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Yahoo to face class action lawsuit over email spying

Posted By Theresa Ugwuanyi on Thursday, 28 May 2015 | 12:09 p.m.

Yahoo will face a US class action lawsuit for allegedly accessing the content of emails sent to its mail users from non-Yahoo Mail accounts.
A Californian judge ruled that people who sent emails to or received emails from Yahoo Mail users from 2 October 2011 can sue the company as a group, granting it class action status.
There is estimated to be over one million members in the privacy lawsuit.
Yahoo is accused of using the data to boost advertising revenue.
The non-Yahoo Mail users said the company intercepted and analysed their emails, along with attachments with the goal of creating "targeted advertising" for its 275 million mail subscribers.
Last year, nearly 80% of Yahoo's revenue came from its search and display advertising.
The judge also ruled that a group of holders of non-Yahoo accounts in California since 2 October 2012 may also sue as a group for privacy infringement.
The accusers sought an injunction banning Yahoo from allegedly spying on emails, along with damages.
In its defence, Yahoo argued that some of the plaintiffs continued to email Yahoo subscribers, despite being aware of Yahoo's activities and in doing so consented to Yahoo accessing their emails.
A class action lawsuit can make it easier for the group to receive larger damages and more wide-ranging resolutions at a lower cost.


Bill Cosby Assault Allegations Trigger Change in Nevada Sex-Crime Law

The statute of limitations for criminal prosecution of sexual assault has just gone from four years to 20 in Nevada—and that’s because of the wave of accusations against the comedian.
The flood of sexual-assault allegations against Bill Cosby isn’t just making headlines—it’s now having an effect on state-level public policy.
On Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Brian Sandoval signed a bill into law that will extend the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution of sexual assault in Nevada. At a press conference after the private signing ceremony, the bill’s primary sponsor, Democratic Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams, appeared with Lise-Lotte Lublin and Linda Kirkpatrick, two women who say Cosby sexually assaulted them in Nevada in the 1980s.
Lublin in particular lobbied hard for the passage of the bill, which increases the statute of limitations in cases of sexual assault from four to 20 years. In testimony before Nevada lawmakers, she told the story of her alleged encounter with Cosby. She says she was assaulted in 1989 in a Las Vegas hotel after the comedian served her two drugged drinks and she passed out. When she learned of the allegations made by other women who had met Cosby, she decided to file a police report, she said. It was then that she discovered that Cosby could not be charged due to the four-year statute of limitations.
Lublin and her husband subsequently met with Assemblywoman Adams to discuss drafting what would become the new law, AB212. Adams sponsored the bill on behalf of Lublin, who is one of her constituents.
“I am furious and I have decided to fight for my rights and the rights of every man, woman, and child who have been victims of a sexual crime,” Lublin said. “I have contacted every senator and assembly person from the state of Nevada, and I will continue to rally every victim of sexual assault, every rape crisis center, and every supporter who believes in the right to have an offender tried in a court of law.”

Ted Cruz is addicted to Candy Crush!

Ted Cruz
The senator is known as a Tea Party firebrand. What he’s not known as is a hidden geek who can’t get enough of ‘Candy Crush.’ He tells The Daily Beast why he can’t have a console.
Long before Ted Cruz became a senator from Texas, he was a gamer. He’s known for being pugilistic on the Senate floor, but sometimes he’d rather be fighting cartoon zombies on his iPhone. 
It’s an uncommon lens through which to view Cruz, a controversial conservative figure who is now running for the highest political office in the country. Cruz’s video game habit fits into a largely hidden geek persona that lurks just behind his better-known public reputation as an obstinate Tea Party firebrand.

His passion for video games, and the way he uses them to connect with his children, cuts through some of that. 
“I play with my daughters,” he told The Daily Beast. “One of the fun things that I do with Caroline and Catherine is we get on the iPhone or the iPad and play games. Drives my wife crazy. She doesn’t like it, but both girls like to curl up and play games. In our household, I’m the one in charge of taking the girls to Chuck E. Cheese, and it’s not much of a secret that I don’t mind doing so. I’m trying to get brownie points from [his wife] Heidi for taking them to Chuck E. Cheese, and she’s like, ‘What, are you kidding? You have more fun there than they do.’”
Geeks are cool now, they rule the world. So Cruz’s love for video games is an admission that presidential candidates have only really been able to make in the past few years. 

