President Buhari condemns killing of aid worker

President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the killing of an aid worker who was kidnapped about six months ago in Rann, Borno State, by members of the boko haram terrorists group.

The aid worker, Saifura Hussaini Ahmed Khorsa, was said to have been kidnapped at the Rann camp for internally displaced persons.

In a statement he issued on Monday night, the President also condemned the terrorists’ threat to harm others, including the lone Dapchi school girl, Leah Sharibu still in their custody.

The statement said, “The government of Nigeria strongly condemns this reprehensible and inhuman act. No religion permits the killing of the innocent. Saifura worked for the Red Cross, a humanitarian organisation working to bring succour to all the victims of violence irrespective of the sides of the conflict.”

International Partners
The President also appealed to Nigeria’s international partners and everyone with an influence on the terrorists to prevail on them “to stop these acts of extreme barbarism.”

He said his administration would seize every given opportunity, with both hands and use all means available to bring home all citizens held against their will by the boko haram terrorists.

President Buhari extended condolences to the family of Saifura, the Red Cross and UNICEF over the loss of this selfless and hardworking mother.

EFCC denies freezing the Adelekes’ accounts

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday denied freezing the accounts of the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), Sen. Ademola Adeleke and any member of his family.

The agency, in a statement by its Head of Media and Publicity, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, warned against being drawn into partisan politics.

The statement said: “The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has been drawn to media publications alleging that it had frozen the account of Senator Ademola Adeleke,  candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the September 22, 2018 Osun State governorship election and those of his family members, including the musician, David Adeleke.

“The commission calls on members of the public to disregard the report, which is patently false and contrived to dress the agency with a partisan garb in the unfolding political contest in Osun State.

“For the avoidance of doubt, at no time did the EFCC place a freeze order on any  account belonging to members of the Adeleke family.

“The purported freeze order, which has unfortunately been amplified by pliable sections of the media without any attempt at confirmation, is alien to the commission and another example of fake news.

“The EFCC frowns at the seeming attempts by faceless forces to drag it into the political fray and, for the umpteenth time, restates its neutrality as a law enforcement organisation that is sworn to uphold the law at all times,  irrespective whose interest is at stake.”

NLC urges MTN to pay $10b fine

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has urged communication giant MTN Nigeria to comply with the directive of the Federal Government to pay the over $10 billion as tax arrears and illegal repatriation.

Mr Ayuba Wabba, NLC president,  in a statement yesterday in Abuja, said: “This is as well as the $8.13 billion illegally repatriated to South Africa over which four indigenous banks have been fined.

”We similarly urge the Federal Government to spare no effort in recovering this money as anything to the contrary will send wrong signals to other corporate organisations it had punished for lesser tax infractions.

”The need to enforce this order is all the more compelling when it is realised that workers pay taxes they can ill-afford, but religiously pay all the same.”

Wabba noted that government’s tax reforms have been skewed in favour of corporate organisations, there was no reason for a default.

He added that every taxable person is expected to pay his or her tax as and when due.

Wabba said: ”If companies default, with what is government expected to run the country or conduct its business?

”In our view, this incident does not only directly test the Thabo Mbeki Report on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, it is also a major crime against the government and people of Nigeria.

”On our part, we are, however, not surprised by the unethical conduct of MTN.

”They are not only engaged in the exploitation of Nigerian workers and turning them into slaves, but have extended their frontiers to unwholesome economic exploitation and sabotage.

”The questions on every lips are: How many times has MTN done this? How many other companies are doing this?”

He stated that through the Tax Justice Campaign, labour had relentlessly and assiduously drew the attention of the government and Nigerians to the humongous crime against the vulnerable people of Africa, especially Nigeria.

He noted that over 70 million people in Africa are said to be the poorest in the world.

”Government should use this opportunity to send an appropriate message to everyone, especially corporate organisations who often pay taxes in the breach.

”Coupled with this, government’s tax reforms will only make meaning if they are judiciously executed.”

2019 polls: Don’t return thieves to power, APC warns

BuhariTHOSE ganging up to unseat the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) government ruined the nation’s economy, the ruling party has said.

It alerted Nigerians to be wary of those deploying what it called stolen commonwealth to fund their political activities to stage a comeback to power.

In a statement yesterday by the party’s spokesman, Yekini Nabena, the party warned that such persons were regrouping to use the stolen funds to subvert the will of the people through vote buying.

