Nigeria news

Electicity Collapse: EKEDC apologies to customers in Lagos, Ogun over irregular power supply

The management of Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) has apologised to its customers in Lagos and some parts of Ogun State over the irregular power supply they are currently experiencing.

The General Manager, Corporate Communications, Mr Godwin Idemudia, in a statement in Lagos, said the irregular supply was due to system collapse from the National Grid.

According to him, a system collapse occurred on the National Grid at 6:30pm on Friday, affecting our entire network.

“Efforts are ongoing by our Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) partner to restore supply soon.

“Our technical team is working with other partners in the electricity value chain to restore power supply.

“We are, therefore, appealing to customers to bear with us, once power is restored from the national grid, normalcy will be restored to them.

“EKEDC highly regrets any inconveniences caused by this irregular supply,” he said.

FELLOW PRESS reports that on Friday, the national electricity grid suffered a system collapse, making it the third time within one month.


Okowa’s Aide encourages more Christians to participate in politics

The Senior Political Adviser to Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, Mr Funkekeme Solomon, has stressed the need for more Christians to participate in politics.

Solomon stated this when he received leaders of the Christian Political Leaders Forum (CPLF) on Saturday in Asaba.

He noted that political power is second to the power of God, and charged members of the group to continue to champion the move in encouraging Christians to take political leadership roles.

“For Christians to exclude themselves in politics is a serious undoing. For so long, they have overlooked the political terrain erroneously thinking that politic a dirty game.

“Christians should be involved in politics because the change we are craving for can only be effected when we are involved in the system. Staying away from political system is self-imposed limitation,” he stated.

According to the former commissioner, Christian Political Leaders Forum is designed to sensitize Christians that Christianity is more than praying, singing and wining souls.

“I want to use this medium to inform Christians that another transition is around the corner and you must key into it by getting your Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) and party cards. This is a PDP State and we will never hand over to another party.

“We must support and pray for God to give Gov. Okowa clear vision and direction in order to record a seamless transition, not only to finish strong in infrastructural and human capital development but politically as well,” he added.

While commending the group for its achievements and structural spread across the state, he charged them not to relent in the drive.

Highlight of the event was the presentation of a register containing the names of members of CPFL in the state to the Convener by the National Coordinator of CPFL, Mr Emeke Egwuanimkwu.


2022 UTME: NSCDC set to provide maximum security during examination

The Kwara Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has assured the Joint Matriculation and Examination Board (JAMB) of maximum security during its forthcoming Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations, (UTME).

The State Commandant, Makinde Ayinla, gave the assurance on Saturday in Ilorin, during the assessment of some selected JAMB CBT centres, for the ongoing UTME Mock examinations.

Speaking with newsmen, Mr Babawale Afolabi, Spokesman of the command, said the NSCDC decided to move around the centres to have an insight of the locations and plan ahead for the main examination.

“The state commandant deemed it fit that it is appropriate for the corps to use today’s UTME mock examination to plan ahead for the main examination.

“That is why we moved around selected JAMB CBT centres and fortunately, most of the candidates were at the centres for the mock examinations,” he said.

Afolabi said that the commandant assured JAMB, students, parents and the general public that the corps had put all security machinery in motion, in order to have an hitch free examination.

Mrs Racheal Shittu, the JAMB Zonal Co-ordinator in Kwara, lauded the corps for their yearly maximum cooperation, adding that the board was also working round the clock in preparation for the examination.

Among the CBT centres visited by the NSCDC aside the JAMB Office included the Kwara Poly CBT centre, University of Ilorin CBT centre and Sobi CBT Centre.

Education latest news

Poly Ibadan SUG urges students to return to campus

The Students’ Union Government (SUG) of The Polytechnic, Ibadan has urged students to return to the campus and assured of the provision of maximum security by the school management.

Recall that The Polytechnic Ibadan had recently witnessed several shooting incidents on the campus which led to the ‘stay away from campus’ order by the SUG.

A statement issued by SUG President, Adedeji Abdulazeez, implored students to resume to class from Monday, April 11, 2022.

“In lieu with the meeting held with the school management on Tuesday, April 5, 2022, the students leaders of the institution requested for a lasting solution to the insecurity issues on campus which led to the stay at home advice to our students.

“The Union is very glad to inform the student populace that the management have granted our request on the insecurity issues on campus by providing an external security unit which includes: State CID, DSS, Amotekun and Operation Burst.

“We say a very big thanks and kudos to the management for taking the welfare of our students as a priority,” he said.

Abdulazeez admonished the student populace to resume for their academic activities with immediate effect as lectures would commence fully on Monday.

He, however, highlighted some requirements that students were expected to adhere to while on campus.

” Over-speeding within the institution isn’t allowed. Indecent dressing won’t be allowed within the institution.

“Cars with tinted glass won’t be allowed; except if all glasses are wound down. There will always be scrutiny before entering the institution for bikes, cars, bus, and those trekking.

“All students must come with their ID cards or any means of identification. All students should get their faculty neck mesh and make use of it always.

“If you are been harassed, intimidated, extorted or bullied, report immediately, call or text 08154309162 or 08053619094,” the president said.

Abdulazeez also stated that the SUG had promised to always take the welfare of the students as its primary prerogative.

Meanwhile, Mr Soladoye Adewole, the Public Relations Officer of the institution, applauded additional measures by the SUG to beef up security on the campus.

He noted that similar measures in the past from the management were usually were resisted by the students.

“If we had gone ahead without their input they would say we are making life difficult for them. But I am glad that they have seen the impetus for such positions from the management now,” Adewole said.

NAN recalls that The Polytechnic Ibadan had recently witnessed several shooting incidents within the campus which led to the ‘stay away from campus’ order by the SUG, which did not emanate from the school management.

Nigeria news

Buhari hosts ICAN President, says professionals are livewire of economies

President Muhammadu Buhari says professionals in various fields, especially accounting, provide the strength and framework for thriving economies.

The president stated this when he received a delegation from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) led by the President, Mrs Comfort Eyitayo, at the State House, Abuja, on Friday.

Buhari noted the contributions of the institute in ensuring probity, accountability and transparency, urging more diligence and professionalism.

He therefore assured that his administration would continue to engage experts to gain measurable and reliable results.

“Having served as a military Head of State and returned to politics to serve as a President, after losing three elections, I have seen the system of accountability in the country, and the mess to be cleaned up,’’ he said.

While describing ICAN as a “social stabiliser” of the economy, the president said he would go through reports and recommendations of the institute on inclusivity and strengthening the nation’s accounting system for growth.

In her remarks, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, congratulated the President of ICAN and the new management.

“As a female President in a male dominated environment, you are an example to our young girls of what can be achieved through diligence and excellence,’’ she said.

The minister noted that ICAN had, over many years, played a key role in the domestication of some international policies in the country, urging more interest in Finance Act implementation.

The president of ICAN appreciated Buhari and his administration in adhering to best accounting principles and practices to secure and revive the economy, particularly reverting to the January to December budget calendar.

Eyitayo said the institute had established seven faculties to train accountants in specialised fields, which include forensic accounting.

According to her, Forensic Accounting, working with security outfits, could be used to reduce the security challenges facing the country by tracking all monies used in committing crimes and payments.

The ICAN president pledged to keep supporting the nation building efforts of Buhari and his administration, especially in sensitisation on monetary policies and taxation.


2023: Why I’m contesting Imo East Senatorial seat – Akeredolu’s wife

Wife of Ondo State Governor, Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, says she is running for Imo East Senatorial District election in 2023 to lead the leadership conversation on behalf of her people.

Anyanwu-Akeredolu stated this during an interaction with members of the Correspondents’ Chapel of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Imo Council, on Friday in Owerri.

She said that her decision to run for senate, under the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC), stemmed from the neglect of the senatorial district by successive administrations and legislators.

According to her, the level of neglect has remote and helpless, despite the rapid urbanisation of other parts of the state.

Anyanwu-Akeredolu decried the poor refuse disposal system in the area and the high number of preventable deaths, especially among women, occasioned by lack of standard medical facilities in the senatorial district.

The governor’s wife, who noted that she had never lost touch with her biological birthplace in the last 40 years that she had gotten married, said that she was conversant with developments at home.

“I have deep interest in human capital development and a deep-seated desire to improve the lives of my people from Imo, adding: “leadership is not gender-specific.”

The governor’s wife said that she had a greater chance to change the narrative in Imo East senatorial district as an Igbo daughter, with Yoruba in-laws, to lobby for projects that would impact on the lives of her people.

Anyanwu-Akeredolu said: “I have demonstrated this ability to handle the position with the many development projects I had attracted to my community in the past.

“I have ensured that my development projects, as the wife of a sitting governor, are extended to my state of origin.

“I attracted the construction of a 10.5km road, worth N1.6 billion from Niger Delta Development Commission and it is currently under construction.

“I have also sponsored no fewer than 200 girls, with technological knowledge and special focus on Information Communication Technology, among others,” she said.

Anyanwu-Akeredolu, who said there was lack of direction, compassion and understanding presently to improve the lives of the people in the constituency, solicited for support to represent the people.

She further expressed her readiness to align with her party’s decision, if a consensus candidate for the senatorial district was approved.

Earlier, Chairman of the chapel, Mr Chris Njoku, said that the interaction had become imperative, following the various initiatives of the governor’s wife which, he said, had improved the lives of the people.

“We noticed your good work and we pledge to continue the collaboration with you to ensure that your good initiatives, which have begun to materialise, will be expanded, even more, for the overall good of our people,” Njoku said.

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Buhari seeks Reps approval for new borrowing as projected deficit hits N7.35trn

President Muhammadu Buhari has written to the House of Representatives seeking an increase in the 2022 budget deficit to be financed through borrowing from the domestic market.

