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I’m Sorry For Saying Nigerians Keep Freezers, AC On Due To Low Tariff, It Was A Joke — Adelabu [VIDEO]

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Adebayo Adelabu, the Minister of Power, has apologized to Nigerians for saying that they keep freezers on for days due to low electricity tariff.

“Anything we have said that are considered offensive, we are sorry about that,” Adelabu said with slight remorse on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Thursday.

Recall that the minister came under fire by many Nigerians in the last one week for his comment which was considered offensive.

Adelabu had told journalists in Abuja on April 4, 2024 that Nigerians lack the culture of electricity consumption management because of “cheap” power supply.

He had made the statement after the government announced tariff increase for Band A consumers. The minister’s comment generated outrage with some persons calling for his removal.

However, Adelabu, on Thursday, expressed regret over his comment, saying it “was never intended to insult the sensibilities of Nigerians in anyway”.

“It was an innocent advice with regards to energy consumption management which we believe will go a long way in reducing people’s energy bills. And that advice was directed at those that we believe that because of the recent increase in tariff will start enjoying 20 hours of power per day,” he said.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had on April 3, 2024 raised electricity tariff for customers enjoying 20 hours power supply daily. Customers in this category are said to be under the Band A classification.

The increase will see the customers paying N225 kilowatt per hour from the current N66, a development that has been heavily criticised by many Nigerians, considering the immediacy of the tariff hike and the current hardship in the land.

The minister subsequently said the new electricity tariff hike would only affect only 1.5 million of the about 12 million consumers in the sector.

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JUST IN: Verydarkman Remanded In Police Custody For Cyberbullying, Hearing To Hold Next Wednesday

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The controversial social media critic Martin Otse, also known as VeryDarkMan, has been placed under arrest till his next hearing, which is scheduled for this Wednesday of next week.

Otse reportedly entered a not guilty plea to five counts of cyberstalking involving the Nigerian police, Nollywood actresses Iyabo Ojo and Tonto Dike, when he was arraigned at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday.

The police prosecuting team told Judge Mobolaji Olajuwon that they needed more time to react to his lawyer Deji Adeyanju’s bail plea, thus the court postponed the bail hearing to May 29.

The prosecution sought to have the blogger remanded in prison custody, but his lawyers successfully argued for his remand in police custody instead.

The court granted this request, and Verydarkman was subsequently taken to the National Cybercrime Centre.

The charges against him read, “1. Posting a video on October 29, 2023, on his Instagram handle ‘verydarkblackman’ that contained offensive, pornographic, or menacing information, falsely alleging that Iyabo Ojo had an indecent sexual relationship with her daughter, violating Section 24 (1)(a) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015.

“That you Martins Vincent Otse (A.K.A. VERYDARKBLACKMAN) ‘M’, 29 YRS of Supreme Court Estate Karu, Abuja on or about 29th October 2023, in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court knowingly and intentionally posted videos, by means of a computer system on your Instagram handles ‘verydarkblackman’, which video contained information that is grossly offensive, pornographic or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character wherein you stated that one Iyabo Ojo is having an indecent sexual relationship with her daughter knowing or having reasons to believe that the information in the video you posted on your Instagram handle is false and you thereby committed the offence of Cyberstalking contrary to and punishable under section 24 (1)(a) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) ACT, 2015.

2. Posting a video on January 19, 2024, on Instagram, falsely accusing King Tonto Dikeh of criminal conversion of crowdfunding proceeds and being behind the Gistlover blog, intending to cause annoyance, inconvenience, and other harm, in violation of Section 24 (1)(b) of the Cybercrime Act.

“COUNT 3 That you Martins Vincent Otse (A.K.A. VERYDARKBLACKMAN) ‘M’, 29 YRS of Supreme Court Estate Karu, Abuja on or about 19th January 2024, in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court knowingly and intentionally posted videos, by means of a computer system on your Instagram handles ‘verydarkblackman’ containing the information you know or had reasons believe to be false, wherein in the video you falsely published that King Tonto Dikeh is accused of criminal conversion of the proceeds of crowdfunding for Justice for Mohbad Movement, and being the person behind the gistlover blog, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to the person of the said King Tonto Dike and you thereby committed the offence of Cyberstalking contrary to and punishable under section 24 (1)(b) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) ACT, 2015

3. Posting a video on March 19, 2024, alleging that senior police officers and lawmakers were involved in sexual activities with Bobrisky, intending to cause annoyance, inconvenience, and other harm, in violation of Section 24 (1)(b) of the Cybercrime Act.

