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Bauchi

The Bauchi State Universal Basic Education Board
(SUBEB), Bauchi, has distributed items worth N26 million to physically-challenged pupils spread across various schools in the state.
The Executive Chairman of the Board, Alhaji Abdullahi Dabo, said in Bauchi while distributing the items, that the effort would assist the pupils  pursue  education with little difficulties.
Dabo said 150 wheel chairs, 100 crouches, 20 sewing machines, 20 knitting machines, 20 Perkins brail machines, three brail computers, four desktop computers and sewing materials were distributed.
He said the intervention would help the pupils to learn together with other students in the same environment under the board’s inclusive education programme.

Benue
Wood carvers in Makurdi, Benue State, have decried
incessant attacks on villages in some local government areas of the state by suspected herdsmen.
A cross section of these professionals told newsmen that they no longer felt safe to go into the hinterland to fell trees for their trade.
A 70-year-old wood carver, Mr Solomon Nyamkyor, expressed concern that the herdsmen had occupied the hinterland with their cattle .
Nyamkyor added that the activities of the herdsmen had adversely affected their business as they could no longer access the big trees suitable for their business.

FCT
The Deputy Director, National Identity Management
Commission (NIMC), Mrs Mifor Udoh, says the national identity card scheme is critical to national development drive.
Udoh said this in an interview with newsmen in Abuja.
According to her, the identity card scheme can be used to collect valuable electronic data, protect them from theft, and facilitate financial payment while it remains a universally acceptable resource for confirming identity.
The deputy director added that the current national exercise would help to actualise the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan.

Gombe

Two policemen are feared dead following a clash be
tween them and some youths in Difa village of Yamaltu/Deba Local Government Area of Gombe State.
A reliable source in the area told our correspondent in Gombe that the incident occurred in the night of February 16.
According to the source, some policemen on routine night patrol from Kwadon division arrested some youths in the village for allegedly being in possession of illegal drugs.
The source said that the arrest did not go down well with other youths whose protest led to violent clashes that resulted in the death and burning of the bodies of the two policemen.

Kano

Youths from the Northwest zone of the country have
agreed to table the challenges of employment, poverty and violence confronting them at the upcoming National Conference.
The Vice-Chairman, National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Alhaji Jamilu Karama, made the disclosure in Kano while addressing journalists on the outcome of the council’s  meeting on February 15 in Kano.
“For a long time, youths have been left at the back stage of political development in Nigeria. We appreciate the interventions of various government policies on youths, but we feel more is needed,’’ he said.
Karama, who was nominated to the conference by youths in the zone, attributed failures of the youth to their large population without corresponding resources and facilities to cater for them.

Kebbi

The Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) in
Kebbi State has said it would spend N88.5 million to maintain damaged roads linking Jega-Koko-Yauri and the border with Niger Republic.
Mr Ali Mohammed, the Maintenance Officer of the agency, said this in an interview with newsmen in Birnin Kebbi.
He said that N44.2 million would be spent to rehabilitate the Jega-Maiyama and Maiyama-Yauri-Koko road, representing sections two and three of the federal highway in the state.
He explained that the 400km Kontagora-Sokoto road would be rehabilitated.

Lagos

The Lagos State Government has sealed a firm along
Adeniji Jones, Ikeja, for allegedly assaulting an official of the state’s Internal Revenue Service (LIRS).
The Head, Distrain Unit of LIRS, Mrs Folasade Coker-Afolayan, was said to have been attacked and wounded when she served a notice of tax default on the firm.
It was learnt that the incident occurred when an official of the firm ordered Coker-Afolayan and others out of the company’s premises.
The firm, it was said, allegedly owed the state government N11.5 million in unremitted personal income taxes of its workers in 2012.
Managing Director of the company, Mr Sam Osunde, however, told reporters that the company’s officials resisted the attempt to seal the company because it also served as his residence.

Nasarawa

A Grade 1 Area Court, Aso Pada, in Mararaba,
Nasarawa State, has ordered former lovers, Rhoda Ndukwe, 34, and Michael Agbor, 39, to steer clear of each other.
The presiding judge, Mr Albert Maga, gave the order at the resumed hearing of the case when Ndukwe told the court that she had agreed to withdraw charges against her former fiancée.
The court was told that Ndukwe, 34, of Kabayi village and Agbor, 39, of same address in Abuja, lived together.
Ndukwe said she decided to withdraw the charges on the ground that the accused had agreed never to intimidate her again.
Maga also ordered the accused to write an undertaking never to intimidate Ndukwe again and that both should steer clear of each other.

Osun
The Osun State House of Assembly has directed the
State Independent Electoral Commission (OSIEC) to conduct a referendum on the proposed creation of additional 27  Local Council Development Areas.
The Speaker of the Assembly,  Mr Najeem Salaam, gave the directive during plenary  in Osogbo.
It would be recalled that Gov. Rauf Aregbesola had on Dec. 16, 2013, presented a bill to the House for the creation of the councils.
The bill, which had scaled through  second reading,  would increase the number of local governments and local council development areas  to 57  if passed  into law.

Oyo

A housewife, Mrs Rachael Adekanmi, has  urged  an
Oyo State High Court to dissolve her 10-year-old marriage to  her husband, John, alleging abandonment.
The complainant said that her husband had abandoned her and their  two children  in the last five years.
She said that the family had resided at No. 2, Ade Festus Way, Gbodofu area of Osogbo  before her husband left.
The complainant, who  told the court that she got  married to her husband on Feb. 20, 2004, added  that her husband had already married  another wife.

Plateau
The Commissioner of Police in Plateau, Mr Chris Olakpe,
has set up a joint Police/ Traditional Rulers Security Committee, to curtail violence in the state.
Olakpe announced the formation of the committee during a one-day interactive session with traditional and religious leaders in Jos.
“The committee will be holding security meetings every end of the month, to trash out grey areas, through intelligence information sharing.

Taraba

The Coordinator, Examination Ethics International,
Alhaji Ahmed Muhammed, has  described the lingering examination malpractice in the country as “poisonous and a threat to the future of Nigeria”.
Muhammed told newsmen in Jalingo that some parents, teachers and students had “almost legalised the illegal practice” of examination malpractice.
“They say money is the root of all evils, but examination malpractice is the greatest evil we have in Nigeria.
“We have cases of building collapse, bad governance, corruption and other negative acts. These are being perpetrated by products of examination malpractice,” he said.

L-R: Afenifere chieftain, Sir Olaniwun Ajayi, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State and Chief Ayo Adebanjo, during the preliminary meeting of the Yoruba Committee on National Conference in Ijebu last Monday. Photo: NAN.

L-R: Afenifere chieftain, Sir Olaniwun Ajayi, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State and Chief Ayo Adebanjo, during the preliminary meeting of the Yoruba Committee on National Conference in Ijebu last Monday. Photo: NAN.

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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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