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You Manufacture Falsehood, Dogara Blasts Tinubu …Over Budget Padding Claims

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has said that the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu manufactured falsehoods, painted a non-existing picture when he alleged that the leadership of the National Assembly had padded the budget for the last four years.
Dogara was reacting to comments credited to Tinubu in which he reportedly said, “Just look at the way Saraki and Dogara and their ilk hijacked the budget process these past four years. National budgets were delayed and distorted as these actors repeatedly sought to pad budgets with pet projects that would profit them”.
Reacting to Tinubu’s allegation in a statement issued on his behalf by his spokesman, Turaki Hassan, yesterday, said ‘Asiwaju Tinubu dwelt on brazen mendacity, much less murder facts and decorum in his rabid bid to justify his patently clear fascist agenda of controlling all levers of power in Nigeria.
Tinubu’s nocturnal agenda has no parallel in the history of any democracy and it is more loathsome when he throws caution to the winds and maligns government officials who are doing a yeoman’s job of stabilising the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, even in spite of political differences.’
Dogara also said, ‘Asiwaju shouldn’t take better informed Nigerians for fools. Otherwise, when he sought to take control of the 8th Senate and 8th House in 2015, was it because of any Budget Saraki and Dogara had delayed or pet projects they had inserted into any Budget before 2015?
‘Asiwaju must come clean on this matter. He should let Nigerians know why he wants to install both the Senate President, the Speaker and leadership of the 9th Assembly. He may yet win the support of some of them if he comes clean on this matter.’
Dogara’s statement read thus, “Only the ignorant with dubious academic certificates will say the maker of a document has padded the document that only he can constitutionally make We have noted the statement issued on April 21, 2019 by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu wherein he stated his reasons for sponsoring or supporting some aspirants to various leadership positions in the forthcoming 9th Assembly.
“Ordinarily, this would not have elicited any response from His Excellency, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara, as Asiwaju is entitled to sponsor those he believes will have no choice but answer to his dog whistles anytime he blows same in his capacity as the self acclaimed National Leader of his party.
“If Asiwaju had confined his intervention to stubborn facts, this response would not have been necessary. He, however, used the opportunity to manufacture falsehoods and paint a non-existing picture of the stewardship of Mr Speaker and the work of the 8th House of Representatives under his watch. It is therefore, incumbent on us to set the records straight for posterity.
“Asiwaju Tinubu accused the leadership of the National Assembly of stymieing ‘the APC legislative initiatives while attempting to hoist noxious reactionary and self interested legislation on the nation’.”
He said further: “Just look at the way Saraki and Dogara and their ilk hijacked the Budget Process these past four years. National budgets were delayed and distorted as these actors repeatedly sought to pad budgets with pet projects that would profit them”.
He continued, “Even worse, they cut funds intended to prosper projects that would have benefited the average person. After four years of their antics halting the progress of government, we should do all we can to prevent a repeat of their malign control of the National Assembly”.
He generously used the usual unexplained words like installing a progressive leadership and so on.
“We do not expect Asiwaju Tinubu to dwell on brazen mendacity, much less murder facts and decorum in his rabid bid to justify his patently clear fascist agenda of controlling all levers of power in Nigeria. Asiwaju Tinubu’s nocturnal agenda has no parallel in the history of any democracy and it is more loathsome when he throws caution to the winds and maligns government officials who are doing a yeoman’s job of stabilising the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, even in spite of political differences.
“It is on record that the Rt. Hon. Speaker has done more to stabilize this government more than Asiwaju Tinubu and his ilk whose stock in trade is scheming, manipulation and subversion especially when they feel they cannot be caught. When the history of Buhari’s administration is written by those who know the truth of what really transpired in the last four years, Asiwaju’s pretentious loyalty to President Buhari will then be exposed. We won’t say more but no matter how long it may last, the truth will one day overtake lies.
“Perhaps, Asiwaju is still bitter about the leadership contest for Speakership of the 8th Assembly, even though the actors have moved on culminating in Speaker Dogara magnanimously facilitating the appointment of his opponent in the race and Tinubu’s protege as House Majority leader.
