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Namibia declares 3-day national mourning for former President, Banda

Namibia’s President Hage Geingob has declared three days of national mourning to pay respects to the late former President of Zambia Rupiah Bwezani Banda.

The Republic of Namibia and African Union flags are to fly at half-mast until Friday when Banda’s body will be buried in the Zambian capital Lusaka.

“Indeed, with his passing, Namibia has lost a dependable friend,’’ Geingob has said previously.

“But, we are comforted by his indelible contributions to the liberation movements of our region and the socio-economic development of its people.’’

Geingob extended sympathies to Banda’s wife and children, and the fraternal people of Zambia.

“May his soul rest in peace,’’ he added.

Banda, who served as the fourth president of Zambia from 2008 to 2011, passed away at his home on March 11, at the age of 85 after more than a year of battling colon cancer.

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Court decries divorce rate among young couples

The Igando Customary Court, Lagos State, on Thursday, bemoaned the rate at which young couples divorce their marriages.

The court President, Mr Koledoye Adeniyi, said this during the dissolution of marriage between Mrs Olubunmi Adebanjo and Mr Balogun Adebanjo on grounds of abandonment and constant battery

In his ruling, he said: “it is sad these days the rate at which young couples within a short period of their marriages run to court for divorce.

“It is necessary for a man and a woman to observe and study each other very well before going into marriage.

“But more often than not, this does not happen and couples quickly get married as soon as they fall in love not caring whether the love is genuine or not, which is why they put up the excuse of being incompatible with each other and seek divorce.”

Using the case at hand as an example, he said, the union would have been saved if there was genuine love in the first place.

FELLOW PRESS reports that Olubunmi, a caterer, had approached the court on Feb. 8, accusing her husband of abandoning her for two years.

She also complained of incompatibility, lack of love and care and frequent beating.

Olubunmi had told the court that her husband would pick up quarrels with her over trivial issues, and beat her at any slight provocation.

She told the court that her husband stopped caring for her immediately after their marriage and became hostile and unfriendly.

Olubunmi added that he had taken to lying, smoking and drinking and moving around with women.

The couple was married for five years.

The respondent, Mr Balogun Adebanjo, when summoned by the court on phone said that he was not interested in the marriage.

He also told the court to go ahead and do what was expected.

The court, however, dissolved the union, ruling that the two had ceased to be husband and wife, and could go their separate ways.

It ordered the respondent to allow the petitioner move out her belongings peacefully and that any violation to the judgment should be regarded as contempt of court.

NAN reports that contempt of court on conviction attracts an imprisonment for a term of six months without an option of fine.

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UN, Japan govt execute N77.2m projects in Yobe

Hauwa Abubakar, the Yobe Commissioner for Women Affairs, says UN Women and Japanese Government have executed projects worth N77.2 million in the state.

Abubakar disclosed this on Thursday in Damaturu, stressing that in their efforts to support women and girls in the state, UN Women and Japan government had renovated and reactivated empowerment hub.

“They also carried out construction of storage facility, wall fencing and drainage at Women Rice Processing Mill in Gashu’a, Bade Local Government, at the cost of N77.2 million,” she said.

Abubakar stated that economic empowerment was one of the most powerful tools for women to achieve their potential and advance their rights.

“It is noteworthy that investing in women’s economic empowerment is a strategy towards gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth,” she added.

The commissioner commended Gov. Mai Mala Buni’s administration for its efforts and support to the ministry through laudable programmes and policies that promote women’s development and children’s welfare.

“In most of the interventions, particular emphasis was placed on the vulnerable groups and rural women to alleviate poverty among them and improve their economic status for self-reliance,” she explained.

The commissioner on behalf of the beneficiaries expressed gratitude to UN-Women and Japanese government for supporting women and girls in the state.

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Stolen artefacts will go through travel exhibitions when retrieved– NCMM

The National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) says Nigerian stolen artefacts to be retrieved in 2022, will be put up for travel exhibitions to generate revenue for the country.

Its Director-General, Prof. Abba Tijani, disclosed this while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday, in Lagos.

According to him, the exhibition will be from one country to another.

Tijani said that the exhibition was deliberately planned to ensure other nations of the world come in contact with those artefacts to enhance their knowledge.

He said this was important because Nigeria had not been generating revenue from the artefacts, adding that it was high time the nation began to do that.

Tijani noted that NCMM had already created the needed conducive environment for the artefacts to be displayed.

“When these artefacts come, they are not just going to be in a storage or hidden somewhere, we want to make them available to the international communities and Nigerians.

“The artefacts will go through travel exhibitions; they will go round the world and that will geenerate income for our country.

“The artefacts are now popular, people have heard about them everywhere.

There are many countries that have not seen the artefacts, so we want to give the opportunity to all those countries to see them,” he said.

NAN reports that Tijani had earlier disclosed that of the over 5,000 Nigerian artefacts carted away to different countries, NCMM will be receiving no fewer than 1,500 artefacts.

These artefacts will be retrieved from Germany, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and other individual museums across the globe.

Tijani also disclosed that the National Museum Lagos would be expanded as it was observed that enough space needed to be created; to give room for adequate ventilation and to situate additional galleries.

He said the courtyard and other fallow areas would be converted to galleries for exhibition.

“We are going to partition the courtyard into galleries to give room for large exhibitions; the courtyard is a space we are not utilising.

“This cannot be done overnight, we will see if we can put it in our next year’s budget, but definitely the Lagos museum will be expanded,” he said.

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Ukrainian mother of 12 killed while fighting Russian soldiers

A combat medic Ukrainian mother of 12 has been hailed as a hero after dying on the frontline while fighting Russian soldiers who invaded her country on President Vladmir Putin’s orders.

Olga Semidyanova is said to have been fatally wounded but continued to battle Russian forces when most of her unit had been killed.

The 48-year-old was hit in the stomach during a fierce fire fight near Donetsk in the south. Her body has not yet been recovered because of continued battles in the area, leaving her heartbroken family a painful wait before they can bury her.

Her daughter, Julia, said:

“She saved the soldiers to the last. We have photos from the place of death — but due to heavy fighting we still can’t bury my mother.”

Leading tributes for Olga, Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to the country’s Interior Ministry, said:

“She was slain in a confrontation with Russian thugs.

“Even when she believed her regiment might not survive, she emphasised her desire to protect the country until the end. She is a national hero. She is a hero to me.”

The female soldier had previously been awarded the title Mother Heroine, given to mums who have more than five children.

As well as her own six children, Olga had adopted six orphans from her local orphanage. Grateful Ukrainians flooded social media with tributes to Olga, who was killed during fighting on March 3.

Other Ukrainian war victims were hailed yesterday. They included two men killed in Sunday’s cruise missile attack on a military base used for Nato drills about 12 miles from the Polish border.

Heartbroken women wept over soldiers Roman Rak and Mykola Mykytiuk who were laid to rest in coffins lined with white fabric.


Don’t repeat Obiano’s mistakes, Anambra lawmaker urges Soludo

An Anambra lawmaker, Dr Timothy Ifedioranma, has urged the incoming governor of the state, Prof. Charles Soludo, not to repeat the mistakes of his predecessor, Dr Willie Obiano.

Ifedioranma, representing Njikoka Constituency I, under the platform of All Progressives Congress in the Anambra State House of Assembly, made the call while assessing the performance of the outgoing administration of Obiano, on Thursday in Awka.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Soludo will on Thursday take the oath of office as the sixth Executive Governor of Anambra State.

The lawmaker said that Obiano had good intentions but the actions behind the good intentions were not properly carried out.

He lamented that Obiano’s legacy projects were carried out at the expense of other sectors of the state.

“We are grateful for the International Airport, it has made traveling easy for residents but the fact is that the airport project crippled other sectors of the economy and state.

“An example is the state of our roads, they are in bad shape. Now we have an airport but we do not have a road to that airport.

“Another one is that we can have an international convention centre that is not of that magnitude and that will not gulp close to N10 billion.

“We can have 5,000 instead of the 10,000 seating capacity that was built, so that the funds can be channeled to other important projects.

“Governance is about the welfare and security of people. Obiano began well during his first tenure in the aspect of security but he ended poorly and somebody has to say it.

“If he had ended his administration in the first tenure, I would have scored his performance 80 per cent but his last tenure was a disaster. So many other sectors suffered because he was pursuing his legacy projects.

