Security agents arrest two men in Ibadan with decomposing body parts.

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A man, identified as Sulaiman Tijani, was arrested on Wednesday at Soka forest where scores of decomposing bodies and body parts were discovered on Saturday.

Another man who appeared to be mentally ill was almost lynched by angry youths who descended on him at a point close to the site.

The police were, however, able to rescue him and whisk him away. The youths said he was pretending to be insane and could be one of the kidnappers who operated in the forest.

Tijani was apprehended by operatives of security agencies in the state and the Odua Peoples’ Congress, who were around while demolition exercise by the Oyo State Government was going on.

Tijani was coming from the forest, holding a polythene bag which he said contained sachets of juice. He said he usually picked up the juice from a refuse dump site beside a company located at the edge of the forest.

However, his explanation was faulted when he added that he was a poultry farmer in Ogun State.

He said, “I have a poultry farm. I use the juice to feed the birds in the farm which is located at Ijebu Ode.”

When it appeared that he had nothing more to say, he was whisked away by the police.

The man who appeared to be a lunatic was taken to Adeoyo State Hospital, Yemetu, Ibadan, but nurses were unable to say anything about his mental status, while police had yet to offer comment on his arrest.

Police stop demolition for forensic test

The demolition of buildings in the forest was, however, halted by the Oyo State Police Command, which insisted that a forensic evaluation of the land must be done before the exercise could go on.

The Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, had directed on Tuesday that buildings in the forest be demolished.

But a statement by Ajimobi’s Special Adviser on Media, Festus Adedayo, on Wednesday said forensic experts from the police would visit the site and carry out some evaluation on Thursday.

“Governor Ajimobi had hinged the demolition and the clearing of the forest on the request of the Soka Community to allow for visibility of the area. He also directed environmental health officers to fumigate the forest and the entire area to prevent outbreak of epidemics.

“Soon after the demolition began, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mohammed Ndabawa, called the Chairman of Oluyole Local Government, Mr. Ayode Abass-Aleshinloye, and informed him of the need to stop the exercise to allow the team of forensic experts from the police headquarters in Abuja carry out their investigations.

“Ndabawa said should the exercise be allowed to continue as earlier planned, concrete evidences that would help the police in their investigations would be destroyed,” the statement reads in part.

The statement added that the team of forensic experts would arrive in Ibadan on Thursday and complete their work on the same day, while the demolition would be completed by Friday.

Ibadan youths attack mad men

PUNCH Metro learnt that the discovery of the forest had heightened vigilance activities in Ibadan with youths suspecting every lunatic in the city.

The youths said the activities of kidnappers was aided by the fact that lunatics and destitute were once kept in the forest by the state government and after the project was rested, some people with bad intent capitalised on the existence of the forest and its location to carry out their evil acts.

A man, who claimed to be a youth leader, Bosun, said, “It is now clear that those men pretended to be mad, but the truth is that they were allies of the kidnappers.”

After the killing of a mad man at the Soka junction on Sunday by irate youths, another one was burnt to death on Wednesday in the Oke Ado area of Ibadan, while yet another was rescued by the police.  A man suspected to be part of the mob was also arrested by the police.

At the Mokola area of the city, another mad man was rescued by the police from angry youths as he was about to be lynched. He was accused of feigning madness while his dreadlocks and inner wears were clean.

“He came to this area a week ago, but he is too well fed and neat to be considered a mad man. His dreadlocks were neat and well oiled, he had money on him and an ATM card,” said one of the youths.

At Queen Cinema area in the city, another man suspected to be a kidnapper was mobbed, but police also rescued him.

The Police Public Relation Officer, Olabisi Ilobanafor, who confirmed the cases, said N11,600, 42, SIM cards of various networks and  three ATM cards were found on the man at Queen Cinema.

Kenya government goes tough on terrorism as it issues shot-to-kill order on terror suspects

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Kenya’s authorities on Thursday issued shoot-to-kill order on anybody found perpetrating acts of terrorism in Mombasa.

The order came amidst increased surveillance on criminals causing insecurity in the tourism resort city.