“COUNT 4 That you, Martins Vincent Otse (A.K.A. VERYDARKBLACKMAN) ‘M’, 29 YRS of Supreme Court Estate Karu, Abuja, on or about 19th March 2024, in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court knowingly and intentionally posted videos, by means of computer system on your Instagram handle ‘verydarkblackman’, containing information which you know or had reasons to believe to be false, wherein you stated the following, ‘I put it to you say the DIGs of the Police dem dey knack Bobrisky. The senators for senate house dey knack Bobrisky…I dare the Nigeria Police, I said what I said, the DIGs are knacking him, the Lawmakers, the Senate are knacking him in the National Assembly’ which statement you made for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to the persons of the DIGs of the Nigeria Police Force and members of the National Assembly and you thereby committed the offence of Cyberstalking contrary to and punishable under section 24 (1)(b) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) ACT, 2015.

4. Posting another video on March 19, 2024, claiming that Bobrisky was pimping young boys to senators and senior police officers, intending to cause annoyance, inconvenience, and other harm, in violation of Section 24 (1)(b) of the Cybercrime Act.

“COUNT 5 That you Martins Vincent Otse (A.K.A. VERYDARKBLACKMAN) ‘M’, 29 YRS of Supreme Court Estate Karu, Abuja on or about 19th March, 2024, in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court knowingly and intentionally posted videos, by means of computer system on your Instagram handles ‘verydarkblackman’ containing information you know or had reasons to believe to be false, wherein you stated that Bobrisky is pimping young boys for Senators and Senior Police Officers to sleep with, which statement you made for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, insult, injury.”

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JUST IN: Nigerian Students At Teesside University Forced To Discontinue Studies, Ordered To Leave UK

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The drastic devaluation of Nigeria’s currency has affected the ability of Nigerian students at Teesside University in the United Kingdom to pay their tuition fees on time.

They have now been forced to discontinue their studies and leave the UK.

Some of these students, devastated by the situation, told the BBC that they felt driven to despair by what they saw as the university’s insensitive handling of their payment difficulties.

According to a university spokesperson, non-payment breached the conditions of their visa sponsorship, leaving the university with “no choice” but to inform the Home Office.

The Home Office however clarified that decisions regarding visa sponsorship are the responsibility of the educational institution.

  • High Inflation In Nigeria

The economic downturn in Nigeria, described as the worst in decades, has hit hard, affecting Nigerian students abroad, particularly at some UK universities.

With inflation nearing 30%, and recent government attempts to introduce a new currency exacerbating the situation, the students’ pre-verified funds to cover tuition and living expenses dwindled significantly.

Additionally, changes at the university from a seven-installment tuition fee payment plan to three installments compounded the students’ financial troubles.

This group of 60 students shared their plight after some had their university accounts frozen and were involuntarily withdrawn from their courses due to non-payment, with some also facing actions from debt collection agencies employed by the university.

  • Affected Students Devastated

One of the affected students, Adenike Ibrahim, was nearing the completion of her dissertation after two years of study when she missed a payment.

Despite settling her outstanding fees later, she was not allowed to re-enroll and was instructed to leave the UK with her young son.

“I did default [on payments], but I’d already paid 90% of my tuition fees and I went to all of my classes.

“I called them and asked to reach an agreement, but they do not care what happens to their students”, she said.

She said the experience was “horrendous” and she did not know what was happening with her qualification.

“It has been heartbreaking for my son especially, he has been in so much distress since I told him,” Ms Ibrahim added.

One master’s degree student, who chose to remain anonymous, admitted to the BBC that he had considered suicide and had stopped eating and drinking since receiving his letter. Despite these dire circumstances, the university claimed it had done “every effort” to assist affected students by offering individual meetings with specialist staff and creating customized payment plans upon request.

