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THE STATES

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Adamawa

 The North-East Zonal Office of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has sealed-up eight bakeries in Adamawa for refusing to observe approved standards in the production of bread and confectionaries.

The SON team, led by the Zonal Coordinator, Mr Cherry Achema-Alewu, on Saturday closed down the bakeries located within the twin cities of Jimeta and Yola, the Adamawa capital.

The affected bakeries are Faruk Special Bread, Lovers Bakery, Godwill Bakery, New Nigeria Bakery, Alheri Bakery, Sawaba Bakery and Adamawa Bakery all in Jimeta and Samti Bakery in Yola.

Achema-Alewu said the exercise was aimed at ridding the society of sub-standard products.

Bauchi

The Catholic Bishop of Maiduguri Diocese, Most Rev. Oliver Doeme, has called on the country’s authorities to ensure free and fair general elections in 2011.

The Bishop made the call in his homily during a thanksgiving mass in honour of the late Bishop of Bauchi Diocese, Most Rev. John Moore in Bauchi on Thursday.

Doeme said that some of the aspirants warming p for the 2011 elections should not have been allowed to contest, but expressed the hope that there would be no rigging.

Borno

 Three policemen on Friday at a Maiduguri High Court identified three suspects as members of the Boko Haram sect.

The three police men, who were testifying at the court presided over by Justice Yerima Sanya, said the suspects were arrested after the sectarian violence.

Emmanuel Johnson, a constable, said Hashimu Idris, an indigene of Argunun Local Government of Kebbi State, was arrested at Ngala border town while attempting to flee to Cameroon.

He said items recovered from the suspect included a bag

containing the Qur’an as well as audio and visual CD players.

Johnson said when the CDs were played, it was found to contain various statements condemning western education.

FCT

 The newly-elected FCT Area Council chairmen on Friday said that they would give priority to agriculture, health and infrastructural development, to enhance grassroots development.

One of them, Alhaji Zakari Angulu, who is the Chairman of the Gwagwalada Area Council, told newsmen that he would prioritise the provision of road network.

Angulu pledged to build on the foundation he laid during his first term in office.

“The priorities of my administration will be to ensure rapid infrastructural development, especially in the area of good road network, which we started during our first term in office.

Gombe

 Gov. Mohammad Goje of Gombe State on Friday inaugurated the newly re-constituted 14-member Governing Council of the state’s university.

He called on them to pay attention to mobilisation of resources for the running of the institution.

“You should pay attention to resource mobilisation and the ability to attract investment and external funding from individuals, corporate bodies, as well as notable foundations, not only in Nigeria, but across the world.

“We should remember that the topmost university in the world, Havard University in the United States, owes its success to its ability to attract funding from the private sector,” he said.

Kaduna

 The Kaduna Diocese of the Anglican Church Communion said in Kaduna it realised about N804,610 from mangoe sales during this year farming season.

The Bishop of the Diocese, Idowu Fearon said this during the second session of the 18th synod of the Church.

Fearon said the sales were from the seven mangoe species grown on the church farm along Maraban Rido in the outskirts of Kaduna.

The Bishop said the farm had the capacity of trippling that yield if the irrigation system was boosted.

He expressed regret that in spite of the fine selection of trees on the farm, they were faced with the problem of irrigation.

Kano

Kano State Government has so far spent more than N4.8 billion on its rice development projects, the Commissioner for Projects Monitoring and Evaluation, Alhaji. Ibrahim Garba, has said.

Garba who disclosed this on Saturday when he visited the Magaga Dam Irrigation project in Kabo Local Government Area, said the projects were aimed at boosting food security and poverty alleviation in the state.

He, however, said that farmers on whose lands the rice cultivation project would be executed, would not be able to plant crops on their farms this rainy season.

Kebbi

The Kebi Police Command in Birnin Kebbi on Friday warned politicians against violation of rules and regulations guiding conduct during election period.

The Commisioner of Police, Mr Dallatu Sa’Ad, told newsmen that the command would not condone any act contrary to the rules during the forthcoming 2011 general elections.

He gave the assurance that the command would remain vigilant and make sure that people obeyed the rules before, during and after the 2011 elections, especially maintenance of peace and order.

