Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, on Monday came down hard on some motorists who drove against traffic along the Muritala Mohammed Airport Road in Ikeja.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary Habib Aruna on Tuesday, the governor decried the flagrant abuse of the State Traffic Laws.

Ambode who was returning from Abuja where he had attended an event apprehended a Nigerian Army personnel who drove a space bus with registration number JJJ 290 AC.

On sighting the vehicle, he alighted from his car and reprimanded the officer for “showing a bad example” contrary to what the Nigeria Army is known for.

The governor reprimanded another offender who drove a saloon car with registration number LSR 445 ER, for breaking the law regardless of the dangers involved in driving against traffic.

He condemned the manner at which some motorists drive ‘one way’ to beat the traffic along the Nigerian Air force Base inward International Airport Road in the Ikeja axis.

Governor Ambode, thereafter, ordered the immediate seizure of the vehicles and directed that the offenders be prosecuted in line with the provisions of the traffic laws on the state.

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President Donald Trump will make his case to Americans on Tuesday that a “crisis” at the U.S. border with Mexico requires a wall in a prime-time address aimed at building support for a campaign promise that has sparked an 18-day government shutdown

Trump’s Oval Office remarks, scheduled for 9 p.m. EST will be the president’s latest attempt to convince Democrats, not to mention furloughed government workers, to support his push for a steel barrier on the U.S. southern border that he says is needed to curb the flow of drugs and illegal immigration.

All the major U.S. television networks agreed to air Trump’s speech, prompting Democrats, who say a wall would be expensive, inefficient and immoral, to seek equal time.

“Now that the television networks have decided to air the President’s address, which if his past statements are any indication will be full of malice and misinformation, Democrats must immediately be given equal airtime,” said a joint statement issued by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer.

Vice President Mike Pence said on Monday that administration officials and congressional staff discussed the border “crisis” in meetings over the weekend about how to break an impasse about funding and reopen the government.

“We made progress in establishing the fact that we do have a humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border. The president will address that as he speaks to the nation,” Pence told reporters.

The emphasis on a crisis comes as Trump is considering declaring a national emergency in an effort to bypass Congress and build the wall without its approval.

Democrats, who control the U.S. House of Representatives, have rejected Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion to help build such a wall. Talks to fund the government have broken down over that point, leaving several government agencies shuttered and some 800,000 government workers furloughed or working without pay.

Trump promised a wall as a candidate for the White House in 2016, making it one of his signature campaign issues and saying Mexico would pay for it. In December, he said he would be “proud” to shut the government down over the issue. Last week, he said the shutdown could last for months or even years.

The president will continue pressing his case with a trip to the U.S. southern border on Thursday


Workers are currently protesting in various states across the country over the non-implementation of N30,000 minimum wage by the Federal Government

The workers are joining voices with the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) who are also currently protesting in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

In Edo State, workers are out on the streets protesting. The workers insist that President Muhammadu Buhari should forward the new minimum wage bill to the National Assembly, immediately.

The chairman of NLC in Edo State, Emma Ademokun, in an interview said the rally will not affect workers who are presently in their offices as the national body will give further directives on the next line of action.

In Kwara State, members of the NLC are also protesting the non-implementation of the minimum wage. The workers have occupied Ilorin, the state capital in protest.

Workers in Lagos State have also occupied the streets in protest.

In Imo State, sensitisation rally is currently holding at the Labour house in Owerri, the state capital.

The NLC Chairman in Imo State, Ashton Chilakpu told journalists that the union in the state is following the directives of the National body to carry out a protest on the 30,000 minimum wage.

The workers protest follows a meeting between the Federal Government and the leaders of the union. The meeting was presided over by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, on Monday.

Wabba, after the meeting told journalists that the protest is aimed at drawing the attention of all relevant individual and institutions to the urgent need to transmit the recommended N30,000 minimum wage to the National Assembly

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The U.S. Embassy has said that consular services will continue operating at its embassy in Abuja and the Consulate General in Lagos

A statement by the U.S. Embassy on Wednesday said that “The U.S. Embassy in Abuja and the Consulate General in Lagos will remain open during the U.S. government shutdown.

“This includes the Consular Sections. Prior reports to the contrary were incorrect.

“American Centers and EducationUSA offices operating on embassy and consulate grounds that are managed by Mission Public Affairs Sections will remain closed throughout the shutdown.

“American Spaces, such as American Corners operated by partner institutions and located off embassy or consulate grounds, however, will remain open”.

The Embassy had earlier said on Monday that the American centers were closed due to government’s shutdown.

In a similar statement that day, the U.S embassy said, “Due to the current U.S. government shutdown, the American Centers located in the Embassy, Abuja and Consulate General, Lagos are unfortunately closed.

“They will re-open once the U.S. government shutdown is resolved. Sorry for any inconvenience to our valued patrons

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The Vatican on Monday announced the resignations of its spokesman and his deputy, without giving any explanation

Pope Francis “has accepted the resignation of the director and deputy director of the press office of the Vatican, Greg Burke and Paloma Garcia Ovejero, and named Alessandro Gisotti as acting director,” it said in a statement.