In a letter sent to the House of Representatives and read by the speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Thursday, April 7, President Buhari said the total budget deficit is projected to increase by N965.42 billion to N7.35 trillion, representing 3.99% of GDP.

He said the incremental deficit will be financed by new borrowings from the domestic market. The President also requested the review of the 2022 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), upon which the budget was hinged.

“As you are aware, Mr Speaker, the new development both in the global economy as well as the domestic economy has necessitated the revision of the 2022 fiscal framework on which the 2022 budget was based. The total budget deficit is projected to increase from N965.42 billion to N7.35 trillion, representing 3.99 percent of the GDP.

The increment of the deficit will be financed by new borrowings from the domestic market.

Given the urgency of the request for revision of the 2022 fiscal framework and 2022 budget amendment, I seek the corporation of the National Assembly for expeditious action on this request” the letter read in part

The President’s request has been sent to the house committee on finance for further legislative action.


All football players jealous of Cristiano Ronaldo, Rooney hits back

Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney has hit back at Cristiano Ronaldo’s ‘jealous’ remark on Instagram.

Rooney had earlier made a scathing attack on Ronaldo on Monday April 4, following the Red Devils’ 1-1 draw against Leicester City at the weekend.

Asked on Sky Sports Monday Night Football if signing veteran Ronaldo, 37, has worked for United, Rooney said: ‘You’d have to say no at the minute.

‘I think he’s scored goals, he’s scored important goals in the Champions League early on in the season. He scored the hat-trick against Tottenham.

‘But I think if you look to the future of the club you would have to go with younger, hungry players to do the best to lift Manchester United over these next two, three years.

On Wednesday, Rooney posted a photograph of himself in the Sky studio alongside Jamie Carragher and host presenter Dave Jones on Instagram. Ronaldo then left a comment with the words ‘two jealous’ later that day.

The Derby County boss has now responded to his former team-mate at his latest press conference, saying that there will not be a player on the planet who is not jealous of Ronaldo, other than Lionel Messi.

Rooney was questioned about his former team-mate’s remark during his latest Derby County press conference, to which he responded.

‘I’d say there’s not a football player on the planet who isn’t jealous of Cristiano Ronaldo. The career he’s had, the trophies he’s won, the money he’s earned.

‘The six-pack, his body,’ he added with a wry smile. ‘I think every player bar Lionel Messi is jealous of Cristiano.’

Ronaldo has scored 18 times since his move back to United in the summer and is the club’s current top scorer this season.

Nigeria news

Give us attention – Deaf associations tell governments

The National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) and Deaf Development Association, Ikorodu West chapters, have called on governments to give deaf people more attention.

They made the appeal on Thursday during the maiden edition of Deaf Awareness Day organiséd by the Deaf Development Association, Ikorodu West Chapter, in Lagos State.

The event had the theme: ‘We Sign For Human Rights; Inclusion and Welfare of the Deaf’’.

The Chairman of the association, Mr Tosin Kuku, said at the event that the awareness day was aimed to bring the plight of the deaf to public consciousness.

“We are appealing to our governments to include us in employment opportunities, especially some of us who are graduates.

“We also have among us artisans who have learned skills and are in need of tools, equipment and funds to enable them to engage in trades.

“We seek assistance and intervention of government to lessen our burdens on expensive hospital bills,” Kuku said.

The chairman also appealed for employment of the deaf in hospitals for sign communication.

He described sign language as a unique medium to support and protect the linguistic identity and cultural diversity of deaf people and other sign language users.

Also, NYCN Chairman in Ikorodu West, Mr Asoro Abubakar, urged governments, individuals and groups in positions of authority to protect the rights of people living with disability.

He said that such people had value to add to the society in spite of their challenges.

Asoro implored Lagos State Government to give jobs to the deaf to alleviate their suffering.

He urged that deaf people should be employed as sign language communicators, especially in the health sector where, he said, there were few or no sign language communicator.

“We are using this programme to advocate for protection of the rights of the deaf.

“The earlier we give them equal rights, the better, so that they will not become a problem to the society,” he said.

The Founder of Deaf Women Association of Nigeria, Mrs Adedoyin Beyioku-Alase, advised the deaf not to be discouraged.

She also called for equal rights for the deaf and urged social benefits for deaf people.

Beyioku-Alase said that giving the deaf desired attention would enable them to contribute to national development.

The Chairman of Ikorodu West Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Mr Sulaimon Olanrewaju, thanked the groups for their efforts.

Olanrewaju, represented by Mr Omoteju Shakirudeen, Head of Human Resources Department of the LCDA, promised to support the deaf to the best of his capability.

He also pledged to look into how the LCDA would solve some of the challenges of the deaf within available resources.

A traditional ruler, Oba Bashiru Sotonwa, Sekunmade of Ipakodo in Ikorodu, who was represented by Mr Oloruntade Fatola, Baale Ogolonto, urged the LCDA to consider deaf associations in its yearly budget.

“If they employ two or three every year, it will alleviate their suffering gradually,” the traditional ruler said.


Police rescue 12 passengers from alleged kidnappers in Kogi

The Police Command in Kogi State have rescued 12 passengers from the hands of alleged kidnappers in Kogi.

Commissioner of Police in the State, Mr Edward Egbuka, made this known on Thursday, in a statement by spokesman of the State Command, SP William Ovye-Aya.

Egbuka said the 12 victims were from the 16 Benue bound passenger bus, recently intercepted by alleged kidnappers along Anyigba – Ankpa road.

The CP said: “the Command received a distressed report that a Toyota bus, with Registration Number- Benue 192 XA, driven by one Benard Ejeh conveying 16 passengers from Abuja to Benue State via ANKPA, ran into kidnappers at Ojuwo-Ajebgo village of Ofu Local Government Area, along Anyigba road.

“Without waste of time, the operatives of Quick Response Unit, stationed at Itobe, promptly swung into action, pursued the hoodlums into the bush and rescued 12 passengers including the driver while 4 other passengers are yet to be seen.

“Luckily too, I was on a visiting tour to Kogi East Senatorial Zone, so when I got the information while on my way to Ejule, I immediately moved to the scene, where I met with the rescued passengers,” the CP said.

According to him, he then ordered that the rescued passengers be moved to the Division for debriefing.

The CP said tactical team had since been deployed to the area, to continue trailing the hoodlums, with a view to rescuing the 4 remaining victims.

Egbuka, however, decried the false report on social media that over 15 Passengers are missing as a result of the incident.

“The Command wish to unequivocally state that the report is not only false, malicious and highly mischievous but the figment of the imagination of the author, ” the CP said.

The police boss, urged members of the public and the media, particularly social media handlers, to always verify facts of incidents from the Police before publishing them in order to guard against misinformation.

Breaking news

Breaking: MC Oluomo appointed Parks Management Committee chairman [FULL LIST]

Lagos State Government has appointed an ex-chairman of the state’s chapter of National Union of Road Transport Workers, Musiliu Akinsanya popularly called MC Oluomo, as the chairman of its Parks Management Committee.

Also, a former Assistant Inspector General of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, was appointed as the Liaison Officer between the government and the committee.

This was contained in a press statement by the Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, titled, “Lagos govt sets up Parks Management Committee”.

An ex-Permanent Secretary, Dr. Taiwo Salaam, was also appointed as the secretary of the committee while Sulyman Ojora was appointed as the Deputy Chairman.

The appointments were announced less than four weeks after the Lagos State Governmrnt denied plans to appoint MC Oluomo chairman of the parts committee.

The PUNCH reports that the Lagos State government suspended the activities of NURTW in all parks and garages across the state after MC Oluomo was suspended by NURTW national body.

The statement read, “The Lagos State Government has set up a committee to oversee the affairs of all motor parks and garages in the state.

“This is in fulfillment of the Government’s promise to ensure that events in the National Union of Road Transport Workers are not allowed to threaten law and order.

“The Government has, therefore, exercised its constitutional powers to ensure that no vacuum, which can disrupt the peace of our dear state,is allowed to exist in the parks. This is a duty we owe all Lagosians and visitors.

“Members of the committee, who have been selected following consultations with stakeholders in the sector, are:

  1. Mr. Hakeem Odumosu (AIG Rtd) – Government Liaison Officer
  2. Alh Musiliu Ayinde Akinsanya – Chairman
  3. Alh Sulyman B. Ojora – (Deputy Chairman )
  4. Dr. Taiwo Olufemi Salaam (Secretary)
  5. Comrade Olayiwola Lemboye
  6. Alh Mustapha Adekunle
  7. Alh Ganiyu Shittu
  8. Alh Mukaila Runsewe
  9. Alh Sulyman Yusuf
  10. Alh Mufutau Mutiu
  11. Alh Yinka Hassan
  12. Alh Sunday Ogunleye
  13. Alh Moshood Omojowa
  14. Alh Ismaila Aigoro
  15. Alh Ibrahim Yusuf. O
  16. Alh Akeem Tijani
  17. Mrs Omolabake Adelakun
  18. Comrade Kazeem Hassan
  19. Alh Wasiu Amole
  20. Alh Ganiyu Ayinde
  21. Anthony Adeyinka Adeboye
  22. John Victor Owolabi
  23. Saburi Salami
  24. Ibrahim Onitiju
  25. Odusanya Gbenga

“Members of the committee are to report to the Ministry of Transportation, Alausa Secretariat, Ikeja.

“The Government on March 10 suspended NURTW operations in all parks and garages, following the tension sparked by some events in the union.”

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Sokoto govt. partners school committees on female teachers recruitment, postings

Sokoto State Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education has pledged continued partnership with School- Based Management Committees (SBMCs) on female teachers’ recruitment and postings.

