress with the devastating news.

But this small crumb of comfort turned out to be a leading cause of her illness.

According to MirrorUK, Susan’s biopsy showed the cancer cells developed because she’d never been a mum.

She was told women who have babies have lower oestrogen levels while hers were abnormally high enough to trigger the disease.

Susan says:

“I couldn’t believe it. To find my decision not to be a parent could have caused my cancer was unthinkable.”
Susan was told by her GP at age of 20 that her chances of being a mum were slim after years with no periods. She married in 2000 then lost her mum a year later to breast cancer.
“The grief hit me hard and I found myself yearning for ­children,” she says.
Her husband, who already had two of his own, suggested they try for a child of their own.
“It was tempting,” says Susan. “But it didn’t feel it was the right time and I decided not to.”
Seven years later, she found a lump in her right breast and was diagnosed with grade 3 breast cancer.

She had a successful mastectomy and needed chemotherapy.

Then her oncologist dropped the bombshell that she was oestrogen receptor positive, meaning the cancer was related to her hormone levels.

Her decision not to have children meant her ovaries had never taken a “rest” from producing oestrogen, sending her levels rocketing to more than five times the average level of 35.
“I crumbled,” says Susan, of Norwich. “I’ve never heard avoiding motherhood could cause cancer.
"I was horrified it was somehow my fault for not having kids or at least trying harder to conceive. But I would never have brought children into the world just to protect me from illness.”
In March 2009, relief came as she was told she was in remission.

She told the Sunday People:
 “I am grateful for every day I spend cancer-free – but I still can’t believe it was the price I had to pay for not ­having children.”
After surviving the treatment, Susan was prescribed three-monthly injections to control her oestrogen levels, which reduced them from 195 down to 18 by May 2011.

She and her husband sadly split in 2013, but Susan, 50, now runs her own hairdressing salon selling chemical-free products – and is happier than ever.

“Having come through the other side of everything I feel strong and proud,” she says. “Despite everything, I don’t regret my decision.
At the end of the day, overcoming cancer made me the positive person I am today. I’m just lucky that my choice not to have kids didn’t end up ending me.”
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Femi Fani-Kayode allegedly assaulted in EFCC custody

According to Naij, FFK was attacked yesterday alongside other detainees by an EFCC operative identified as Suleiman Kabiru. 

 A source confirmed that Kabiru has constantly harassed detainees who engage in saying prayers while being held at the commission’s facility. . . “Matters came to a head on Saturday when, without any provocation, Suleiman Kabiru, charged at Fani-Kayode injuring him in the process,” the source said. The source said Kabiru was visibly angry and asked him (Fani-Kayode) why he would not obey his instructions. He however told that Kabiru was stopped from inflicting more harm on Fani-Kayode, through intervention from other officials of the commission. PDP's Director of New Media, Adeyanju Deji has confirmed the news on his Twitter handle.
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Video: UK based Nigerian comedian Klinton Cod mocks black women (WATCH)

Oh dear! Comedian Klinton Cod has sparked outrage after he shared a video of himself and friends mocking black girls on Snapchat.

The Nigerian UK based comedian/MC in what looked like a house party asked his friend, Bruno, what he thought of black girls and the young man responded “F*** black girls.” Klinton laughed, and so did a white girl with them.

The video has sparked outrage and forced Klinton to issue an apology to all black women.

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Hilarious conversation between UBA and guy who asked them for loan on Twitter

Dr. Dre needs money and decided to ask his bank for a small loan... on Twitter today. See what happened between him and UBA bank. Hilarious!

