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FG Set to Bring Displaced Nigerians in Chad, Niger, Cameroon

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The Federal Government has released N15 billion to bring home thousands of Nigerians in three neighbouring countries – Chad, Cameroon and Niger Republic – who were forced to flee Nigeria at the height of Boko Haram and other terror activities in the North-east.
Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, disclosed this while briefing newsmen at the State House, Abuja, after a meeting of the Repatriation, Return and Resettlement Committee, chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, at the Weekend.
Zulum said, “few months ago, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria established a committee for the return and resettlement of displaced Nigerian living in the Republic of Chad, Cameroon and Niger to Nigeria.
“Based on the recommendation of the Chairman of this committee, which is the Vice President, N15 billion has been released to the committee.
“We are here to discuss the modalities for implementation; who does what. So far so good a lot has been discussed. Many items will be procured so that the repatriation exercise will take immediate effect”.
Asked how many displaced persons have been brought back so far, the Borno State governor said “more than 300,000 have returned.
“But under this phase, we are yet to begin the process. This is the 4th Phase of the exercise we shall embark upon very soon.
“Guidelines were provided for respective agencies that are to handle this matter. What should be given to the individuals in terms of food and non-food items; what type of house shall we build; what is the transportation medium? What is the minimum threshold required to return people from the neighbouring countries to Nigeria? These are some of the issues that were discussed according to international best practices”.
Earlier, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has directed all government agencies involved in the implementation of the work of the Presidential Committee on the Repatriation, Returns and Resettlement of Displaced Persons in the North-east to harmonise items needed and their prices in all procurements to be undertaken on behalf of the Committee.
Osinbajo also directed effective monitoring, evaluation and implementation of the entire process.
At the meeting, presentations were made by the Borno State Government, the Military, the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, and the National Emergency Management Agency, following the release of the N15 billion by the President for the task.
Specifically, the Federal Government has released N6 billion to the Borno State Government, N3 billion to the Defence Headquarters, N2.5 billion to NEMA and N3 billion to the Refugee Commission for the first phase of the work of the Presidential Committee.
After presentations by the different government agencies, questions were raised about price differentials between quotes and local market rates, and also certain duplications of needed items.
Osinbajo who expressed serious concern over the price differentials and the duplication of needs however directed that the sub-committee on harmonisation of needs and prices should correct the situation.

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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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