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President Muhammadu Buhari (left) in a handshake with  Archbishop Anthony Obinna of Owerri Catholic Diocese during a meeting of the President with the leadership of Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria at the Presidential Villa Abuja last Monday

President Muhammadu Buhari (left) in a handshake with Archbishop Anthony Obinna of Owerri Catholic Diocese during a meeting of the President with the leadership of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria at the Presidential Villa Abuja last Monday

Adamawa

The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) is to deploy
medical doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other medical professionals to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps nationwide.
The Director-General of NYSC, Brig-Gen. Sule Kazaure, made this known while flagging-off the NYSC intervention programme at Damare IDPs camp in Yola.
Kazaure said that the deployment of NYSC to the camps was part of the scheme’s contribution to government’s efforts in assisting the IDPs.
“This programme, which is designed to bring succour to the inmates in this centre, is also intended to compliment government’s efforts towards provision of the welfare needs of members of IDPs nationwide.

FCT

A Kado Grade 1 Area Court has sentenced a 36-year-old
driver, Surajo Zailani, to two months imprisonment for possession of fake currency.
Zailani, a resident of Mpape in the FCT, had pleaded guilty to a one-count charge.
The presiding officer, Malam Abubakar Sadiq, however, gave him an option to pay a fine of N10,000.
Prosecutor Salisu Khaleel had told the court that Sanusi Mohammed of Utako village reported the matter at Utako Police Station on April 14.

Jigawa

The Jigawa State  Government has constituted a task
force to monitor petroleum products allocated to the state to ensure that they were not diverted.
The state’s Commissioner for Information, Youth and Sports, Alhaji Bala Ibrahim, told newsmen  that the committee was set up at the last State Executive Council meeting.
Ibrahim said members were drawn from security agencies, ministries of commerce, information and finance.
According to him, the task force is headed by the Special Adviser to the state Governor on Security, retired Col. Muhammed Hassan.

Kaduna

The Kaduna Judicial Commission of Inquiry recently con
cluded its Public Hearing into the December 12 Shiite/Army clash in Zaria.
The Chairman of the Commission, Justice Muhammed Lawal-Garba announced the end of the public hearing at the panel’s sitting.
The commission had before winding up, heard submissions of the Commandant, Nigerian Army Depot, Zaria, Brig.-Gen. Christopher Musa and three other Commanders on their role during the clash.
Our correspondent  reports that a total of 150 memoranda were submitted to the panel, with testimonies and recommendations from stakeholders..
The Chairman said that the panel may receive other submissions when the need arises.

Kebbi

The Kebbi State  Government has said that it would train
105 youths on technical skill acquisition to enable them start a business of their own.
The Deputy Governor, Alhaji Samaila Yombe, made this known when he visited the state works school in Birinin Kebbi.
The school principal, Garba Danfulani said the youths would be trained on carpentry, automobile mechanic, vulcanizing and computer programming.

Kwara

A Kaiama Area Court in Kwara has dissolved a 14 year-
old marriage between Aishat and Sule Salihu over alleged husband’s rudeness to his mother-in-law.
Aishat, the plaintiff had sought a relief for the dissolution of the marriage that was blessed with three children.
She told the court that she filed the divorce suit as a result of a misunderstanding between her mother and the husband.
The plaintiff said her husband failed to show up for a reconciliation relief granted him earlier by the court.

Lagos

Governor  Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has
named Dolphin Park after the late Dr Tunji Braithwaite, in recognition of his contributions to the political development of Nigeria.
Ambode, who was represented by his deputy, Dr Idiat Adebule, made this known at a special service of songs organised by the Braithwaite family in Lagos.
He said that Braithwaite’s struggle for the emancipation of Nigerians and his daily agitation for improved living condition for the masses was commendable.
“The late Dr Braithwaite gave all his life to the betterment of the lives of the masses; on several occasions he had stood for and defended the rights of the common man.
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Nasarawa

A Mararaba Upper Area Court in Nasarawa State has
remanded a 22-year-old security man, Ayuba Linus, in Keffi Prison for alleged negligent conduct.
Linus, a resident of Abacha Road, Mararaba, Nasarawa State, was dragged to court by Rachael Doda of the same address on a three-count charge of negligent conduct, housebreaking and theft.
The presiding officer, Vincent Gwehemba, ordered the remand of the accused and adjourned hearing in the case until May 5.
Earlier, the Prosecutor, Sgt. Stephen Kwaza, told the court that on April 22, the defendant allowed unknown persons now at large to break into the complainant’s flat.
Kwaza said that the unknown persons made away with some electronic items.