“So, I need to tell him the feelings of my constituents as an elected member of the state Assembly.

“My advise to the incoming governor, Prof. Soludo, is that he should not make the same mistakes his predecessor made so that at the end of his tenure, he will be remembered for good,” he said.


NDLEA arrests 111 drug traffickers in Kaduna

The Kaduna state command of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), on Thursday, said that it arrested a total of 111 drug traffickers between January and February 2022, in the state.

Mr. Umar Adoro, the commander, Kaduna command, made the disclosure in an interview with newsmen on Thursday, in Kaduna.

He said that most of the arrested suspects fell within the age bracket of 16 – 30 years.

He stated that 34 suspects were arrested in January among which 31 were males, while three were females, adding that a total of 295.680kg drugs were also seized.

“We seized 292.125kg of Cannabis Sativa, 0.001kg of Heroin and 3.554kg psychotropic substances such as Benalin , tramadol among others.

“In February, we arrested 77 suspects amongst whom 74 were males while three were females; and a total of 320.508kg of drugs were seized”, he said.

Adoro explained that out of the total number of seized drugs 294.101kg were Cannabis Sativa ,0.034kg Cocaine, 0.005kg Heroin while 26.358kg were psychotropics and 0.010kg Methamphetamine.

He added that the agency had also discovered a new Shisha flavoured pen, whose flavours contained cannabis oil, usually used by teenagers.

He stated that five shops were sealed and four people were arrested for selling the pen with 9,932kg of the exhibits seized.

The commander urged parents to pay attention to their wards by observing the things they consumed or used and the friends they mingled with, to avoid drug abuse.

“As you can see, this new Shisha flavoured pen looked like a regular pen and it is rechargeable, so it would be difficult to identify it as Shisha; apart from that the flavours contains cannabis oil.

“Some of our youth don’t even know that it is dangerous to consume, which is why parents and guardians need to be on alert about any new thing or item their wards bring home,” Adoro said.

Breaking news

Ireland’s prime minister Martin tests positive for Covid in U.S.

Ireland’s Prime Minister, Taoiseach Micheal Martin, has tested positive for COVID-19.

It means the prime minister will be unable to meet U.S. President, Joe Biden, later on Thursday as part of the traditional shamrock ceremony.

Martin had been due to speak at the 30th anniversary of the Ireland Funds Gala dinner on Wednesday evening but had to leave that gathering.

Martin’s speech was instead given by Irish Ambassador to the U.S., Daniel Mulhall.

“I know you will all join with me in wishing the Taoiseach a speedy recovery,” he told the audience in Washington.

It remains unclear how the White House St Patrick’s Day celebrations will now be handled.

It also casts doubt on whether Martin can return to Ireland for a
national day of remembrance on Sunday to commemorate those who died during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Lancet Nigeria commission report has opened a new social contract – VP Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has said that the Lancet Nigeria Commission report has opened a new social contract centered on health to define relationship between the citizens and the states.

Osinbajo spoke at the launch of the Lancet Nigeria Commission report on “Investing in Health and the Future of the Nation health needs” on Wednesday in Abuja.

According to the Commission, Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and most populous country, projected to become the world’s third largest in terms of population by 2050.

It also stated that its health outcomes are lagging behind, holding back progress and threatening the future of an otherwise dynamic nation.

The landmark Commission, written by a team of Nigerian experts working at institutions in the country and across the world, has developed recommendations to reposition future policy to achieve universal health coverage and better health for all Nigerians.

They presented analysis and evidence to support a positive and realistic future for Nigeria by addressing historically intractable policy implementation challenges with a new narrative.

NAN reports that they outlined a comprehensive and pragmatic roadmap to boost investment and make the best use of resources to ensure that a healthy Nigeria takes the world stage in the coming decades.

Osinbajo noted that the Federal government had placed great emphasis on advancing the health of all Nigerians, saying “to put Primary Health Cares (PHC) at the heart of a reform is a proof of its sincerity”.

He said that PHC ensures that basic health care services of a high quality is delivered to Nigerians irrespective of where they live or stay in the country.

He added that the federal government believes that the health of Nigerians does matter and would therefore focus interventions on Nigerians living in rural areas, women and the vulnerable populations.

“Of course, there was no way to say that we have done it all, for the challenges are the same everywhere and I think the report underscores those challenges but we welcome innovation and fresh thinking.

“The report provides a number of excellent recommendations, some of which are already being implemented, but many of which we’ll have to carefully consider.

“This report is important. I think it is. Particularly just when the president inaugurated the health reform committee, which he asked me to chair and the committee I believe will benefit Nigerians.

“I believe immensely in the input from these experts who authored the entire report itself,” he explained.

Osinbajo said the report further recommended that prevention had to be at the heart of health policy, given Nigeria’s young population and requiring a whole lot of government approach and community engagement.

He said that in order to redesign and rethink the Country’s health security needs, there is enough that the nation knows now.

“Governments should lead the development of standards for the digitization of health records, better data collection, registration and quality assurance systems.

Mr. Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman, PSC on COVID-19, said that the Nigerian population is driven in a healthy economy.

He said that the COVID-19 pandemic had demonstrated what Nigeria can achieve with political backing and effective coordination.

“The impact of the COVID-19 on the economy has been significant. Several thousands of Nigerians lost their lives and their livelihoods.

“Yet, Nigeria has been relatively spared the devastating effects of the pandemic. We’ve been able to harness considerable resources building on our partnership with the State governments.

“And the private sector, and the donor community were there to contend with the pandemic using evidence-based public health measures,” he explained.

Mustapha said that as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, its growing population necessitates increase in its healthcare funding.

He, however, advised that the country must invest in its health and the future of its healthcare system, noting that to become more responsive to the needs of its citizens, the nation must invest in its healthcare system.

“Delivering the introduction and presentation of the Commission report, titled “Investing in Health and the Future of the Nation’”, according to Prof Ibrahim Abubakar, Dean Institute of Global Health, Population Health Sciences, a good health can be at the core of the rebirth of a patriotic national identity and sense of belonging: “One Nation, One Health”.

Abubakar called for a new social contract centred on health to address Nigeria’s need to define the relationship between the citizen and the state.

“Health is a unique political lever, which to date has been under-utilised as a mechanism to rally populations“ he stressed.

He noted that evidence had shown that healthcare is financed primarily by out-of-pocket expenditure penalizing the poorest in Nigeria.

He said that Nigeria is by far Africa’s largest economy, but wealth does not equal health, because Nigeria’s life expectancy at birth was just over 54 years, the fifth-lowest in the world.

Abubakar said that the country’s disease burden analysis showed a combination of a high burden of maternal and child conditions, a reduced but still significant burden of infectious diseases, particularly malaria, and a growing burden of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), posing a threat to the country’s rapidly-growing population.

“We aim to help reposition health policy in Nigeria to achieve health for all. Our vision is to provide recommendations to ensure the health and wealth of future generations of Nigerians,” he said.

NAN recalls that some of the report’s recommendation included that government should prioritize prevention, support the long-term health of Nigerians, and shift away from simply treating disease to creating health – especially among the country’s youth.

Other recommendations are for government to achieve UHC – An immediate goal for Nigeria is the provision of health insurance coverage for the 83 million Nigerians unable to pay premiums.

In Nigeria, 20 years of increased healthy life expectancy (1998–2019), mortality reduced for all age groups and Health expenditure per person rose, yet overall health outcomes remain poor.


Jonathan’s hat-trick hands FWC FC first win of season

Mahlon Jonathan’s hat-trick on Wednesday helped FWC Champions Football Club of Abuja to their first win in five matches in the 2021/2022 Nigeria National League (NNL).

They defeated visiting Oyah Sports FC of Suleja 4-1 in a rescheduled Match Day 1 fixture at the Area 3 Sports Complex in Abuja.

Jonathan opened scoring for the home team nine minutes into the game, with Ramin Yahaya equalising for the visiting team in the 33rd minute.

Boslam Dawi benefitted from a goal scramble to push the ball past goalkepper Ismail Jubril and restore FWC FC’s lead 12 minutes later.

Jonathan completed his hat-trick with goals in the 67th and 88th minutes of play.

At the end of the game, an excited Jonathan, who was scoring his first goals of the season, said he was inspired into delivering a quality performance by his coaches.

