The Big 5: Senators receive N13.5 million monthly, separate from salaries; freed Boko Haram commander issues fresh threat against Nigeria and other top stories

These are the stories you should be monitoring today.

A Federal High Court in Abuja has sentenced Charles Okah and Obi Nwabueze to life imprisonment for the 2010 explosions in Abuja and Warri.

Justice Gabriel Kolawole, in a judgment that lasted about six hours, held that the prosecution proved its case against the two defendants in the five counts.

Okah and Nwabueze were charged with financing and actual participation the the act of terrorism in relation to the March 15, 2010 bomb blast in Government House Annex, Warri, Delta, and a similar blast on October 1, 2010 at Eagle Sqaure in Abuja.


Senate President Bukola Saraki Wednesday, opened the 9th Regional Conference of International Transport Federation (ITF) where he described Nigerian economy as viable and safe for foreign investment.

The Conference has as its theme: “Transport Workers Building Power in Africa

He said for ITF to host the conference in Nigeria, goes a long way in showing how viable Nigerian economy is.


Senator Shehu Sani (Kaduna Central) has revealed that he and his colleagues receive N13.5 million monthly as “running cost.”

In an interview with TheNews, Sani said that the running cost does not include a N700,000 monthly consolidated salary and allowances which they also receive.

He explained that though there is no specification on what the funds was meant for, each lawmaker is mandated to provide receipts to back up their expenses.

Sani said, “But what I am saying is that that money (N13.5 million per month) must be receipted for what you do with it. But what you are given to go and spend without any accountability is N750,000.”


The Senate committee on public accounts has revealed that 85 government parastatals have failed to submit their audited accounts to the Auditor-General of the Federation since the time of their establishment.

The parastatals include the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture and the Transmission Company of Nigeria.

The Chairman of the committee, Matthew Uroghide (Edo-PDP) said the 85 parastatals have never submitted reports of their audit to the Auditor General of the Federation since they were created.

For other parastatals, he said 235 have about one to two years arrears, 103 have three to five years arrears, 17 have six to 10 years arrears while four have arrears of 11 years and above.


A Boko Haram commander, Shuibu Moni, who was freed in exchange for some 82 kidnapped Chibok girls in a deal facilitated by the Swedish government last May has issued fresh threat.

A video published by Saharareporters shows Moni and some members of his team displaying firepower in Sambisa forest. Moni, who spoke in Hausa and Arabic stated that contrary to claims by the Nigerian government that Boko Haram fighters have been chased out of Sambisa forest in Borno, they (Boko Haram terrorists) remain firmly on ground.


And stories from around the world…

The South African triathlete whose leg was sawn by robbers was forced to scramble to safety after no one heard his screams, his training partner has revealed.

Sandile Shange told the BBC‘s Newsday it is believed the three assailants only stopped cutting into Mhlengi Gwala‘s leg after they hit bone.

They didn’t want the phone, they didn’t want the watch, they didn’t take the bicycle… they just drag[ged] him on the side of the road,” Shange said.

The athlete added: “He was asking them, ‘why are you cutting my legs,’ then he said the pain he was feeling, he was screaming and crying, but there was no help from no one because it was the early hours of the morning.”

Gwala seized the chance to escape after the saw got stuck in his leg, and the assailants began to cut into the second.


Cape Town will not have to turn off water supplies if current consumption levels are maintained, the region’s governing party has said.

Amid a drought, the city had set a 50-litre daily limit and had told citizens “Day Zero” was approaching when people would have to queue at standpipes.

But water-saving efforts in the South African city have seen the day pushed back from April to 27 August.

Seasonal rains should mean that date is now averted, the city said.

The shortages follow three years of low rainfall.


Florida‘s House of Representatives passed a bill raising the age to buy a gun from 18 to 21 and imposing a three-day waiting period on all gun sales.

The bill, already passed by the Senate, now goes to the state governor.

State lawmakers debated the bill for about eight hours on Wednesday before voting 67-50 in favour.


Syrian government forces have seized wider areas from rebels in the opposition-held suburbs of Damascus, now dividing the besieged enclave of eastern Ghouta in two and further squeezing rebels and the tens of thousands of civilians trapped inside.

The government, determined to wrest the suburbs from the control of rebels after seven years of war, has resorted to extreme levels of shelling and bombardment to clear the way for its troops to advance on the ground.

The campaign has so far left at least 800 civilians dead.


Philip Hammond has put Britain on a fresh collision course with Brussels after he warned the government could reject any Brexit trade deal not including financial services.

Speaking in Canary Wharf at the headquarters of HSBC on Wednesday, the chancellor said a trade deal would only happen if it balanced the interests of both the UK and the EU.

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