Alhaji Kabiru Umar-Imam, the Acting Permanent Secretary in the ministry gave the assurance on Wednesday in Sokoto during a meeting with representatives of National Union of Teachers (NUT), Journalists and Non-Governmental Organisations.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting is part of an educational project supported by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).

The project is targeted at ensuring that all children; especially girls and marginalised children, have access to free, quality, publicly-funded and inclusive education, at all levels in the state.

Umar-Imam said state government invested heavily on education as the sector received the largest share in each year’s budget.

The Acting Permanent Secretary commended the NGOs and urged them to consider the possibility of translating SBMC documents into Hausa language.

Earlier, Olowu Claude, the representative of Rural Women and Youth Development (RUWOYD), said the project had been implemented in 15 schools across three Local Government Areas of Tambuwal, Binji, and Sokoto South.

Claude explained that RUWOYD partnered with NUT to advocate for better teaching and learning environment, as well as organised round-table discussions on sustainable financing for the teaching profession.

According to him, the outcome has led to numerous commitments made by government, which has contributed to enhancing welfare of teachers and a gradual improvement in the teaching and learning environment.

He said that the efforts were geared towards expanding inclusive educational infrastructure, teachers’ capacity, management coordination and parents/teacher’s relationship.


I will assemble best team to address Nigeria’s problem — Tambuwal

A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Aspirant and Governor of Sokoto State, Alhajhi Aminu Tambuwal, has promised to assemble the best team of economists to address the nation’s economic problems, if elected president.

Tambuwal at separate consultative meetings with the PDP Caucuses in the Senate and House of Representatives and PDP Board of Trustees in Abuja, also said he would make Nigeria a productive country.

“It is a collective work. I am not an economist. I cannot pretend, but I can assure you that I will assemble some of the best, the best of the best economists in this country that will be part of the economic team to address economic situation in Nigeria.

“Importantly, we must address the issue of production. If we cannot produce then you are out.

“So we must address issue of production, not only to produce for ourselves but to conserve foreign exchange and provide and create more jobs for people.

“So, on the issue of economy we have to have them segmented from the micro to macro economy. So I believe that is something that we can actually all do together,” he said.

On Security, Tambuwal said that if elected he would address the root causes of insecurity including hunger, poverty and the lack of education.

Tambuwal said that he would also adopt community approach, community police, recruit more troops and technology to address the menaces that plague the country over time.

“It is very important that we go back to community and ensure that we have leaders of communities and local governments or states on board on resolving issues of politics.

“By the grace of God I will adopt a community approach to solving our security problems and deploy technology. As I said, it is not rocket science.

“When you have technology, you can detect these things early enough, and you can take your action on time,” Tambuwal said.

The Sokoto State governor, who decried the state of disunity in the country, said that PDP needed a dynamic person who had what it takes to unite the country to emerge as the standard flag bearer of PDP.

“I believe that in this country, we have the right people. What we require is that leadership that can identify those people and charge them with the responsibility of doing and discharging those responsibilities that they are competent enough to handle and it’s not rocket science.”

Tambuwal said that under his watch no segment of the country would be neglected in terms of appointive positions by the government.

He said that he had demonstrated that when he was the speaker of the House of Representatives where virtually all parts of this country were adequately looked after in terms of assignments and in terms of paying attention to the issues that concerned our people.

“ I believe in this country, that we have all it takes to do it. All we require is to identify the right leadership, irrespective of whether the leadership is going to come from.

“When you are looking for a physician to treat you, you don’t necessarily go for your tribesman or your townsman. You look for the best if you can really find the best because you need that care and attention. The situation where we are in Nigeria today is like a state of emergency.

“When you are in a state of emergency you require that everything must be marshalled to rescue the situation and that is the situation of Nigeria in every material particular.

“ I am coming to you as my brothers and sisters, with my records, with my content, with my capacity.

“I know that I understand this country. I have a clear understanding of issues and not only that, I can identify individuals that I can work with as a team that will unite this country.

“After uniting the country, we will work towards if it is structure, we can sit down and address the issues,” Tambuwal said.

He also stressed the need for devolution of power, saying devolution is key.

“Nigeria must devolve to survive. The centre is overloaded and we really need to go back to the local government and state where the people are and give them more responsibilities, more resources, and that is how we are going to do it.

“I believe that these are things that are achievable if you have a president that understand the issues, not only a president with an experience in governance, but a president with experience in democratic governance,” Tambuwal said.

The Sokoto State governor said that he had the experience and clear understanding about dynamic issues in the country, including constitution amendment.

“I have a clear understanding of not only these issues, I have the right temperament.

“Where we are going in Nigeria, we need a leader that can be accommodating. We need a leader that can listen, we need a leader that can unite this country.


Insecurity: Ekiti Council boss warns residents against night journeys

The Chairman of Oye Local Government Area in Ekiti, Mr Sunday Ajimoko, has warned residents against late night journeys to avoid being kidnapped by gunmen.

Ajimoko, who gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Oye-Ekiti, urged residents who were fond of embarking on late night journeys to desist because most kidnappers attacked during the night.

“I want to urge residents who are fond of embarking on late night journey to desist from such habit.

“The roads are no longer safe for anybody to be on the road beyond 9 p.m. because some of these gunmen perpetrate their evil acts at night.

“The security agencies are already working tirelessly to curb kidnapping in our communities, but we must also be security conscious,” he said.

Ajimoko advised residents to always give proper details about their journey to their family members to enable them to know their movement.

The chairman also urged landlords to ensure the identity of their tenants to avoid habouring criminals and for safety of their lives and properties.


BMO drowns PDP’s phantom claims at federal, state levels

The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has dismissed claims by governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that Nigeria was 100 per cent better when the former ruling party was in power at the centre.

BMO said in a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke that it is laughable that the party was using global economic realities as the basis for its claims.

“When Presidential spokesman Malam Garba Shehu said PDP squandered the nation’s resources with reckless abandon in its 16 years misrule, in response to the communique issued by its governors at the end of their recent meeting in Abia state, he was clearly stating the obvious.

“We were actually expecting the PDP Governors Forum to respond with facts to disprove the Presidency’s position, only to see the group bringing up prices of basic foodstuffs, fuel and diesel as well as the exchange rate.

“It is surprising that the Director-General of the forum CID Maduabum pretended to be oblivious of global economic realities in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, but we also wonder whether the former federal lawmaker took cognisance of the prices of those things he cited at the time he became a member of the House of Representatives in 2003.

“Here is a party that claims to have handed over a robust economy in 2015 but in reality, left behind an unprecedented and unfortunate situation of 27 States being unable to pay workers salaries and pensions in spite of trillions of naira in oil revenue.

“Let us also remind him and his employers that the PDP-era witnessed an oil boom yet Nigeria was, in 2013, home to 112million people living in extreme poverty on 1 dollar a day (N160 at the time), according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

“it was also a period when the economy began to go on a free fall, but the government was spending 5billion dollars annually on food imports with little effort to boost local food production capacity or improve on infrastructure”.

BMO added that it would be looking forward to seeing what PDP leaders will put forward as achievements at federal or state levels to convince Nigerians to return them to power at the centre.

“We find it fitting that the opposition governors chose Abia state which had been a PDP state since 1999 as the venue of their meeting, yet they could not use it as a test case for what they would replicate at the national level.

“It is also interesting to note that about a month ago, PDP Governors Forum began a comparative review of what it called legacy projects in PDP States.

“We know how poor the majority of the governors have been but we are eagerly looking forward to seeing the outcome of the review in Abia, Benue, Taraba and Sokoto States.

“it would also be nice to see someone like Maduabum, who was in and around the power loop between 1999 and 2015, or any PDP governor point at any legacy project that their party put in place at the federal level that could justify the magnitude of oil revenue the country enjoyed in that period”.

The group maintained that President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have done more in seven years with lesser funds, than what PDP did in 16 years.


Ramadan: Fasting detoxifies body system naturally — Expert

Dr Bilqis Alatishe-Muhammad, the President of Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN), Kwara chapter,
says fasting enables body organs to rest and detoxify themselves naturally.

She told said this on Wednesday in Ilorin that as Muslims the world over observe the Holy month of Ramadan,
the body organs would relax and they would feel healthy.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, annually observed by Muslims worldwide as month of fasting, prayer and reflection.

Fasting in the month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. It was made obligatory during the month of Sha’bān in the second year
after Muslims migrated from Makkah to Madīnah.

Muslims are, therefore, required to abstain from sex, food and drink from sunrise till sunset while observing the fast, making them to practice self-discipline, control, sacrifice and empathy for those who are less fortunate.

Alatishe-Muhammad said that by abstaining from food and drinks, the body detoxifies itself through the liver, gastrointestinal track and the kidney, supported by the lungs and skin.

She defined detoxification as the ability of the body system to cleanse itself, saying that “the process is naturally enhanced by fasting.

“People fast by abstaining from food and drinks for health or religious reasons.

“The abstinence may be complete or partial. It can also be for a lengthy or short period.

“In the month of Ramadan, fasting is from dusk till dawn for a period of 29 or 30 days.

“Toxins in the body can cause harm. So, cleaning the body system prevents obesity and associated chronic illnesses.

“It also reduces inflammation and improves the function of the brain.”

The MWAN president noted that some researches found that fasting could control blood sugar by reducing insulin resistance.

“Fasting can also prevent neuro-generative disorders and generally boost cognitive performance.

“Fasting is good for the body; it improves wellness,” she added.


NDLEA seizes 1,399kg of hard drugs in Kaduna, seals shop, four houses

The NDLEA made a haul of 1,399kg of drugs in Kaduna in March.

