The Late 5: Buhari approves extension of VAIDS deadline, Trump tells Russia to ‘get ready for missiles’, and other top stories

These are the top five Nigerian stories that drove conversation today.

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the extension of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme to June 30.

The approval for the extension of the deadline is contained in a statement issued by the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Wednesday.

The statement, however, maintained that no further extension of time will be approved after June 30.

Members of the House of Representatives and the Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency, Mr. Mustapha Maihaja, disagreed on Wednesday over the procurement of N1.6billion relief materials for states hit by flooding in 2017.

Each of the 16 affected states was to receive materials worth N100million from the emergency agency to assist the victims.

But, lawmakers observed that while NEMA received funding for the intervention in July 2017, many of the states started receiving deliveries in March this year, nine months after the floods wreaked havoc.

Eyitope Ogunbodede, vice-chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, has promised that decisive action would be taken against those found culpable in the sex-for-marks scandal rocking the school.

In a leaked telephone conversation, Richard Akindele, a professor of the university, demanded sex to award pass mark to an unidentified female student who failed a course.

In a statement signed on Wednesday, the vice-chancellor said a breach of regulations of the university’s code of conduct is responsible for the scandal.

He added that the university had begun the process of identifying the persons involved.

“The attention of the authorities of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife has been drawn to an audio recording, now trending on the social media, of a telephone conversation ostensibly between one Professor Akindele and a female student of the university,” the statement read.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday met with Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby in London.

The president left for the United Kingdom on Monday.

George Oguntade, Nigeria’s high commissioner to the UK, and Josiah Idowu-Fearon, a prominent Anglican bishop with Nigerian heritage, witnessed Welby presenting a book to Buhari.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday explained why he declared his intentions to run for another term in office during the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja on Monday.

The president said he declared his intention because Nigerians were talking too much about whether he would seek second term or not.

His spokesman Mr Femi Adesina, in a statement quoted him as saying this while receiving the Archbishop of Canterbury, His Grace Justin Welby in London.

The president said: “I declared before leaving home because Nigerians were talking too much about whether I would run or not. So, I felt I should break the ice.

“We have many things to focus on, like security, agriculture, economy, anti-corruption, and many others. We needed to concentrate on them, and politics should not be a distraction. The majority of Nigerians appreciate what we are doing, and that is why I am re-contesting.”

And now, stories from around the world…

An Algerian military plane has crashed near the capital killing 257 people on board, officials say.

The aircraft came down just after taking off from Boufarik military airport, west of Algiers.

An inquiry is under way into the cause of the crash – Algeria’s worst-ever air disaster. The government has declared three days of national mourning.

Most of the dead are army personnel and their families, the defence ministry says. Ten crew members also died.

US President Donald Trump has tweeted that Russia should “get ready” for missiles to be fired at its ally Syria, in response to an alleged chemical attack near Damascus on Saturday.

“Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!'” Mr Trump said in his tweet.

Senior Russian figures have threatened to meet any US strikes with a response.

President Bashar al-Assad’s government denies mounting a chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Douma.

US House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan will not run for re-election this year, in a big blow to Republicans with mid-term elections looming.

Congress’ most powerful lawmaker said he would not stand for another term in his Wisconsin district this November.

Republicans already face a tough challenge from Democrats to keep control of the lower chamber.

Mr Ryan joins nearly 30 House Republicans who have announced this year they are retiring outright.

About 500 people may have been affected by a suspected chemical attack on Syria’s rebel-held town of Douma, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

It remains difficult to place an exact figure on the number of people killed and wounded in Saturday’s alleged attack on the outskirts of Damascus, which has pushed the US and its allies to the verge of military confrontation in Syria.

But in a statement on Wednesday, the WHO, citing reports from its health partners, said an estimated 500 patients seen at medical facilities exhibited symptoms consistent with exposure to toxic chemicals.

A third of Cameroon’s athletes attending the Commonwealth Games in Australia have gone missing, the team said in a statement Wednesday.

Out of the total team of 24 members, five boxers and three weightlifters have disappeared over the space of three days, the statement said.

They left in waves, with three going missing on the night of April 8, another two vanishing on April 9 before the remaining group left at night on April 10. Two of the eight left without competing.


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