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THE STATES

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Taraba
An eight-memebr gang of armed robbers laid siege on Magami area of Jalingo, Taraba State Capital, in a robbery attack, which lasted several hours.
The robbers during the operation carted away cash and valuables like handsets, electronics and clothing materials.
The incident occurred against the backdrop of a recent assurance by the state Police Commissioner, Aliyu Musa, that his command had put necessary security measures in place to check crime.
A victim, Rashidat Hamzat, lamented that the police were nowhere to be found during their ordeal, saying that armed robbers were having a field day in the state.
She said: “We thought the state government claimed to have equipped the police with necessary gadgets like handsets, to combat armed robbery activities. But I must confess to you that we are highly disappointed in them because when these boys (armed bandits) came in to our compound last night, the lines the police gave to the public could not even be reached.”
The Southern Zone of the state, which comprises Danga, Takum, Wukari, Ussa, Ibi and the special development area of Yangtu, have in recent times been under attack by armed bandits.
Residents of the areas, who spoke with newsmen said policemen only patrol at daytime and desert the streets at night.
A resident, Benjamin Makoroa, said: “once it is night, especially from 10.00p.m, you are on your own and no longer under the protection of the joint military/police patrol teams. I believe the command has not effectively put to use the assistance extended by our state government.
While Musa was unavailable at the command headquarters, a senior police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “even though I am not the right person to speak to you, I must confess that police in Taraba State are trying their best and we shall continue in that direction. As you know, we are not spirits that can be everywhere at the same time. As we strategise, the armed robbers too are planning.”
On the recent robbery activities in the state, he said: “No arrest has been made, but I assure you that our surveillance teams are already out and the hoodlums would soon be brought to book.”

Ekiti
Governor Segun Oni of Ekiti State has called on the Federal Government to urgently assist his administration to dredge the Ureje Dam in Ado-Ekiti to avoid a major flood disaster in the state capital.
Also, speaker of the State House of Assembly Olatunji Odeyemi, has advised all tiers of government to spend their share of the excess crude oil account on the agriculture sector to boost food production in the country.
Speaking yesterday during a visit to his office by the House of Representatives Committee on Environment, Oni noted that the Ureje Dam, which was built over 50 years ago, had silted due to lack of proper maintenance by previous administration.
He added that the situation posed great danger to the people living along the dam’s river bank.
His words: “The Ureje waterworks was constructed over 50 years ago. Those who designed the dam expected that maintenance dredging and other maintenance works would be carried out on the dam periodically.
“I know you would find it hard to believe that apart from the expansion works, which we recently carried out on the dam, no major maintenance work had been carried out on the dam since its construction in the mid-1950’s. The dam has now silted up due to lack of maintenance dredging over the years.
“In fact, the dam now contains only about 30 per cent of the installed capacity for water because of the large quantities of silt deposited in it in the past five decades. This is responsible for the flash floods that occur after heavy downpours in the South-Western part of the State capital.”
Oni recalled that many houses, along the course of the river, were flooded and submerged after a heavy downpour two weeks ago.
He pointed out that his administration had already made representation to the Federal Government on the looming flood disaster around the Ureje River, as well as areas around the abandoned Oke Osun flood control project in Ikere.
The governor, who called for more Federal Government’s erosion control projects in the state, noted that the prevailing undulating landscape in Ekiti made the State prone to erosion.
Chairman of the House Committee on Environment, Duro Faseyi, said the committee was on inspection tour of on-going ecological projects initiated by the Federal Government in the state as part of the committee’s over sight function.

Borno
Nigeria’s former Ambassador to Sao Tome and Principe, Saidu Pinda, has condemned the Borno state government’s alleged “slow response” to the recent cholera epidemics in the state.
Pinda, who spoke to newsmen yesterday in Maiduguri, the state capital, also accused the state of being insensitive to the plight of residents of Biu Local Council, where cholera reportedly claimed six lives everyday.
He argued that the state’s alleged insensitivity fuelled the recent clash between operatives of its operation Flush II and Commercial Motor-cyclists over the latter’s refusal to wear crash helmets, in which two riders died.
His words: “The Borno state government is insensitive to the prevailing cholera epidemic in Biu and other communities in Hawul and Shani.”

