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The Late 5: FG urged to reduce number of Universities, Dino Melaye granted bail by court and other stories

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Here are the stories that drove the conversation today:

The Kogi State High Court in Lokoja on Wednesday granted bail to the Senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye, who is standing trial on gun-running allegation.

Justice Nasir Ajana who admitted Melaye to bail in the sum of N10 million with one surety in like sum, gave the ruling based on an application by the defence counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome.

Ozekhome argued that the continued incarceration of Senator Melaye would jeopardise his health condition, which he said was “deteriorating.

Rivers state Head of Service, Rufus Godwins, has urged the Federal Government to reduce the number of universities in the country to enhance quality and performance.

Godwins made the call at a public lecture on Wednesday at the University of Port Harcourt saying that the nation would compete favourably with its counterparts if it reduced the number of universities to a more manageable figure while improve funding.

“Why have 152 universities and none of them is ranked within the top 600 universities in the world or ranked among the best 10 universities in Africa?’’ he said.

“We need to fix our university system and get the universities involved in dreaming dreams about our country,” he added.

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has responded to the claim by President Muhammadu Buhari that his administration, in three years, has done better than 16 years of the former ruling party, saying that Nigeria was a better place to live under PDP than now.

In a statement issued by Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP National Publicity Secretary in Abuja on Wednesday, the party asserted that President Buhari has exhibited the highest form of illusion by making such claim.

“This ridiculous claim, which is completely irreconcilable with the harrowing economic and security realities, has exposed President Buhari as the author of series of false performance indices and propaganda in the public place, designed to beguile Nigerians ahead of 2019 elections,” PDP stated.

It added that Buhari had forgotten that despite the temporary setback of the PDP in the 2015 elections, Nigerians are still aware that during the PDP administration, “with our people-oriented policies, our nation was a better place to live.”

Following controversies over the status of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Ita Enang, says the national assembly has not transmitted the bill to President Muhammadu Buhari.

This was contained in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday by the President’s aide. “Further to several inquiries by the media, interest groups and the public in respect of the within named bill (PIGB), may I please state that the said bill has not yet been transmitted by the national assembly to the president,” the statement read.

“From my enquiries, the bill is still undergoing standard operating legislative processes of the national assembly preparatory to transmission.”

A former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, rtd, and three others alleged to have been involved in the illegal diversion of $2.1billion arms fund were on Wednesday re-arraigned by the Federal Government.

Dasuki and his co-defendants took fresh plea before an Abuja High Court sitting in Maitama, on an amended 32-count criminal charge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, entered against them.

All the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge, even as trial Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf granted the defendants bail on earlier terms that were stipulated to them by the court. The matter was later adjourned till July 2 and 5 for trial.

And stories from around the world:

The historic meeting between United States President, Donald Trump and North Korean Leader, Kim Jong-un has been thrown into uncertainty as North Korea warned it could be cancelled over US military exercises and if Washington presses ahead with its demand for Pyongyang to give up its nuclear arsenal. 

Kim Kye-gwan, North Korea’s deputy foreign minister, warned on Wednesday that Pyongyang was not interested in talks that would pressure it to “unilaterally” give up its nuclear programme, taking aim at “unbridled remarks” by John Bolton, the US national security adviser, and other high-ranking White House officials.

In a statement issued by the North Korean Central News Agency [KCNA], Mr Kim took issue in particular with Mr Bolton’s references to the so-called Libya model of nuclear abandonment and his statements on “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation.”

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has said that contrary to reports by some African media, it was yet to decide on the request by the Kingdom of Morocco to be a member of ECOWAS.

The President of the Commission, Jean Claude Brou, disclosed this while fielding questions from members of the ECOWAS Parliament after presenting the status of the community to the legislative arm, during its 2018 First Ordinary Session in Abuja.

Brou stated that upon the submission of the report of a committee set up by the Conference of Heads of States in 2017 to carry out an analysis on the impact and implication of Morocco’s request, the heads of state still asked for more work to be done and appointed Nigeria, Ghana, Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire to conduct more analysis on the implication of Morocco’s membership.

The report is billed to be submitted to the Heads of State at their next meeting in June.

A former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, who was jailed in 2015 for a sodomy was released on Wednesday after receiving royal pardon.

In a statement, the National Palace said Muhammad V, the King and ceremonial head of state has allowed a full pardon and given an immediate release for Anwar. The full pardon also allows Anwar to return to politics.

Mahathir and Anwar joined hands again against the government led by Najib Razak. and their coalition, Pakatan Harapan, won the general election last week. Mahathir has been sworn in as prime minister and has promised to hand over to Anwar.

Guatemala has opened its embassy in Jerusalem on Wednesday, two days after the United States inaugurated its embassy in the contested city in a move that infuriated Palestinians and drew international condemnation.

Guatemalan President, Jimmy Morales and Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu attended the ceremony on Wednesday in an office complex in west Jerusalem.

Police and medical sources in Iraq said eight people were killed on Wednesday and about 30 others wounded when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a tent filled with mourners in Baghdad.

The attack on Wednesday morning hit the Taji district in the north of the Iraqi capital, a police source said.

Medical sources at a local hospital had earlier given a toll of four deaths.


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