Dasuki resists appearing in court for Metuh’s trial

Image result for Former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.)The detained former National Security Adviser,  Sambo Dasuki, is still not disposed to appearing before the Federal High Court in Abuja  to testify in defence of a former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, despite the witness summons of the court ordering him to appear in that regard on Tuesday (tomorrow).

It was learnt from court officials on Sunday that Dasuki, through his lawyer, Mr. Ahmed Raji (SAN), had appealed against the October 25 ruling of Justice Okon Abang who dismissed his application challenging the subpoena ordering him to appear in court.

The court official said, “In addition, Dasuki’s team filed an application for stay of execution of the ruling of Justice Abang and impliedly the judgment of the Court of Appeal delivered on September 25 directing Justice Abang to sign the said subpoena and have it served on Dasuki who is the custody of the Department of State Services.

“You will recall that Justice Abang had signed the subpoena as far back as October 3 in compliance with the Court of Appeal’s judgment and directed that Dasuki should be produced in court on October 25.

“But Dasuki did not appear in court on October 25, so the judge, after hearing his motion challenging the subpoena issued against him, ordered that he should be produced in court on October 31. It is the October 25 ruling that he (Dasuki) appealed against.”

The PUNCH learnt on Sunday that Dasuki, who did not appear in court on October 25 as earlier ordered by the court, had on the same October 25, filed the motion seeking an order of stay of execution of the court’s order directing him to appear in court on October 31.

Our correspondent learnt on Sunday that the trial judge fixed October 31 for the hearing of Dasuki’s stay of execution of the court’s October 25 ruling.

Justice Abang had, in his ruling delivered on October 25, struck out an application by Dasuki, seeking an order setting aside the subpoena directing him (the ex-NSA) to appear in court to testify on behalf of Metuh.

The judge ruled that having been ordered by the Court of Appeal in Abuja on September 29, 2017, to sign and ensure the service of the subpoena on Dasuki, he lacked jurisdiction to hear and determine the motion on merit.

He held that determining Dasuki’s motion on merit would amount to an attempt to review the judgment of a higher court, the Court of Appeal.

He held that all issues raised by Dasuki, through his lawyer, Raji, had become academic since the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the complaints.

According to the judge, to proceed to hear Dasuki’s application would amount to “judicial anarchy.”

During the same October 25 proceedings, Justice Abang gave the court bailiff five days to serve former President Goodluck Jonathan with the witness summons compelling him to appear in court with respect to  Metuh’s trial.

The court also ordered the counsel prosecuting Metuh, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, to persuade the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to explore administrative means of ensuring that the DSS produced Dasuki in court on October 31.

Upon applications by Metuh, the court had issued two separate subpoenas on Jonathan and Dasuki, compelling them to appear in court on Wednesday.

Jonathan and Dasuki were summoned by the court upon Metuh’s application requesting that they be ordered to testify in his defence with respect to the sum of N400m which he was said to have received fraudulently from the Office of the NSA in 2014.

But the two summoned witnesses were absent from court on Wednesday.

Ruling after hearing the lawyers involved in the case on Wednesday, Justice Abang noted that without the two summoned witnesses appearing, it would be difficult for the court to make any progress in the case.

In compliance with the court’s order, our correspondent learnt on Sunday that the acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, had personally written the Director General of the DSS, Lawal Daura, requesting that the ex-NSA be produced in court on Tuesday as directed by the court.

Meanwhile, Metuh had indicated in a statement last week that he had asked his legal team to review his request to call Jonathan as a witness, following the backlash he had received with respect to the case.

Peters hires foreign lawyers to defend alleged link with Diezani

Image result for Tweet   Share  Pin it  +1 Benedict PetersThe Executive Vice-Chairman, Aiteo Group, Mr. Benedict Peters, says he has engaged two foreign law firms to defend him against the malicious, unfounded and false allegations hanging over his head.

Aiteo Group, an indigenous oil firm, had reportedly released a statement in September denying that Peters bought a property in England and luxury furnishings for a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, in return for contracts in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

A fresh statement on Sunday, which was made available to our correspondent, quoted Peters as lamenting that some unfounded allegations had been injuring the reputation of his company, thus, the need for him to hire two foreign law firms to clear his name.

He said the foreign law firms – Mishcon de Reya, the United Kingdom; and Covington & Burling, Washington DC, United States of America –  would “offer both counsel and guidance in dealing with these issues.”

