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THE STATES

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Borno
An NGO, Smile Mission Healthcare, has conducted a hand-washing exercise at the Muna Garage Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp, in Borno State, to control the spread of cholera in the state.
Project Coordinator of the NGO,   Dr Sale Abba told newsmen last Wednesday in Maiduguri that over 10, 000 displaced children in the camp benefited from the exercise.
According to him, the programme also involved a waste clearance exercise in the camp, as part of environmental sanitation and preventive measures to control the disease.
“Cholera is an orally transmitted disease through the consumption of contaminated water or food resulting from poor hygiene and sanitation.

FCT
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) says it is determined to put a stop to illegal mining in the country in spite of the myriad of challenges.
The Commander General of the Corps, Abdullahi Gana, said this in an interview with newsmen in Abuja last Thursday.
Gana said the activities of illegal miners was jeopardising the country’s economic growth in view of the fact that the perpetrators of the act were making billions of naira at the expense of the country.
“It is on record that about five weeks ago we arrested 14 big time illegal miners in Plateau State”, Gand said.

Kaduna
A Non- Governmental Organisation, Connected Development (CODE) is training 60 stakeholders to monitor utilisation of funds released for UBEC projects in 70 primary schools in Kaduna State.
The NGO’s Senior Programme Manager, Mr Chambers Umezulike told  newsmen last Wednesday in Kaduna that the goal was to build the capacity of non government stakeholders at the grassroots to effectively monitor the spending.
He said that the training began last Tuesday with 30 representatives from School-Based Management Committees, Community Based Organisations, Parent Teachers Association and Nigerian Union of Teachers.
According to him, the project, supported by MacArthur Foundation, would track the implementation of Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) projects in Jema’a, Kajuru, Kudan and Zangon Kataf Local Government Areas.

Kwara
A septuagenarian farmer, James Olatoye, a prophet and two others, who allegedly raped a 12-year-old girl were last Wednesday remanded in Omu-Aran Medium Prison, Kwara State by an Omu-Aran Area Court.
Olatoye of Moba Compound in Aiyedun and his accomplice, Adeyeye Suleiman, 35, Toyin Adesina, 35, who claimed to be a prophet and Ojo Olayemi,20, are facing trial over gross indecency.
They were alleged to have subjected their victim to an act of indecency by raping her at different times between 2016 and 2017 at Aiyedun. Olatoye and Suleiman pleaded guilty to the charge, while Adesina (prophet) and Olayemi pleaded not guilty.

Lagos
President/Founder of an NGO, Guardians of The Nation International (GOTNI), Dr Linus Okorie   says the problem confronting  the African continent is integrity and leadership.
Okorie, who spoke at the unveiling of GoldClub 3.0 and BMCoin organised by BeepMagnet International Group  last Wednesday in Lagos State said that lack of knowledge had prevented the continent from investing in the future.
The GOTNI’s  founder, who was the Special Guest Speaker at the occasion urged Nigerians to increase their investments in the future and growth.
He said, “We are in a knowledge-based economy until you know, you can’t invest. Knowledge drives progress. Africa is the most hit continent that lacks leadership”.

Nasarawa
A three- term Senator, Abubakar Sodangi last Wednesday backed the decision of the Nasarawa State Government to sell some of its assets.
Reports indicate that criticisms had trailed the approval by the state Assembly, on September  25, allowing Governor Tanko Almakura to dispose some of the government assets in Lagos, Jos and Kaduna.
Sodangi, who represented Nasarawa West in the Senate from 1999 to 2011, told newsmen that the decision to sell off the properties was in the best interest of the state.
He however said that the proceeds should be invested in areas that would have positive impact on the lives of the people.

Niger
Azza community in Lapai Local Government Area of Niger State has appealed to the state government to extend the dividends of democracy to it.
The Chairman of Azza Development Association, Malam Abdulmalik Muye made the call last  Wednesday in Azza in an interview with newsmen.
“The infrastructure deficit in our area is massive. The road in our community is an apology, especially during the raining season when villages in the area are difficult to access.
“Also the Sabon Ureyi bridge linking Lapai and Gulu has been swept away by flood.
“And because of that, the journey from Lapai to Gulu is now 7 hours as against 2 hours before.
“So we want to appeal to government to reconstruct the bridge so as to open up that axis and improve the economic fortunes of our people,” he said

Ogun
Commander, Sango-Ota Unit of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC),Sango-Ota,  Mr Adekunle Oguntoyinbo last Tuesday said one person died and three others sustained injuries in an early morning accident in Ogun State.
He told newsmen in Ota that the accident happened at about 4.55 a.m. at Toll-Gate, Sango-Ota.
Oguntoyinbo said that the auto crash occurred when the driver  of  a Toyota Hiace bus with registration number LND 723 XE, heading toward Toll-Gate from Iyana-Iyesi, Sango-Ota lost control due to brake failure and in the process hit the road divider.
”The corpse of the deceased has been deposited at the morgue of the General Hospital, Sango-Ota, while the injured are  receiving intensive treatment at the same hospital, “ he said.
The unit commander advised drivers to always maintain speed limit and be cautious of their conduct on wheel to avert road accidents.

Ondo
The Ondo State Police Command  has  paraded a 20-year-old  suspected  member of  the Boko Haram sect.
Reports indicate that the command had  confirmed the arrest of a 42-year-old  in Isua-Akoko, Akoko South-East Local Government Area on September 24.
Parading the suspect, Mr Gbenga Adeyanju, the state Commissioner of Police, said the suspect,  who was arrested in the same area on Sunday, would be handed over to the army for necessary action.
He  lauded the commitment and hard work of  the personnel  in his command, saying these   led to the arrest of the suspect.

Osun
The Osun State Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) last Wednesday announced that 16.8 hectares of Indian hemp (Cannabis Sativa) farm located in Ikoyi community in the state had been destroyed.
The Commandant, Mr Samuel Egbeola made the disclosure while speaking with newsmen in Osogbo on the achievements of the agency in the state.
He said that the farm was destroyed on September 26.
The commandant said that the farm was discovered and destroyed by the NDLEA, following a tip-off by an intelligence source.

Oyo
The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has called on the Federal Government to boost local manufacturing of drugs to enhance healthcare delivery in Nigeria.
The Chairman, Oyo State Branch of PSA,    Mr Abiodun Ajibade, made the appeal recently in Ibadan at a news conference. Abiodun said the press conference was to herald activities lined up to mark the 2017 Pharmacy Week.
According to him, pharmacists occupy a very crucial and important part of the healthcare system, adding that without drugs healthcare is without content.

Taraba
The Taraba State House of Assembly has constituted a three-man committee to coordinate and harmonise its members’ positions on the upcoming amendment of the 1999 Constitution by the National Assembly.
Its Speaker, Mr Abel Diah, who announced this during plenary last Wednesday, said that the committee, chaired by the Deputy Speaker, Alhaji Mohammadu Gwampo, has Mr Hosea Ibi and Alhaji Bashir Mohammed as members.
He said that the committee was expected to aggregate members’ views ahead of the vote on the provisions of the constitution being altered.
Diah said that the proposed amendment was very crucial to the deepening of the nation’s democracy, and urged the committee to be thorough and strive to capture the true positions of Taraba State people on the issues.
He urged his colleagues to help the committee by consulting with their respective constituencies on the items slated for amendment.

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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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