“The chief cause of delay in enacting the budget is the persistent refusal or neglect of the Executive to present it in good time. For the records, in the last four years, there was no urgency or plan by the Executive to achieve a January to December budget cycle.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we will show the dates the Budget estimates were submitted by the Executive in the last four years below. -2016 Budget was submitted on December 22, 2015, exactly nine days to the end of the year. -2017 Budget submitted on December 14,2016, just 17 days to the end of the year. -2018 Budget was presented on November 7, 2017, the earliest even though it also fell short of the 90 days stipulated by the Fiscal Responsibility Act. -2019 budget was presented on December 19, 2018 exactly 12 days to the end of the year.
“As if the late or delayed submission of budget estimates wasn’t enough, in most cases, Ministers and heads of agencies contributed to the so-called delay by consistently refusing to appear before National Assembly Standing Committees to defend their budget proposals in line with the provision of the Law. At some point, the leadership of the National Assembly had to take up the issue with the President who advised his Ministers to honour legislative invitations to defend their budgets.
“What Nigerians don’t know is that the Executive, through the various Ministries, continued to propose additional projects to be included in the 2018 budget even as at April and May of 2018 which further delayed the passage of the 2018 budget. These were communicated officially and if anyone is in doubt, we will exhibit the letters with the dates they were written and received.
“In any case, the National Assembly inserted a clause in the Appropriation Bill consistent with S.318 of the Constitution which allowed the Budget to last for 12 months after Mr President’s Assent. This enabled the Executive to spend more of the capital component of the Budget as it still had 12 months protected by law.
“As an activist legislature, the National Assembly effected an amendment to S. 81(1) of the Constitution to compel Mr President to present the Budget estimates not later than 90 days to the end of a financial year in order to solve this problem but unfortunately, very unfortunately, Mr President declined assent to the bill which was passed by both the National Assembly and over 2/3rds of the State Assemblies.
“The National Assembly made a further attempt to make the Budget process much better by improving the institutional capacity of the Parliament to process and pass National budgets by passing the National Assembly Budget and Research Office (NABRO) Establishment Bill into law. It was loosely modelled after the American Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
“Again, Mr President declined assent to the Bill. 10. It is important to emphasize that the National Assembly is not a Rubber Stamp Parliament and reserves the right, working cooperatively with the Executive to interrogate projects unilaterally inserted by the Executive branch without the input of or consultation with Parliament.
“The legislature cannot be accused of padding a Budget it has unquestionable constitutional power to review. The Budget is a law and the Executive does not make laws.
“Therefore, it’s only the ignorant and those who hold dubious academic certificates that say the maker of a document has padded the document that only he can constitutionally make.
“In the words of his lordship, Hon Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court, in suit No.FHC/ABJ/CS/259/2014 delivered on March 9, 2016, “the National Assembly was not created by drafters of the Constitution and imbued with the powers to receive ‘budget estimates’ which the first defendant is constitutionally empowered to prepare and lay before it, as a rubber stamp parliament.
“The whole essence of the budget estimates being required to be laid before Parliament is to enable it, being the Assembly of the representatives of the people, to debate the said budget proposals and to make its own well informed legislative inputs into it.”
“The parliamentarians are representatives of the Nigerian people and you don’t expect them to rubber stamp budgets that are heavily skewed and lopsided against most sections of the country. It is their responsibility to ensure equitable and even distribution of capital projects across all the nooks and crannies of the country, if the Executive fails to do so. In any case, it is false to state that legislative intervention in the Budget Process is to benefit the legislators and not their constituencies. We challenge Asiwaju Tinubu to prove otherwise.
“He should also show in what way the 8th Assembly acted differently from other Assemblies of the past to warrant the kind of language used.
“In any case, all the aspirants to the Senate Presidency and Speakership he is sponsoring are majority leaders in the 8th Assembly and took part in the Budget Process that he made the chief basis of his crude attack.