Ondo

An Okitipupa Magistrates’ Court in Ondo State, has
granted a 25-year-old commercial motorcyclist, Bayo Ikudaisi, N50,000 bail for alleged dangerous riding.
The magistrate, Mr Banji Ayeomoni, also asked the accused to produce two sureties in like sums and evidence of two years’ tax clearance.
Ikudaisi, of no fixed address, had pleaded not guilty to a three- count charge of dangerous driving, driving without driver’s licence and driving unregistered motorcycle popularly called ‘Okada’ on a public highway levelled against him.
The prosecutor, Insp. Zedekiah Orogbemi, had told the court that the accused on March 23 at about 3:00 p.m., along Okitipupa-Igbokoda Road rode on an unregistered Qlink motorcycle in a dangerous manner.

Oyo

The Wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, has said
that 2,500 women will receive free screening for cancer, diabetes, blood pressure and malaria through her Pet Project, “Future Assumed’’, in Ibadan on Thursday.
Buhari made the disclosure in Ibadan, when she visited Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Salisu Adetunji, in his palace.
She said that the screening had become necessary as it would enable them to know their health status early and improve their health.
She said breast and cervical cancer, blood pressure, diabetes and malaria were major killer diseases across the globe and could be prevented or managed through regular check-ups.

Plateau

The Plateau House of Assembly has extended the tenure of
the Chairmen of Management Committees of the 17 local government areas of the state.
This followed a motion moved at plenary session by the Majority Leader of House and the member representing Shendam constituency, Mr Henry Yenkwap.
Our correspondent, reports that the management committee chairmen, who were appointed in July 2015, have spent over eight months in office.
Our correspondent  also reports that the incumbent chairmen were appointed after those elected during the former PDP-led administration were ousted by Governor Simon Lalong.
Contributing to the motion, the member representing Mikkang constituency, Mr Na’anlong Daniel, urged the House to ensure that the management committee chairmen were accountable.

Sokoto

The Sokoto State Government and UNICEF have signed a
N2.09 billion agreement on a Joint Annual Work Plan in six key areas in the health sector.
Details of the plan, to be executed in 2016, indicated that the agreement would cover health, nutrition, education, water, sanitation and hygiene.
The plan is also expected to accelerate the realization of women and children’s rights to survive, develop, and participate in all activities toward progress and prosperity
According to a statement signed by Governor Aminu Tambuwal’s spokesman, Imam Imam, the state government will contribute N1.083 billion, while UNICEF will provide N 1.006 billion.

Yobe

A Gusau Magistrates’ Court has ordered for the remand of
one Yusuf Rabiu of Nasarawa, Damba Area, Gusau, for allegedly raping a married woman, Hassana Ibrahim of the same address.
Though the accused pleaded not guilty, the Magistrate, Alhaji Umar Abdulnasir, ordered that he should be remanded in prison custody.
The case was adjourned till May 11, for further mention.
The Prosecutor, Sgt. Lawal Isah, had told the court that on April 4, while the complainant’s husband, Ibrahim Isah was away, the accused, armed with knife, flashed torchlight on the complainant’s face.
Isah said that the accused attacked and raped the complainant and also stole her cell phone, valued at N5,000 and escaped.

Zamfara

The Zamfara State office of the National Drug Law and En
forcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested 63 suspects and confiscated 130.2 kolgrammes (kgs) of various illicit drugs in the first quarter of 2016.
Its commander, Mr Thomas Ejim, disclosed this while briefing newsmen on the arrests of some suspected drug traffickers in Gusau.
Ejim said that the drugs found on them included 24.15kgs of cannabis sativa and 106kgs of various types of psychotropic substances.
According to him, 47 out of the 63 suspects arrested are being counseled by the command while 14 suspects had been convicted.

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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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