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THE STATES

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Benue

The Benue State House of Assembly has  summoned the Commissioner for Information and
Orientation, Mr Conrad Wergba, over his utterances.

The decision followed a motion moved by Mr Audu Sule (PDP
Agatu Constituency) and seconded by Mr Ianna Jato, (PDP Katsina-Ala East
Constituency).

Sule, who is also the chairman of the House Committee on
Information, told the Assembly that on Aug. 3, the commissioner issued a
statement which discredited members of the House.

He added that on August
8, 2012, in a publication titled “The Alternative”, the commissioner
alleged that the legislators were out to thwart the efforts of the government
and also accused the state legislators of “arm twisting” the  government because of their “selfish and
pecuniary motives”

In their separate contributions, Mr Benjamin Adanyi,
Christopher Afaor, Terkimbi Ikyange and Paul Biam alleged that the commissioner
misled the people through his comments, and lamented that the action was a
deliberate ploy to tarnish their reputation.

 

Borno

The University of Maiduguri has  denied media reports that it had extended its
resumption date for both new and returning students by three months.

The university’s Public Relations Officer, Malam Mohammed
Ahmed, said this in a statement in Maiduguri.

He said although it was true that the management had
cancelled one academic session due to the prevailing security challenges, the
action did not affect other academic programmes of the institution.

He explained that the university would re-open on September
3, for the first semester of the 2012/2013 session in line with its calendar.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Senate of the university at
its meeting on June 28, 2012, approved the calendar of dates and events for the
2012/2013 session.  “According to the
calendar, registration for first semester 2012/2013 session for all students
will commence on September  3, and end on
September 22, while lectures will begin for all students on September 24,
2012,” he said.

 

Gombe

The Chairman, Joint Association of Physically Challenged
Persons in Gombe, Alhaji Ali Goro, has called on the state government to create
job opportunities for educated members of the group.

He said  in Gombe that
out of the 12,298 physically challenged persons in the state, only 358 were
educated.

Goro said that out of the learned ones, only eight were
gainfully employed while the remaining 350 were not, adding that creating job
opportunities for them was the only way to discourage them from begging, as
well as encourage others to go to school.

He also appealed to the government to provide free education
at tertiary levels for the physically challenged.

Goro said that in spite of their participation in
electioneering and elections, no member of his association has been appointed
into any public office.

 

Jigawa

Thirty persons living with HIV and AIDS, have entered into
marriage contract under the couple match making scheme initiated by the Jigawa
Action Committee on AIDS (JISACA).

The Executive Secretary of the agency, Dr Bashir Ahmad, said
in Dutse  recently that the measure was
to control the scourge in the state.
Ahmad said that the agency in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria
(CBN), had so far trained 50 HIV positive women on various trades.

Ahmad further identified stigma as responsible for the spate
of HIV/AIDS transmission among the rural dwellers in the state, which had risen
to 2.8 per cent.

The executive secretary said that poor attitude and lack of
education on the scourge were also exposing the positive living persons to more
difficulties, adding that the agency had embarked on enlightenment campaign to
sensitise communities on the scourge with a view to reducing the stigma,
enhance care and offer support services to HIV positive persons.

 

Kano

The Coordinator of the Legal Aid Council in Kano State,
Alhaji Abubakar Umar, has  called for
adequate funding of the organisation to enable it to discharge its duties
effectively.

Umar made the call in an interview in Kano, stressing that
inadequate funding and the lack of operational vehicles were hampering the
activities of the agency.

“Lack of operational vehicles and inadequate funding are
some of the factors militating against the smooth operation of the agency.

“There are more than 184 courts, including Sharia,
Magistrates’ and higher courts in the state and we have to attend to some cases
outside the state capital,’’ he said. According to him, workers of the agency
find it difficult to travel to other local government areas because of the lack
of transportation facilities. “You know we are dealing with indigent clients
and sometimes we have to assist them with our own money,’’ Umar said.

 

Kano

The women’s wing of the Kano State Hisbah Commission  donated clothes and pieces of jewellery to
widows and orphans ahead of the Eid-el-Fitr Sallah celebration.

A representative of the group, Zahra’u Umar, who delivered
the items to the beneficiaries, emphasised the importance of assisting the
needy, especially during the Ramadan period.

Zahra’u, who explained that the recipients’ names were
forwarded to the group for assistance by the representatives of their
communities, enjoined wealthy individuals to emulate the gesture.

One of the recipients, Hauwa Umar, thanked the group and
prayed that God rewards the sponsors. Another beneficiary, Ibrahim Isma’il, who
is an orphan, said:“I had no hope of having new clothes until I was given this
one today and may God bless the donors.”