“This proves beyond doubt the hypocrisy of Asiwaju’s stated reasons for supporting his candidates. He should find better reasons other than the lies being peddled about the Budget and obstructing government business.
“Asiwaju shouldn’t take better informed Nigerians for fools. Otherwise, when he sought to take control of the 8th Senate and 8th House in 2015, was it because of any Budget Saraki and Dogara had delayed or pet projects they had inserted into any Budget before 2015? Asiwaju must come clean on this matter.
“He should let Nigerians know why he wants to install both the Senate President, the Speaker and leadership of the 9th Assembly. He may yet win the support of some of them if he comes clean on this matter.
“The 8th National Assembly is on record to have supported Mr President’s requests on critical issues of governance. We backed him by Resolution on the issue of fuel subsidy, we backed him on the National Minimum wage, even though we were more sympathetic to workers’ rights. In security matters, we never cut any proposal from Mr President save our refusal to rubber stamp a clear constitutional overreach of spending $1 billion in arms purchase without appropriation.
“We have passed more Bills than any Assembly before us including Bills that are helping the government improve the ease of doing business in Nigeria, and there were times we passed Bills within 2 legislative days. Is Tinubu genuinely ignorant of all these?
“We challenge Asiwaju Tinubu to list out the Bills he claimed were not passed by the National Assembly. The oil and gas or petroleum sector is the most important and critical sector of our economy which accounts for over 70 percent of our earnings, the Executive didn’t forward a single Bill to the National Assembly to reform and reposition the sector in the last four years even when repeatedly urged to do so by Mr Speaker in his first year in office.
“The lawmakers waited in vain and had to take the bold initiative of crafting a Bill – Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PGIB) among others, passed it in record time and transmitted same to Mr President for assent. This Bill was vetoed without an alternative Legal framework proposed by the Executive. Did Asiwaju miss this also?
“Asiwaju Tinubu should mention the so-called bills the Executive sent to the National Assembly and were delayed to show he is a man of honour or forever keep his peace. Could someone also challenge Asiwaju to list all the “noxious reactionary and self interested legislation on the nation”?
“Can he name the bills that are reactionary and not in the national interest? Is this how wayward lust for power blinds the reasoning of people we should ordinarily respect? Is it not most unfair, unpatriotic and wicked for Asiwaju Tinubu to have resorted to factoids in promoting his known fascist agenda which he mistakenly thinks he is keeping secret.
“We will like to point the attention of Mr. Tinubu to the fact that most of the bills listed above got international and national endorsement from stakeholders who lauded the Senate for the move. For example, the Financial Intelligence Database Agency (Ultrascan) commended the Senate for passing the NFIU Act which enabled the country to be re-admitted into the Egmont Group. Also, the Nigerian Police leadership have praised the Senate for passing the Police Reforms Bill and the Police Trust Fund Bill.
Again, when the National Assembly in the 2018 budget gave effect to the law allowing one percent of the budget to be devoted to Primary Health Care Delivery, it got kudos from Bill Gates, Bono, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of WHO, and various national groups who believe the move would bring health care delivery to the poor people across the country. The passage of the UBEC Act (amendment) Bill was praised by Pakistani child education campaigner and youngest Nobel Laureate, Yousafzai Malala.
“When the PIGB was passed, APC led by Tinubu, National Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), among others, hailed the Senate for a good job. Even, the World Bank commended the National Assembly for the passage of the Company and Allied Matters Act and Secured Transactions in Movable Assets and Credit Bureau Reporting Act. Of course, all these initiatives will be ignored by a man who is still sulking because his vow in 2015 that Saraki and Dogara will never lead the National Assembly did not materialize.
He reiterated that Tinubu was agonising on the erroneous belief that Saraki frustrated his ambition from becoming running mate to President Muhammadu Buhari through a Muslim-Muslim ticket in 2015.
“In his usual cavalier manner, he will stop at nothing to punish Saraki for that. We know that this attack is not about the interest of the nation or that of President Muhammadu Buhari. It is about his 2023 ambition and it is obvious in the statement as he struggled to explain this away.
Tinubu should know that while we await his attack for the next quarter, we can only advise him to stay on facts,” Saraki further said.
