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THE STATES

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Adamawa

Dry season famers in Adamawa  State  have predicted poor harvest in the state following the hike in the price of petrol.

President Goodluck Jonathan has announced a new fuel pump price of N97 as against the deregulated price of N141.

The announcement of the deregulation of the petoleum downstream sector triggered a six-day strike by the organised labour and the civil society groups, to protest the policy.

The state chairman of the Dry Season Farmers Association, Alhaji Adamu Dan Wazam,told newsmen  in Yola that the high cost of fuel was threatening dry season farming.

Dan Wazam, who is also the chairman of vegetable dealers in the state, said that some farmers were no longer paying adequate attention to their farms due to their inability to fuel their water pumps to irrigate their farms.

“Many vegetables, fruit, rice and maize farms have been affected and about 90 per cent of our dry season farmers who depend on small petrol water pumps to irrigate their farms, were also affected.

“Report reaching us from our members across the state is that some of the farmers are losing interest in the business.”

 

Bauchi

A North-East based political pressure group, Democrats for Good Governance (DFGG), has unanimously endorsed former Bauchi State Governor Adamu Mu’azu for the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

This is contained in a communiqué signed by the Chairman and Secretary of the group, Yusha’u Bala and Chief A D Musa respectively on Monday in Bauchi.

The NGO urged Nigerians to begin to look at the past and positive track records of performance of their leaders to enable them select a credible leader.

The group commended the first Prime Minister of Nigeria, late Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and host of others from the North-East, for their contribution to the development of the country.

It urged members of the party and the North East region to give Mu’azu, who it described as “the only aptly qualified person to hold the post of PDP National Chairman,” another chance.

 

Benue

The Benue Police Command has paraded 39 suspected armed robbers, car thieves and cultists accused of terrorising innocent people in the state.

Parading the suspects in Makurdi, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Ibrahim, said the suspected criminals were arrested at different locations within the state in the last one month.

Ibrahim, who commended the police for making the arrests, assured Benue citizens that no stone would be left unturned in their resolve to rid the state of criminals.

He said that three of the suspected robbers, who allegedly attacked and robbed a catholic priest of the sum of N340,000 at Katsina Ala on December 26, 2011, were arrested.

The deputy commissioner said that the police were committed to flushing out all armed gangs from the state.

Ibrahim, therefore, called on the people to support the police in tracking down criminals by volunteering information that would lead to their arrests.

 

Ekiti

Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi  has defended his decision to appoint indigenes of the state from abroad into his cabinet, saying it was aimed at facilitating the transformation agenda of his administration.

“I will continue to search for Ekiti people wherever they may be to help in the transformation agenda of the administration.”

Speaking while administering the oath of office on two Special Advisers, Messrs Olufemi Tolani (Public Private Partnership), and Dare Tolulope (Legal Matters) on Wednesday in Ado-Ekiti, Fayemi advised critics of his administration to stop describing such appointees from abroad as foreigners.

He said every community in the state had “excellent and great people” in top positions across the globe in the private sectors, who would be brought to the state “to foster robust governance and deliver dividends of democracy to the people”.

 

FCT

The Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) has appealed to the National Assembly to ensure that the Nigeria Police is provided with all its logistic requirements.

PCRC Chairman, Gwagwalada Abuja Branch, Prof . Chikwendu Williams, made the appeal on Monday in Abuja in an intreview with newsmen.

He said that Police Area Command, Gwagwalada, lacked patrol vans, noting that the cammand could not respond to emergencies.

Williams said that vehicles currently in use by the command, needed to be serviced, while their tyres required replacement.

He said that the police needed to be properly equipped, especially during this period of great security challenge in the country.

Williams appealed to individuals and corporate organisations to assist solve the mobility problems of the police.

 

Kaduna

The Kaduna State House of Assembly has began  the assessment of the performance of the 2011 budget, the House Committee Chairman on Information, Yakubu Yusuf has said.

Yusuf told newsmen in Kaduna on Wednesday that the legislators would not pass the 2012 budget proposal if they were not satisfied with the performance of last year’s budget.

He explained that the budget assessment was a constitutional requirement for the legislature before considering the current budget estimates.

According to him, all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and projects will be visited to enable members to have first hand knowledge of their performance in 2011.

 

Kogi

A non-governmental organisation, the National Youth Leaders’ Forum of Nigeria, has commended President Goodluck Jonathan for the step he took in reviewing the petrol pump price from N141 to N97.

The forum’s president, Mr Ben Oduntoye who gave the commendation in Lokoja on Monday, said it was quite courageous of Jonathan to have fixed the price at N97 after due consultations.

He therefore appealed to Nigerians to embrace peace by accepting the federal government’s position in the best interest of the masses.

“We have to do this, because there were neither winners nor losers in the negotiation,’’ Oduntoye said.

 

Lagos

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) said that it had arrested a 32-year-old man with 7.1 kg of liquid cocaine at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja.

In a statment by its spokesman, Mr Mitchel Ofoyeju, NDLEA said that the drug was intercepted during the screening of passengers that arrived on an Emirate flight from Brazil, en route Dubai on Monday.

 

Niger

Niger government, on Wednesday assured victims of the recent violence which erupted in Minna over the removal of fuel subsidy, that it would offer adequate compensation to them.

Chairman of the 13-man committee set up by the government to investigate the matter, Alhaji Yahayah Dansallau, gave the asurance in Minna after visiting some of the victims.

“We have seen government and private properties that were destroyed, including individuals who sustained injuries.

“The responsibility of our committee is to assess what has happened and make recommendations to the state government, and our assessment is on-going.

“After our recommendations the government will take a decision on how to come in and compensate the victims, including the public institutions affected’’, he said.

 

Ogun

Sellers of sachet water in Abeokuta are recording a boom due to the scarcity of water in the Ogun capital, our correspondent reports.

Our  correspondent, who monitored the development on Monday, reports that most residents have resorted to the use of sachet water to cook, bath and for other domestic chores.

The situation has increased the demand for sachet water and consquently the price.

Some residents, who spoke to newsmen, attributed the development to the inability of staff of Ogun Water Board to function, due to the sit-at-home strike declared by the NLC.

Mrs Adeola Adeyemi, a trader, said, “I now buy pure water at N10 per sachet instead of N5.

 

Ondo

Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State has in Akure released N58 million to 52 farmers executing projects under the Fadama III programme.

The farmers were drawn from the various Fadama Community Associations in the 17 local government areas of the state.

The cheques were presented to the beneficiaries in Akure by Mr Ademola Olorunfemi, the Commissioner for Agriculture, who represented the governor.

Mimiko said that the government had so far released N224 million for the scheme, noting that 97 Fadama Community

Associations and Fadama Users Group, had earlier received N166.5 million from the state government.

 

Sokoto

The Sokoto Zonal office of the Department of Petroleum Resources ( DPR), has closed down 11 filling stations in Sokoto metropolis for selling petrol above the approved price of N 97 per litre.

The Controller, Alhaji Umaru Moriki, told newsmen in Sokoto on Wednesday that, two of the filling stations were owned by major marketers while the nine others belong to independent marketers.

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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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