Tag Archives: west Africa

Benin Republic set to become Nigeria’s 37th State – Minister.

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Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama has said that the President of Benin Republic, Patrice Talon had expressed readiness of his country to become Nigeria’s 37th state.

Speaking after a close door meeting with Beninoise Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Aurélien Agbenonci, Onyeama said the Beninoise president made the offer when he visited President Muhammadu Buhari a few weeks back.

He said;

“The President of Benin said as far as they are concerned, they want (not just saying it like that) but in reality, Benin should be the 37th state of Nigeria.

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“We should really be one. They charged us to come together at ministerial level, to work out a framework for a sustainable relationship.”

Onyeama further disclosed that both presidents also discussed agreements between the two countries to put the issue of smuggling to an end once and for all.

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#Newsworthy

Southwest Govs, rulers meet in Ibadan over insecurity.

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The meeting equally had in attendance the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of South-West, David Folawiyo, and security chiefs serving in Oyo State.

South-West governors and traditional rulers met in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, on Saturday, to appraise the security situation of the zone.

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State and Chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum, who spoke at the end of the meeting said that though the meeting was at the instance of the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and the Director-General of the Department of State Services, the trio could not fly out of Abuja due to bad weather.

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He said that the governors and the traditional rulers thereafter decided to meet to appraise the security situation in the zone.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor ‘Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that Akeredolu read a three-point communique agreed to after the meeting.

The communique said, “that the meeting supported the decision of the National Economic Council (NEC) on forest management; that the nation’s borders need to be fully secured and protected; that open grazing must be checked and looked at and that media practitioners must assist the country to end fake news.”

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The meeting, which was held inside the Executive Council Chambers of the Governor’s office, Agodi, Ibadan, had in attendance five governors including the host, Governor Makinde; Governors Akeredolu of Ondo, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, Gboyega Oyetola of Osun and Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State.

The meeting equally had in attendance the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of South-West, David Folawiyo, and security chiefs serving in Oyo State.

Others included the chairmen of Council of Traditional Rulers in each of the South-West states and some first-class monarchs.

According to Akeredolu, the meeting was held to find lasting solutions to the lingering security issues in the zone.

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Some of the traditional rulers who took part in the meeting include the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III; Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi; Akarigbo of Remo, Oba Babatunde Ajayi; Olugbo of Ugbo kingdom, Oba Fredrick Akinruntan; Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, Aje Ogungunnjso 1; and Olugbon of Orile Igbon, Oba Francis Olusola Alao.

Also in attendance was the Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Ngozi Onadeko, and other heads of security agencies in Oyo State.

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#Newsworthy

Shell says theft allegations against its terminal is misleading.

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OML 29 includes the 97-kilometer NCTL which has capacity to lift up to 180,000 barrels per day of crude from oilfields in Bayelsa and Rivers to the Bonny terminal.

The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) says allegations of involvement in oil theft at its Bonny Crude Export Terminal is misleading.

Noble Reporters Media reports that a 2 million barrels crude deficit between 2016 and 2018 reported at the Bonny terminal operated by SPDC has caused a dispute amongst several oil firms that use the oil export facility.

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Aiteo Exploration and Production Company claimed that SPDC shortchanged it of 1,022,029 barrels of crude while using the Bonny Crude Export Terminal operated by SPDC between 2016 and 2018.

Aiteo, an indigenous oil firm which acquired OML 29 for US$2.4 billion following SPDC’s 2015 divestment of its 45 per cent stake from the asset.

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OML 29 includes the 97-kilometer NCTL which has capacity to lift up to 180,000 barrels per day of crude from oilfields in Bayelsa and Rivers to the Bonny terminal.

In a statement, made available to NoRM‘s known Media on Saturday, Mr Bamidele Odugbesan, Media Relations Manager at SPDC, described the claim as factually incorrect.

“The crude theft/diversion allegation is also factually incorrect.

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“This is a distinct issue that relates to the directive by the Department of Petroleum Resources to SPDC as operator of the Bonny Oil and Gas Terminal, an asset belonging to the SPDC Joint Venture, to implement a crude re-allocation programme between injectors into the SPDC JV’s Trans Niger Pipeline and injectors into the NCTL.

“Crude allocation review and re-allocation is a normal industry practice to re-allocate previous provisional allocated volumes under the directive and supervision of DPR, and this is not an exercise resulting from crude diversion, underreporting or theft at the terminal.

