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FG’ll Bring Murderers To Justice …As Boko Haram Displaces 300,000

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President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday promised that no resource will be spared in bringing to justice all murderers engaging in violent activities in the northern part of the country.
Speaking at the Centenary Conference in Abuja, themed: “Human Security, Peace and Development: Agenda for the 21st Century,” Jonathan said Africa must address some fundamental challenges to the continent’s human security, peace and development.
He said, two days ago, terrorists invaded a secondary school and murdered innocent children in Yobe State, while they slept. The children, the hopes of their parents and the future leaders of our dear nation, had their hopes and dreams snuffed out, leaving behind grieving families, schoolmates, communities and a sad nation.
“Our prayers and thoughts are with their families at this difficult moment of loss. This gruesome and mindless act of savagery is not Nigerian. It is not African. Let me assure all Nigerians that we will spare no resource in bringing those murderers to justice”, he said
Jonathan said that the cost of wars and insurgencies are too high and that Africa has been estimated to lose $18 billion per year from wars and insurgencies.
“In concert with our regional and global partners, we will continue to respond strategically and decisively to this scourge, and together with our people, we shall end the killings and bring terrorism to an end.
“Your Excellencies, let us work together across boundaries, not only to coordinate and strengthen our defences, but also to address any socio-economic roots on which these extreme ideologies thrive”.
He said that greater regional cooperation in intelligence gathering and control of insurgents will not only ensure Nigeria’s security, but also the security of her neighbours.
In a related development,  nearly 300,000 people, more than half of them children, have fled their homes in northeast Nigeria since May last year because of violence linked to the Boko Haram according to the United Nations.
Three states in the region have been under emergency rule since last May 14, when the military launched a massive offensive to stamp out the insurgency, which has killed thousands since 2009.
Credible figures, including casualties, have been difficult to obtain, as waves of attacks across a swathe of remote villages have made it impossible for most rescue agencies to operate.
But the UN’s humanitarian office, OCHA, said a total of 290,002 people have been internally displaced in the three states under emergency rule — Adamawa, Borno and Yobe  as of January 1, 2014.
Meanwhile, soldiers abandoned checkpoints and fled into the bush, leaving five villages and a town at the mercy of Islamic extremists who killed at least 33 people and firebombed a theological college in overnight attacks in Adamawa that lasted hours, survivors said yesterday.
On Tuesday, extremists killed 59 students when they struck a school in Yobe State, hours after soldiers were inexplicably withdrawn from a roadblock set up to protect the institution.
The recent string of assaults in an Islamic uprising gripping the northeast of Africa’s biggest oil producer comes amid widespread criticism of military failures despite a 9-month-old state of emergency.
“It is curious that under an emergency rule when security operatives are on red alert, this mayhem still persists,” Senate President David Mark said Wednesday in a statement calling the attacks an “open declaration of war.”

L-R:United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Country Representative, Ratidzai Ndlovu, ILO Director, Sina Chuma-Mkandiwire, UNDP Country Director, Mr Palamin Bayei and Executive Director, UNFPA, Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, during a meeting of UNFPA Executive Director  with UN Country Team in Nigeria in Abuja, yesterday.

L-R:United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Country Representative, Ratidzai Ndlovu, ILO Director, Sina Chuma-Mkandiwire, UNDP Country Director, Mr Palamin Bayei and Executive Director, UNFPA, Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, during a meeting of UNFPA Executive Director with UN Country Team in Nigeria in Abuja, yesterday.

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Ogoni Youths Give FG 14 Days To Fix East-West Road

