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THE STATES

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Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue (left), and  wife  of the  Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, during the Vice President's wife visit to Idps camp in Makurdi recently.

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue (left), and wife of the Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, during the Vice President’s wife visit to Idps camp in Makurdi recently.

Borno

Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno has commended
President Muhammadu Buhari’s financial discipline, saying it would save many states from collapse in the face of the falling oil price at the international market.
A statement by Malam Isa Gusau, the Special Adviser to the governor on Communication, quoted Shettima as giving the commendation at a wedding reception in the Government House, Kano.
The reception was in honour of Gov. Muhammad Abubakar of Jigawa’s daughter, Amina, who got married to Lawan Dahiru Mangal at the Umar bn Khattab Mosque.
Shettima said: “The fall in price of crude oil to below 40 dollars per barrel has threatened Nigeria’s main source of revenue.
“Government in the 36 states will have been in serious trouble if not for the financial prudence of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Benue

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees,
(UNHCR) has advised the Federal Government to increase its assistance to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Agatu, Benue.
UNHCR’s Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms Angele DIkongue-Atangana, gave this advice on Wednesday in Makurdi in an interview with newsmen.
She said that the IDPs in Agatu required urgent and sustained attention just like their counterparts in the North-East and other areas in Nigeria.
“The amount of damage done to Agatu communities is similar to what obtained in Borno and other affected states in Nigeria.
“As at now, over 2.2 million Nigerians have been displaced from their homes in villages and towns seeking refuge and protection in camps and communities,’’ she said.

Ekiti

Coordinator, Vanguard for Better Living, a non-
governmental Organisation, Mr Samson Olaide, has lauded an Ado-Ekiti High Court judge for sentencing a school proprietor to 10 years imprisonment for raping a 10-year- old pupil.
Olaide gave the commendation while speaking with newsmen in Ikole, Ekiti State.
He said that the judgment would go a long way in curbing the activities of rapists, describing them as “animals in human body.’’
Olaide decried increase in reported cases of rape, especially abuse of minors across the country, saying the menace was fast assuming dangerous dimension.

FCT

Meat consumers in Kuje Area Council of the Federal
Capital Territory (FCT) have raised alarm over the deplorable state of infrastructure and unhealthy operational environment of the council’s abattoir.
Some of the consumers who spoke to newsmen in Kuje faulted the reliance of the abattoir on stream water for the washing of meat before conveying to market.
Mr Adekunle Odunayo, a meat consumer, said the use of stream water and car tyres for roasting meat for human consumption was unhealthy.
He said that “the state of the abattoir, as you can see, is not healthy because in the first instance, there is no water to wash the slab after use.

Katsina

Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State has called on the
people of the state to exercise patience with the ongoing change agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari in the country.
He made the call when he launched small-scale businesses empowerment and free treatment schemes initiated by Sen. Abu Ibrahim (APC-Katsina).
Our correspondent reports that other House of Representatives and State House of Assembly members from Katsina South senatorial zone were also initiators of the scheme.
The governor assured the people that the APC-led .
Kogi

The Secretary to Kogi Government, Dr Folashade Ayoade
said the government would set up a committee to determine the fate of 142 workers placed on compulsory leave since 2011.
Ayaode, disclosed this in Lokoja during a meeting with the representatives of the affected workers of the state transport company.
She expressed sympathy with the plight of the workers who had lived for the past five years without salary.
The SSG promised to draw the attention of Gov. Yahaya Bello to their plight, adding that the government would also offer them relief package pending the determination of their case.
Spokesman of the affected workers, Mr Usman Ibrahim said their problem started in the second quarter of 2011 when 15 serviceable buses of the transport company were “fraudulently” sold to politicians at give away prices.

Lagos

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA)
said it had intercepted a letter laden with heroin in Lagos.
This is contained in a statement signed in Lagos by the agency’s spokesman, Mr Mitchell Ofoyeju.
According to the statement, the letter, which was sent from Bengalore, India, via Express Mail Service (EMS), was addressed to one Mr Yunusa Amusan, 33, in Mushin, Lagos.
“Upon interception by the NDLEA, about 480 grammes of powdery substance that tested positive for heroin, was found inside the letter.
“The thin parcels of heroin were carefully hidden in the letter in a manner that makes it difficult to detect.
“This is the first case of heroin letter discovered by the anti-narcotic agency this year,’’ it said.
The statement also quoted the Chairman of the agency, Mr Muhammad Abdallah, saying that the arrest was recorded following the diversification of the agency’s operations.

Osun

Coordinating Director, Osun State Ministry of Agriculture,
Food Security and Youth Engagement, Dr Oluwabukola Aluko, has announced that butchers operating in the state would henceforth pay levy to the government.
Aluko, who made the announcement in a statement issued to newsmen in Osogbo, said that the payment of the levy would commence from April 1.
He said that each cow slaughtered as meat for consumption in the state would attract N1, 000 levy while each sheep, goat, pig and other animals would attract N200 levy.
He said that the decision to introduce the levy was reached after an interactive session between Governor Rauf Aregbesola and butchers association in the state.

Plateau

The Plateau Director of National Orientation Agency
(NOA), Mr Bulus Dabit, has urged Nigerians to be patient with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, in spite of the current challenges.
Dabit, who made the appeal in an interview with newsmen in Jos, said better days lie ahead for Nigerians.
“There is no gain without pain and Nigerians should be patient with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Nigerians need to understand that government cannot solely fizzle out the present challenges we are passing through as a country.

Sokoto

The Sokoto State Government said it would partner with
the UN Development Organisation ( UNIDO) and the Bank of Industry ( BoI) to establish leather cluster in Sokoto.
The state’s Commissioner for Commerce, Trade and Industries, Alhaji Aminu Bello, made the disclosure in Sokoto in an interview with newsmen.
He said that the cluster, which would be a conglomeration of industries producing leather products in one place, was aimed at harnessing the abundant hides and skin in Sokoto State.
He added that “this is a tripartite partnership aimed at reviving the moribund leather industries and boost the activities of leather artisans.

Yobe

The Yobe Government has pledged to support Internally
Displaced Persons (IDPs) relocating to their communities with agricultural inputs to boost farming and promote economic rehabilitation.
Alhaji Musa Jidawa, the Executive Secretary, Yobe State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), stated this in an interview with newsmen in Damaturu.
The secretary said some of the IDPs had started relocating to their communities preparatory to the farming season, noting that government would ensure that it provided them with farm inputs this cropping season.

Zamfara

The Deputy National Chairman, Ulama’u Council of the
Jama’atu Izalatil Bid’ah Wa’Ikamatis Sunnah (JIBWIS), Sheik Yusuf Rigachikun, has urged the Federal Government to involve more Islamic scholars on its Hajj committees.
Rigachikun made the appeal in an interview with newsmen in Gummi town, headquarters of Gummi Local Government of Zamfara.
‘’Involving more Islamic scholars on hajj committees is very important for the exercise, because they play vital role in preaching and teaching pilgrims how to perform the hajj rites to gain maximum spiritual benefits.

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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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