“Finally, we advise Asiwaju Tinubu to be circumspect in his use of language. In this case, he spoke as a spokesperson of depravity. Our reaction must therefore be seen as a provoked counter-punch. Anyone can descend into the gutter if he so wishes but no one has a monopoly of gutter language. We won’t run an adult day care centre anymore on matters like this,” Dogara added.

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Gov Fubara Tasks Youths On Useful Ideas To Drive Economic Prosperity

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has said that it is time for youths in the State to spend more time among themselves fine-tuning ideas they have cultivated on how to contribute productively to the economy instead of waiting to be employed in the public sector.
The Governor explained that jobs in the public sector are becoming less available, adding that with greater peace prevailing in the State, making it ripe for investors to explore its business climate, Rivers youths must be ready with ideas, skills and determination to engage critical players in order to benefit from it, directly or indirectly.
Governor Fubara, gave the charge when he received members of the Rivers State Youth Leaders’ Assembly, who were on a Solidarity Street Show-Rally in his honour, at Government House Gate in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.
Represented by the Head of Rivers Civil Service, Dr George Nwaeke, the Governor noted the commendable level of education acquired by most youths of the State, coupled with the moral training espoused to them by their parents but added that without the discipline of subjecting themselves to thinking out of the box on productive ideas that can be translated into economic gains, their potentials will remain untapped.
He said: “You have already subjected yourselves to the rigours of education. Not just education, you also have very good upbringing that has produced you to become wonderful people that you are.
”You have also queued behind the Governor, not out of compulsion. No one came to compel you. It’s time for us to sit down and have some sober reflection.
”Why are we now begging for arms now? There was a time you could just walk down to Trans-Amadi Industrial Layout, and get something to do that could feed you for a week or two. What we have lost is what Governor Fubara wants to recover and recreate.
”Your ideas will be highly welcome by the Governor. You have to join him to make the Youth Resource Centre productive. This resource centre is going to be a place where youths will churn out ideas of what needs to be done to move the State to the next level. That place is where you need to go to contribute your quota to the development of the State.”
Governor Fubara explained the reason behind the Youth Resource Centre whose foundation has been laid, adding that it will cater to all youth development issues in the State, and also serve as reservoir of productive ideas from youths.
The Governor emphasised that the propelling vision of his administration for youths is to have a State that is reborn to reflect the dreams of the founding fathers who made sure there were productive industries and vibrant economy that offered varied opportunities to everybody.
He said, “the Governor has gone a step ahead, knowing that he is within the age bracket you define as youth. This is because he understands how you feel. He knows your pains, and where it pinches.
“That is why the Rivers State Youth Resource Centre is being built. It will be a youth development resource centre. So, be part of it, work to be active in that centre. The government expects useful ideas from thinking minds.
“So, we have hope because the youths that we have here today have something to offer. Come up with tangible ideas. What do you think that we can do? How can we create jobs for our people?”
He stated: “Let me tell you, I am an economist, and I know that government alone cannot create all the jobs. Government creates conducive environment for jobs to be created so that people can earn decent income.
“Just last week Wednesday and Thursday, we had Rivers State Economic and Investment Summit. Discussions were centred on how government can create an environment to woo investors to come to Rivers State. That is the journey we want you to be part of.”
In his address, leader of the delegation and Speaker of Rivers State Youth Leaders’ Assembly, Dr Prince Tonye Jeminimiema, said under the leadership of Governor Fubara, the State has witnessed remarkable progress in infrastructure, healthcare, education, economic and human capital development.
Dr Jeminimiema also noted the unwavering commitment of the Governor to improve the lives of the citizenry, adding that they are resolved to continue to support his administration.
He said, “The achievements reflect your dedication to the comprehensive development of Rivers State and demonstrates a clear vision for a properous future.
“We, the members of the Rivers State Youth Leaders’ Assembly, are here today, not only to express our profound appreciation to you as our Grand Patron but also to seek your continued support in several critical areas that will further enhance our collective mission and vision.”