It sealed a shop and four houses in the process.

Commander of the NDLEA in the state, Mr Umar Adoro, gave the breakdown of drugs seized as 997.121kg of Indian hemp and 342.329kg of other psychotropic substances.

Others were 0.027kg of cocaine, 0.036kg of heroin and 59.382kg of Tramol.

Adoro told journalists in Kaduna on Wednesday that three of the houses sealed are located at Rigacikun area of the state.

The fourth, he said, was sealed at Anguwan Maigero area.

Drug peddling, trafficking and misuse had become prevalent in the two areas, he said.

The commander also told NAN that 117 suspects, including two females were arrested during the raids.

The Command recovered two locally-made guns, seven cartridges, two ammunitions and 100,000 counterfeit dollars during the March operations, he said.

Adoro also told NAN that eight notorious drugs joints in the two areas were destroyed during the operations.

He urged the public to be watchful of movement of suspected goods in their communities and to provide useful information to the agency to curtail influx and consumption of hard drugs.

He also appealed to parents to be watchful of their wards’ activities.

Adoro reassured the public of the agency’s commitment to eradicate use of illegal drugs in the society

latest news

South Africa suspends COVID-19 containment plan after 750 days

South Africa has suspended its COVID-19 containment plan 750 days after it was implemented.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said the measure was due to a drop in the number of infections.

He said the COVID relief fund was to remain in place for the time being, as well as certain precautionary measures such as wearing masks indoors.

These regulations were to be phased out after a one-month transition period.

So far, 44 per cent of the adult population had been fully vaccinated.

According to the latest official figures, South Africa had 685 new daily infections and two deaths on Monday.

The African country worst hit by the pandemic in terms of numbers had imposed its five-stage alert plan on March 15, 2020, due to rising infection numbers.

The restrictions had a devastating impact on Africa’s second-largest economy, which also suffered from chronic power shortages.

Ramaphosa also promised structural reforms to rebuild the battered economy after the fallout from the restrictions.
The country was in recession before the pandemic and has an official unemployment rate of 35.3 per cent.

World News

World Bank projects developing East Asia Pacific to grow 5%

The developing East Asia and Pacific countries is projected to grow by five per cent in 2022 amid resurgence of COVID-19 pandemic, tighter financial conditions and the Russia-Ukraine war.

The World Bank disclosed this in a new release for East Asia and Pacific Economic Update.

“Shocks emanating from the war in Ukraine and the sanctions on Russia are disrupting the supply of commodities, increasing financial stress and dampening global growth.

“Just as the economies of East Asia and the Pacific were recovering from the pandemic-induced shock, the war in Ukraine is weighing on growth momentum,” Manuela Ferro, World Bank Vice President for East Asia and Pacific said.

“The region’s largely strong fundamentals and sound policies should help it weather these storms.”

Surging U.S. inflation could provoke faster-than-anticipated financial tightening, perhaps timely in the United States but “too early” in many East Asia and Pacific countries where recovery is “incomplete,” according to the report.

The risk of capital outflows, which could put pressure on some countries’ currencies, could induce “premature” financial tightening.

The World Bank said overall economic growth in developing East Asia and Pacific countries is projected to grow to five per cent in 2022.

It added that if global conditions worsened and national policy responses were weak, growth in the region could slow to four per cent.


2023 Presidency: I’ll devote my time, energy to make Nigeria great– Anyim

Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, a presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has pledged to devout his time and energy to make the country great.

Anyim, also a former President of the Senate, said this when he received a youth group led by Mr Anthony Chukwuemeka in Abuja.

He said that he has received tremendous support from Nigerians since he joined the presidential race a few months ago.

“I pledge that when by the grace of God and the will of all Nigerians I am elected President, I will apply my whole time and energy to make Nigeria work for the good of all.

“A greater Nigeria is within reach. Today, I witnessed one demonstration of support and solidarity that touched me beyond explanation.

“A group of young people, who are members of one of my numerous support groups the Pius Anyim National Network (PAN NETWORK) for short, drove into my office complex.

“They came in a Siena van branded in my campaign logo and pictures,” he said.

Anyim said that when he finally met with the group, he saw a team of young Nigerians from all parts of the country and they handed him a vehicle.

This, he said was the group’s contribution to the success of his campaign.

“What can I say to this kind of selflessness and sacrifice but pledge to work for the good of the country,” he said.

Speaking, Chukwuemeka, the leader of the group said that the gesture was in recognition of Anyim’s quest to make Nigeria greater.

He said that the group believed that Anyim when elected President would transform Nigeria into a great country and make life better for the people especially youths

latest news

Insecurity: Anambra prays, seeks God’s intervention over insecurity

Anambra residents, in compliance with the April 4 prayer directives given by Anambra’s Governor, Prof. Charles Soludo for churches and mosques to gather and pray from 11 am, yielded minimum compliance.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent, who monitored the compliance to the prayer directives, reports on Monday in Awka that few churches complied with the time specified.

However, efforts made to get through to the Chief Imam of the Muslim community in the state were unsuccessful, because of the ongoing Ramadan fasting.

FELLOW PRESS reports that most churches visited in Awka and its environs fixed their prayer time for 4:30 pm as against 11 am directives by the governor.

The clerics of the churches visited, who declined to disclose their names, said that they did not comply with the time directed because the information was not passed on in time.

The cleric said that the message came late, hence the resolve to fix 4.30 pm for the prayers.

However, some churches within the state capital territory complied with the special prayer session as requested by the state government to enthrone peace and tranquility.

The prayer session was planned to mark the end of the regular Monday Sit-At-Home Order that started in the state on August 9, 2021.

At St Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral, Awka, the prayer procession, which started at 11 am, was presided over by the Catholic Bishop of Awka, the Most Revd Paulinus Ezeokafor.

The service was well attended by both the clergy and the Laity of the Church.

Miss Nwabuife Ndigwe said that the information was announced during their church services on Sunday, April 3, and attributed the high turnout to the early announcement.

Ndigwe said that the people were really worried over the unease of security in all parts of the state and commended the government for the decision.

“Prayer request is apt as God commanded that if my people who are called by name should seek my face, I will hear and heal their land,” she said.

At the Cathedral Church of St Faith Anglican Communion, Awka Diocese, prayers were ongoing at the time of the visit at about 11.15 am.

Ven Samuel Okonkwo presided over the service for God’s intervention in the security affairs of the state as directed by the government.

Okonkwo urged the Christian faithful not to relent in prayers, even after Monday prayers, and urged them to pray without ceasing for God Almighty to speedily intervene in the situation.

Rev. Rex Kalu of the Church of the Holy Spirit, Paul University, Awka, also conducted the special prayer at 10 am and members raised prayers points in security areas as well as other sectors of the economy.

Vicar of Our Savior Church, Revd Azubuike Mgbike, also in Awka, held the prayer session as directed.

The Vicar of St Peter Church Enugwu-Ukwu, Mr Ifeanyi Okoli, said that the Church held their prayer earlier in the day during their morning prayers.

Okoli said that worshipers in rural areas have their pattern of church activities, adding that if not well-timed, nobody will come out for the directives to pray.

“We also prayed other prayer points related to the growth and development of the state,” Okoli said.

Service to observe the directive was conducted at St. Joseph’s Catholic Cathedral, Ekwulobia, Aguata Local Government Area of the state, where Gov Charles Soludo was in attendance.

Bishop of Ekwulobia Catholic Diocese, Most Reverend Peter Okpalaeke, presided over the pontifical High Mass where Soludo, in his speech maintained that peace and security were very instrumental in building a new Anambra.

Okpalaeke commended the governor for the thought of going the way of prayers and assured that the people of the area will do their parts and harped on the need to beef up security in the state.

Soludo assured the people that no stone would be left unturned in achieving lasting peace in Anambra and re-emphasised that anyone enforcing it going forward will have the state to contend with.

He said that peace and security were at the heart of economic growth and development and called for collective efforts to restore peace and orderliness in the state.

The Anambra State Government and the Joint Body of South East Council of Traditional Rulers, Bishops, and Archbishops on the State of Insecurity in the Igbo Homesteads at the end of a one-day peacebuilding and security dialogue on Saturday, April 2, agreed to hold prayers across the State on Monday.

Business & Economy

Stakeholders decry stall in Ajaoluta steel coy completion

Some stakeholders in the steel sector have expressed disappointment over inability of the Federal Government to complete the Ajaokuta Steel Company in 2023 as scheduled.

The stakeholders who spoke with newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja, said their hopes that the company would become functional before the end of 2023 had been dashed.

They were reacting to a recent announcement by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, that the Steel Company will not be fully completed in 2023 as earlier promised.

The minister had at a recent ministerial media briefing in the Presidential Villa, Abuja attributed restrictions caused by COVID-19 pandemic for the inability of a Russian team to carry out technical audit of the plant and sign agreement on its revival.

Recall that Adegbite had in 2020 said that a 60-man team from Russia would arrive in Nigeria to start technical audit of Ajaokuta steel company.

The agreement on how to revive the steel company was reached during a meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and President Vladimir Putin in Russia in 2019 at the Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi.

The Russian government had nominated TPE, the original builder of Ajaokuta Steel Company, to conduct technical audit of the steel company to ascertain the level of work remaining to be completed on the steel company.

Speaking with NAN,. Mr Yusuf Ayobode, a graduate of Mechanical Engineering said prompt revival of the steel company would boost Nigeria’s economy currently going through uncertainty.

“When I heard the news in 2021 that the steel company will be fully revived before 2023, I became optimistic that Nigeria economy will have a positive turn around.

“I believed that there will be massive employment for youths like me that graduated over the years without jobs,” he said.