“I thank God for our victory today and for my performance. I have not been quite impressive in the previous games but the coaches spoke with me and boosted my confidence.

“I am looking forward to a great season for myself and the team and hopefully we will pick the vital points against Yobe Desert Stars in our next game,”Jonathan said.

Abdulrazak Mohammed, the coach of Oyah FC, whose team has failed to secure any point from five matches so far, said the team needed to change its approach to games.

“We are not happy with the situation in the team. We need to change our attitude towards approaching games. We are now going to focus on the mentality of the players.

“We are doing our best as coaches, but it seems our best is not good enough and we will keep trying until we get the first win.

“I am sure a win will boost the morale of the players,” Mohammed added.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Oyah Sports are bottom of the league’s group A1 without a point after five matches.

FWC FC are a spot ahead of Oyah Sports in ninth place with four points from five matches in the group consisting of 10 clubs.


Banker arraigned for N452m scam in Onitsha

The Enugu Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday, arraigned one Judith Nneka Nwagwu, a staff of the United Bank for Africa, before Justice D.A Onyefulu of the Anambra State High Court sitting in Onitsha on a seven count charge bordering on forgery and obtaining by false pretence to the tune of N452,047,000.

Judith is alleged to have fraudulently obtained N192,000,000 (One Hundred and Ninety Million Naira) from a complainant whom she was his account officer, on the pretext that the bank had $400,000 for sale at the rate of N480 per Dollar.

Her employers also petitioned the Commission alleging that the defendant forged two fixed deposit certificates and fraudulently obtained the total sum of N260,047.000 ( Two Hundred and Sixty Million, Forty-Seven Thousand naira) Million from a customer under the guise of fixing the money for him.

Count 6 of the charge reads, “That you Judith Nneka Nwagwu, while being an employee of the United Bank of Africa Plc Onitsha Branch, sometime in 2021 within the jurisdiction of this court did make a false document titled “Malaexchio Global Limited with the value of N141,347,289,25 knowing same to be false and with intent that it may be acted upon as genuine to the prejudice of Anthony Unigwe and United Bank For Africa Plc and you committed an offence contrary to Section 436 of the Criminal Code Law, Cap 36, Anambra and punishable under Section 444(3)(h) of the same law”.

She pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to her prompting prosecution counsel Michal Ani to ask for a date for the commencement of trial.

Justice Onyefulu granted her bail in the sum of N10 million with a surety in like sum. The surety must be resident within the jurisdiction of court.


APC, trusted vehicle to keep victory of 2019 – AbdulRazaq

Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara says the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) remains the trusted vehicle to keep the victory of 2019.

AbdulRazaq also said on Wednesday in Ilorin that no patriot will leave the party.

The governor spoke at the inauguration of Mr Sunday Fagbemi-led APC State Executive Committee at the Banquet Hall of the Government House.

AbdulRazaq told the mammoth crowd that the people of the state had “resolved not to ever hand the reins of government to wandering wolves and their allies”.

FELLOW PRESS reports that the inauguration was attended by the crème de la crème of the ruling APC, including Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi.

Other dignitaries were the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr Yakubu Salihu; state and National Assembly members; cabinet members; members of statutory commissions and other critical stakeholders of the party.

The governor said no true progressive would leave the party under which Kwara was fast regaining its lost glory, adding that whatever disagreements among brothers can always be resolved if those involved are committed to the growth of the state.

“Today represents a new beginning for our party in Kwara State. I congratulate all members of the new state executive committee. Let me remind you that this position is a trust.

“You now carry the mandate of over 400,000 members of APC in Kwara State to lead us to another victory,” Abdulrazaq said, drawing applause from the huge crowd.

“You are coming on board at a crucial moment. No genuine progressive, whatever the disagreements, will sabotage the collective resolve of the people of Kwara state to solidify the victory of 2019 in 2023.

“From basic education, healthcare delivery, provision of water, infrastructural development and access to the rural areas, prudent management of resources, gender inclusion and youths empowerment, safety net for the poor and welfare of workers, the Otoge administration can only beat its own excellent record. We can do more.

“What is certain is that Kwara people will never again hand the reins of government to the wandering wolves and their allies.

“So, together with the government, you have a duty to mobilise the people of Kwara on this just struggle to keep the till from those who perpetrated mindless pilfering of public properties and brought the state on its kneel.

“We will continue to work on our aggrieved brothers to see beyond personal ambitions and sheath their swords. They are always welcome to the house we built together.

“Our differences are not irreconcilable, if it is all about the development of Kwara state.”

The Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi congratulated the new party officials for standing by the administration of AbdulRazaq.

He also urged them to work in unison for the development of the party and the state.

On his part, the Speaker commended the unity and massive turnout at the event.

Salihu enjoined the new officials to go back to their respective wards and local governments to unite and encourage them to obtain permanent voters card ahead of the 2023 poll.

Sen. Lola Ashiru also congratulated the new leadership of the party and party men and women for their support.

He said the massive turnout explained the turnaround of different sectors by the administration of AbdulRazaq in just two years.

Inaugurating the officials, the state APC Chairman, Mr Sunday Fagbemi, charged party faithfuls to make discipline their watchword, and ensure that they work for unity and victory of the party in the coming general elections.

He also enjoined those aspiring for political offices to pursue their ambition with all sense of decorum and sportsmanship, adding that the party will continue to reconcile the aggrieved members and work as a team.

“In view of these positive developments in the state, all that is left is for us to put our house in order,” he said, after reeling out sector-by-sector achievements of the APC administration in the state.

“Putting our house in order cannot happen without discipline within the party. We will therefore begin by ensuring that there is discipline within the party.

“The party shall also embark on genuine reconciliation to win back our aggrieved members into the party. We shall not relent in our effort to unite the party and match collectively to 2023 to deliver victory for APC.”

Fagbemi noted that the government was doing a lot in preparing the youths for a better future and also giving them responsibilities and empowerment to achieve that goal.

He said AbdulRazaq had achieved much in the areas of school infrastructure, healthcare service, road network and human capital development, commending the transparent manner the government conducted the recent TESCOM/SUBEB teachers’ recruitment.

“We will disagree to agree, fight and mend fences, sometimes spit in our respective faces; then help each other clean it up again.

“This is the nature of human interactions and we went through all these processes before God finally crowned our efforts through our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019,” he added.

The new chairman therefore called on the aggrieved party members to unite and be one another’s brothers.


Senate approves establishment of Institute of Information and Communication Technology, Iwo

The Senate, on Wednesday at plenary, gave approval to the establishment of Institute of Information and Communication Technology, Iwo, Osun.

FELLOW PRESS reports that the approval followed the presentation and consideration of a report on a bill to establish the institute by the Senate Committee on ICT and Cyber Security.

The report was laid by Chairman of the committee, Sen. Oseni Yakubu (APC-Kogi).

According to Yakubu, the bill, consisting of 25 Clauses and 1 Schedule, seeks to establish the institute to provide full-time and part-time courses of instruction and training in ICT and other related fields of study.

He also said that the bill sought to make provisions for the general administration of the institute.

The senator disclosed that out of all submissions received from stakeholders on the bill, only two were opposed to it.

He mentioned the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) as vehemently opposing the bill.

Yakubu added that the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy also objected to the bill on one hand, adding, however, that it conceded that should it be passed and assented to, the institute should be domiciled under its supervisory authority.

“However, all other stakeholders supported the bill, saying that the establishment of the institute would be of immense economic advantage to Nigeria.

“They were also of the opinion that the establishment of the institute will alleviate the challenge of inadequate manpower in the ICT sector, thereby making room for improved job opportunities and employment generation”, he added.

NAN reports that the bill was passed after consideration by the Committee of the Whole.

In a related development, the senate re-considered and passed a bill seeking to establish the Federal University of Education, Aguleri in Anambra.

This followed a motion for the bill’s re-committal moved by Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (APC-Kebbi).

Abdullahi recalled that the Federal University of Education Aguleri, Anambra State (Establishment) Bill, 2022 was passed by the National Assembly and transmitted to the president for assent.

He observed that some fundamental issues which required fresh legislative action by both chambers of the national assembly emerged after a critical analysis of the bill.

The senator stated that a technical committee of the Senate and House of Representatives as well as Directorate of Legal Services met and worked on the bill.

Accordingly, the chamber rescinded its decision on the bill as passed and re-committed same to the committee of the whole for reconsideration and passage.

