Kenyan government to stop advertising in private media

Kenya will ban government adverts in private media, according to a leaked memo seen by AFP on Monday, as the presidency announced plans to launch its own free newspaper.

Government advertising currently brings in some 18 million euros ($19m) per year for the country’s newspapers, according to an official at the Government Advertising Agency.

The letter from state house chief of staff Joseph Kinyua said that cabinet ministers had approved the creation of a newspaper to be known as MY.GOV “that will articulate the government’s agenda in a deeper and more accurate way for a better appreciation of government’s effort to improve the livelihoods of the citizens”.

The newspaper will also contain “useful news on government development programmes, which is currently unavailable through other media”.

The memo says that as part of efforts to cut costs, government officials will no longer need to use “resources allocated to them to advertise their services and convey requests for services from the market”.

It orders accounting officers to instead place their adverts in the government newspaper.

“Any officer found violating this requirement will be liable to surcharge of the amount spent besides other disciplinary action.”

Article19, a freedom of expression watchdog, said the policy to stop advertising in local media was “another calculated design by government officials to have control of media editorial content”.

Henry Maina, the NGO’s regional director, said he was “very concerned that this policy poses a serious threat both to the media editorial content and the management and operation of independent media in the country”.

AFP

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Bush criticises Trump for bashing media

Former Republican president George W. Bush offered a tacit criticism of his successor Donald Trump Monday, in rare public comments regarding politics and the media.

The 43rd president — who had his own battles with the press while in office — rejected Trump’s assertion that the media are the “enemy of the American people.”

“I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy. That we need the media to hold people like me to account,” Bush told NBC’s “Today” program.

Trump’s inflammatory remarks have been criticized as authoritarian, but the media remains a popular whipping boy for his supporters.

Amid wave after wave of leaks from his White House and probing reports on his campaign’s links with Russia, Trump has repeatedly decried the media as “fake news.”

Influential Trump aide Steve Bannon is fond of referring to the media as the “opposition party.”

Bush responded to that sentiment by saying “power can be very addictive and it can be corrosive, and it’s important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power.”

Bush also described Trump’s comments as undercutting America’s efforts to promote democracy and the free press abroad.

AFP

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Tuface supports UNHCR with N3.5m

Nigerian Music icon, Innocent Idibia, popularly known as Tuface, has donated N3.5m to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Nigeria, to support humanitarian interventions.

The External Relations Officer, UNHCR, Nigeria, Mr Hanson Tamfu, in a statement on Monday in Abuja, said the donation from the Tuface Foundation was to support the commission in providing life-saving support to families forcibly displaced in Nigeria and across the continent.

Tamfu said that Tuface expressed joy and commitment to helping the victims of insurgency who have been forced to flee their homes as a result of the unrest in the North-East.

He said the musician also pledged his continuous support to UNHCR in its humanitarian assistance to the Internally Displaced Persons and other persons.

The officer quoted Tuface as saying, “I am proud to support the UN Refugee Agency because of its proven track record of being at the forefront of displacement emergencies.

“I want to help people who have been forced to flee their homes because of different issues.

“I care about them and this donation is one of such efforts because we plan to have a major charity concert in June to raise money whilst offering my music and talents to the world for donations towards this noble cause.

“I am confident in UNHCR because it knows how to make a difference in the lives of millions of women, children and men who have lost everything but hope.”

Tamfu said that UNHCR is almost entirely supported by donations from governments, who contribute 89 percent of its annual funding needs.

He disclosed that UNHCR and its partners require $2.45bn to provide critical life-saving assistance to the displaced families in Africa.

He said that funds were required to meet the enormous needs of displaced persons with the number of the world’s displacement at more than 63.9 million.

The officer explained that this was also due to an unprecedented level of over 19.4million of those living in Sub-Saharan Africa, the needs are enormous.

The UNHCR’s Director of the Africa Bureau, Mr Valentin Tapsoba, appreciated Tuface for his generosity and contribution to UNHCR’s cause.