“This industry practice is not peculiar to the SPDC-operated Bonny Oil and Gas Terminal alone and does not translate into any loss of volumes to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“The re-allocation in issue was initiated by SPDC as operator of the Bonny Oil and Gas Terminal, while the DPR validated and confirmed it for implementation for the concerned oil producers.

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“Crude oil production metering and allocation are subject to specific guidelines issued by the industry regulator, DPR. SPDC strictly adheres to these guidelines and the implementation is regularly verified by the regulator,” Odugbesan stated.

NoRM learnt that SPDC, Belema Oil Ltd, Eroton E & P, Niger Delta Petroleum Resources, Total E & P and Walter Smith Petroleum Ltd use the NCTL to convey crude to the Bonny terminal and are proportionately affected by the deficit.

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#Newsworthy

Lai Mohammed boast as Nigeria match on ‘Recession’, says not coincidence.

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The minister said that the government is doing more with less resources, adding that the effects of the pandemic was not peculiar to the country but a global affair.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says Nigeria did not exit the latest recession by accident, but with “hardwork, foresight and deliberate planning by government.”

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The minister stated this on Saturday when he featured on a Media known to Noble Reporters Media,’’ monitored by NoRM‘s known Media in Abuja

NoRM reports that Nigeria slipped into recession for the second time in four years in the midst of COVID-19 after the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declined for the second consecutive quarter in 2020 (Q2 and Q3)

The economy, however, came out of the recession in the fourth quarter as growth in agriculture and telecommunications had offset a sharp drop in oil production.

The GDP grew 0.11 per cent in the three months through December from a year earlier, compared with a decline of 3.6 per cent in the third quarter as announced by the National Bureau of Statistics.

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Mohammed said exiting the recession occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic was not accidental.

He recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had last year set up the Economic Sustainability Committee which came up with Economic Sustainability Plans to mitigate the effects of COVID-19.

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“When you talk of GDP, it is the total sum of the value of your services and goods. Clearly, if there is a lockdown, you cannot go to work, and there is bound to be a recession.

“What we did was that we pumped money into the system by creating jobs.

“The first is the1,000 jobs through public works given to each local government and we have 774 Local Government Councils.

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“So, we have 774,000 workforce engaged on public works like road and this goes a lot in boosting the economy,’’ he said.

Mohammed said government equally introduced the Survival Fund which the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment supervised to prevent loss of jobs and create new ones.

The Survival Fund, according to the minister, was to ensure that Small and Medium Scale Enterprises did not collapse.

“With Survival Fund, we asked for companies that employ between five and 50 people and we gave them payroll support for about three months.

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“About 500,000 MSMEs benefitted from this programme,’’ he said.

The minister said the government also gave One-Off-Grant whereby N10,000 was given to each of 233,000 artisans,including hairdressers and mechanics.

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He said some other programmes introduced by government included Conditional Cash Transfer with 3.6 million beneficiaries as well as N-POWER, TRADERMONI, FARMERMONI, MARKETMONI which reaches millions of people.

Besides the survival plans and economic sustainability plans, he said the government is investing heavily in infrastructure and employing more people.

The minister said that the government is doing more with less resources, adding that the effects of the pandemic was not peculiar to the country but a global affair.

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He said no fewer than 40 million Americans are now out jobs and some cannot pay their mortgage due to the pandemic.

“In Nigeria, our major sources of revenue are crude oil and taxation.

“Crude oil is just inching up but we also suffered a decrease in production from 1.72 million barrels a day to 1.67 million barrels daily losing about half a million barrels daily.

“In the last 12 months, officers from grade level 12 and below are working from home and this has a significant effect on the economy.

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“In spite of these, we still have to contend with other major challenges like insurgency, banditry and kidnapping; therefore we must understand and admit that the country is going through a lot,’’ he said.

The minister also identified the challenge of population explosion, explaining that being a delicate issue to legislate on, government can only deploy advocacy for its control.

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#Newsworthy

FG raise warning over mine sites.

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He reiterated MCO support and responsibility towards securing active mine sites for serious mining investors in the country.

The Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office (MCO) has warned speculators to leave the mine field for active and serious investors.

The Director-General of MCO, Mr Obadiah Nkom, gave the warning in a statement by Head, Press Unit of MCO Folasade Fatoke in Abuja on Saturday.

Nkom was speaking when he received the delegation of the Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN) led by its President, Alhaji Kabiru Mohammed in Abuja

He said that those that did not have any business in mining should leave and let the mines field be cleared.

