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Nigerians who top up N100 airtime, have N5,000 account balance will benefit from Conditional Cash transfer

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The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, says urban poor dwellers with an account balance of N5,000 or less will be among the beneficiaries of the Federal Government Conditional Cash Transfer scheme.

The minister made this known when she fielded questions from State House correspondents in Abuja on Tuesday, April 14. She added that Nigerians who buy N100 call credit are also people who will be considered poor and vulnerable and will be allowed to benefit from the scheme.

The minister, who earlier confirmed that N-Power beneficiaries were being paid their stipends, stated on Tuesday that the prospective beneficiaries would be part of the additional one million households approved by President Muhammadu Buhari to boost the nation’s social register.

President Buhari had on Monday, in a broadcast, directed that the current social register be expanded from 2.6 million households to 3.6 million households in the next two weeks.

The president said that the expansion of the social register was part of the palliative measures to address the hardship being experienced by the poor and vulnerable members of the society as a result of the extension of the lockdown order.

The minister, who had earlier updated the president on the activities of her ministry, revealed that those saddled with the responsibility of carrying out president’s directive on expansion of the social register would focus more on the urban poor.

She said: “You are also aware that Mr President in his broadcast yesterday (April 13) has directed that we expand the beneficiaries of the Conditional Cash Transfer by one million.

“In this regard, we are going to focus more on the urban poor. These are people who depend on informal sector to earn their livelihood – They are daily wage earners and these are people we are really going to focus more on as well as people living with disabilities.”

The minister further explained that apart from the National Social Register, the Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) and previous record of purchase of recharge card by mobile phone owners would form parts of criteria in identifying the beneficiaries of the cash transfer.

She said: “We are also using the mobile network, people that top up their phones with maybe N100, N200. These are the people we consider to be poor and vulnerable.”

Nigerians have expressed displeasure with the methods the federal government has employed in the disbursement of cash and food items. Also, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) criticized President Muhammadu Buhari for “failure to provide palliatives” to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.

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Soun, Alao-Akala’s deaths: UNILORIN V-C leads NYSC Board members on condolence visit

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The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Abdulkareem, has described the death of the Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Jimoh Oyewumi, Ajagungbade III, as a huge loss not only to the people of Ogbomoso, but also to the entire mankind.

According to the University of Ilorin’s bulletin issued on Monday, Abdulkareem, made the statement when he led a four-man team of the Board on a condolence visit to the Soun’s Palace.

The Vice-Chancellor, who is also a member of the Board of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), also condoled with the people of Ogbomoso on the death of Chief Christopher Alao-Akala, a former governor of Oyo State.

He described the late Oba Oyewumi as a well-recognised industrialist and a renowned traditional ruler.

He said that Oyewumi’s tentacles were spread beyond political, religious and tribal affiliations before and during his 48 years of reign in Ogbomoso land.

While eulogising the late traditional ruler, Abdulkareem said with the progressive development in the town, reported, seen and testified to, the Ajagungbade III lived an exemplary life worthy of emulation by all.

He condoled with the entire people of Oyo State, especially the indigenes of Ogbomoso, over the demise of the traditional ruler, as well as the recent loss of their illustrious daughter and sons.

He also described as sad the demise of Prof. Taibat Danmole; the eldest daughter of the late Soun, who was also a former staff member of the University of Ilorin, Chief Christopher Alao-Akala and Prof. Alex Gboyega of the Political Science Department, University of Ibadan.

Abdulkareem prayed for the peaceful repose of the departed, and the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss for the families, and the entire Ogbomoso people.

In his response, Prince Oyekunle Oyewumi, the surviving eldest Prince, and a member of the National Board of NYSC, who spoke on behalf of the royal family, commended the team for commiserating with the royal family.

He added that the entire people of Ogbomoso and the royal house had taken solace in the fact that the Crown lived well.

Similarly, the team also paid another condolence visit to the Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Chief Sunday Dare, who is also a prominent son of Ogbomoso, and whose Ministry oversees the NYSC.

While welcoming the team, the Minister, who is also the `Agbaakin’ ( a traditional chief’ of Ogbomoso land, thanked them for their thoughtfulness by identifying with Ogbomoso land during the dark time of mourning, saying it is best known to God.

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UK orders probe into Islamophobia claims by conservative lawmaker

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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered an investigation into conservative lawmaker, Nusrat Ghani claims that she was sacked as a junior minister in 2020 over concerns that she was a Muslim.

A Downing Street spokesperson announced on Monday in a brief statement to reporters that “the Prime Minister has asked the Cabinet Office to conduct an inquiry into the allegations made by Nusrat Ghani MP.’’

In an interview published by the Sunday Times, Ghani said that she was dismissed as a junior transport minister in February 2020.

She said following her dismissal a senior Conservative lawmaker told her that her Muslim faith made colleagues “uncomfortable” and that her career would be “destroyed” if she tried to complain.

In a subsequent statement on Sunday, she said that she had directly informed Johnson about the matter but that the prime minister wrote to her that he could not get involved and suggested that she use the internal Conservative party’s complaint process.

Reacting to the launch of a probe, Ghani wrote on Twitter that she welcomed the decision and asked that all that was said in Downing Street, and by her senior Conservative colleague be included in the terms of reference of the inquiry.

“As I said to the Prime Minister last night, all I want is for this to be taken seriously and for him to investigate,’’ she added.

The Islamophobia claims came as Johnson was facing calls to resign over a string of parties that were allegedly held in Downing Street during the COVID-19 lockdown.

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Senator drags estranged wife of Fani-Kayode to court over alleged defamation

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A former senator, Mrs Grace Bent has dragged Precious Chikwendu, estranged wife of former Aviation Minister, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode to the Federal High Court, Abuja over alleged defamation of character.

When the matter was called on Monday, however, Chikwendu was absent in court and there was no legal representation on her behalf.

Mr Joseph Offor who announced his appearance for the prosecution said that he was holding the brief of Mr Victor Okoye who was away in Lagos.

Offor told the court that he had little information about the case and so could not explain why Chikwendu and her legal team were absent in court.

The trial judge, Justice Obiora Egwuatu subsequently adjourned the matter until March 10 for arraignment.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Chikwendu, an ex-beauty queen had, through her social media handle, accused Bent of using the police to intimate her with regards to the feud between her and her former husband.

Bent, however, in a statement, described the allegation as “very weighty” adding that she was consulting with her legal team and would not hesitate to seek appropriate legal redress.

Bent, who is a close friend and longtime political associate of Fani-Kayode, has debunked the allegations, describing it as a “very weighty” one that carries “assassination tendencies and intendment.”

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