The statement said the foreign law firms would lead efforts to address the “politically-motivated issues” that Peters had been grappling with for about two years.

Peters was quoted as saying that, “These unfounded allegations have caused untold disruption to my family and my business. To ensure that we remain focused, I have engaged two of the world’s leading law firms to offer both counsel and guidance in dealing with these issues.

“There is a toxic culture of politically-motivated witch-hunts that stain reputations, stifles enterprise and keeps foreign investors away from our country. For two years, I have suffered malicious, unfounded and false allegations hanging over my head.

“This persecution is being pursued to diminish the visible endeavours to position our business, and Nigeria, at the apex of the energy industry worldwide. Despite these distractions, I remain focused on the efforts to sustain Aiteo’s growth towards becoming Nigeria’s leading indigenous oil producer. It is time to address the situation and so I have decided that I must take direct legal and other actions to clear my name.”

Kano confirms suspected monkeypox case

Image result for Kano State Governor, Dr Abdullahi GandujeThe Kano State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Kabir Getso, has confirmed that a suspected case of monkeypox has been recorded in Bebeji Local Government Area of the state.

The commissioner, who stated this while briefing newsmen on Saturday in Kano, disclosed that the blood sample of the patient had been sent to Abuja for clinical verification.

He added, “One of the symptoms of the disease was noticed in the patient, but we are suspecting that the diseases is more of chicken pox than monkeypox.”

Getso said the suspected victim had been isolated and put on intensive clinical watch until the result of the sample was received.

“The state also identified 60 people who had contacts with the patient and all of them have been quarantined,” he said.

The commissioner said that a team had put the entire area where the suspected case was recorded under clinical watch, adding that the state had established a special clinic to handle any outbreak.

“For now only 11 states are affected by the monkey pox disease and 94 persons are the victims, out of which only six are confirmed.

“The Kano case from Bebeji Local Government has yet to be confirmed. The blood sampling will take three weeks before it is ready,” he said.

Police invite Omisore over alleged attack on late Adeleke

Image result for Senator Iyiola OmisoreThe police have invited a former deputy governor of Osun State, Iyiola Omisore, over an alleged attack on the late Senator Isiaka Adeleke in the build up to the governorship primary election of the Peoples Democratic Party in 2014.

The late senator, who was a governorship candidate of the PDP shortly before the 2014 governorship election in Osun State had accused Omisore and a former Minister of State for Police Affairs, Jelili Adesiyan and one Sogo Agboola, of beating him up at a hotel where he had gone to meet officials of the PDP sent to conduct the primary.

Adeleke, eventually defected to the All Progressives Congress ahead of the poll  to assist Governor Rauf Aregbesola to win his second term while he (Adeleke) contested Osun West Senatorial Election and won. He, however, died on April 23, 2017.

Despite the death of the complainant, the police last week sent an invitation to Omisore asking him to report to the Police Headquarters in Osogbo concerning the case of assault levelled against him by the late senator.

A copy of the letter obtained by our correspondent in Osogbo on Sunday  dated, October 20, 2017  was signed by the Deputy Commissioner of Police State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Mr. Umega Uzochukwu.

The letter read, “You are invited to meet with the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department in connection with a case of assault  and assigning harm reported by the late Senator Isiaka Adeleke against you. Looking forward to seeing you on the 27th day of October, 2017 at about 1200hrs, please.”

The Police Public Relations Officer in Osun State, Mrs. Folashade Odoro, when contacted told our correspondent that the police invited the senator.

Omisore and the family of the late senator seem to have buried their differences as a result of the alleged attack on Adeleke because Omisore was one of the PDP chieftains that supported Adeleke’s younger brother, Ademola to win the by-election held on July 8.

Efforts by our correspondent to speak with Omisore on the police invitation were unsuccessful. Calls placed across to his telephone were not picked and the text message sent to him to confirm if he honoured the invitation or not had yet to be responded to as of the time of filing this report.

However, a source close to him told our correspondent that the former deputy governor did not go to the police on Friday.

The source, who pleaded anonymity, did not state the reason for Omisore’s refusal to honour the invitation but he said the reason for the “belated invitation was political.”

He said, “Governorship election is holding in Osun next year and politicians may want to use anything to stop their opponents. This is most likely going to be one of it.”