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“We have many operators who are misusing licenses given to them and this is where we must draw a line between inefficiency and ineptitude even as much as we want to encourage many miners,” he said.

He reiterated MCO support and responsibility towards securing active mine sites for serious mining investors in the country.

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He also emphasised the need for mining stakeholders to join in diversifying the economy through the mining sector.

While commending the courage exhibited by MAN, he said that the issues of securing waiver for its members due to COVID -19 and security challenges was not indicated in the mining Act.

He gave assurance that MCO was ready to collaborate with MAN, with emphasis on the issue of Community Consent in relation to mining sites to forestall community crises.

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This, he said, was critical to the development of mining in any community

Nkom said waivers could only be granted to mineral title holders under the law, adding that the Nigeria Mining Act 2007 has not indicated this in any way.

“Investors should not be allowed to owe government for long, MCO has the prerogative to strategise and recoup government’s fees in adherence to polices for the growth of the sector.

“We have the responsibility to do what we should do as government agency with strict adherence to the laid down policies because it is not how many mineral titles issued but how many of these licences are active.

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“As long as we don’t have continuity in policies, it is one step forward, one step backward and no development. That is why we need to understand and collaborate so that things can work well in the sector,” he said.

Mohammed pleaded for waivers for 2020/ 2021 annual service fees for all applicable extant mineral titles and review of deadline for the settlement of all outstanding indebtedness on mineral titles service fees.

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#Newsworthy

Okowa ‘proved’ he’s of more quality on economic development – PDP.

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Okowa administration has constructed and commissioned across the state, the opposition would dredge up one or two temporary isolated instances.

The Delta chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Saturday declared that available records have shown that Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa has distinguished himself in infrastructure delivery including quality roads construction across the state.

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The party stated this in a statement issued by its State Publicity Secretary, Dr Ifeanyi Osuoza, and made available to newsmen in Asaba.

The party was, however, reacting to statement credited to an opposition party which called on the state governor to ensure quality in roads construction, alleging collapse on roads due to poor engineering works.

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He cautioned the opposition in the state to get its facts right before going to the press.

Osuoza said, “Our attention has been drawn to a recent, spurious and misleading press statement titled: “Pay attention to quality in road construction, Delta APC charges Okowa” and signed by Sylvester Imonina, Publicity Secretary, (Caretaker) APC Delta State, on Feb. 19, 2021.

“It is indeed a pity that the APC, perhaps because of its fractured nature in the state, has forgotten that it was the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who nick-named Gov. Okowa the “Road Master” in recognition of his outstanding accomplishments in road construction across the State.

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“We find it amazing and quite laughable that amongst the thousands of kilometres of quality roads and bridges which the Gov. Okowa administration has constructed and commissioned across the state, the opposition would dredge up one or two temporary isolated instances.

“We need not remind the opposition that one of the hallmarks of Gov. Okowa’s administration is the hands-on, pragmatic, on-the-spot assessment of all construction work by himself and regular follow up assessments by the Ministry of Work’s team.

“The Roads highlighted in the APC statement, is prosecuted and delivered by tried and tested construction firms, in accordance with the very high-quality control standards and specifications demanded by Gov. Okowa himself”.

Osuoza added, “from Asaba to Isaba, Akugbeni to Agbor, Okpanam to Okpe, Warri to Irri, Issele Uku to Shekelewu, Idumuje-Unor to Idjerhe, Ogume to Ogulagha, Oleh to Odimodi, Koko to Kokodiagbene, the Okowa administration has made impact in urbanisation, rural integration and the provision of quality roads and bridges.

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“In Delta North, starting from Asaba, the capital city, Gov. Okowa has built circles of roads and mega drainage systems to address the critical infrastructural deficiency in the zone.

“With Cable Point Dual Carriageway and several township roads delivered, residents of Asaba now have routes to beat the perennial gridlock of the key access way, the Nnebisi Road.

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“In addition, a multi-billion naira storm drainage project has saved most residents of the capital city from dangerous flooding.

“To address the infrastructure needs of the Warri axis is best captured by the establishment of the Warri-Uvwie Area and Environs Development Agency (WUEDA), under the astute supervision and administration of Comrade Ovuozuorie Macaulay.

” It is with the clear mandate to bring sustainable social infrastructure to the twin cities of Warri and Effurun, the body has since risen to effect a positive change.

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“Already, over N3 billion contracts have been awarded for storm drainages in the Warri-Uvwie metropolis and with the flood control measures in place and to undertake expansion and rehabilitation of the long Warri-Effurun-Sapele Road, stretching to Enerhen Junction.

