The Big 5: Saraki dissociates self from Offa robbery, Nigeria Police launches free legal service scheme and other top stories

These are the stories you should be monitoring today:

Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki has dissociated himself from the Offa Robbery Suspects contrary to claims by the Nigerian Police Force.

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media & Publicity, Yusuf Olaniyonu, Saraki said the allegation by the Police linking him with the suspects was baseless and another ploy by the Police to implicate him by all means.

He called on the entire public to disregard the report trending online about his invitation over the robbery, stressing that “there is no way I could have been associated with armed robbery against my people.”

Former member of the House of Representatives and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Michael Opeyemi Bamidele has been moved to Lagos for further treatment following his shooting at a party rally on Friday.

A statement by his media aide, Ahmed Salami, on Sunday, denied claims in some quarters that he was being flown abroad for further treatment, saying his boss was recovering well after a surgery at the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH), Ado Ekiti, but had to be moved to Lagos.

“As much as we salute the proficiency and commitment of the Doctors in the hospital, let me also add that many of the consultants and equipment used in performing the surgery were hired from other hospitals, he said.

“To forestall a situation whereby we have to rely on bringing equipment that was readily available in other hospitals down to Ekiti to treat him, we decided to shift him to such hospital to fast-track his recuperation,” Salami added.

The Nigeria Police Force has launched a scheme to provide free legal services to arrested or detained suspects in its formations nationwide.

Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris at a roundtable in Abuja to introduce the Police Duty Solicitor Scheme (PDSS) to police commissioners said the PDSS comes amidst intense accusation against police for prolonged detention, torture and extortion.

PDSS will grant  “duty solicitors” from the Legal Aid Council access to arrested or detained suspects, enabling people detained to contact relatives or arrange legal representation of their choice.

The Director, Criminal Litigation, Legal Aid Council, Tunde Ikusagba, said the force was trying to use some states as pilot to see how far the scheme can go.

10 Boko Haram terrorists have been killed in Borno by troops of 153 Task Battalion and the Cameroonian Defence Forces deployed in Operation Lafiya Dole .

The troops encountered the insurgents at about 11:30 am while on a clearance patrol along Wulgo – Ngelkona general area.

In another encounter, the troops in Yaridiri forest in Geidam Local Government Area of Yobe had raided a Boko Haram hideout dispatching the terrorists who fled, leaving behind more than N2 million Naira.

In a statement signed by Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, the Deputy Director Public Relations of the Theatre Command Operation of  Lafiya Dole, he explained that the terrorists were overpowered by the troops in a fierce shoot out killing the insurgents and recovering items such as AK 47 rifles from them, Boko Haram flag, set of bow and arrows, mobile handsets and one Cameroonian International Passport.

Electricity generating companies (GENCOs) on Sunday faulted the allegation that they claim to generate more electricity than they do, so as to collect more money.

The Executive Secretary of the Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC), Joy Ogaji, in a statement said its members “strongly disputed” the allegation describing it as malicious and baseless.

According to her, it is impossible for the GENCOs to falsify their generation capacity claims since such declarations are usually confirmed by the National Control Centre (NCC) before allocating same to the distribution companies (DISCOs), insisting that GENCOs not only have available capacity, but well above the capacity of the national transmission grid to evacuate.

And stories from around the world:

Pope Francis has appointed a bishop to administer an Australian archdiocese whose archbishop was convicted of covering up for a pedophile priest.

The Vatican said Sunday that Bishop Gregory O’Kelly, an Adelaide native, will serve as apostolic administrator for the Adelaide archdiocese.

The pontiff recently insisted that top clerics be held responsible for failing to swiftly crack down on pedophile priests.

Twenty-five people have been killed and hundreds injured after Guatemala’s Fuego volcano erupted, officials say.

The volcano, about 40km (25 miles) south-west of the capital Guatemala City, has been spewing rocks, black smoke and ash into the sky with a total of about 1.7 million people affected by the eruption, the Guatemalan government says.

The National Disaster Management Agency (Conred) said a river of lava hit the village of El Rodeo, destroying houses and burning people inside.

President Jimmy Morales said a national emergency response had been launched. (BBC)

North Korea’s top three military officials have been removed from their posts, a senior U.S. official said, a move analysts said on Monday could support efforts by the North’s young leader to jump-start economic development and engage with the world.

The U.S. official, who spoke on Sunday on condition of anonymity, was commenting on a report by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency that all three of the North’s top military officials were believed to have been replaced.

Kim’s motivation remains unclear but analysts said the shake-up allows him and the ruling party to tighten control over the Korean People’s Army (KPA) at a critical time of international engagement and domestic development. (Reuters)

The Catalan independence leader Jordi Sànchez has called on the Spanish government to reconsider its adherence to the principle of “the indisputable unity of the homeland.”

The Catalan politician who has been in prison for eight months, called for a complete overhaul of Madrid’s approach to “the most important political crisis” Spain has experienced since its return to democracy following the death of the dictator Francisco Franco.

“The only way to restore democratic and political normality is a paradigm shift,” said Sànchez. “Spain has to exchange the principle of the indisputable unity of the homeland for the principle of the indisputable mandate of the popular will of citizens expressed at the ballot box.”

Players of the Tunisian National Football Team have devised a clever plan of breaking their Ramadan fasts during recent World Cup friendlies.

In both of their games this week, Tunisian goalkeeper Mouez Hassen went down early in the second half complaining of an “injury” as medical staff rushed onto the pitch.

During their first match against Portugal and while 2-1 down, Hassen appeared to injure himself in the 58th minute, a move which allowed his teammates to run over to the sidelines and break their fast with a meal referred to as the Iftar.

Tunisia, however, won’t have to carry the ploy into the World Cup as the holy month ends before their first game against England on June 18.

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