Esther Obigwe reported that she had repeatedly attempted to discuss her financial difficulties with the university but received no response until she was also blocked from her studies and ordered to leave the country.

“I attended all of my classes and seminars, I’m a hell of an active student,” she said.

“It is disheartening, I am now on antidepressants and being here alone, I have nobody to talk to.

“For over two months, I’ve barely eaten or slept and I don’t understand why this is being meted at us, we didn’t do anything wrong.”

Jude Salubi, a student training to be a social worker, was in the middle of a placement when his university access was suspended and he received a directive to leave the UK.

Before this, he had been commuting from Teesside to Liverpool every weekend to work 18 hours in an effort to clear his outstanding fees.

“As of now I have paid £14,000 and have a balance of £14,000,” he explained.

Salubi expressed his willingness to negotiate a payment plan, stating, “I am willing to come to an agreement as to how I will make this payment, but I need guarantees that I will be re-enrolled into school and my visa restored.”

Several students have managed to settle their outstanding fees; however, Teesside University has been unable to influence the Home Office’s process regarding their visa status.

  • No Right Of Appeal – Homeland Office

The Home Office informed students, including Ms. Ibrahim, that their permission to stay in the UK was revoked because they were no longer enrolled at the university.

According to letters reviewed by the BBC, these students were given a specific departure date and were told that they had no “right of appeal or administrative review against the decision.”

  • What The University Is Saying

A university spokesman stated that while Teesside University values its diverse international student body, it must adhere to strict visa issuance and compliance regulations that support the UK’s immigration system and are beyond the university’s control.

The university acknowledged the financial difficulties some students are facing and has offered tailored payment plans, which many international students have accepted. Nonetheless, according to them, some have still failed to meet the requirements of these revised plans.

The Home Office has maintained that decisions regarding visa sponsorship are the responsibility of the educational institution and advises individuals whose visas have been shortened or cancelled to either regularize their stay or arrange to leave the UK.

 

Credit: Nairametrics

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I Didn’t Start Governing Rivers Fully Until This February — Fubara

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The executive governor of Rivers State, Siminalayi Fubara, on Tuesday, said that he did not start governing the state fully until February 2024.

Fubara stated that even though he assumed office in May, he didn’t begin making decisions until February of this year, or eight months later.

He made this statement during the state’s Emohua Local Government Area’s internal road opening for Egbeda.

He said that he had performed incredibly well and won the people’s praise since he began completely taking over governance in February.

Fubara has been involved in a political dispute with his predecessor and estranged political godfather, Nyesom Wike, but he has not provided an explanation for why he did not begin completely governing during his first eight months in office.

Last October, he survived an impeachment plot by members of the Rivers State House of Assembly loyal to Wike.

On two occasions, members of his cabinet loyal to Wike had resigned while the state Assembly has also been factionalised fuelling crisis in the state.

Speaking on Tuesday, he assured the people of the state of quality projects.

Fubara said, “We are just starting but I assure you more attention. If in four months we can do this, and we are getting this level of applause, you can imagine what will happen when we do one year of our record time, two years of our own record time. Rivers State would have experienced something different from the regular governance.

“I know why I said four months. We started full governance in February 2024. That was when we started taking decisions, when we started confronting governance. And I am proud to say that our people are happy with what we have done.

“What we want to do is to bring governance to our people, service delivery at record time, and in a cost-effective way.”

Fubara said he was operating a government of transparency, adding that there was a record of all his activities.

He said, “Everything that we are doing is in my white paper. I carry it along, so, there is no issue of any manipulation. Call me any day, anytime, it is there. Even the ones I did before this time, I still have all the records.

“If you call me any day, I will bring the records of all my activities in government, because I know that as a civil servant, what is most important is record-keeping so that if you are not there, and something happens, it is just for somebody to pick up the file and he will see the history.

“That is how I am trained, and I have that in my mind before I do anything. So, I am not scared of anything. Anybody who calls me any day, anytime, I have my records to show. I have all the approvals to show that I acted based on approval and not personal decision,” he said.

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