The group donated clothing materials to 99 widows and 54
orphans ahead of the Sallah celebration.

 

Kaduna

The poverty alleviation scheme introduced by the wife of
Kaduna State Governor  Mrs Amina Yakowa,
was not meant to score a political point.

The Interim Management Committee Chairperson, Sabon-Gari
Local Government, Hajiya Amina Dalhatu said this  in Sabon-Gari   during the distribution of some materials at
the council secretariat recently.

No fewer than 44 women from 11 wards of the local government
received either a sewing or knitting machine each.

Dalhatu said the gesture was aimed at empowering with a view
to reducing their reliance on their husbands for survival.

She explained that the scheme touched several aspect of
poverty alleviation. While calling for the support of all, the council boss
urged the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the items to achieve the set
goals.

 

Kebbi

The Federal Roads Safety Commission (FRSC) in Kebbi , has
warned motorists against illegal use of government, private and commercial
vehicle number plates.

This is contained in a statement issued by the Sector
Commander, Mr Seyi Daniel, in Birnin Kebbi, he said motorists found indulging
in the act would be penalised.

The statement said the commission was determined to end the
illegal use of number plates in the area, especially to prevent criminal
activities.

It urged members of the public to call the attention of the
commission when such illegality was observed, and also advised motorists to
ensure that their vehicles’ tyres were of good quality to prevent accidents,
especially during the rainy season.

It also called on motorists to obey traffic signs on the
highways. “The commission would not relent in curtailing road accidents as well
as the violation of traffic rules,” the statement added.

 

Kogi

Human and vehicular movements have been light in Okene, Kogi,  as an uneasy calm pervaded the town where 19
worshippers were killed at the Deeper Life Bible Church at the Eikha-Adagu area
on Monday by gunmen.

The Commissioner of Police in Kogi, Mr Mohammed Katsina,
said on Wednesday that four persons had been arrested in connection with the
killings. Shops, banks, eateries and filling stations were closed as well as
the Federal College of Education and the Kogi State Polytechnic. Travellers,
who normally spent some 30 or more minutes to navigate the traffic in the town,
spent only about five minutes on Thursday.

 

Niger

The Niger Commander of the National Drug Law Enforcement
Agency (NDLEA), Alhaji Abdulahi Abdul,
said the Nigerian Army has intercepted one Johnson Adedokun with 90.50
kilogrammes of substances suspected to be Indian hemp. Adedokun was arrested at
a roadblock along Minna-Suleja highway.

Abdul, who made the disclosure while speaking in Minna, said
that Adedokun hailed from Ondo State. He said that, Adedokun, who is 40 years
old, was transferred to the agency by the authorities of the 31 Artillery
Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Minna that arrested him.

Abdul commended the Nigeria Army for the cooperation, and
urged people in the state to provide useful information on illicit drug dealers
to the command.

He warned parents to monitor their wards as they were the
most vulnerable in the usage of the drugs in the society.

He said that the command, in July, arraigned 10 suspects at
the Federal High Court, Minna, who were convicted to various jail terms while
other cases were still ongoing before the court.

 

Ogun

An Ogun State-based legal practitioner, Dr Oloruntoba
Mamora, has lamented the poor salary been paid young lawyers by law firms in
the country.

Mamora, who made the observation in an interview in
Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, said that most big law firms were fond of exploiting
young lawyers and paying them peanuts.

Mamora noted that despite the fact that most big firms had
enough money to pay the young lawyers well, they still subjected them to
inhuman treatment by underpaying them.

He, however, called on the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) to
do everything within its power to ensure that young lawyers were treated with
respect and dignity.

“It is a very sad situation. Some of the old lawyers make
millions of naira but they still find it difficult to part away with N10,000 as
salary for young lawyers. “They do not care about others because if they do,
they will not be treating the young lawyers badly,“ he said.

 

Plateau

The Plateau State House of Assembly has summoned three
commissioners to appear before it at its next sitting.

The commissioners, who are expected to respond to charges of
contempt against the House, include commissioners of finance, water resources
and chieftaincy and local government affairs.

The assembly had accused the commissioners of negligence in
the discharge of their duties and refusal to answer summons of house committees
carrying out oversight functions on ministries.

The Speaker, Mr John Dabwan, who issued the summons in Jos,
said that the refusal of the commissioners to honour the invitation was “sheer
contempt’’.

A member of the House, Hon. Gondina Sambo, had in a motion
of urgent public importance, which received unanimous support of members,
accused the three officers of rebuffing summons of various committees.

Also to appear before the assembly is the Chairman of the
Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission who is expected to explain
delays in the conduct of local government polls.

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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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