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EFCC chairman says they will soon go after Bank MDs

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, says the anti-graft agency will eventually go after bank MDs found culpable...whose banks are involved in money laundering, especially through the use of private banking
"We had a discussion with the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and I insisted that this so-called private banking should be stopped. It is illegal. It is wrong. We are not only going after the personnel of the banks but also after the banks.
What happens is that when a staff of the bank is involved in such activities, what the bank does is to take the person out of the system through dismissal. But now, we are going to go after the banks and the personnel used to perpetrate the fraud. It takes two to tango. In fact, very soon you will see us going after the Managing Directors of the banks. We don’t care what happens because the right thing has to be done. These people have given a lot of room for the money laundering activities to thrive. They were used to hide all the stolen money" He said
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Check out a throwback photo of Bishop Oyedepo and wife Faith as a young couple

Pictured is Bishop David Oyedepo and wife, Pastor Faith Oyedepo
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Photos: Joselyn Dumas shows off her weight loss transformation

Ghanaian actress and TV host Joselyn Dumas shared before & after photos of herself and wrote,
"She believed she could, so she did". Don't be ashamed to tell your story, it will inspire others ~ #JDinspired ~"

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Photos: First lady of Benue state kneels to greet Esther Kumuyi, wife of the general overseer of Deeper Life Church

First Lady of Benue state, Eunice Ortom went on her knees to greet the wife of the General Superintendent of Deeper Life Bible Church, Mrs. Esther Kumuyi at the state government House in Makurdi, on Friday June 24th. Mrs Kumuyi and her husband, William Kumuyi, were in the state on a courtesy visit to the governor, Samuel Ortom.

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Count President Buhari out of National Assembly crisis- Femi Adesina says

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, has dismissed allegations by the national assembly leadership that the Presidency was behind its many travails. The Senate during its plenary last Tuesday June 21st, accused the presidency of using the judiciary to fight & intimidate the legislature.

Lawmakers made the allegation in the wake of the fresh charges of forgery of senate orders leveled against Senate President Bukola Saraki and his deputy Ike Ekweremadu, for which they would be arraigned before an Abuja high court tomorrow June 27th.

In this fresh interview with Independent correspondent in Aso Villa, Innocent Oweh, Femi Adesina, dismissed the claim, stating that  President Buhari understands the separation of power in a democratic system

"They are independent arms, the judiciary is independent, the legislature is independent of the executive, so if they are independent, how can one be behind the travails of another. It doesn’t add up. If you know this President you will know that he plays by the rules strictly. So, he will not have anything to do with undermining any other independent arm of government. Not this President. They can source their troubles to somewhere else, if they have any troubles, but not this President. They are purely independent bodies, they just relate within the ambit of the law and constitution and I have no cause to believe that there is anything wrong with the relationship"he said

With the gloomy economy, workers are becoming tensed, and recently staff of the Federal Ministry of Finance protested over poor welfare issues, are you aware of their grievances?

I read the explanation from the finance ministry that what they are agitating for had been stopped by the previous government, that explains it. If there would be further explanations, I think its the ministry of finance that would do it, but I think what they have said satisfies me, it suffices for now

What would you say is the policy direction of this administration, especially on the economy?

It is that Nigerians need to look inward, all the luxuries that we can’t afford have to be cut off and that is simply what this government wants to do. There are 41 items under forex ban now, that already shows you the direction this administration is going. Whatever we cannot afford and we can do without let’s cut it off. Why do we expend scarce foreign exchange on rice, cement, toothpick or tomato puree; on things that we can produce locally, so that already shows the direction the government wants to take the economy.

Nigerians seem to have taken government deregulation policy in its stride, what informed this policy? Not only do you have fuel prices coming down, it shows you that by the time the thing is in full stream, there is going to be competition in terms of prices and people will buy where they like and that very process itself would force down prices.

The 2016 budget is undergoing implementation, should Nigerians still maintain high optimism that they had at the inception of this administration?

Optimism is part of life, optimism keeps us going. By the time we lose optimism, we have lost everything. So, I expect that we continue to be optimistic. As clear as day follows the night, things will get better in Nigeria.

Buhari has obviously made his mark in tackling terrorism but Nigerians would like to know what gave him the impetus to deliver in a short time?

The difference is clear. Government is a continuum; we know where the last administration stopped. This government continued from there and we all know where we are now, where we are today is very far to where we were this time last year. In fact, there is almost no comparison between where we are now on the issue of terrorism and where we were this time last year.

How was the magic performed to quell the crisis?