Cassava glut: Farmers, processors squabble over prices

Image result for cassavaFollowing the reported glut of cassava in the market, the inability of farmers and processors to agree on a uniform selling price for the crop may put the business in jeopardy, ANNA OKON writes

THE cassava business is currently experiencing some difficulties as a result of misunderstanding between farmers and processors over pricing.

Our correspondent gathered from farmers that many of them might end up making no gain on their cassava harvests this year going by the ridiculous amount the buyers were willing to pay for the produce.

The National President, Nigeria Cassava Growers Association, Mr. Segun Adewumi, said that the cost of harvesting the crop was higher than the price processors were willing to buy it.

He stated, “About six months ago, cassava sold for between N37,000 and N40,000 a tonne; now, it is N17,000 per tonne. And when you look at the cost of harvesting it and the value of the cassava, it is almost N25,000. But the processors want to buy it for N17,000.

“There is currently a glut of cassava because people were inspired by high prices of the produce last year to go into it massively this year. Now, many of them have cassava but there is no market for it.”

He added that due to the limited number of processors in the country and the fact that its supply was more than the demand, the price of cassava had dropped drastically.

A member of the Industrial Cassava Stakeholders’ Association of Nigeria, Enitan Onitiri, accused the farmers of charging ridiculous prices for the crop.

She said, “They were sitting on their cassava, offering to sell at very ridiculous prices, so we stopped purchasing. The processors have a price at which they can buy. Prices cannot just keep increasing; there has to be a cut-off point. If the production cost is too high, they cannot force that on a person that is going to take it off them.

“For instance, flour costs N200 per kilogramme and the landing cost of wheat that cassava flour is supposed to be substituted with is N100 per kg. If you were a business man, you would go for the cheaper option because you are getting the same end result.

“So, if we buy high, we cannot sell high; apart from paying so much for the cassava, one still has to buy diesel for generator, pay workers, get water and other amenities. With this, one’s profit margin is already depleted.”

Asked what the processors hoped to do should the crop become expensive next year, she said that the association planned to collaborate with a new community of cassava farmers, provide them with the necessary incentives to grow the crop and sell at a reasonable price.

Onitiri pointed out that farmers who complained about high cost of harvesting were probably doing subsistence farming, adding that in commercial farming, everything would become cheaper in the long run.

“If they have that leverage, they can sell the raw materials and not have to wait for so long because as they are waiting, they need to recoup the time and money during the interim gestation period,” she said.

The Deputy Director, Root and Tuber Crops, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Ayeni Olusegun, also advised farmers to locate processors around them.

According to him, people who go into farming ought to locate the market first before embarking on the planting.

He said that the ministry was encouraging farmers’ cooperatives to set up mini-processing centres instead of farming and looking for where to sell.

He said that the ministry had started biding for processing equipment, adding that by December, the equipment would be available in reasonable quantity and at affordable prices for the farmers to buy.

“The processors would be stationed in the farms so that as soon as farmers harvest their crop, they process it there,” he said.

But investigation by our correspondent showed that there would not have been any glut of cassava if the produce had been put into proper and sufficient use.

For instance, Felix Nweke of the Michigan State University said in a research that while in major cassava producing nations, the crop yield was 20 to 22 tonnes per hectare, the average yield was 10.5 tonnes per hectare in Nigeria.

Nweke estimated that although more than 90 per cent of cassava production was processed into food, there was an annual demand of 1.15 million tonnes of fresh cassava roots for the production of about 250,000 tonnes of high-quality cassava flour primarily in Africa as a 10 per cent replacement for bread flour and for use in bouillon, noodles and the adhesive industry.

The report noted that the annual demand for native and modified starches used in food, paint and pharmaceutical industries exceeded 230,000 (an equivalent of one million tonnes of fresh roots).

The Regional Coordinator, West Africa, InitiatiefDuurzame Handel, Cyril Ugwu, stated at a stakeholders’ forum for strengthening the cassava value chain that there were lots of untapped opportunities in the industrial cassava sector.

He said that the demand for cassava derivatives would grow to 1.8 million metric tonnes in the next five years, adding that manufacturing firms in the food and beverage sector would always need cassava derivatives as supplement for sugar.

Ugwu listed some of the firms that had intensified the demand for cassava derivatives as soft drink manufacturers, brewers, food and candy makers, as well as flour mills.

