The Zamfara State Government has confirmed the kidnap of its Director of Budget, Alhaji Hamza Salihu.
The confirmation was made in a statement by the Director-General, Press Affairs to Governor Bello Matawalle, Yusuf Idris, in Gusau.
“Zamfara State Governor, Dr Bello Matawallen, has described as terrible and disturbing, last Sunday afternoon abduction of the state’s Director of Budget, Alhaji Hamza Salihu, who was abducted along with two other persons near Kachia in Kaduna State while on their way to Akwanga in Nasarawa State on an official trip.
“It is very unfortunate that while efforts are being strengthened to stop armed banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling and other crimes peacefully without any bloodshed, some bad elements who have chosen to remain unrepentant will still use security uniforms to stop and kidnap unsuspecting law-abiding citizens,” he said.
The governor also expressed sadness in the killing of one of the passengers on board, Alhaji Kabiru Ismail, who was the Deputy Director (Budget) in the state, was murdered by the gunmen at the kidnap scene.
Similarly, a lady passenger in the vehicle was said to have been shot in the leg and abandoned at the kidnap scene in the pool of blood by the abductors.
FG, South-West Govs Agree On Amotekun
The Federal Government and Governors of the South West States yesterday agreed that necessary legal instruments will be put in place by each of the States to give legal backing to the initiative and address all issues concerning the regulation of the security structure on the establishment of the regional security outfit, Amotekun.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo met with the South West Governors and the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami as well as the Inspector General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu at the Presidential Villa, Abuja after the expanded National Economic Council, NEC, meeting.
Recall that the AGF had declared the regional security initiative of the South West Governors aimed at curbing security challenges in the zone as illegal.
President Muhammadu Buhari recently announced that his administration was coming up with Community Policing policy to fight the insecurity in the polity.
Meanwhile, for the second time in about a week, the Federal Government, through the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has declared the Southwest Security outfit, Operation Amotekun, as an illegal entity not known to the constitution of Nigeria and which can never be allowed to stand.
Malami, made the declaration in Abuja in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Dr Umar Gwandu and made available to newsmen yesterday.
Malami maintained that no amount of sentiments would make the Federal Government abandon the path of rule of law and trade of illegality in the administration of Nigeria.
The minister, who maintained that the Nigerian constitution makes no room for a regional army, pointed out that the government was not at war with any of the states of the federation.
Malami said: “No amount of effort to hide the truth will work. People could be carried away by sentimental or emotional inclinations, but the truth remains apparently palpable. The bottom line is that the current Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria does not accommodate the formation of regional security architecture.
“This is a fact which is undisputable and undeniable. Mr Falana was prevaricating and circumlocuting using evasive techniques when he was asked by the media to justify the presence of lacuna within the law which could establish or protect the concept of regionalism in any operation in the country.
Coronavirus, Lassa Fever: States On Red Alert, Govs Confirm …Insist On Review Of N614bn Bailout Deductions Payment Process
The governors of the 36 states of the federation on the platform of Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) have said that they are on red alert over the Lassa Fever epidemic and coronavirus that reportedly claimed 17 lives in the city of Wuhan, China since the virus was detected.
So far, over 500 people have reportedly been infected by the virus in China’s Wuhan City, leading authorities to suspend planes and trains in and out of the city of 11million people, as well as buses, subways and ferries.
The Nigeria Centre for Diseases Control (NCDC), last Wednesday, confirmed that a total of 82 cases of Lassa fever, including 14 deaths have been recorded.
Briefing reporters at the end of its first meeting of the year, Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said that the governors are working hand and hand with the Federal Ministry of Health and other agencies to intensify efforts to ensure the diseases are contained.
He said that, to this end, the governors have agreed to carry out immediate actions on the implementation of the Seattle Declaration, including the Constitution of a multisectoral Primary Health Care Under One Roof (PHCUOR) implementation committee, quarterly review of PHC performance in State Executive Council meetings, review of states‘ performance on the Abuja commitment and organisation of advocacy meetings with traditional and religious leaders.
Fayemi said: “The forum received an update from the NGF Secretariat on health priorities for the year 2020, including the implementation of the Seattle Commitment signed by the forum at a two-day High-Level Roundtable on Primary Health Care and Human Capital Development convened in November, 2019 (by Aliko Dangote and the Bill and Melinda Gates).
“On the Lassa Fever, we recorded cases in one or two states, Ondo in the South-West and Kano in the North.