Mr Salawu Onipe, a native of Kogi and a graduate of Electrical Electronics said his aspiration while growing up was to work in Ajaokuta steel company.

“Ajakuta steel has been my best option as a place to work when I was growing up because I saw massive opportunities there for youths.

“Ajaokuta steel plant is aptly tagged as the “Bedrock of Nigeria’s industrialisation” because of the available opportunities for the youths and the nation but this slogan is not forthcoming.

” When I read it online in 2020 that the Russian firm that constructed the company will be coming to Nigeria to complete Ajaokuta steel, I was happy and hoping that my dream to work in the company will come to pass.

“But the latest news.that the steel company might not be completed under the current administration got me worried because no past administrations had made efforts to revive the company except this.”

Mr Uchechukwu Ogbonaya, a former worker at the steel company urged the Federal Government to ensure it bounced back to provide massive employment to Nigerians.

He.said the menace of “yahoo yahoo” (internet fraud), kidnapping among others could be curtailed if the company becomes operational.

Ogbonaya recalled when he was working in the steel company, stating that it was like another world due to its conducive environment

The Federal Government established the Nigerian Steel Development Authority (NSDA) in 1971, through Decree No. 19 in order to advance the development of the Nigerian Steel Industry.

NSDA carried out detailed market studies and investigations on local availability of raw materials.

The Preliminary Project Report (PPR) of 1974, the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of 1977 and the Global Contract (1979) for construction of steel plant at Ajaokuta were all commissioned and executed during the NSDA period.


“Give us your guns” – Soludo promises amnesty to IPOB

The  Anambra State Governor, Charles Soludo has confirmed that his administration is offering “amnesty” to agitators in the State.

Soludo stated this during an interview with Channels Television on Sunday.

Over the last months, South-East States, including Anambra, have witnessed a spate of violent attacks and security operatives have borne the major brunt of the onslaught.

This is amid the weekly sit-at-home order on Monday, despite being suspended by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Soludo said: “Within the agitation movement, we have to agree that there are now factions. There is the one led by one guy in Finland called Simon Ekpa.

“IPOB has come out to accuse that group of being behind much of the criminality in the South-East.

“A lot of them in the bush out there are having camps here and there. They come out to kidnap and kill. Once we isolate all the groups that are not involved in this, then we can focus on the criminals.

“We have also offered them some kind of amnesty. Come out, give us your guns, we are prepared to give you training in whatever skills, even if we have to raise resources to empower you to become useful partners in the development of society.”


Gunmen kill 10 persons, injure 19 during cultural festival in Plateau

Gunmen have killed 10 persons and injured 19 others during a cultural festival in Chando Zerreci community in Irigwe Chiefdom of Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau.
Mr Lawrence Zango, the National Publicity Secretary, Irigwe Youth Movement, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday in Jos.
Zango said that criminals launched the attack on Saturday night during the annual ritual festival of ‘Zerreci’, which usually ushers them into the new farming season.

Zongo, who condemned and described that act as ”sad and unfortunate”, added that the injured are currently receiving treatment at Enos Hospital Miango.

He called on the government at all levels and the security agencies to find lasting solution to the incessant attacks that usually lead to loss of lives and property.

”The government has a responsibility to promote and protect human rights, including the right to life, and a duty to protect civilians from attacks by taking effective measures to prevent and deter attacks on our people.”

“The government must as a matter of urgency investigate the attack in Irigwe land and bring the perpetrators to justice and ensure that families and other victims are adequately compensated

“Brutal attacks on our communities are becoming rampant and frequent and this is unacceptable.

”Government must take more concrete steps to protect lives and property across Iregwe chiefdom and neighboring communities,” he said.

Zango also appealed to the International community to come to the aid of the people and to support them and address the huge humanitarian challenges caused by the attacks.

ASP Ubah Ogaba, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the Police command in the state, confirmed the attack, adding that the command had mobilised armed officers to the place to restore normalcy.

He called on residents of the area and Plateau in general to remain calm and law abiding, adding that security agencies are working seriously to ensure their safety.


Dangote fertiliser to train over 1m farmers in 3 years

Dangote Fertiliser Limited has announced plans to train over one million farmers in the next three years to enhance the agricultural sector and create jobs.

Mr Uchenna Nwankwo, Deputy Sales Officer, Dangote Fertiliser Ltd., made this known in a statement on Sunday from the ongoing Enugu International Trade Fair.

Nwankwo said the training, which Is part of the company’s agriculture extension services will involve spot demonstrations, result demonstrations, field demonstrations and soil sample collections.

He added that the exercise was designed to instruct farmers on the best practices in fertiliser application.

He revealed that free samples of the fertilisers would be used in field demonstrations while the results would be collated at the end of the farming season.

Earlier, President, Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA), Mr Jasper Nduagwuike, praised Dangote Industries Limited for the sponsorship of the Enugu International Trade fair.

He said that the indigenous conglomerate activities were making great impact in the economic development of the country.

Nduagwuike lauded the firm for turning Nigeria’s economy from consuming to producing, by manufacturing household items, fertiliser and other products.

“ECCIMA expects other companies to emulate Dangote industries because that is the only way you can change the course of this economy.

” I challenge Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to understand that Dangote industries was once a SME but with hard work, resilience, and determination, it is today a conglomerate.

“The profound gratitude of ECCIMA to Dangote industries for being a part of the sponsorship of the fair and this relationship will continue and for us it is morning yet on creation day,” he said.

Regional Sales Director, Dangote Cement, Southeast, Mr Abayomi Shittu, said the interest of the Dangote Group was aimed at supporting government in job creation and reducing poverty in the country.

He noted that the company, through its job creation mechanism, had become the second biggest employer of labour in the country outside the government.

Shittu stated that the President of Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote, was passionate about promoting the activities of Chambers of Commerce and Industries across the nation.

“He is interested in activities of all the major Chambers of Commerce and Industries in Nigeria, hence our participation in trade fairs organised by Enugu, Abuja, Ogun, Kaduna, and Kano Chambers of Commerce and Industries.

“Our participation at all major trade fairs across the country is a means of demonstrating our belief that Chambers of Commerce and Industry occupy a unique position in driving economic development through their activities.

“Our expectation is that this trade fair will further expand awareness for our innovative products, generate sales, get prospective buyers, improve the image of our brands, and open up new markets that will further translate in job creation,” he said.


Osinbajo best candidate for APC victory in 2023 – Group

The Progressive Project (TPP), a non- governmental organisation has said that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is the best candidate of the All Progressives Congress(APC) to lead the party to victory in 2023.

Chief Precious Elekima, the TPP Rivers Coordinator disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday.

“The vice president has attracted the admiration of a great deal of Nigerians, in addition to the goodwill he enjoys as Buhari co-pilot in the Project Nigeria from 2015 till date.

“Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is well-acquainted with the social and economic recovery foundation laid down in the last seven years of the present administration.

“The vice president understands the fluctuating conditions to which all societies exist, which has made him able to discharge any public trust Nigeria has and may repose on him,’’Elekima said.

He said that Osinbajo appreciates diversity as strength, that his words are always slow and his judgments are sound.

Elekima further said that Osinbajo had character strongly marked for integrity and honour and that as VP he had discharged his duties with ability, faithfulness and honesty.

He noted that the TPP was leading a cluster of likeminded organisations for the struggle and emancipation of a people in long political and economic servitude, recently rescued by President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC.

“As President Muhammadu Buhari administration signals towards its last lap of governance, the anxiety of the future of Nigeria becomes troubling and the danger of Nigeria being complacent with its consequential effects.

“If the country detours back to the forbidden pathways, it could render useless the gains of this administration,’’ Elekima said.

He pointed out that in this regard, a strong, purposeful and patriotic leadership, laying a solid foundation and vision for the next generation was urgently required.

He explained that the TPP was persuaded by the voices of well-meaning men and women who were ceaselessly reminding Nigerians of the dangers that might befall the country if leadership falls in to the wrong hands.

“We are therefore making a clarion call on Mr Vice President who today stands the best chance of leading the APC to victory come 2023.

“Osinbajo is a statesman politician and perhaps the only person with the most extensive knowledge of the workings of the Buhari administration who deserves the right of first refusal, in the best interest of Nigerians,’’ he said.


I offer to lead South East govs to FG for expeditious prosecution of Nnamdi Kanu – Gov. Soludo

Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, Governor of Anambra, has given the assurance that he will lead his brother governors in the Southeast to engage the Federal Government on dialogue to handle insecurity situation in the zone.

Soludo said that an expeditious release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), would cushion the insecurity impasse in the zone.

Soludo said during a one-day Peacebuilding and Security Dialogue, held in Awka on Saturday in response to the deteriorating security challenges in the region.

He endorsed the Communique of a joint body of traditional rulers and clergy to declared Monday, April 4, as a Day of Prayer at all churches and places of prayers for forgiveness and reconciliation.

He said Kanu should be tried expeditiously, according to the law, and be convicted or freed instead of being kept under indefinite detention.

The governor pointed out that justice delayed is justice denied.

He said the State government would open rehabilitation centers for those who dropped their arms and set up a truth and reconciliation panel to investigate and placate those who lost their lives and property in the course of the struggle.

Soludo said he is ready for total engagement with all parties, including the aggrieved, in the quest for peace.

He called on all genuine agitators to drop their arms and leave the forest while warning criminal elements taking advantage of the situation to hold the people to withdraw or face the full force of the law.

“We will engage with the good, the bad and the ugly, we will not discriminate against anybody.

“We need more engagement than force in solving the problems, we need peace and security in our land to make progress, we can’t continue to cut our nose to spite our face.

“All churches should announce the Monday prayers,” saying “they will also signal the end of Monday sit-at-home order that had lingered for months,” he said.

