The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said it distributed over 7,000 metric tonnes of assorted food items to persons displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency in Borno State in the past two months.
The NEMA Coordinator of Emergency Food Intervention for the Northeast, Mr E. Umesi, made the disclosure last Thursday in an interview with newsmen in Maiduguri.
Umesi said that the agency distributed the food items to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Maiduguri and other liberated communities.
“We went to do enumeration of liberated areas; we have virtually done that everywhere, even in areas where people find it difficult to live we went there.
‘’We have gone to Mafa, Dikwa, Gwoza, Bama, Benishiek and Jekana”, he said.
A former Governor of Ekiti State and an All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirant in 2018 governorship election, Mr Segun Oni, says he has always been a stickler for probity and accountability in public service.
Oni, also the Deputy National Chairman (South) of the APC said this in a statement signed by Mr Steve Alabi, the Director, Media and Publicity, Segun Oni Campaign Organisation, (SOCO).
SOCO was reacting to critics that described Oni as being “tight-fisted’’.
Oni said, “if it is my money; I can spend it the way I like, but if it is government’s money or public fund, I cannot do that.
“I was able to achieve much because I cut down on waste and conserved money for the state during my tenure. I’m not uncharitable, no. Government in a state like Ekiti does not have the latitude to spend money recklessly”.
A member of the House of Representatives, Rep. Israel Famurewa (Osun-APC) last Wednesday said there was need for a law to check the increasing rate of hate speech among Nigerians.
Famurewa, who said this in an interview with newsmen in Abuja advocated stringent penalties against offenders.
“Honestly I will support that because most of these things we are witnessing today started from peoples’ misguided utterances.
“Someone staying somewhere wishing another person, your brother, your sister whatever, wishing such person something bad.
“We are supposed to have a law written clearly in the constitution and state penalty for such violators”, he said.
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) said it had arrested two suspects in connection with drug-peddling in Jigawa State.
The Commander of the agency in the state, Mrs Josephine Obi made the disclosure last Thursday in Dutse while briefing newsmen.
She said that the command also recovered one locally-made double-barrel gun and some drugs from the suspects.
Obi said the suspects were arrested recently at about 8 p.m. by officers on routine patrol along Kano-Ringim road.
She said two tablets of Tramadol, one wrap of a substance suspected to be Indian hemp, two daggers and several charms were also recovered from the suspects.
“These suspects were arrested by our men last Sunday along Kano-Ringim road during a random stop-and-search on commercial vehicles.
Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin last Thursday challenged officers and men of the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) to remain loyal, disciplined, dedicated and patriotic in their assignments.
Olonisakin gave the challenge during the graduation of 106 direct short service cadets held at the Military Training Centre, NAF Base, Kaduna.
He particularly told the cadets that the service would not compromise on discipline and patriotism, adding that they must gear up to be part of the efforts to restore peace in parts of the country.
“You must at all times, subordinate yourself to constituted civil authority and protect democracy.
“Indeed, you must remain absolutely loyal to the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Force of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said.
Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development in Kogi State, Mrs Bolanle Amupitan last Thursday said the state government would collaborate with the National Drug Law Enforcement agency (NDLEA) to control drug abuse in the state.
Amupitan who disclosed this while receiving NDLEA officials in Lokoja said the state government would participate in this year’s commemoration of the international drug abuse day in the state.
She also said that the state government would support drug addicts to overcome their challenges.
She described poverty, marital problems and lack of parental care as some of the causes of drug abuse and called for support to rehabilitate the addicts.
A new Resident Electoral Commissioner has been appointed for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Lagos State. He is Mr Sam Olumekun.
Olumekun assumed duty last Wednesday at the state headquarters of the commission in Yaba.
His appointment followed the retirement from service by Mr Akin Orebiyi, the immediate past Resident Electoral Commissioner.
The commission has successively been led by two Administrative Secretaries — Mr Clement Oha and Dr Mudashiru Mustapha.
The Head of Public Affairs Department at the commission, Mr Femi Akinbiyi confirmed to newsmen that the new commissioner had reported for duty.
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Nasarawa State has arrested an ex-soldier for allegedly defrauding a pastor and 27 job seekers of N4.3 million.
The NSCDC’s Commandant in the state, Mr Lawan Bashir-Kano, told newsmen last Thursday in Lafia that the suspect was arrested in Doma last Monday following complaints by the victims.
Bashir-Kano said that investigation revealed that the suspect was dismissed from the Army in 2014 and had been going around defrauding unsuspecting citizens.
He said the suspect collected the money from the job seekers in the pretext of securing employment for them in military and paramilitary agencies.
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Niger State last Wednesday said it had deployed 57 security personnel to Minna-Suleja federal highway to curb kidnapping and cattle rustling in the area.
The Corps’ Commandant in the state, Mr Philip Ayuba made the disclosure in an interview with newsmen in Minna.
Ayuba said that the deployment became necessary because of the high rate of kidnapping, which had become the order of the day on the route.
“We have armed our personnel with the required working facilities to enable them to pursue men of the underworld vigorously,’’ he said.
Labour unions in Ondo State University of Science and Technology (OSUSTECH), Okitipupa last Tuesday urged Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu to reverse the decision slashing the institution’s monthly subvention.
The unions made up of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) made the appeal in a communiqué.
The communiqué was jointly signed by leaders of the unions–Temidayo Temola, Peter Akindehinde and Bobola Bamigbola for SSANU, NASU and NAAT respectively.
The unions said that the institution’s monthly subvention was slashed from N60million to N42million, adding that this was not enough to pay staff salaries let alone maintenance and other overhead costs.
They said that the administration had promised to make the university a world class institution.
The Oyo State Deputy Governor, Chief Moses Adeyemo, has advised insurance firms to enlighten Nigerians on benefits of insurance policies.
He gave the advice when a delegation from NEM Insurance led by its Chairman, Dr Fidelis Ayebae paid him a courtesy visit in Ibadan.
Report says that the delegation was in Ibadan for the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) scheduled to hold in Ibadan last Thursday.
Adeyemo said that insurance firms were important sector of the economy whose significance Nigerians were yet to appreciate.
“Insurance policies are useful and accepted instruments in the developed nations. Insurance policies give succour to loss of lives and properties”, Adeyemo said.
The Sokoto State Pilgrims Welfare Agency says it has completed the transportation of 4, 859 pilgrims from the state to Saudi Arabia for the 2017 Hajj.
Report says that the last batch of 474 pilgrims was transported by Max Airline at about 3 a.m. last Thursday.
Speaking to newsmen at the Sultan Abubakar International Airport Sokoto, the Director General of the agency, Alhaji Ibrahim Umar said the pilgrims were transported in nine consecutive flights.
Umar, who described the exercise as successful, commended Governor Aminu Tambuwal, airline operators, individuals and voluntary groups that facilitated the success of the exercise.
The official disclosed that some individuals and organisation had distributed printed and audio copies of Hajj guide to the pilgrims to facilitate understanding of the process.
Umar confirmed that some of the intending pilgrims were substituted due to ill health, pregnancy, accidents and deaths, adding that the figure for the total number of those affected was being compiled.
NHRC Seeks Prioritisation Of Children’s Rights In National, State Budgets
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.
Court Rejects EFCC’s Request To Amend Charge In Ex-NNPC GMD’s Trial
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.
Economist Challenges W’Bank’s Prediction On Nigeria’s Inflation Rate
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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