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Thursday, April 22, 2021/ Ramadan 10, 1442 AH

Vol. 36 No. 052 N200

2552 Days after Malam Wada Maida (1950-2020), founding Chairman, Board of the Peoples Media Limited



. . . putting the people first

The nation awaits rescue of the remaining abducted Chibok schoolgirls

Gbajabiamila to IGP: Dignity, wellbeing of police must be priority

>>PAGE 5

FEC okays N8.39Bn for SokotoTambuwal-Jega-Makera Road PG 5

Senate N257.18bn for Customs in 2021 budget

From left: Chief of Staff to the President, Prof Ibrahim Gambari; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and President Muhammadu Buhari during a virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Wednesday (21/4/2021)

AFCFTA: Nigerian firms to access African markets worth $666.17bn -Emefiele Deby’s death may complicate security situation in North –Ex-Presidential candidate pAGE 3

Autonomy: Kebbi assures JUSUN of speedy implementation pAGE 6

Nigeria in dire need of citizens’ support - Arewa Youths pAGE 6

PG 19



News CONTENTS News 2-14 Op.Ed Politics Stock Watch Business Metro

12-13 15-17 18 19-20 21

Kaduna Govt confirms kidnapping of Greenfield University students K From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna

aduna State Government has confirmed the abduction of unspecified number of students kidnapped from Greenfield University in the state yesterday. The State Commissioner, Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs, kaduna state, Mr. Samuel Aruwan made the confirmation in a statement made available to the media in kaduna.

The statement also confirmed the death of a staff of the school during the attack by armed bandits Aruwan further stated that the ministry received a distress call and quickly swung into action. He said, “Last night, the Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs received distress calls of an attack by armed bandits on the Greenfield University, situated at Kasarami,

off the Kaduna-Abuja Road in Chikun LGA. “Troops of Operation Thunder Strike (OPTS) and other operatives swiftly moved to the location and the armed bandits retreated. “After search-and-rescue operations, a staff member of the university, Paul Ude Okafor, was confirmed to have been killed by the armed bandits, while a number of students were kidnapped. “The security operatives took

custody of the remaining students who have been handed over to the institution, as at noon today, Wednesday 21st April 2021. “The actual number of students kidnapped is still being sought from the institution’s records. “Troops and other security operatives are working in the general area, and the public will be informed of further developments.” the Statement reads.

World Analysis 22 Africa News


World News


Legal framework for gas development in works – Senator Suswam Page 17



Feature 26 Sports 30-31 Back Page


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Nigerian Navy ship LANA berthed today at the Port of Lisbon, Portugal,on the first leg of her maiden homeward voyage to Nigeria yesterday Photo: DINFO NHQ

Reps move to establish Nigerian Maritime Security Trust Fund By Christiana Ekpa


he House of Representatives yesterday passed a bill for an act to establish Nigerian Maritime Security Trust Fund through second reading. The bill when pass into law, seek to provide for the establishment of a special fund for training and retraining of naval personnel for optimum productivity, as well as funding for equipment and machineries that will aid the seamless protection of waterways by the Nigerian Navy,

Leading debate on the bill, the sponsor Hon. Yusuf Adamu Gagdi, who also Chairs the House Committee on Navy, said the general principle of the bill was to provide for the establishment of a special fund for training and retraining of naval personnel for optimum productivity. He added that the bill will provide funding for equipment and machineries that will aid the seamless protection of our waterways by the Nigerian Navy, thereby guaranteeing a robust economic development of the

country. Gagdi maintained that since the mainstay of Nigerian economy (oil) is majorly sourced and moved through the waterways, while the largest chunk of our import and export of other goods are carried out through the seas, it was imperative that the Nigerian Navy is sufficiently equipped and routinely trained to curb the excesses of pirates, oil bunkerers and other illegal activities on our waterways that hamper our economic development. The bill was first read on 15th

March, 2021 and seeks to exist for 8 years from the commencement date of the Act, (when finally passed by the National Assembly and assented to by Mr President), unless it is further extended by an Act of the National Assembly. The glowing contributions to the debate by the members underscores the importance of the bill to the economic development of Nigeria and our national security. The Lawmakers who contributed to the bill urge the House to pass the bill into law without any delay.

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Ag. News Editor, Tobias Lengnam

FEC okays N8.39Bn for SokotoTambuwalJega-Makera Road By Egena Sunday Ode


he Federal Executive Council (FEC) Wednesday approved N8.39 billion to as augmentation for the completion of a section of the Sokoto-Makera Road, which traverses Sokoto, Kebbi and Niger states. Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola disclosed this after the FEC meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. Fashola said that the firm executing the 185 kilometre long project, CRCC Construction Company, requested for the contract augmentation owing to sundry factors. “The Ministry of Works and Housing presented one memorandum to Council. It was for the augmentation of the contract for Sokoto-TambuwalJega-Makera Road. The portion covering 185 kilometres awarded to CRCC Construction Company. “The company is seeking an augmentation of the contract sum by N8.39 billion, which was approved and the reason was for price changes, essentially, between 2012, when the contract was awarded, and now. “Materials and costs have changed and also the scope of works of the 85 kilometres of of the road has to be changed now from rehabilitation to reconstruction because it has deteriorated from when it was awarded 12 years ago. So Council approve this. “Just for your information, there are two sections of the road because it comes all the way from Sokoto to Makera. The first section is awarded to Triacta, that section is 296 kilometres and we’ve completed it just recently. “The entire 296 kilometres is now motorable. About 100 kilometres of the second section, which is the subject of augmentation, from Yauri to Makera, has been completed so we just have 85 kilometres to go,” the Minister said.

Deby’s death may complicate security situation in North –Ex-Presidential candidate From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna


ormer Presidential Candidate of Peoples Trust (PT) in the 2019 general election, Gbenga Olawepo Hashim, has alerted that the death of Chadian leader,Marshall Idris Deby has potentials of complicating Nigeria’s security issues, particularly in the North east and Northwest regions. He made the assertion while reacting to the death of the Chadian strongman, in a statement yesterday. OlawepoHashim said in an interview that Nigeria’s policy experts must of necessity, be very worried of the development now. The Businessman said the death of Marshal Idris Deby, who until yesterday was President of Chad, is undoubtedly a set back for Nigeria’s national security.” “Idris has been the buffer for

Nigeria’s fight against multiple forces of insurgencies in the Lake Chad Region. “ “Nigeria policy experts must of necessity, be very worried now. Since the strategic mistake of the overthrow of Gadaffi by some western forces who cobbled together a motley crowd of Islamists in 2010 and waged war against Libya,the security situation in the Sahel Region has rapidly deteriorated.” “What was clear was that a balance of forces as a result of imported high-grade equipment of war and communication and training ,have tilted things in support of non-state actors as opposed to the various states and governments of the Sahel region.” Hashim explained that ironically, former President Jonathan who demonstrated zero knowledge of international

relations and national security,allegedly instigated a minority group of African states who broke rank with majority of African countries in the African Union (AU) that opposed the invasion of Libya. “Jonathan supported the invasion led by United States and France who backed Islamists to overthrow Gadaffi. The rest is history.” “The worst that knowledgeable African heads of state feared, have come to the Sahel as the forces of destruction unleashed on Libya continued to sweep through all the states of the Sahel and West Africa as a whole and even to Central Africa.” Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Burkina Faso ,he said ,were paying for the tragedy of 2010 in severe insecurity caused by non-state actors who were

better trained and better armed. “What ever the internal politics in Chad is, Nigeria’s concern must be our national interest.” “This is standard international relations since the treaty of Westphalia in 1641, national security is the primary interest of states.” “Deby’s death has the potential to complicate things for Nigeria in the North-East and North-West.” “Whatever the inadequacies of Idris Deby, he died a true African hero; a courageous African. Many times Idris launched attack from Chad to confront the extremist forces operating in the North-East. He made no noise about it and he claimed no credit. He was a true friend and ally of Nigeria.” “For now, it is time to put on our best thinking cap. It is no longer the time for mediocrity,” he said.

L- R : Mr. Kelechi Nwankwo, Deputy Director, Research and Development, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); Prof. Suleiman Bala Muhammed, Vice Chancellor, Nasarawa State University, Keffi(NSUK); Dr. Henry Nkemadu, Director, Research and Development(NCC); Dr. Nghargbe K’tso, Director, Linkages and International Cooperation, Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK) during a courtesy visit to the Commission in Abuja, yesterday.

APC Kaduna sets written examination for Chairmanship aspirants From Kaduna




ll the Chairmanship aspirants on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC), kaduna State Chapter, have taken a written examination as part of the screening process. The aspirants were equally

subjected to physical and oral interview by a 17-man panel made up of up professors, lawyers and holders of doctorate degrees among others. The written examination is the first in the history of Nigeria as condition for qualification to contest election into the chairmanship position of a

local government, The screening was held at the state owned stonehedge hotel and the place was filled to capacity with aspiring chairmen and supporters anxiously waiting for their turns to be screened after the examination. Investigations revealed that one of the questions during the exam was for the aspirants

to write biographical essay on their life, schools attended, work experience, places lived or visited within kaduna state, Nigeria and abroad. A chairmanship aspirant said, the exam was thorough and the screening was also very thorough as they were made to make photocopies of their credentials in 17 places

for the panelists who took time to scrutinize them and ask probing questions. The essence of the exams and thorough screening, it was further gathered, was to screen out those with questionable credentials and deficiencies that will subject the party to litigation after the election.



FEC didn’t discuss Pantami’s alleged link to Al-Qaeda, Taliban -Lai Mohammed By Egena Sunday Ode


he Federal Executive Council (FEC) did not discuss the allegations in public domain linking the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami’s to previous link with Al-Qaeda and Taliban, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has said. There has been calls for Pantami’s resignation over the allegations. Mohammed, who briefed newsmen after the Council meeting on Wednesday presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja, said the issue was not raised at the meeting. Pantami was among ministers who attended the weekly council meeting via a virtual arrangement. Mohammed was asked by newsmen whether the Council discussed the matter during their closed door and whether the government was comfortable with burden on the nation’s reputation. But the Minister responded thus: “I’m not going to go into the issue of whether government is comfortable or not. I will answer your questioned directly. It was not discussed at the council meeting.” Specifically, Pantami who is caught in the web of the controversy over his unearthed comments endorsing both terrorists organizations, has however, announced that he has renounced the views. He said during his daily Ramadan lecture at Annor Mosque in Abuja last Saturday that he now knows better about some of the comments he made in the past. The embattled Pantami has, however, continued to maintain that the campaign against him is politically motivated. “For 15 years, I have moved round the country while educating people about the dangers of terrorism. I have traveled to Katsina, Gombe, Borno, Kano states and Difa in Niger Republic to preach against terrorism. “I have engaged those with Boko Haram ideologies in different places. I have been writing pamphlets in Hausa, English and Arabic. I have managed to bring back several young persons who have derailed from the right path. “Some of the comments I made some years ago that are generating controversies now were based on my understanding of religious issues at the time, and I have changed several positions taken in the past based on new evidence and maturity. “I was young when I made some of the comments; I was in university, some of the comments were made when I was a teenager. “I started preaching when I was 13, many scholars and individuals did not understand some of international events and therefore took some positions based on their understanding, some have come to change their positions later,” he had maintained.


Police parades 9 suspected armed robbers in Niger From Yakubu Minna



iger State Police Command has paraded nine suspected armed robbers arrested in different locations who were involved in various robbery incidence in the state. According to the Command’s Police Public Relations Officer PPRO, DSP Wasiu A. Abiodun, the police while parading the suspects said recovered six

expensive vehicles were recovered from them. Abiodun explained that Abdul Mohammad, Amos Oyerinde, Yahaya Jibrin and Abubakar Sadiq confessed to have activity participated in the recent robberies in the state capital, Mina. He further diclosed that Mohammad Abdullahi, Chibuzor Bernard, Mohammad Usman and Abdulrahman Ali were the receivers and transporters of the

vehicles while William Godwin was arrested with a revolver pistol that was given to him by two of the suspects. He stated that the command swung into action after receiving complaints of robbery attacks in areas of Farm Centre Minna, Niteco Tunga, Bida where six vehicles were carted away while the suspected were arrested in Abuja, Bida, Minna and Sokoto state respectively. Meanwhile, the command

also paraded a 40 year old Festus Okeke of Ishau village via Kafin Koro in Paikoro Local Government Area of Niger state for allegedly luring four minor girls in to his shop and had carnal knowledge of two of them. The PPRO hinted that the suspect fiddled with the private parts of the other two girls with his fingers, noting that the victims are between the ages of 10 years to 13 years.

L-R: Permanent. Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Arc. Sunny Echono, Chairman House Committee on tertiary Education. Hon. Aminu Suleiman, Executive Secretary, National Board for Technical Education (NBTE)_ Prof. Idris M Bugaje and the Chairman, Governing Council of the Federal Polytecnic Ede Osun State, Air Commodore Emmanuel. Jekada, during the inauguration of Governing Council of polytecnics yesterday in Abuja. Photo; Justin Imo-Owo

Crisis rocks PDP as members pass no confident vote on LG leader By Osaigbovomwan Iguobaro


he crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has assumed a new dimension as former Executive members of the party in Egor Local Government Area of Edo State, passed no confidence vote on its erstwhile leader of the party, Chief Odion Olaye. At an enlarge meeting in the council area on Wednesday, the party executives who defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to PDP in the locality along with Governor Godwin Obaseki last year, accused him of antiparty activities and attempting to destabilize the party in the party. In Olaye’s stead, the party executives unanimously endorsed Mr. Chris Imalele as the new Chairman of the party in Egor Local Government Council and pledged their unalloyed support for Ex-Commissioner of Information and Orientation in

the State, Mr. Efe Stewart who is also from the locality. The PDP leadership in Egor Local Government Council also pledged their unalloyed support for Ex- Commissioner of Information and Orientation in the State, Mr. Efe Stewart. A former Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Edo State Governor on Egor matters and Spokesperson for PDP Executives in Egor Local Government Council, comprising the 10 Wards in the locality, Mr. Edo Aguebor, alleged that the party at the grassroot is committed to strengthening its support base informed their decision to pass a vote of no confidence on its former party leader in Egor LGA, Chief Olaye who is a former Chairman of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Edo State. “We are former members of the All Progressives Congress who defected along with governor

Godwin Obaseki to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). “For sometime, we have observed that Chief Odion Olaye, the erstwhile leader of APC, who equally defected with the governor to the PDP, had made every effort to maintaining peace impossible; Every effort by the PDP, including entreaties to make peace has been refused by him, instead he has decided to parade factional meetings, receive aspirants in his house and intimidate members. We just can’t allow this to go on. “Egor LGA is lagging in infrastructure, appointment, and this is because we don’t come together. When a local government is united, there will be progress. “This is the reason why we invited all former political appointees and former leaders to come to a conclusion that Odion Olaye cannot continue to lead us, let us appoint a new leader.

“This time around we need a man who has peaceful disposition, temperaments and patience to listen to the people. This is a time for healing and not the time for fighting; so, that is why we have unanimously appointed Chris Imalele to lead us in this peace efforts. This is our time to move Egor forward, because our local Government is in trouble.”Aguebor, said. Aguebor, also cautioned against factionalization of the party by defiant members secretly working against the PDP in the locality. He called on Governor Godwin Obaseki to call Olaye to order, adding that that efforts to broker peace with Olaye to retrace his steps, proved abortive. Reacting to the development, Mr. Odion Olaye, declined comment on the incident, adding that the State leadership of PDP had invited him for a meeting in connection with the incident.

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By Christiana Ekpa


he Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said that Nigeria urgently needs to work on the dignity and well-being of its police force, a major factor that will make its personnel to succeed in the core mandate of preventing and fighting crime. Gbajabiamila noted that a policeman, being the face of the law, his appearance in the community must first command respect for him to effectively enforce the law. Gbajabiamila, who spoke on Wednesday in Abuja when the Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mr Usman Alkali Baba, paid him a courtesy visit at the National Assembly, stated that the image of the policeman looking unkempt on the streets sent the wrong signals to the citizens about his ability to enforce the law. He told the IGP that unlike the case in some countries, the Nigerian policeman did not have adequate equipment to work and was not wellcatered for. He said, “We need to know that police work has a lot to do with psychology. Why are policemen looking tattered on the streets? They wear dirty, torn uniforms and you see them in slippers. “So, people don’t even respect them or feel intimidated by their presence when they need to enforce the law. In other countries, the sight of a policeman and the gadgets he carries alone, prevent crime from happening. There is immediate recognition from the appearance of a policeman.” The speaker assured the IG that the House was prepared to collaborate with the force to identify its areas of need and address them through improved funding, recruitment and training. He asked the IG to do a “needs assessment” and submit a comprehensive report to the House through its Committee on Police Affairs for necessary action.


Gbajabiamila to IGP: Dignity, wellbeing of police force must be priority ...Says needs assessment will help

The speaker added that the 9th House was committed to building a police force that would “stand shoulder-to-shoulder” with other police structures elsewhere in the world. Gbajabiamila spoke further, “We will welcome collaboration. Don’t worry that if you do a needs assessment, that we are not going to look into it. Do the needs assessment, a budget, and we look for the funds. If we must do it, we must do it.” Gbajabiamila promised that the requests from the needs assessment report could either be accommodated

in the 2021 supplementary budget being expected by the National Assembly or a separate window could be created to capture the funding challenges of the police. He added that the House was concerned about the rising insecurity in the country and had responded to it by setting up a special committee to interface with the executive arm with a view to addressing the situation. Gbajabiamila told the IG that the committee would start sitting within the next few days. However, the speaker commended the police for being able

to perform their duties so far, in spite of “the difficult circumstances” that they have had to operate in all these years. Speaking earlier, the IG said his visit was to thank Gbajabiamila and the House for the support the police had received from the 9th Assembly. He said he was particularly appreciative of the “timely passage” of the 2020 Police Act, to modernise police operations in the country. He appealed for the speedy passage of other bills on police matters such as the Police Service Commission (amendment) Bill.

Baba made a passionate appeal to the speaker on police funding, saying that the force had become a miracle worker, having to function with clearly inadequate funds. “The police will work more with better support from the legislature... “In the area of funding, we appeal that you support us more because we are underfunded. We are now miracle players, compared to what we have. “In the area of funds for operations, this is highly inadequate, looking at the many interventions that we must do from time-to-time”, the IG stated. From left: Minister of FCT, Malam Mohammad Bell: National Security Adviser, retired Maj-Gen Babagana Monguno and Minister of Finance, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed during a virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Wednesday (21/4/2021)

Pantami: NASS, DSS not to blame­ -Hon. Gagdi .Reps seek probe of Minister A

By Christiana Ekpa

member of the House of Representatives, Yusuf Gagdi (APC Plateau ) has absolved the National Assembly, and the Department of State Services (DSS) over allegations of not digging deep into the background of the Minister of Communication and Digital Economic, Dr Isa Pantiami during his screening, This was just as the minority leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu (PDP, Delta) Wednesday called for investigations into alleged terrorism link against minister Pantami. Elumelu, at the commencement of plenary, came through an order of privilege, told the House that his privileged had been breached as a legislature by the allegations against the minister. He said since the allegation started trending in both social and conventional media, he has

been inundated with calls by his constituents, seeking what the House intended to do. “A serving minister in this government was alleged to have links and personally subscribed to the beliefs of some terrorist groups. Recently during his Ramadan message, he owned up, but said he only did so out of ignorance. “My worry is that I am a serving member of this house. Few days ago, I was inundated with calls from my constituents, who said this house has been talking so much on insecurity, yet not saying anything over such a weighty allegation against a serving minister. He should either resign, or be removed”, Elumelu stated. According to him, his privilege as a member has been affected, and that he was not comfortable that the House would not say anything. Responding, however, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila reminded him

that he came under the wrong order, but that even at that; “your observations have been noted. Equally Hon. Gagdi who is the Chairman of the House committee on Navy, while addressing the newsmen at the NASS complex said National Assembly, and the Department of State Services (DSS) are not to be blame for not digging deep into the minister during his screening. The lawmaker said; “I would not say that DSS and the National Assembly acted in error. The National Assembly and DSS are not God. You will never get every information about every individual during confirmation. Because the DSS is not God. You don’t have the capacity to know everything about me. So it is when the DSS know, that they recommended. And it is equally what the National Assembly saw that they recommended”, he said.