Meanwhile, a total of five bills scaled second reading on Wednesday.

The bills sought to establish Federal Polytechnic Dange, Sokoto State and National Agency for Ethics, Values and Integrity Compliance.

They also provided legislative framework for the establishment of Nigerian Television Authority College, Jos; Federal School of Nursing and Midwifery, Igbeagu and Federal College of Agriculture, Obot Akara, Akwa-Ibom.

The bills were sponsored by five senators: Danbaba Ibrahim, Patrick Akinyelure, Istifanus Gyang, Samuel Egwu and Stephen Ekpenyong.

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, referred the bills after consideration to the Committees on Tertiary Institutions and TetFund; Establishment and Public Service Matters, Information and National Orientation, Health (Secondary and Tertiary) and Tertiary Institutions and TetFund.

The committees were all given four weeks to report back to the senate in plenary.


Ekiti govt seeks partnership with NEMA

Deputy Governor, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi

Ekiti Government has advocated a stronger partnership with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to assist the victims of disasters in the state.

The Deputy Governor, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, disclosed this during a familiarisation visit of Mr Kadri Olanrewaju, the new NEMA Head of Operations (for Ekiti, Ondo and Osun), to his office on Wednesday in Ado-Ekiti, FELLOW PRESS reports.

Egbeyemi, who expressed delight in welcoming the new NEMA boss to the state, noted that the state government was looking forward to a more robust partnership with the agency to give succour to victims of natural and man-made disasters in the state.

He explained that SEMA, an agency under the supervision of his office, had been doing its best in giving assistance to victims of disasters within the available resources for over three years of Gov. Fayemi led-administration.

While commending NEMA for its operations in the state, Egbeyemi used the forum to call for more assistance for victims of disaster in the state and help them live normal lives.

“We are ready to cooperate with you, in fact, we are seeking a stronger and more vibrant partnership with your agency (NEMA) because you have been doing a great job in Ekiti.

“You have been of great support for victims in this state and we need more of it. I recall that relief materials were given to disaster victims last year, but I want to say that we need more to assist our people who suffer the pangs of these disasters.

“The SEMA chairman and his team have equally been doing their job very well, but we want you to help us know the areas you want us to come in and assist you in your operations,”Egbeyemi said.

Earlier, Olanrewaju said a smooth relationship with the state government was very key in achieving the aims and objectives of the agency in making life easier for victims of disasters.

He said that NEMA recently did an assessment of victims and properties damaged by rainstorms in Ayegbaju-Ekiti, Orin-Ekiti and Ikere-Ekiti with the official report already forwarded to the agency’s national headquarter in Abuja.

“We want the state government to partner with NEMA for us to have smooth relationship in fulfilling our mandate and seamless operations.

“We are here to bring succour to the distressed and we need the assistance of the state government to make this possible,” he said.

NAN reports that the NEMA boss was accompanied on the visit by the Chairman of Ekiti State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), retired Capt. Sunday Adebomi and other officials of the two agencies from national and state levels.


127,000 PVCs unclaimed in Ebonyi – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says no fewer than 127,424 Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) have yet to be claimed in Ebonyi.

Dr Joseph Chukwuemeka, INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Ebonyi, disclosed this at a news conference in Abakiliki on Wednesday.

”As at March 15, 2022, about 127,424 PVCs were still unclaimed and in our custody.

”These PVCs were collected from the CBN and moved to the various INEC local government offices for collection by their owners,” he said.

The INEC official said that owners of the unclaimed PVCs must show proof of ownership before they would be allowed to collect them.

He described PVC as a very important document for election, saying, ” it cannot be given by proxy for any reason.”

”I enjoin voters, who registered in 2018 but have yet to collect their PVCs, to visit the local government offices for identification and collection.

“It is the voter card that qualifies the electorate to vote, we need to collect them in order to exercise our franchise,” he said.

Chukwuemeka said that Abakiliki Local Government Area accounted for the highest number of unclaimed PVCs in the state with a total of 42,816 cards.

He said Afikpo North had 7,550 unclaimed PVCs, Afikpo South 3,011, Ebonyi 37,127, Ezza North 3,3,026, Ezza South 2,085,while Ikwo 9,836, Ishielu 2,446, and Ivo 3,124 had uncollected cards.

The REC further said Izzi accounted for 4,969 unclaimed PVCs, Ohaozara 1,885, Ohaukwu 6,620, while Onicha had 3,202 cards.

He said it was untrue that the PVCs obtained in 2018 had expired or could not be used for the 2023 general elections.

”PVCs issued by INEC do not expire, they have no expiry date written on them,” he said.

Chukwuemeka said that INEC had so far captured a total of 189, 645 persons in the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise in the state.

”Since the CRV exercise began in June 28, 2021. We have captured no fewer than 189,645 eligible voters in the state as at March 15.

”This number comprises registrations done in the first, second and third quarters of the exercise, and we are making huge progress,” he said.

Chukwuemeka said that additional 16 INEC Voter Enrollment Device (IVED) had been deployed to complement the 15 machines earlier deployed for the exercise in the state.

”Prior to the commencement of the third quarter CVR exercise, registrations were restricted to INEC local government offices and the state headquarters.

”I am pleased to announce that approval has been given for registration to be carried out at registration areas and ward levels on structured movement of the IVED.

“The machines are moved from one area or ward to another on weekly basis to ensure proper coverage,” he said.

The REC warned members of the public against double registration to avoid being disqualified from voting.


Police break up militant cell in Tunisia – Ministry

Tunisian interior ministry on Wednesday said Police broke up a militant cell linked to Islamic State in the southern Tunisian city of Tataouine.

Police said the cell was planning attacks with explosives and trying to recruit young people, according to the ministry statement.

The North African nation has been under a state of emergency since 2015, after an assault in which a number of presidential guards were killed.

Tunisian security forces thwarted most militant plots in recent years and they become more efficient at responding to those attacks that do occur.

In November, police shot and wounded an extremist who sought to attack them with a knife and cleaver in the capital.


NDLEA attack: Police recover arms, charms, others from attackers

The Police Command in Ebonyi on Wednesday confirmed it killed two of the gunmen who attacked the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency’s (NDLEA) headquarters in the state.

The gunmen had on Tuesday morning attacked the NDLEA’s office in Ntezi, Ishielu Local Government area of the state.

Spokesperson for the command, DSP Loveth Odah, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abakaliki that the operatives also recovered arms, ammunition and charms at the scene.

She also confirmed that an officer of the NDLEA and a civilian were killed during the gun dwell.

According to her, some of the items recovered from the scene of incident are two rifles (AK-49 and K2) as well as 140 K2 live ammunition.

“Others are 36 GPMP live ammunition, 65 barreta pistol live ammunition, Toyota 4Runner Jeep, some charms and other incriminating items.

“The Commissioner of Police received a distress call from the command of the NDLEA at about 2:30a.m. on March 15, that armed men drove in a Toyota 4Runner Jeep into the NDLEA headquarters, shooting sporadically.

“The CP swiftly mobilised a combined team of Mobile Police Force and military to the area and promptly repelled the attack.

“Durning the gun battle, two of the attackers were gunned down, while others escaped with bullet injuries.

“Unfortunately a personal of NDLEA paid a supreme price and a client who was undergoing rehabilitation at the NDLEA office was shot dead by the hoodlums,” the Spokesperson said.

Odah, howeve, said efforts were ongoing to arrest the fleeing hoodlums.


Driver, 20, remanded for allegedly causing grievous hurt

A Kano Shari’a Court Judge, Dr Bello Khalid, Wednesday remanded a 20-year-old driver, Hussain Haruna, in a correctional centre for allegedly stabbing one Shauibu Idris with a knife on his lap.

Haruna, who lives at Fagge Quarters, Kano, is facing a one-count charge of causing grievous hurt.

The prosecutor, Insp. Abdul Wada, had told the court that Idris of Fagge Quarters reported the matter at the Fagge Police Division in Kano on March 11.

Wada said that at about 8:30 p.m. the same day the defendant had a misunderstanding with the complainant.

In the process, he allegedly used a knife to inflict serious injury on the complainant’s laps.

According to the prosecutor, the offence contravenes Sections 158 and 240 of the Sharia Penal Code Law.

The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The judge later adjourned the matter to April 25 for mention.