He said, “The use to which we have put cassava has been very low. We haven’t produced industrial starch even though we are trying to revive textiles. We haven’t done ethanol; we are importing ethanol. We haven’t exported cassava chips because of the cost of transportation from the hinterland to the ports. We haven’t done syrup, which is used in the brewery industry; the peels for feeding livestock; the leaves for feeding livestock, we haven’t done much.

“Many multinational firms, both in and outside Nigeria, are asking for cassava starch, flour and syrup. The demand is there, if you can meet their quality specs. The possible derivatives you can get from cassava are cassava chips, animal feeds, high quality cassava flour, bread, biscuit, and snacks, among others. Cassava is also used as glue for plywood.”

CBN rules out naira fall as external reserves hit $34bn

Image result for CBN logoThe nation’s external reserves have hit $34bn from $33.6bn attained on October 25, the Central Bank of Nigeria has stated.

The reserves have been appreciating very fast after hitting $32bn on September 18.

The Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, CBN, Dr. Joseph Nnanna, who disclosed the latest figure in Lagos on Saturday, said the exchange rate stability achieved so far by the apex bank had come to stay.

He expressed confidence that the usual end-of-the-year rush would not push up the naira-dollar exchange rate contrary to some people’s expectations.

The CBN deputy governor said this while fielding questions from journalists at a forum organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.

Nnanna was among the chief executive officers of companies who were conferred with the CIBN Fellowship Awards.

Asked if the exchange rate would go up as the end of the year was approaching, Nnanna said, “No, the rate will not go up, take it from me. We have achieved stability and the stability is here to stay.

“The sustainability is already evident, the reserves are growing. As I speak, the reserves are $34bn. When we had volatility, the reserves were as low as $20bn. But let me say one thing: Nigeria can make do with a reserve level of $20bn but it is the press who gives the impression that if the reserves fall below $30bn, then there is a problem.

“No, there is no problem. All we need to manage the economy and manage it properly is reserves that can cover at least three months of import. And in fact, as it is, $10bn or $12bn can give us reserve coverage of four months.”

The CBN chief said the Investors and Exporters foreign exchange window had performed beyond the bank’s expectations, adding that forex inflows in the past few months were huge.

Nnanna stated, “Our exchange rate is convergent; we are getting southward. In the IMF, they talk about the need to have one rate. The one rate can happen organically or inorganically. For us at the CBN, we believe that organic convergence is the way to go. Inorganic convergence, which is forced, will always produce an arbitrage and that we don’t want.

The President, CIBN, Prof. Segun Ajibola, said a flexible exchange rate was helpful in an environment that lacked hiccups in forex management and supply strategies.

He stated, “But in an environment that is so susceptible to the vagaries of foreign exchange market, in terms of inflow of foreign exchange income and over-reliance on basic items for importation, you run the risk of allowing the exchange rate to go to the rooftop, if you free it absolutely.

“Normally, you hardly find any economy where the foreign exchange management succumbs totally to the forces of demand and supply. The best that we have seen is managed floating, which is what the Central Bank of Nigeria introduced in February this year. But as the economy stabilises and is diversified, and as we see more sources of forex earnings stabilising, especially the non-oil export, then we can be more and more flexible in our foreign exchange management policy.”’

IMF wants Nigeria to stop tax holidays

Image result for IMF wants Nigeria to stop tax holidaysThe International Monetary Fund has advised the Federal Government to urgently revisit tax holidays and exemptions given to companies. It specifically urged Nigeria to implement a reform that would see it phase out tax holidays and exemptions eroding the Company Income Tax base.

Successive governments had granted controversial tax holidays and waivers, which were described as forms of corruption

The Washington-based Fund also asked the Federal Government to increase taxes imposed on tobacco and alcohol, emphasising the need for socially responsible fiscal adjustment based on revenue mobilisation.

The Senior Resident Representative and Mission Chief for Nigeria, Africa Department, IMF, Mr. Amine Mati, who said this in Lagos on Saturday, also stated that the Federal Government needed to reduce interest payments on borrowed funds to about 30 per cent of the country’s revenue.

According to Mati, there is also a need for Nigerian policymakers to move beyond voluntary compliance measures in tax matters in order to mobilise non-oil revenue and increase the fiscal space.

The IMF chief spoke while making a presentation at a forum organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.