B.B. King’s Kids Swear He Was Murdered

The blues legend’s daughters say he was poisoned to death and have accused his longtime manager of elder abuse. Her team says the claims are just a cheap money grab by disgruntled kin.
It’s a battle that would surely have B.B. King singing the blues.
Family members of the recently deceased blues guitar legend continue to spar over control of his estate—and now, they’re alleging King was the victim of foul play.
In affidavits filed shortly after his death on May 14 at age 89, daughters Patty King and Karen Williams convey their medically unsubstantiated suspicions that their father was poisoned.
In the identically worded affidavits, they claim: “I believe my father was poisoned and that he was administered foreign substances to induce his premature death. I believe my father was murdered.”
A preliminary autopsy conducted by the Clark County Coroner’s Office showed no sign of homicide. King suffered from the effects of aging and Type-2 diabetes, officials said.
The results of a full autopsy will take several weeks, but the daughters’ accusations won’t prevent King’s burial, which scheduled for Saturday in Indianola, Mississippi.

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REVEALED! Clinton Foundation took FIFA Money

Both Bill Clinton and his family’s charity have been tied to soccer’s governing body, as well as Qatar’s disastrous World Cup bid.
And just like that, another Clinton Foundation donor is in the news.
The Clinton global charity has received between $50,000 and $100,000 from soccer’s governing body and has partnered with the Fédération Internationale de Football Association on several occasions, according to donor listings on the foundation’s website.
Several top FIFA executives were arrested Wednesday in Zurich and face corruption charges stretching back two decades, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Involvement with the embattled body extends beyond the foundation to Bill Clinton himself. The former president was an honorary chairman of the bid committee put together to promote the United States as a possible host nation for the 2018 or 2022 World Cup.
When the U.S. lost the 2022 bid to Qatar, Clinton was rumored to be so upset he shattered a mirror.
But apparently Qatar tried to make it up to him.
The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, partnering with the State of Qatar, “committed to utilizing its research and development for sustainable infrastructure at the 2022 FIFA World Cup to improve food security in Qatar, the Middle East, and other arid and water-stressed regions throughout the world,” according to the Clinton Foundation website.
The cost of the two-year project is not listed on the Clinton Foundation website, but the Qatar 2022 committee gave the foundation between $250,000 and $500,000 in 2014 and the State of Qatar gave between $1 million and $5 million in previous, unspecified years.
FIFA, which has never been a bastion of ethics, was heavily criticized for awarding the 2018 and 2022 World Cup to Russia and Qatar, respectively, in part because of their abysmal human-rights records.