You know the President himself is a retired General, so he knows what to do. He changed the leadership of the military, he arranged for retraining, arranged for re-equipping, he arranged moral booster for them and everything working together for good has led us to where we are now.

But challenges of IDPs have cropped up as a result of terrorism, how would the Federal Government address that issue as well?

You know that there are groups and agencies working with the Federal Government on that. There is also the Danjuma Committee set up to ensure that their plight is attended to. There are international organisations working in concert with the Federal Government on that, all I want you to know is yes, the issues of IDPs are being tackled. It is a major issue that is being attended to.

How far about the MoUs signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on his recent trip to China, has it been rested?

We came back from China with potential investments in excess of about $6billion dollars and it is work in progress now because it’s a process, we have signed the Memorandum of Understandings and we must come up with counterpart funding, which was what the Jonathan administration did not do; they signed most of the MoUs but they didn’t do their own part of funding. This government, despite the paucity of funds, will do its part.

We have heard that the railway transport programme resuscitated by the immediate past administration will come on stream by July, can you throw more enlightenment on that?

Yes, the Ministry of Transport is in a better position to tell you but I am aware because I have heard the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi saying that it will come on stream soon, so its a good development. Nigeria is making progress. That shows you the benefits of continuing with the policies and projects of the previous government because that was a project inherited and it was taken forward. A petty government could have come and discontinued it, no it was taken forward and we are in the verge of launching it. It shows you that government must always be large-hearted, broad minded enough to continue the good things it inherited.

You have been with the President as one of his media aides in the last one year, how would you describe your experience so far?

Fulfilling. I came to do this work in the first place because it is the President, the person of the President brought me. I am not a person that wanted to work in government but the person of the President was the attraction for me and I am happy doing it. I will serve him anyday.
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Photos: Ooni of Ife and his Olori at the Caribbean and African International Awards Gala in Maryland, USA

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi and his wife Olori Wuraola attended the Caribbean & African International Awards Gala held in Maryland,USA. More photos after the cut.

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Photos: Heartbreaking moment mother of Orlando massacre victim collapsed at his funeral

Mother of Orlando shooting victim who received heartbreaking last text messages  from her son, had to face his lifeless body one last time to say goodbye, but it proved to be too much for her to bear as the devastated mother collapsed during the open casket funeral service.

Mina Justice's son, Eddie, was one of the 49 murdered in the worst mass shooting recorded in US history at gay nightclub Pure in Orlando. The final text messages she received from him went viral after it was made public.

According to the Daily Mail, during Eddie's open casket funeral, the devastated mother collapsed, but was caught before hitting the ground by her relatives, who called 911. She was then strapped to a stretcher and loaded into an ambulance.

Her son, Eddie, was only present in the club for a few minutes before the shooter Omar Mateen entered the club, spraying bullets.

The mother and son had a brief text conversation before he was killed with the first text reading, "Mommy I love you. In the club they shooting."
After Mina responded with, "U ok," Eddie wrote back, saying, "trapp (sic) in bathroom."
"Call them mom," he continued. "Now. He's coming. I'm gonna die."

Mina stood outside the club that night, hoping to hear that her son had survived, but she received the news the following day that he had died.

Source: Daily Mail
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Late Dora Akunyili's daughter Njideka Crosby awarded the prestigious Prix Canson Prize for Art

The sixth edition of the Prix Canson Prize, which recognizes achievements of international artists who work with paper as their principal medium, was awarded to Nigerian artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby in a ceremony at New York’s Drawing Center on Tuesday, June 21.

Born in Enugu in 1983, the Los Angeles-based artist creates large-scale works that combine collage, drawing, painting, and photo transfer to weave complex narratives that reflect an abundance of art historical references and images from her own personal archive, as well as from contemporary culture. She is known for exploring a wealth of themes in her pieces such as literature, identity, race, assimilation, and memory, but she specializes in teasing out her own relationship with colonialism and representation as an expatriate working in the US.

For Brett Littman, the president of the jury and the director of the Drawing Center, Akunyili Crosby has “a unique voice in the way that she thinks about and approaches portraiture.”

