The Big 5: Shekau’s Mother says she’s yet to see him after 15 years, Mimiko rejoins Labour party and other stories

These are the stories you should be monitoring today:

Falmata Abubakar, mother of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, says she is yet to see her son after he left home 15 years ago and she knows nothing about his whereabouts.

Falmata who disclosed this in her native town of Shekau, Yobe during an interview with the Voice of America (V.O.A) revealed that Shekau left as a boy to continue his Islamic education in Maiduguri, as an Almajiri, insists that her son was brainwashed by people who condemned Western education as sinful.

“Since Shekau met with Mohammed Yusuf, I didn’t see him again,” she said.

“Yes, he’s my son and every mother loves her son, but we have different characters,” she said. “He brought a lot of problem to many people. Where can I meet him to tell him that these things he is doing is very bad? He brought many problems to many people, but I am praying for God to show him the good way,” she added.

A former Governor of Ondo and immediate past chairman of the People’s Democratic Party Governors Forum (PDP-GF), Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, has formally rejoined his former party, the Labour Party(LP) at his hometown in Ondo.

The former governor on Thursday, defected to the LP together with thousands of his supporters and aides across the 18 local government areas of the state, is quoted as saying he took the decision to rejoin the party out of the conviction on the need to catalyse a greater focus on the ideological content of the Nigerian political firmament..

“The decision was also not borne out of any disagreement with the LP, either ideologically or operationally. It was simply a decision that we needed to take in the higher interest of our country. We particularly had in focus the agenda of restructuring, which frontier the then President had extended a bit by convoking the National Conference,” he added.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has on Thursday accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of frustrating contractors executing projects in states under the control of the party. 

National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus in a statement by his Media Aide, Ike Abonyi alleged that contractors were being harassed by officials of the commission in order to thwart execution of projects.

“Intelligence is available to the party that the ruling party and the Federal Government have resolved to ensure that PDP states are permanently put on their toes so as not to get their bearing ahead of 2019,” the statement read.

National leaders of the Justice Must Prevail Party (JMPP), on Thursday took their oath of office at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja barefooted, in preparation to dislodge President Muhammadu Buhari and take over the nation’s leadership in the 2019 general elections. 

JMPP National Chairman, Dr. Olusegun Ijagbemi, who addressed newsmen on the activities of the party, led other party leaders outside the hall where he first removed his shoes and took a oath saying “the earth should turn whatever kind of food they took into their bodies to poison to kill them if they undermined the oath.”

Prominent members of the party including its Board of Trustees (BoT) Chairman, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, the Mother of Nations, Dr. Sarah Jibril and Alhaji Ibrahim Mohammed were also among those who took the oath barefooted.

Suspected herdsmen have reportedly killed a total of 5 persons in attacks on communities in Logo local government area of Benue in the last two days.

Chairman of Logo local government council, Richard Nyajo, who confirmed the attacks, said: “The killings in Logo have become a daily affair.”

Describing the nature of the attacks, Nyajo said “our major problem is that the herdsmen have taken over the thick forests we have in Logo which stretches as long as River Benue. “It is from there that they come to mount road blocks to kill unsuspecting villagers after which they retreat and because these forests cannot be easily accessed they attack and withdraw into the forests.”

Benue State Police Commissioner, Fatai Owoseni, in reacting to the incidence said his command was working hard to end such attacks, stressing that “there is no way you can completely eradicate criminality in the society.

And stories from around the world:

United States President, Donald Trump has made up his mind to impose “pretty significant” tariffs on Chinese goods, an administration official said on Thursday, as Beijing warned that it was ready to respond if Washington chose to ratchet up trade tensions.

Trump is due to unveil revisions to his initial tariff list targeting $50 billion of Chinese goods on Friday. The list will contain 800 product categories, down from 1,300 previously, according to another administration official and an industry source familiar with the list.

The Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, said his country was prepared to respond if Trump went ahead with the tariffs. (Reuters)

The Defence Ministers of South Korea and the US have discussed the future of their joint military drills after the US President, Donald Trump made the surprise announcement of an end following his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

South Korean Defence Minister, Song Young-moo on Thursday held talks with his US counterpart James Mattis to discuss the exercises, with an  agreement to “continuously strengthen efforts to provide defence support, based on the solid South Korea-US alliance,” the South Korean defence ministry said.

Mr Song said the two allies should be “flexible” about how much military pressure they put on the North, the ministry said, adding that the US and South Korea would hold further discussions soon. (BBC)

Zimbabwe has on Thursday formally opened the nomination process to presidential hopefuls ahead of polls on July 30.

Candidates seeking to run in next month’s presidential, parliamentary and local polls have just one day to submit their candidacy to one of several specially convened electoral courts across the country.

Nelson Chamisa of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) is thought to be President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s closest challenger. (Al jazeera)

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was released on Thursday after spending 30 days in custody for staging an unsanctioned protest.

In a live broadcast on YouTube, Navalny apologised to the “great number of mass media that reported a claim from his instagram post earlier in the day, that the jail where he was held, had received a massive face-lift ahead of the World Cup, apparently in anticipation of arresting rowdy foreign fans.

“All of it, from the first word to the last, was a fabrication,” he said, laughing. “I apologise in front of everyone.” (The Guardian, UK)

A Justice Department report gave US President Donald Trump new ammunition Thursday in his fight against investigators when it called former FBI director James Comey “insubordinate” in his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The department’s internal watchdog found no evidence of political bias in the Clinton email probe, but Comey and the FBI were heavily faulted, with Comey, a strong critic of Trump, seen as repeatedly skirting agency rules and procedures, and two FBI agents under him showing in personal messages a “willingness to take official action to impact” Trump’s chances in the election.

“Although we acknowledge that Comey faced a difficult situation with unattractive choices, in proceeding as he did, we concluded that Comey made a serious error of judgment,” the report said of one key moment in the Clinton probe. (AFP)

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