Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State has mourned the death of elder statesman, Alhaji Bukar Mandara, describing him as a true nationalist and philanthropist.
Mandara died after a protracted illness at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) last Sunday, and he was buried on Monday at the Gwange Cemetery in the Maiduguri metropolis.
Shettima, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Communications, expressed shock over Mandara’s death, saying he was a man who worked tirelessly for the interest of the less privileged. “I received the death of Mandara with a total shock, although as a Muslim we believe that death is a necessary end to all humans,’’ he said.
The Lagos State Christian Pilgrim Welfare Board has been adjudged the most outstanding state in the promotion of self-sponsorship of Christian pilgrimage in the 2012 exercise.
Executive Secretary, Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), Mr John-Kennedy Opara, announced this at the joint conference of states pilgrims’ welfare boards and the commission in Abuja.
Rivers State was honoured for sponsoring the highest number of pilgrims; Borno State was recognised for its resilience in sponsorship of pilgrims in spite of daunting challenges while Benue was adjudged the most organised state.
Opara said that the honoured states had been consistent in their contributions to the smooth conduct of the 2012 exercise, and noted that the recognition was aimed at spurring the boards to work harder.
He said that the NCPC was committed to encouraging states welfare boards to organise intending pilgrims in a manner that appealed to requirements of both Nigerian and Israeli authorities.
In his address, the Chairman of the commission, Most Rev Nicholas Okoh, charged the secretaries and chairmen of the states boards to work hard in improving the spirituality of pilgrims in their respective states.
The Pantami Magistrates’ Court in Gombe State has sen- tenced five persons to one month imprisonment each with an option to pay N1,000 fine each for breaking traffic law.
They are Abubakar Umar of Bakin Kura, Bauchi; Idriss Audu of Kabusa of FCT and Yohana Kalim of Tula Wange, Kaltungo local government area of Gombe. Others are Saidu Kabir and Mohammed Garba both of Tudun Wada Quarters, Gombe.
The convicts were sentenced based on their guilty plea and plea for leniency. Police prosecutor Sardauna Pukuma had told the court that the convicts were arrested on April 6, at about 8 p.m.
He alleged that the convicts drove different types of vehicles on the Gombe-Bauchi Federal Highway and disobeyed Police officers on stop and search, stating that the offence contravened the provisions of section 62 (J) of the Road Traffic Regulation (RTR).
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) last Tuesday, appealed to farmers in Jigawa State to ensure effective utilisation of facilities provided them by the fund to boost agricultural activities in the state.
The IFAD Country Programme Manager, Atsuko Tudo, made the call while presenting work bulls and other agricultural processing equipment to some farmers in Kiyawa local government area of the state.
IFAD had in March disbursed N180 million to 36 village areas to facilitate the implementation of its Community Based Agriculture and Rural Development Programme (CBARDP) in the state.
She said that the programme was designed to reduce poverty, provide means of livelihood and encourage agricultural activity and rural development.
Kaduna State branch of Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) last Tuesday expressed concern over the lack of cooperation among workers in the health sector.
The chairman of the union in the state, Mr Emmanuel Wudiri, expressed the concern at a news conference in Kaduna to mark the union’s health week.
Wudiri said the situation had contributed to the series of failures in tackling the healthcare challenges in the country.
He stressed the need for synergy among health professionals to ensure effective and efficient health care services in the country.
Governor Rabi’u Kwankwaso of Kano State has assured non- indigenes resident in the state of adequate security of their lives and property.
Kwankwaso gave the assurance when the President-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Gary Nnachi, paid him a courtesy call in Kano last Tuesday.
The state Commissioner for State Affairs, Alhaji Aminu Abdussalam, who received the Igbo leader on behalf of the governor, said the state government would continue to accord priority to security to ensure economic growth and development of the state.
The Police Commissioner in Katsina State, Alhaji Abdullahi Magaji, has confirmed the attack of a police station at Ingawa local government area in Katsina State,
Magaji told newsmen in Katsina last Tuesday, that the intention of the gunmen, he described, as robbers, was to take away the police arms, and stated that one of the Improvised Explosive Devises (IEDs) fell on the roof of the police station and ignited the fire that destroyed the building.
