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THE STATES

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Borno
Alhaji Kabiru Turaki, the Minister for Special Duties,
said on Saturday that it was illogical to link the activities of the Boko Haram insurgents to the Federal Government.
Turaki said this while speaking at the PDP Presidential Rally held in Maiduguri.
He described individuals peddling such romour as “most unpatriotic.’’
“It is an open secret that government does not have a hand in the current insecurity facing us.
“Although, some people have been spreading falsehood linking government with the problem,” Turaki said.
“The people of Borno are well known for their intelligence. I am sure that they know very well that government cannot have a hand in this mess,” he said.

FCT
Australia’s High Commissioner to Nigeria has appealed
to political parties and their candidates to refrain from violent acts and inflammatory speeches ahead of the February general elections.
Mr Jonathan Richardson, gave the advice on the occasion of the celebration of Australia Day in Abuja.
Our correspondent  reports that the Australia celebrates its National Day on January 26 every year to commemorate the establishment of the first European settlement at Port Jackson, now part of Sydney, in 1788.
Richardson said that Australia was, however, confident that the poll would be peaceful.
He welcomed the Abuja Peace Accord of January 14, and appealed to all the stakeholders to abide by the non-violence pact.
He said, “Australia wishes Nigeria every success in holding free, fair, credible and peaceful elections.

Gombe

Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State said  that
the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would emerge victorious at all levels in the state in the February general elections.
Dankwambo, who spoke to newsmen in Yola shortly after presiding over a stakeholders’ meeting, said the meeting had resolved all issues within the party in the state.
“I am here on a mission of the PDP to meet some of the stakeholders in Adamawa on how we will move the party forward.
“We met and discussed on how we can carry everyone in the party along to face the February general elections.
“I see Adamawa as one of our strong base and by the grace of God victory is certain,” Dankwambo said.
Also speaking, Prof. Jibril Aminu, a PDP Board of Trustee member, urged those who felt aggrieved and had already left the party to return, saying everyone would be carried along.

Jigawa

Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa has  urged traditional
rulers to caution their subjects against harassment of any leader in the name of politics. Lamido gave the advice when he stopped over to pay homage to Emir of Kazaure, Alhaji Najib Adamu, during the ongoing campaign tour in the area. He said that the recent attacks on leaders were bad for the country’s democracy and tasked monarchs to educate their subjects on what leadership was all about and how people should honour and respect those in power.
“I am not happy with the ugly development where our youths are used to boo leaders during political campaigns. It is a bad precedent that everyone must rise against.
“As Nigerians, we have been living peacefully, people from the North have been living and doing business in the South and those from the South have been living and peacefully doing business in the North, therefore, we have to avoid doing anything that will endanger their lives.’’

Kaduna

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
said it would use 35, 000 ad hoc staff in Kaduna State for the forthcoming general elections.
The commission’s Administrative Secretary in the state, Alhaji Yusuf Hadejia, said this in an interview with newsmen  in Kaduna  recently.
According to him, the ad hoc staff will include National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members, students of tertiary institutions and facilitators from universities.
He said training had already commenced for staff as the commission was getting set to conduct hitch-free and acceptable polls.
Yusuf added that materials for the elections had started arriving, noting that “we have commenced the collection of non sensitive materials from Abuja, and we are organising series of workshops ahead of the elections.’’

Kwara

No fewer than four shops were saved from being de
stroyed by fire in Ilorin  following the quick intervention of the men of the Kwara Fire Service.
Our correspondent  reports that the incidence occurred opposite Yusjib Industrial Medi-care Hospital in Offa Garage area of Ilorin recently.
The Fire fighters, who got to the scene of the inferno early enough, were able to put out the fire in good time before it could escalate.
Some sympathisers told  newsmen  that the fire was triggered by an unknown person, who was burning debris in the yard behind the shops.
He explained that his men were informed of the fire incident and quickly rushed to the scene.

Lagos

The Chairman of the Presidential Committee on the Re
view of Nigeria’s National Defence Policy, said the outcome of its work would enhance the efficiency of the armed forces.
AVM Mohammed Umaru (Rtd), gave the assurance in an interview with   newsmen  in Lagos
Umaru said, following the committee’s two-day stakeholders’ interactive session in Lagos, the outcome of its work had so far been fruitful.
“From all indications we expect to have a result-oriented review that would ensure the efficiency of the armed forces.
“In Lagos for instance, the sessions dwelt on issues bordering on the people and the efficiency of the armed forces,” he said.
Nasarawa
The Andoma of Doma in Nasarawa, Alhaji Aliyu Onawo,
has cautioned politicians to desist from campaign of calumny  ahead of the February polls.
Onawo gave the advice  in Doma when the Nasarawa State governorship candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr Innocent Lagi, visited his palace to seek royal blessings.
The traditional ruler noted that the ongoing campaigns by the politicians dwelt more on personality rather than on issues and this could heat up the polity as well as instigate violence.
He urged the politicians to eschew bitterness and violence in the overall interest of the country, saying that they should focus on issue-based campaigns for the election.

Plateau

Senator Gyang Pwajok, the PDP governorship candi
date in Plateau State, has decried the ‘utter neglect’ of the tourism sector, and promised “massive investment’’ toward reviving it, if elected governor.
“The tourism sector is the pride of Plateau. It should actually our main source of revenue but that has not been possible because the sector has been neglected over the years.
“There are more than 250 tourist attraction sites and my plan is to develop these sites to international standard, so as to attract local tourists and open up Plateau to investors,’’ he told newsmen in Jos.
According to him, the potential in the sector is vast and has the capacity to rake in revenue and create employment for many because the multiplier effects of a robust tourism sector cannot be quantified.
“Plateau people also have all manners of annual cultural festivals; we shall work toward packaging these festivals to attract more visitors,’’ he said.

Sokoto
Governor Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State has distrib
uted 10,000 bags of rice and N10 million to the needy in 85 districts spread across the 23 Local Government Areas of the state.
The chairman of the State’s Zakkat and Endowment Committee, Alhaji Lawal Maidoki made this known in an interview with newsmen  in Sokoto recently.
Maidoki, who supervised the distribution of the commodity, said that the governor had also provided N 10 million to be given to all the beneficiaries.
“Each person will get a bag of rice and N 1,000 to transport it.
“The gesture is aimed at alleviating the suffering of the beneficiaries,’’ he explained.

Speaker of House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminubello Tambuwal (right) with Ogun State Governor, Senator Amoseun Ibikunle and his Lagos State counterpart, Alhaji Fashola, during the APC presidential rally in Port Harcourt, recently.

Speaker of House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminubello Tambuwal (right) with Ogun State Governor, Senator Amoseun Ibikunle and his Lagos State counterpart, Alhaji Fashola, during the APC presidential rally in Port Harcourt, recently.

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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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