“The Ughelli–Asaba dualisation project has witnessed great improvement. The Kwale-Ogume-Obiaruku and Ozoro-Oleh Roads developed by the Okowa administration have brought respite to the people.

“Just like the construction of Ekete main Road, off DSC Expressway, rehabilitation of Ekreravwe/Orhoakpor/Isiokolo Road, Abraka Township Roads Phase 1, as well the 8.5km Ughelli-Afiesere-Ofuoma Road in the heart of Delta central have all been captured.

Irri, Oleh, Ozoro, Iyede, Emede, Owhelogbo, Ellu, Ofagbe, Ikpide-Irri all in Isoko North and Isoko South and Ughelli, Amekpa, Afiesere, Ofuoma, Oteri, Abraka, Orerokpe, and several other communities in Delta Central and Delta South all have good stories to tell of Gov. Okowa’s footprints in road construction into their various communities.

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“For the Riverine Delta, there are the Main Axial Road and Okerenkoko Township roads Asphalt Overlay of the 19.7km Obutobo 1 –Obutobo11 – Sokebolou – Yokori road; 10.8km Okpare-Umolo-Ovwodokpor-Kiagbodo road among numerous others; A 25.8 kilometers Trans Warri-Ode-Itsekiri bridges and access road project which is under construction, would be ready in this 2021.

“The story is not different in other riverine communities like Ogulagha, Obotobo, Okerenkoko, Ogidigben, Koko among others”.

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#Newsworthy

FG will not pay anymore ransom for further Kagara student release – Lai.

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The operations started from the staff quarters and ended in the students’ hostels and in the process, other students were also wounded by gunshots.

The Minister of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed, has said that no ransom will be paid for the release of the abducted staff and students of Government Science College Kagara in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State.

He said this on NoRM‘s known Media while explaining some of the government’s strategies to curb the rate of abductions in the country.

While he ruled out the option of paying ransoms, the minister assured Nigerians that “government has put in place various strategies to contain banditry, insurgency and kidnapping.”

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“Some of these measures are kinetic, some are non-kinetic,” Mr Lai Mohammed said, without disclosing any specific actions.

According to him, the same was the case for the abducted Kankara schoolboys in Katsina State and the Dapchi schoolgirls in Yobe State, where contrary to reports, he claimed that no ransom was paid to secure their release.

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“All these stories about ransom, are conspiracy theories,” the minister said.

He continued by saying: “I can assure you that the government is on top of the matter – but it is not a subject matter for television discussion.

“We didn’t get there overnight, that is why we can’t get out in one day”.

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According to the minister, bandits and terrorists work with the psychology of people and they deliberately attack mostly women and children because they believe that is what is going to attract global outcry.

“That is exactly what bandits do all over the world,” he said, adding that “solidarity in any form will not be tolerated by this government”.

Armed men attacked the Government Science College Kagara in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State in the early hours of Wednesday, shooting sporadically, before abducting some students, staff members, and their families.

One student was also killed in the incident.

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The operations started from the staff quarters and ended in the students’ hostels and in the process, other students were also wounded by gunshots.

The gunmen who were said to have worn military uniforms gathered some staff and students at a place for hours before moving them out of the school premises to an unknown destination.

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#Newsworthy

To tackle Security Challenge, More hands than Military are needed – Buratai.

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Retired Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, former Chief of Defence Staff told the committee that solutions to security challenges must be applied using a multi dimensional approach.

Retired Lt.Gen.Tukur Buratai, former Chief of Army Staff says military action alone can’t tackle security challenges in the country.

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Buratai, a non career ambassadorial designate said this, when he appeared before Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs for secreening on Thursday in Abuja.

“This security challenge is something that started more than 30, or 40 years ago.

“It had penetrated the communities, the terrorists have won the communities to their side, that is why you see a small hamlet keeping Boko Haram in those locations,so it is a complex issue.

“So it requires the whole government approach to to deal with this.

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“The military action is just one aspect and this is one mistake we have been making that it is only the military that is seen to solve the issue of security challenge,” he said.

He said political, economic and social factors were responsible for fuelling the security challenge over the years, adding that those factors must be addressed.

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“Development should be progressive, there should be roads everywhere, employment, schools, hospitals.

“There are so many ungovernable spaces untill those spaces, locations are penetrated with roads infrastructure, rail,school, and we carry everybody along, and a roubst foreign and diplomatic polices pursed and sustained to solve issues of insecurity,” he said.