Continuing, Gadgi noted that “If you want to hold DSS and National Assembly responsible, what of you as an individual. Over 180 million Nigerians, were unable to know. The announcement was made, the man was presented to the floor of the senate. He was screened and no individual out of over 180 million Nigerians was able to remember that comment made by him, to write a petition to the the National Assembly. “So if the National Assembly should be held responsible, or the DSS, the people of this country should equally be held responsible, because they were unable to do their job by bringing the information to the National Assembly. Until and unless you bring the petition that this man has done that in the past, because of the incapacity of both DSS and National Assembly to know everything about everybody” Speaking further, the lawmaker

said “If there was an issue prior to the screening and the National Assembly did not act on that information, then you will hold them responsible. But because there was nothing, you assume the man is innocent. Now the issue has come to public glare. “Is it the responsibility of the National Assembly to act based on the information that is given about the minister? It is not the responsibility of the parliament to say remove the minister or not to remove the minister”. On the calls for his resignation, Gadgi said “The prerogative of appointment and removal is vested solely on Mr President. So it is left for the executive arm of government. The information has come. I learnt also that the man has apologised. If it is true that the information is there and the man apologised, it is not within my own power as a parliament to say go or not go.




NEXIM board member, Dafinone, lauds Buhari for appointment From Nosa Akenzua,


newly appointed member of the Board of the Nigeria Export and Import (NEXIM), Chief Ede Dafinone, has expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for finding him worthy of the appointment. Chief Dafinone, who made the commendation in Sapele, Delta State while fielding questions from newsmen on his appointment into the board, said that he would justify his inclusion in the board through effective service delivery to ensure that the objectives of the board was realised. The NEXIM board member, who is a chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta State, noted that despite possessing all the needed credentials to occupy such position, his appointment would not have been possible without President of Buhari’s approval. He said that the focus of the bank was to export, encourage and support Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and manufacturers in order for them to increase production and export for companies in Nigeria. Chief Dafinone, while explaining that oil consumption and production was dropping globally, stated that as exporter of rubber for over 20 years, he had been supporting the Association of Nigeria Export Group (MANG). “When the last chairman of MANG died about four years ago, the members asked me if I would take over the position, so for the last four years I have been representing manufacturers in export to lobby government and express their concern and see how we can improve non oil export for the manufacturing sector and generally the Nigerian economy. “The position of the NEXIM board is actually for the private export concern and that is why my qualifications make it appropriate for me to honour that sit on the board which I have to use this opportunity for me again to thank my president,” Dafinone stated. Dafinone, the founder of Dafinone Foundation said, “Oil consumption and production is quickly dropping in the world. Norway announced about a week ago that in another 10 years time, the number of electric operated cars in the country will out number that of fuel and gas and other countries are doing same.” He added further: “Very soon, within our life time, hopefully there will be a fall in the demand for Oil and any oilbased economy and by that time we will be in trouble in case of resources.”

Nigeria in dire need of citizens’ support -Arewa Youths From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna


ational President of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Alhaji Shetima Yerima, has said all hands must be on deck to save the Nigeria , saying the country is in dire need of support from its citizens. He stated this while speaking to the media in kaduna yesterday. According to him, hours of complaints, blaming government must be over, adding that there is nothing new to complain about anymore. “There is nothing you want to say that has not been said before. I don’t think this is a time for complaints or criticisms anyhow.

“We must begin to work side by side and if the government is having issue, they are not doing as expected; we must not leave everything in their hands. “ Let us all work in the best interest of the country to ensure we get it right because once there is no country, then there is nothing for you to complain about. “ We will only be running helterskelter; so I am of the view that all hands must be on deck to save the country. The country is in dire need of support, statesmanship and anything that will bring about peace of the country. “ we will continue to see the same things until the government rises up to the occasion.

“They need to work side by side with community leaders, and at the same time equip state and local vigilantes and at the same time, increase the manpower of our security: the police, Army, Civil Defence, AirForce, Navy and other paramilitary agencies because we are already at war. “Nowhere is safe in the country. Some are evil-minded people walking on the streets to disintegrate the country, and some out of frustration, lack of employment, joblessness, and idleness. “Naturally, an idle person will always be thinking of crime. So, in that line, those are the things that come together at the same time

and become a big blow to us as a nation. “ But to overcome this, the country must rise up to the occasion. We must agree that there are challenges. We must agree that we have problems. Hours of complaints, blaming government must be over. “There is nothing to complain about anymore. There is nothing you want to say that has not been said before. I don’t think this is a time for complaints or criticising anyhow. “Let us all work in the best interest of the country to ensure we get it right because once there is no country, then there is nothing for you to complain about.




Gombe Governor parleys Reps Ad-hoc Police rescue 4 kidnapped Committee on tank farm relocation ...Says Gombe will work with NASS to Ensure Safety of Lives, Property of Citizenry victims in Delta


ombe state Governor, Alhaji Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya has said the many needless confrontations within the country could have been avoided if there were deliberate efforts to build strong institutions that will ensure enforcement and compliance in access, layouts as well as law and order. Governor Inuwa Yahaya was speaking when he received in audience, members of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc committee on Tank Farms Relocation and Gas/ Filling Stations Compliance led by its Chairman, Hon. Ibrahim Mustapha Aliyu. The Governor regretted how people abandon their responsibilities and allow lack of planning to take precedence through the citing of highly inflammable depots within neighbourhoods despite its maximum risk to lives and property. “The need for us to comply with development planning and control is key, whatever this committee will do I think emphasis has to be made in adopting the concept of layouts instead of carve out” He told the Reps members that development control currently being

championed by his administration will not allow the flagrant abuse of or citing of tank farms or any other establishment that could be injurious to the survival of the people and their property. Governor Inuwa Yahaya said the establishment of the Gombe State Geographic Information System (GOGIS) and the restructuring of the Urban Development Board into an Authority were done to entrench development control and compliance in the interest of the people of the State. He added that as a reformatory Government, the issuance of Order no 4 was another proactive step taken by his administration to ensure compliance in the area of urban centre demarcation. The Governor observed that the LPG depots that sprang up in Gombe metropolis are sandwiched between houses or business areas making them a danger to lives and properties as can be seen in other states across the country where inferno resulting from tanks farms and LPG depots led to loss of many lives and property. He noted that successive governments placed emphasis on

carve outs instead of layouts, a situation the Governor said is not only dangerous to the tenets of development but also infringes on the rights of way and those of the people which often lead to conflicts. He blamed the insecurity bedeviling on lack of proper planning and control, saying the encroachment of cattle routes to felling off of grazing and forests reserves as factors responsible for farmers/ herders conflicts degenerating into banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling. “So this committee is very important and we welcome you to Gombe because you found us on our reformatory kits, we are embarking on these reforms because we believe that is the key for a sustainable development and the key for peaceful coexistence within our people in the state and within the country”. Governor Inuwa Yahaya said his administration has no option than to right the wrongs of distorted development plan in the State which is the hallmark of any responsible and responsive government, adding that the State will collaborate and cooperate with the committee

towards adoption and subsequent implementation of its report. Earlier, the Chairman, House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on Tank Farms Relocation, Hon. Ibrahim Mustapha Aliyu said the 38 member committee was set up by the House following complaints by Nigerians that the indiscriminate setting up of highly inflammable depots is posing danger to the lives and property of the people. He said the committee has been mandated to investigate the compliance level of these facilities in relation to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) guidelines and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) right of way in some pilot states in which Gombe is one. Hon. Ibrahim Aliyu thanked the Gombe State Government for the hospitality accorded to his committee and praised Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya for the uncommon transformation of the State through his road network eleven hundred project, the Gombe Goes Green and massive control of monstrous gullies within and outside the State capital among others.

From left: Managing Director News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr Buki Ponle; Special Assistant to the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Shegun Adeyemi, and Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, during the an interview with the Minister in Abuja on Tuesday (20/4/21).

Autonomy: Kebbi assures JUSUN of support From Ahmed Kebbi




ebbi State Government has assured the state chapter of striking Judiciary Staff Union (JUSUN) and theNigeria Bar Association (NBA) that the State Government will look into their requests for speedy implementation of autonomy for the judiciary and the legislature.

Receiving leaders of the two Unions during their protest to the Government House Birnin Kebbi, the Kebbi State Governor senator Atiku Bagudu who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Government House, Alhaji Abubakar Aliyu Mustapha, said that the government is fully aware of their demands, assuring them of its commitment towards bringing sanity into the judiciary. “I’m going to deliver the message

to His Excellence anytime he returned back to the State. He has an official engagement outside the state, so for that something good will be done” he said. Delivering their remarks, the State Chairman, of JUSUN Comrade Umar Bawa and his NBA counterpart, recalled that President Muhammad Buhari had assented to the fourth Alterations Bill in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

1999 as amended in June, 2018 which granted a financial autonomy to all state House of Assemblies and Judiciary, subsequently signed the executive order 10 to ensure its implementation. They, therefore urged the State government to consider their pledge by implementing the Federal Government directive on financial autonomy as prescribed in the constitution.

Christians charged to be selfless, as Baptist Church ordains Deacons By Nosa Akenzua, Asaba


hristians have been charged to live a selfless life that will glorify God at all times. This charge was given recently at the Divine Life Baptist Church, Ugbeyiyi, Sapele, during the diaconate ordination of the church.

The Pastor, Rev. Elisha Awhatefe, who took his text from Acts of the Apostles, 6 reminded the diaconate candidates that their duty was that of service and they must strive to be selfless, humble and committed to the work they have been called to carry out. Rev. Awhatefe enjoined them not to be carried away by the new

responsibility but to continue to express those attribute that first qualified them as deacons. He reminded them of the challenges they may face before the people, advising that it should not deter them, but urged them to allow love lead in all they do as deacons of the Church. The newly ordained deacons included Deacon Simon Ofotoku,

Deaconess Pat Aworo, Deacon Godday Akporotu and Deacon Freedom Esaghare Responding on behalf of the new ordained, Deacon Simon Ofotoku thanked God for making the ordination a reality as well as the privilege to serve in his church as well as appreciated the role various men of God played in the entire process.

Members of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), during a rally in supports of Judicial Autonomy in Kaduna on Wednesday 21/4/21

By Nosa Akenzua, Asaba


elta Police Command on Tuesday said that it has rescued four persons from kidnappers den. The Commissioner of Police, Delta state Command, Ari Muhammed Ali, in a statement said that he has mandated DPOS to embark on continuous raiding of criminal hideouts in a bid to nip crime in the bud as well as ensure that all Deltans sleep with heir two eyes closed He urged members of the public to continue to support the command like they have been doing by giving useful information to the police that will help in policing the state, adding that the police in return will ensure that they are protected. According to the statement, at about 0332hrs information was received by the DPO Oghara Division, CSP Jimoh Hassan, that one Solomon Otomierewo ‘m’ of Ibori road Oghara and his girlfriend one Rukewe Urhiephroune ‘f’ were kidnapped while returning to their house, by four armed men who blocked his unregistered Mercedes GLK and took them to a bush along koko road. On receipt of the information, the statement said, the DPO swiftly mobilized patrol teams, vigilantes and anti cults units to the bush where information has it that the kidnappers took the victims to. The statement further read: “The kidnappers on sighting the headlights of the police patrol vehicles, all ran to different directions abandoning the victims, the police ere able to rescue the victims unhurt. “Similarly, On the 18/4/2021 at about 2050hrs, sequel to a tip off that some hoodlums suspected to be kidnappers were operating along Ogor-Ivwreni road. The Divisional police officer ‘A’ Division Ughelli mobilized and led patrol teams to the scene, rescued one Ovwenu Augustine ‘m’ and Victor Orogunu ‘m’ who sustained gunshot injuries on his right leg, the police rushed them rushed to the hospital for treatment.”

Livestock industry critical to economy - Says Lawan •As bill to establish National Livestock Bureau scales second reading in Senate

By Musa Adamu


resident of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said that the development of the livestock industry in Nigeria is critical to the diversification and growth of the economy. Lawan made this known on Tuesday in his remarks after a bill for an Act to establish the National Livestock Identification and Management Bureau scaled second reading on the floor.

According to Lawan, the livestock industry in Nigeria, if properly harnessed and regulated, has the potential of generating trillions of naira needed to stimulate the economy along the trajectory of exponential growth. The Senate President, while delivering his ruling on objections raised amid debate on the bill by Senator Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru, which questioned the competence of the National Assembly to legislate on the livestock industry, argued

to the contrary that the apex legislative body was acting within its legislative jurisdiction to seek the establishment of the National Livestock Identification and Management Bureau. He said: “This is an industry of between N5 to N10 trillion naira in this country. [And] any government or parliament will try to do anything possible to ensure that such an industry is protected and promoted to ensure that people earn their livelihood and have a food reserve of

sort from that industry. “I believe that in this Senate, we even had a resolution or intervention that was based on the Doctrine of necessity, because there was need for the National Assembly to intervene even when it was clear that there was no provision for such a situation. “Sitting here, I believe that we will be doing this country good, we will be doing justice and a great deal of service to our people that we legislate on this. “The identification is just one

side of it, but the protection and management of this sector of our economy that is so huge and massive is critical to our economy. Earlier, sponsor of the Bill for an Act to Establish the National Livestock Identification and Management Bureau, Senator Muhammad Enagi Bima (APC, Niger South) said the livestock sub-sector is an integral part of agriculture and vital to the socio-economic development of the country, though its productivity currently is very low.




Another petrol tanker explodes in Benue From Uche Makurdi



arely 48 hours after a tanker exploded in Oshigbudu, Agatiu local government area of Benue State killing 7 persons, another fuel tanker fell and exploded in the

same town on Tuesday. Though no casualities were recorded in the second explosion, it was learnt that some houses were destroyed. When contacted, Hon Oteyi Sunday, Agatu LGA Secretary who also hails from the town confirmed the unfortunate incident, saying

it occurred at about 3:40am this morning (Tuesday) some metres away from where the Sunday explosion took place. He said, colossal damage was averted as people deserted the area shortly before the explosion occurred, adding that the conductor of the tanker was

arrested as the driver escaped. As at the time of filing this report, the two tankers have blocked the federal road making it impassable. This is just as residents and motorists have called for a ban on heavy vehicles plyjng the road.

Work in progress at Elebele Community Bridge linking Ogbia, Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa on Wednesday (22/4/21).

ANAN partners NIDCOM to establish diaspora offices abroad

By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja


he Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) is seeking collaboration with Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, (NIDCOM) for the establishment of branches in some countries abroad. The Chief Operating Officer of ANAN, Dr. Musa Ahmed Muhammed stated this when the Association visited the Chairman/CEO, NIDCOM, Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who was represented by Engr. Dr. Sule Yakubu Bassi, Secretary, NIDCOM in Abuja. Dr Muhammed reasoned that as a professional body, ANAN’s impact will be felt more if branches are established outside the shores of Nigeria.

He disclosed that ANAN has already contacted a professional accountant, who is also a fellow in the USA and wants to help them set up a branch in the USA. According to him, “But it is wise for us to discuss with NIDCOM to use your good office to achieve this purpose based on the law of the USA, the law of Nigeria especially on the law of the ANAN branch opening”. Dr. Mohammed said that the aim was not just to open a branch in the USA but hopes that NIDCOM should give ANAN the enablement to establish offices in other parts of the world. He also appreciated the prompt response of NIDCOM to issues that concern Nigerians all over the world, urging them to keep up the good work. Responding, Engr. Dr.

Sule Yakubu Bassi, Secretary, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, assured ANAN representatives of NIDCOM’s maximum support in actualising its purpose. Bassi, according to a statement from Alhaji AbdurRahman Balogun, Head, Media, Public Relations and Protocol Unit of NIDCOM, explained that NIDCOM is set up primarily to engage meaningfully with the over 17million Nigerians living abroad and as such will be happy to collaborate with ANAN provided the branches , if established, will impact positively to the Nigerian economy. While commending the success of ANAN so far, Bassi said that he woyld be glad to see

Diaspora accountants who will impact on its training programs and also urged the association to key in to the NIDCOM’s programmes like the National Diaspora Day, Nigeria Diaspora Investment Summit to see how the association can participate actively. A six- man committe was constituted to work out the modalities for ANAN-NIDCOM partnership. ANAN is a professional body of Accountants registered by ACT 76 of the 1973 law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria saddled with the responsibility to advance the science of accounting in Nigeria. It is also a professional body that teaches before examining candidates into the association and has been in operation for over 42 years.

Minister tasks Governing Councils to exploit new revenue sources Maryam Abeeb

The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, has tasked the governing councils to exploit new revenue sources outside government to improve their operations , while ensuring financial discipline. He gave the charge inhis remarks while inaugurating the governing councils of 25 federal polytechnics and 21 federal colleges of education in Abuja. Adamu who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Arch Sonny Echono, stated that funding has remained perpetual problems in tertiary institutions in Nigeria. He charged them to exhibit passion and a deep sense of duty as they chart the directions in which their various institutions will go in the performance of their functions. ‘’ Funding remains a perpetual problem in our tertiary institutions. Governing councils are expected to exploit new revenue sources, outside government to improve your operations, whilst ensuring financial discipline. ‘’You must, therefore, exhibit passion and a deep sense of duty as you chart the directions in which these institutions will go in the performance of their statutory functions. To be clear, the governance alluded to does not in any way entail or necessitate interference by council in the day to day running of the institution. ‘’ In general , the responsibility for the control and superintendence of the policies , finances and property of the nation’s polytechnic and colleges of Education, rest squarely on your shoulders. ‘’’You are also expected to act, in a manner that is best to promote the interest, objects, and purposes of the institutions of which you have, today, become an integral part’’, he stated. According to him, the councils must share the vision, mission, objectives and purposes of the institutions they are heading. Speaking, the Executive Secretary of the National University Commission, (NUC) Professor Abubakar Rasheed in his welcome address said that both the technical education and teachers’ education are complementary and indeed top priority pillars in the revised ministerial strategic plan.


NTBLCP, USAID Train Journalists on Tuberculosis reportage From:Femi Oyelola, Kaduna


he National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP) in collaboration with the Breakthrough ACTION (BA), a USAID-funded project has Organised an orientation for journalists on Tuberculosis reportage in Nigeria Speaking at the Virtual training yesterday the Director National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Program (NTBLCP) Mrs Itohowo UKo commended the participants for their attendance and passion for the fight against TB, saying commitment of the Media and the cooperation of a well-informed public, the narrative on TB would change for the better She said according to the Global TB report, the disease causes ill health for approximately 10 million people each year, saying Nigeria has the highest burden of the disease in Africa and the third highest burden in the world after India and Indonesia. She lamented that over 75 per cent of Nigerians with the disease are yet to be diagnosed or receive any form of treatment. This, she blamed on the lack of awareness about the disease among the communities and the social stigma attached to those diagnosed with the ailment. She said though, in recent times, Nigeria has been improving its efforts in finding the missing cases, those cases yet to be detected are more than those reported. Detecting all cases, she said, is very important because the missing cases are a risk to those who are not infected. She advised Nigerians who have been coughing for more than two weeks to visit health facilities because an infected person can infect 10 to 15 persons if not quickly treated. “Unfortunately, despite significant progress made over the last few years, every hour, 18 Nigerians still die of TB; a disease that is preventable and curable. It is on this basis that Stop TB partnership Nigeria is working with other partners to complement the efforts of the government to end TB in Nigeria. “We also want to use this opportunity to call on the president, Muhammadu Buhari, to accelerate TB response and keep the promise made on TB at the UN meeting in New York last year.” Mrs Itohowo Uko said the media has a great role to play n raising awareness about the health, social and economic consequence of the disease and to step up efforts to end TB epidemic.

Page 9

SOKAPU demands release of detained Atyap leaders From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna


he Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) has demanded unconditional realease of the detained fifteen Atyap leaders by the operatives of Operation Safe Haven. The Spokesperson of SOKAPU Luka Binniyat stated this in a statement made available to media in kaduna yesterday. The Statement added that the Atyap leaders from Zangon

Kataf Local Goverment Area were tricked into a meeting, at one of their operational base on Unguwan Rimi-Bajju road, near Kafanchan in Jemaa LGA also in Southern Kaduna and arrested all of them on the 31st March, 2021. They were reportedly torturous for four days in the illegal incarceration of the military and later passed to the Kafanchan Police Area Command under SP Idris Mohammed Gumel. The Statement further stated

that the Union is asking for the immediate release of these men that were literally abducted by men of Major General Dominic Onyemulu and punished before being passed to the police for further suffering. “We demand that the Nigeria Army Headquarters inquire into how its men have now become tools used for such untowards projects. “ We are calling on volunteer legal experts, relevant NGOs,

CSOs and men and women of means and conscience to assist us in enforcing the Fundamental Human Rights of these poor detainees who can obviously not afford the cost of pursuing their rights without assistance. ,” Finally, we call on Atyap youths and their neighbours to please remain calm and not take the law into their hands, even as they maintain vigillance over their communities.” the Statement reads.

Representative of the CNS, Rear Admiral Perry Onwuzulike(Seated 3rd left ) in a group photograph with officers of the Nigerian Navy’s newest Offshore Survey Vessel NNS LANA to mark the vessel’s port call at Lisbon Portugal yesterday Photo : DINFO NHQ

FG to support anti- cancer innovation


he Minister of State, for Science and Technology, Barrister Mohammed Abdullahi, said that the Federal Government is fully ready to support any innovative technology that will proffer lingering solutions to health challenges. Barr. Abdullahi made this known when he received the management of Next wear technology Hub in his office in Abuja on Tuesday.