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No fewer than 400 youths under the aegis of Ogoni Youth Federation (OYF), yesterday, staged a peaceful protest at the Eleme axis of the East-West Road, giving the Federal Government 14 days ultimatum to mobilize to site and fix the road or have economic activities in the area grounded.
The protesters, who carried various placards with inscriptions to press home their demands, trekked from Akpajo Junction to Refinery Junction in Eleme LGA, chanting solidarity songs to register their discontent over the neglect of the road.
Addressing newsmen during the protest, President General of the Ogoni Youth Federation, Comrade Legborsi Yaamabana, said it was regrettable that the road, which was a major route to the economic hub of the nation, has remained in a deplorable state, only becoming a death trap that has terminated the lives of innocent Ogonis.
Yaamabana, who described the mass action of the youths as a ‘warning protest’, said if the contractors handling the road were not immediately mobilized to site, then, the youths will have no option than to shut down all economic activities in the area.
He said, “we cannot continue to watch our people being killed on daily basis by tankers because of the poor state of Eleme axis of the east west road, we are calling on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency fix the road and save our people from untimely deaths as a result of the sorry state of the road, the only bridge on the road at Aleto has collapse but nothing is being done to avert the disasters faced by our people daily”.
Yaamabana also called on the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio to constitute a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission to address the development needs of the Niger Delta region, noting that the use of interim management for NDDC was “diversionary, self serving and not in the interest of the development of the Niger Delta region”.
The OYF president general also called on the Federal Government to exonerate Ken Saro-Wiwa and his compatriots who were extra-judicially murdered by the late Gen Sani Abacha military junta, and given post-humours honour as martyrs of democracy in Nigeria, while the ideals of justice they stood for should be upheld.
Also speaking, the immediate past secretary of the Ijaw Youth Council, Eastern Zone, Comrade James Tobin, who joined the protest in solidarity, decried the neglect of the East—West Road by the Federal Government, and called the immediate fixing of the road to save the teeming road users from untold pains and death.

By: Taneh Beemene

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Rising Prices Push 7m Nigerians Below Poverty Line -World Bank

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The World Bank has said that rising prices pushed about seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020.
This was contained in a press statement titled, ‘Critical reforms needed to reduce inflation and accelerate the recovery, says new World Bank report,’ released by the World Bank’s Senior External Affairs Officer of Nigeria, Mansir Nasir.
The press statement was released, yesterday, in line with the latest World Bank Nigeria Development Update.
It was acknowledged that the Federal Government “took measures to protect the economy against a much deeper recession” but it was recommended that certain policies should be set for a strong recovery.”
The statement read, “The NDU, titled ‘Resilience through Reforms,’ notes that in 2020, the Nigerian economy experienced a shallower contraction of -1.8 per cent than had been projected at the beginning of the pandemic (-3.2 per cent). Although the economy started to grow again, prices are increasing rapidly, severely impacting Nigerian households.
“As of April, 2021, the inflation rate was the highest in four years. Food prices accounted for over 60% of the total increase in inflation. Rising prices have pushed an estimated seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020 alone.”
Quoted in the statement, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, identified some of the challenges faced by the country and recommended a way forward.
“Nigeria faces interlinked challenges in relation to inflation, limited job opportunities, and insecurity.
“While the government has made efforts to reduce the effect of these by advancing long-delayed policy reforms, it is clear that these reforms will have to be sustained and deepened for Nigeria to realise its development potential,” Chaudhuri said.
Also quoted is the World Bank Lead Economist for Nigeria and co-author of the NDU, Marco Hernandez, who also gave a recommendation.
“Given the urgency to reduce inflation amidst the pandemic, a policy consensus and expedite reform implementation on exchange-rate management, monetary policy, trade policy, fiscal policy, and social protection would help save lives, protect livelihoods, and ensure a faster and sustained recovery,” Hernandez said.

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Inflation Dips To 17.93% In May, NBS Confirms

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Nigeria’s inflation rate dropped to 17.93 per cent in May, 2021, from 18.12 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed this in its monthly Consumer Price Index report released, yesterday.
The drop in the headline inflation in May was the second consecutive month this year.
The report indicates that the consumer price index (CPI), which measures the inflation rate increased by 17.93 per cent (year-on-year) in May, 2021, which is 0.19 per cent points lower than the rate recorded in the preceding month.
According to NBS, food inflation dropped in the same month from 22.78 per cent recorded in April, 2021 to 22.28 per cent in May, 2021.
The report reads, ‘‘All items less farm produce which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce stood at 13.15 per cent in May, 2021, up by 0.41 per cent when compared with 12.74 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
‘‘The highest increases were recorded in prices of pharmaceutical products, garments, shoes and other footwear, hairdressing salons and personal grooming establishments, furniture and furnishing, carpet and other floor covering.
‘‘Others include, motor cars, Hospital services, fuels and lubricants for personal transport equipment, cleaning, repair and hire of clothing.
“Other services include personal transport equipment, gas, household textile, and non-durable household goods,” the NBS added.

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