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THE STATES

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L-R: Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, Emir of  Wase, Alhaji Mohammed Sambo and Deputy Speaker Plateau  State House of Assembly, Alhaji Yusuf Gagdi, during the Eid el-Fitri traditional sallah homage to the governor in Jos last Monday. Photo: NAN

L-R: Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, Emir of Wase, Alhaji Mohammed Sambo and Deputy Speaker Plateau State House of Assembly, Alhaji Yusuf Gagdi, during the Eid el-Fitri traditional sallah homage to the governor in Jos last Monday. Photo: NAN

Adamawa
An Adamawa State-based non-governmental
organisation, Fombina Grassroots Development Association, has  facilitated the release of 20 inmates in Jimeta and Yola Prisons.
The Project Manager of the association, Alhaji Abubakar Njidda, made this known when he presented gift items to the inmates in Yola.
Njidda said the inmates, who regained their freedom, were those sentenced to prisons on civil cases, adding that the association could only pay the fines of 20 convicts.
He said that the association would continue to follow due process to seek the release of those who were convicted on civil cases and could not pay their fines.

Benue

A former Police Commissioner, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav,
has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase, to intervene to end the spate of killings in Benue state.
Tsav told newsmen in Makurdi that their intervention was imperative to prevent the state from plunging into anarchy.
A chieftain of the PDP in Katsina-Ala Local Government Area, Mr Atoza Ihindan,  was recently gunned down by unknown assassins in broad day light near Jato Aka in the LGA.
Tsav, who bemoaned the incessant killings, noted that they occurred mostly within the Katsina-Ala axis of the state.

Ekiti

The Ekiti State Command of Nigeria Security and Civil
Defence Corps (NSCDC) last Sunday paraded two suspects for allegedly carrying out illegal abortion.
The suspects, according to the State Commandant of the Corps, Mr Raji Adedoyin, specialised in carrying out abortions illegally around Tiwaloluwa Resort Area, FHA Estate, Afao Road, Ado -Ekiti.
The commandant, while parading the suspects at the headquarters of the corps, reiterated the commitment of the corps to free the state of quack doctors.
According to him, no religion supports abortion and if it is inevitable that pregnant individuals should visit government or certified hospitals.

FCT

The President of Pan-African Cultural Congress
(PACC), Mr Ferdinand Anikwe,   has said that Africa’s development must be based on its diverse cultures to succeed.
Anikwe made the call in an interview with newsmen in Abuja  saying the approach was necessary for Africa to succeed.
“Africa remains in deep political, economic and cultural crises beneath which lie her aspiration, struggle, hope and commitment.
“One of the major challenges of Africa has been the inability to generate, package and implement viable and effective programmes for growth and development,’’ Anikwe said.
He said that any plan for development that failed to recognise or take into cognisance Africa’s very rich cultural potential was bound to fail.

Kaduna

Queen Amina College, Kaduna, has appealed to the
Kaduna State Government to provide the college with teachers in core science subjects and a nurse for the school sick bay.
The Principal of the College, Hajiya Balkisu Ubangari made the appeal in an interview with newsmen  in Kaduna.
Ubangari said that the school was in shortage of teachers, particularly in core science subjects, namely mathematics, physics, geography, basic technology and agriculture.
Others, she said were physical and health education, religious knowledge, culture and creative art.
According to her, the subjects are very crucial in preparing students for tertiary institutions.

Lagos

Project for Human Development (PHD), a civil society
Organisation, has urged President Mohammadu Buhari not to listen to the US government on issues of Gay rights, so as to protect the laws and values of Nigeria.
The call as made at a rally in Lagos with the theme of the rally was, “Gay Marriage: Obama, Please Leave Nigeria Alone”.
Buhari is already in America where he is holding talks with President Barack Obama and other senior officials of the United States government.
Director-General of PHD, Mr Jerry Okwuosa said that the rally was to hint Buhari on the fears by Nigerians that Obama might ask him to decriminalise “the Same Sex Prohibition Law of Nigeria”.

Nasarawa
The founder of Tremas Academy in Mararaba, Nasarawa
State, Mrs Dora Iroro, has called on the three tiers of government to focus more on improving primary education in order to make the country an intellectual hub.
Iroro spoke at the school’s premises while briefing newsmen on the institution’s forthcoming graduation and prize giving day billed.
She said the call became imperative as primary education remains the building block for future societal endeavours.
Iroro advised the government to urgently provide an enabling environment for primary education and their operators to thrive.
She also said there was need to make registration of private primary schools less costly while incentives in form of tax holidays should be provided for owners.
Iroro further urged the government to ensure regular monitoring of the schools to ensure such quality service was not compromised.

Osun

A group, Women for Positive Impact Initiative, has
called for greater participation of women in the political space to contribute their quota to nation building.
The group made the call in Osogbo through its Executive Director, Mrs Tokunbo Ajayi, who described the level of women participation in politics as worrisome and discouraging
She urged women to show more interest in the decision-making process of the country and contribute their quota to nation building.
According to her, women play a very significant role in making a nation great through compassionate leadership.
“It is high time we changed our political equation and start to encourage more women to go into politics.
“Women are very sensitive and passionate than men when it comes to leadership; it is a way of making a nation great.

Oyo

Ansar-ud-deen Society of Nigeria (ADS) has appealed
to the Boko Haram insurgents to sheathe their sword and allow peace to reign in the country.
The society made the call in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Muibi Adebanjo, in Ibadan recently.
It congratulated the Muslims for the successful completion of Ramadan and urged the Islamic faithful worldwide to embrace the righteous ways displayed during Ramadan.
It noted that the nation cannot develop nor grow in a situation of insecurity, and charged the insurgents to sheathe their sword and make its agitation known to the government through dialogue.
The Islamic organization commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his approach to duty, and appealed to Nigerians to be patient with him.

Sokoto

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, has
called for the establishment of rent control boards in the country as one of the methods of curbing insecurity.
Abubakar spoke in Sokoto last Sunday when he paid Sallah homage to Governor Aminu Tambuwal of the state.
According to the sultan, the proposed boards should be charged with the responsibility of keeping a national database on all landlords and tenants.
Abubakar also urged Nigerians to take the issue of security as a collective duty and not that of the government alone.
The sultan called on the state government to introduce a state-wide schools shuttle bus service to alleviate the suffering of students.

Zamfara

The National Union of Road Transport Workers
(NURTW), said its members had maintained their transportation fares throughout the Sallah period.
The Director of Publicity of the union, Mr Kefas Dogonyaro made this known in Gusau in an interview with newsmen.
He said that members of the union did not increase the transportation fare because they were considering the current economic hardship faced by Nigerians.
“Even though we knew many petrol stations sold the commodity over the approved Federal Government price of N87 per litre, we have maintained our fares so as not to add to the sufferings faced by our people.”
He said that all passengers that boarded vehicles at the motor-parks had enjoyed the regular fares without any increase.
Dogonyaro said that the union would continue to encourage passengers to board vehicles at designated motor-parks where details of passengers were usually obtained to guard against any unforeseen circumstance.

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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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