Next wear technologies, is a technology start-up that developed a Smart Bra device for early detection of breast cancer. Barr. Abdullahi commended the tech start-up for being the pioneers of wearable technology in Nigeria, adding that this innovative technology will boost the Federal government’s effort at improving the health sector. He further said that the Federal Government will intensify

efforts to improve indigenous technology, also adding that the innovation’s intellectual property will be protected appropriately by the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP). According to the Minister, The Ministry will work closely with the Presidential Standing Committee on invention and Innovation (PSCII), to evaluate the innovation and see how it can

be recommended for presidential grant. Barr. Abdullahi said the innovation will encourage women to participate more in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Earlier, the Project manager for the SMART BRA DEVICE, Bolarinwa Kemisola said she is seeking the Ministry’s support for the project, in terms of finance and technological support.

Sti is Panacea to national security challenges - Onu


he Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu said that the deployment of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), will help the nation overcome many challenges bedevilling her, especially security. Dr. Onu said this during a working visit by the Senior Executive Course (43) of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic studies (NIPSS), in his office on Tuesday. According to Dr. Onu, the use

of STI will enhance intelligence gathering and facilitate the use of cutting-edge technology to eliminate security challenges in all regions of the country. The Minister stressed the need for Nigeria and other developing countries to develop home-grown solutions to challenges facing them, such as production of vaccines to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. In his words, “No matter how wealthy and rich a nation can be, in terms of resources, there is need to

make sure that many of the things needed in your country are locally provided” He said that Nigeria has the capacity to confront all the challenges facing it, adding that all goods and services being imported can be locally produced. According to Dr. Onu, the Federal Government is at the implementation stage of the revolutionary Executive Order 5, which seeks to place Nigerian professionals and deployment of

Technology as the fulcrum of socioeconomic activities. He added, that the Federal Government is focused on lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by the turn of the decade. Earlier, the Director of research at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Prof. Dung Pam Sha, said that the Institute will work closely with the Ministry to ensure the deployment of STI in solving national challenges at all levels.






Letter to the editor



Nigeria’s security and good neighbourliness

Strike pays sometimes

tate governors have agreed to grant financial autonomy to their judiciaries and houses of assemblies. By accepting to do so they have acceded to the main demand of striking judiciary workers nationwide. The strike has crippled courts across the country. The position of the state governors was conveyed by Ekiti State governor Kayode Fayemi as the chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum. Speaking Monday in Abuja, he said the governors and other stakeholders “have reached an agreement on the implementation of financial autonomy for state legislature and the judiciary.” Fayemi claimed that state governors were never opposed to legislative and judicial autonomy, saying the governors, the speakers of houses of assembly and the judges “are on the same page on the issue.” He added, “We just emerged from a meeting with the Solicitor-General of the Federation, the representatives of the judiciary, the representatives of the Conference of Speakers, and House of Representatives and we are on all fours. An agreement has been reached.

of May 2021.” The governor then appealed to the striking judiciary workers to return to work in the interest of the nation. He said calling off their action was important because “as far as this has gone, we have met with all the parties concerned; the President, through the Chief of Staff, has also been briefed on this matter and has been monitoring what has been happening. I think we are basically in a position where whether you speak to the Conference of Speakers’ chairperson or you speak to me or you speak to the representative of the judiciary or you speak to the SolicitorGeneral of the Federation, you will hear that we are speaking with one voice on the implementation and not later than May, you will start seeing the implementation of the agreement that we have reached.” It is regrettable that it has had to take a strike by the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) to get state governors to implement the Financial Autonomy for State Legislature and Judiciary Executive Order 10 that President Muhammadu Buhari issued in June 2020. It makes the budgets of these two arms of government a first line charge. This means that they no longer have to go cup in hand to state governors to literally beg for funds.

However, the governors have been unwilling to cut this apron string to release the legislature and judiciary. They have also refused to let go of local government administration which the Constitution qualifies as the third tier of government

“First, the issue is about implementation. There has been no objection from governors on judicial and legislative autonomies. As a matter of fact, it would not have passed if governors were not in support, in the first instance, in the state assemblies. So, that issue has been fully and holistically addressed, but we don’t just want to agree to something on paper without working out the modalities for implementation. Thankfully, the meeting we have just emerged from, with the Chief of Staff to the President chairing, has worked out the modalities to the satisfaction of all parties.” On when the implementation would begin, Fayemi said, “As soon as the final document that is being cleaned up emerges, that is preparatory to implementation. We are not going to put a timeframe in the air, but it will be implemented as soon as possible, definitely not later than the end


However, the governors have been unwilling to cut this apron string to release the legislature and judiciary. They have also refused to let go of local government administration which the Constitution qualifies as the third tier of government. These abnormalities have been responsible for our democracy not maturing. Things must not go on the way they do any longer. It is good news that governors have accepted to give the legislature and judiciary financial autonomy. They must do the same for their local governments.


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“To be a reputable, profitable, innovative and technologically reliant media company offering world class services and products”

By Paul Ejime


n international relations, a nation’s foreign policy is usually the aggregate of its national interests, especially in the strategic sociopolitical, economic and security/military domains, often considered an extension of its domestic policy architecture. Nigeria, given its size and endowment with human and natural resources, has always held the potential for greatness and continental leadership. It is no secret that since independence from Britain in 1960, successive administrations in Nigeria have pursued an Afro-centrism and good neighbourliness foreign policy. This was informed by the unacceptable devastation of colonialism and racial discrimination suffered by Africans at the time of Nigeria’s independence in 1960 and its admission to the United Nations as the 99th member. At that time, anti-apartheid struggle was ineffective; most Western countries supported the apartheid regime in South Africa, while colonialism and discrimination against Blacks were largely unchallenged. Africa badly needed a strong voice, a rallying point and leadership, and Nigeria was a good fit. The country wasted no time to mobilize and deploy its resources, particularly oil wealth and international clout, into robust efforts for the decolonization and liberation of Africa, including the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa. This stance was primarily driven by an altruistic, if not thankless, and for a large part, unreciprocated Africa-centred foreign policy engagements. Under this policy, Nigeria breathed new life into the struggle for independence of many African countries such as Angola (1975), Zimbabwe (1980), Namibia (1990) and South Africa in 1994. As a result of its principled stance, Nigeria was co-opted into the “Frontline States,” of mainly Southern African nations, for the prosecution of the fight against apartheid in South Africa. According to the South African Institute of International Affairs, between 1960 and 1995, Nigeria alone spent over US$61 billion to support the end of the obnoxious system, more than any other country in the world. A number of high-profile Southern African black personalities were offered asylum in Nigeria, including former presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, while some personnel of the now-ruling African National Congress (ANC) also received military training and other material, financial and diplomatic support from Nigeria. Nigeria was also instrumental in the setting up of the UN Special Committee against Apartheid and chaired the body for three decades, in addition to making huge financial contributions to the UN Educational and Training Programme for Southern Africa, a voluntary trust fund for the education of the black South African elite. Nigeria’s positive influence was felt across the continent and beyond. In West Africa, between the late 1980s and early 21st Century, Nigeria is on record to have spent more than US$6 billion in peace keeping operations in Liberia and Sierra Leone under the leadership of the Nigeria-based Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which the country was instrumental in founding in 1975. On the global level, Nigeria in 1987 established a Technical Aid Corps (TAC) scheme as a ‘practical demonstration of South-South Cooperation.’ This is a voluntary international service scheme under which highly skilled Nigerians, particularly young people, volunteer to serve in developing countries for two years, to among other things, share Nigeria’s brimming human resources with other African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, toward promoting understanding between Nigeria and the recipient countries. These are but a few examples of Nigeria’s sacrifices under its Afro-centrism and good neighbourliness foreign policy. The beneficiary countries might not have reciprocated the “Big brother” benevolent gesture. Still, it has remained a deliberate state policy, pursued with a commitment by successive Nigerian governments and defended by many of the country’s foreign relations experts. There might have been some minor shifts in focus under different Foreign Affairs Ministers, such as the Concentric Circle policy of Prof Ibrahim Gambari (current Presidential Chief of Staff); Economic Diplomacy of the Major-Gen. Ike Nwachukwu’s era, Reciprocity, the Prof Bolaji Akinyemi Doctrine, and the Citizen-centric Diplomacy under Chief Ojo Maduekwe, among others. But in principle, there has not been much change in the content and spirit of Nigeria’s

foreign policy. Indeed, in defending Afro-centrism and good neighbourliness as a dual strategic concept, Nigeria’s first President, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, talked about the “manifest destiny” of Africans, which the country’s pioneer Foreign Affairs Minister Jaja Wachukwu, extrapolated to the “Charity begins at home” mantra. Also, in tandem with the pan-Africanist ideals of Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, then Gold Coast, which gained independence in 1957, Nigeria’s Prime Minister Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa stated in 1964 that “Nigeria hopes to work with other African states for the progress of Africa and assist in bringing all African territories to a state of responsible independence.” But what has changed and why? In 2019, Nigeria unilaterally closed its land borders, citing threats to its national security and economy. Dangerous weapons were being smuggled indiscriminately into the country, while Boko Haram and other terrorist groups had a thoroughfare across the frontiers. Nigerian officials also complained that the country lost huge amounts in unearned duties from the smuggling of goods across the borders. The border closure was supposedly intended to nudge neighbouring governments into action, but they, on the other hand, complained that the Nigerian measure hurt their economies. After one year, the borders were reopened, but not before generating mutual suspicion and stoking apparent reprisal attacks on Nigerian traders in Ghana. At home, the plan by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to build an oil refinery in neighbouring Niger and also construct a rail line to link Nigeria and Niger has been criticised by government opponents. Of course, overlooked that in this criticism is the Afro-centric policy the country has implemented since independence, and which as outlined earlier greatly bolstered Nigeria’s stature on the continent. Many scholars have defended Nigeria’s Afrocentrism and good neighbourliness concept, which is anchored on the four concentric circles of national interest, namely contiguous neighbours, notably Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin; relations with West African neighbours; the broad engagements with Africa, and then a commitment to ties with organizations, institutions and state actors outside the continent of Africa. This is, of course, based on the assumption and purpose of leveraging the policy as a softpower tool to earn respect, support, and to cultivate and enjoy the cooperation of the beneficiary countries. If this policy is effective in normal times, it is therefore a compelling option in a season of unprecedented insecurity such as Nigeria and other parts of the ECOWAS and the Sahel region are now facing. In the same vein, if domestic policies require effective articulation, advocacy, communication/ publicity, buy-in and ownership by the citizens, foreign policies are even more so. On this score, the presentation of Nigeria’s cultivation or support to Niger, as one of its strategic neighbours, if that were the case, at best, is incoherent and lacks effective explanation. Any government policy couched in ambiguity or left to speculations is a recipe for controversy, no matter how well intended. To achieve the desired outcome, a nation’s foreign policy must be coherent, strategic, consistent and coterminous with its national interests. It must also enjoy the support of the majority of the citizens. This has to be cultivated. The nation’s security is as strong as that of its neighbours. This has been underscored by the persistent Boko Haram insurgency, rampages of the so-called foreign bandits, and other sundry cross border criminals. The effect of the Joint Task Force made up of Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon in curbing the threat posed by Boko Haram, at least for a while, showed why Nigeria needs good neighbours round it. The question is not, therefore, whether this is desirable, but the inability of government to articulate this policy and explain it further to Nigerians. There is wisdom in using a soft-power approach to enable Nigeria to exercise the desired influence for mutually beneficial, bilateral/ multilateral partnerships with other nations, near or far. The country has a rich repository of diplomatic and foreign affairs experts that can deliver pro-Nigeria cutting-edge and resultsoriented foreign policy goals. Paul Ejime, a Journalist, Author and former Diplomatic/War Correspondent, is a Consultant on Communications, Media, Elections and International Affairs




Do bandits, kidnappers and other criminals count the cost of killing others? By Isaac Asabor


r. X nearly died of frustration and suffering before he managed to complete his primary education. His parents seemingly begged him to undergo an apprenticeship in carpentry but he bluntly refused. What spurred his parents’ decision then was not farfetched since they were living below the existing poverty level. With an absolute determination and burning ambition he left for the city where he did all imaginable odd jobs, and studied for his GCE through extra mural classes. With his GCE certificate, he secured a job as a Clerk in a prominent company. While in service he saved enough money to finance his university education and eventually became a responsible man and was able to scale the benchmark of the existing living standard in the society. Sadly, like a meteor, he shone so brightly before his life was cut short by armed robbers. Contrariwise, Mr. Y. was born into a rich family and was the heir apparent by his right to primogeniture to his father’s flourishing business empire and estates. He was sent to University of Toronto in Canada for a fouryear degree programme. He neither played truancy nor wasted his father’s money. He humbled himself; socialized and burnt the midnight oil with indigent students without showing-off his father’s wealth and fame. He finally settled down to reap the fruits of his labour but he was brutally murdered by armed gangs. He died with his hopes and dreams like Mr. X. The tortuous paths of life which Mr. X and Mr. Y went through before actualizing their dreams and aspirations coupled with the bestial manner they were killed by armed gangs could be imaginary. But there are many Nigerians who shared a near or similar experience. Moreover, any of the two graphic pictures painted above may be a comparable experience to other unlucky ones in the future. For instance, not few Nigerians were utterly flabbergasted when Prince Eloniyo Dennis Abuda, who was based in Atlanta, Georgia, United States was kidnapped near Agbanikaka , Edo State. with some of his family members including a woman who was

travelling with him to Lagos to catch a flight back to the United States. Four days after he was kidnapped on Saturday, January 30, 2021, his decomposing body was found on Tuesday near the small town of Agbanikaka, Ovia North East Local Government Area of the state. In a similar vein, almost six years ago, in 2015, the police in Benin, Edo State disclosed that Dr. Paul Erie, an Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension of the Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, who was kidnapped from his country home in Igbanke town in Orhionmwon local government area, on 16 June, 2015, was killed by his abductors. The loss to his immediate family and by extension the entire community, is no doubt, unforgettable and irreparable. The sad memory of his demise still lingers as he was one of the erudite indigenes this writer looked up to as his source of inspiration, particularly when he was an undergraduate in the then College of Education, Abraka in Delta State. Without any iota of exaggeration, virtually every community across the six geopolitical zone has similar sad narrative to share. With the unchecked spate of crime in the country, we should not be surprised when the cumulative population of widows, widowers and orphans escalates at geometrical progression. In a society where tradition is highly regarded, strictly observed, accepted and implemented, the widows, no doubt, will unavoidably become underdogs, while the orphans become house helps to their uncles, aunties and other close relations. God forbid! There is no denying the fact that virtually all kidnapped victims are personalities that can be categorized to be in the class of “wellto-do”. After all, kidnappers have no business with poor people. From observations, their targets are those that are considered to be reckoned with in the society, particularly in their indigenous communities. Some were seemingly the voice, ears, eyes and hands of their various communities. To some extent, some of them were able during their life time to provide some community projects by using their societal status and connections

in presenting the developmental challenges of their communities to the appropriate level of government. Again, many of them made their communities to be known, popular and worthy of mention. They were the yardsticks which their kinsmen used in measuring achievement and discipline and in turn using these standards in correcting those, especially the youths, who were treading the ignoble paths carved by the devil. But does it mean that killers like kidnappers are not conscience smitten? They may also not have conscience since they are widely believed to be living by the influence of drugs. This accounts for their being “high”, “stoned” and bestial whenever they are perpetrating their ungodly acts. Given the foregoing, it is glaring that those who enjoy snuffing lives out of others are collectively living a chaotic life. They should begin to pray and ask God if there is any reason for them to be in this world. This prayer is necessary because God did not create any person to be killing others. It would be counter-productive for God’s purpose in creating the earth as a planet. They should let the Psalmist’s prayer to God be answered in their lives. The prayer says “Oh send out thy light and thy truth; let them lead me, let them bring me to thy holy hill and to thy dwelling. See Psalm 43:3. Despite the fact that not all Nigerians are bound or destined to be killed in cold blood by those who are into the bloody business of killing others without blinking their eyelids or showing any sense of remorse, the question that would be on any reasonable person’s lip is, Who is the next victim? Only God knows. God is the only one that knows the future. This goes to show that many a law abiding Nigerian or foreigner has been facing dilemma. Should he flee from his house or continue to sleep with the eyes open each passing night while daily carrying out his social and economic activities with his heart in his mouth? Succinctly put, each passing day brings with it an increasing fear of the unknown for every Nigerian. How long are we going to be living in fear? It is not uncommon today to see drivers obsessively and assiduously scrutinizing occupants of

Nigeria and the paradox called federalism By Jerome-Mario Utomi


oing by available information at Wikipedia, the world’s information power house, Nigeria is among the roughly/about 25 countries in the world where the federal system of government is practiced today. Interestingly also, these countries when put together represent 40 percent of the world’s population. These countries includes but not limited to; namely, India, the United States of America (USA), Brazil, Germany and Mexico, among others Typically, the federal system of government tends to have so much passion for constitutional governance based on a mixed or compound mode of government that combines a general government with regional governments in a single political system. While many political commentators accept as true that its greatest strength as a system of government is that in a country where there are many diversities and the establishment of a unitary government is not possible, a political organization can be established through this form of Government. In this type of government, local self-government, regional autonomy and national unity are possible, others argue that with the division of powers, the burden of work on the centre is lessened and the centre has not to bother about the problems of a purely local nature. It can devote its full attention to the problems of national importance. Because of provincial

or regional autonomy, the administration of these areas becomes very efficient. To the rest, in a federal government the provinces, regions or the states enjoy separate rights and they have separate cabinets and legislatures. Local governments have also separate rights and the councils elected by the people to run the local administration. Despite these virtues, recent conversations about this system of government across the globe manifest signs that it enjoys appreciable burdens and in some cases act as pathways to discord. Take as an illustration, in India, the system presents a conflicting scenario. It is a quasi-federal system containing features of both a federation and a union that allows power to be divided between the central government and the states. Article 1 of the Indian Constitution suggests that the territory of India shall be classified into three categories; the Union Government (also known as the Central Government), representing the Union of India, the State governments and the Panchayats/ Municipalities. Basically, it implies an inculcation of a strong sense of love and respect for one’s region, ethnicity, language, and culture. It is this love which makes regions fight for greater autonomy within the nation and directly puts the authenticity of Indian federalism in danger. Another area of concern is that the most important power of the Governor sometimes comes in conflict

with the federal structure of the country. To illustrate this claim, the power vested upon him by Article 154 of the Indian Constitution states that all the executive powers of the state are held by the Governor. This provision going by analysis implies that the Governor can appoint the Chief Minister and the Advocate General of the State, and State Election Commissioners. The most paramount and in my views troubling executive power at his disposal is that he can recommend the imposition of constitutional emergency in a state. In Brazil, the burden of challenge is not different. More specifically, the problems facing the federal system and constitutional governance in the country involves several issues. First and most importantly, Brazil is a federation characterized by regional and social inequality. Although the 1988 Constitution and those preceding it have provided several political and fiscal mechanisms for offsetting regional inequality and tackling poverty, these mechanisms have not been able to overcome the historical differences among regions and social classes. Governments of the three orders have not been able to reduce poverty and regional inequality. Their ability to act is limited by a number of factors, not the least of which is the fiscal requirements of international leaders and federal financial institutions and regulations. Another factor says a report; adversely

any car or “Okada” trailing them behind through the rear view mirror in a manner that is reminiscent of investigative police officers. Don’t blame them! Everybody now lives in fear. Apart from wasting the precious lives of others together with their hopes, dreams and aspirations and on the other hand depriving others of their breadwinners, crime in the form of killing can cause direct costs like personal losses, such as cars, cash and jewelry that approach billions of naira in a year. Is it not true that when they kill they also rob, maim and even rape? Coupled with these are the costs related to law enforcement, courts and prisons. Some see public outcry over the issue of increasing crime rate as over-flogged. Others see writers and social commentators as being sensational and emotional whenever the issue is being discussed. The major point is that high crime rate repels foreign investments. As it is today in the country, it will be difficult for both local and foreign investors to begin to think of investing in any part of the country. The spiraling rate of kidnapping in the country is of utmost concern to any patriotic Nigerian, and sympathizers across the world. What beats me hollow is that many killers involved in terminating other people’s lives, physically or spiritually, have failed to realize that they must one day render account to God. Dust you are and dust you will return. For instance, the Bible cites many cases of criminals who gave account to God through various punishments. Cain became a fugitive in the Garden of Eden for murdering his brother Abel over good, well-presented and accepted sacrifice. Hophni and Phinehas, sons of Eli, paid with death on the same day for engaging in sacrilegious conducts. Be that as it may, in answering the question “Do Bandits, Kidnappers and Other Criminals Count the Cost of Killing Others?” Which is invariably the title of this piece, it is expedient to task any killer that is reading the piece to always endeavor to count the cost of killing others as there will be a day for everyone to give account to his creator. Isaac Asabor is a Public Policy Analyst.