He told Lauren Cavalli of that as the jurors deliberated on whom to choose, her work “kept burning in our minds.” Littman added,
“I think her work really moved us. We felt like if you are going to give a prize to someone you give it to someone who is going to push the medium forward.”
Out of the five nominees for the Prix Canson, four were women, three of which were women of color. The artists shortlisted for the prize were Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze, Bethany Collins, David Shrigley, and Lucy Skaer. An exhibition of the works of Akunyili Crosby as well as the four finalists will be on view until July 1.

Each year different institutions act as hosts of the award, this is the first time it has been presented in the United States. It has previously been held in Paris (2015) and Barcelona (2014).

Akunyili Crosby will receive over $11,000 of Canson paper and an invitation to be part of a residency that was established by artist and former president of the jury, Tunga, who recently passed.

Established in 2010, the Prix Canson Award celebrates the legacy of the sixteenth-century paper company Canson, which has been supplying artists such as Ingres, Delacroix, and Van Gogh, among others, for generations.

More photos...

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Photos: 50-year-old woman who looks like a teenager says her dream is to continue wearing bikini until she is 80

Mrs Ye from central China's Xinyang, Henan Province is 50 years and a mother of an adult. She has continuously worked out for 20 years. She also swims every day and works out at the gym two to three times every week – averagely 2 hours per day. Though she looks fitter and more energetic than a teenage girl, she is actually 50. You read right!

Despite her age, she successfully crossed the Street of Malacca, between Malay Peninsula and Indonesia’s Sumatra Island, earlier in March this year.

The next location on her challenge list is the Han River in South Korea. Mrs. Ye said her dream was to continue wearing a bikini and swim until she is 80. She looks good!

More photos...

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'Stop Intimidating Fayose' Ekiti State National Assembly Caucus cautions FG

Members of the National Assembly caucus in both the Senate and House of Representatives from Ekiti State have cautioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), against allowing itself to be used to intimidate or harass Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State by the Federal government.

The caucus unequivocally condemned the freezing of the bank accounts belonging to Ekiti state Governor by the EFCC, describing it as absolutely illegal, and an affront to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The release issued on Sunday and signed on behalf of the caucus by the Senate Deputy Minority Whip, Senator Biodun Olujimi reads;

“our attention has been drawn to the freezing of the bank accounts belonging to Ekiti State governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose by the EFCC and we wish to state that the actions violates the constitution of Nigeria, which conferred immunity on the governor and the EFCC Act, which mandates the Commission to obtain a valid court order before bank accounts of anyone can be frozen”.  
“It is trite that the condition precedent to be fulfilled by the EFCC to fully exercise its powers as enshrined in section 34(1) of the EFCC Act, with effect to the freezing order on banks and other financial Institutions was not met. Ditto for the fact that for the court to make such an order, there must be papers (Court Process) filed in court and signed by a Judge.  
"By the provision of section 308(1) (a) of the 1999 constitution (as amended), no suit can be instituted against any sitting Governor in any court in Nigeria. Therefore, no process of the court can be issued, signed or served against Mr. Ayodele Fayose, being a sitting Governor. Knowing fully well that the import of section 308 of the 1999 constitution (as amended), is principally to avert unnecessary distraction of any sitting governor and other beneficiaries of that section.  
"As much as we are not against the anti – corruption crusade of the government or the investigation of corruption persons by the EFCC, we urge the anti-corruption agency to carry out its functions without political interference from any quarters, while the Federal government on its part, must eschew all actions capable of destabilizing the peace of any state, or threaten our nascent democracy."
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Graphic photo: Robbers kill 3 vigilante members in Benue state

Three members of the Benue state vigilante group have been killed after suspected armed robbers attacked Okpoga community in Okpokwu local government area in the early hours of today June 26th. According to residents of the community, the robbers who were about 15 in number, stormed their homes and started shooting sporadically. 3 members of the local vigilante group were killed and their bodies have been deposited in a mortuary while 3 others sustained serious injuries and are being treated at the St. Mary’s Hospital, Okpoga. See the graphic photo after the cut.

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