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Adamawa

The Adamawa Government plans to freight agricultural produce from Yola International Airport to other parts of the world, Gov. Murtala Nyako said on Wednesday.

Nyako disclosed this in Yola while declaring open a one week Agricultural Show tagged “Coping with Challenges in Agriculture to Ensure Food Security in Adamawa State”.

He said the plan, if well implemented, would enable the state to harness its agricultural potential and promote export to Europe and America.

Nyako also disclosed the government’s plans to construct warehouses at strategic locations in the state for the storage and marketing of farm produce.

Benue

The Benue Government said it awarded a contract of N4. 98 billion for the construction of the Greater Makurdi Water Works within the last three years,

 The Commissioner for Water Resources and Environment, Mr John Ngbede, made this known in Makurdi on Wednesday,during a ministerial briefing to mark three years of Gov. Gabriel Suswam’s administration.

He said out of the amount, N3.99 billion had been paid to Gilmor Engineering (Nig.) Ltd., the construction firm handling the project.

FCT

Special prayers were offered on Friday at the Abuja National Mosque for the repose of the soul of the late President, Umaru Yar’Adua as well as for peace and stability of the country.

Our correspondent  reports that thousands of Muslim faithful thronged the mosque to offer prayers for the late President.

Ustaz Musa Muhamad in his sermon, stressed the need to obey Allah’s command and be of good behaviour.

He reminded the congregation that “everybody is going to give account on his or her  deeds on the day of Judgment, no matter how highly placed.

Kaduna

The Kaduna State Directorate of Vehicles Inspection (VIO), has impounded 1,122 vehicles for various traffic offences in the last four months.    Mr Nehemiah Abet, the state’s VIO Director, told newsmen on Friday in Kaduna that the offences included over loading, use of extra lights and over speeding.    Abet disclosed that vehicles that were not roadworthy and motorists who drove vehicles dangerously were also arrested, with some facing prosecution.    He said the vehicles included articulated or heavy duty trucks, commercial cars and buses as well as private luxury vehicles.

Kano

Kano State Government spent more  than N20 billion on agricultural development between 2003 and 2009, Alhaji Musa Shanono,  the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, said on Wednesday.

Shanono disclosed in Kano while declaring open the 4th bi-monthly meeting on the Commercial Agriculture Development Project (CADP).

He said  the investment was  demonstration of the government’s commitment to the improvement of food security, poverty reduction and farmers’ livelihoods.

Katsina

A former military governor of Kaduna State, retired AVM Muktar Mohammed, has advised President Goodluck Jonathan to give priority to security during his tenure.

He gave the advice on Friday in Katsina in an interview with newsmen shortly after condoling with the family of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua.

Mohammed said the advice became necessary in view of the current security situation in the country.

He urged the president to put the issue of security as number one item on his agenda in order to save the country from unforseen circumstances.

Mohammed stressed that the issue of security was crucial to the socio-economic and political development of any country.

Kogi

The Ohiopisa Eiyire of Obehira Community in Kogi, Alhaji Idrisu Okeji, has appealed to his subjects not to revenge the recent attack on the community by Okengwe and Idoma communities.

Seven youhs of Obehira Community lost their lives in the attack in which more than 200 houses were burnt.

Okeji, who made the appeal in an interview with newsmen in Ageva, near Okene on Wednesday, noted that there was need for peace to prevail among the neighbouring communities.

He said that although the invasion inflicted “great and incalculable damage to life and property,’’ he had commenced meeting with various interest groups on the need to leave vengeance to God.

The traditional ruler commended the police for establishing its presence in Ageva, stressing that the action would go a long way in curtailing crisis.

Kwara

The Kwara Government has approved the selection of a businessman, Alhaji Muftau Gbadamosi, as the new Olofa of Offa in Offa Local Government Area of the state.

Alhaji Ahmed Makama, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftancy Affairs, made the announcement in a statement on Friday in Ilorin.

The statement said the approval, which takes effect from May 6, followed the demise of the former occupant of the stool, Oba Olawore Olanipekun on February  11.

Lagos

 Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has declared Force Majeure on Bonny Light lifting for May and June with effect from May 7.

A statement issued by the company’s spokesman, Mr Precious Okolobo in Lagos on Saturday, said that the declaration was as a result of production deferment from the leaks and fire incidents which occurred on the Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP) on May 5.

The statement said that several incidents were detected on the sections of the pipeline at Bodo West and Bera Gokana Local Government Area of  Rivers.

It added that preliminary investigations indicated that they were caused by crude theft activities, which made the company to shut down on May 5 to enable it carryout repair works.

Niger

Dr Isa Vatsa, Niger Commissioner for Water Resources, says the government has spent N284 million on water pumps to ease the water shortage in Minna and its environs.

Vatsa said this in Minna on Friday while speaking to newsmen.