In the presentation, he stressed the need to embark on full Value Added Tax and broaden it.

On monetary policy, Mati welcomed the recent “de facto” tighter monetary policy stance and said there was a need to “stop the financing of the central bank to the government and strengthen the monetary policy framework.”

On exchange rate, the IMF chief told the Central Bank of Nigeria that the “recent introduction of the Investors and Exporters FX window is welcomed and there is a need to address market segmentation; remove FX restriction; simplify/unify the FX market; and improve operations of the FX market in line with market fundamentals.”

Mati said there were significant economic headwinds amid challenges and elevated risks for the country.

He noted that the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan was an important step forward, adding that important policies and steps had been taken but policy action remained urgent.

“Comprehensive policy package is needed, including front-loaded non-oil revenue mobilisation, greater exchange rate stability.”

A former President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, Chief Mark Dike, described tax as a compulsory levy imposed by the government on individuals and companies for the provision of public goods and services.

As a result, he said he was of the opinion that the government should create an enabling environment and provide general incentives for companies, adding that tax waivers and holidays could create a lack of level playing field.

According to him, the government can reduce the tax rate to enable every company and individuals to pay.

In terms of using tax to generate employment in some sectors, Dike said questions had arisen on the number of jobs being created in such sectors.

The Director-General, West Africa Institute for Economic Management, Prof. Akpan Ekpo, said the government might still need to give little tax holidays in order to encourage foreign direct investments and domestic investments in certain sectors.

He, however, said that such tax holidays and exemptions should be given for only a short and definite period of time, and to only very few credible companies that had proven records.

According to him, tax holiday and waivers have been abused in Nigeria and the government needs to watch the manner such are given.

On the need to increase taxes on alcohol and tobacco, Ekpo stated that it was necessary owing to the health hazards they pose.

An economic analyst and Chief Executive Officer of Cowry Asset Management Limited, Mr. Johnson Chukwu, said there was a need for the Federal Government to overhaul the entire tax holiday system, especially in the pioneer sectors, because the current system allowed corruption.

According to Chukwu, there is a need to still give tax holidays and exemptions but it has to be only for a short period on an initial investment.

Recoveries from whistle-blower policy exceeded our expectations – Adeosuneer

Image result for Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi AdeosunThe Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, on Sunday said that the recoveries, which the Federal Government had made through the implementation of the whistle-blower policy, had exceeded its expectations.

Adeosun stated this in an article written by her and made available to our correspondent by her Special Adviser on Communications, Mr. Oluyinka Akintunde.

The whistle-blower policy, which was launched in December 2016, is aimed at addressing the issues of corruption in the management of government resources.

In the article entitled: ‘Positioning Nigeria for a prosperous future’, Adeosun stated that the government was doing a lot to stop the level of corrupt practices in the country.

The minister did not provide the total amount recovered under the policy. However, as of June this year, the ministry  said that the sum of N11.63bn had been recovered under the whistle blower policy with about N375.8m paid to 20 providers of information.

Adeosun said that the implementation of the Treasury Single Account system had assisted the government in consolidating thousands of accounts scattered across Deposit Money Banks into a unified system that was transparent and easy to centrally monitor and track.

She said under the old system, it was common for government accounts to be converted into personal use, adding that with the TSA, this was no longer possible.

The minister stated that while there was a lot of resistance to reform by vested interests within and outside the system, the Federal Government would not relent in pursuing its reforms.

Nobody can Islamise Nigeria, says Osinbajo

Image result for Tweet   Share  Pin it  +1 Prof. Yemi OsinbajoThe Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, said that it was impossible for anyone to Islamise Nigeria, as claimed by Christian interests.

Osinbajo, who was speaking in Lagos on Friday during the Greater Nigeria Pastors Conference convened by Apostle Wale Adefarasin and Rev. Abayomi Kasali, explained that the recent uproar over the country’s subscription to Sukuk Bonds was not justified.

The Federal Government’s N100bn Sukuk (Islamic bond), which it plans to use for road construction, became a target of criticism by some Christian leaders in the country, who believed the government was committing the country to an Islamic financial hold.

Osinbajo said, “Part of the problem is the failure of Christian leadership to take its rightful place. We focus our minds on something we call the Islamic agenda. We look for it everywhere as if we are looking for demons.

“But where is the Christian agenda. Are we not entitled to one? We are too divided as Christians to have an agenda. The key to the unity and progress of Nigeria is in the church.”