Nabena, who is APC’s Acting National Publicity Secretary, urged relevant agencies to proactively get involved in tracking election financing, pointing out that those with illegally-acquired money were using it to canvass votes for elective positions.

Nabena said that Nigerians have not forgotten the yoke they bore under the “inept” Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) regimes and therefore deserve no more of it.

He pointed out that public funds that could have improved education, healthcare sectors and provided infrastructure to develop the economic and social life of Nigerians were in the pockets of individuals.

Nabena said in the statement: “While we alert Nigerians to the plot of some politicians to buy votes and deploy other illegal means to subvert the people’s will during the coming elections, we urge relevant agencies to be proactively involved in the tracking of election financing.

“The same people who criminally-diverted public monies to fund their political activities as brazenly displayed during past administrations must be prevented from doing same in coming elections.

”Under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration, the scale of recoveries from corrupt elements in the past three years by the country’s anti-graft agencies is testament that the administration’s extensive anti-corruption drive is yielding results.

“Compared to the past, successful prosecution of many corrupt persons, the hugely-successful whistle-blowing policy and voluntary return of corruptly-acquired funds and assets have shown that it is no longer business as usual and corruption is increasingly becoming unacceptable.

“Corruption can no longer define how we do things as a country. There is a new realisation among well-meaning Nigerians that if we don’t kill corruption it will kill us.

“Recently, the media space has been awash with a campaign of calumny against the anti-corruption efforts by the same opposition partisans and their proxies that ruined the country with their institutionalised corruption. This is expected as corruption will naturally fight back.

“Sadly, these thieves have resurfaced to canvass votes of Nigerians for various elective positions, ostensibly to resume their stealing. Nigerians are neither gullible nor stupid. They have not forgotten the yoke they bore under the corrupt Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) regimes and deserve no more of it.

“Public funds that could have improved the education, healthcare sectors and provided infrastructure to develop the economic and social life of Nigerians are sadly in the pockets of these thieves.

“To conclude, we share the submission of a former United States (U.S.) Vice President, Joe Biden: ‘Corruption is a cancer; a cancer that eats away at a citizen’s faith in democracy, diminishes the instinct for innovation and creativity… it wastes the talent of entire generations. It scares away investments and jobs’.

“We must continue to challenge corruption and its related vices. This is line with the Change Agenda the APC promised Nigerians. This is a promise we are committed to keep.”

But the PDP spokesman Kola Ologbodiyan accused the ruling party of shielding members of questionable characters.

He said: “We urge the APC to begin its fight against corruption from Buhari Presidency where the most iniquitous felons enjoy presidential cover.

“President Muhammodu Buhari can demonstrate this anti-corruption fight by mandating the EFCC to immediately commence the arraignment of Babachir Lawal.”

Zamfara Gov. Abdul’aziz Yari attacked in Gusau

Governor Abdul’aziz Yari of Zamfara State has condemned attack on his convoy by All Progressives Congress (APC) supporters who are loyalists to aggrieved governorship aspirants in the state.

Yari, in a statement issued on Sunday in Gusau by Malam Ibrahim Dosara, his Special Adviser on Media and Public Enlightenment, cautioned his loyalists to desist from revenge.

He urged people of the state to be law-abiding citizens and avoid any form of violence in the name of politics.

“Any law-abiding citizen needs to respect the peaceful atmosphere concerning politics in Zamfara.”

The governor said that his administration had done a lot to stop loyalists and all youths, especially supporters of APC, from engaging in any activity that would endanger the peace among political associations and parties.

He urged politicians to enlighten their supporters on peace and stability in relations to all political associations and gatherings

Some APC supporters had attacked the governor’s convoy at Lalan Roundabout in Gusau on Sunday as he was travelling to Kaduna.

The seven aggrieved governorship hopefuls including the deputy governor, Malam Ibrahim Wakkala, had organised a rally in Gusau on Sunday, where a multitude of their supporters turned out to receive them.

While the rallying aspirants and their supporters were coming into town,they ran into the governor’s convoy and the irate supporters attacked the governor’s motorcade destroying glasses.

However, the quick intervention of the mobile police and governor’s security details who fired gunshots in the air, dispersed the mob.

Calm has since been restored in the state capital after the confrontation.

51 killed in Adamawa attack

Image result for 51 killed in Adamawa attackFifty-one people, including a pastor of the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria (LCCN) have been killed in an attack by suspected Fulani herdsmen.