‘’About N284 million was spent by the state government to buy 16 low lift water pumps for Chanchaga water works to ease the problem of water shortage in Minna and its environs,’’ he said.

He said that the pumps would be manufactured accordingto the specification of the state government.

The commissioner said that the pumps would supplement the four water pumps bought by the government earlier in 2010.

Vatsa said that more than N190 million would be spent in desilting Chanchaga dam reservoir in order to increase the volume of water supply to the public.

Osun

Osun lawmakers on Friday condoled with members of the family of the late president Umaru Yar’Adua and the Nigerian people over his death.

A cross section of the lawmakers, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Osogbo, said that it was unfortunate that death did not allow Yar’Adua to fulfill his desires for the country.

The speaker, Mr Adejare Bello, said “ judging by the late president’s humility, honesty, transparency and contentment, Nigeria has indeed lost a dedicated leader.“

Oyo

 With her motherly advice, the President of an Ibadan Grade C Customary Court, Mrs Ibijoke Adeleke-Gomes,  on Friday saved a 23-year-old marriage from crumbling.

Ramoni Bamidele, a pensioner, who filed for the divorce, had told the court that his wife, Funke, a trader, was very stubborn and that her attitude had changed negatively in the past two years.

Sokoto

 The Shagari Local  Government Council in Sokoto State has spent over

N72.4 million on the construction of 10 houses for traditional rulers in the area.

The Chairman of the council,  Alhaji Abdullahi Danjeka, disclosed this on Friday in Shagari, near Sokoto, when he received a team of journalists on a monitoring  visit of projects in the area.

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NHRC Seeks Prioritisation Of Children’s Rights In National, State Budgets

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The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Mr Tony Ojukwu, has called for the prioritisation of child rights issues in both the national and state budgets.
Ojukwu, represented by Abdulrahman Yakubu,  director, political and civil education rights in the commission made the call in Abuja at an event organised by the commission to commemorate the 2021 International Day for the African Child  (DAC), celebrated every June 16.
He also called for alignment of national implementation plans of the Child’s Rights Act with international action plans like the Agenda 2040 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda to ensure a more holistic and measurable implementation outcome
“While progress has been made on the implementation of the Child’s Rights Act and Laws across the   states that have adopted it, challenges bordering on non-prioritisation of child rights in the budget, poverty.
“Harmful traditional practices, inadequate access to educational and health services, armed conflicts and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic have continued to slow down process across all sectors.
“I call on all concerned Ministry , Departments and Agencies and child-focused organisations to explore  new tools and innovations like technology and social media to accelerate the implementation of child-based laws and policies in the country,” he said.
He also called for the adoption and implementation of measures to ensure universal health coverage, access to quality health-care services for all while closing all gender and vulnerability gaps.
Ojukwu also called for equal access to compulsory and quality education to all children, including children in rural communities, the girl child, children living with disabilities, children in conflict and humanity settings.
“We must address the root cause of conflict and engage early warning mechanisms to eliminate the impact of armed conflicts on children” he said.
The executive secretary said the DAC serves as a strong advocacy and sensitization tool for implementation of children’s rights.
“Beyond honouring the memory of the fallen heroes, the DAC celebration calls for introspection and self-assessment by the AU member states on the level of child rights implementation in respective countries.
The theme for the 2021 DAC celebration as selected by the African committee of Experts on the Rights and welfare of the child, he said, 30 years after the adoption of the charter: accelerate the implementation of the Agenda 2040 for an Africa fit for children.
In a goodwill message, the Country Representative of UN  Women Nigeria, Ms Comfort Lamptey called for education-in-emergencies in Borno,  Yobe and Adamawa.
The country representative, represented by Patience Ekeoba,  National Programme Officer,  UN Women Nigeria,  Lamptey said that children of these three conflict affected states need education -in-emergencies.
“ In the north east of Nigeria, 2. 8 million children need education -in-emergencies support. No fewer than 802 schools remained closed and 497 classrooms are listed as destroyed with another 1, 392 damaged but repairable in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.
“In addition to this,  the COVID-19,  insecurity and humanitarian crisis and other prevailing challenges have presented new and additional challenges,” she said
“A lot of countries in Africa have robust legal frameworks policies,  conventions and other frameworks that guarantee the rights of the child,” she added.