The Soccer Dad Who Brought Down FIFA

Chuck Blazer went from kiddie coach to living large on private jets as general secretary of CONCACAF. Now he’s Mr. Big of informants in the huge corruption case rocking world soccer.
One apartment in Trump Tower for himself.
A second next door for his cats.
More luxury apartments in Florida and the Bahamas.
Credit card charges topping $26 million.
Another $20 million in his pocket.
A blog titled “Travels with Chuck Blazer and His Friends…” featuring a picture of him on a private plane with a smiling Nelson Mandela.
A private meeting with Vladimir Putin in which the Russian president tells him he looks just like Karl Marx.
Nights at one for the best tables in the fabled Manhattan nightspot Elaine’s.
Feasts at such fine restaurants as Campagnola and Dutch.
Chuck Blazer billed all of it—including a Hummer for himself and health care for his girlfriend—to an international soccer association, years of graft justified by a sense of entitlement.
He was, after all, the general secretary of FIFA’s Confederation of North, Central American, and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), having hustled his way up from kiddie coach to head of the Westchester County soccer association to the New York state soccer association to a national position and his eventual prominence.
The one-time suburban soccer dad who had stood so lean with his 6-year-old son’s team back in 1979 had since been transformed by excess into a 450-pound personification of ever growing greed.
When he became too corpulent to move around without effort, he simply got a motorized scooter.
And the hobnobbing and gorging and squandering might have just kept on and on, for the soccer association was the infamously corrupt FIFA.
The greed turned feverish as Qatar campaigned to become the site for the 2022 World Cup.
Qatar had broiling heat and scant facilities, and little to recommend itself beside alot of cash, but that was enough to cinch it.
With that victory, Mohammed Bin Hammam of Qatar apparently decided that the magic of money might also make him the new president of FIFA.
And here, CONCACAF’s then president, Jack Warner, went from greedy to plain stupid.
Warner was also president of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), which in the past has voted as a bloc in FIFA presidential elections.
Warner called a meeting of the CFU at a Trinidad hotel. Bin Hammam addressed the group. Warner afterward directed the members to a conference room to pick up a “gift” for having attended.
Frederick Lunn, vice president of the Bahamas Football Association, later recounted in an affidavit that he went to the conference room as instructed.
“When I arrived, the door was locked, so I knocked,” Lunn recounted. “A male answered the door and asked that I wait a few minutes. Soon thereafter, the same individual opened the door and invited me in.”
Lunn entered and a woman asked him to sign a form.
“She then handed me a manila envelope with ‘Bahamas’ written on it,” Lunn remembered. “I opened the envelope, which was stapled, and stacks of US $100 fell out of the envelope and onto the table. I was stunned to see the cash. I asked them what it was and they told me it was US $40,000. They said it was a gift from the CFU and I could count if I wanted.”
Lunn took a picture of the money before returning it.
“Witnessing this was particularly troubling because at this same time CNN was running stories concerning allegations of bribes being paid in connection with awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar,” Lunn recounted.
Lunn reported the attempted “gift” to Anton Sealey, the head of the Bahamas chapter. Sealey reported it to Blazer.
In the past, Warner had suffered few repercussions after being accused of hustles such as selling 20,000 more tickets to a match than there were seats.
But Warner had now engaged in something unforgivable: being party to an apparent attempt to bribe an honest person who then reported it.
Word of it was sure to reach FIFA. And the longtime sitting president, Sepp Blatter, no doubt take would particular exception, as this gift-giving was an apparent attempt to unseat him.
All of which left Blazer in jeopardy because he and Warner had long been considered to be so close that people would meld their names together and speak of them as one person, ChuckJack.
Chuck moved to separate himself from Jack. Blazer reported Warner to FIFA, filing an affidavit that is almost certainly an exercise in perjury.
“I told Mr. Warner I was upset he had caused these payments to be made. I noted that in 21 years of working together in CONCACAF we had never paid anyone for a vote,” Blazer said in the sworn statement.
Warner must have sputtered. He had supposedly given Blazer a cut of the $10 million he allegedly received for voting in favor of South Africa hosting the 2010 World Cup.
But Warner could not say that without putting himself in a far deeper hole. Warner resigned, telling reporters only, “The general secretary that I had employed, who worked with me for 21 years, with the assistance of elements of FIFA has sought to undermine me in ways that are unimaginable.”

Generous customer leaves $ 2,000 tip for waiter

A regular customer at a D.C. restaurant left a $2,000 check for the staff.
Blue 44 owner Chris Nardelli says the patron came in on Monday to have some gumbo, which he particularly likes and the staff had waiting for him. He ordered a couple of quarts to-go and his bill would have been $93, but because he was such a loyal customer the restaurant workers offered it to him on the house.
The customer, who remains anonymous, left a $2,000 tip instead, and instructed the bartender, chef and owner on how to share the gratuity. One thousand dollars was to go to Chef James Turner, $500 to bartender Laura Daly and $500 to the owner, according to Nardelli.
Nardelli says the same customer also likes their beer selection and the restaurant staff often seeks his input on menu items, which varieties of beer to offer, and more.