Mombasa County Commissioner, Nelson Marwa issued the orders after holding a meeting with church leaders in Mombasa and announced a similar meeting with Muslim leaders.

“We cannot arrest terrorists and take them to court, who is going to be our witness, let us be fair here, we cannot allow criminals to terrorize people, they will be shot on sight,” Marwa ordered.

The shoot-to-kill order followed Sunday church attack that left at least six worshippers killed and 17 others critically wounded in the coastal city of Mombasa.

Marwa said that the police were under firm instruction to intensify surveillance and manhunt for the gunmen behind the inhumane attack, adding that the government is finding it difficult to prosecute terror suspects.

“The terrorism challenge should bring us together not divide us.

“We have planned to meet Muslims leaders on Friday, we will host a joint meeting between a few bishops and Imams to bring about peace between the two parties.

“I appeal to Kenyans to always remember that security is a shared responsibility and citizens should cooperate with law enforcement agencies at all times,” Marwa said.

US mayor accused of corruption, quits

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The mayor of the largest city in the US state of North Carolina has resigned, hours after he was arrested by the FBI on corruption charges.

Newly elected Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon, 47, is accused of accepting more than $48,000 (£28,953) in bribes and gifts from undercover FBI agents.

He promised access to city officials in return, investigators said.

Cannon faces up to 20 years in prison and $1 million in fines if convicted on theft and bribery charges.

“I regret that I have to take this action, but I believe that it is in the best interest of the City for me to do so,” he wrote in his resignation letter.

According to a complaint filed in federal court, between January 17, 2013 and February 21, 2014, Cannon accepted payments from undercover FBI agents on five separate occasions.

In return, he offered to connect the agents to city officials responsible for planning, zoning and permitting.

Cannon, a long-time Democratic city counsellor elected mayor in November, accepted cash, airline tickets, a Las Vegas hotel room and the use of a luxury apartment from the FBI agents, who reportedly posed as real estate developers, according to the complaint.

Before his election as mayor, Cannon founded a car park company and was the long-time presenter of a radio chat show.

The corruption investigation reportedly began in August 2010 following a tip from an undercover local police officer.

At that time, Cannon held an at-large seat on the city council of Charlotte, a major centre for the US financial industry with a population of about 775,000.

Among the allegations against him, Cannon is accused of accepting a $12,500 cash payment from an undercover agent that Cannon said he planned to use to develop a feminine hygiene product called Hers.

In exchange, Cannon offered to help the agent obtain permits to open a nightclub.

Republican Governor Pat McCrory, himself a former mayor of Charlotte, said Cannon’s alleged behaviour was “inexcusable and cannot be tolerated”.

“My heart is broken for the city of Charlotte,” he said. “This is not the city that I know, served and love.”

Obama praises Pope Francis’ ‘great moral authority’

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moral leadership in an interview published ahead of their first-ever meeting during an official visit to Italy on Thursday.

The US leader is in Rome as part of a European trip that took him to the Netherlands and Belgium.

Obama is to have lunch with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano and meet with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi after his visit to the Vatican.

His itinerary also includes a tour of the Colosseum and talks with US diplomats and UN officials.

“The Holy Father has inspired people from all over the world, including me, with his commitment to social justice and his message of love and compassion, especially for the poorer and most vulnerable people among us,’’ Obama told Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper.

“Given his great moral authority, we know that when the pope speaks, his words carry an enormous weight.’’

Obama said global inequalities would be one of the main thrust of his audience with the Argentine-born Catholic Church leader.

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, tensions over Ukraine and the war in Syria were also expected to be on the agenda.

Vatican Radio said the pope would talk about the Central African Republic, after meeting on Wednesday with religious leaders from the war-ravaged nation.

Ben Rhodes, Obama’s national security spokesman, told reporters the meeting would have an opportunity for them to get to know each other personally.

According to the spokesman, this would help the president to hear from the pope about what he is trying to do around the world.

US bishops have clashed with the Obama administration over its healthcare reform, which provides public funding for abortion and family planning.

Obama’s visit to the Vatican could help mend relations between the two sides.