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Court Rejects EFCC’s Request To Amend Charge In Ex-NNPC GMD’s Trial

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has rejected an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to amend its charge in the $9.8million, £74,000 fraud trial of an ex-Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed, in a ruling, yesterday, held that granting the application by the EFCC would amount to varying a subsisting judgment given by the Court of Appeal, Abuja on April 24, 2020, where it, among others, ordered Yakubu to enter defence in relation to counts three and four of the six counts originally contained in the charge on which he was arraigned.
Justice Mohammed was emphatic that allowing the prosecution (the EFCC) to amend the charge was tantamount to disobeying the subsisting order made by the Court of Appeal in its judgment of April 24, 2020.
The EFCC claimed that its operatives, acting on a tip-off, raided Yakubu’s house located on Chikun Road, Sabon Tasha area of Kaduna South Local Government Area of Kaduna State on February 3, 2017, and recovered the $9,772,800 and £74,000 cash kept in a fire proof safe.
It arraigned Yakubu on March 16, 2017, on a six-count charge relating to money laundering offences.
He was among others, accused of failing to make full disclosure of assets, receiving cash without going through a financial institution, which borders on money laundering and intent to avoid a lawful transaction under law, transported at various times to Kaduna, the aggregate sum of $9,772,800 and £74,000.
The prosecution closed its case on October 17, 2018, after calling seven witnesses.
The seventh prosecution witness, an operative of the EFCC, Suleiman Mohammed, spoke about how his team recovered the $9,772,000 and £74,000 cash in Yabubu’s house in Kaduna, which was later deposited in CBN in Kano.
At the closure of the prosecution’s case, Yakubu made a no-case submission, which Justice Mohammed, in a ruling on May 16, 2019, partially upheld by striking out two of the six counts contained in the charge and ordered Yakubu to enter defence in relation to the remaining four counts.
The judge was of the view that the prosecution failed to prove counts five and six of the charge, which related to allegation of unlawful transportation of the money.
“Even though I am tempted to discharge the defendant on counts one to four, I am, however, constrained to ask the defendant to explain how he came about the monies recovered from his house.
“Fortified with my position, the defendant is hereby ordered to enter his defence in respect of counts one to four,” Justice Mohammed said in the May 16, 2019, ruling.
Dissatisfied, Yakubu challenged the decision at the Court of Appeal, Abuja, which, in a ruling on April 24, 2020, upheld Justice Mohammed’s ruling and proceeded to strike out two more counts – one and two – in the charge.
The Court of Appeal, then, ordered Yakubu to enter his defence in respect of the remaining two counts – three and four.
Proceedings later resumed at the Federal High Court, with the defendant commencing his defence as ordered by the Court of Appeal.
But, on March 10 this year, the prosecution applied for leave to amend its charge, arguing among others, that the law allows the prosecution to amend charge at any stage of the proceedings before judgment.
The defence countered, arguing that the Court of Appeal, in its judgment of April 24, 2020, made an order to guide further proceedings in the trial.
It noted that the Court of Appeal ordered that the defendant was only to enter defence in relation to counts three and four in respect of which a prima facie case was established.
The defence urged the court to refuse the prosecution’s application for amendment and allow the defendant to continue with his defence, a prayer Justice Mohammed granted in his ruling, yesterday.
When the judge ended the ruling, yesterday, the defence indicated its intention to proceed with its case, but the court elected to adjourn till June 30 following plea by the prosecution for an adjournment on the grounds that the lead prosecuting lawyer was not immediately available.

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Economist Challenges W’Bank’s Prediction On Nigeria’s Inflation Rate

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An economist, Prof. Akpan Ekpo, has queried World Bank’s prediction that Nigeria’s inflation rate is expected to rise to fifth highest in Sub-Saharan Africa by the end of 2021.
Ekpo, a professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, questioned the prediction in an interview with The Tide source yesterday in Lagos.
Recall the bank’s Lead Economist for Nigeria, Macro Hernandez while presenting its six-monthly update on development in Nigeria on Tuesday, said Nigeria was lagging the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, with food inflation.
Hernandez included heightened insecurity and stalled reforms as slowing growth and increasing poverty.
The professor said: “First of all, we need to examine the methodology the World Bank used to arrive at the conclusion because we know that inflation has declined slightly.”
Ekpo, also Chairman, Foundation for Economic Research and Training in Lagos, said, however, that if government could solve the insecurity problems limiting economic growth and increase Agricultural production, the prediction might not hold.
According to him, there are countries with double digits inflation and still doing well.
“This means you can have inflation and yet your GDP is growing, so, it’s when you have what we call run-away or hyper inflation that is when you get worried.
“Run-away inflation means that prices are increasing everyday or every month without control,” he said.
On predictions that the inflation would push seven million more Nigerians into poverty due to falling purchasing power, Ekpo gave a suggestion to the federal government to stem it.
He urged the Federal Government to seriously implement the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy Programme and the Economic Sustainability Plan documents.
“I cannot fault them on this one because already, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said about 85 million Nigerians are living in poverty.
“So, World Bank just saying that confirms what our own NBS has already said.
“Now, if the government implements the National Poverty Reduction initiative document as well as the Economic Sustainability plan seriously, then we can begin to reduce the poverty rate.

“Then the economy must grow double digits, that is, 10 per cent and above for us to see reduction in poverty and more jobs creation as well, because poverty is linked to unemployment,” he added.

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