Tapsoba said that having someone of Tuface’s calibre who recognises the needs of the people who have been forced to flee their homes was extremely encouraging.

He said that it was a clear step in the direction of an Africa that takes ownership of its own challenges and strives to address them.

Tapsoba said that as a musician, who has been singing for over two decades, his campaign would cut across all generations and make an impact.

The Bureau Chief said that in Nigeria, the UN Refugee Agency responds to the needs of the more than 1.8 million displaced.

He explained that since the needs were overwhelming, the agency has turned to Africa’s philanthropic world to meet some of the funding gaps, which are worrisome and huge.

The donation from Tuface, founder of the 2face foundation, is to kick-start UNHCR’s first ever fundraising campaign in Nigeria.

(NAN)

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‘Animal’ Ibrahimovic thanks kids, Mourinho

Zlatan Ibrahimovic thanked his children and Jose Mourinho for getting him to sign for Manchester United but refused to commit his future to the club after his goals helped them win the League Cup.

Ibrahimovic scored United’s first and their winner in a 3-2 victory over Premier League rivals Southampton at Wembley on Sunday as they lifted their first trophy under Mourinho.

Both Portuguese manager Mourinho and Swedish striker Ibrahimovic are in their first season at Old Trafford, having previously worked together at Inter Milan.

Ibrahimovic’s contract expires at the end of the season, although there is a one-year extension clause.

His double against the Saints took his tally for the campaign to 26 goals and helped him win the 30th major trophy of his illustrious career.

Asked about his plans for next season, Ibrahimovic said: “Let’s see what happens.

“I think in your career you have moments. I did not come to England before because it was not the moment.

“I came when I thought it was the moment and the moment was there.”

Ibrahimovic, 35, added: “If we speak about the coach (Mourinho), England, the Premier League, the club has to thank him because he called me and asked me to come here, otherwise I would not have been here.

“Even my two kids wanted to see me play at United. I had my mind somewhere else. Before, everything was coming on top of the table, then Jose called.

“I have a special relationship with him. When he called it was basically, ‘tell me what number I should wear’.

“My mind was not here. Then my kids started to bump my head and Jose called, then I am here.”

– ‘Feel like a lion’ –

Ibrahimovic relished that he was confounding all those who thought him too old for the Premier League.

“I know I look good. I feel fresh. I feel good. I feel like an animal. I feel like a lion. I feel in good shape. I train hard.”

Ibrahimovic was equally bullish when asked if the only way was down if he left United, one of world football’s most well-known teams.

“For me, or the club?,” he replied. “I will stop on top. I will not play one game by being Ibrahimovic and for what I did before. If I don’t perform, if I don’t bring results, I will not play.

“I will play as long as I can bring results.”

Meanwhile Ibrahimovic’s agent, Mino Raiola, offered few clues to his client’s future in an interview with Talksport radio on Monday.

“I never speak about contract details with the press — I think that’s something between the player, the club and myself,” he said.

“I think we should keep it that way and just enjoy the moment and we’ll see what happens next year. I don’t disclude anything. Anything can happen and we will see what happens.

“We’re now concentrated on the next cup. This was a very important cup and very emotional for him, for me and for Mourinho too.”

Raiola said he’d never any doubts about Ibrahimovic’s ability to adjust to the Premier League.

“Knowing how he is and what kind of person and man he is on and off the field, he can do it anywhere,” he said. “He’s the only player in the world who can be successful on Mars or the moon.”

AFP

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Trump promises ‘historic’ increase in US military budget

President Donald Trump on Monday promised a “historic” increase in the US defense budget as he met with state governors at the White House.

“This budget follows through on my promise on keeping Americans safe,” he said.

“It will include a historic increase in defense spending.”

His comments come a day before he addresses a joint session of Congress, an important agenda setting event for new presidents.

The New York Times reported that Trump will instruct the government agencies Monday to put together the outlines of a budget that will include deep cuts in domestic spending.

Trump will need to make those cuts to pay for a military buildup and to preserve pensions and health insurance for the elderly as he promised during the campaign.