affecting states is the opening up of Brazil’s economy. This tends to make intergovernmental relations more complex, as it increases the differences between developed and less developed states. This also contributes to the current trend towards reversing previous, although timid, initiatives favouring economic decentralization. An added issue is that in Brazil there are few mechanisms to provide for coordination between the three orders of government. This has become more important because municipal governments have had their financial standing upgraded within the federation vis-à-vis the states and have also been given responsibility for important social policies. The prospect of transforming constitutional principles into policies for regional development is not currently on the agenda for Brazil. While the world sympathizes with Brazilians on whose shoulders lay this awkward situation, federal system in Germany, says 75 years old Rain-Olaf Schultze, and author of the book; the Politics of Constitutional Reforms in Northern America, is at a crossroad and dramatizes worrying concerns. Schultze noted that the new weaknesses have emerged in the success story of postwar German federal system. The highly successful West German federal system, which for 40 years brought economic and social prosperity to Germany’s “second” democracy, has fallen




The relationship issue in Nigeria’s public governance By Rees Chikwendu


elationship is one of the basic sources of challenge that confronts people everywhere. This can either be relationship with God, employees, bosses, family, friends, citizens, etc. And to understand the dimensions of this source of challenge to people can be a way forward to improve public governance in troubled states such as Nigeria. This is because relationship and the value orientation people place on it determine their responses when faced with moral dilemma. With the view to corporate culture, Trompernaars & Hampden-Turner (2015), identified five dimensions of relationship in doing business and management, and these include: rules versus relationship, individual versus the group, the degree of expressing feelings, the degree of involvement, and how status is accorded. Although, these were applied to business management, in this essay, I have decided to discursively stretch it to public governance, with Nigeria as an example. The kind of judgment one brings into a relationship is crucial

to its health and survival. How do you judge the other party with whom you are in a relationship? Have you agreed to particular rules or standards to live in the relationship? For example: Do not lie? Do not cheat? Trust each other? Love her the same way you love yourself? Have deep respect for him? These become obligations if both parties agreed to these rules and standards. But, what if one party encounters a particular obligation or circumstance where s/he decides to break the agreed rules? Well, it is possible that the woman may encounter a former ex – still hot and with six packs – and decides to bend or break the rule, maybe just for once. “I still feel something for him” or “we were once in love,” she excused herself, cognitively. The man, too, can encounter a particular obligation where he decides to break the rule. “If I don’t do this it will show I am not a real man and not in charge in this relationship,” he beats his chest. By the time these trends start to multiply, the rule is shifting (or has shifted) from that which was agreed upon to something else. There is no longer equality. No longer trust. The

rules no longer apply. And the more you continue to make exceptions for these ‘illegal conducts,’ the relationship collapses. This is also true in public governance – that is, the system will collapse when the rules are broken. In business management, of course, there might not be fixed rules. Cultures could determine the rules. Sometimes, corporate organizations may want to push for standard policy across cultures, but they must always be aware of when to jettison universal (generally agreed) obligations for particular (exceptional) obligations. However, public governance is not exactly like corporate governance, but there is something that can be learned from this aspect of business culture and management, in order to improve relationships within nation-states – especially in multicultural and multi-ethnic state like Nigeria. I am of the opinion that generally public governance in plural societies should be tilted towards universal rules system. This is opposite to corporate governance where culture and circumstance is used to determine obligations. This does not mean that a universal rule cannot be jettisoned sometimes

for particular obligations in some public governance situations. In a situation where it does, it should be applied with humane and moral judgments. However, Nigeria’s public governance system is still fundamentally lacking in what should be called agreed or universal rules. That is to say, the relationship has not even (yet) been defined in the relational sense of one ethnic group to another. What is still obtained in Nigeria’s public governance is a primarily particularist obligations and judgments based on the ethnic group of who the president of the country is. If we take the current Nigerian regime as an example, the question of what is good for all citizens rarely comes into national decision-making of the president. It is a nepotism-ridden government, with skewed appointments favoring those from the president’s Hausa/ Fulani ethnicity in Nigeria. The question of who is an indigene and who is not is always asked in national decision-making, which has marred public policies. Therefore, Nigeria’s public governance becomes a matter of who should have my love versus who should have my hate. The lives of people (including

cows) from the northern part of the country are protected while the lives of those from the southern part are discounted. This happens mainly because there are no agreed rules, therefore there is no question like, what does the rule say? Pointing to the constitution as agreed rules here does not make sense to me. Obviously Nigeria’s constitution is a sham. It is a constitution produced in the same way the British colonialists decided the fate of Nigeria in far away Buckingham Palace without involving those that live in that territory. The current Nigerian constitution was a military dictator’s work, in the same manner of the British divide-and-rule strategy, favoring northern dominance. There is nothing democratic about it. No Nigerian ethnic nationality was consulted before it was drafted. Under this situation, citizens from the various ethnic nations in Nigeria do not trust one another. They look at one another with suspicion. And effective public governance cannot be achieved in such environment of mistrusts. Consider this: Where there are agreed rules by the various ethnic nationalities, when a citizen

The reality of the National Youth Service Corps By Uguru Uchechukwu Okannagba


ational Youth Service Corps (NYSC) is the brainchild of General Yakubu Gowon (Rtd) after the Nigerian Civil War that ended in 1970. The NYSC Scheme began in 1973 by Decree No. 24 of 22nd May, 1973, although the National Youth Service Corps Act that established the Scheme commenced or became operational on the 16th day of June, 1993. It is indubitable and crystal clear that the major aim of the Scheme is to promote national unity and peaceful integration after the defunct Biafran War, having admitted to remain one indivisible and indissoluble entity. For the avoidance of doubt of the above assertion, it is material to take a voyage to the Act that established the NYSC. Section 1 (2) of the NYSC Act provides: The service corps shall with a view to the proper encouragement and development of common ties among the Nigerian youths; The service corps shall with a view to the promotion of National unity; and The development of Nigerian youth and Nigeria into a great and dynamic economy. Subsection 3 paragraphs (g) and (h) of the above section further provides: (g) The objectives of the service corps shall be to remove prejudices, eliminate ignorance and confirm at first hand the many similarities among Nigerians of all ethnic groups; and (h) Develop a sense of corporate existence and common destiny of the people of Nigeria. The painstaking swot of the Act mentioned supra is to ensure that the opinion contained in this article is not made without basis or foundation. Thus, having laid an indisputable foundation, the question now is: Has any of the above mentioned objectives been achieved or accomplished since the establishment of the NYSC in 1973 till date or we are just deceiving ourselves in the name of NYSC? The above question shall be answered in the negative and affirmative respectively. This is because, a comprehensive reading of the Act that established the Scheme will leave us without any iota of doubt that the Scheme is built purely on good motive which later culminated to deceit and its aims and

objectives have been defeated long time ago. I am not oblivious of the fact that those who depend on the NYSC Scheme for their feeding or as a means of livelihood will not hesitate to disagree with this axiomatic truth, but the good thing is that, truth is built on a convincing facts which support what one says. If I had all the time and space I would have taken the all the objectives of the Scheme seriatim and analyse them critically, but let me take the pain and deal with a few of them and leave the rest for some other time. Promoting National Unity and Integration: Beginning from 1973 till date, the NYSC Scheme has done little or nothing in terms of promoting our unity as a country devoid of the fact that the country keeps on deluding or beguiling its citizens that the NYSC has achieved a lot in promoting national unity and integration. It is unarguable that Nigeria as a country is heterogeneous and the names we bear as individuals automatically depict where one comes from insofar as he is a Nigerian. Apart from that, greater percentage of the Corps members prefers to serve within their geographical zones. Peradventure, if he or she is not posted to the area of his or her interest, the next option available is to re-deploy to that same area of interest by giving sympathetic and unsubstantiated reasons. This is prevalent and common to the people of South-west, who prefer to serve in their locality without considering the essence of the Scheme, while those that undertake the pain to serve with dedication irrespective of where he or she was posted are being humiliated, defrauded, discriminated against and ill-treated by their host communities as if they are foreigners in their own country or fatherland simply because they are on a compulsory national assignment. Experience, they say, is the best teacher. If not because I am writing this article as an ex-Corps member, I wouldn’t have believed it myself. As a Corps member, I had nasty and unpleasant experiences of which space will not permit me to recount here. Shall we believe that it has promoted national unity while many Corps members don’t always go back to their various places

alive not because of natural occurrence but rather decimated by their host communities, taking undue advantage of them being ignorant of their environment or place in which they found themselves. If the country should honestly take the statistics of Corps members who have been unlawfully murdered or lynched, one will certainly sympathize with the innocent youths on what they pass through in strange lands all in the name of NYSC. The public can only become aware of it when it is covered by the press like that of River State re-run election which was widely publicized. What about the ritual killings, duping and raping of Corps members in the remotest villages where they are posted to serve? The earlier Nigeria as a country discovers its heterogeneous nature and admits the fact that it is a country made up of many nations but which out of the pecuniary interest of the Great Britain, was amalgamated or unholy married together. If this is discovered by those at the citadel of power, they can be able to proffer a lasting solution to the unity and integration of Nigeria as a corporate entity and not to keep wasting the blood and time of innocent Nigerians in the name of promoting national unity which has been defeated over decades ago. Development of Nigerian Youth and Nigeria into Great and Dynamic Economy Without any sense of equivocation or prejudice, are the Nigerian youths and the country itself more developed and dynamic economy-wise now than before the inception of the NYSC Scheme? I believe that as a citizen of this country, one should not allow emotion to overcloud one’s sense of reasoning. With soundness of mind, it is indubitable that the youths of the olden days are more developed, better placed and self-reliant than the youths of nowadays, even though there was no NYSC Scheme then as it is now. My assertion is predicated upon the fact that there was good quality of education with adequate facilities for learning. More so, prior to this era, the welfare of the undergraduates were given utmost attention by the government unlike now that sentiments have taken over, thereby denying the Nigerian youths in many areas, the opportunity of having western education.

How then do we blame the Nigerian youths for not being creative and skillful while the opportunity to be so has been deliberately denied them as a result of poor governance, poor policies, corruption and ethnic bigotry which have eaten deep into the fabric of our country, Nigeria. NYSC as a Scheme came up with the idea of Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneur Development (SAED) to make the Nigerian youths acquire various skills while in camp, but I finally discovered that it is a calculated strategy to exploit Corps members the little token they receive as monthly allowance (popularly called “allowee”) from the federal government, knowing full well that the money is too meager to even take care of a Corps member. If the government has undertaken to develop the Nigerian youths through the NYSC Scheme, why not make SAED compulsory and finance it both in and outside the camp? In all, the cons of NYSC outweighs its probative values and only panacea is for its to be abolished or restructured to avert its vainglory. If I begin to itemize what Ojukwu, Nzeogu, Professor Chika Obi, Soyinka and others were doing in the days of their youths without the knowledge of NYSC you will be consternated. Welfare of Corps Members In line with the NYSC Act, section 6 (1) provides for the establishment of a governing board for the NYSC Scheme in all the States of the federation. Subsection 2 further provides that the governing board shall be responsible for; arranging and providing accommodation, boarding, transportation, and providing other facilities which are essential for the welfare of members of the service corps and success of the Scheme in the state, and many more too numerous to mention. In view of the responsibilities envisaged by the Act, the fact remains that such only obtains in theory and not in practice. It is obvious that the primary need of any corps member is where he or she would lay his or her head (i.e. accommodation), having been posted to a strange land without being conversant with the environment or what obtains therein. But in reality, not of such is made available for the corps members, even though it is the responsibility of the governing



HAJJ: Kebbi assures pilgrims of COVID-19 vaccination

From Ahmed Idris, Birnin Kebbi


ebbi State Government has assured all 2021 intending pilgrims that COVID-19 vaccine will be administered to every intending pilgrim from the State. Speaking to our correspondent yesterday in the office, the Secretary to the Pilgrim welfare Agency, Alhaji Garba Hamisu said 3 days had been embarked for the exercises while another extension of 4 days have been given in collaboration with the Primary Healthcare Agency. “We have completed the three days exercise while another four days had been completed in order to meet up with the Federal Government directive, while the exercise is for the year 2021 Hajj exercise in Saudi Arabia”, he added.

ASUP members of Bida Poly accuse Chairman of corruption, incompetence From Yakubu Minna



ome members of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) in the Federal Polytechnic Bida have accused their Chapter Chairman, Abubakar Ndaasebe of corruption and incompetence. This was contained in a letter made available to newsmen jointly signed by a Director in the institution and former Chairman of the Union, Dr. Victor Okolobah and a Deputy Director, Mallam Alhassan Kawu who accused him of lack of good initiative that drive a well -organized union. It listed the offences of the chapter Chairman to include lack of adherence to the provisions of the Union, spending of funds without appropriation by the Congress, and disobedience to the constituted authorities. “All they are doing in this union contravene the aims and objectives of the union and the earlier he is stopped from doing these things, the better.”


Plateau: Protesting student falls off vehicle, dies A

100 Level student of Plateau State University (PLASU), Bokkos, who reportedly fell off a vehicle during students protest, dies of injuries. The deceased, Isreal Emmanuel, the class Rep of the Mathematics Department of the university, died in the evening from the head injuries sustained when he fell off the car. The Vice Chancellor of the

institution, Prof. Yohana Izam, confirmed Emmanuel’s death in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday. The vice chancellor however described the death of the student as “very sad” and “unfortunate”. “To us as an institution, Emmanuel’s death is shocking and a great loss to us considering the cause of his death.

“We have been cautioning the students against demonstration and protests, which are not jamborees, yet they keep doing it. “Our pain and regret is that the Monday protest has robbed us of a precious soul and forced us into mourning,” Izam lamented. Also speaking, the SUG President, Mr Luepai Ezekiel, confirmed the death of Emmanuel and expressed

sadness over the sudden death. “Emmanuel fell off from one of the vehicles during our protest against the insecurity in the institution and landed with his head on the tarred road. “We rushed him to the Bokkos Cottage Hospital but unfortunately he couldn’t make it as he died later in the evening of Monday,” Ezekiel explained. ( NAN)

From left: Representative of Oyo State Commissioner for Health, Mrs Kehinde Oyebode; Zonal Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), RS 11, Emmanuel Abe; Chief Medical Director, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Prof. Abiodun Otegbayo; and Oyo State Sector Commander of FRSC, Uche Chukwurah, at the commissioning of RS 11.3, FRSC, Oyo State Command Staff Clinic Laboratory, facilitated by Chukwurah in Ibadan on Wednesday

Ramadan: Jigawa Senator, Sankara disburses N36m to constituents

From Mika’il Tsoho, Dutse


s Ramadan largesse to his constituants the Senator representing Jigawa NorthWest Federal Constituency, Dr. Abdullahi Danladi Sankara has donated the sum of N36M in twelve local government areas of his senatorial district. The largesse is coming on the heels of the Ramadan fasting

being observed by all Muslims as one of the obligatory aspect of the religioun. Senator Danladi Sankara who gave the donation yesterday also appealed to members of his constituents to use the Ramadan period to pray for the country and the state to prosper in wealth and guard the youths against evil tendencies. He said the gesture is part of

the annual support he usually renders to his supporters and well-wishers to ease the hardship of daily activities during the holy month of Ramadan. The N36 milliion Naira is expected to be shared among Babura ,Garki ,Gagarawa, Gumel, Gwiwa, Kazaure, Maigatari, Ringim, Roni, Sule Tankarkar, Taura and Yankwashi Local Government areas

respectively. He said each council area was given the sum of N3 million Naira of which the executives will share N1.5 million amongst themselves while other members will share the remaining balance of N1.5 million. Some beneficiaries of the senators largesse prayed for Allah to continue to give him the strength to have the will of supporting the people especially during Ramadan

Transparency: NEITI reiterates commitment in partnering media


r Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, Executive Secretary, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) says NEITI will continue to strengthen its partnership with the media for effective reportage of the extractive Industries in the country. Orji made this known at a capacity building for newsmen on Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and NEITI’s operations in Nasarawa, on Wednesday. He said that the media have a major role to play in ensuring that government got value from revenue generated from the extractives industry in the country.

He said that Nigeria remained member country of the Global EITI and must be transparent in what happened in the sector. According to him, the EITI has been changing on it focus and have moved from focusing on oil and gas, Extractives revenue to Environmental, gender equity and other areas. This, he said, the media must be abreast of as those that help in forming the opinion of the public. “The EITI is evolving and will continue to change, it has moved from oil and gas, to environment, to gender and even to beneficial ownership “It is looking at why the extractive industry

is dominated by male and also at equity distribution in the industry. It has also expanded to energy transition. “In all of these, how will the media report, interpret and form opinion of people in some emerging economies. “That is part of why we are here, we need to be knowledgeable enough to be able to effectively report these areas and NEITI will continue to partner the media especially in area of capacity building,’’ he said. He further urged the Media to continue to be responsible in reporting and ensuring that government revenues were properly remitted to help grow the economy.(NAN)



LASIEC releases timetable for Lagos LG elections in July By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


he Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) has released the timetable for election in the 20 Local Governments (LGs) and 35 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs). LASIEC Chairman, Justice Ayotunde Phillips (rtd), in a Notice, said the commission would meet with political parties on Friday for the release of election guidelines. The Notice is pursuant to Section 21 (I) of the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission Law 2008 (as amended). The election will be held on July 24, 2021, but campaigns are expected to begin on April 30 and end on July 22. The publication of the election guidelines will be on April 24th, the conduct of primary elections will then hold between May 3rd and June 2nd, which the commission shall observe. The collection of Nomination Forms would be between May 4 and June 3, while the display of names of nominated candidates and persons nominating them would hold on June 5. The names of chairmanship and councillorship candidates would be displayed at the LGs/ LCDAs headquarters and ward collation centres respectively. From June 11 to June 16, parties would be allowed to withdraw or substitute candidates. June 19 to June 25 would be the extension period for nominations, where there is one candidate (Only Candidates), while June 28 would be the closing date for the submission of nomination forms of ‘substituted’ and ‘Only Candidates’ by political parties. June 26 would be for the display of the voter register for the elections at the ward collation centres, while the submission of names and addresses of party agents for the poll would be June 28 to June 30. The commission will validate candidates’ documents from July 1 to July 11 and on July 14 display a list of validated and invalidated candidates at the commission’s headquarters in Lagos. The final validation of documents for substituted and invalidated candidates would run from July 15 to July 17, while the publication of Notice of Election at the ward collation centres would be July 16. July 31 was fixed for run-off/ re-run election(s) if there is a need for it. The tenure of the current chairmen, who have been in office since 2017, will expire in July.

Senate approves N257.18bn for Customs in 2021 budget By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


he Senate, on Wednesday, approved the sum of N257,183,671,694.71 as budget for the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) for the 2021 financial year. The approval followed the consideration of a report by the Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariffs. Chairman of the Committee, Senator Francis Alimikhena (APC, Edo North), in his presentation, said out of the amount budgeted for the Customs in the 2021 financial year, the

sum of N99,719,722,681.71 is for Personnel Cost; N19,530,769,000.00 for Overhead; and N137,933,180,013.00 for Capital Cost. Giving a breakdown of the revenue framework, Alimikhena said the Committee increased the NCS revenue target from N1,465,345,719,428.00 (one trillion, four hundred and sixtyfive billion, three hundred and forty-five million, seven hundred and nineteen thousand, four hundred and twenty-eight naira) to N1,678,715,061,014.00 (one trillion, six hundred and

seventy-eight billion, seven hundred and fifteen million, sixty-one thousand and fourteen naira). According to the lawmaker, “in the 2021 fiscal year, NCS revenue target was pegged at N1.465 trillion comprising of N1.267 trillion for Federation Account and N197.996 billion for Non-Federation Account, respectively. However, the Senate Committee deemed this target to be inadequate, while taking cognizance of the recently assented Finance Act, 2021.” He explained that other

factors such as expansion of excisable items, excise duties of carbonated drinks; tariff review on vehicles; re-opening of border; and projected increase on collectible duty of imports informed the upward review of revenue target for the NCS. He added that expected revenue are from seven percent cost of collection for 2021 projected at N111,573,991,091; two percent VAT share of NCS – N7,500,000,000; sixty percent share of CISS – N47,007,935,827; and Retained Earnings for Ongoing Projects, 2020 – N91,101,744,776.51.