US ambassador to the Holy See Ken Hackett last week told the Religion News Service: “I don’t believe the pope and president will be arguing about why the church doesn’t change its position on abortion, because it ain’t going to happen.”

Obama is scheduled to depart for Saudi Arabia on Friday.

Sultan to Jonathan: Confab composition unfair to Muslims

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Wednesday led some prominent Muslims in the country to the Presidential Villa, Abuja to protest what they called their marginalisation.

At a closed-door meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice -President Namadi Sambo and a few top government officials, the Sultan and the other muslim leaders  specifically faulted the composition of the national conference , saying it  was skewed against them.

Their protest  took place just as the delegates to the conference   again failed on Wednesday   to agree on what constituted  a majority in  taking decisions on issues.

The Secretary-General of  the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs  Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, disclosed   to State House correspondents that the Sultan and his team made their grievances known  when they met with Jonathan for   about an hour in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Oloyede however said the President assured the delegation that his administration  was committed to being fair to all Nigerians irrespective of their religion or tribe.

He said  that Jonathan asked members of the delegation to convey his message to all Muslims in the country that even if there  were  issues   not  taken care of , they  were not done deliberately.

Oloyede said while they would believe the President, members of the delegation also held the belief that it  was  proper for them to protest to Jonathan.

He said, “We   came to discuss with the President   and we are happy we consulted him, and he has given us reasons to re-assure   Muslims that  they  are not deliberately marginalised and he has asked us to convey the feelings of the government, the genuineness of the government and  the fairness of the government to the entire populace.

“He said that if there were issues that were not as they ought to be, they were not definitely deliberate and we want to believe that Mr. President told us his mind;  but we also want to believe that it is proper to protest, it is also proper to assume that a leader will always be just even if there are mistakes thereafter.

“We just felt that we must convey the feelings of the Muslims in Nigeria to Mr. President and he has given us his words to re-assure the Muslim community that he is a genuine and committed Christian who will not be unjust to others.”

When asked to be specific on some of the feelings the Muslims conveyed to the President, Oloyede mentioned the composition of the ongoing national conference.

“May be because you are not a muslim, if you were  one, you  would know the feelings of the Muslims presently about the composition of the National Conference,” he concluded.

The Sultan  declined  to speak with journalists at the end of the meeting.

Those who accompanied  him included the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn-Garbai; a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Lawal Uwais; and a former Head of Service of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed.

It will be recalled that  JNI, the apex body for Islamic organisations in the North,   had recently accused Jonathan of having a hidden agenda with the convocation of the National Conference.

The  Sultan –led JNI    had regretted that despite the concerns expressed by well-meaning  Nigerians, the President had gone ahead to inaugurate the conference.

It also said that Muslims were short-changed in the selection of delegates to the conference.

Before  the Sultan and his team met  with Jonathan,  JNI’s Secretary-General, Dr. Khalid Aliyu, at a news conference on Wednesday in Kaduna, said no amount of conferences would solve the myriad of problems confronting Nigeria, except “when our leaders lead with justice and equity in the country.”

He said the process of selecting delegates to the conference negated  the spirit of democracy as majority of delegates to the conference were Christians.

According to him, 62 per cent of the delegates to the conference are Christians while the remaining percentage is shared by Muslims and other religions in the land.

The Secretary-General said that of specific concern to the JNI was the representation of the security experts in the conference, noting that out of the 18   experts, only 22.2 per cent were Muslims.

He said, “What is most disturbing  is that the Muslim leadership and Islamic groups have called the attention of the President  to this matter but he has paid no attention to it.

“Let me comment on the conference, which the Federal Government has convened. It is on record that many Nigerians, including the leadership of the muslim community in the country, have expressed various concerns regarding it.  Nigerians have warned that the conference is ill-timed given that electioneering is about to begin. Even with all these cries, the conveners have gone ahead to host the conference.

“We are however worried that the process of selecting participants to the conference has been observed to have thrown away all known dictates of fair representation in a democracy, which will no doubt affect the credibility of the outcome of the conference. Although, democracy is a game of number, this has not been respected.

