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THE STATES

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Ekiti
An Ado-Ekiti Customary Court last Tuesday dissolved the eight-year-old marriage between one Rasak Bello and his wife, Aminat,  over irreconcilable differences.
The President of the court, Mrs Olayinka Akomolede, who listened to both parties,  dissolved the marriage, saying it had broken down irretrievably.
The  union was dissolved  on the grounds of lack of care for the petitioner and children, mismanagement of  his business,  fetishism, infidelity, stubbornness and frequent fighting.
The petitioner, Mr Rasak Bello, 43, a businessman, and a resident of No.7,  Basiri Street, Ado-Ekiti, had earlier told the court that he had  known the respondent for eight  years and they conducted a traditional marriage.

FCT
Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar has described late NAF instructor pilot, Group Capt. Adanu Ochai, who died in a plane crash in Kaduna as a hero who contributed  immensely to the nation.
Abubakar made the remark when he led senior officers of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on a condolence visit to the family of the deceased in Kaduna.
A statement by the NAF Director, Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Olatokunbo Adesanya, last Tuesday in Abuja, said the air chief pledged to support the family left behind by Ochai.
Late Ochai was the sole pilot on board the NAF Air Beetle aircraft which crashed in Kaduna on August 24.
During the visit, prayers were said for the family of late Ochai as well as for the repose of his soul.

Gombe
Gombe State Sector Command of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC)   recorded “motor accident free” Eid-el Kabir, the Sector Commander, Malam Ibrahim Abubakar has said.
Abubakar made the disclosure lastTuesday in Gombe in an interview with newsmen.
He attributed the development to series of sensitisation campaigns embarked upon by the command.
“Our sensitisation campaigns yielded positive result; that was why we recorded crash free sallah.
“Since I came to Gombe State two months ago, we have not recorded any serious crash.
“Thank God the sallah celebration has come and gone, it was hitch-free no crash recorded.
“I am appealing to motorists to sustain the tempo by desisting from any act capable of causing crash,” he said.

Kaduna
A group of suspected kidnappers who abducted a director with the Kaduna State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology is demanding  N40 million ransom, an official in the ministry has said.
The victim, Mr John Gorah, was abducted at midnight last Sunday at his residence located in Mararaban Rido, Kaduna.
The Deputy Director, Higher Education in the ministry, Mr Steven Haruna, told newsmen in Kaduna last Tuesday that the kidnappers had contacted the victim’s family.
Haruna explained that the kidnappers stormed the victim’s house, fired multiple gunshots in the air to scare people and pulled down a section of the fence before taking Gorah away.

Katsina
The Emir of Daura in Katsina State, Alhaji Farouk Umar has commended the President of Niger, Alhaji Muhammadou Yusouffou for his efforts in strengthening and sustaining the bond of brotherhood and mutual relationship between Nigeria and Niger.
Farouk made the commendation in Daura last Tuesday when he hosted the visiting president at his palace.
He said the relationship between Nigeria and Niger predated political independence of the two nations, stressing that “we inter-marry and conduct business activities together for many years.”
The emir said President Muhammadu Buhari returned from his UK medical trip in good spirit, saying “we would continue to support his policies and programmes for the development of Nigeria and Africa.

Kebbi
Association of People with Disabilities in Kebbi State last Tuesday appealed to the state Governor, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu to appoint members as special advisers for a sense of belonging.
The Chairman of the association, Malam Muhammad Argungu made the appeal in Birnin Kebbi when he led a delegation on a courtesy visit to the governor.
He said the appointment of members of the association as special advisers would ensure their access to government and enable them to contribute to the state’s policy and decision making.
He also appealed for award of scholarship to children of the members of the association schooling in tertiary institutions.

Kogi
The police in Kogi State have killed a suspected notorious armed robber and kidnapper on their wanted list for many years, the Commissioner of Police, Mr Wilson Inalegwu, said in Lokoja last Monday.
Inalegwu said that the suspect, identified as Lukman, was killed by men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Obeiba in Ihima area of the state on Sunday afternoon..
He said the suspect was shot during an encounter with a team of SARS operatives.
Inalegwu said that Lukman was shot dead during a cross -fire with SARS men who came in from Abuja to arrest him.

Niger
The Police Command in Niger State says it has recorded “a no-crime, no-violence” Eid-el-Kabir celebration in the state.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr Austine Agbonlahor, disclosed this during an interview with newsmen in Minna last Tuesday.
Agbonlahor commended residents of the state  for their peaceful conduct during the celebration.
He said the feat was achieved through the cooperation the residents across the 25 local government areas of the state accorded police personnel.
He said the command would continue to initiate techniques that would guarantee safety and security of lives and property as well as create safe haven for legitimate businesses to thrive in the state.

Oyo
This year’s  ministers’ conference of the Nigeria Baptist Theological Seminary,  Ogbomoso (NBTS) will focus on renewing the spirituality and fellowship of  participants in order to promote   the country’s  peaceful co-existence, social harmony, economic buoyancy and political stability.
The President of  NBTS,  Rev.  Emiola Nihinlola said this  at the seminary in Ogbomoso while shedding light  on the  theme of this year’s conference tagged: “The Dynamics of Competent Gospel Ministry”.
Nihinlola, a professor and  Vice-Chairman, Association for Christian Theological Education in Africa (ACTEA),  said the conference would also focus on the principles, methods and critical issues related to the work of the gospel.

Plateau
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Plateau State last Tuesday said it had arrested a 25-year-old man, Zulkifil Aliyu, who specialised in illegal narcotics trade within Jos metropolis.
The agency’s Commander in the State, Mr Ibrahim Bragi, confirmed Aliyu’s arrest to newsmen in Jos.
Bragi said that operatives of the agency arrested the suspect on May 19 at Laranto Village in Jos North.
He said during his arrest, the operatives found on the suspect 200 grammes of Tramadol tablets; 150 grammes of Diazepam tablets; 74 grammes of Exol tablets and 51 grammes of Cannabis Sativa.
According to him, the suspect in a confessional statement told the agency that he has been in the business for only three months.
The commander said the suspect confessed that he was getting his supplies from a man at Bauchi Road, and he in turn sold the substances as a retailer for profit.

Sokoto
Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, recently met with the President of Niger Republic, Muhammadou Yusouffou  at the Presidential Palace in Niamey to discuss issues of common interest for improved relations.
Tambuwal’s spokesman, Malam Imam Imam said in a statement that the two leaders discussed issues of cooperation for the benefit of their citizens.
Imam said the two discussed important issues that bordered on education, trade and cultural integration between Sokoto State and Niger Republic.
“Sokoto and Niger Republic have long standing cultural, religious and family ties.
“So, our visit to the Palais De Presidence is meant to enhance these ties and also explore other important areas of cooperation like education and trade,” he  said.

Zamfara
Zamfara State Police Command last Tuesday said it had commenced massive search for three policemen who went missing after Monday’s attack on their outpost in Keta village, Tsafe Local Government Area.
A press release issued by the command’s spokesman in Gusau, DSP Mohammed Shehu, denied online media reports that the policemen and their DPO were kidnapped.
“No one was kidnapped as a result of the attack on the facility,” Shehu said, and called on the general public to disregard the report.
He explained that a police outpost was not managed by a Divisional Police Officer (DPO), adding that the three missing policemen ran into the bushes when the outpost was attacked.
The spokesman said “at the moment, combined units of Police Anti-Robbery Squad, Anti-Kidnapping and Mobile Force are combing the bushes in search of their colleagues as well as to arrest the gunmen.”

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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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