He listed some of the key areas of need, and pledged the determination of the youths to rally support for the Governor to ensure that his administration succeeds in delivering good governance to Rivers people.

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FG Moves To Bridge Metering Error Gaps In Oil, Gas

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The Federal Government says it will purchase up-to-date equipment to bridge the gap between metering errors noticed in petroleum products and the required standard.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Nura Rimi, said this at a three-day workshop on the Administration of the International Organisation of Legal Metrology Certification System (OIML-CS) in Abuja yesterday.
The workshop was organised for zonal coordinators of Weight and Measure Department of the ministry.
Rimi, represented by Mr Dafung Sule, the Director, Federal Produce Inspectorate Services of the ministry, said the equipment would be purchased at the implementation of the 2024 budget.
He said the workshop was part of efforts to curb the losses currently being lost which was caused by poor metering.
“What has brought us here is one of the things we have to do to ensure that we do not loose the billions that we are currently loosing that is to build our capacity and that is just one aspect of it.
“On the equipment, in the 2024 budget which has not kick started, there are a lot of equipment that are lined up for purchase by the weights and measures department.
“This will bridge the gap between the errors being noticed in the metering and the required standard,” he said.
On the payment of the OIML subscription which the country was owing, the permanent secretary said it would be paid by September.
He said the payment would help to give the country the kind of outlook that the international has given us.
OIML is an “international standard-setting body” in the sense of the World Trade Organisation’s Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement.
On his part, Mr Bamidele Olajide, the Director, Weight and Measure Department of the ministry, said it was part of the preparation towards signing up to the OIML-CS.
The implication of signing up to the System was that signatories would be obliged to accept pattern approval certificates and test results from other countries.
“The OIML-CS will promote fair and accurate trade transactions by ensuring that trade measuring instruments used in Nigeria are fit for purpose.
“The OIML-CS will also promote trade among countries by removing technical barriers to trade.
“This is achieved by removing the need to subject imported trade measuring instruments to another round of conformity assessment tests,” he said.
Some of the zonal coordinators, who spoke at the workshop emphasised the need for the upgrade of their working equipment and tools.
Mr Garba Mustapha, the South-South Zonal Coordinator of the Weight and Measure Department, FMITI, said the zone had the potential to generate revenue for the country.
Mustapha said the potential were being drawn back by obsolete or poor equipment.
Mrs Cordelia Nwachukwu, from the Lagos State Zonal Office, said that most people were unaware of the functions of the department.
Nwachukwu, who said that legal metrology was dynamic, suggested the use of technology to meet with international trends.
The Tide source reports that the department is saddled with the responsibility to ensure that all commercial transactions involving measurement are fair, accurate and legal with a view to protecting the consumers.
The Tide source reports that the workshop attracted zonal coordinators of the department from the six geo-political zones.

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Investment In Children, Best Legacy -Lady Fubara ….Urges Crackdown On Child Labour, Trafficking …•Hosts Rivers Children To Party

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Wife of the Rivers State Governor, Lady Valerie Siminalayi Fubara, has stated that the most enduring legacy is investment in children to harness their full potential for self-development and positive impact on the larger society.
This is even as the Rivers State First Lady has called on relevant government agencies to intensify measures towards achieving total crackdown on practices that promote child labour and trafficking.
Lady Fubara stated these while speaking at twin activities by the State Government to mark the 2024 Children’s Day celebrations in Port Harcourt on Monday.
Speaking shortly after taking salute during the official march past at the Sharks Football Club Stadium, Port Harcourt, Lady Fubara, who applauded the theme of this year’s celebration: “Investing in the Future Means Investing in our Children,” called for the prioritisation of the development and wellbeing of children, noting that such investment transcends the individual and has ripple effects on the larger society.
She said, “Today, when we’re gathered to celebrate Children’s Day, we are reminded of the invaluable treasure we hold in our hands, the promise of our future, embodied in their innocence, curiosity and boundless potentials of our children, the theme of this year’s celebration: ‘investing in the future means investing in our children’ underscores our responsibility towards generations to come.