“We find it a great disregard and disrespect  to the conscience of the Muslims that of the 20 delegates of the Federal Government, only six are Muslims. No Muslim is deemed fit to make the list of the Nigerian Economic Summit

“In fact, in the representation of the security agencies, Muslims have been so unimaginably short-changed with only one Muslim out of the  six retired  military and security personnel.”

Meanwhile,   delegates to the  conference  have  again failed  to agree on what constitutes a majority in decision making.

 The division between the North and the South further  caused uncertainty as a meeting called by the NC Chairman, Justice Idris Kutigi (retd.), with 50 leaders from the six geo-political zones  was adjourned till Monday.

While delegates from the North asked for retention of three-quarter majority, those from the South wanted two-third majority in the absence of consensus.

Signs that proceedings might not be smooth emerged when the Lamido of Adamawa,  Dr. Muhammadu   Mustapha,  threatened to lead his people out of the conference.

Mustapha , who told the conference that his kingdom extended to Cameroon,  said he still had his people  there  that  would receive him and his kingdom if they seceded from Nigeria.

He said, “If we are pushed to the wall, we will easily walk out of this conference. Let us follow what Mr. President said in his speech unless we want to disobey him.”

 The Lamido was  referring to the three-quarter majority contained  in the conference rules.

The conference, however, agreed to invite memoranda from the public to accommodate people’s views in the discussion.

It has a deadline of two weeks to receive the memoranda while other business of the conference would continue.

Kutigi had earlier before the plenary met with leaders of delegates across geo-political zones till the early hours of Wednesday.

Delegates from the South-West, South-South and South -East also met at the residence of  an  Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, till arround 2am on Wednesday.

The PUNCH learnt that the meeting focused on the three-quarter majority stated in the rules of proceedings.

At the resumed  session on Wednesday, the Vice-Chairman of the conference, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi,  announced names of 50 selected delegates that were to meet with Kutigi for further consultation on the majority vote.

On resumption, Kutigi again adjourned the conference till Monday to allow further consultations.

He said no decision had been reached at the meeting.

Uefa Nations League to launch in 2018

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The Uefa Nations League is set to launch in 2018 after being given the green light by member associations this week.

The competition, which is set to replace the large majority of the international friendly calendar for European nations, will be organised into a league format, featuring promotion and relegation.

Although the precise format of the competition is yet to be decided, Uefa’s provisional plan is to divide all 54 member association teams into four groups based on coefficient ranking, with promotion to a higher group – or even a qualifying place at the European Championship – the prize for performing well.

Wolfgang Niersbach, chairman of the National Teams Competition Committee, is confident the move is the right way forward to spark interest in European international football outside of the major tournaments.

“We accept and respect that all Uefa member associations have agreed to create a new competition,” he said at the Ordinary Uefa Congress in Astana. “This is a big step for national teams in Europe and we hope that fans will support the new format.”

The transition into the new Nations League will begin as qualifying for Euro 2020 gets underway in the autumn of 2018.

Uefa states that the four large coefficient groups will be further split into three or four smaller pools, with each team playing four to six matches between September and November of that year.

A further competition featuring the pool winners will then take place early the following year, well before the play-off round for the Euro 2020 finals, which are planned for March 2020.

Uefa secretary general Gianni Infantino stated prior to the congress: “What has triggered this whole discussion is that we have been working to establish a new international calendar. We also wanted to bring more structure to the dates when there are friendly matches.

“There are some countries everyone wants to play against and other teams who struggle to find opponents, so we looked for something new and have come up with the Nations League.”

The move is the latest significant reform adopted by Uefa president Michel Platini, following his decision to stage the Euro 2020 finals across the continent in a “romantic” celebration of the tournament’s 60th anniversary.

Yahoo Japan says to buy eAccess from SoftBank for $3.2 billion

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Yahoo Japan Corp said on Thursday that it would buy mobile and broadband provider eAccess Ltd from its parent SoftBank Corp for 324 billion yen ($3.17 billion) in a bid to expand its services for tablets and smartphones.

SoftBank, which owns about 42.5 percent in Yahoo Japan, said in a separate statement that it would book a special gain of 55.7 billion yen for the fiscal year ending March 2015.