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THE STATES

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Adamawa

An Upper Area Court in Jimeta, Yola, has sentenced two single mothers to six months imprisonment for attempting to sell their daughters.

The convicts, Sharon Julius and Helen Awoke, both of Ghana Street in Demsawo ward of Yola, were charged for abandoning and showing cruelty to their children, an offence contrary to sections 237 and 238 of the penal code.

They were arrested by the police when they approached the proprietor of a day care centre in Yola and proposed to sell their little daughters at N200,000 and N150,000.

The women pleaded guilty and begged for leniency, saying they were forced by poverty and neglect to engage in the act.

Delivering judgement, Justice Danladi Mohammed sentenced them to six months imprisonment each with an option of N20,000 fine each.

Borno

Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State has announced the appointment Chief Kester Ogualili, an Igbo man, as his special adviser on community relations.

Ogualili is the first southerner to have such a political appointment in the state.

A statement signed by  the Director of press affairs in the Borno Government House, Alhaji Usman Chiroma said 24 other special advisers were also appointed.

They include the former NLC Chairman in the state, Comrade Garba Ngamdua.

Shettima described the appointees as credible persons that were carefully chosen to help in the development of the state.

“I quite believe that the calibre of personalities that I appointed as my special advisers will work hard to contribute to the development of the state,” the governor said.

FCT

The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, says it is working in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Environment to produce a “robust climate change policy” for the country.

Head Energy and Environment Group, National Centre for Technology Management, Dr Olalekan Aquila made the disclosure in Abuja on Wednesday in an interview with newsmen.

“It is in view of this that the Ministry of Science and Technology in partnership with the Ministry of Environment plans to produce a robust climate change policy that will stand the test of time,” he said.

According to him, the partnership will involve joint development of technologies on renewable energy and that of fossil fuel exploitation.

Gombe

Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State has been called upon to hasten the appointment of a deputy governor.

This followed the vacuum created by the death of the former Deputy Governor, Mr David Albashi on November 4 in Germany.

A PDP Stalwart Bature Cromwell made the call in Gombe on Thursday in an interview with newsmen in Gombe.

Cromwell, a former Chairman, Caretaker Committee of Kaltungo Local Government Council, said the appointment would eliminate the “hullaballoo” that is likely to arise as a result of the delay.

“The delay would heat up the polity and create bad blood among the people.

He urged the governor and the party to hasten the decision and make the right choice.

Jigawa

The first batch of Jigawa Pilgrims from Saudi Arabia returned home on Wednesday en-route Malam Aminu Kano International Airport.

The Executive Secretary of Jigawa Pilgrims Welfare Board, Alhaji Sani Muhammed told newsmen in Dutse on telephone that all necessary arrangements had been put in place to ensure the safe arrival of the pilgrims.

Muhammad explained that the delay in the arrival of the pilgrims before now, after the completion of their spiritual obligations in the holy land was due to long queue at the security check point of the King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah.

He explained that the first batch of pilgrims who returned on Wednesday were those from Kiri Kasamma, Gagarawa, Guri, Kaugama and Gwaram Local Government Areas of the state.

Kano

Seven foreign countries have indicate interest to participate in the forthcoming 32nd Kano International Trade Fair.

The seven countries are China, India, Egypt, Senegal, Niger Ghana and Cameroun.

The Director-General of Kano Chamber of Commerce Mines and Agriculture (KACCIMA), Hajiya Fatima Mohammed disclosed this to the newsmen in Kano.

“So far we have registered about 80 participants at the event and we are expecting not less than 200 more,” she said..

The KACCIMA chief said that the theme of this year’s trade fair is “Policy stability: a Hope for Industrial and Economic Development”.

Lagos

Former Director with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Dr. Omolara Akanji has said uncertainty and imperfect knowledge of the economy by operators contributed to the nation’s monetary policy challenge.

Akanji, who was the director in charge of Trade and Exchange, said this at the bi-monthly forum organised by the Finance Correspondent Association of Nigeria (FICAN) in Lagos.

The former director spoke on the topic “An Overview of Monetary Policy Transmission Mechanism in Nigeria”.

She said that the underdeveloped financial market and cash-based payment system was another challenge affecting the monetary policy transmission.

Akanji said that the informal sector had a lot of influence in the monetary policy management and needed to be captured for the implementation of cashless economy initiative.

Niger

The Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission (RMFAC) has called for the diversification of the nation’s economy to guarantee economic prosperity instead of over dependence on the oil and gas sector.

The call is contained in a communiqué issued after the North Central Zonal meeting of RMFAC on economic diversification and enhanced revenue generation in Minna.

It said that the previous studies on the diversification of the economy should be put to use by the various levels of government in line with the present administration transformation agenda.

Ondo

The Ondo State Government on Wednesday in Akure flagged off the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Week (MNCHW), aimed at reducing mortality among children under five years as well as ensure safe delivery among pregnant women.

Governor Olusegun Mimiko said at the occasion that tremendous success had been recorded in the past rounds of the exercise.

The governor, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Dr Kola Ademujimi, said the week strategy was aimed at scaling up a package of key maternal, neo-natal and child survival interventions that had been proven to reduce high neo-natal and child mortality in the country.

He said the interventions that would be implemented during this month’s round of the MNCHW were immunisation.

Plateau

The Plateau State Chapter of the League of Veteran Journalists has appealed to Governor Jonah Jang to rehabilitate the Plateau State Publishing Corporation to end the untold hardship faced by workers in the company.

The league in a statement on Wednesday in Jos said that it was worried over the dwindling fortunes of the company, publishers of the Nigerian Standard Newspapers.

In the statement signed by the league’s protem Chairman, Mr Gideon Barde, the league urged the government to take urgent steps to fund the corporation.

It noted that the corporation had remained a legacy within the North Central Zone, employing a significant number of journalists in the country.

Stating its neutrality in political matters, the league said that its objective was to enhance the quality of the journalism profession.

It also lamented the prolonged closure of the Jos Campus of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism which serves as a training ground for journalists in the northern part of the country.

Yobe

A vehicle tyre burst in Damaturu on Wednesday caused pandemonium as people scampered for safety thinking it was a bomb explosion.

Gun shots followed the tyre busts, as security operative tool positions to avoic the November 4 blasts which led to the death of scores of people in Yobe.

The commissioner of Police in the state, Alhaji Suleman Lawal confirmed the incident late on Wednesday, saying the tyre bursts had scared most people in the state.

Lawal said the police had been directe4d to avoid shooting inthe air in order not to cause further panic except when confronted by any physical threat.

Our Correspondent recalls that bombs explosions rocked the metropolis on November 4, destroying the Police Command Headquarters, Police Anti-Terrorists Squad, Federal Secretariat, First Bank of Nigeria branch and some churches.

Zamfara

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Musa Sada, says the ministry will provide extension services to artisanal miners in Zamfara to teach them best practices in mining business.

A statement by Mr Marshal Gundu, Deputy Director, Press, in the ministry quoted the minister as saying that the artisanal miners were being exposed to standard best practices in mining operations, “especially as it applies to gold mining and processing”.

The statement said that the ministry would also carry out sensitisation campaign in the state to enlighten the rural populace in the mining communities on the dangers of inappropriate mineral processing and illegal mining.

The statement said prospective miners should use safety gadgets as provided for in the mining regulations to enable them to carry out mining activities with minimum risk.

It urged the artisanal miners to formalise the process currently being undertaken by the ministry to form mining cooperatives for the purposes of securing small-scale mining lease and to benefit from the extension services.

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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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