UN Chief mourns Zambian Ex-president, Banda

SG gives press con

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has condoled with the government and people of Zambia over the death of the country’s former President, Rupiah Banda, who passed on at Age 85.

The Secretary-General was saddened to learn of the passing of Banda, the fourth President of the Republic of Zambia, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General, Farhan Haq, told newsmen in New York.

“He expresses his deep condolences to the bereaved family as well as to the government and people of Zambia.

“Former President Banda was a visionary statesman who made significant contributions to peace and unity in Zambia and across the African continent.

“The United Nations stands with Zambians in this period of national mourning,’’ Haq said.

Zambia has declared seven days of national mourning for Banda who was president from 2008 until 2011.

President Hakainde Hichilema declared the period of national mourning and said that Banda’s state funeral would be held on Thursday and he would be buried on Friday at the presidential burial site at Embassy Park.

Hichilema visited Banda a day before his death on March 11.

Banda became president following the death of his predecessor Levy Mwanawasa who had earlier brought him out of political retirement to become vice-president.

His political activism began when he was a youth and was involved in demonstrations calling for Zambia’s independence from Britain, which was achieved in 1964.

He later served as a diplomat and a soccer administrator.

Banda was known for his warm personality that helped him to lead Zambia when his compatriots needed a unifier upon the unexpected death of Mwanawasa.

World News

Ukraine: Russia has lost up to 40% of invasion units

Russia has lost up to 40 per cent of the units it sent into Ukraine when Moscow invaded its neighbour in February, the Ukrainian military’s general staff said on Wednesday.

The troops were either completely destroyed or have lost their combat capabilities, he said at the daily bulletin, but did not give concrete numbers.

The information could not be verified independently.

The area surrounding embattled Mariupol continued to face the most serious situation.

The Russian army was attempting a blockade of the city from the western and eastern fringes of the port city, but was suffering “significant losses,” according to the bulletin.

Ukrainian authorities said some 20,000 people from Mariupol, on the Sea of Azov, managed to get to safety on Tuesday.

About 30,000 civilians nationwide were able to leave threatened areas on Tuesday, but a column with relief supplies for Mariupol is still being blocked by Russian soldiers, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

In the Odessa region, Russian ships were shelling the Ukrainian coast but there was no attempt to land, Interior Ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko said.

Ukrainian and Russian representatives are set to resume their negotiations on Wednesday.

Zelensky said demands are starting to get more realistic, while warning it would still take a while before Ukraine can be satisfied with talks.

Meanwhile the prime ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia assured Zelensky of their solidarity and support during a visit to Kiev.

They travelled to Kiev by train in a gesture of support for Ukraine.


Bulgaria registers refugees from Ukraine at border

Bulgaria has started a new system of registering war refugees from Ukraine directly at the border.

Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said on Wednesday that he inspected the facility on its first day of operation on Tuesday.

It is located at the border crossing on the Danube bridge to Romania near the Bulgarian town of Russe
“The problem was that the refugees were entering and we didn’t know where they were going.

“Now everything is traceable,” Petkov said.

Bulgaria has so far been mostly a transit country for war refugees from Ukraine.

Of the 81,000 people who have arrived via Romania since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, just under 38,000 have remained in Bulgaria, which is the EU’s poorest country.

Among them are members of the Bulgarian minority in Ukraine.

Only 267 people applied for refugee status, Bulgarian border police said Tuesday.

People who have fled Ukraine are put up in hotels and holiday homes, mainly on the Black Sea coast, or with volunteers, friends or relatives.

They have received job offers from Bulgarian companies, especially in the IT sector.


Global Coronavirus cases climbing again – WHO

The number of COVID-19 infections reported weekly across the globe has increased for the first time since the end of January, the World Health Organisation said.

In the second week of March, reported infections were eight per cent higher than in the preceding week.

More than 11 million new coronavirus cases and 43,000 deaths from or with COVID-19 were counted between March 7 to 13.

Climbing case numbers were noted particularly in the western Pacific and Africa regions compared to the previous week, with increases of 29 per cent and 12 per cent respectively.

In Europe there was a weekly increase of two per cent.

Cases dropped in the eastern Mediterranean, south-east Asia and North and South America.

The total number of global coronavirus infections confirmed since the pandemic began has reached 455 million, while six million deaths have been reported.


Nigeria Consulate-General in New York takes passport intervention to Minnesota

The Consul- General of Nigeria in New York, Amb. Lot Egopija, said the Consulate would commence 2022 passport intervention in Minnesota by April to meet the consular needs of its nationals in the state.

Egopija disclosed this when he received some officials of National Association of Nigerian Nurses in North America (NANNNA), City College of New York (CCNY), and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre (MSKCC) at Nigeria House in New York.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the CCNY-MSKCC in partnership with NANNNA met with Egopija to discuss possible areas of collaboration on health-based community outreach initiatives.

NANNNA is a united organisation of all the Nigerian Nurses Associations and Nursing School Alumni in North America working to improve the health and quality of lives of Nigerians at home and abroad.

The Consul-General said it would be an opportunity for the CCNY-MSKCC to key into its intervention exercise in Minnesota to implement its proposed initiatives.

“We have scheduled to have consular services in some of the states that our people are more. For instance, in April we will be in Minnesota and normally in such gathering we have close to 400 Nigerians.

“It could also be a veritable tool for your organisation to be present there too for public enlightenment to create awareness and see how you can reach the unreached.

“We also intend to go to Rhode Island, Philadelphia and Ohio this year,’’ he said.

According to him, the Consulate covers 20 states out of 50 states in the U.S, and that the Mission will be willing to partner with the organisation once in every quarter to attend to the health of its nationals.

“We to want to work with you and we want to do everything to make sure that Nigerians are reached healthwise and Nigerians are advised on the need for them to stay healthy,’’ he said.

Egopija, however, commended Dr Grace Ogiehor-Enoma, the Founder of Nigerian Nurses Association of USA, for holding its quarterly medical outreach at Nigeria House.

The Nigerian envoy said the outreach had been fruitful and it had contributed to increase life expectancy of some nationals who were found to be having some health challenges.

“This is another level of our cooperation; you went a step higher in this initiative by introducing your partner to collaborate with us. We will be willing to partner with them too.

“We will study and examine the areas we can better cooperate with one another if these areas will meet the needs of our nationals.

“Whatever will increase life expectancy of our nationals through timely health intervention, we will always support that, that is why the Consulate will be opened to your programmes,’’ he said.

In her remarks, Ogiehor-Enoma, who also is the Chairman, Board of Directors, NANNNA, said Nigerian Nurses had been coming for its medical outreach at the Consulate since 2004.

She said the association was lucky to have a new partner in 2022-MSKCC, one of the biggest institutions in the U.S. providing cancer treatment and prevention.

“We wanted their expertise in helping our community on cancer prevention and education. The national association went into collaborative agreement with the partner to work with our people.

“We were able to provide education to our members through the association in 2021 and I was so excited when a proposal came, if they could have a structured preventive programme at Nigeria House,’’ she said.

In his presentation, Mr Raul Hernandez, Outreach Coordinator for CCNY-MSKCC Partnership, said the initiative is a grant-funded partnership of CCNY to provide services for residents of New York City with the leading cancer centre, MSKCC.

Hernandez said CCNY-MSKCC partnership focused on cancer disparities through cancer education and navigation to screening, providing community tailored workshop.

“In 2021, we provided workshop to over 1,400 participants on topics such as breast, cervical, colorectal and prostate cancer screening.

“Also, in partnership with community organisations, we developed culturally tailored education sessions and in July we developed a colorectal cancer screening workshop incorporating Nigerian diet.

“We are currently developing a diet workshop for some Nigerians diaspora,’’ he said.

Also speaking, Ms Josona Tonda, Community Outreach Manager, Immigrant Health and Cancer Disparities Centre, MSKCC, said the association would be willing to implement a permanent programme at the Consulate in collaboration with NANNNA.

Tonda said they were willing to join efforts with the Consulate during certain period such as National Cancer awareness month, health and cultural weeks, and NANNNA events to implement its programmes.


Council of Europe prepares to expel Russia over Ukraine invasion

The Council of Europe is preparing to formally expel Russia over its invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe voted to expel Russia after an emergency session in Strasbourg.
The body’s ministerial committee is to hold a special meeting on Wednesday to prepare for the suspension.