Katsina

The Katsina State Government has been urged to redeem its pledge of N20 million assistance to the victims of the recent Katsina timber market fire disaster.

The Chairman of the State Timber Sellers Association, Alhaji Halle Muazu, made the plea in Katsina on Friday in an interview with newsmen.

He said the appeal became necessary in view of the fact that five weeks after Governor Ibrahim Shema pledged to support the victims with N20 million, nothing was released to them from the state government.

Muazu said: “Because of the fire disaster, which affected 87 timber sellers, most of the victims are now out of business.

“Hence the need for the state government to redeem its pledge so as to enable the victims to resume their businesses”.

Kogi

Following violent youth restiveness in Ejule, Ofu Local Government of Kogi, a traditional ruler, the Ogohi-Ejule, Chief Akwu Obaje and four others have been remanded in prison custody.

The  community leaders were on Friday remanded on the orders of a Lokoja Chief Magistrate Court, for various alleged offences ranging from culpable homicide to illegal possession of firearms.

The Ogohi is facing charges of criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide following the alleged killing of one Blessing Sunday and the missing of Musa Baba during a violent clash between two rival youth groups.

Kwara

The Kwara Government has said that community development is a panacea to sustainable growth as government alone cannot provide all the infrastructural needs of the people.

The state’s Deputy Governor, Chief Joel Ogundeji, stated this in Hudum Oro in the Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara on Wednesday while inaugurating a N50 million road constructed by Chief Matthew Jolayemi, an indigene of the town to commemorate his 70th birthday.

Ogundeji said communities would enjo speedy growth and rapid development if the people were ready to commit their resources, instead of waiting for government.

Lagos

Amanze Uchegbulam, the Chairman, Lagos State Sub-Seat of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for FIFA U-17 World Cup, on Friday returned N1.8 million to Gov. Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State.

The committee returned the money as the unspent amount given it to manage the sub-seat during the tournament hosted by Nigeria from Oct. 24 to Nov. 15, 2009.

A statement by Hakeem Bello, the governor’s spokesman, made available to journalists on Saturday in Ikeja, said that the money was returned on Friday when the committee presented its report.

The statement quoted Uchegbulam as saying that the amount was the balance of the money given to the committee.

He thanked the Governor for his support.

Oyo

Prof. Eyiwunmi Falaye, Dean, Students Affairs, University of Ibadan (UI), on Friday said cultism and other social vices have been eradicated in the institution.

Falaye told newsmen in Ibadan that vices which had negatively impacted on the development of some institutions were no longer tolerable at the premier university.

He said the prevailing peace in the institution was a result of the institution’s unique admission method which involved an on-the-spot assessment of intending students’ character.

The dean also said students were informed of their responsibilities and rights during the orientation courses organised for them.

Plataeu

The Plateau Police Command has appealed to relations and victims of the January Jos crisis who could not make statements to come forward for pre-trial interview with the prosecution counsel.

In a statement on Saturday, in Jos, signed by the Command’s PPRO, ASP Mohammed Lerama, the command said, in the same vein, witnesses who could not make statements to the police could now do so.

According to the command, it held a pre-trial meeting with the Federal Directorate of Public Prosecution (FDPP) Abuja, and officers and men of the state CID on Thursday in Jos.

Sokoto

Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State on Thursday inaugurated the 17-kilometre Wurno-Huchi-Nassarawa-Tambagarka road constructed by the government at N1.36 billion.

The road, which links several villages in Gwadabawa, Kware, Wurno, Gada and Illela Local Government Areas, also has a four-metre span bridge at Huechi.

Speaking at the event in Wurno in Sokoto State, the governor said the road was constructed in fulfillment of his campaign promises to the people.

Zamfara

The Zamfara Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), has petititioned the State’s Police Command over the dramatic abduction of a Gusau High Court Judge, Justice Musa Anka.

Our correspondent reported that Anka was on Monday whisked away from his Tudum Wada, Gusau residence at about 10.00 p.m. by unknown gunmen, suspected to be operatives of the State Security Service.

The NBA Chairman, Alhaji Bello Umar, told newsmen in Gusau on Wednesday that the association had taken up the issue.

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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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