According to him, there were no plans to Islamise Nigeria through the Sukuk bond or the country’s membership of the Islamic Development Bank.

He said that apart from Nigeria, many nations of the world including the United States of America and the United Kingdom had also embraced the system as a result of its progressive nature.

He said, “The Sukuk is an Islamic concept, which enables people to have access to credit. It is essentially like a bond. The US, UK, China, South Africa have all used the Sukuk. Once there is money in the market, let us not get sentimental. The most important thing is for us to use those monies well.

“Some people say there are some hidden things in this arrangement and that one day somebody is going to take us over. Where? How will that happen? These are straightforward financial systems used all over the world. I don’t think it presents any real problem. It is a very progressive financial system.

“Nigeria became a member of the Islamic Development Bank in 2005 and the first person to sit as director of the bank was Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. The second person to sit as a director is the current Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, and both of them are Christians. So, when people talk about Islamic agenda, sometimes I am lost.

“The person who brought us into the bank is not a Fulani or Northerner, the person was a Christian, so why are we complaining? Nigeria is the fourth largest shareholder in the Islamic Bank. This wasn’t Buhari’s making. We must have facts before saying things. But above all, we must ask ourselves if being a member of the bank profits us or not.

“For me, I have no problem with this. We can use what we get there to develop our society. This is the most important for me.”

Osinbajo also spoke on the case of a former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina, who was discovered to have been reinstated in the Federal Civil Service, after he had earlier fled the country in 2013 after corruption charges were brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The vice president said the country’s system made it possible for criminals to go undetected.

He said, “If you look at our present federal structure, it is designed in such a way that you may be able to hide somewhere for a day or two before you are found. Otherwise, how do you explain a situation where a fugitive suddenly appears and finds his way back into the system? How did he get there?

“What Buhari did immediately he heard about the matter was to query how it happened and ordered his disengagement, which is the right thing to do. As for what will happen, we may have to wait and see.”

Osinbajo accused the country’s elite of working against the progress of the country.

While calling on citizens to support the current administration in its fight against corruption, the vice president said that Nigeria was at the threshold of history and would soon fulfil its full potential.

He said, “We must deal with corruption decisively. It is created by leadership elite that includes not just politicians but also religious leaders and people in the private sector. We must also deal with tribalism, religion and other parochial tendencies. It is difficult to find national leaders today. Many Nigerians speak from a tribal perspective.

“There is no nation on the face of the earth that would survive under the weight of corruption that our country had gone through. Nigeria’s elite, regardless of political, religious or ethnic differences, think alike. They are driven largely by the same motive.

“They are selfish, unprepared to make the sacrifices either in service or self-restraint that leaders of successive societies make. High-level corruption knows no religion, ethnicity or other considerations.

“Corrupt elements in our society are united; they fight for each other and are prepared to go down together. They are actually one tribe, indivisible despite their diversity.

“We have to address the issue of corruption pointedly. The system is corrupt. Corruption is generally the rule in our society. This is a time to build. We can become Africa’s most productive nation in the very near future.”

19 die in Nepal bus accident

Image result for Tweet   Share  Pin it  +1 Scene of an accident. Source: Google

At least 19 people were killed when an overcrowded bus swerved off the road and plunged into a river in central Nepal on Saturday, police said.

The bus skidded off the road in Dhading district, approximately 80 kilometres (50 miles) west of the capital Kathmandu, early morning and fell into the Trishuli River.

“We have recovered the bodies of 19 people from the place of the accident and number of missing is still unknown as the bus had no record of the total number of passengers,” district police chief Dhruba Raj Raut told AFP.

Local TV footage showed rescue workers pulling the dead and injured from the water, while soldiers in boats scoured the river for the missing.

At least 16 injured passengers were recovered from the river and taken to local hospitals, police said.

Authorities are yet to confirm the cause of the crash, but local media quoted passengers saying that the driver may have been drunk.

Police Inspector Barun Bahadur Singh, at the scene of the accident, told AFP that the driver was injured in the accident and is thought to have fled after freeing himself from the wreckage of the bus.

“The driver of the bus is suspected of running away right after the incident and we have expedited the search operation in the nearby areas,” he said.

Deadly crashes are relatively common in the impoverished Himalayan nation because of poor roads, badly maintained vehicles and reckless driving.