“These responsibilities”, she pointed out, “involve nurturing, guiding and inspiring our children to be architects of a brighter future.”
She further explained that investing in children goes beyond mere provision of basic needs of ensuring assess to education and healthcare which are essential components, but involves creating an enabling environment that fosters their holistic development, intellectually, socially, emotionally and ethically.
According to her, “Investment in our children is about instituting in them the values of compassion, empathy and responsibility for diversity, laying the foundation of a society built on inclusivity and understanding, instilling in them the skills of knowledge and understanding to navigate an ever changing world.”
While speaking at the party organised for children in the State at Government House, Port Harcourt, with the theme: ‘For Every Child, Every Right’, the Rivers First Lady pointed to how inimical child labour and trafficking are in hampering healthy growth and well-being of children, which therefore, should be tackled head-on.
She said: “It is apparent that more efforts still need to be made to continue tackling issues related to our children’s growth and well-being, especially in the area of child labour and trafficking, which are endemic in our society today.
“I call on relevant government agencies to step up the campaign against such evil practices and ensure the safety of our children as they remain the hope of our nation and the potential leaders of tomorrow.
“I urge parents not to be unduly pressured, either by the temporary economic challenges or by societal influences, to engage in such inhuman practice of child labour or trafficking. It is not only an evil against humanity, but also a sin against God,” she said.
Lady Fubara said it is a privilege for her to host children in the State, who are the future hope of society, on such auspicious occasion, and to share in their joy on a day designated for them globally.
The First Lady of the State emphasised that in evaluating the priority of the day, it was pertinent to focus on what the Rivers State Government has started doing for them under the watch of her husband, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, particularly in prioritising their education.
Lady Fubara said: “Several policy initiatives are being taken to rebrand and reposition the educational sector, by strengthening the operations and promoting the emergence of SMART Schools through the remodeling of infrastructure and upgrading of learning equipment.
“I am aware that this administration has taken up examination fees for school children and further purchased books and instructional materials to deepen teaching and improve learning.
“We are truly grateful to His Excellency, the Governor, for always thinking ahead to cater for our children. This clearly demonstrates our determined efforts at building the future we definitely want to see, if we want a tomorrow with great men and women.”
Lady Fubara stated the need for sustained but deliberate efforts in planning for the future with greater investment made that will manifest in the well-being of children.
She recalled the recent gesture of the wife of Nigeria’s President, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, who, with the ‘Renewed Hope Initiative’, allowed her office coordinate the donation of 50,000 exercise books to public schools in Rivers State.
She said, “This effort was to ensure that our children do not lack the basic materials required of them to engage in the learning process.
“Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, we are here to celebrate our children, and we must continue to pray for them and to guide them according to the dictates of God Almighty, who gave them to us to look after.”
Earlier in her welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation, Dr Justina Jumbo, had stated that prioritizing the welfare of children was paramount, especially in this period of prevailing social and moral decadence in our society.
She said the celebration of Children’s Day helps to bring issues bothering on the welfare of children to the fore, and urged governments at all levels and the private sector to refocus their plans by investing in the future of the children.
The events featured march past, presentation of gifts to participating schools, unity dance performed by 23 children representing the LGAs of the State and other forms of games.
At the nursery category, Family Support Nursery School emerged first position in the march past, while UPE Model Nursery School, Bundu came second.
At Primary School Category, Police Children School emerged first position, while State Primary School, Elekahia, and Distinct Victory Field came second and third, respectively.
Government Comprehensive Secondary School, Borokiri, came first at the junior secondary category, while Butterstone and Sunrise Secondary schools came second and third, respectively.
For the Senior Secondary Schools’ category, Model Secondary School, GRA, Port Harcourt, came first, while Vivid Model School and Government Secondary School Borokiri came second and third, respectively.
For the paramilitary category, Police Comprehensive Secondary School, came first, while Nigeria Navy Secondary School, Borkiri came second.
Lady Fubara, accompanied by some dignitaries, cut the 2024 Children’s Day Party Cake at Government House playground.

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