In their 8-point Communique, the body of traditional ruler and Clergy in the Southeast called on the Federal Government to free Kanu unconditionally to douse the tension in the region.

The Communique which was read by Igwe Alfred Achebe, the Obi of Onitsha, condemned the Monday sit-at-home directive which started on Aug. 9 last year, describing it as self destructive and inimical to progress of the region.

The joint body regretted that even when the IPOB, under the leadership of Nnamdi Kanu, had withdrawn the other since Aug. 24, killings, abductions and burning of property have not stopped.

The Communique was signed by Achebe, His Grace Archbishop Valerian Okeke of Onitsha Catholic Archdiocese, Igwe Lawrence Agbuzu, Chairman, Enugu State Traditional Rulers Council, His Grace, Most Rev. Chibuzo Okpoko for Bishop and Archbishop and Prof Solo Chukwulobelu for the Anambra government.

Achebe said that they have proposed meetings with the presidency on the problem of the Southeast but had not received a response from the federal government.

He said the agitation was caused by perceived injustice against the Southeast and that only a constructive engagement would address the problems which were further hurting the people.

The body called on all injured, aggrieved and victims of the insecurity in the Southeast in the last three years to embrace the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Anambra government.

According to the body, “we recognise that there is country-wide agitation for restructuring of inter-ethnic and inter-governmental relations in Nigeria, with a view to greater inclusiveness.

“We therefore share the genuine concern over the political and economic marginalisation of the Southeast Geo-Political Zone of Nigeria, a major plank of the agitation by the IPOB.

“We call for constructive and continuous dialogue by all parties as a more sustainable solution to overcoming the challenge and win the hearts and minds of the people.

“We join our voices to the call for the unconditional release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu by the Federal Government in order to douse the current tensions across the Southeast.

“We call on all criminal elements masquerading as working under the instruction of IPOB or ESN to cease and desist from further acts of violence and criminality or face “theism” placeable force of law and order.

“We call on all who may have taken up arms in the belief that their grievances could be achieved only through armed struggle to lay down their arms.

“We declare Monday, April 4th, 2022, as a Day Of Prayer For Peace for Alaigbo (Igboland) and implore Anambra residents and all religious congregations to join in this important day of prayer at Cathedrals, Churches and prayer houses across the area by 11:00 am,” it said.

The peace dialogue had representatives from the National Assembly, State Houses of Assembly, Town Union leaderships, Traditional institutions, Religious institutions, security agencies, youth groups, women groups, Ohanaeze, among others.

Nigeria news

Ramadan: Zamfara Govt distributes food, other items to indigents

Gov. Bello Matawalle of Zamfara says the State Government has commenced the distribution of assorted food items and clothing worth over N 1.8 billion to indigents across the state.

Matawalle inaugurated the distribution on Saturday to mark the commencement of the Ramadan fast in Gusau.

The governor said the assorted items include 125,701 bags of food stuffs and 40,000 pieces of clothing materials.

“As we observe the first day of the holy month of Ramadan for the year 1443 After the Hijra of our noble Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), which is equivalent to April 2, 2022.

“I feel greatly delighted to inaugurate our yearly distribution of Ramadan packages to the people of Zamfara.

“We procured the items for Ramadan feeding and welfare at the total cost of N1,818,209,000.00.

“I send my greetings to my fellow people of Zamfara and the entire Muslim ummah, as we enter this great season.

“I pray that we will wholeheartedly partake in activities that will positively transform us and bring about our moral rebirth,” Matawalle said.

He urged Muslims in the state to increase acts of charity, constant recitation of the Holy Qur’an, and other devotional activities that would bring the ummah closer to their creator.

According to him, the holy Ramadan is an excellent opportunity for Muslims to reflect on the current challenges and pray to Almighty Allah to deliver the ummah from them.

“This is a religious and social responsibility that has been placed on our shoulders.

“I, therefore, implore each of us to spend more time praying to Almighty Allah for His mercy and benevolence to our State and Nigeria at large.

“Even though our number one security challenge of banditry remains a formidable one, we thank Almighty Allah for the successes being recorded by the day in this relentless fight.
“We will never give up until a total victory is achieved, In sha Allah,” he said.

Matawalle noted that the Ramadan for the year 2022 came at a more trying moment, especially for ordinary citizens.
The governor said in spite the progress made to address the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the prices are of commodities are globally on the rise, making life increasingly difficult for all strata of individuals.
“The global economic downturn has not spared Nigeria and, of course, Zamfara.

“The security challenges in Zamfara and other parts of the North have had impacts on farming and other economic activities in the far stretches of our state.
“The majority of average citizens who rely on these activities for a living find it more challenging to make ends meet.
“However, in keeping with the tradition of my administration of extending various social interventions to the people, especially during this holy month, we have significantly expanded this year’s Ramadan package.
“This time around, a total of 125,701 bags of food items and 40,000 pieces of clothing materials were procured for Ramadan feeding and welfare at the total cost of N1,818,209,000.00.
“These include 21,083 bags of rice; 14,264 bags of sugar; 10,491 bags of millet; and 6,991 bags of maize.

“Others include 9,206 cartons of milk; 1,076 bags of beans; 22,590 gallons of vegetable oil; and 40,000 pieces of clothing materials.

“Apart from these, Ramadan feeding would be conducted across all Juma’at mosques in the 14 local government areas of the state,” Matawalle said.

The governor explained that the government had instructed all the Imams of Juma’at mosques to make adequate arrangements for feeding of faithful in their mosques.
He said the Ramadan feeding would also be carried out across the 2,516 polling units in the state.

He commended other individuals and organisations for the similar gestures extended in support of the poor and other vulnerable groups in the state.

“I implore them to keep on the good work as Allah will continue to bless them and their families.

“Based on our experience in the previous exercises, we have taken appropriate measures to ensure that the commodities provided by the government are distributed equitably.

“I call on those charged with the responsibility of distributing the items to fear Allah and ensure a transparent and accountable exercise.

“We will not hesitate to sanction anyone found selfishly diverting the commodities or distributing them in a manner that is not in conformity with the laid down procedure.

“I pray to Almighty Allah for a peaceful and blessed month of Ramadan and May Allah accept all our ibadats and shower us with His protection at these trying times and at all times,” Matawalle said.


IGP debunks claims that Kaduna is inaccessible by road, air or train

The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Alkali Usman, says the rumour making the rounds that Kaduna is inaccessible by road, air or train is a mere propaganda.

The IGP stated this during his operational visit to the Abuja-Kaduna road on Saturday in Kaduna. He said the visit was to check the situation along the Abuja-Kaduna road.

Usman noted that they have already made arrangements to secure the road.

“My coming out today is to check the deployment we made to ensure the road is safe and also to check the deployment we have made at the scene of the train accident where repairs are taking place.

“We have also deployed our men to assist the engineers in taking care of the situation and I want to assure the public that the propaganda going round that Kaduna is inaccessible by road, air or train is not true.

“The road is safe for motorists and we will try our best to keep it safer.”

He added that the visit was also to ensure that officers and men deployed to keep security on the road are performing their duties diligently.

The IGP explained that they would work with available resources given to commands, however, he called for improvement.

“Government is giving us the resources and in turn we are deploying them to our commands. Usman, responding to questions from journalists on the certainties that passengers would no longer patronize the train when restored, said “It is only a perception, the incident has happened and gone, that of course has informed us on measures to take in ensuring such a thing does not occur again”.

He called on the troops to be diligent and dedicated in discharging their national duties.


2023: Catholic assembly urges Christians to participate actively in politics

The General Assembly of the Catholic Diocese of Jalingo on Friday urged Christians in the country to participate actively in politics and help in changing the fortunes of the nation.

This is contained in a communique at the end of its 20th General Assembly, signed by Most Rev. Dr Charles Hamawa, the Catholic Bishop and Very Rev. Fr. Eugene Batare in Jalingo.

According to the communique, the notion that politics is a dirty game should encourage Christians to go in there and change it for a clean game for a better country, come 2023.

The communique called on the christian community in the country to be card-carrying members of political parties of their choices, contest elections, vote at elections and fully follow all the processes to enable them change the narrative for good.

“If the notion that politics is a dirty game is anything to go by, then, it should encourage Christians to participate in order to change to a clean game for a better nation,” it stated.

The assembly also urged Nigerians to eschew violence and support government and security agencies to tackle the growing insecurity to ensure rapid development.

It urged the Federal Government to redouble its efforts in ensuring an end to the frequent strikes by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) which it noted, was destroying the country’s future.

The assembly also resolved to continue to uphold righteousness and spread the good news to the people for a peaceful and fulfilled society.


Lagos PDP elders fault NWC ratification of state congress’ outcome

Some PDP elders and leaders in Lagos State have faulted the ratification of outcome of the party’s state congress by its national leadership.

The PDP state congress held on Feb. 27 and supervised by Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa-led Electoral Committee, brought Mr Philip Aivoji, as the new Lagos state Chairman of the party.

The elders, however, expressed shock over ratification of the congress by the Dr Iyorchia Ayu-led PDP National Working Committee (NWC).

In a communique on Friday at the end of a meeting on the purported ratification of the alleged botched state congress, the elders rejected the ratified list of state officials.

The communique was signed by party chieftains including Dr Remi Akitoye, Sen. Kofo Akerele-Bucknor and Chief Onikepo Oshodi.

According to them, the party elders and leaders, haven deliberated exhaustively on the issue, expressed shock and disappointment that the collective essence of the NWC was dismissed.

“The ratification is contemptuous of the sobering voices of the Southwest representatives.

“They hardly demonstrated the requisite gravitas and the innate democratic accommodation of good leadership as they hastily ignored everyone and purportedly “ratified” what has been universally condemned as a flawed congress.