Woman survives death row, kills self later

A woman who at age 16 was the youngest death row inmate in Indiana was found dead, apparently by her own hand, two years after was released from prison.
Paula Cooper had pleaded guilty to murder in 1986 but a successful appeal led to her June 2013 release after 27 years in prison.
Cooper, 45, died just after 7:15 a.m. ET Tuesday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. Her death is still under investigation, and the Marion County coroner's office conducted an autopsy Wednesday.
"It's an unusual ending to a tragic case," said Indianapolis lawyer Jack Crawford, who was the Lake County prosecutor when Cooper was charged. "I've been involved in a lot of cases in my life, and nothing compared to this case."
Cooper became infamous in 1985 when at 15 she was charged with murder in the stabbing of 78-year-old Ruth Pelke during a robbery. Law enforcement identified Cooper as the ringleader in the slaying. Cooper was 15 when she was charged with murder in the stabbing of 78-year-old Ruth Pelke, a Bible teacher in the Chicago suburb of Gary, Ind., during a robbery.
Three other co-defendants — also teenage girls at the time — went to prison but have been released.
Cooper was 16 when she was convicted, the youngest person ever in this state to face the death penalty when she was sentenced. At the time in 1986, she also was the youngest Death Row inmate in the country.
An appeal from Pope John Paul II, an international campaign to overturn the death sentence and legal challenges helped spare Cooper's life.
The Indiana Supreme Court commuted the death sentence in 1989 and sent her to prison for 60 years. She earned credits for an early release.

Amaechi scolds Catholic bishop for congratulating Wike

  1. Rivers state Governor, Rotimi Amaechi has called on the Church to pray for the All Progressives Congress, APC to reclaim it's mandate in the state instead of congratulating Governor-elect, Nyesom Wike.
  2. amaechi  
  3. VANGUARD reports that Amaechi made the call at a special thanksgiving service to mark his 50th birthday organised by his friends at Corpus Christi Cathedral in Port Harcourt on Wednesday. 
  4. While responding to an appeal from the Catholic Bishop of Port Harcourt Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Camillus Etukudor to settle the row between him and Wike, Amaechi said, ''My Lordship talked about forgiveness. In the Catholic Church, you don’t oppose the views of your bishop. His words represent an order. If you oppose him you may be barred from taking Holy Communion.

  5. ''You are not a true Catholic if you don’t receive the Holy Communion. But Your Lordship, the same Catholic doctrine also states that justice comes before forgiveness. All those that were killed during the last general elections must get justice. Their families must get justice. Our party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, must get justice first at the petition election tribunal. Our mandate must be retrieved at the tribunal.

  6. ''I am surprised that My Lordship congratulated Wike here today. I am using this opportunity to call on the Church to join the APC in praying to God so that we can reclaim our mandate. Reclaiming our mandate at the petition election tribunal will represent a measure of justice. We must seek justice before reconciliation''. 

Court Rejects Application To Stop Wike’s Inauguration

Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday declined to issue an ex parte application to stop the chief judge of Bayelsa State, Justice Kate Abiri, from swearing in the Rivers State governor-elect, Chief Nyesom Wike, on May 29, 2015.

According to Justice Ibrahim Buba, granting such an application would amount to “adding insult upon the injury” of the people of Rivers State, who currently “have no judiciary.”
The court also held that though the applicants had a meritorious cause of action because the issues bordered on the sanctity of the constitution, granting their ex parte application may occasion a state of anarchy in Rivers State.
“I am of the firm view that no court should make the order ex parte to further compound the problems in Rivers State,” the judge stated.
In the suit filed by three Lagos lawyers; Monday Ubani, John Nwokwu and Gabriel Okoro, the plaintiffs argued that Justice Abiri cannot swear Wike in because the constitution only allows the chief judge of the state or the president of the Customary Court of Appeal of Rivers State to do so.
Joined as respondents in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/769/2015 are the attorney general of the federation, Mohammed Adoke (SAN), Bayelsa CJ, Justice Abiri and Wike.
It will be recalled that Adoke had, in a press statement issued on May 19, directed Abiri to swear in Wike on May 29, since Rivers State currently has no substantive chief judge.
The minister said it was to avert a likely constitutional crisis in Rivers State and that the directive was in line with the constitution and urged the citizens to take note and respect it.
But in a 25-paragraph affidavit in support of the ex parte application deposed to by Nwokwu, the applicants claimed that Adoke’s directive “is already causing public confusion and uncertainty in the country.”
The applicants therefore sought an order “restraining the 2nd defendant from administering the oath of office on the 3rd respondent on the basis of the directive of the 1st respondent and to stay all actions pending the determination of the substantive suit.”
In the alternative, they wanted the court to make an order “restraining the defendants whether by themselves, agents, servants and privies from taking any further steps in connection with the matter pending determination.”
They had claimed that it would be in the interest of justice to grant the ex parte application.
Justice Buba, however, refused it, saying “we cannot all be shallow or be shallow-minded. There shall be no room for anarchy.”
The court has adjourned further hearing in the matter till June 29 to hear the motion on notice.