AFP

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Lawyers picket court over increase of divorce, other filing fees

Femi Makinde, Osogbo

Lawyers under the aegis of the Nigeria Bar Association, Ilesa Branch on Monday picketed the Osun State High Court in Ilesa to protest the astronomic increase of fees charged by the state government for those filing divorce suits and other suits.

The lawyers numbering about 50 and dressed in dark suits gathered at the main entrance of the court as early as 7:45 to protest the outrageous increase which they argued would prise justice out of the reach of the common people.

The lawyers accused Governor Rauf Aregbesola of usurping the power of the Chief Judge of the state by unilaterally fixing the new fees.

The lawyers prevented judges and magistrates from entering the premises of the court.

The chairman of the Ilesa branch of the NBA,  Mr Ebenezer Ogunfunminiyi, said the association decided to protest the increment because of its effect on the people.

The bar maintained that justice should be affordable to the common man and not just the rich. Judiciary is the last hope of the masses. This ugly development if not stalled will encourage self-help which may eventually cause chaos and pandemonium.

He said, “We have vowed to challenge the illegal fee at the appropriate court. It is laughable and astonishing that the governor by the circular increased filing fee of cases relating to matrimonial matters whereas matrimonial matters are governed by the Federal Act and cases under the matrimonial Causes Act are sui generis.

“The NBA considers this a gross violation of the constitution and ultra vires of the powers of the governor. Section 52 of the High Court Law of Osun state gave powers to the Chief judge to fix the fees payable for filing subject however to the approval of the governor but in this case, the Governor has usurped the powers vested in the Hon. CJ.”

He said lawyers in Ilesa division would henceforth boycott courts until the increment he described as illegal was reversed.

A former Secretary of the NBA, Ile Branch, Mr Olayinka Sokoya, also told our correspondent that the increment might cause disturbance of peace because some people would resort to self-help if they could not get justice.

Sokoya said most courts in the state were in a deplorable condition while judiciary staff were not adequately paid, saying the NBA would use every legal means to fight the increment.

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Arik Air owes IATA $78m – AMCON

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria on Monday said Arik Air, under its previous management, owed the International Air Transport Association $78m.

The Media Consultant to Arik Air, Mr Simon Tumba, gave the figure while speaking with newsmen in Lagos.

The airline was on February 9 taken over by the Federal Government under the auspices of AMCON as a result of its huge debt profile.

AMCON appointed Capt. Roy Ilegbodu, a veteran aviation expert, to manage the airline under the receivership of Mr Oluseye Opasanya (SAN).

Tumba said the debt was for all aviation services provided under the platform of IATA, which recently suspended the airline from its Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP) and Cargo Account Settlement System (CASS).

He said, “Arik Air under the former management was owing everywhere they operated. Apart from the over N300bn owed to AMCON, the airline also owes about N50bn to Nigerian banks and another $78m to IATA.

“The airline was also in credit to their fuel suppliers and was not able to pay staff salaries for months.

“There was no good corporate governance in Arik as most decisions were single-handedly taken by the executive chairman.”

According to him, out of the almost 30 aircraft in the airline’s fleet, only about 10 are currently serviceable, which made the new management to reduce its routes and flight operations.

He said that the new management also discovered that Arik had no record of gains and losses of operations carried out in 2015.

Tumba said the management in collaboration with AMCON had appointed KPMG to carry out a forensic audit on the airline, and the result would be out in 10 weeks.

He said, “AMCON is not interested in liquidating Arik Air. We believe that the airline, which has one of the youngest fleet in Africa, can be turned around through good corporate governance and financial discipline.

“The current management is looking at the backlog of salaries owed staff because the staff should be motivated to get the airline running properly.

“The current management is working with the government to add five aircraft to the fleet to increase its size and the airline’s routes.

“We have also resolved the issue of fuel supply, which has improved Arik Air’s flight operations since the takeover.”

NAN

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UN seeks new drugs against 12 supergerms

The UN’s health agency urged the world on Monday to create new drugs to tackle 12 killer superbugs which are resistant to antibiotics and threaten an explosion of incurable disease.