“Despite various petitions emanating from the aspirants, the BOT members , the Caretaker Committee and the concerned individuals which substantiated the fact that the congress was a brazen sham, the leadership still disregarded the various voices of reason,” it said.

The communique added that the reports from INEC, the PDP Appeal Committee, the BOT Elders, the Caretaker Committee and other quarters, were all unanimous about the untidy, flawed and the inconclusive nature of the alleged botched congress.

“We are dismayed, sickened and sad that there is a desperate attempt to destabilise Lagos state PDP and render the Yoruba race inconsequential in the scheme of things.

” Lagos state alone has the largest electoral figures in the nation. This should not be happening very close to election year .

“Let there be no doubt about our resolve to challenge this with all the legitimate legal means,” it added.

According to the communique, the PDP elders vowed to fight the alleged injustice with temperance and sure-footedness.

“We reject the result of the inconclusive congress.

“We do not and we will not recognise the ratified list of officials for Lagos PDP.

“We will continue this struggle until the wrongs are rectified and justice eventually prevails,” the communique said.


Woman pregnant with her grandchild after becoming a surrogate for her daughter

A mother-of-eight is pregnant with her own grandchild after offering to be a surrogate for her daughter who can’t conceive.

Chalise Smith, 50, from Utah, offered to carry a child for her daughter Kaitlyn Munoz, 24, after she was told she could no longer have children due to a devastating auto-immune disease.

Kaitlyn, who lives in El Paso, Texas, was diagnosed in 2019 with disease that attacks healthy parts of her body called Sjogren’s Syndrome, and she also suffers from endometriosis -a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tube.

Luckily, she had conceived her first born Callahan, now 2, through IVF, before being diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome.

Chalise is now pregnant with IVF with Kaitlyn’s second child, a girl, who is due to be born in May.

After having eight perfect pregnancies of her own, Chalise saw no other option than to offer to be her daughter’s surrogate after watching her dreams of having more children be broken.

Chalise said: “I told Kaitlyn that everyone needed to be 100 per cent on board, Kyle (Chalise’s husband and Kaitlyn’s father), Miguel (Kaitlyn’s husband), and Kaitlyn herself.

“I was already 100 per cent in, but if there were any single doubts from anyone involved in the decision, I didn’t want to keep pushing.

“Everyone agreed and my husband was 110 per cent with me all the way through.

“With my age, I had to go through a lot of health checks before I could get the all clear for becoming a surrogate.

“But once we were given the all clear, I had two embryos implanted in September, and that has resulted in me now being pregnant with my granddaughter.”

Kaitlyn says she dreams of having a big family like her mom and was shocked when her mother offered to be her surrogate.

Kaitlyn’s daughter is due in May, and the whole family are extremely excited for her arrival.


COVID-19: Germany’s top 36 clubs lost more than 1bn euros in revenue

The Bundesliga will this weekend see its biggest attendance since the start of the coronavirus pandemic two years ago.

This will be much to the relief of clubs who have lost more than one billion euros (1.1 billion dollars) in revenue in the process.

The figure was given on Friday amid eased coronavirus restrictions in the latest financial report by the German Football League (DFL) for the 36 top-flight and second division clubs.

The DFL said that match revenue alone dropped by some 95 percent from 650 million euros in the last pre-pandemic season 2018/2019 to 35.5 million euros in 2020/2021.

This was because almost all matches were played behind closed doors.

Overall revenue of the clubs dropped to 4.05 billion euros in 2020/2021, the DFL said.

“We are facing an unprecedented situation. The era of growth as something to be taken for granted seems to be over,” DFL chief Donata Hopfen said.

“Without a doubt, this will massively impact our development in the years to come.

“Nevertheless, considerable challenges always come with considerable opportunities.

“We must explore new avenues to make the German professional football future-proof while upholding our traditions and values. We will take on these topics together with all the clubs.”

Income from domestic and international media rights sales will be below previous figures in the 2021/2022 season.

It is not clear yet what kind of economic impact Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent sanctions will have.

The pandemic has had a heavy impact even on financially healthy clubs, such as Eintracht Frankfurt.

“We were full of economic strength. Now we will have operation losses of more than 70 million euros over three seasons until June 30, 2022,” the club’s supervisory board spokesman Axel Hellmann said.

Borussia Dortmund Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Hans-Joachim Watzke also said owing to the pandemic “we have lost so many millions, more than 120 (million euros) in all.”

The club have been able to sell out their stadium with 81,365 fans on Saturday against RB Leipzig, their first full house since Feb. 29, 2020, just before the pandemic hit.


2023 time for Nigeria to have first female President, says APGA aspirant

Ms Angela Johnson, an All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) Presidential Aspirant, says that 2023 is the time for the country to have the first female President.

Johnson, who owns UK-based Compassion Ministry, said this on Thursday at the party Secretariat in Umuahia, when she formally declared to run for president.

She said: “Our men, who were elected into leadership positions in the country, have failed us.

“Although they were elected to serve but they end up being served by the people that elected them.”

She expressed concern that the country had not enjoyed sustainable development since the return of democratic governance in 1999.

“I am being led by God to restore the hope of millions of Nigerians, who have become hopeless in the Nigerian project.

“God brought President Muhammadu Buhari and sustained him in office that I shall emerge,” she said.

She assured the state Chairman of APGA, Rev. Augustine Ehiemere, that he would be the first party chairman in the country to present the first female President of Nigeria.

Johnson said that she had been approached to accept the Vice Presidential position by a leading political party.

She said that she declined because she was sent by God to be the country’s next president.

“God spoke to me and I heared Him clearly. He sent me to be president not vice president.

“This is my time. This is the time for Nigerian women to produce the nation’s president.

“There is a burning desire in me and until Nigeria’s lost glory is restored, I cannot rest,” the presidential hopeful from Arochukwu in Abia, said.

She said that her desire was to help humanity and that the mandate she was aspiring to get “is not ordinary but divine”.

Johnson, who recalled with nostalgia the good days of the nation’s economic boom, said she was set to restore the vision and desire of the country’s founding fathers.

She said, “My heart bleeds each time I think about Nigeria’s present economic situation and huge sufferings by the masses.”

She promised to make life more meaningful for the people through her economic recovery agenda, when elected into office.

She regretted that the privatisation of the nation’s critical institutions, such as NITEL, NEPA and NNPC, rendered many Nigerians jobless.

According to her, parents train their children in higher institutions to be able to get jobs to fend for themselves.

“Unfortunately, today, after they have graduated, they roam the streets for years looking for employment and still depend on their parents for support,” she said.

She said that she would place priority on job creation for the youths, women empowerment, social amenities and road infrastructure.

Johnson further promised to encourage the establishment of state police and vigilance groups.

She opined that a well equipped and properly remunerated state police force, complemented by effective vigilance groups, would ensure adequate security of lives and property of all Nigerians.

“I can assure you that under my watch as president, no blood of any Nigerian would be wasted.

“The present security challenge and enormous bloodletting in different parts of the country will become a thing of the past.

“I am a small woman with a big God. Once you bring God into the problem of Nigeria, victory will be assured,” she said.

Johnson said that she had the political structure to win the election and was prepared to run a full scale nationwide campaign with APGA.

She, therefore, appealed to the leadership of the party to give her the needed support to realise her aspiration.

Responding, the party chairman hoped that God would reveal to Nigerians that APGA remained the only party with the manifesto to deliver the country from its difficulties.

Ehiemere said that both APC and PDP had not met the yearnings and expectations of a majority of Nigerians, hence the need to give APGA a chance.

He described Johnson’s aspiration as a challenge to the womenfolk and urged them to rally round her in order to realise her ambition.

He further urged her not to be discouraged or succumb to intimidation.

He said: “As a woman, there is no type of intimidation you will not see as you embark on this journey but do not be discouraged.

“I know that God will give you the courage, boldness and strength to prevail.”

In a brief interview with newsmen on the sideline, Johnson said that she was convinced that she had what it takes to govern Nigeria, given her experience and exposure in life.


Algeria seeks replay of World Cup playoff against Cameroon due to refereeing

The Algeria Football Federation (FAF) has called for a replay of their World Cup playoff clash against Cameroon and lodged a complaint with FIFA over the match’s refereeing.

The Federation claimed the officiating “distorted the result”.

Karl Toko Ekambi delivered the decisive strike in the fourth added minute of extra time in Blida on Tuesday to condemn Algeria to a 2-1 aggregate loss on away goals.

Cameroon went on to qualify for Qatar 2022.

Islam Slimani saw two goals ruled out, the first in the second half and again in extra time.

Referee Bakary Gassama initially allowing the latter goal to stand before using the pitch-side monitor to deem the Algeria striker had handled the ball.

Charaf-Eddine Amara has resigned as president of FAF in the wake of Algeria’s exit from World Cup qualifying, while the federation has lodged an appeal to world governing body FIFA.

“The Algerian Football Federation (FAF) has lodged an appeal with the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) against the scandalous arbitration which distorted the result of the Algeria-Cameroon playoff,” the statement read.

“The FAF is determined to use all legally permitted means to have its rights restored and to replay the match under conditions guaranteeing the honesty and partiality of the arbitration.

“The FAF also requests the opening of an investigation by FIFA bodies to shed light on the arbitration of the Algeria-Cameroon match.”

The draw for the group stage of the World Cup is set to take place on Friday.

Business & Economy

Backward integration: Olam harvests 4000mt on 100ha Jigawa tomato farm

Leading agri-business group, Olam, through its subsidiary, Caraway, has recorded first commercial harvest of 4000 metric tonnes from its 100 hectares Kuda Gangara Integrated Tomato Farm in Jigawa.