“There is no casualty on the part of the police, but some of the suspects escaped with wounds and we have recovered five IEDs and three motorcycles. “We are pursuing them and we have alerted our neighbouring states and we are going to arrest them, God willing,’’ the commissioner said.
An eyewitness said that the incident occurred at about 9.30pm on Monday, adding that the gunmen, numbering about 10, invaded the police station and threw several IEDs at the building, one of which detonated.
The Secretary to Kebbi State Government, Alhaj Nurudeen Kangiwa, says the state government would partner with recognised professional security outfits to enhance security in the state.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Special Services Department, Alhaji Sani Sarki, Kangiwa gave the assurance when he received officials of the National Peace Corps and National Vigilante Groups in Birnin Kebbi last Tuesday.
He commended the security outfits for their decision to enhance peace and security and peaceful co-existence, adding “we commend your resolve that is centred on preventive measures on security.”
The National Commandant of the Peace Corps, Dr. Dickson Akoh, said the corps was recognised by the Federal Ministries of Education and Youth Development, while UNESCO and the UN had recognised its training methods.
A downpour in Lagos last Tuesday caused flooding in some parts of the metropolis, resulting in traffic gridlock on several roads, which left many commuters stranded at bus stops for hours.
Some of the affected areas include Ajegunle in Ikorodu, Ikotun, Ikorodu Road, Alaka, Carter Bridge, Mushin , Ebute-Meta and Ile-epo along the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway.
Some motorists and commuters said that the flood on some of the major roads resulted in some vehicles breaking down, which affected the free flow of traffic.
A civil servant, Mrs Mary Udoh, said she was stranded in the rain for hours because most of the commercial buses had parked for fear of getting damaged.
Governor Mu’azu Aliyu of Niger State has called on the Federal Government to increase the funding of the National Population Commission to enable it effectively discharge its duties.
Speaking in Minna at the workshop on the review and evaluation of the 2006 population and housing census, Aliyu noted that national planning and development have been frustrated by manipulation of census figures over the years in Nigeria.
According to the governor, the manipulation of census figures of the country’s population has made it impossible to get an accurate figure of the populace since 1963.
Aliyu said that many Nigerians see census only in terms of ‘sharing the cake’ based on the mono culture of ‘oil money’ instead of laying emphasis on ‘baking the cake’.
An Abeokuta Chief Magistrates Court has remanded in Ibara Prison a 33-year-old security guard, Mulero Ogunleru, for allegedly beheading a mad woman.
The Police Prosecutor, A S P Paul Etusi, told the court that the accused committed the offence on January 28 at about 5 p.m. at Ishaga Orile in Abeokuta. He said that the accused unlawfully killed a woman by cutting off her head with a cutlass.
“ Ogunleru was sighted by several eye witnesses at the same spot where the madwoman was murdered earlier in the day. “ He was said to be playing with her”, Etusi said.
The prosecutor said the offence contravened Sections 316 and 319 of the Criminal Code Laws of Ogun, 2006. The accused, whose plea on the one-count charge of murder was not taken by the court, had no counsel.
Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State in Akure,last Tuesday, enjoined the judiciary to ensure speedy dispensation of justice, to restore the hope of the masses.
Mimiko during the opening of a three-day stakeholders’ workshop organised by the state judiciary, expressed concern over the delay in dispensation of cases in the country, adding that the workshop would reverse the situation in the state. According to Mimiko, the procedure, which is affidavit evidence based, will avert lengthy cross examination of witnesses as they will now rely only on adoption of his affidavit.
“With this, many of the civil cases in our various high courts will now be quickly dispensed with.
The Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG), Zone 10, Sokoto, Alhaji Sule Mamman, said measures had been put in place to control the importation of arms.
Mamman said in Sokoto, last Tuesday, that officers were posted to border towns of Illelah, Sabon Birni, Isa, Gudu and Tangaza in Sokoto State.
He also said that some were deplored to Kamba, Kangiwa, Bagudu and Augie in Kebbi.
“They were briefed on security methods to be adopted to ensure the arrest and prosecution of those involved in the nefarious business.”
NHRC Seeks Prioritisation Of Children’s Rights In National, State Budgets
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.
Court Rejects EFCC’s Request To Amend Charge In Ex-NNPC GMD’s Trial
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.
Economist Challenges W’Bank’s Prediction On Nigeria’s Inflation Rate
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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