Russia on Tuesday said it had formally left the Council of Europe of its own volition over the unprecedented sanctions Moscow faces in the wake of its Ukraine campaign.

The council’s secretary general received formal notification from Russia of its withdrawal, a spokesman confirmed.

Based in the French city of Strasbourg, the 47-member Council of Europe monitors human rights and the rule of law.
It is not part of the European Union.

The body reacted to Russia’s attack on Ukraine by suspending Russian membership to the Council of Europe in an unprecedented move.


Masari urges political appointees eyeing elective positions to abide by electoral act

Gov. Aminu Masari of Katsina State has urged political appointees, who desire to contest elective offices in 2023, to comply with the provisions of the electoral act.

The governor made the call on Tuesday in Katsina while briefing newsmen after a closed-door meeting with political appointees.

The meeting was also attended by his Deputy, Alhaji Mannir Yakubu.

He said: “I briefed them on certain developments in our party, APC and our preparations for the local government elections.

“I urge those with ambition to contest elections in 2023 to take a look at the electoral bill which was recently signed into law by President Muhammad Buhari.

“The meeting was necessary so that they can do the needful by respecting the electoral act aimed at avoiding the avoidable.

“They should comply with the Electoral Act”.

Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act recently signed into Law by the President prevents political appointees from contesting elective positions without first resigning.


VC seeks police support to address insecurity in Plateau varsity

Prof. Yohanna Izam, the Vice Chancellor, Plateau State University, Bokkos, has sought the support and collaboration of the Nigeria Police Force towards addressing insecurity in the university and its host communities.

Izam made the call when he visited the Mr Bartholomew Onyeka, the Commissioner of Police in the state on Monday.

Mr John Agams, the Public Relations Officer (PRO), who disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday said that the vice chancellor was accompanied on the visit by members of the management staff of the university.

Izam, who commended the commissioner for the feats so far achieved in curbing the myriad of security challenges in the state, added that the visit was to seek stronger collaboration for safety of students and staff.

The vice chancellor further appealed to the commissioner to deploy his men to the new police out-post provided by the university at Diram village, its host community.

Responding, the commissioner thanked the vice chancellor for the visit and promised to take prompt action on the request put before him.

He promised to visit the university campus within the week to assess the facility provided for the police out-post station and to also familiarise himself with the environment.


APC chairmanship: Forum endorses Abudulahi Adamu as candidate

The All Progressives Congress (APC) New Generation Forum has endorsed Sen. Abudulahi Adamu as its candidate for the party’s next national chairmanship position ahead of its national convention slated for March 26.

Mr Charles Ibiang, the forum’s National Co-ordinator made this known at a news conference on Monday in Abuja.

Ibiang said that the choice of Adamu was the best option for the party at the moment because of his outstanding qualities and experience.

“It is in this disposition that we recommend Sen. Abdullahi Adamu to President Muhammadu Buhari for endorsement as the next national chairman of APC.

“We do same for all the respected and highly revered leaders of our great party; and all party members across the federation.

“As a loyal pressure group within the party, we shall not relent in our nationwide campaign, consultation and advocacy till this lofty objective is actualised,” Ibiang said.

He expressed optimism that the emergence of Adamu as APC next national chairman would enhance stability within the party and reposition it for resounding victories at all levels, come 2023 general elections.

“As we gradually move towards the 2023 general elections, the APC needs to assemble the best of minds under the most competent and experienced national chairman.’’

Ibiang expressed happiness that many good and highly capable personalities had shown interest to shoulder the burden of the office of the party’s national chairman.

“It is therefore not surprising that reaching a decision as to who to choose is somewhat difficult for many party members.

“However, it is now a matter of the best amongst equals or best of the best.

“For us at the APC New Generation Forum, we have been tirelessly analysing the pedigree of each of the contestants.

“However, the matter became automatically settled and the riddle solved immediately the one they call the bridge – Sen. Abudulahi Adamu emerged on the scene,” he said.

According to Ibiang, Sen. Adamu stands out among other aspirants in the race.

He said this was because of his impeccable character, an enigmatic personality and philosophical leader, “who possesses vast experience spanning across the three arms of government’’.

He said as a lawyer, Adamu was very knowledgeable in legal matters and law pertaining to electoral jurisprudence, adding that he had been in politics since his student days as an activist.

Ibiang said Adamu, who was a former governor of Nasarawa state, was considered as the choice of the young leaders in the APC.

He said this was because he was one of the few political leaders in the country that had actively participated in the politics of the youth and student constituencies.

“In spite of where he is today, he has deliberately refused to disconnect from the root, like most politicians do when are elevated in statute by providence.

“Adamu, the Turakin Keffi, has an observable track record of achievements with the Midas touch, as everything he engages in or associates with becomes productive, profitable and progressive.

“In business, politics or family testimony of successes abounds around him,” Ibiang said.

He recalled that at the commencement of the 4th Republic, Adamu successfully conducted the affairs of Nasarawa state as its first civilian governor for eight years.

According to him, Adamu’s record as governor in terms of development of the state remained unmatched.

“Presently, he is a two-term ranking Senator and the longest serving chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, this is an outstanding pedigree to bring to the office of the national chairman of the APC,” Ibiang.

The APC national convention had been slated for March 26, to elect new national executives to manage the party’s affairs is presently being managed by its Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee.

The party’s chairmanship position had been zoned to the North Central by its leadership where Adamu hails from.


Let’s reconcile, unite – Plateau APC chief to party members

The Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Plateau, Mr Rufus Bature, has urged members of the party to reconcile with one another and unite for the party to remain in power in 2023.

Bature stated this on Monday in Jos at the formal inauguration of the State Executive Committee of the party.
The State Executive Committee of the party was elected through consensus on the 16th of Oct. 16, 2021 but has yet to be officially inaugurated.

The chairman who was earlier sworn-in at APC National Secretariat, noted that there were challenges bedeviling the party.

“If you know you have wrong any member of our party, please go and make amend with that person, ensure such members are back to us.

“If we don’t reconcile and unite, we are sitting on a keg of gun powder and if we are allow it to explode, we will all loose.

“In the next election, we must reconcile, unite and fight as if we are not incumbent, if we must remain in power,” he emphasised.

He charged members of the committee to work hard to win the vacant seat at the Plateau State House of Assembly.
Bature said that the seat became vacant after the member representing state constituency won the Jos North Bassa Federal Constituency by-election.

“We must work very hard to clinch the forthcoming Irigwe/Rukuba State Constituency by-election into our fold,” he said.

The Oath Commissioner, Mr Stephen Abaa, warned the members of APC committee against working contrary to APC by-laws and the 1999 Constitution.

The State Publicity Secretary of APC in Plateau, Mr Slyvanus Namang, appreciated members of the party supporting and standing by the leadership of the party in the state.

Namang said that the official inauguration of the committee ended the rumours making the rounds that the committee is illegal.


Buhari inaugurates 80 housing units in Kaduna

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday inaugurated 80 housing units in Kaduna, constructed by his administration through the National Housing Programme.

The President, who was represented by Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Muhammad Abubakar, said the housing estate was part of the change promised Nigerians by his administration.

He said that the government remained committed to reaching every Nigerian through its infrastructure development agenda, irrespective of social status.

Buhari said that infrastructure development was the best way to drive micro, small and medium scale businesses as well as the economy.

“In the process, ordinary Nigerians at the bottom of the pyramid such as artisans, builders, skilled and unskilled workers and food vendors were not left out of this economic value chain.

“These are some of the people our country remains committed to move towards prosperity and away from poverty.

“We are already reaching them by providing opportunities for employment for those who were hitherto unemployed.

“We certainly cannot meet everyone of those Nigerians in person, but our economic policies and investment in infrastructure such as this National Housing Programme and others will reach and positively impact many of them,” he said.

Buhari explained that the housing programme was initiated to enable those who for long aspired to own a home, to do so with ease.

Earlier, Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, said that similar houses had been constructed by the federal government in 34 states.

Fashola, represented by Mr Emmanuel Hangeior, said the 80 housing unit comprised 48 units of two bedroom, 28 units of three bedroom and four units of one bedroom bungalows.

He said the selection of beneficiaries was done openly, devoid of any discrimination through the national housing portal

“Allocations will be made on the basis of those who apply and pay on a first come, first serve basis.