The Nation learnt on Saturday that the attackers in the incident targeted the villages of Gon, Nzumosu, Bolki, Nyanga, and Bukuto in the Numan Local Government Area of the state.

Residents said the invaders launched the attack from Abbare, a neighbouring community in Taraba State, burning down much of three of the indicated villages.

It was gathered that in what became double tragedy for the people of the affected communities, a boat conveying some 40 women and children fleeing the attacks capsized along the way, drowning an unspecified number of the occupants.

The Adamawa State acting Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Musa Habibu, could not be made to comment by press time, as he was not responding to calls and text messages sent to him.

Man murdered on his farm in Ekiti

A senior traditional chief in Ijero Ekiti Local Government Area of Ekiti, Adewole Ajayi was murdered on his farm on Friday, the police say.

Ajayi, a high chief, popularly known as Iroko Ekiti, was believed to have been murdered inside the farm, located at a neighbouring town, Oke-Oro, also in Ijero Ekiti Local Government Area.

The Police Command in Ekiti confirmed the incident, saying a suspect, Dele Ojo-Aro, had been arrested in connection with the incident.

The Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Caleb Ikechukwu, said preliminary reports indicated that the suspect had been a long time notorious thief, terrorising farms in recent times.

“I can confirm to you that the suspect had earlier been reported for stealing from farms.

” We were reliably informed that he indeed went to the farm to steal the deceased’s yam and in an attempt to get him apprehended, he shot him in the hips with the dane gun he was carrying,” Ikechukwu said.

The traditional ruler of Iroko Ekiti, Oba Sunday Ekundayo, also confirmed the incident.

The suspect is a native of a neighouring town of Odo Oro Ekiti.

His alleged involvement in the matter has, however, caused ill feelings between the two neighouring communities, a source said..

The latest incident occurred barely two weeks after the traditional ruler of Odo Oro Ekiti, Oba Gbadebo Ogunsakin, was murdered in his palace.

Ajayi had gone to the farm early in the day and allegedly found his assailant on his farm stealing yams.

A source said both the victim and the suspected assailant had their farms along the same route but that Ajayi went to the farm at about 6a.m. and found his killer on the farm.

“It was in an attempt to arrest him that the suspect shot him with a dane gun in the hips and disappeared.

“But when the chief did not return home in normal time and the news of his death began to filter out, people started probing into those that went to farm early and that was how some people testified that the suspect was seen going to the farm.

“People started suspecting him from there,” the source said.

No faction in Bakassi APC, says Ita-Giwa

Political leader of the Bakassi people of Cross River State and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, says there is no faction in the party in the local government.

Speaking during the commissioning of the chapter secretariat as well as the inauguration of the chapter and ward executives of the party in Bakassi local government area, Ita-Giwa said the party was united to help President Muhammadu Buhari to succeed, so as to help resettle the people once and for all.

Her words, “We also had to emphasize that Bakassi is not in any faction. In all the years of our doing elections in the party, we have never had parallel structures or factions. Yes, we do have misunderstandings, but we always come around, reconcile and come together because of the paramount interest, which are the people of Bakassi; but not to the extent of having two parallel structures. I don’t believe in that. I am too old to believe in parallel structures or factions. Bakassi is neutral. I am focused on APC winning elections. My mind is connected to Buhari winning the election so that they can come and resettle Bakassi.

“We are a peculiar local government. We are not like every local government in Nigeria. We are a local government with very profound problems, that up till now, how many years ago that we were ceded without a referendum, we are still homeless, still in refugee camps, having babies and dying in camps. Until now we have not been relocated to where we call our home. To where is conducive to our way and style of living and means of livelihood. Up till now, Nigeria has continued to trample on the people of Bakassi and we are saying that enough is enough. We came to APC so we can help solidify APC and when we do that and the president wins election; the president would be able to resettle the Bakassi people very well.

“We are qualified to vote as Nigerians. We went to Dayspring on our own without the support of government and got our voters’ cards to be able to vote as Nigerians. Even then, they still went to court to question the legality of that process and we thank God that INEC stood their grounds and won the case. Today Dayspring is an area where you are qualified to vote and be voted for. Under no circumstance should people continue to refer to Bakassi in numbers. We are not numbers. We have names. All the ten wards have names. We have identities.

“We have our land, Dayspring. Let them take us there. We don’t need resettlement camps. We need to go to our natural place of abode so people have their traditional, political and religious lives as the case may be. That is why we are here to make that case, which is that they should leave us out of your faction issue. We have issues that are more profound than political factions.”