R-L: Speaker House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila, acting InspectorGeneral of Police Alkali Baba and Deputy InspectorGeneral of Police Baba Tijani, during a visit to the Leadership of House, at the National Assembly, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Senate mourns Senator Bode Olowoporoku By Musa Adamu


he Senate, on Wednesday, mourned the demise of Senator Bode Olowoporoku when it held a minute silence to honour the deceased who died at his residence on March 24, 2021, after a brief illness at the age of 76. This followed a point of order raised on his demise by Senate Biodun Olujimi (PDP, Ekiti South). Coming under Order 43 of the Senate Standing Rules, Olujimi noted that Senator Olowoporoku was born in llawe-Ekiti, Ekiti State in 1945 to the family of Mr Josiah Olowoporoku and Mrs Otutu Jolade of lrorin quarters. “Observes that he attended the then University of lfe for his first degree in Economics and won a scholarship by Ford Foundation to undertake a postgraduate study at University of Manchester where he bagged his Masters’ degree in Economics in 1972. He later got his doctorate degree in Development Economics at the University in 1975. “Aware that he began his

illustrious academic career as a lecturer at the University of lfe, where he built a reputation of high-level intellectual profile and scholastic erudition. He was a thorough-bred scholar-politician who was part of the conclave of the intelligentsia that gave the Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN its ideological foundation and policy direction. “Notes that a young man, his passion was to offer selfless service to his immediate community and motherland. He served exceptionally as Commissioner for Economic Planning and Statistics in Ondo State in 1979 and supervised the creation of most of the industries and commercial investment that the Ajasin administration was reputed for. “Aware that he was consumed with the idea of Ekiti emancipation and development, and so had to painfully part way with the UPN in 1981 because of what he and other Ekiti compatriots who served in the Government of Chief Adekunle Ajasin as governor of Ondo State perceived as injustice to and

marginalisation of Ekiti people then. “Aware also that he later politically aligned with the National Party of Nigeria, NPN and was appointed Federal Minister of Science and Technology under the Shagari regime before the military took over government in 1983. “Notes that he was at the forefront in the agitation for the creation of Ekiti State, providing extensive funding, and also playing a prominent role working with the Council of Ekiti Obas and the committee for the creation of Ekiti State, and utilized his robust network through his close friends Olusola Saraki and Adamu Ciroma to meet the Late Abacha for the creation of Ekiti State. “Aware that he served as Senator representing Ekiti South Senatorial District between 20032007. Due to his love for Ekiti State and its people, he offered to serve as the Governor of Ekiti State on three occasions but as fate would have it, he was not elected. “Notes that he was a nationalist, a proud Ekiti elder statesman and

philanthropist. We will miss him dearly for his irreplaceable role as a caring father”, Olujimi said. Meanwhile, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, on Wednesday referred the President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for the confirmation of Hon. Justice Salisu Garba Abdullahi as the Chief Judge for the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The Senate also received the report of the Committee on Health (Secondary and Tertiary) on four bills referred to it by the upper chamber. The bills are: the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill, 2021; Sickle Cell Anaemia (Prevention, Control and Management) Bill, 2021; Tertiary Hospitals Development Fund (Establishment) Bill, 2021; and Federal University of Health Sciences, Otukpo, Benue State (Establishment) Bill, 2021. The report was laid by the Committee Chairman, Senator Yahaya Oloriegbe (APC, Kwara Central).




Biafra: Ohanaeze backs UK’s move to grant asylum to IPOB, MASSOB members By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


he apex Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has said that the UK’s Asylum Visa to members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) has ended the falsehood and sponsored violence against Biafrans. Recall that the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) released new guidelines to its decision makers on how to consider and grant asylum applications by members of Biafran secessionist groups. Asylum is to be granted to “persecuted” members IPOB and MASSOB. And the Nigerian government has swiftly condemned the decision of the UK to grant asylum to the members of the IPOB and the MASSOB. But in its reaction, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide described the news as the” genuineness of the international community to change the ugly narratives of Federal authorities to suppress the Southeasterners and unjustly spread falsehoods of non-violent agitators being terrorist groups.” Ohaneze’s statement was signed by Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, the Secretary-General, and made available to journalists on Tuesday. He said the move had contradicted the falsehoods being presented by the authorities to the international community and will help to prevent unnecessary witch-hunting and clampdown on non violent Biafra agitators while the main terrorist groups are pampered by the Federal Authorities. The statement said “We call on all foreign missions in Nigeria to extend such gestures to all freedom fighters and proponents of self determination groups in the country, as it will help to end reckless sponsored violence against Biafra agitators, and bring the government to deploy peaceful mechanisms to ensure that the remote causes of the agitations are properly addressed. “This is the best time, Federal authorities should address the marginalization of Southeast and compensations of the zones should be inevitable with huge projects.”

No amount of instigated violence will deny South East 2023 Presidency - PDP chieftain

By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


head of the 2023 elections, Senator Obinna Ogba (PDP Ebonyi Central), declared Wednesday, that no amount of instigated crises in the South East, can deprive the Zone Presidential seat of the Country. Senator Ogba who made the declaration while briefing journalists on motion he sponsored on incessant killings in Ebonyi State at the Senate Plenary on Wednesday, alleged that the rising wave of crises and killings in most of the South Eastern States, are politically motivated and will not stop the agitation of the zone for the Presidential seat of the country in 2023.

“Though there were pockets of crises in some of the States before now, but the rising wave of such crises resulting into wanton killings of innocent lives and destruction of property is political. “Why is it that when agitation for South East to have a taste of the Presidency in 2023 is gaining momentum , that the senseless killings got intensified ?”, he asked. The Senator had earlier in his motion on incessant killings in Ebonyi State , expressed concern on degenerating state of insecurity in the country. According to him, one of such instances , was the mayhem unleashed on people in

Obeagu, Egedegede and Nkalaha communities in Ishielu Local Government of Ebonyi State by suspected herdsmen on Tuesday, March 30, 2021. This he added, was different from Communal crisis which erupted between Ezza - Effium and Effium people in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of the State since January 2021. He also cited the ugly incidence of three Policemen who were shot dead at a check point in Onuebonyi/Nwezenyi road, Abakaliki, and their riffles taken away on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. He accordingly declared that there was the urgent need for intervention by the Federal

Government to arrest the senseless killings, destruction of properties and other vices , in order to save people from untold hardships. Consequently, the Senate in adopting prayers of the motion, urged the Nigeria Police and other relevant security agencies to carry out comprehensive investigation of the attacks and killings. It also urged the Federal Government to put appropriate measures in place to forestall further attacks just as it mandated the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), to provide enough relief materials to all victims of the attacks and crises.

First Lady of Kebbi state Dr Zainab Shinkafi- Bagudu (middle) breaking Ramadan fast with the students of Government Girls Day Secondary School, Tudun Wada Birnin kebbi,Kebbi State recently . Third from left is the Head girl of the school Khadija Bala

Senate probes alleged killing of Nigerian nationals in Togo By Musa Adamu


he Nigerian Senate has directed its Committee on Ethics, Privileges, and Public Petitions, to probe the alleged killing of some Nigerian nationals of Enugu State origin resident in the Republic of Togo. This followed a petition to the upper legislative Chamber by Concerned Igbo-Eze North Youths, presented by former Deputy President of the Senate and former Speaker of the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS Parliament, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, at Senate plenary on Wednesday. In the petition entitled “Complaint Against the Gruesome Killing of Our Indigenes/Citizens in Togo” and signed by Solomon Onu and Witness Asoanya, Convener and the SecretaryGeneral, respectively, the body

called the attention of the Senate to the alleged murder of Mr. Sabastine Onyeneke, Nnamdi Odo, and Ogbuanya Nathaniel in the West African country within a spate of few months. “First, on 24th January 2021, Mr. Ossai Sabastine Onyeneke, a 39-year old young man, was strangled and stabbed to death at Lome, Togo. Until his death, Mr. Sabastine worked with the Swedish Maritime business giant, Bureau Veritas, situate in De L’cam, Togo. “As if that was not enough, on 6th February 2021, the life of one Nnamdi Odo from UmuAgama community, also in IgboEze North LGA, was cut short in another provocative act of killing in the Agoyi part of Togo. “It is noteworthy that apart from these more recent two incidents this year, in November 2020, one young boy named Ogbuanya Nathaniel from Obimo

in Nsukka LGA, was also murdered in Togo”, the group narrated. It added that it was very pained by the failure of the Nigerian government, particularly the Nigerian Embassy in Lome, to protest the killings to the Togolese authorities. It consequently appealed to the Senate to step in to unravel the killings and ensure that justice was served. “In all of this, it is most annoying and saddening that the Federal authorities have not protested to the Togolese government to know why we should be losing innocent and promising young men almost on monthly basis. “We, therefore, humbly implore the Senate to mandate and compel the Nigerian Embassy in Togo and, in fact, the Togolese authorities and government to thoroughly investigate these most recent killings and ensure that

those behind them are brought to book and that justice is seen to be done”, it stated. Describing people of Igbo-Eze North and Enugu in general as “peaceful, accommodating, and faithful”, the group observed that it did not make sense that foreigners, including Togo nationals, resident in Nigeria went about their businesses unmolested, whereas Nigerians in Togo were being targeted and killed. While denouncing all forms of criminality by any Nigerian, Concerned Igbo-Eze North Youths, however, stressed that should any Nigerian be found wanting, the laws of their host countries must not only be followed, but also must be seen to have been fairly applied. Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions has two weeks to investigate the matter and report back to the Senate.




Senate approves $2.6bn loan request to finance priority projects By Musa Adamu


he Senate, on Wednesday, approved the sum of $2.6 billion (USD) out of the $5.5 billion external borrowing request sent to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari in May last year. The approval came after the Upper Chamber considered a report by the Committee on Local and Foreign Debts during plenary. The approved sum, according to the Chairman of the Local and Foreign Debt Committee, Clifford Ordia, would see €995 million euros going to finance priority projects of the federal government, while $1.5 billion (USD) would be disbursed to the thirty-six state governments to finance critical projects. Out of the total sum approved, $1.5 billion is to be sourced from the World Bank; €671 million euros from the Export-Import Bank of Brazil; and another €324 million euros from the Deutsche Bank of Germany. The tenor/moratorium of the loan to be sought from the World Bank is 25 years at an interest rate of 2.45 percent per annum; while that from the Export-Import Bank of Brazil is for 15 years at an interest rate of 2.935 percent; and the loan request from the Deutsche Bank of Germany for seven (7) years at 2.87 percent interest rate. President Buhari, in a letter dated May 19, 2020, sought the approval of the National Assembly to secure a foreign loan to the tune of $5.513 billion to finance deficits contained in the 2020 budget. He explained that the loan would be sourced from the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, African Development Bank, Export, Import Bank of Brazil and the African Export, Import Bank. According to President Buhari, out of the total $5.513 billion (USD) loan request, the sum of $3.4 billion (USD) would be sourced from the International Monetary Fund; $1.5 billion (USD) from the World Bank; $500 million (USD) from the African Development Bank; and $113 million (USD) from

the Islamic Development Bank. However, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debt, Clifford Ordia (PDP, Edo Central), while giving a breakdown on the application of the sum approved National Assembly, disclosed that €995 million (Euros) would be deployed to finance priority projects to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and to improve Nigeria’s food security through the mechanization of agriculture and Agro processing in Nigeria. He explained that a total of six indigenous assembly plants, one in each geo-political zone have been identified and would be rehabilitated to assemble completely knocked down CKD mechanization farm machinery and equipments to be imported from Brazil. According to the lawmaker, the CKD mechanization to be imported would, specifically, be adapted for local conditions with job creation opportunities for citizens. He emphasized that the loan

is intended to be used to deliver technological package to small holder farmers for a fee through the establishment is service centres in each of the 774 Local Governments of the Federation to be owned and run by private business entities. On providing fiscal support to states across the federation, Ordia disclosed that the sum of $750 million from the World Bank would be used to finance States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Program in all states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory. He noted that the said financing was approved by the National Assembly in June 2020 as part of the $1.5 billion Development Policy Financing to part finance the Federal government’s 2020 revised budget deficit. According to him, the Local and Foreign Debt Committee found that in October 2020, following the continuous economic disruptions occasioned by the pandemic and in view of the need to consolidate on and sustain the gains of the

program and to increase states fiscal capacity to respond to the COVID-19 crises. He added, “the Committee found that the Federal objective of the restructuring is to support states to introduce measures to further mitigate fiscal shocks by introducing COVID-19 responsive Disbursement Linked Indicators at state level, to match the fiscal measures at the federal level.” On his part, Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta Central) while supporting the report of the Local and Foreign Debt Committee, sought to know if the Committee in coming up with its recommendations was privy to the terms and conditions of the loan agreement. Senator Betty Apiafi who raised viability concerns on projects to be financed at the state level, demanded to know if an arrangement was in place for maintenance of CKD farming machineries to be imported by the federal government from Brazil. In his response to observations

and concerns raised by his colleagues, Senator Ordia explained that the documentation of any loan request can only take place after the National Assembly gives its approval to the external borrowing request before it. In his remarks, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said, “the comment by the DSP (Ovie OmoAgege), in my understanding is to say you would be given the terms and conditions of the loan when the request is to be processed by your committee. “My understanding is, this is one step that is necessary, because it is not enough just to look at the annual rate at which the loan is granted, there could be some other issues behind. “I want to imagine that you did that, because that should be the basis for some of your recommendations. It is not enough to base the recommendations on the interest rate alone, or the moratorium or tenor. I want to imagine that that was what your committee did.” R-L; The Principal, Government Science Secondary School , Tunga - Maje, Abuja, Mrs Helen Nkoli Okedo receiving best principal for the year 2020 award in FCT from the National President , Foundation for Correction of Moral decadence (FCMD), Dr. Joseph Danley , during FCMD award ceremony for oustanding Nigerian that Perform well in their carrier and promoting morals value in our society, held recently at merit house Maitama Abuja.

Legal framework for gas development in works – Senator Suswam By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


hairman of Senate Committee on Power, Senator Gabriel Suswam has revealed that a comprehensive legal framework was being put together for the development of Nigeria’s gas sector. Speaking after the Committee met with stakeholders in the Power Sector on Wednesday, Suswam lamented the lack of political will to develop gas resources that are in larger quantity in Nigeria. Reacting to questions from journalists on the long delay in developing the nation’s gas resources, Suswan acknowledged

that, with the lack of enabling laws, investors were unwilling to delve into the sector”, noting that the bill being worked upon would protect their investment if passed into law. He said: The bill has nothing to do with the supply of electricity. “What the bill will do for us is to give potential investors; those coming to invest in our power sector some level of comfort. Most of the investors like the lady said in the meeting are not ready to come because they feel unprotected. “The electricity bill we are laying on the floor of the Senate is to create a legal framework. Anybody that wants to invest in

the power sector in Nigeria will look at extant laws. “We have done the first reading of the bill, and we are hoping that at the end of this month or at the beginning of next month, we can pass the bill into second reading and that is why we invite people for a public hearing to come and make contributions. “The bill is a whole gamut of the power sector like the issue of gas, issues of renewable energy, the issue of tariff that has become a problem to most Nigerians who are wondering if the increment in tariff would be addressed in the bill. Like the President of the gas

association said, Nigeria has more gas than PMS and we can wire gas to peoples houses as it is done in America and Europe. “Why are we not doing it, its because we have not been deliberate; we don’t have the political will power on part of our government to be able to develop gas to that extent where we will achieve some level of comfort. “Gas to power, you recall that Obasanjo regime decided to build ten integrated power plants. The source of energy is gas and those are the ten power plant. We can do more than that. “If for instance, gas is piped to Benue State and any person who

wants to invest and has enough money can build a power plant in Benue. “That enhances power supply in the state and in the country at large. We have the capacity to do that. Gas is gas and we have it under us all over the places. We can do that. “That is why the Committee is coming and the electricity law we are bringing is all-encompassing and deals with the value chain of any part of the power sector.” Gas to power has been a recurrent issue that the Senate Committee has vowed to transform by converting gas to energy for Nigerians.



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Stock Watch: Wednesday, April 14, 2021 Low

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2.80 3.15 0 1.94 3.94 0 0.27 0.27 0 0.64 0.64 0 4.60 8.60 0 37.00 68.30 0 3.79 4.21 0 9.65 10.05 0 31.50 34.00 0 1.90 1.92 0 18.45 18.45 0 1.72 1.84 0 23.25 23.25 0 0.20 0.20 0 0.20 0.20 0 6.10 6.10 0 1.75 1.75 0 186.00 186.00 0 6.00 6.65 0 14.60 14.55 0 1.80 2.00 0 3.37 3.37 0 4.30 4.70 0 14.00 14.00 0 7.35 7.80 0 1.62 1.65 0 1.91 1.96 0 4.95 4.95 99 0.33 0.33 0 21.85 21.85 0 29.60 30.70 0 0.20 0.20 0 12.20 13.05 0 32.60 32.95 0 72.00 72.00 0 1.18 1.18 0 1.53 1.53 0 31.50 31.50 0 0.51 0.54 0 0.20 0.20 0 23.25 23.25 0 0.44 0.44 0 0.30 0.30 0 1.36 1.36 0 0.72 0.72 0 0.52 0.49 0 1.83 1.83 0 2.45 2.45 0

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5.80 6.00 ACCESS -0.35 3.94 3.94 AFRIPRUD 0.00 0.27 0.27 AGLEVENT 0.00 0.64 0.64 AIICO 0.00 8.60 8.60 BERGER 0.00 67.00 67.00 BETAGLAS -1.30 3.79 3.79 BOCGAS -0.42 9.65 10.05 CADBURY -0.40 31.50 31.50 CAP -2.50 1.90 1.90 CAVERTON -0.02 18.45 18.45 CCNN 0.00 1.72 1.72 CHAMPION -0.12 23.25 23.25 CONOIL 0.00 0.20 0.20 CORNERST 0.00 0.20 0.20 COURTVILLE 0.00 6.10 6.10 CUSTODIAN 0.00 1.75 1.75 CUTIX 0.00 186.00 186.00 DANGCEM 0.00 6.00 6.25 DANGFLOUR -0.65 14.60 14.60 DANGSUGAR 0.05 1.80 2.00 DIAMONDBNK -0.20 3.37 3.37 EKOCORP 0.00 4.30 4.30 ETERNA -0.40 14.00 14.00 ETI 0.00 7.45 7.60 FBNH -0.35 1.62 1.67 FCMB -0.03 1.92 1.98 FIDELITYBK -0.04 4.95 4.95 FIDSON 0.00 0.33 0.33 FIRSTALUM 0.00 21.85 21.85 FLOURMILL 0.00 29.60 29.60 FO -1.10 0.20 0.20 FTNCOCOA 0.00 12.20 12.20 GLAXOSMITH -0.85 33.50 33.50 GUARANTY 0.55 72.00 72.00 GUINNESS 0.00 1.18 1.18 HONYFLOUR 0.00 1.53 1.53 IKEJAHOTEL 0.00 31.50 31.50 INTBREW 0.00 0.53 0.53 JAIZBANK -0.01 0.20 0.21 JAPAULOIL 0.00 23.25 23.25 JBERGER 0.00 0.44 0.44 JOHNHOLT 0.00 0.30 0.30 LASACO 0.00 1.36 1.36 LEARNAFRCA 0.00 0.72 0.72 LINKASSURE 0.00 0.52 0.52 LIVESTOCK 0.03 1.83 1.83 MANSARD 0.00 2.45 2.45 MAYBAKER 0.00

Stock Close Gain UPL 1.14 0.13 LIVESTOCK 0.52 0.01 SOVRENINS 0.21 0.03 OKOMUOIL 60.00 1.80 GUARANTY 23.50 0.55