Wike fires back: I’ve Never Killed Anybody

Rivers State governor-elect, Chief Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike, has denied the allegation by Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi that he conspired with someone to kill innocent people of the state in order to win the governorship election.

Amaechi had while speaking at a public lecture to mark his 50th birthday anniversary in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, accused the governor-elect of hiring a former militant leader in the Niger Delta region, to mastermind the killing of innocent people of the state during the just concluded general elections.
But Wike, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt yesterday, said he had never killed anybody or conspired with any other person whatsoever to kill any person, pointing out that in all his political pursuits, killing of anybody has never and will never form part of his strategy to win any election.
The statement, which was signed by the chairman, Media and Publicity Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party Campaign Organisation (PDPCO) in the state, Barrister Emma Okah, said Wike did not need to kill anybody to win the 2015 general elections in the state and wondered why Amaechi who is the chief security officer of the state has kept quiet or refused to press criminal charges against him until Wike is about to be sworn in as governor of Rivers State.
He stated that the governor-elect has no immunity and wondered what Amaechi was waiting for to prosecute him or anybody he accuses of such a heinous crime if he is to be taken seriously.
Okah said, “It is shameful for a man to speak loosely like a lunatic the way Amaechi does and we urge him to seek spiritual and medical attention; no matter how much distractions he causes, he must account for his misdeeds and looting of Rivers State during his tenure as governor.”


Children’s Day celebration: Fashola advises pupils

Lagos State Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola  urged children to stay away from drug abuse, violence and other vices that can destroy their future and progress.

Fashola spoke yesterday when he addressed children at the Police College Ground as part of activities marking this year’s Children’s Day celebration.
He said it was important for children to desist from drug abuse, bad friends and sundry crimes that would be inimical to nation-building.

He said: “I urged you to stay away from all vices that can destroy your future. I want you to stay away from drug abuse, ignore bad friends who might want to introduce you to cultism, stay away from violence and bad gangs. But rather, you can join social and voluntary clubs such as Boys Brigade, Girls Guide and Sheriff Guard among others that have been created for you to mould your future.”

Fashola urged the children not to forget all the things that they have learnt through programmes initiated by his administration  such as the road safety rules and signs, traffic rules, the climate change rule to protect their environment and hand washing techniques, which helped the state to combat the Ebola Virus during its outbreak.

He added that the children should continue with the good habits to make Lagos State a better place for all.

The Nation

Incest: Woman ‘hacks’ son to death

A young woman, Funmilayo Adeyanju, yesterday reportedly hacked her three- year-old son to death at Ogunso, Otta in Ado-Odo/Otta Local Government Area of Ogun State.

Adeyanju was said to have returned home after running an errand.
It was gathered that she barely rested for 30 minutes before picking up a kitchen knife and attacking the boy.

A source said: “She allegedly pinned her son, Emmanuel, to the ground and savagely stabbed him in the chest, abdomen, head and other parts of the body.

“We are not sure what provoked the suspect, but we are sure it had to do with the trauma of an alleged incestuous relationship between her and her father.
“It is being said that the boy is the product of the incestuous relationship.”

Police spokesman Olumuyiwa Adejobi said policemen from Ota Division have arrested the woman. The boy’s remains have been evacuated to the mortuary.