The “priority pathogens” include germs that cause deadly infections of the bloodstream, lungs, brain or urinary tract, but do not respond to an ever-longer list of medicines.

In more and more cases, none of the existing drugs work.

“Antibiotic resistance is growing, and we are fast running out of treatment options,” said Marie-Paule Kieny, assistant director-general at the World Health Organisation, which published the list.

“If we leave it to market forces alone, the new antibiotics we most urgently need are not going to be developed in time.”

Governments should put in place policies to boost public and private funding for drug research and development against the listed microbes, the WHO said in a statement.

The agency previously warned that if nothing is done the world was headed for a “post-antibiotic” era in which common infections and minor injuries become killers once again.

Bacteria can develop drug resistance when people take incorrect doses of antibiotics. Resistant strains can be contracted directly from animals, water and air, or other people.

When the most common antibiotics fail to work, more expensive types must be tried, resulting in longer illness and treatment, often in hospital.

The germs on the WHOs list were chosen based on the severity of the infections they cause, how easily they spread, how many working drugs remain and whether new antibiotics to kill them are already being developed.

– Saving lives –

The list is divided into three categories of priority: critical, high and medium.

The top priorities are superbugs resistant to carbapenem antibiotics — a last-resort treatment for life-threatening infections often spread in hospitals, nursing homes and among patients who rely on ventilators and catheters.

In January, an American woman died of an infection — resistant to all 27 available antibiotics — caused by a germ called Enterobacteriaceae which is on the WHO’s critical list.

The second and third tiers contain drug-resistant bacteria that cause “more common” diseases such as gonorrhoea and salmonella-induced food poisoning, said the WHO.

The list will be discussed with health experts of the G20 group of major economies in Berlin this week, it added.

“New antibiotics targeting this priority list of pathogens will help to reduce deaths due to resistant infections around the world,” said Evelina Tacconelli of the University of Tuebingen in Germany, who helped draw up the index.

Tuberculosis was not listed because well-funded programmes already exist to develop new antibiotics, said the WHO.

AFP

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Flight aborted as Air Peace plane suffers burst tyre at MMA

A Boeing 737 aircraft belonging to Air Peace on Monday suffered a burst tyre while preparing for take-off at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.

The incident occurred at about 11 a.m. forcing the pilot to abort the flight.

The aircraft was to convey 105 passengers from Lagos to Abuja.

The airline’s spokesman, Mr Christian Iwarah who confirmed the incident, said no serious damage was done to the aircraft and no passenger was injured.

He said, “The incident happened around 11 a.m. as the aircraft was about to take off. The pilot immediately turned around and the passengers were disembarked.

“Another aircraft was provided for them and I can confirm to you that they arrived in Abuja safely a few hours ago.”

Reacting to the incident, the General Manager, Public Relations, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Mr Sam Adurogboye, said he was yet to confirm if the incident had been filed with the regulatory authority.

He, however, noted that the pilot acted according to the Standards and Recommended Practices of the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

(NAN)

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FG appoints five directors GM for NCAA

The Federal Government on Monday approved the appointment of five new Directors and one General Manager for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.

NCAA made the announcement in a statement issued by its General Manager, Public Affairs, Mr Sam Adurogboye, in Lagos.

Adurogboye explained that the appointment was with immediate effect.

He said that those appointed were Capt. Edem Oyo-Ita as Director of Air Transport Regulations, Mr Abbas Sanusi; Director, Human Resources and Administration, Adamu Sani; Director of Finance and Accounts.

“Others are Odunowo Tayyib Adetunji, Director of Aerodrome and Airspace Standards, Mr Ita Awak, Director of Airworthiness Standards, Lawrence Kwajok, General Manager, Air Navigational Standards,” he said.

The federal government on Friday sacked all the directors in the agency.

The sacked directors were Salawu Ozigi, Joyce Nkemakolam, Aba Ejembi, Emmanuel Ogunbami, Benedict Adeyileka, Justus Wariya, and Austin-Amadi Ifeanyi.

NAN

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