Oyo
The Court of Appeal siting in Ibadan has nullified the election of a People Democratic Party (PDP) member in the House of Representatives, Folake Olunloyo-Osinowo on grounds of irregularities and non compliance with the election act.
In a unanimous decision in court, the judge said the lower tribunal erred by upholding Olunloyo-Osinowo’s victory as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (NEC), since the election was fraught with irregularities.
After voiding the April 21, 2007 poll in the Ibadan South West/North Federal Constituency, the three man panel of justices led by Justice C. B. Ogunbiyi directed INEC to conduct a fresh poll to fill the vacant seat within the next 60 days.
The Action Congress (AC) candidate, Idayat Adebusuyi, who is the appellant, had prayed the court to declare her winner of the said polls, having polled the majority of the lawful votes cast or in the alternative order a rerun in the affected constituency but the court held that declaring the AC candidate winner in the circumstance would amount to backing a candidate to benefit from the established irregularities.

Abuja
National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Prince Vincent Eze Ogbulafor, has congratulated President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua on Nigeria ’s historic election into the United Nations Security Council.
In a congratulatory message to president Yar’Adua, Prince Ogbulafor said he and the PDP note with great pride the steady recognition of Nigeria as an emerging world power which, he said, is as a result of her significant contributions to world peace and stability in recent years.
The congratulatory message contained in a statement issued in Abuja and signed by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Prof. Rufai Ahmed Alkali reads in part: “This honour which has been bestowed on Nigeria unanimously by member states of the UN further cements the stature of Nigeria as an influential voice in the international arena and also as an indispensable partner and actor in the comity of nations.
“This election also bears testimony to the endearing leadership qualities of Mr. President who has consistently demonstrated a large capacity for the resolution of conflicts in domestic, sub-regional and global affairs.
”We are happy that Nigeria ’s shining example in peace keeping both internally and globally has once again been acknowledged by the international community. This election, coming shortly after the heroic implementation of President Yar’Adua’s amnesty programme in the Niger-Delta region is an acknowledgement of the Federal Government’s capacity for peaceful resolution of conflicts wherever they exist. We believe strongly that the world would benefit immensely from Nigeria’s membership of this august body.
“While we commend the United Nations for this timely and well thought-out election of Nigeria as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, it is our hope and prayer that the current reforms going on in the United Nations would include the expansion of the permanent membership of the Security Council to create room for regional powers such as Nigeria to assume their rightful place in the World body”.

Lagos
65 communities in Ibeju Lekki, Epe area of Lagos state affected by the state proposed international airport will soon be relocated.
Top government officials have already held a meeting with the leaders of the communities to reassure them of government’s commitment to relocating them.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Lands Bureaus, Mr. Gbenga Ashafa, at the meeting reassured the people of government’s intention to adequately compensate them adding that government will not embark on any demolition until after compensation and relocation of affected people, just as it did to the displayed people of Lagos –Badagry expressway under construction.
He explained further that “the convening of the meeting is our way of showing that government intends to carry the people along in the projects.”
Ashafa warned the people not to think of entering into conflict with the state government as that would not solve the problem.
“You should continuously seek dialogue with the government which has demonstrated its openness and transparency” he said.
The International Airport is to complement the Lekki free trade Zone already being built in its first phase by the China Corporation Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC). The proposed International airport will also lead to further development of Lekki axis of the state and make it as a hub of commercial and economic activities while linking people from other parts of the world for business trade.

Kaduna
The Nigerian Airforce (NAF) has set up an inquiry to unravel the circumstances that led to last months murder of a civilian diver Nallam Abdullahi Shittu.
Shittu was allegedly killed after a disagreement with some airforce personnel near the airforce base in Kaduna.
Disclosing this to newsmen in Kaduna, the NAF Public Relations Officer, Squadron Leader Edward Gallowin said the airforce as a responsible arm of the military values the life of any Nigerian, and would not engage in shielding any of its personnel who takes the law into his hands.
Last month, a cab driver with two wives and 10 children slumped into a comma after allegedly being beaten by an Airforce officer attached to a security outfit “Operation” Yaki.
Gallowei added that the career of the Airforce officer involved in the incident and the life of the cab driver were among the important factors that necessitated the investigation so that it can carefully find out what and who were responsible for the death of the civilian victim.

Kwara
The Executive Secretary of National Sugar Development Council Alhaji Usman Baleh has deplored the low level of investment in the sugar sub-sector of Nigeria.
Speaking at the North Central Zone Sugar Forum in Illorin, Baleh noted that the prospects of the sugar sub-sector were very bright in the country as he urged more investment in the sector.
He disclosed that sugar projects were in various stages of development but regretted that the problem was with the procurement of processing plants of different capacities.
According to him, so far two of the companies have placed order for the equipment and concluded plans to produce about 350,000 tonnes of sugar whenever they commence operation.