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0.11 0.21 0 0.21 0.21 MBENEFIT 0.00 0 0.43 0.43 0 0.43 0.43 MCNICHOLS 0.00 0 1.05 2.05 261 2.05 2.05 MEDVIEWAIR 0.00 0 124.80 184.80 0 184.80 184.80 MOBIL 0.00 0 0.20 0.20 970 0.20 0.20 MULTIVERSE 0.00 0 3.50 3.50 0 3.50 3.50 NAHCO 0.00 0 18.00 18.00 0 18.00 18.00 NASCON 0.00 0 78.50 78.70 0 79.50 79.50 NB 0.80 0 0.78 0.78 0 0.78 0.78 NEIMETH 0.00 0 2.60 2.60 0 2.60 2.60 NEM 0.00 0 552.20 552.20 150 552.20 552.20 NESF 0.00 0 1,475.00 1,475.00 0 1,475.00 1,475.00 NESTLE 0.00 0 1.60 1.65 0 1.60 1.60 NPFMCRFBK -0.05 0 4.60 4.80 0 4.60 4.75 OANDO -0.20 0 80.00 76.20 0 80.00 80.00 OKOMUOIL 3.80 0 64.00 64.00 0 64.00 64.00 PRESCO 0.00 0 0.50 0.50 0 0.50 0.50 PRESTIGE 0.00 0 12.30 12.30 0 12.30 12.30 PZ 0.00 0 4.20 4.20 0 4.20 4.20 REDSTAREX 0.00 0 0.20 0.21 0 0.20 0.21 REGALINS -0.01 0 0.50 0.50 0 0.50 0.50 RESORTSAL 0.00 0 0.21 0.23 0 0.21 0.22 ROYALEX -0.02 0 640.00 640.00 405 640.00 640.00 SEPLAT 0.00 0 0.20 0.20 0 0.21 0.21 SOVRENINS 0.01 0 46.50 46.00 0 46.50 46.50 STANBIC 0.50 0 102.00 102.00 122 102.00 102.00 STANBICETF30 0.00 0 1.97 1.96 0 1.97 1.97 STERLNBANK 0.01 0 203.00 203.00 0 203.00 203.00 TOTAL 0.00 0 6.10 6.10 632 6.10 6.10 TRANSCOHOT 0.00 0 1.15 1.21 0 1.16 1.18 TRANSCORP -0.05 0 9.60 9.60 0 9.60 9.60 UACN 0.00 0 1.74 1.92 0 1.74 1.74 UAC-PROP -0.18 0 7.60 7.80 0 7.90 7.95 UBA 0.10 0 6.00 6.05 0 6.00 6.05 UBN -0.05 0 2.89 2.94 0 2.89 2.91 UCAP -0.05 0 36.30 37.00 0 36.30 36.30 UNILEVER -0.70 0 0.27 0.27 0 0.27 0.27 UNIONDAC 0.00 0 1.00 0.99 0 1.00 1.00 UNITYBNK 0.01 0 2.04 1.97 0 2.14 2.14 UPL 0.17 0 0.23 0.23 0 0.23 0.23 VERITASKAP 0.00 0 4.50 4.99 0 4.50 4.50 VITAFOAM -0.49 0 11.30 11.50 0 11.30 11.65 WAPCO -0.20 0 0.40 0.40 0 0.40 0.40 WAPIC 0.00 0 0.59 0.61 0 0.59 0.61 WEMABANK -0.02 0 21.20 22.70 0 21.70 22.50 ZENITHBANK -1.00 0 Copyright © 2019 NgTradeOnline

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AFCFTA: Nigerian firms to access African markets worth $666.17bn -Emefiele T By Etuka Sunday

he Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele has disclosed that the full implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA) was projected to give Nigerian firms preferential access to markets in Africa worth $504.17billion in goods & $162bn in services, totalling $666.17billion. Mr. Emefiele disclosed while in his remarks at the Zenith’s Bank 2021 Export Seminar held Tuesday, 20th April 2021, titled, Nigeria’s Economic Prosperity: The Role of Intra-Regional Trade and Non-Oil Exports Initiatives. The apex bank governor noted that the volatility in the oil markets which has exposed the Nigerian economy to significant exogenous shocks, along with the growing trajectory towards lesser use of fossil fuels in the near future, by some

advanced and emerging market countries, makes it imperative to significantly work to improve the country’s non-oil exports earnings. He explained that the AFCFTA, offers significant opportunities for the Nigerian private sector to expand into new markets, and seek new export opportunities, particularly in the area of Manufacturing, ICT, Agriculture and Financial services, given our growing advantage in these areas relative to our counterparts in other parts of Africa. “I believe that we should seize this opportunity to ensure that Nigeria serve as a significant hub for international and domestic manufacturing companies seeking to serve the West, Central and East African Markets”, he added. The governor said, developing trade portals that could support instant sales of goods manufactured in Nigeria to consumers in other

parts of Africa was one aspect that could help to support the creation of jobs in Nigeria and improve foreign exchange inflows for the country. He said, the bank has taken considerable steps to improve the productive capacity of businesses, which would enable them take advantage of export opportunities in Africa. “Our intervention programs in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors, are helping to enable businesses expand their scale of production, which is meeting growing domestic demand for goods, but also providing goods for the export market. “In addition, we have set up a N500bn non-oil export stimulation facility with the Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM). “This initiative will also help to enable greater exports of processed agriculture commodities into other markets in Africa and in the global

market”, he added. The CBN boss said, improving the business environment in Nigeria was also vital to harness the gains of AFCFTA, therefore, the Bank through its Trade Monitoring System portal (TRMS) was helping to reduce the time it takes to complete the export documentation process, as faster turnaround time could help to reduce delivery time for goods destined for exports, and enable businesses expand their output. “Today, businesses can complete their NXP applications on the TRMS portal in 30 minutes relative to two years ago, where it could take as much as two weeks to complete the process”, he said. Emefiele said, the bank was working with stakeholders in repositioning the Nigerian Commodity Exchange, which would help to support greater trade for operators in these vital sectors

earlier mentioned. “Once the exchange becomes fully operational in the 2nd half of the year, international buyers of raw and processed agricultural commodities will be able to enter into forward contracts with domestic suppliers on the exchange, and they can be assured of not only the quality of the goods sold through the exchange, but on the expected date of delivery”, he added. He urged existing exporters to repatriate their export proceeds as required by law to improve foreign exchange inflows into the country, adding the CBN guarantees that exporters would have unfettered access to their export proceeds. According to him, the initiatives being put in place by the CBN would help to ensure that Nigerian businesses are able to take advantage of the growing opportunities in the African Market.

Plateau State Commissioner for Land, Survey and Town Planning, Mr Yakubu Dati (L) addressing representatives of Nukwis community and officials of Nigeria Film Corporation during their visit to the scene of the land dispute between Nigeria Film Corporation and Nukwis community of Izere Chiefdom in Jos North of Plateau State on Wednesday (21/4/2021)

Finance Minister Advocates Stronger Partnership Between NESG, FG By Etuka Sunday


he Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed has advocated stronger and well-defined partnership between the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) and the Federal Government, represented by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning. Mrs Ahmed spoke in her remarks at the Presentation of the Report of the 26th Nigerian Economic Summit, Tuesday, April 20, 2021 in Abuja. She said, beyond the joint hosting of the Annual Summit, the Nigerian Economic Summit Group is currently assisting the

Ministry in its efforts at producing the Successor Plans to both the NV20:2020 and ERGP, 20172020. She said, “the Ministry will work with the NESG to put in place, a Memorandum of Understanding to anchor and formalize this partnership as well as define the roles of both parties.” The minister noted that the 2020 Summit provided opportunity for a significant turning point for the Federal government, sub-national governments, the Youth and Private sector to collectively pursue innovative and collaborative policies. She said, it also reviewed the challenges of unemployment, inequality, poverty and gaping

infrastructure deficit and made recommendations. “The recommendations among others bothered on restructuring our education system and rebuilding the health infrastructure; Harmonization of national data with unique identifier; deliberate policy on Youth empowerment; ensure unity in diversity; and effective collaboration among the Federal Government, sub-national governments and the private sector”, she said. Mrs Ahmed said, she has “noted the detailed recommendations with responsible institutions. We will transmit the recommendations to Mr. President and indeed the Federal Executive Council. With

the approval of Mr. President, government will put in place deliberate policies, working with responsible Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to ensure implementation of the recommendations”. She commended the NESG for developing the Economic Outlook, which according to her, would no doubt provide a guide to government in its efforts to better the lots of Nigerian citizens. Ahmed informed that the 27th Nigerian Economic Summit would hold in October 25 – 26, 2021, therefore, encouraged the Joint Planning Committee to immediately commence preparation for the 27th Summit. Earlier, the Chairman, NESG,

Mr. Asue Ighodalo said, about 6,400 participants attended the 26th Summit, adding that about 350 attended physically while, over 6,000 joined virtually because of the #EndSARS protest across the country and the global covid-19 pandemic. Mr. Ighodalo said, the recommendations as contained in the report of the summit amongst other stressed the need for State governments to be competitive and focus to drive more internally generated revenue (IGR). It also stressed the need for stability, growth and sustainability of the economy, while advocating for the passage of Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to attract investment into the country.





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NGO harps on establishment of Cancer testing centres By Stanley Onyekwere


n Abuja-based Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), Helpline Foundation for the Needy, has stressed the need for establishment of cancer testing centres, so as to assist in the treatment and prevention of the disease that has claimed millions of lives around the globe. The founder and president of the group, Dr. Jumai Ahmadu,

told journalists in Abuja that early detection has been identified as a means to control and prevent the spread of cancer, as the effect of new treatments for cancer on mortality has been largely disappointing. Ahmadu affirmed that the most promising approach to the control of cancer is a commitment by tiers of Government towards prevention. She lamented that despite decades of basic and clinical research and trials of promising

new therapies, cancer remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality, just as she called for collective action against cancer. She noted that the enduring power of cooperation and collective actionnhave an impact on every neighbourhoods, communities and cities. “The war against cancer is far from over. This is because despite decades of basic and clinical research and trials of promising new therapies, cancer remains a major cause of

morbidity and mortality. “The effect of new treatments for cancer on mortality has been largely disappointing. Therefore, the most promising approach to the control of cancer is a national commitment to prevention. There is urgent need for government at all levels to set up cancer testing centres. “Above all, our collective actions have an impact on everyone around us, within our neighbourhoods, communities

and cities. “Besides, our actions are also being felt across borders. That is the reason why Helpline Foundation for the Needy aligns ourselves with this year’s Cancer Day theme; ‘Together, all of our actions matter’. “This year is a reminder of the enduring power of collective action. When we choose to come together, we can achieve what we all wish for: a healthier, brighter world without cancer,” Ahmadu stated.

Cross section of COVID 19 suppliers and Contractors in FCT protesting non payment after completing their job for over a year, at the Minister’s of FCT office, on Monday in Abuja. Photo : Justin Imo-owo

AMAC: Students to get N26m scholarship in May

By Stanley Onyekwere


tudents from the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) studying in Tertiary institutions are set to receive over 26 million Naira as scholarship fund. It was gathered that the scholarship would be disbursed in May, this year to both indigenes and non indigenes of the area council. Making this disclosure, the AMAC Chairman, Abdullahi Candido, said the Council had last year, secured admission for no fewer than 50 students to study

science related courses at the University of Abuja. Candido, who spoke at a recent 2021 Media Retreat organised for newsmen and his media team, said: “In terms of education, we have taken steps to ensure that we have put in place measures of supporting education “We have approved N26 million as disbursement for our students in tertiary institutions, it is not all about building additional schools here and there. But the ones that we have built, we want to sustain them”.

He explained that the area council’s school for the gifted is an ICT driven and innovative school which would be completed soon. He added that the proposed AMAC Community Radio is at 70 per cent completion, stressing that the station would go on air on or before May 20. Candido, who commended media practitioners for their support since inception of his tenure, also charged them to not relent on projecting the council’s achievements. In his presentation, one of the resource

persons at the occasion, Associate Prof. Sheriff Ibrahim, commended the chairman for the numerous achievements recorded so far. Ibrahim, who did justice to the topic, ‘Prospects and Way Forward of Candido’s Administration’, enjoined the chairman to consolidate more efforts on education, employment and job opportunities for youths. He equally noted the need to the enhance porous security architecture and effective revenue generation and services, among others.


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world news


Daunte Wright shooting: Officer Kim Potter to be charged over killing A

white police officer who shot dead a black motorist in Minnesota is to be charged with second-degree manslaughter, prosecutors say. Officer Kim Potter says she shot Daunte Wright accidentally, having mistakenly drawn her gun instead of her Taser. Responding to the charges, the Wright family’s lawyer Ben Crump said the killing was an “intentional, deliberate, and unlawful use of force”. Both Mrs Potter and Chief Tim Gannon have quit the Brooklyn Center force. The killing has sparked three nights of clashes between police and protesters. It happened in a suburb of Minneapolis, a city already on edge amid the trial of a white ex-police officer accused of murdering African American George Floyd. In a statement, Mr Crump said the Wright family appreciated that the district attorney was charging Mrs Potter but “no conviction can give the Wright family their loved one back”. “A 26-year veteran of the force knows the difference between a taser and a firearm. Kim Potter executed Daunte for what amounts to no more than a minor traffic infraction and a misdemeanour warrant,” he said. Daunte Wright was shot after being stopped by police for a traffic violation On Tuesday night, bottles and other projectiles were thrown at the Brooklyn Center police headquarters and officers

Kim Potter quit the police force on Tuesday responded by firing tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets. Earlier on Tuesday the families of Mr

Wright and Mr Floyd came together to demand an end to the killing of unarmed black Americans by police.

“The world is traumatised watching another African-American man being slain,” Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd said. On Monday, Police Chief Gannon said the shooting of Mr Wright - who had a oneyear-old son - appeared to be an “accidental discharge” after Mrs Potter mistook her service pistol for a stun gun. But the families have rejected the explanation that Mr Wright’s death was an accident. Mr Wright’s aunt Naisha said: “I watched that video like everybody else watched that video. That woman held that gun in front of her a long damn time.” Mrs Potter’s bodycam footage shows her shouting “Taser” before firing her gun. Mr Wright’s mother Katie told reporters her son had called her after he was pulled over by police, and that she had offered to give insurance details to police over the phone. She said she heard police order him to get out of the vehicle. There was a scuffling sound and an officer told him to hang up the phone. When she was eventually able to call back, his girlfriend answered and told her he had been shot. “She pointed the phone toward the driver’s seat and my son was laying there, unresponsive,” she said in tears. “That was the last time that I’ve seen my son.” Source: BBC

China endeavors to create more comfortable living environment for people by expediting urban renewal By Zhao Zhanhui, People’s Daily


rban development in China will shift from the old approach of expansion in scale and inefficient growth to a new one that leads to improvement in the quality of development, which conforms to the law of urban development as well as people’s growing needs for a better life, said an official with China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD). “After decades of rapid development, Chinese cities have already grown in size as possibly as they can and the old urban development and construction model featuring large-scale construction and massive consumption and emission can hardly be sustained,” said Wang Ke, deputy head of the division of building energy efficiency and science and technology of MOHURD. In its latest Outline of the 14th FiveYear Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035, China stated that it will accelerate the transformation of the urban development model, make overall plans for urban planning, development, and management, implement an action plan for urban renewal, and optimize urban spatial structure and improve the quality of urban living space. Implementing the action plan for urban

renewal is believed to be an inevitable requirement for adapting to the new situation of urban development and boosting high-quality urban development. China saw the percentage of permanent urban residents rise to 60.6 percent of the population in 2019, which indicates that the country has already entered the middle and later stage of rapid urbanization. As urban development comes to the important stage of urban renewal, China decides to shift from the model of largescale quantity-oriented development to one that attaches equal importance to quality improvement and transformation of existing projects for urban development and structural adjustment to new ones. The country’s action plan for urban renewal covers various aspects and is expected to exert far-reaching influence on improving the quality of urban living environment and the lives of urban residents. According to Fang Ming, head of Chinese Institute of Urban Scientific Planning and Design, urban renewal can speed up the development of new economy. New business forms based on the Internet, including live-streaming, distance learning, telecommuting, and e-commerce, are flourishing in China. These new business forms may no longer need very large plants or development zones, but require a working and living environment that can stimulate people’s creativity.

By transforming and renewing idle or inefficient spatial resources, cities can provide new industries and business forms with more suitable space for development, Fang noted. Fang believes that urban renewal helps restructure and develop new urban functions. For example, by upgrading and adding facilities and public services, China has guaranteed that cities can perform integrated functions; through updating and densifying urban traffic network, it has also improved transportation efficiency. Such urban renewal measures can heighten urban vitality while better satisfying residents’ living and leisure needs, Fang noted. Urban renewal can create new conditions for preserving art treasures in urban space, according to Fang, who considers urban renewal a great opportunity for inheriting historical and cultural heritage in cities, as it not only means protecting excellent traditional buildings and blocks, but signifies preserving the historical and cultural heritage hidden behind them. Fang pointed out that urban renewal can facilitate the development of new scientific and technological achievements in urban construction. By quickening construction and transformation of new urban infrastructure facilities featuring digitalization, network, and intelligence, China can comprehensively improve the level of urban construction and operational

efficiency in cities. Urban renewal should benefit the overall interests of cities through overall planning, and advance step by step according to the urgency of people’s needs, Wang said. He believes that urban renewal is not the transformation and renewal of a single project, but a systematic program that involves redistribution of urban space. For example, the transformation of an old neighborhood should not be an independent task, but needs to be integrated to the renovation of the surrounding environment, Wang said. China should give play to the roles of all sectors of society in promoting urban renewal, according to Xu Leiqing, professor of the College of Architecture and Urban Planning of Tongji University. So far, many cities have kicked off urban renewal projects and made progress with practices featuring participation of multiple players and multi-channel fundraising, Xu said. “For instance, the funds for rebuilding old residential areas in Laoshansancun neighborhood in Pudong New Area of east China’s Shanghai were from sources including residents and public benefit crowdfunding activities. Residents and volunteers have also taken part in the reconstruction of the neighborhood, and all sectors of society have been involved in the process,” Xu added.



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Defiant Egypt seizes ship that blocked Suez Canal Zuma over $900m compensation claim dismisses E court deadline as ‘a sham’


outh Africa’s ex-President Jacob Zuma has rejected as “a sham” a request by the country’s top court to suggest what punishment he should face if found guilty of contempt of court. He faces possible sanctions for failing to appear in February before the Zondo Commission, a judicial inquiry into corruption during his presidency. Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng had given Mr Zuma until Wednesday to file an affidavit, no longer than 15 pages, to the Constitutional Court. But in a 21-page letter to the chief justice, the former president said that he had come to the conclusion that there was an “inexplicable judicial antipathy” towards him. Mr Zuma, who resigned as president under pressure in 2018 facing numerous allegations of corruption, has repeatedly cast himself as a victim of conspiracy. The BBC’s Pumza Fihlani in Johannesburg says it might have seemed a bizarre request from Justice Mogoeng - to make of a person accused of breaking the law suggest his own punishment - but by bending over backwards and extending him every possible courtesy, he may have hoped to pre-empt Mr Zuma’s complaints that he has been treated unfairly. However, if that was the plan, it backfired as Mr Zuma reiterated at length that he had no faith in the judiciary. “My decision not to participate in the contempt of court proceedings was based on my belief that my participation would not change the atmosphere of judicial hostility and humiliation reflected in its judgment against me,” he said. The courts had joined the political narrative in which he was “routinely a subject of political ridicule and commentary”, the 79-year-old antiapartheid veteran said. The Zondo Commission was controlled by his “political foes”, he added. The former president said he had a constitutional right “to be presumed innocent, to remain silent and not to testify in proceedings”. “I do not accept that I committed contempt of court when I decided not to participate in the commission proceedings in circumstances where my rights would be violated.” In his letter, he argued that the Zondo Commission, which he set up, had not been established correctly. “What the Zondo Commission has done is inexcusable and I will live to see my vindication when - after squandering billions of much needed public revenue, an independent court reviews and set aside the findings of the commission on the basis that it was not established in accordance with our constitution.” Source: BBC

gypt will impound the giant container ship that blocked the Suez Canal last month until its Japanese owner pays $900m (£652m) in compensation. One of the Ever Given’s insurers, UK Club, said the Suez Canal Authority had rejected its offer to settle the claim. It described the claim, which includes $300m for a salvage bonus and $300m for loss of reputation, as “extraordinarily large” and “largely unsupported”. The Ever Given is anchored in the Great Bitter Lake, the canal’s midway point. The 400m-long (1,312ft), 220,000-tonne ship became wedged diagonally across the waterway on 23 March after running aground amid high winds and a sandstorm that affected visibility. It was freed six days later, after a salvage operation involving a flotilla of powerful tug boats and dredging vessels that shifted an estimated 30,000 cubic metres (1.1m cubic ft) of mud and sand. More than 400 vessels had to wait to pass through the 193km (120-mile) canal, which connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea and provides the shortest sea link between Asia and Europe. The chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), Osama Rabie, said on Tuesday that the Ever Given had been “seized due to its failure to pay $900m”

The Ever Given has been anchored in the Great Bitter Lake since it was refloated

in compensation, Egyptian state media reported. The figure was based on the “the losses incurred by the grounded vessel as well as the flotation and maintenance costs”, he added. UK Club - which insured the ship’s owner Shoei Kisen Kaisha for third-party liabilities, including damage caused to infrastructure or claims for obstruction - said in a statement that it had been negotiating in good faith with the SCA “despite the magnitude of the claim”. “On [Monday], a carefully considered and generous offer was made to the SCA

to settle their claim,” it added. “We are disappointed by the SCA’s subsequent decision to arrest the vessel.” “We are also disappointed at comments by the SCA that the ship will be held in Egypt until compensation is paid, and that her crew will be unable to leave the vessel during this time.” This satellite photograph shows how the Ever Given was wedged across the canal UK Club said the SCA had not provided a detailed justification for its claim, noting that the grounding resulted in no pollution and no reported injuries.