American Burke, a member of the ultra-conservative and influential Opus Dei movement, was appointed in July 2016 after having been deputy spokesman.

The 59-year-old had previously worked as a journalist in Rome for the weekly National Catholic Reporter, for Time magazine and for the US television network Fox News.

He was the second Opus Dei member to hold the post after Spain’s Joaquin Navarro Valls, the powerful head of communications for Pope John Paul II.

Garcia Ovejero, 43, a Spaniard, was the first woman to hold the number two post in the press office. She was previously Vatican correspondent for Spanish radio network Cadena COPE.


On Thursday, Vladimir Putin took over 60 questions from a hall of journalists, speaking on everything from rap to pensions to the prospect of taking over the world.

Here are the top quotes from the Russian president’s end-of-year press conference, which lasted three hours and 43 minutes.

– International tensions –
On Moscow’s ties with the West, Putin had this to say:

“Practically throughout its entire history, Russia has lived with some constraints and sanctions… this is connected with the growth of Russia’s power, increase of competitiveness… A powerful player appears which needs to be reckoned with…”

“If there hadn’t been the Skripals, they (the West) would have thought up something else. There is only one aim: to hold back Russia’s development as a possible competitor.”

“(In the West), they don’t want to recognise (Trump’s) victory. That’s disrespect of voters.” … “It’s the same in Britain: Brexit happened, but nobody wants to implement it. They don’t recognise vote results, democratic procedures are diminished.”

“Do we need American troops (in Syria)? I think we don’t… If the US has decided to withdraw its troops (from Syria), that is right.”

“I hope that something will improve (in US-Russian relations), sooner or later we will reach rock bottom in our relations and understand that we must … rise up, breathe in the fresh air and think with a clear head about how to live.”

“It’s a collapse. We are currently looking at a collapse of the international system of arms control.”

– National concerns –
On Russia’s economic goals:

“The main thing is that we need to get into a new league economically… we could very well take the fifth place in terms of size of economy. And I think we’ll do that.”

On reports of torture in Russia’s penal colonies:

“Any breaches of the law, especially torture – that’s a crime. These breaches, these crimes, must be punished… To say that (the penal system) must be broken into pieces is wrong. It has to be improved.”

On the difficulty of recycling in Russia:

“For decades in the Soviet Union we threw trash into pits, figuratively speaking. Nobody ever did any recycling… we produce 70 million tonnes of trash every year and don’t know where to put it.”

On Russia’s crackdown on hip-hop concerts:

“About the detention of these rappers, I agree with you. That’s just pointless… there is nothing good in that.”

– Personal matters –
On the prospect of remarrying after announcing his divorce:

“As an honourable man I will have to (marry) at some point, I guess.”

On his health:

“My health is the same as anyone else’s. Thank God, I do sports, and everything is normal… as anyone else, there can be some sort of flu when the seasons change, but right now, everything is all right.”

“I am rarely on the internet and watch little television, I simply don’t have the time.”


US judge ruled on Thursday that the sexual assault case against Harvey Weinstein can go ahead, rejecting a defense motion to dismiss the charges facing the disgraced Hollywood mogul who has become the face of the #MeToo movement

Judge James Burke set the next pre-trial hearing in the criminal case against the 66-year-old Weinstein for March 7.

“We are obviously disappointed that the charges were not dismissed today,” Weinstein’s attorney Ben Brafman told reporters after a brief hearing in Manhattan Criminal Court.

Brafman, who had argued that the case should be thrown out because of alleged misconduct by police and prosecutors, said he remained confident that Weinstein will be “completely exonerated” at trial.

“This is not about the MeToo movement,” added Brafman, one of America’s most celebrated defense attorneys. “It’s a specific criminal case.”

Weinstein, who appeared in court wearing a dark suit and blue tie and did not speak to reporters, is facing five counts over an alleged rape in March 2013 and a forced act of oral sex in 2006.

The producer of “Pulp Fiction,” “Shakespeare in Love” and other hit movies insists that all of his sexual liaisons were consensual and is free on $1 million bail after his arrest in May.

Weinstein, a twice-married father of five, could face life in prison if convicted.

He has been accused by more than 80 women of sexual misconduct but is only facing charges in connection with accusations by two women.

Time’s Up

Burke dismissed one charge against Weinstein earlier this year but he flatly rejected the defense motion on Thursday to toss out the other five counts.

“The court finds that there is no basis for the defendant’s claim of prosecutorial or law enforcement misconduct in the proceedings,” the judge wrote.

“The motion to dismiss on these grounds is denied.”

The torrent of accusations that first surfaced against Weinstein in October last year upended the career of one of Hollywood’s most powerful producers and sparked a major reckoning about harassment in the workplace and the global #MeToo movement.

Around 20 women from the “Time’s Up” movement against sexual harassment attended the 20-minute hearing in the packed Manhattan courtroom.

“I am here to stand with my sisters and with the survivors,” said actress Kathy Najimy, who appeared in the comedy “Sister Act.”