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Reps Urge FG To Revisit School Feeding Programme

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The House of Representatives, yesterday, urged the Federal Government to revisit the school feeding programme, suspended over sundry controversies.
The National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme was a pilot programme launched in 2004 targeting 12 states to provide a nutritious midday meal to public primary school pupils in the country:
In 2016, the programme was relaunched nationally, targeting public primary school children using locally sourced ingredients to improve health, stimulate agricultural production, and boost smallholder farmers’ income.
Recall that President Bola Tinubu, on January 12, 2024, suspended all programmes of the National Social Investment Programme Agency for six weeks.
The four programmes administered by NSIPA are N- the Power Programme, Conditional Cash Transfer Programme, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, and Home Grown School Feeding Programme.
Following the adoption of the motion, the House mandated its Committees on Special Duties and Finance to invite the Ministers of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Education, and Finance to revisit the program and propose solutions for its future success.”
The House, while adopting a motion on “Urgent call to revisit school feeding policy” moved by the member representing Tarauni Federal Constituency, Kano State, Mr Muktar Zakari, noted that the philosophy behind the NHGSFP is to encourage enrollment into the public primary schools, address childhood hunger pangs, and improve their ability to concentrate, learn, and increase school attendance.
The lawmaker, a member of the New Nigeria People’s Party, lamented that “The suspension of the NHGSFP by the current administration is unsettling for several reasons, namely reduced school enrollment and attendance, compromised health and cognitive development of the children, and disruption of the income of smallholder farmers.”
He also said “Addressing the programme’s challenges is crucial, but a complete suspension may cause more harm,” noting that “It is important to find alternative solutions or efficient implementation of the NHGSFP to ensure Nigerian children continue to benefit from this important initiative.”
In his words, “The cancellation of the programme is causing an upsurge in the number of out-of-school children, posing a threat to the country’s future and leading to a high rate of crimes, insecurity, and unemployment.”

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Kogi Lauds Appeal Court’s Verdict On Ododo’s Victory

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The Kogi State Government has hailed the verdict of the Appeal Court, Abuja that yesterday uAtiku hails Supreme Court judgment on LG autonomypheld the victory of the state governor, Usman Ododo.
The state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Kingsley Fanwo, made the government’s position known in an interview with journalists shortly after the judgment was delivered in Abuja.
Fanwo described the judgment as “sound,” adding that the it represents “echoes of the indisputable victory” of the governor at the poll.
He said the governor remains unwavering in his faith in the judiciary.
The conmissioner said, “Today’s judgment represents echoes of our victory on November 11, 2023. We campaigned round the state and worked hard to reassure the people that our party is the most reliable to take the state forward.
“November 11 will continue to be remembered in Kogi as the day that Kogites across the senatorial districts united to speak with one voice, birthing a resounding victory for the incumbent governor.
“Today’s verdict has offered another great opportunity for those who lost at the poll and in the courts to join the governor in moving the state forward.”
Fanwo said the court case did not in any way slow governance down as the governor has continued to “roll up his sleeves and deliver democracy dividends to the great people of the state.
“The jubilation that greeted the verdict affirming the victory of the Chief Servant of Kogi is a demonstration of the triumph of the people’s will.”
He urged the people of the state to continue to support the governor to make the state the Confluence of Excellence.

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Insecurity: Reps Want Modern Technology Deployed In Nation’s Borders

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The House of Representatives has called on the Nigeria Customs Service to deploy modern technology to secure the nation’s borders with neighbouring countries.
The directive followed the adoption of a motion on “Need to employ the use of modern technology to secure the nation’s borders,” sponsored by the member representing Awka North/Awka South Federal Constituency, Anambra State, Obiageli Orogbu at Thursday’s plenary.
Consequently, the Reps mandated “The Nigeria Customs Service to beef up the nation’s border security with modern technological gadgets.”
It also directed its Committees on National Security and Intelligence and Customs and Excise to “Interface with the relevant agencies of the executive arm to ensure implementation and report back to the House within four weeks for further legislative action.”
Leading the debate, Orogbu said that there are over 320 illegal routes into Nigeria “That serves as horrendous channels for the influx of inadmissible aliens and goods.
“Nigeria at the moment lacks sufficient security personnel to safeguard the existing illegal routes across the borders. These unmanned routes provide avenues for insecurity, proliferation of arms, and dumping of unwholesome goods into the country;
“The porous borders have provided an impetus to the thriving drug and human trafficking routes all over the country.”
Justifying the significance of the motion, the Labour Party chieftain noted that, “Border policing has since shifted from the mundane use of only human beings to the deployment of sophisticated electronic based equipment for potency.
“The deployment of technologies like electronic sensors, video monitors, and night vision scopes to detect illegal entries has proved more effective in western countries than human security.
“Advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, (drones) and dark fighter cameras are available to further enhance border controls,” she added.

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