The company said that the 100 hectares, being cultivated out of a total of 500-hectares, yielded 40 metric tonnes of tomato per hectare, which was more than four times the average yield in Nigeria.

Reji George, Olam Head of Farming Initiatives, said in a statement, that the tomato farm was being serviced by over 2000 outgrower farmers to compliment Federal Government’s backward integration programme.

The backward integration drive was aimed at strengthening local sourcing of raw materials for the company’s tomato paste factory in Lagos, where popular brands of tomato pastes such as De Rica and Tasty Tom are produced.

It said that the company’s current investments stood at $20 million in developing the commercial farming and outgrowers programme, crushing, and the plants for processing and packaging.

George said the investment would complement Federal Government’s thrust of moving agriculture into a self-reliant and sustainable model and ensuring enough and quality food for the population.

“The backward integration helps us to achieve self-sufficiency, develop local farmers and provide increased employment opportunities to the local population,” George said.

He said that the company had partnered with a local crushing facility, Aldusar Foods and Beverages in Katsina State, as part of the local value chain in this backward integration process.

“Caraway hopes to achieve the supply of homegrown and processed innovative tomato product brands of Derica, Tasty tom, jollof mix, onion Pepe etc for domestic consumption,” said George.

Premender Sethi, Caraway Business Head, Packaged Food Business, said that the key critical areas were to ensure the consistency in the Federal Government policies and an enhanced level of security.

According to him, low farm productivity, coupled with high post harvest losses had contributed to low output of the tomato crop in Nigeria.

He added that the buyback of fresh tomato fruits on time through a network of outgrower farmers and supplying to the crushing plant within 24 hours had also reduced post harvest losses by more than half.

For Furera Isma Jumare, Director General, Jigawa Investment Promotion Agency, the Caraway tomato project would showcase the state as one of the largest tomato-producing states in the country.

“The caraway project, especially with harvest already beginning within a short period of time, clearly shows the tomato potential of the state, and it will put us right on the map of those that are the largest producers,” Jumare said.

It will also contribute to the state in terms of direct and indirect employment for citizens as well as skills transfer, she said.


Bauchi govt. empowers 1,000 youths with N150m

The Bauchi State Government says it has distributed economic strengthening equipment worth N150 million to 1,000 youth and women in Shira and Giade Local Government Areas of the state.

Gov. Bala Mohammed said this at the inauguration of the distribution exercise of the items to the beneficiaries on Wednesday in Shira.

He said the economic strengthening kits were provided through the Kaura Economic and Empowerment Programme (KEEP) initiated by his administration.

According to him, the programme has covered over 60 per cent of the state having reached 16 of the 20 LGAs of the state.

Mohammed said the programme was designed to encourage the youth to become self-reliant by providing them with a conducive atmosphere to be socially and economically productive.

“The programme is designed to boost economic activities, address unemployment and alleviate poverty among the people, especially the youth and women of the state.

“An average of N75 million in both cash and kind had been distributed to selected beneficiaries in each of the 16 LGAs since the commencement of the programme.

“The same gesture will be replicated here in Shira and Giade, and subsequently in the remaining LGAs,” he said.

He said that 500 beneficiaries would recieve N50,000 each to enable them to set up their businesses while youth and women leaders in each of the wards would get N100 000, buses, among others.

The governor reiterated commitment to the infrastructure development in education, healthcare, roads and security, adding that, “we are not only building schools and the rest, we must fight poverty.”

The items distributed include 95 motorcycles, 30 grinding machines, 193 sewing machines, six buses, among others.


National Convention: Buhari hosts APC Chairmanship aspirants

President Muhammadu Buhari has met behind closed door with all All Progressives Congress Chairmanship aspirants of the party during its forthcoming National Convention on March 26.

Mr Sunday Aghaeze, the Personal Assistant to the President (Photography), confirmed this development in pictorial reports late Wednesday evening.

The aspirants were led by the Interim National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Committee (CECC), Mai Mala Buni.

Affected aspirants included Sen. George Akume, Sen. Tanko Al-makura, Sen. Sani Musa, Se. Abdullahi Adamu, Mohammed Saidu-Estu, Abdulaziz Yari and Ali Modu.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha and the Chief of staff to the President, Prof Ibrahim Gambari also attended the meeting of the president with the aspirants.

The president had earlier met behind closed doors with governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the forthcoming National Convention of the party, slated for March 26.

The governors were led to the meeting by the Chairman of the Interim Committee of the party and Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni.

However, the Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, who is also the Governor of Kebbi, Atiku Bagudu, spoke to State House correspondents at the end of tge meeting.

According to Bagudu, the governors have resolved to support whoever the president supports at the convention.

Bagudu also disclosed that the governors agreed to support any process that would lead to a consensus.

Buhari had last month said he was in favour of the consensus mode for selecting candidates for the party’s national positions.

He had urged the governors to explore the option of consensus.


2023: PDP now has grassroots structure to win Lagos— Doherty

Mr Adedeji Doherty, immediate past Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Lagos State, says the party now has grassroots structure and state executive to win the 2023 elections.

Doherty said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos.

He said that lack of structure at the grassroots and candidate imposition had resulted in the failure of the party in previous elections.

According to him, the Feb. 27 Elective State Congress of the party remains a watershed for the party to recruit executive members bent on nothing but winning elections in the state.

“After serving as chairman in Lagos state, I can categorically say that disunity is not the problem of PDP winning election in the state but non existence of structures at the grassroots level, which has now been created in the last state congress.

“We have between 500,000 and 600,000 registered people now as members of PDP in Lagos.

“We lost elections because we don’t have the structure; if you don’t have the structure, you cannot spend money in the right place.

“The structure is already on ground to win election. We are working now. We are galvanising people and everybody has to be onboard,” Doherty said.

He said that imposition and selection had been the major setback for PDP, adding that they always created divisions and disunity in the party.

“In Lagos state PDP, the norm up till the last state congress has always been imposition and selection and this led to failure in 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019.

“Those of us that have been in the party for over two decades, decided to come together and change the narrative because we cannot be doing the same thing, getting a particular result and believe that if we continue doing the same way, we will get a different result,” Doherty said.

According to him, the last ward, local and state congresses of the party revealed the voices of the majority of the party members, and the way forward for the party.

He said that those casting aspersions on the outcome of the congress because consensus failed to work, did not want the progress of the party.

“There was consensus, but no harmonisation and consultation, hence the call for elective congress which produced the new executive,” he said.

The former chairman said the new executive would do everything possible to reconcile with whoever was aggrieved by the outcome of the congress, adding that the new Chairman, Mr Philip Aivoji, had commenced reconciliation process.

Expressing confidence in the Aivoji-led executive, Doherty, who is eying the governorship ticket of the party, said that the new executive had started galvanising people at the grassroots to win elections for the party.

“Now, they are thinking ‘win’, and nothing in their head than ‘win’. This is a sacrifice we have to make to build. Now, we have goal getters and result-oriented excos,” he said.

Doherty said that Aivoji has the credentials, capacity, competence and network to rebuild the party as a former party zonal officer, former commissioner and council chairman.

NAN reports that some party leaders condemned the outcome of the state congress over imbalance and lack of level playing field for all contestants, and called for a new state congress.


World TB Day: 36% of TB deaths occur in Africa, says WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed concern that with 36 per cent of all tuberculosis (TB) deaths occurring in Africa, failure to invest in its response will take a formidable toll on African countries.

The organisation said that increased investment can be a game-changer, and alleviate the preventable suffering and death of millions of people.

The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, said this in a message to commemorate the World TB Day that is observed on March 24, each year.

Moeti said the day was to raise public awareness and understanding about one of the global deadliest infectious diseases.

She said that the UN High-Level world leaders had agreed to mobilise 13 billion dollars per year to finance TB prevention and treatment by 2022.

According to her, the world leaders also promised another two billion dollars per year for TB research in the face of growing concerns around drug-resistant TB.

WHO regional director said the world saw an increase in the number of global TB deaths for the first time in over a decade in 2021, adding that contributing factors included reduced access to TB diagnosis and treatment in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

She called on the governments to mobilise additional domestic financial support for TB control, including contributions to the Global Fund.

Moeti said the fund, in February, launched its 18-billion dollars Seventh Replenishment campaign in a bid to counter the catastrophic impact of COVID-19 on the fight against TB.

“Today, I call on governments to mobilise additional domestic financial support for TB control, including contributions to the Global Fund, which last month launched its 18-billion dollars Seventh Replenishment campaign.

“This is in a bid to counter the catastrophic impact of COVID-19 on the fight against TB.

“I urge all stakeholders to advocate increased investment and to ensure that TB services are integrated into the primary health care response.

“We must all also work more closely with our communities, leveraging their expert local knowledge to tailor response efforts for maximum impact,” she said.

Moeti appealed to donors, the private sector, civil society, and academia to pay increased attention to urgently boosting investment in the fight against TB and in TB research.

She said that in Africa, governments contribute only 22 per cent of the resources required to deliver adequate TB services, with 44 per cent going unfunded, which has remained an impending effort to reduce the TB burden.

She said it would help to accelerate technological breakthroughs and uptake of innovations towards ending TB by 2030.

Moeti said that funding for TB prevention, diagnosis, and treatment services continues to fall short of estimated global needs.

She added that there was the need for increased funding from domestic and international donors to counteract a reversal of the significant gains made against TB in the past decades.

According to her, at the current rate of progress, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target of ending the TB epidemic by 2030 may not be achievable.

Moeti said that this year’s theme; “Invest to end TB. Save lives”, emphasised the urgent need for the resources necessary to ramp up the fight against TB and realise the commitments to end TB made by global leaders.