Time’s Up said in a statement it was “relieved that Harvey Weinstein failed in his efforts to avoid accountability for his crimes.

“We look forward to seeing justice served and seeing Harvey Weinstein prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” the group said.

While he failed on Thursday to get all charges dismissed, Brafman did manage to get one count was thrown out in October — an accusation by former actress Lucia Evans that Weinstein forced her to engage in an act of oral sex in 2004.

Prosecutors opted not to pursue the charge after it emerged that one detective who worked on the investigation had failed to disclose witness testimony that contradicted Evans’s account.

A friend of Evans said she had heard her say that she had willingly engaged in oral sex with Weinstein to secure a movie role.

Brafman alleged that the detective in question, Nicholas DiGaudio, made other mistakes.

Bennett Gershman, who teaches law at Pace University, said he believes prosecutors have a solid case with the two remaining accusers, no matter what they may have said to Weinstein after the alleged assaults.

“These women saying nice things to Weinstein — would that surprise anybody? You have a hugely powerful man… who literally controlled their reputation and their careers,” Gershman said.

“Did they consent or did they consent involuntarily?” he asked. “If these women testify strongly on the witness stand, Weinstein will lose.”


Osinbajo Asks Nigerians In Diaspora To Hold Leaders Accountable

Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo says one of the major problems of Nigeria is the gross mismanagement of resources and grand corruption.

He said this on Sunday when he met with Nigerians in Berlin, Germany.

The Vice President also stated that billions of naira had been stolen by previous administrations, a trend which he believes can stunt the growth of the nation if allowed to persist.

He, therefore, asked Nigerians in the diaspora to hold leaders accountable in order to ensure the progress of the country.

The VP is also expected to meet with German business leaders today (Monday

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Ex-Cop Jailed For 56 More Murders In Russia

Russian court on Monday found a former policeman guilty of 56 murders, while he is already serving a life sentence for killing 22 women, making him one of Russia’s most prolific serial killers.

The court in the Siberian city of Irkutsk found Mikhail Popkov “guilty of killing 56 people between 1992 and 2007,” Irkutsk regional prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

Prosecutors said Popkov “has a pathological attraction to killing people.” He was also found guilty of raping 10 of the victims.

He received a second life sentence on top of the one he is already serving and was also formally deprived of his pension as an ex-policeman.

Popkov in 2015 was found guilty of killing 22 women. He later confessed to 59 further murders but was convicted only of 56 on Monday because the investigators had not managed to prove three of the crimes took place, Interfax news agency reported citing the court’s press service.

He killed his victims after offering them rides late at night, sometimes in a police car, while he was off-duty around his home city of Angarsk near Irkutsk.

The number of killings for which he has been convicted exceeds the total of several notorious murderers in Russia and the ex-Soviet Union.

“Chessboard killer” Alexander Pichushkin was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 for 48 murders and Andrei Chikatilo was convicted of 52 Soviet-era murders.


Thousands Of Myanmar Women Forced Into Marriage In China – Study

Thousands of vulnerable women and girls from northern Myanmar are being trafficked to China and forced to marry, a study said Friday, offering a rare look at an issue that grips the conflict-hit borderlands.

China has around 33 million fewer women than men due to the decades-long one-child policy.

To plug the gap, tens of thousands of poor women from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam are sold as brides each year, some going willingly, while others are tricked or trafficked.

In the first research of its kind, a report by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health estimated 7,500 women from war-torn Kachin and northern Shan states have fallen victim to forced marriage in China.

Based on interviews with scores of people who escaped and returned to Myanmar, and others still inside China, the study found that the majority of those trafficked were also forced to carry a child for their husband.

Women leave Myanmar because of “conflict, displacement and poverty” said report author W. Courtland Robinson, while “the male-female sex imbalance in China, especially in rural areas” means demand for a wife is high.

One woman told researchers that she was trafficked into China three times, and each time “pushed into giving birth”, said Moon Nay Li of Kachin Women’s Association Thailand, who led the field research in Kachin and Shan states.

“Because of political instability, conflict and land confiscation… security for women is a big challenge,” she said.

Marriages are often arranged and brokered by the women’s own families and village elders, with brides-to-be unable to refuse as they are at the bottom of the social hierarchy.

The youngest women command higher prices of up to $10,000-15,000.

Their matches in China are typically to older, sick, or disabled men in rural areas — people considered undesirable to the Han Chinese — while the women’s lack of documentation plunges them into a legal limbo.

The study found that women were often “hired” to bear children for their husbands and then forced out or sold on to new husbands to recoup money.

Some women have successful marriages and the issue of consent is complex and varies case-by-case, Robinson said.

But all unions should be entered into without “threat, menace or penalty”, he added.

Often daughters “can’t say no to their parents”, said Moon Nay Li, and feel compelled to go ahead with the marriage once “traffickers and agents have given money to their parents”.

Researchers called for Myanmar to end the conflict in Kachin and Shan states, which has displaced tens of thousands of women, and to train anti-trafficking officials to enforce the law and recognise the women as victims