Adejobi said:  “The police have recovered the boy’s body. The woman has been acting strangely. The police would carry out proper investigation. We’ll have to seek the help of an expert to know her mental state.”

The nation

Abati goes biblical as the end nears

Special Adviser, Media to President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr Reuben Abati commenced his final exit from State House, Aso Rock on Wednesday with a Bible quote on his tweeter handle @abati1990.

” #Unto Thee O Lord. Ecclesiastes 3:2: a time to be born and a time to die.

” Thank you, Nigeria. State House, May 27,” Abati wrote in the tweet accompanied with the picture of the President’s empty seat in the executive chambers.

The tweet has attracted varied responses from his followers.
” You have done your best Sir. May posterity judge you fairly. We wish you well in your future engagements” Stephen Hezron stated.

Bukhara Danyaya response was ” As you go remember the people massacred by Boko Haram”
Other responses are as follows:

” Good bye to Good luck, welcome to hard work GMB all the way- Usam

” Broda Abati I see your impact on GEJ throughout but on your home town in Abeokuta you disappoint all the youth though out you know – Olatayo

” No one is sympathizing with you. Bye bye – Al-Mustapha

” End of an era and posterity will judge whether good or bad- Rotexy

Abati and other presidential appointees’ last day on office is Thursday.

Don't probe me alone Jonathan begs Buhari

Interestingly, President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday responded to calls for the probe of his administration. He said any probe by the incoming Muhammadu Buhari administration should not be limited to his administration.
Speaking during the valedictory session of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, he said that those calling for a probe of his administration should ensure that the same treatment applies to other administrations before him.
Jonathan said such probe should cover how oil wells and fields were allocated in the past.
Limiting the probe to his administration, he said, will amount to witch hunting.
Said Dr Jonathan: “Some people are even calling for the probe of this government. I agree in Nigeria there are a number of things that we will probe, very many things. Even debts owed by states and this nation from 1960 up to this time, they say it is Jonathan’s administration that is owing all the debt.
“I believe that anybody calling for probe must ensure that these probes are extended beyond the Jonathan administration; otherwise, to me, it will be witch hunting. If you are very sincere, then it’s not just the Jonathan’s administration that should be probed.
“A number of things have gone wrong and we have done our best to fix them. The Attorney General is aware of massive judgment debts. If we aggregate all of them, it’s almost going to $1 billion. How did we come to this kind of huge judgment debts?
“These issues should be probed. How do you allocate our oil wells, oil fields, marginal wells and all that; do we follow our laws? All these should be probed. And I believe all these and many more areas should be looked at.”

Bribery Allegedly Won 2010 World Cup for South Africa

Cape Town — The FIFA corruption scandal rocking the football world has cast a shadow over the historic decision to stage the 2010 World Cup in Africa.

Announcing racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering charges against nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives on Wednesday, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said of the lead-up to choosing South Africa as the 2010 host that "even for this historic event, FIFA executives and others corrupted the process by using bribes to influence the hosting decision."
While Lynch gave no details, the New York Times reported that the indictment unsealed by New York prosecutors listed "a South Africa World Cup bid committee official" as one of 25 unnamed co-conspirators in the case.

Boko Haram war: 200 Soldiers Fired for ‘Cowardice’