Niger school blaze: Trapped children die in Niamey


t least 20 children have died after they became trapped in a fire at a school in Niger’s capital, Niamey. It started late on Tuesday afternoon when the children were in lessons, many in straw-hut classrooms. The flames blocked the school gate, so most pupils had to escape over a wall, said a teacher’s union official quoted by Reuters. Most of those who did not manage to escape were attending the school’s nursery, officials say. The government-run junior and pre-school in the Pays Bas district of the city had a mixture of brick and straw-hut classrooms, BBC Hausa’s Tchima Illa Issoufou reports from Niamey. In total 28 straw classrooms were completely destroyed and some of the school’s 30 permanent classrooms were also damaged, she says. Straw-hut classrooms are often built as overflow areas for lessons in schools when there are not enough brick ones, our reporter says. A man who lost his six-year-old son in the fire urged the government to construct safe schools for children. “Let’s not put everything in the hands of God, let’s not put everything in the hands of the state,” he told the BBC.

The remains of desks are all that is left from the straw-hut classrooms

“We have lost 20 children in a fraction of a second - we must call on the state to say that hut classes should no longer exist anywhere in the country.” Fire service commander Sidi Mohamed told public television that firefighters attended the scene quickly, but “the power of the fire was enormous”, the AFP news agency reports. Parents were waiting at the Pays Bas Primary School on Wednesday morning to find out about arrangements for

burying their children, our reporter says. Muslim burials usually take place within 24 hours of a death. Teachers’ union official Mounkaila Halidou said there were about 800 students attending the school. “Those who died were mostly in the pre-school,” he said. It is not yet clear what caused the fire. Niger is the world’s poorest nation, according to the UN’s development rankings for 189 countries.



N e w s F r o m A SI A China turns “Water Cube” into curling venue for Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics By Fan Jiayuan, Li Yanfei, People’s Daily


hina’s National Aquatics Center, also known as the “Water Cube,” showcased its powerful technology of temperature control during an ice sports testing program titled “Experience Beijing” launched from April 1 to 10. As the world’s first sports venue that is able to turn its swimming pool into an ice rink, the “Water Cube” will be transformed into an “Ice Cube” during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, serving as the venue for curling events and wheelchair curling events. The “Water Cube” is the largest Olympic natatorium and the largest membrane structure building in the world, as well as the world’s first polyhedron steel structure. Now, it is crowned with new titles such as the world’s first Olympic and Paralympic venue that establishes curling lanes above a swimming pool, and the world’s first sports venue that can run ice and aquatic events simultaneously. To turn the “Water Cube” into an “Ice Cube” is not as easy as making ice on the ground. The transition takes five procedures, including pumping the water, setting up steel frames and mounting plates, paving the insulating layer and waterproof layer, installing a removable ice making system and glaciating the water

Constructors work to turn the National Aquatics Center into the curling venue for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, Nov. 20, 2020. (Photo from the official website of the National Aquatics Center) with refrigerating medium, said Hou Bencai, vice general manager of China Construction First Group Construction and Development Co., Ltd. Precision control is the most difficult part of the process, he introduced. Curling events have a very high requirement on the flatness

of the ice. The deformation of the support structure shall be less than 1 millimeter under a pressure of 150kg per square meter. Besides, it is also hard to realize the complicated temperature and humidity stratification. Aquatic events are held in an environment with high temperature and

humidity, while it is the other way around for ice sports. Curling events have even stricter requirements on environment, during which the temperature must be kept in three different zones. The temperature of the ice rink must be controlled at -8.5 degrees Celsius, and the air 1.5 meters above the ice rink shall always be kept at 10 degrees Celsius. Besides, the spectator zone shall maintain a temperature between 16 to 18 degrees Celsius to offer a pleasant environment for the spectators. It is learned that the temperature in the venue is controlled by a smart system consisting of over 4,000 sensors. This “smart brain” is able to monitor and control the temperature, humidity and PM2.5 concentration in the “Water Cube.” When temperature varies in different places of the venue, the system would make adjustment through the ventilation tubes. Under the bleacher, there is a blue tube with a diameter of one meter circling the venue. It is a dehumidification and ventilation system. Ventilation devices can also be found under each seat. The athlete and spectator zones have separate ventilation systems, and they can be controlled independently, said Yang Qiyong, head of the logistics department of the “Water Cube.”

China lifts 770 million rural people out of poverty: white paper By Chang Qin, People’s Daily


ore than 770 million of China’s rural population living below the current poverty line have been raised from poverty, accounting for more than 70 percent of the global total over the same period according to the World Bank’s international poverty standard, says a white paper recently released by the State Council Information Office of China. Through China’s poverty eradication practices, the country has embarked on a path of poverty alleviation and designed an approach with Chinese characteristics, which offers enlightenment to the international community in its battle to reduce poverty, said Xu Lin, deputy head

of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and minister of the State Council Information Office of China at a press conference to mark the launch of the white paper titled “Poverty Alleviation: China’s Experience and Contribution.” China’s fight against poverty entered a critical stage after the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012. At the end of 2020, through eight years of hard work, China achieved the goal of eliminating extreme poverty – a key goal for the new era of building socialism with Chinese characteristics. The 98.99 million people in rural areas who were living below the current poverty threshold all shook off poverty; all the 128,000 impoverished villages and 832 designated poor counties got rid

of poverty. China has eliminated poverty over entire regions in 14 contiguous poor areas across the country. The incomes of the impoverished are increasing. The per capita disposable income of the rural poor increased from 6,079 yuan ($928) in 2013 to 12,588 yuan in 2020, up by 11.6% per annum on average. China’s poverty-stricken areas have got rid of backwardness. The lack of access to transport, electricity, drinking water and communications, which hindered the development of these areas for years, has been put to an end for good. Targeted measures are a golden key to winning the fight against poverty, as well as the most symbolic innovation in this round of poverty alleviation efforts, said

Xia Gengsheng, deputy head of the national administration for rural vitalization. China started creating a national database of impoverished households in 2014, and reviewed it between Aug. 2015 and June 2016, during which it removed those unqualified from the database and added those who newly became eligible. Since 2017, the database has been renewed annually for more targeted poverty alleviation. China’s standards for deregistering those who have emerged from poverty are comprehensive, including income, and the extent to which they are assured the rights to subsistence and development. In general, these standards are higher than those defined in the World Bank extreme poverty line, as well as those in

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development released by the United Nations in 2015. According to statistics, the per capita net income of China’s registered poor residents reached 10,740 yuan at the end of the last year, which was much more than the international extreme poverty line. Following the victory in the final battle against extreme poverty, China will continue to consolidate the results of poverty elimination, and dovetail new measures with rural revitalization, the white paper says. Next, China will work to ensure food security, said Tang Renjian, director of the Office of the Central Leading Group for Rural Affairs and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

China improves education to alleviate poverty, helps residents embrace brighter future By Zhang Shuo, Ding Yasong, People’s Daily


s of the end of 2020, the number of dropouts during the nine-year compulsory education stage in China fell to 682 from over 600,000 in 2019, said data from the country’s Ministry of Education (MOE). Meanwhile, the number of dropouts from registered impoverished families had been reduced to zero, down from more than 200,000, according to the data. The Chinese government considers education a fundamental task and has always given top priority to improving education. Since 2012, China’s government budgetary spending on education has maintained a proportion of over 4 percent in the country’s GDP, and has increasingly leaned

toward rural areas, border areas, areas with large ethnic minority populations, old revolutionary base areas, and outlying and poverty-stricken regions. “I like the big screen in our classroom. The teachers who give classes to us via the screen sing very well. Many students in urban areas take online classes together with us,” said Long Xinyu, a primary school student in Huayuan county, Xiangxi Tujia and Miao autonomous prefecture, central China’s Hunan province, who is excited about Internetbased online courses. So far, all primary and high schools in China have access to the Internet, while in 2012 only a quarter of them used the Internet. The proportion of schools with multimedia classrooms in China has risen to 95.3 percent from 48 percent in 2012.

“I didn’t want to come here at first, and now I don’t want to leave,” said Li Hui, a college graduate who became a teacher at a primary school in Wangtuan township, Lixin county, east China’s Anhui province. Li feels more content with her job as China has enhanced efforts to attract talents to rural areas. With the support of local government, the school has built new teaching buildings, and teachers at the school have enjoyed higher salaries and better benefits, according to Li, who disclosed that they are also provided with dormitories. In recent years, China has gradually nurtured a team of high-caliber village teachers that dedicate themselves to education in rural areas. The country has recruited a total of 950,000 teachers for

the compulsory education in rural areas, trained nearly 17 million teachers and principals for rural schools in the central and western regions under a national-level training program, provided subsidies for 1.27 million teachers from over 80,000 schools in contiguous poverty-stricken areas, and sent 190,000 volunteer teachers to schools in outlying and poverty-stricken regions, border areas, areas with large ethnic minority populations, and old revolutionary base areas. Latest data show that the overall quality of village teachers in China has significantly improved, as 51.6 percent of them have at least completed undergraduate education, and 44.7 percent have been awarded mid-level professional titles and above. China has provided institutional guarantee for the

realization of its goal that “no child is denied schooling due to financial difficulties”. The country has built a student aid system with Chinese characteristics for students in stages from pre-school to postgraduate education. Under the system, it has provided financial support for students from impoverished families for 641 million times, basically ensuring aid for all students in need. To help increase the income of residents in impoverished areas, universities and colleges in China have given full play to their characteristic and comprehensive resources, and brought advanced ideas, talents, technologies and experience to poor counties based on accurate grasp of their practical needs, achieving noticeable achievements.



Students Shisha Video: CAPPA wants govt to ban Tobacco Products sale near scholars Schools

By Mashe Umaru Gwamna


he Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) has commended the Lagos State Government on its decision to rehabilitate the five students smoking shisha in recent viral video but wants the state government to complement that action by enforcing the ban on the sale of tobacco products near schools as contained in the National Tobacco Control Act 2015. The disturbing video which trended on social media last week, was widely condemned by Nigerians at home and in the diaspora, who called for sanction against the pupils and their parents.

In a reaction to the incident, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Tokunbo Wahab, said “appropriate steps are being taken to address the issue with the aim of preventing future occurrence in the state. Wahab however took a swipe at parents, insisting that everything should not be left to the government and the school. But in a statement issued in Lagos, CAPPA said that while the steps taken by the Lagos government were in good stead, the government has a bigger share of the blame for failing to enforce the National Tobacco Control Act 2015 and National Tobacco Control Regulations 2019. It also berated the Lagos state government for failing to implement the recommendations

of a national research which exposed the insidious strategy that the tobacco industry uses to introduce school children to smoking. The research, title: “Big Tobacco, Tiny Targets: Tobacco Companies Targeting of Achool Children in Nigeria”, released in 2017, shows that tobacco companies strategically situate tobacco products and advertisements near primary and secondary schools with the aim of enticing kids to experiment smoking. The study was conducted in Lagos, Enugu, Oyo, Nassarawa and Kaduna States. CAPPA Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi said: “We can see clearly that our kids are the innocent victims of an industry that manipulates the

minds of the youths to ensure they take to the smoking habit. As we had noticed in the study, there is deliberate display of tobacco products next to sweets and drinks, making them easily accessible.” Oluwafemi explained that the school pupil’s incident is only a tip of the iceberg as the industry continues to innovate on how to grab the lungs of the younger generation. “Beyond point of sale near schools, we are also witnessing a shocking upsurge in indigenous movies and music videos that glamourize smoking and these are happening right before our eyes and in front of our kids.” Shisha smoking started in the Middle East, especially Arab countries and has been embraced

in several parts of the world, including Nigeria. The prevalence rate of shisha smoking, especially among the youth, is now a public health concern. The rising prevalence of shisha smoking is attributable in part to the public misconceptions about their safety compared with cigarettes. “While we commend the swift intervention of the Lagos government, the time for talk publicity stunt is over. It is now time for the Lagos government and all tiers of government to work collaboratively to ban point of sale near schools and all the conditions near our schools that induces smoking. Doing otherwise will have dire consequences on us as a people and on our kids”, Oluwafemi advised.

bear the brunt of environmental degradation from resource extractions but are not recognized in decision making and resource benefits sharing.”. “The few individuals who are supposed to represent the communities in the resource benefits sharing live in luxury while the vast majority wallow in abject poverty amidst plenty. “All sources of water in oil producing communities in the Niger Delta are exposed to oil pollution, forcing fishing activities to drop and crops experience stunted growth. Reported cases of acid rain further pollute other sources of water and cause skin poisoning (rashes and burn),among others among locals”. The groups at the meeting observed that the Land Use Act of 1978 continues to deprive members of host communities the enjoyment of the resources in their environment. The International Oil Companies (IOCs) do not respond to incidences of oil pollutions early enough, and heap the blame of these incidences on host communities. Others are:Despite the commencement of the Ogoni cleanup, all the emergency measures suggested by the UNEP in its Assessment Report have not been implemented. There is no water in the communities and there are documented cases of cancer, low sperm count etc among natives. Moreso, The utmost worry is the fact that excavated polluted soil from toxic sites in Ogoni has become additional source of pollution in most Ogoni communities especially during the rains. “State governors are now the major agents of deforestation due

to their quest for mechanization of agriculture and high way constructions that lead to land grabs and depriving communities of their original land and livelihood. “Multinationals and Biotech Industries are trying hard to get our children addicted to harmful food products, creating health challenges for children and further contaminates our local food systems.Shell hides under a supposed divestment which includes going offshore, to shy away from addressing decades of environmental degradation.” “This cause economic loss for the nation and continues to impoverish members of the host communities It was therefore unanimously recommended that: The group recommended that a comprehensive environmental audit of the State of Nigerian environment should be carried

out by the Nigerian government with the help of HoCoN Nigerian government pay the Ogoni nation an ecological debt for decades of pollution, neglect of their polluted environment, displacement of her people and denying them justice, while kicking against new oil well drilling. Nigerian government immediately halt the drift to full blown tyranny occasioned by the growing cases of suppression of the rights of the people of Nigeria, and that all cases of extraction should accompany EIA Report. Need for a Bill by States to revoke the licenses of IOCs that pollutes the environment without adequate compensation to communities. Nigerian Government must align with the global trend of using the gas flare tracker for tracking gas flare volumes with the relevant

agencies collecting accurate gas flare penalties that can help the economic revival of the nation and in tandem with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. The highpoint of the National General Assembly drawn participants from ten States across Nigeria which includes: Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Imo, Kogi, Plateau and Rivers was the election of new National Executive Committee Members of the Network and these includes: Octogenarian Comr. Che Ibegwura (Rivers State) – National Patron; Prince Barbs Preye Pawuru (Edo State) - President; Chief Mrs. Ayibakoro Warder (Bayelsa) – Vice President; Hon. Godwin King (Akwa Ibom) – Secretary General; Shombot Nyam (Plateau State) – P.R.O; Jonah Gbemre (Delta State) – Financial Secretary and Dr. Kelechi Okezie (Ebonyi State) – Treasurer.

HoCoN, GGF, ERA/FoEN advocates action plan for effective environmental monitoring By Mashe Umaru Gwamna


he Host Communities Network (HoCoN) with support from the Global Greengrants Fund (GGF) and Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/ FoEN), said they are advocating and drawing up action plan for an effective environmental monitoring and reporting . The group made the disclosure during its National General Assembly in Port -Harcourt, the Rivers State recently, stated the need to be deliberate on the state of the Nigerian environment challenges in communities. This was contained in a communique’ jointly signed by President, HoCoN ,Prince Barbs Preye-Pawuru,Godwin King, Secretary General HOCON,Barr. Chima Williams,Maimoni UbreiJoe Mariere Acting Executive Director, ERA/FoEN Desk Officer (HOCON) ERA/FoEN and Immediate Past President/ National Patron. The communique said the objective of the general assembly was to mobilize members of host communities to any kind of resource extraction for environmental justice campaigns and expose cases of environmental degradation that are either not reported or underreported. The theme for the assembly was Connected Resistance, which was geared towards strengthening the Host Communities Network by engaging the traditional members as well as infusing new ones into the stable. It also said that environmental degradation anywhere is environmental degradation everywhere. “The Host communities





Idriss Déby: Chad’s future rocked by president’s battlefield death Dying from wounds suffered as he directed the fightback against rebels who had swept south across the Sahara from their Libyan safe haven, Chad’s President Idriss Déby Itno was a soldier to the last. he manner of his death was in keeping with a career that had begun in the officer corps, accelerated by a stint at the École de Guerre defence college in France. Later, he launched his own revolt, to depose the dictator Hissène Habré in 1990. Ever since, he had ruled with a strongman’s firm hand. Chad had the formal structures of a multi-party democratic state. But real power was concentrated firmly at the top, and Déby brooked no serious opposition over his three decades in power. And several times he faced down rebellions, sometimes helped by the military intervention of his ally France - which maintains a major regional base in the Chadian capital N’Djamena. In February 2008 it was a particularly close call with the insurgents only stopped at the gates of the presidential palace. The revolts recurred, often fuelled by rivalries within Déby’s own Zaghawa clan, elements of whom established a base in southern Libya - a region outside the control of the government in Tripoli. This time they broke through further south, reaching Kanem region, north of Lake Chad and just a few hundred kilometres from the capital. Although government forces have once again proclaimed victory, they have lost their totemic commander. Huge political figure His death leaves a gaping question mark. Contentious certainly, and sometimes brutal, Déby had been a huge figure in the politics and power of westcentral Africa. And that seemed set to continue, following his entirely predictable victory, with 79.3% of the vote, in this month’s presidential election. The contest was boycotted by some opponents and several challengers had been excluded. Now Déby’s 37-year old son, Mahamat, hitherto commander of the presidential guard, heads up a selfproclaimed interim military regime that has closed Chad’s borders and suspended the constitution. media captionChad’s President Idriss Déby was one of Africa’s longestserving leaders. Yet can the old-style Chadian strongman system function and sustain itself in the absence of the redoubtable figure who had created the regime? Saleh Kebzabo, a leading opposition political voice, has called for dialogue to discuss a route forward and for fresh elections. But there are questions over whether the new leadership would be prepared to


Shortly before his death Idriss Déby campaigned for a sixth term in office

Idriss Déby (L) came to power in 1990 after leading a rebellion against Hissène Habré

President Déby (second left)) discussed regional security with France’s President Emmanuel Macron (second right) and other leaders last year

contemplate meaningful participation. Internal politics and rivalries within Déby’s Zaghawa clan are also a consideration. And Chad suffers from deep underlying political, societal and development pressures that had been contained by Déby’s forceful rule but certainly not resolved. At a regional level, his death also poses big questions. He had built himself into the most significant military actor in the region, deploying forces to assist Nigeria in the campaign against militant Islamist group Boko Haram. Chadian troops, with a reputation as tough fighters, were partnered with the armies of Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger, sometimes carrying out cross-border operations against the militants. Yet while these Chadian interventions had certainly made some impact, the region remained hugely fragile, prey to ongoing violence, with local communities brutally exposed amidst the ongoing conflict. Meanwhile, further into West Africa, Chad’s military clout had earnt Déby a role as one of the principal security actors in the G5 partnership of Sahelian states. He assigned troops to the UN peacekeeping force in Mali, where they have undertaken some of the toughest desert garrison assignments, and also deployed to support Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger in the highly insecure “three frontiers region” where their borders converge. Déby also had a long history of influence, both tacit and overt, in Chad’s troubled southern neighbour, the Central African Republic. Source: BBC Quote Chadian troops, with a reputation as tough fighters, were partnered with the armies of Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger, sometimes carrying out cross-border operations against the militants. Yet while these Chadian interventions had certainly made some impact, the region remained hugely fragile, prey to ongoing violence, with local communities brutally exposed amidst the ongoing conflict. Meanwhile, further into West Africa, Chad’s military clout had earnt Déby a role as one of the principal security actors in the G5 partnership of Sahelian states. He assigned troops to the UN peacekeeping force in Mali, where they have undertaken some of the toughest desert garrison assignments, and also deployed to support Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger in the highly insecure “three frontiers region” where their borders converge. Déby also had a long history of influence, both tacit and overt, in Chad’s troubled southern neighbour, the Central African Republic.






