The Big 5: Protesters in London demand Leah Sharibu’s release, CBN debits 4 banks N5.87bn over capital importation policy | More stories

These are the stories that drove the conversation today:

An advocacy group, Church World Service, on Thursday, staged a protest outside the Nigerian High Commission in London, demanding the release of Leah Sharibu, the last among 110 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists from Government Girls’ Science and Technical College (GGSTC), Dapchi in Yobe on February 19.

Among the protesters was a British member of parliament, Tom Brake, who noted that “There cannot be a clearer example of someone whose human rights are being ignored than that of Leah who is being detained just because she has maintained her Christian faith,” as he called on the Nigerian government to do the needful.

A former aide of former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri also said: “Today is 200 days that Leah has been with Boko Haram in adduction when she should be at school. I have a daughter at the same age as Leah and it moves me to know Leah should not be in captivity with Boko Haram because she refuses to be a Muslim.”

The Senator representing Southern Borno at the National Assembly, Ali Ndume, has described as worrisome, continued attacks by Boko Haram insurgents in the state and has urged the Federal Government to intervene and find a lasting solution to the renewed attacks.

Ndume who was speaking to newsmen on Thursday, confirmed the ambush of a passenger bus along Gwoza-Pulka road, Warabe village on Tuesday, in which seven women were reportedly abducted in the attack, while some of the male passengers who fled into the bush are yet to be seen.

“I hope that the security agencies and the people responsible are equally worried and trying to do something. I appreciate the fact that changes were made last time in response to such attacks but that is not enough. The government must do more to bring an end to this issue of insurgency,” he said.

The Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has issued a 24 hour ultimatum to the military  to vacate the premises of  Sterling Energy Exploration Company (SEEPCO) and its drilling arm, British Oil and Gas Ltd located in Warri, Delta to avert a nationwide strike.

At a media briefing in Lagos on Thursday, NUPENG President, Williams Akporeha, disclosed that the firm owned by Indians, forced workers with the help of the military into accepting working conditions that were not in line with labour laws of Nigeria adding that over 2,000 of its members had been sacked by the oil and gas companies for active unionism.

“When the union decided to question why the company decided to continue to resist the rights of workers to unionize, what we saw was deployment of military troops to hound and evacuate those workers that agreed to be part of the union,” he said, describing the action as oppressive and a height of high handedness.

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has urged the media to avoid denigrating President Muhammadu Buhari or his office in their criticism of the President.

The minister stated this in Abuja on Thursday when he visited the Peoples Daily Newspapers, in continuation of his national campaign against fake news, stressing that “the President is the living symbol of the nation, and that by denigrating him, they are denigrating the country, including themselves.”

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday collected fines amounting to N5.87 billion from four banks that breached its capital importation policy.

The apex bank reportedly debited the account of Standard Chartered Bank with N2.4 billion, Stanbic IBTC N1.88 billion, Citibank Nigeria N1.2 billion and Diamond Bank N250 million for allegedly issuing irregular Certificates of Capital Importation (CCI) on behalf of some offshore investors of MTN Nigeria Communications Limited.

The CBN also directed MTN Nigeria to refund $8.134 billion to its coffers.

And stories from around the world:

The leading candidate in Brazil’s presidential election, Jair Bolsonaro is in serious but stable condition after being stabbed by an assailant at a campaign rally on Thursday, doctors said, pushing an already chaotic campaign into further disarray. (Reuters)

Britain could have hurt its chances of sealing a post-Brexit free trade deal with China, a major Chinese state-run newspaper warned on Friday after a Royal Navy warship sailed close to islands in the South China Sea claimed by China. (Reuters)

Donald Trump on Thursday called on the New York Times to reveal the name of the “coward” who wrote an explosive, anonymous article that has plunged his presidency into its worst crisis yet. (AFP)

China will have to take necessary countermeasures if the US side ignores the opposition of the overwhelming major of its enterprises and adopts new tariff measures, Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng has said. (Al Jazeera)

The new US envoy for Syria has said there is “lots of evidence” that Syrian government forces are preparing to use chemical weapons in Idlib. (BBC)

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