Masari tasks NHIS on advocacy campaign in Katsina

The Katsina state governor, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari, on Saturday tasked the management of National Health Insurance Scheme-NHIS to carry out aggressive advocacy campaign to create the needed awareness level of its activities and for the people to understand its programme properly.

Alhaji Masari who was speaking when he received the Executive secretary of the scheme, Professor Usman Yusuf during a courtesy call at government house, said the scheme, laudable as it is, could be misunderstood by the people as insurance affects the sensibilities of Muslims in general.

The governor was however happy with the performance of a staff of NHIS who volunteered to educate people from some communities in Danja local government area, on the advantages of the scheme, which he said encouraged acceptance and participation.

He said’’ the state government in collaboration with the state house of assembly, state chapter of Nigeria labor Congress NLC, Medical and Health Workers Union and others, to closely come up with a bill for an Agency to replicate NHIS in the state’’.

‘’ The new agency will no doubt reduce problems of seeking for donations for patients to buy drugs prescribed for them by Doctors in clinics and hospitals’’.

Earlier in a remark, the Executive secretary of NHIS, Professor Usman Yusuf said the National Health Bill has been assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari. He added that the bill had provided for one percent of realizable federal revenue to be expended on the health sector.

Of the amount, he said five percent is secondary, forty five percent for primary healthcare while fifty percent is for the NHIS, stressing that although the scheme had been characterized by failures in the past, everything is being done to turn round the fortunes of NHIS.

Professor Yusuf said he was part of the restoration agenda setting of the Masari led government even before the 2015 general elections and expressed happiness that the governor had started implementing the agenda in the renovated and upgraded hospitals across the state.

He assured that before leaving Katsina, he will meet with relevant stakeholders to ensure the passage of the bill that would help the state to benefit from NHIS programmes.

He announced the opening of a new zonal NHIS office in Kano to take care of Kano, Jigawa and Katsina States.

Over 35m Nigerian children are faceless – UNICEF

UNICEF

The United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) has revealed that about 35,031,047 under five years old Nigerian children are faceless and non-existent.

This they say is because this number of children do not have their births registered and thereby not recognized by the Federal Government.

According to them, the information is gathered from the RapidSMS information tracking tool, a data collection website that collects information of birth registration through SMS or Text Messages, from mobile users.

This tracking tool allows real time tracking of local and regional birth registration activities in 774 LGA’s across the country/nationwide.

Speaking at a two day media campaign for birth registration in Lagos, UNICEF Child Protection Specialist, Sharon Oladiji stated that RapidSMS allows data to be collected in real time to enable LGA, State, Federal and partners to collect, analyze, and react to data more quickly.

According to RapidSMS dashboard only 8% of under 5 children are currently registered in Nigeria, presently on the RapidSMS dashboard, 3,046,178 under 5 children have been registered leaving out about 92% of unregistered births which when calculated sums to 35,031,047.

Statistics shows that the number of children under 5 in Nigeria is projected to increase from 32 million in 2015 to 58 million by 2050.

It states that Only 44 per cent of Africa’s births are registered, leaving an estimated 85 million children under 5 unregistered, 70% of children in Nigeria still do not have their births registered. (Source: NDHS 2013).

Oladiji stated,” For a child without birth certificate, the record is not with the National Population Commission register and it will be difficult to plan for such, so when we depend on age affidavit, when there is a commission set up by the constitution to register children, we are doing a lot of deservive to that generation of children.”

UNICEF Communication specialist Geoffrey Njoku said that since data states that Nigeria births seven million children every year, the country must ensure it registers seven million children and not less.

His words, “It is a right, according to the convention and rights of a child, a child must have a legal identity that makes him or her a Nigerian, you have to have an identity so that in the system you will not be an unknown quantity, a faceless human being?  That is why we work on the rights of a child and the right to an identity is one of the rights.

“We will continue fighting until every Nigerian child is registered, it is going to be a continuous and permanent registration that means as you have children, you register them. Data says we have 7m children every year in Nigeria,  that means every year we must work to register 7m children.

“I can talk about people not being aware of birth registration, people not having the awareness of the importance of birth registration and on their own inadvertently making their children faceless and non existent is a lot of ignorance that we need to create awareness for. We need to start with public awareness and see how it goes, when someone does not know the benefit of something, it is easier for them to not adhere to it.”