“While we welcome those who can afford to pay outright, it is not a condition for eligibility and we have offered flexible payment options like mortgages and rent to own which we encourage applicants to pursue,” he said.

Fashola thanked the Federal Executive Council and National Assembly committees on housing and the contractors for contributing to the success of the national housing programme.


Man, 58, docked over alleged theft of N1.8m

A 58-year-old man, Olaomoyeni Solomon, on Monday appeared before an Ado-Ekiti Chief Magistrates’ Court for alleged theft of N1.8 million.

Solomon, whose address was not given, is facing a charge of stealing.

The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The prosecutor, Insp Johnson Okunade, told the court that the defendant and others at large committed the offence on Feb.14 at 10.00 a.m at Okeyinmi Area in Ado-Ekiti.

Okunade alleged that the defendant stole the sum from Grace and Mercy Household Improvement, Ado-Ekiti branch.

He noted that the offence contravened Section 390(d) (9) of the Criminal Code, Laws of Ekiti State, 2012.

The Chief Magistrate, Mrs Titilayo Ola-Olorun, granted bail to the defendant in the sum of N100,000 with two sureties in like sum.

She adjourned the case until April 14 for substantive hearing.

Business & Economy

Insecurity: Obaseki seeks greater Air force presence in Edo

Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo, has called on the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to increase air surveillance to checkmate high crimes rate in the state.

Obaseki made the call in Benin on Monday while receiving in audience the Nigeria Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao, at the Government House.

The governor said that state had witnessed crimes such as banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery and illegal logging in the state forest reserves.

According to him, Edo enjoys a special relationship with the air force; it’s unfortunate that because of the restructuring after the civil war, your presence had to be reduced to somewhat.

“We really want you to do as much as you can to expand your services here.

“With your little operational service here, we know what we have benefited and enjoyed from the command particularly what they did for us during the #EndSARS protest.

“They did a lot of patrols and support and so if we have our way, we will like to have more of your presence in our communities.

The governor emphasized that criminal elements came through the water ways into the forest and reserve to log illegally and also procure more arms and set up businesses in the forest.

The governor said his administration was willing to collaborate with the force to enhance teaching and learning in schools within Air Force formations in Edo.

Earlier, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao, said that he was in the state command for operational visit to see how to enhance their work force, especially how to improve security in the state.

Amao commended the governor’s commitment in security and education, particularly in Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (EDOBEST).

He pledged that security agencies worked tirelessly to end the current security challenges experienced in some parts of the country.


Kwara Govt inaugurates Sports Commission, 3 others

The Kwara Goernment has inaugurated the state Sports Commission along with the boards of Kwara Television Authority, Kwara Broadcasting Corporation (Midland FM) and Kwara State Social Investment Programmes (KWASSIP).

The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof. Mamman Jibril, inaugurated the bodies on Friday in Ilorin.

Jibril charged the members of the boards to ensure best practices and standards on all issues relating to their assigned agencies and commission.

The SSG said that their appointments were in the right direction in order for the government to deliver more dividends of democracy and good governance to the people of the state.

He added that they were all representing the governor in all areas in their places of assignment.

He pointed out that their appointments were based on public trust as they were expected to bring to bear their respective endearing intelligence, humility, wealth of experience and proficiency to propel the present administration to enviable heights.

Jibril sought the unalloyed support and sincerity of purpose in the task ahead, so that the wishes, expectations and aspirations of the governor becomes a reality.

He further enjoined them to justify the confidence reposed in them by the government.

The SSG reminded them that their appointment was to ensure smooth running of their various places, advising them to strictly follow the stipulated ethics of their respective agencies and commission.

He also urged them to make sincere suggestions to government on policies that would enhance the development of their various places.

Responding on behalf of others, the Chairman of Kwara Television Authority board and retired ace sports commentator and broadcaster, Hameed Adio, said he and his colleagues would do everything humanly possible to fit into the transformation and pace setting agenda of the present administration.

He pledged that they would carry out their respective assignments in the quest to ensure fair and equitable distribution of dividends of democracy to the people of the state.


Russian general ‘killed fighting in Ukraine in major blow for invaders’

A top Russian general has reportedly been killed in the war with Ukraine.

Andrei Sukhovetsky, deputy commander of the 41st Combined Arms Army of the Central Military District, died yesterday, Ukrainian news outlets report.

They referred to a post on Russian social media platform VKontakte written by Sergei Chipilev, a deputy of the Russian veteran’s group, Combat Brotherhood.

It said: ‘It is with great sorrow that we learned of the tragic news about the death of our friend, Major General Andrei Aleksandrovich Sukhovetsky, on the territory of Ukraine during a special operation.’

After graduating from the Ryazan Higher Airborne Command School in 1995, Sukhovetsky started his career path as a platoon commander. He went on to become chief of staff of the Guards airborne assault unit.

Ukrainian outlet Fakti said he had been in his latest role since October 2021 and was based in Novosibirsk.

Yesterday the Russian Ministry of Defence said 498 of its servicemen were killed, more than 1,500 were injured since the invasion of Ukraine was launched last Thursday.

Defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov rejected reports about ‘incalculable losses’ among Russian forces as ‘disinformation’. But Ukraine has said the true number of Russian troops killed is higher than Moscow admits.

Konashenkov denied that conscripts or cadets have been involved in the operation in Ukraine, dismissing media reports suggesting otherwise. But Russian independent organisations that help parents find their sons have said were taking part and had been made to sign documents before crossing the border.

Konashenkov also said more than 2,870 Ukrainian troops have been killed and some 3,700 more sustained injuries, while 572 others have been captured by the Russians.

The claim is yet to be independently verified, and Ukraine has not commented on these figures.

Ukraine’s State Emergency Service said that more than 2,000 civilians have died in the conflict, but again the claim has not been verified.


2023: Group wants Yoruba Obas’ support for Tinubu

Yoruba Ronu, a socio-political organisation fighting the cause of Yoruba race at home and in diaspora has called on traditional rulers in Yoruba land to support the presidential ambition of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in 2023.

The call came ahead of Tinubu’s planned visit to Ondo State on Friday in the next phase of his visits to Southwest traditional rulers.

Chairman of the group, Prince Diran Iyantan, said this while speaking with newsmen on Thursday in Akure.

Iyantan said support of traditional rulers for Tinubu would be a payback for the astute politician, who according him holds different traditional titles in Yoruba land, and who had helped traditional institutions in the country.

He said that Tinubu had been a shining light in the Nigerian political scene since the present democratic dispensation began in 1999.

“Asiwaju Tinubu has always been part of the factors that entrenched this present democratic system.

” He has continually worked to sustain it and, in the process, elevated many Yoruba sons and daughters to high pedestals.

“None of the supposed presidential aspirants in the South has made more sacrifice for the growth of the nation’s democracy than the national leader of the APC, Ahmed Tinubu.

“By simple assessment, none of them has a better chance of clinching the APC ticket in the primaries than Asiwaju Tinubu does.

“He has built a strong political coalition across the 36 states of the federation and FCT. This is a heavy task difficult for other competitors to attempt,” he stated.

According to Iyantan, zoning of the presidential ticket of the ruling party to the south will provide Asiwaju Tinubu the appropriate platform to actualise his life-long dream of becoming the president of the country.

” By this zoning, the question is ‘who is better qualified than the Asiwaju of our time?’ Asiwaju Bola Tinubu certainly towers above everyone in the southern part of the nation who may want to try him for size.

“Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has sacrificed much for this country, the Yoruba race and his party.

“As a tested, accomplished and visionary leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has invested his entire lifetime and his resources in building an expansive network of Yoruba, nay Nigerian.

“Political leaders who have risen to the peak of their careers will readily rise to see him to success in the journey to the position in view,” he said.

The chairman explained that as a true ‘Omoluabi of Yoruba race’, Asiwaju Tinubu symbolises courage, hard work, humility and respect for traditional institutions.

” We are hoping that Tinubu will receive a rousing welcome as he visits Ondo State, the birthplace of the progressive politics in Nigeria,” he said


Customs hands over 723kg Indian hemp to NDLEA in Kebbi

The Nigeria Customs Services (NCS) on Thursday handed over 723 kilogrammes of cannabis sativa worth N28.9 million to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Kebbi.

The Customs Comptroller in Kebbi, Mr Joseph Attah, handed over the seized substance to NDLEA Commander in the state, Mr Peter Odaudu, in Birnin Kebbi.