“I believe all our states are taking precautionary measures to address this in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
“We are working to ensure that this does not spread any further than they have at the moment.”
The NGF chairman speaking on other matters mentioned that, in regard to bailout deductions, even though states were meeting their obligation of paying back, they feel the monthly deductions ought to be lower than N162million.
Fayemi said: “On reconciliation for budget support facilities, that is something that has been handled. We have come up with our own recommendations of special fund generally not just budget support facilities.
“On budget support facilities specifically, states are already honouring their obligations. They are already paying back what is owed to the Federal Government.
“The question of the amount is something that we will continue to review. It is our view that we should be paying a lot less what we are paying but that is something that has not been addressed yet. But that has not stopped us from honouring the obligation to the Federal Government that lend the resources to us at the time that they did.”
The forum chairman also pledged the governors’ resolve to work with the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to achieve broadband penetration and digital economy targets in Nigeria.
He said the commitment followed a presentation to the forum by a delegation led by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, to familiarise the governors on the new National Digital Economic Policy.
“The minister briefed the forum on the new national digital economy strategy, and solicited the support of states on the development of business regulations around the right of way and multiple taxations, around skills and innovations, infrastructure and indigenous content promotion.”
On the specific demands of the minister on waiver on the right of way, Adeyemi said: “The main demand with the minister is that we maintain the fee agreed in the year 2013 at the National Economy Council which is N145 per linear meter in the state.
“The context within which the issue of waiver came up is what has been offered in Kaduna State, for example, where the state government has waived the right of way fee and that is not compulsory or the decision of the forum even in demand from the minister, that should be a condition for broadband penetration or fibre optic laying in our states. It is just that where we think it might be viable, and then states will look at the possibility of doing this in our states; but the key demand which we are all interested in pursuing is to ensure that we do not increase the right of way fee beyond what has been generally agreed by governors and NEC.”
However, the 36 state governors under the aegis of Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), yesterday, agreed that there should be a review in the payment process of the N614billion that was advanced to thirty five states as budget support facility.
The governors, who converged on Abuja, last Wednesday night, for the meeting at its Secretariat in Maitama, Abuja, discussed among others, issues of deductions for Budget Support Facility loan granted them by the Federal Government as top of the agenda.
The meeting which was the first in the year 2020 was ahead of yesterday’s National Economic Council (NEC) at the Presidential Villa.
Responding to a question on reconciliation for budget support facilities after the meeting of the governors ahead of the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting, Chairman of NGF and Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi said, “that is something that has been handled. We have come up with our own recommendations of special fund generally not just budget support facilities.
Xenophobia: S’Africa Boils Again As Violence Erupts In Diepsloot
Another round of xenophobic attacks loom as anti-foreigner shut-down has been triggered in Diepsloot, Johannesburg North, South Africa, the Nigeria Union South Africa (NUSA) has said.
According to NUSA President, Adetola Olubajo, violence directed at foreign nationals, including Nigerians started in Diepsloot area of Johannesburg, last Wednesday evening.
A message circulated by residents of the area on Wednesday called for a total shutdown beginning from 4am, yesterday, and directed each extension to organise itself to main roads.
The ‘no movement’ message had a further directive that all things will remain at a standstill until the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, addressed residents of the area.
The residents, in the message, demanded that the law enforcement agencies must come down to Diepsloot and close everything which was illegal and remove all undocumented foreign nationals in Diepsloot.
“When we fight, we fight together with our kids,” the message read.
Olubajo added that the angry residents of the area began burning tyres and chanting songs, saying that foreigners living in the area must leave immediately.
He, however, said normalcy was restored temporarily in the area following the intervention of the South African police, adding that violence erupted again in the morning.
“The community members want undocumented foreigners to leave the area. They accused foreign nationals of criminal activities and killing of a senior police officer,” he said.
“Our public relations team has issued a security alert to Nigerians to stay away from the area until the area is safe for foreign nationals. Though there is a heavy police presence in the area, the local residents are not backing down in their demand. The area is still very tensed and not safe for foreign nationals. We call on our nationals to exercise caution and avoid the affected areas.”
While saying that there was no death recorded in the area, Olubajo commended the South African police for their intervention, even as he said more intervention was needed to avoid casualties.
“For now, there is no record of death. We commend the intervention of the members of South Africa Police, yesterday evening, but more still needs to be done to avoid casualties,” Olubajo further said.
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