THURSDAY, APRIL 22, 2021 By Amaechi Agbo


etermined to help fight climate change and create a healthy environment for all, the Nigeria Teqball Federation NIGTEQ Tuesday embarked on tree planting The exercise which took place at the River Park, Business District, Abuja was coordinated by the President of NIGTEQ, Egnr Habu Gumel. Engr. Gumel who personally planed one if the step tress during the exercise said that the move was part of NIGTEQ’s in her fourday training programme and initiatives to help in securing the environment and beautifying it. He called on the general public particularly Nigerians to see the need to plant a tree as a national and personal assignment. “We all know the importance of trees around us. They provide fresh air, add beauty to our surrounding and most importantly, help protect us from climatic change. “We will continue to do this annually because as a federation, we believe that for us to do well in sports, our environment must be healthy and protected.” On his part, the General Secretary of NIGTEQ, Mr Ndudi Edede noted that tree planting as well as general sanitation were part of the federation’s Corporate. Social Responsibility, CRS. He noted that the federation would continue to do her best in preserving the environment and



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Nigeria Teqball Federation embarks on tree planting in Abuja

ensuing that Nigerians and indeed the global community imbibes the general message as importance of tree planting. Chairman of Federal Capital Territory Teqball Association, Mr Ibrahim Galadima also participated in the tree planting. The tree planting was part of the 4-day capacity programme organised by the NIGTEQ in collaboration with International Federation of Teqball FITEQ. Similarly, the President, Nigeria Teqball Federation, NIGTEQ, Engr Habu Gumel has charged the coaches and Referees of the beautiful game on professionalism. Engr. Gumel who gave the charge in Abuja while addressing the coaches and referees who underwent a four-day capacity training workshop commended the Coaches and Referees for turning up for the programme. Describing them as the pioneers of teqball in Nigeria, the President encouraged them to put in their best and be good ambassadors of the curved game. “We all know that our own Olympic, the sports festival is going on in in Edo state but I decided to cut short my programme there to

NIGTEQ President, Engr Habu Gumel planting a tree in Abuja Monday be here with you. “This obviously is because if the importance we all attached to this great training programme. I therefore encourage you that as you finish this training to

be professional in your duties. Whether as a coach or referee, you should be able to understand your professional duties and be able to uphold them always. “You are the pioneers of the

teqball in Nigeria and much is expected of you. You should be good ambassadors of the game. The training which commenced on Saturday, April 10 was rounded up on Tuesday, April 13, 2021.

Ahemd Musa rejoins Kano Pillars on short deal By Amaechi Agbo


fter 6 months without a club, Super Eagles captain, Ahmed Musa, has returned to Kano Pillars FC for the remainder of the 2020/21 Nigeria Professional Football League season (NPFL), the club Confirmed Musa previously played for the Pride of Kano in 2009 were he ended the season as the top scorer in the NPFL with 18 goals before moving to VVV-Venlo in the Netherlands. In a statement from the office of the chairman of the club, Alhaji Surajo Shuaibu Jambul and signed by the media officer, Rilwanu Malikawa revealed that the Sai Masu Gida have agreed to signed Musa until the end of the

2020/21 football season. According to Malikawa, the club have agreed to the deal after due consultations with the player and the League Management Company of Nigeria (LMC) whom stood as a mediator to the deal. Malikawa further stated that the club have received a letter from the LMC that was signed by the Chief Operating Officer, Malam Salihu Abubakar, that Kano Pillars will sign Ahmed Musa as an Elite player of the league to the end of the season. The seasoned journalist said Kano Pillars FC family are happy to welcome back one of their own and have wished him Allah’s guidance. “Ahmad Musa is our own and Pillars FC will continue to support

him anytime and anywhere he found himself,” Malikawa said. Amongst the contractual agreement reached and would be documented between Musa and Kano Pillars is……, anytime the player got an offer, he would be released by the club. Malikawa concluded that after completing all the necessary documentations, Ahmed Musa would be unveil by His Excellency, the executive Governor of Kano state, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje before the commencement of the second stanza of the league. The four-time NPFL Champions are joint leaders of the log alongside Kwara Utd with 36 points each from 19 matches though Pillars are second due to lesser goal difference.

Women’s Ballon d’Or holder makes plea to Messi, Ronaldo

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U-15 La Liga/ NPFL Tournament: Enugu Sports Commissioners Assures of readiness




Rangers players embark on one-week break




eymar enjoyed playing with Kylian Mbappe at Paris Saint-Germain, but he knows that the World Cup winner is still a long way from being as good as Lionel Messi. The Frenchman has impressed in the Champions League this season, most notably at the Camp Nou where he effectively knocked Barcelona out of the competition. “There’s no comparison,” Neymar said when asked to compare the two. “They have two very different styles of play. “Messi is the best player I’ve seen, and Kylian is on his way to becoming one of the best.”




Neymar: There’s no comparison between Messi, Mbappe Neymar, admitting he wishes he was as fast as Mbappe, had a lot of praise for his teammate. The Brazilian was asked for his thoughts on Mbappe having said that he can be hard to play with because of the speed at which he thinks.

“It’s the same for all high-level players,” Neymar said. “If you’re not careful, you risk losing them in a fraction of a second. “Kylian is very fast, so I have to be focused and attentive to him all the time. But it was the same with [Andres] Iniesta,

Messi or [Luis] Suarez. “I owe a lot of my happiness at PSG to Mbappe. He’s helped me to learn about the French way of life, he has explained the French mentality to me. I owe a lot of my adaptation to him.”

Tuchel admits he wants Real Madrid over Liverpool in UCL semis


nugu State Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Hon. Manfred Nzekwe has assured Nigeria Football Federation/ League Management Company delegation in Enugu State of California the readiness of the State to host a hitch- free under 15 LaLiga NPFL , football tournament in Enugu State. Speaking while receiving officials of NFF/LMC with Enugu State Football Association Officials and the Local Organizing Committee members, in his office, Tuesday, Commissioner Manfred Nzekwe , commended the NFF for deeming Enugu State capable of hosting such important football tournament. He assured that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, by accepting to host the tournament, the state government will put everything in place to guarantee the success of the tournament adding that the tournament will be the best organized tournament in Nigeria. He further assured that every relevant stakeholder will be brought on board to ensure a successful tournament. In his speech, the leader of the delegation and General Coordinator Youth League, of the Nigeria Football Federation/ League Management Company, Dr Johnson Obaseki, informed the Commissioner that Under 15 LaLiga/ Nigeria Football Federation tournament will commence from Monday 12 the April, as arrival date, while kick- off will commence on Thursday15th April, with the final coming up on May 2nd 2021. He requested for accommodation of visiting teams and vehicle for the visiting Local Organizing Committee members, adding that the team will work in synergy with other stakeholders to ensure the success of the Championship. In his statement, the Chairman Enugu State Football Association Barr.Tony Ugwu, assured that all the necessary logistics required for the Championship will be provided by the state Football Association and the organizing committee.


T Rangers players celebrating


anagement of Rangers International F.C, the ‘Flying Antelopes’, ably led by Prince Davidson Owumi has approved a one-week break for players of the club with effect from Tuesday, April 13, 2021. Addressing the players at the club’ ultramodern players’ camp, Nkponkiti road, Independence Layout, Enugu, Tuesday, G.M/ CEO of the side, Prince Owumi Davidson, charged the players to be professional in all their conducts during the break stressing that the period was for each player to relax, refresh and refocus their minds for the task ahead in the second round of the 2020/21 NPFL season.

“This break is coming at the instance of the technical crew led by coach Salisu Yusuf as we now have a date for the start of the second round and I charge you all to be true professionals in this break period. I believe it is a period for you to take your mind off anything football. Just relax, refresh and refocus your minds on what you will do for us to achieve our set target in the second round of the league,” stated the astute football management guru while addressing the players. Also speaking, technical adviser, Coach Salisu Yusuf advised the players to maintain the level of fitness they have attained while on break warning that there will be penalties for any player that acts unprofessionally during

the period. “I know the level we are leaving you people and I expect to see it on your return in a week’s time. Please, be professional in all your conducts as there will be penalties for any reported unprofessional conduct during the break,” stated the vastly experienced gaffer. The players are expected back in Enugu on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 with training sessions commencing Wednesday, April 21, 2021. The ‘Flying Antelopes’ are currently placed 4th on the twenty-team log with 30 points from 18 matches played as the rescheduled match day 19 fixture with oriental neighbours, Enyimba International F.C is yet to get a date from organizers of the league, L.M.C.

Akure to host NLO division 3


he Nigeria Nationwide League One, NLO has confirmed that Ondo State Sports Complex, Akure will be one of the centres for the division three of its matches. The Chairman of the NLO, who also doubles as a board member of the NFF, Alhaji Mohammed Alkali stated this at the inauguration of standing committees by the Ondo State Football Association “My colleagues sent me to welcome him back as the Chairman back after his election. Am assuring the people of Ondo state that right from today, you will see changes. “The entire Congress of the NFF are happy with the election of Otunba Dele Ajayi. In the next edition of our NLO division 3, a big centre will be awarded to Ondo State. Inaugurating the committee, Board member of the Nigeria Football Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Yusuf Fresh said,the constitution of the standing-committees, was in tune with the statutes of the NFF. Fresh said he was happy that the State FA Chairman,Otunba Dele Ajayi, had brought everyone on board from the last election and would be successful, saying,” A divided house will not last “ Fresh urged the members of Sports Writers in the state to also, always put the FA in the state in the right direction whenever they were astray. Earlier, the Chairman of the Ondo FA, Otunba Dele Ajayi said the state

homas Tuchel admits he would prefer to face Real Madrid rather than Liverpool in the Champions League semi-finals after Chelsea reached the last four for the first time since 2014. Chelsea were beaten by Porto on the night in the home leg of their quarter-final in Seville, Mehdi Taremi’s scoring a stunning injury time overhead kick for Sergio Conceicao’s side. But Tuchel’s men had done the hard work in the first leg, winning 2-0 in the away game

which was also staged in Seville to render Porto’s late goal irrelevant. Tuchel said: ‘In general I like not to play against teams from your same league in the Champions League as it gives more of a feeling of a European competition but that is the only thing. The game is far from over but I will watch it for sure. ‘Everything is possible. Liverpool are very strong at home so we take what we get. It is a good situation for us.’

would be full of football activities with the committees in place. Ajayi said Ondo State FA has the solution to the problem of Sunshine Stars and Sunshine Queens, urging the state government to carry the association along. “We are ready to collaborate with people with ideas and personnel from people that can make Ondo state enviable heights. “We thank the governor of the state, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, for the huge amount he has released for the state owned

teams so far. “We know what to help both teams. It is too bad to owe for seven months for the male team and 13 months for the female team,” he said. Ajayi later thanked both Board members Alhaji Ahmed Yusuf Fresh and Alhaji Mohammed Alkali for gracing the occasion. Alkali, who is the Chairman of the Nassarawa FA, said the whole of NFF were happy with the election of Dele Ajayi as the chairman of the FA in the state.

performance to not let your opponent perform. ‘Today (Tuesday)was the day to hang in and show all the effort, all the intensity, all the team spirit, that’s needed if you don’t have the experience, if you have a young team, it’s the moment to be together. ‘We talked about what we needed to do if you feel nervous and that is to use your body, work hard and make yourself sweat. This is what we did.’

Women’s Ballon d’Or holder makes plea to Messi, Ronaldo


merican female and world superstar Megan Rapinoe wants the world’s greatest male footballers to lead a stronger fight against the world’s sickening ills. Megan believes explained that the power of football as a leader and influence in Europe, can be the determining triumph over social issues like racism and homophobia - and Lionel Messi as well as Cristiano Ronaldo are key voices. “Football is the most popular sport in Europe; all eyes are on the players, they are among the best athletes,” she told RMC Sport, as shared by Soccer Laduma. Megan added a key distinction between American superstar sportsmen and football’s icons regarding the fight against discrimination. “When you see the commitment of

certain athletes, like Serena Williams or LeBron James here in the United States, it is important that people like (Marcus) Rashford, Messi, (Antoine) Griezmann or Ronaldo get involved too as people will listen to them, as they are global role models. “It is not just black players who have to talk about racism, not only gay players who have to talk about homophobia, not only women who have to talk about pay inequality. “We are all responsible, we must use our own voice to stop discrimination, to stop discrimination we face. “It really isn’t up to the people who are already oppressed to make sure they shut down a system they are going through, this is not how there will be real social change; everyone must collaborate, like in the USA,” Megan concluded.

Man United named most valuable team in England NLO players in action

Hailing Chelsea’s progress, Tuchel said: ‘The semi-finals is a big achievement. It’s a big step to be in the semi-final. ‘We’re not used to being there but once you are there you play for the final.’ While Tuchel admitted the game was not a spectacle, Chelsea produced a professional display to keep Porto at arms’ length until it was too late for them to mount a comeback that took the game to extra time. Tuchel said: ‘It is also part of the

The latest Forbes list has put Manchester United as the most valuable team in England. United’s dip in form overall has not affected their position on the money list with the Red Devils leading a contingent of six Premier League clubs who occupy Forbes’ top 10 list. United are currently valued at $4.2bn with their close challengers being Liverpool who are valued at $4.1bn. However, the Merseysiders have had an 88% rise in the last two years thanks to their on-field success. United has experienced a 10% change in their value with only Atletico Madrid having a lower variation amongst the top 15 teams

on the list. The Red Devils were third on the list last year but have now been overtaken by Bayern Munich. Barcelona tops the list while Real Madrid comes in at a close second. United has also come fourth in revenue earned, with an impressive $643m. Apart from United and Liverpool, the other most valuable teams in the top ten from England include Manchester City ($4bn) in the sixth spot, Chelsea ($3.2bn) in the seventh spot, Arsenal ($2.8bn) in ninth and Tottenham Hotspur ($2.3bn) in tenth. The likes of Everton ($658m), West Ham United ($508m), and Leicester ($455) complete the list of English clubs in the top 20.

. . . putting the people first



SPORTS Crackdown on terrorism financiers a welcome devt


Thiago Silva to extend Chelsea contract

Chelsea defender Thiago Silva has revealed his intention to sign a contract extension at Stamford Bridge after the club advanced to the Champions League semi-finals. Silva joined Chelsea on a free transfer from Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain and has helped the club’s youngsters at the back. The Brazilian played 90 minutes in Chelsea’s 1-0 loss to FC Porto but his side advanced on away goal rule. Despite struggling in his few first months with injuries, Silva seems to be enjoying his time since Thomas Tuchel took over. “I hope to continue like this,” the 36-year-old told Sky Sport Italia. “I want to continue to play at this level and get to the World Cup in 2022. Thomas Tuchel is doing an amazing job here at Chelsea.” The Blues have an option to automatically trigger a one-year extension to his contract.

Wolves’ Nuno To Replace Mourinho at Tottenham


ottenham Hotspur will go for Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo if they are to part ways with Jose Mourinho. Mourinho is under intense pressure at Spurs following a spate of poor performances with reports rife that the club might show him the door if they fail to qualify for Europe. Report claims that Levy is a major fan of Santo, who led the club out of the Championship three years ago and has taken them to the Europa League quarter-finals and two seventhplaced Premier League finishes. Spurs are currently lying six points outside the Champions League places and three away from the Europa League qualification slots with Mourinho saying over the weekend that it would be difficult for them to finish among the best six teams Taye and Oduamadi in the Taiwo division.

Advert: news: Kano: lagos:

By Musa Ilallah


aily Trust newspaper’s Monday April 19th 2021 edition newspaper exclusive news item tagged “Terrorism Financing: Dozens Arrested In Nationwide Crackdown, made very startling Revelations on President Buhari’s onslaught on terrorism which predates his administration and has been a thorn in the flesh of the country. The report reveals that ‘dozens of persons have been arrested by security agents in an ongoing nationwide crackdown on suspected financiers and collaborators of Boko Haram and other. criminal groups in Nigeria. This is coming five months after Daily Trust exclusively reported the jailing of six Nigerians in the United Arab Emirates over allegations of terrorism financing. It is on record that the ongoing inter-agency operation is being led by a top intelligence officer, with an army general leading a task team comprising military personnel and staff from intelligence services coordinated by Defence Intelligence Agency, DIA in collaboration with the Department of State Services, DSS, Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU and the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN. Takeaways from the operation include billions of naira traced and blocked to businesses belonging to persons of interest in banks in series of “post no debit” letters sent out to banks by the CBN and NFIU. Also included is that the apex bank had lately obtained court orders directing the freezing of dozens of accounts flagged for suspicious transactions. As part of government’s effort to restore confidence and boost the morale of Nigerians, government officials in the words of Daily Trust have expressed hope that the ongoing operation would be a “game-changer” in the lingering fight against Boko Haram insurgents and other criminal gangs. However, some analysts have expressed the view that the method may not fully provide the needed elixir as terrorists and bandits operate largely outside the formal financial system. A security source familiar with the operation had confided in the newspaper’s reporter that the operation started last year with massive gathering and analysis of financial intelligence and drawing uplink analysis leading to initial marking of some 60 businesses and individuals with an initial list of 957 suspects comprising bureau de change operators, gold miners and sellers and other businessmen. Already, Daily Trust had

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Musa Ilallah musahk123@yahoo.com reported that about 400 persons have been arrested in series of arrests in Kano, Borno, Abuja, Lagos, Sokoto, Adamawa, Kaduna and Zamfara state in connection to financing of terrorism in the country. In Kano, a major focus of the operation, traders at the foreign exchange open market in Wapa, Fagge Local Government, were picked up in March this year. Prominent among the BDC operators arrested in Kano included four BDC operators related to two persons jailed in Dubai last year on similar charges of financing terrorism. Those arrested are being kept in military and DSS facilities in Abuja and other places, even as their families and lawyers decry the continued detention of the suspects without trial or informing them of their offences, Daily Trust further reported. “Because this is economic warfare against the insurgents and other militant groups, the President in approving the operation directed that the NFIU take the lead as the country’s financial intelligence powerhouse.” It is not in doubt that the operation has recorded immense successes with the arrest of key persons with direct and indirect links to bandits and insurgents. Investigations have so far revealed that about 19 BDCs owned by persons with “direct connection with Boko Haram” were uncovered, while over N300 billion was found to have been pumped into the funding of terrorism in the country. A source disclosed that from one person in Borno State and another in Zaria, Kaduna State, over N50 billion were traced in funding to the armed group while a number of those arrested have divulged vital information including operational details of bandits and Boko Haram insurgents. It is very sad to note that not all the affected businessmen arrested were members of the criminal gangs but many of them were involved in it as a purely business enterprise thus putting the lives of innocent Nigerians at great danger. According to reports some 20 soldiers and officers and some

civilian collaborators are also under arrest for their involvement in aiding terrorism in Borno state and other places. In addition to the initial arrest, CBN has upped the ante in tracking suspicious transactions and malpractices leading to mass closure of bank accounts identified as undertaking suspicious transactions. Last week, the bank announced the freezing of 193 corporate and individual bank accounts over allegations of suspicious forex transactions. This is in addition to 138 accounts frozen in February. Recent reports about the involment of security agents have said that Seven security operatives have been arrested by the Zamfara Police Command for allegedly supplying arms, ammunition, and military kits to bandits in the state. An anti-money laundering specialist, Umar Yakubu was quoted by Daily Trust as saying that the ongoing operation may be applying the wrong medicine for the disease of terrorism financing. According to him, finances for outlawed groups like Boko Haram do not usually come in through the banking system, making it difficult to trace through the use of banks’ Suspicious Transaction Reports system, STRs. He noted that cracking financial transactions of criminals like insurgents and their collaborators is through informal tracking which require life time intelligence on people’s lifestyle to identify persons getting rich overnight. It is also on record that security experts have advised that the security agencies should place more emphasis on the country’s borders describing them as porous and easy passage for money and other logistics. Also reacting to the massive clampdown on financiers and collaborators of terrorism in the country, the Buhari Media Organisation, BMO in a statement signed by its Chairman, Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary, Cassidy Madueke expressed support to the ongoing nationwide crackdown describing the action as long overdue. In the words of BMO, “going

after the drivers, go-betweens and collaborators of terrorism is a significant step in accomplishing President Buhari’s New Year pledge to decisively tackle the scourge of insecurity bedevilling the country”, adding “no suspect should be spared, no matter their position in society”. “The investigation leading to the arrests is a significant breakthrough in the war against terrorism. Money is the oxygen of terrorism, and once the sources are cut off, we expect the dwindling capacity of the terrorists. “We are encouraged at the intelligence vigour applied by the security agencies in unravelling the unpatriotic Nigerians that are not only funding terrorism but making it an economic enterprise. It is a reflection of the fact that the Buhari’s government had been busy engaging terrorism at its roots, in addition to the various successes being recorded in the kinetic assaults on the terrorists.” BMO added. In commending the nation’s security agencies and collaborating institutions in the investigations leading to the arrests thus confirming that the nation’s security sector is highly competent and alive to its responsibilities. Well meaning Nigerians across our various divides have appaulded security agents for the latest blow dealt to bandits, terrorists and other criminals. It will therefore not be out of place to use this unique opportunity to call on Nigerians to complement the efforts of the nation’s security agencies by providing operational intelligence to help remove the veils on those sustaining the war against the peace and well-being of Nigerians. ILALLAH wrote in from Emeka Anyaoku Street, Abuja. musahk123@yahoo.com


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