He said that the handover of the cannabis was in the spirit of inter-agency collaboration.

“The item was seized by the gallant officers and men of the Command on Kamba-Bunza Road based on credible intelligence. The street value of the quantity stands at N28,920,000,” he said.

Attah pledged that the command would continue to rid the state of smugglers in line with its mandate.

“I specifically mentioned fuel and foreign parboiled rice as products my men should keep watchful eyes on.

“The operational strategy of the Command has been restructured and rejigged. Patrol teams in the Command have been reoriented with new anti-bunkering and rapid response teams created.

“They have mandate of ensuring that rice and fuel smugglers do not have a field day in our area of jurisdiction.

“Already our efforts and determination have started paying off.

“In just about three weeks, we have intercepted and seized 7,350 liters of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), 16 bales of second hand clothing and other items with a Duty Paid Value of N32,285,154.

“The PMS, owing to its inflammable nature, has since been auctioned to the public with the proceeds generated as fees from the auction sale remitted to the Federal Government coffers in line with our extant laws.”

Attah assured farmers that the onslaught on fuel smugglers would not affect the supply of fuel for farming activities.

“We are aware that Kebbi state is the hub of rice farming.

“Hence we are putting modalities in place to ensure that our onslaught on fuel smugglers does not affect our farmers who use the fuel for irrigation.

“We are willing to support the farmers.

“In the same vein, our reinvigorated effort will ensure that importation of foreign parboiled rice into the country at the expense of investors in rice farming is not allowed,” the comptroller said.

In his remarks, Odaudu commended the existing synergy between the customs service and NDLEA, saying it would promote security and reduce crime in the state.

“No one agency by itself can do it; it is this collaboration that will help us.

“We must collaborate against illegal drugs to, at least, reduce the incidences of criminality and insecurity,” he said.


Media, a critical stakeholder, in combating crime — NSCDC Commandant

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Kaduna State Command, says the media play a critical stakeholder in combatting crimes and criminality in every society.

The Commandant, Mr Godwin Miebi, spoke on Tuesday in Kaduna while marking the World Civil Defence Day

“The media and other relevant stakeholders have a crucial role to play in educating the general public on the need to always collaborate with security operatives in combatting the menace of insecurity that is currently threatening the very foundation of our country.

According to him, security is everyone’s business and urged civilians to see security operatives as partners-in- progress.

He urged them to feed the security operatives with relevant information as the latter risked their lives for our collective safety.

Miebi said that it was also pertinent for security personnel to know that they could not do it alone without the collective support of the people.

He said the corps has been collaborating with other agencies to combat crimes in the state.

Also speaking, the Commissioner of Police, Kaduna state, Mr Abdullahi Mudassir, said the command was collaborating with security operatives in the fight against criminals.

Represented by the Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations, Abubakar Haruna, the commissioner pointed out that security was everyone’s responsibility.

He said there was the need for the society to give security agencies useful information that could assist them to perform their responsibilities.


Emulate Aisha Buhari’s humanitarian gesture, NYSC DG urges Nigerians

Nigeria may face worse security problems – Buhari’s wife, Aisha
Director-General of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Maj.-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim, has called on wealthy Nigerians and corporate bodies to emulate the humanitarian gesture of Nigeria’s First Lady, Hajiya Aisha Buhari.

Ibrahim made the call on Tuesday during the swearing-in of the 2022 Batch “A” Stream I corps members at the orientation camp in Ganjuwa Local Government Area of Bauchi State.

He lauded the donation of medical equipment by the first lady, saying that this had helped in easing the corps’ medical outreaches to rural areas.

“May I appeal for the support of all stakeholders for the success of our health initiative for rural dwellers, which is aimed at providing easier access to free and qualitative health care, especially for the indigent.

“I implore them to take a cue from the first lady by donating well-equipped ambulances for the operation of NYSC mobile clinics as well as other essential equipment and drugs.

” These will facilitate the conduct of our medical outreaches, thus boosting the provision of quality medical services to rural dwellers,” he said.

Represented by the state Coordinator of NYSC, Alhaji Namadi Abubakar, Ibrahim said that the orientation course was a platform for kick-starting various activities.

These activities, he said, would enable the corps members realise their potentials and attain individual feats, both within and beyond the period of service.

He, therefore, enjoined the corps members to avail themselves of the ‘once-in-a-life-time’ opportunity by participating actively in all the camp activities.

The director-general also appreciated the House of Representatives for the progress made so far in the legislative processes on the bill for the establishment of NYSC Trust Fund.

“I also wish to thank Nigerians for the continuous show of support for the proposed trust fund, as overwhelmingly demonstrated during the public hearing conducted by the House Committee on Youth on the matter.

“I wish to once again appeal to the appropriate authorities to provide the necessary enablement for the actualisation of the fund.

“This will surely enhance the smooth operation of the scheme, especially by addressing the challenge of infrastructure and boosting our skills and entrepreneurship development programme aimed at empowering corps members for self-employment and wealth creation,” he added.

FELLOW PRESS reports that 1,700 corps members were deployed to the state for their one-year mandatory national youth service.

However, 1,500 of the corps members were sworn-in for the orientation course, owing to redeployment of some of them with one challenge or the other.


We’ll not lift PMS for depot owners selling above N148.77 – NUPENG

The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), says its members will not lift products for depot owners selling Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) above official depot price of N148.77.

NUPENG’s Secretary General, Mr Afolabi Olawale stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos.

“One of the lines of action we are going to take is any depot that is not selling at the official rate, our members will not carry their products, “he said.

NAN reports that the union on Feb. 26, issued a 24-hour Ultimatum with effect from midnight, Feb. 27 to marketers to revert to the official rate of N148.77.

The union had accused the marketers of exploiting Nigerians by selling PMS from the depots at prices far above the official rate.

Olawale said:”Depot owners are not the ones directly importing the products and are taking products from NNPC.

“Nobody has given official statements that PMS is no longer under subsidy regime and in that wise, the general public cannot be buying products at N250, N220, N180, from the depot.

“We are asking all these depot owners to stop exploiting the general public and sell at official rate,“he said.


Court rejects DCP Abba Kyari’s bail application

Justice Inyang Ekwo of a Federal High Court in Abuja has rejected the bail application of the suspended deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Abba Kyari.

Kyari was arrested on February 14 for his alleged involvement in drug trafficking. Through his counsel, Cynthia Ikenna, he approached the court for bail on health grounds. He claims he was battling Hypertension and Diabetes and needed to be released so he can receive better treatment in his home.

Delivering judgment in the application today, the judge ruled that the bail application has been overtaken by events following an order of a sister court, granting the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA)’s prayers to detain Kyari for another 14 days to enable it to conclude its investigation.

Justice Ekwo held that the sister court, which gave the order in favour of NDLEA on Feb. 22, was a court of coordinate jurisdiction. The judge, however, said he was inclined to hear Kyari’s fundamental enforcement rights suit with the urgency it deserves after the expiration of the 14-day court order.

He then adjourned until March 15 to hear Kyari’s application to demand for his fundamental right enforcement.


EU wants Ukraine to join them amid Russia invasion

The European commission has said it wants Ukraine to join the European Union.

The statement made by the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, comes as Ukraine defends itself against an invasion by Russia.

Speaking during a televised interview with Euronews Sunday, Leyen said;

“We have a process with Ukraine that is, for example, integrating the Ukrainian market into the single market. We have very close cooperation on the energy grid, for example. So many topics where we work very closely together and indeed over time, they belong to us. They are one of us and we want them in,” von der Leyen said.

In a tweet Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he spoke to von der Leyen about strengthening Ukraine’s defense capabilities and its membership in the EU.

Becoming a member of the bloc is a complex procedure and Ukraine is currently not an official candidate for EU accession. But joining the EU, will make Ukraine more politically independent of Russia, give them more defence assurances from the EU and also open up more trade routes and possibilities with other European countries .

Responding to a question on the possibility of peace talks between Ukraine and Russia, von der Leyen told Euronews it was “important” Ukraine “agrees to the peace talks and that conditions are fine” but “trust in President Putin is completely broken and eroded.”

The interview comes after the EU’s announcement on Sunday to provide arms to Ukraine as its military tries to hold back Russian forces.

“For the first time ever, the European Union will finance the purchase and delivery of weapons and other equipment to a country that is under attack,” the European commission statement said.