The Nigerian Army has sacked at least 200 soldiers for cowardice and failure to fight against Boko Haram militants, several soldiers have told the BBC.
Up to 4,500 other rank and file soldiers could be dismissed, they say.
A Nigerian military source confirmed the dismissals to the BBC, but would not give an exact figure.
The army was widely criticised when the Islamist group Boko Haram captured vast areas in the country's North-east last year, despite a military emergency.
Nigerian troops, with military backing from Chad, Cameroun and Niger, has now recaptured most of the areas in the North-east which the group had seized, but sporadic attacks and violence have continued.
Many of the dismissals are thought to be connected to the fall of Mubi, the second largest town in Adamawa State, one of three states worst hit by the insurgency.
Boko Haram insurgents captured the town in October after clashes with government forces.
One of the soldiers who has been dismissed, and was present at the fall of Mubi, told the BBC Hausa service that soldiers were simply following orders from their commanders, who had told them to retreat from the town because they lacked adequate weapons to take on the militants.
“We weren't given an opportunity to defend ourselves. I've spent 20 years in the service of the Nigerian Army, I've never been accused of any offence,” said the soldier, who did not want to be named.
It is expected that the soldiers who have been dismissed will not receive any extra payment or pensions because of their low rank and are not entitled to defend themselves in a military court, reported the BBC.
A military official, who did not want to be named, said that video footage taken during the fall of Mubi showed soldiers fleeing Boko Haram, providing proof of their cowardice.
Nigeria's incoming President, Muhammadu Buhari, may review the death sentences of the 66 soldiers separately convicted for refusing to fight Boko Haram, according to their lawyer.
About 1.5 million people have been displaced and hundreds more abducted since the group launched their violent uprising in 2009. More than 15,500 people have been killed in the fighting.
The group is still holding many women, girls and children captives including 219 schools girls it kidnapped from a school in Chibok in April last year.

