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THE STATES

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Adamawa

The Chairman, Adamawa State House of Assembly
Committee on Public Accounts, Mr Wafarninyi Theman, said yesterday that the House was poised to check leakages in the state’s revenue generation capacity.
Theman told newsmen  in Yola that a recent probe of the activities of the state revenue generating ministries and parastatals by his committee was in line with the house’s commitment to that effect.
He said the committee had made startling discoveries such as non remittance of Pay As You Earn (PAYE) deductions amounting to over a billion Naira by local government councils in the state.
“We are now on the councils’ necks and about seven local government councils out of 21 have so far complied in remitting their PAYE, though seven out of 21 is not fair enough,” he said.
Theman said the committee would work closely with the Office of the state Accountant-General, to ensure discipline in government’s financial operations.

Borno

The Dangote Foundation has flagged off an
empowerment scheme for the poor in Maiduguri, aimed at distributing N10,000 cash each to about 54,000 indigent persons in Borno.
The Managing Director of the foundation, who performed the ceremony, Dr Adhiambo Odaga, said that it was part of their poverty alleviation programme.
Odaga said that the foundation was collaborating with a non-governmental organisation, Support for Widows, Orphans and Tsangaya children (SWOT).
SWOT is the pet project of Hajiya Nana Kashim Shettima, the wife of the Borno governor.

FCT

The Senate President, David Mark, has pleaded with the
striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to return to work.
Mark made the plea while commissioning a lecture theatre donated to the School of Management Sciences at the Kano State Polytechnic by Sen. Kabiru Gaya.
This is disclosed in a statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the Senate President, Paul Mumeh, in Abuja.
Mark said calling off the strike would salvage the already battered education sector from further deterioration.

Gombe

The Catholic Bishop of  Bauchi Diocese, Most Rev.
Malachy John-Goltok, has urged Christians to use the Christmas season to reconcile with one another.
John-Goltok made the call in his sermon during the dedication of the St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Tumfure, Gombe.
The cleric said that the Christmas season, which reflected the coming of Jesus Christ into the world, should not be for merry-making alone but also a period for reconciliation with one another and God.
“As we enter the advent, Christmas is a time of preparation; spiritual preparations; not just bothering with what we will eat or the cars we will drive.

Kwara

Oba Raphael Sunday, the Asolo of Isolo-Opin in Ekiti
Local Government Area of Kwara State, has called for the presence of state and federal projects in his domain.
Sunday said that this would accelerate socio-economic development in the area.
He made the call during his official coronation at Isolo-Opin last Sunday.
He said that projects, especially those in the education sector would assist the community to achieve its development objectives.

Lagos

A cleric, Pastor Faith Amaraegbu, has urged Nigerian
women to make necessary sacrifices to build their homes well in the interest of the society.
Amaraegbu, who is in charge of the Charismatic Renewal Ministries, Winners’ Assembly, Okota, Lagos, made the appeal during a public presentation of a book that focused on home- building.
The book launched in Lagos, was written by an Assistant Director (Marketing) in the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mrs Margret Iroha.
It is entitled: ’’ Celina, A woman of Royal Destiny’’.

Nasarawa

The Nasarawa State Agricultural Development
Programme (NADP) has urged agricultural extension officers to initiate strategies that would address the challenges of animal production in the country.
The Programme Manager, Mr. Naphtali Dachor, made the call at the Technology Review Meeting of the programme in Gadabuke, Toto local government area of the state.
Dachor said that the call had become necessary considering the importance of animal production to the socio-economic development of the country.
He said: “The importance of animal production cannot be over-emphasised to the development of the state and the country at large.

Niger

The Niger State Government is to spend N96 million to
buy 28 flying boats for the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) for water transportation.
The Special Adviser to Governor Babangida Aliyu, Alhaji Mohammed Shaba, made this known to newsmen yesterday in Minna.
Shaba said that the agency would collaborate with the state Ministry of Transportation and the Boat Divers Association on the modalities for the boat operations.
“The transportation ministry will handle the modalities of the boats operation and the necessary measures to ensure its success.
“Each of the flying boats will be equipped with life jackets for passengers, including first aid kit for their safety.’’
He said the agency would domesticate the Federal Government’s laws on inland water management, in a bid to check the activities of unscrupulous individuals, who engaged in sharp practices to the detriment of their passengers.

Oyo

Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has
commiserated with the people of Akure and the Ondo State Government over the death of the Deji of Akure, Oba Adebiyi Adesida, Afunbiowo II.
A statement by the Oyo State Government, in Ibadan, described the late monarch as a good person that would be missed by the people, including Ajimobi.
The statement, which was signed by Dr Festus Adedayo, the Special Adviser to the governor on Media Matters, expressed shock at the passing on of the respected monarch,
“The people of Oyo State and its state capital, Ibadan, will miss the revered monarch, who lived in Ibadan for decades before he was crowned the Deji,’’ it said.

Sokoto

Senator Ibrahim Gobir (PDP- Sokoto), says the
National Assembly members will partner with other key stakeholders to ensure that Nigeria remains a united and indivisible entity.
According to Gobir, Nigeria will not break up in 2015, as being predicted by some people.
Gobir, who represents Sokoto East Senatorial District, told newsmen in Sokoto that such a prediction would not come to fruition and such cynics would be disappointed.
“Nigeria will rather come out stronger and more united in 2015 and beyond. Our diverse religious, ethnic and cultural differences should therefore be the basis of our unity.

Zamfara

The Zamfara State Police Command, yesterday
said it had shot dead 13 suspected armed bandits in Talata Mafara Local Government Area of the state on Saturday.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Lawal Abdullahi told newsmen in Gusau that one policeman also died during the shoot-out, while another sustained injuries.
Abdullahi explained that the incident took place in Jangebe village where the hoodlums were operating.
He said the police stormed the area after a tip off.
“On getting there, the robbers, numbering more than 70 men, engaged the police in a gun battle during which 13 of them were killed,’’ he said, adding that their corpses had been deposited at the Yariman Bakura Specialist Hospital, Gusau.

President Goodluck Jonathan (right), being received by Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State on his arrival for the 2nd North-East Economic Summit in Gombe,  yesterday .

President Goodluck Jonathan (right), being received by Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State on his arrival for the 2nd North-East Economic Summit in Gombe, yesterday .

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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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