Oshiomhole knocks Okonjo-Iweala for Mismanaging the Economy

Adams Oshiomhole
In a scathing treatise a few days before the end of the Jonathan administration, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has accused the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of gross mismanagement of the nation’s economy in the last four years and feeding Nigerians with half-truths.
According to the governor, in an article reviewing the nation’s economy in the last four years, he alleged Okonjo-Iweala ran the Excess Crude Account (ECA) as if she was running a one-man show, saying her recent outcry that oil marketers were falsifying subsidy claims might have been done out of fear of the incoming administration led by Major-General Muhammadu Buhari.
In the article, the governor said: “As the country transits from one democratic dispensation to another, there is no gainsaying that the state of the nation’s economy is the focal point, especially with the unending fuel scarcity which is gradually grinding the nation to a halt.
“No doubt, the best person to explain the state of the economy today is Okonjo-Iweala, the Honourable Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, whose management of the nation’s resources in these past four years has elicited different reactions from Nigerians.
“As a member of the National Economic Council, I had spoken out at different times at NEC meetings and even in public on the way the economy is managed under Dr. Okonjo-Iweala. Again, I want to share my views with the public on some of the issues affecting the Nigerian nation.
“Recently, Okonjo-Iweala has been all over the place, pointing at the wrong directions and blaming everybody but herself for the parlous state of the Nigerian economy.
“Coming after her deafening silence on the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) audit of NNPC’s crude oil sales and receipts, which revealed massive abuse of public trust and stealing of our common patrimony in high places under her watch and the government she serves, it is quite intriguing that with barely a few days left in office, she has suddenly woken up from her slumber to realise that oil marketers have been all along falsifying subsidy claims and defrauding the nation of billions of naira and dollars.”
He noted that this latter day “policy activism” on the part of the minister deserved closer scrutiny and interrogation.
He posited that perhaps for fear of the incoming president, come May 29, she was now being compelled to disclose to Nigerians that a cabal is holding the country and the government to ransom.
Besides the abuse of the subsidy regime, Oshiomhole urged Nigerians to insist that Okonjo-Iweala should come clean on some other critical issues that demand accountability from her and her office.
“According to Okonjo-Iweala, after paying N156 billion to the oil marketers, the marketers came with another claim of N200 billion, which includes a N159 billion coming not from actual supply of fuel but from exchange rate differentials.  This resulted in prolonged bickering that led to the current nationwide fuel scarcity and total blackout.
“The question to ask is: how come that it is now, for the first time, that we are hearing from the Minister of Finance about fraudulent claims by the oil marketers amounting to billions of naira? At what point did the minister of finance and CME realise that these fraudulent and similar claims were going on? When did it start? Was it just recently or it has it been going on all along?
“These questions are pertinent because we know that if the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) was doing its work diligently, all claims by oil marketers would be vetted on a daily basis before their payments are processed by the Ministry of Finance. Hence, there should be no dispute about the amount due to oil marketers at any point in time.
“What the foregoing therefore suggests is that all along, PPPRA, the Ministry of Finance and the oil marketers have been involved in an unholy alliance, in the mismanagement of the fuel subsidy regime and in the process defrauding the nation of its revenues.
“The minister cannot stop at simply by shedding crocodile tears about fraudulent claims by oil marketers. Having found her voice, thanks to the fear of Gen. Buhari, it is very necessary that Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala takes one more crucial step at full disclosure.
“She must disclose to the nation the full details of subsidy payments made to oil marketers in the last four years, including the parameters used to calculate the subsidies. This also must include how much of the subsidy was paid to the NNPC since the NNPC is also being accused of making the same fraudulent claims.
“In other words, the minister should be prepared to provide more information and make more explanations regarding the management or mismanagement of subsidy payments in the last four years,” he said.
Oshiomhole then delved into the management or lack thereof of the ECA, adding: “This is another area in which the Minister of Finance should come out, shed more light and put all the cards on the table.
“During several meetings of the National Economic Council (NEC), which has all the governors as members and with the vice-president as chairman, I had cause to observe that the state governments, who are joint owners of the ECA, with the federal government, were not being adequately briefed on the status of the account.
“Accordingly, I had consistently demanded from the minister a transparent and periodic disclosure of accruals to the ECA, at least on a monthly basis. I had argued that even village associations do make available their financial statements from time to time, and as NEC, I see no reason why we will not even do better.
“All these years, my pleas fell on deaf ears. The Minister of Finance consistently failed to apprise the NEC with critical information on the management and operations of the ECA in black and white, when she eventually got to do that, it was usually verbal and casual, and hardly meaningful enough for decision-making.
“The minister had also developed the penchant for deliberately avoiding NEC’s crucial meetings, which many saw as a ploy to keep the governors in the dark. And when she was not around, no one got any information, as if she was running a one-man show.”
Delving into details, the Edo governor said: “It is interesting to note that by December 2012 the ECA had a balance of over $10 billion. This has been depleted to $2.07 billion by May 2015, according to the Finance Minister. Between January 2013 and May 2015, not more than $4 billion was shared from the ECA. Indeed, the last time any money was shared from the ECA was in May 2013.
“For six clear months in 2013, NEC did not meet, an act many believed was contrived to conceal information on the operations of the ECA. When eventually NEC met after those six months, the Minister of Finance reported that the ECA had dropped to $4 billion.
“This prompted me to ask a very pertinent question: if the closing balance of the ECA as at December 2012 was over $10 billion and that for three years running, Nigeria’s budget had been based on the average of between $77 and $79 oil benchmark while the average price of Nigeria’s crude has been $108 per barrel, suggesting an average of about $30 per barrel over the benchmark price, how come there was no accretion to the ECA?
“Indeed, based on a rough estimate, we should be expecting not less than $30 billion accretion based on the official oil exports of 2.3 million barrels per day. The question which Dr. Okonjo-Iweala should answer, therefore, is why did Nigeria not make any savings during the unprecedented boom years from 2011 to August 2014?
“The explanation offered by the Minister of Finance, which was as usual oral, and of course, far from satisfactory, was hinged on three factors, namely: (a) because of oil theft not much accrued to the ECA; (b) part of ECA was also used to fund petroleum subsidy and SURE-P; and (c) part of the ECA was also shared to the three tiers of government at the request of the state governments.
“Her claims in my view are untenable, fraudulent, illegal, unconstitutional and a clear breach of extant financial regulations.
“In the first place, the ECA is not the exclusive preserve of the federal government. It belongs to all the tiers of government: federal, state and local governments. Moreover, the minister has no power whatsoever to spend monies without the express consent and approval of the state governments.
“Until questions were asked as to the status of the ECA, no state government was put in the picture about the fact that money was taken from the ECA, why it was, and for what purpose.

“It is also a fact known to all that under the 1999 Constitution (as amended), only the National Assembly has the power to appropriate monies for subsidy.
“Similarly, nobody spends money that is not appropriated or in excess of what was appropriated without recourse to the National Assembly. And with regards to funding subsidies and SURE-P from ECA, there was no indication anywhere that the National Assembly authorised the use of ECA for that purpose.



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