Retired Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, former Chief of Defence Staff told the committee that solutions to security challenges must be applied using a multi dimensional approach.

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” We are talking about hybrid warfare where everyone is involved.It is a national approach that is needed, for us to surmount insecurity.

“Three years ago I conducted a research on the forests in the country, I realised that we have about 1,000 forest reserves.

” And I said to them three years ago,that our next crisis will be in the forest, some Nigerian governors were invited, we told them because most of the forest are the perogatives of the states, the state took over all the forest reserves.

“And I said to them we have to protect the forest, that the next programme will be the forest,” he said.
Olonisakin added:“So it is a multi-faceted approach, that will require everyone to come on board for us to be able to address insecurity.

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“You can never have enough, either weapons, personnel, but there are issues we have to address as a nation.

“We have developed alot of capacities, initiatives, we can begin to look at all the operations using national approach to address the issues of insecurity.”

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#Newsworthy

Update: Uche Elendu react, after Nigerians blast Destiny Etiko.

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Actress Destiny Etiko was dragged on social media on Friday, February 19 for her choice of outfit to meet with Kogi state governor, Yahaya Bello.

Some Nigerians were of the opinion that her outfit was inappropriate for a meeting with a government official. Read here.

Destiny couldn’t withstand the heat that she had to lock her comment section.

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Her friend and colleague, Uche Elendu, has come out to defend her as well as give an explanation for her choice of outfit.

According to Uche, Destiny and others were on their way to the airport when the governor called for them to meet with him in his office.

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#Newsworthy

Actress Destiny Etiko in trouble amid her outfit to visit Kogi Gov, Bello.

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Nigerians have slammed Destiny Etiko for the choice of outfit she wore to visit Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello.

The actress took to her Instagram account to share a photo of herself wearing a clinging jumpsuit while with Governor Yahaya Bello in his office.

Followers accused her of dressing inappropriately for the occasion.

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Destiny Etiko slammed for outfit she wore to visit Governor Yahaya Bello
She had to block followers from posting comments on the post but that didn’t deter them. They took to her other posts to leave comments criticising her.

Destiny Etiko slammed for outfit she wore to visit Governor Yahaya Bello

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#Newsworthy

Banks ‘turning female marketers’ to harlots – Akinyelure.

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The Senate, on Thursday, considered a bill seeking to stop employers in the private and public sectors from engaging employable Nigerian graduates as casual workers.

The Prohibition of Casualisation Bill 2020, was sponsored by Senator Ayo Akinyelure. He said casualisation of Nigerian graduates in the Nigerian labour market had become a subject of great concern.

He said more workers continued to groan under this immoral strategy of cutting cost by employers rendering them inferior to their counterpart in other countries of the world.

Akinyelure, while citing the banking industry as a hub for casualisation, blamed banks for turning female marketers into harlots and sexual slaves in a desperate attempt by them to keep their jobs and meet unrealistic deposit targets.

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“In the banking and insurance industry, for instance, many young graduates particularly females are employed as marketers and given unrealistic customer deposit targets running into millions. They are hired and fired at will when such unrealistic targets are not met.

The female among them who are desperate in keeping their jobs turn to harlotry and sex slavery. They, move from one office to the other looking for invisible customers who have large funds to enable them meet their targets, “ he said.

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#Newsworthy

Gov Ganduje of Kano empowers 60 street beggars.

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The program beneficiaries were given N10,000 each with a sewing machine, soya beans, beans millet, rice, freezers, small generating sets, and many other valuable things.

Following the ban o street begging in Kano state, the government has empowered 60 women and youths with entrepreneurial skills.

Dr. Zahra’u Muhammad-Umar, the State’s Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, made the announcement.

She made it known while speaking at the presentation of the empowerment program to the beneficiaries in the state.

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Umar confirmed that some of the beneficiaries were picked from the street and under the bridges.

She said the government was obliged to empower women and other weak and vulnerable persons in the state. She also said the package is extended to people living with disabilities for them to take care of themselves so as to quit street begging.

The program beneficiaries were given N10,000 each with a sewing machine, soya beans, beans millet, rice, freezers, small generating sets, and many other valuable things.

Admonishing the beneficiaries, she said, there will be mentoring and follow-up to ensure that they are doing what we have taught them and make sure they do not sell the goods.

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As you have been given empowerment package, anyone found on the street again will be taken to court,” she told the beneficiaries.

She also commended the effort of the governor, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, for his support to lift many people from poverty and street begging.

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#Newsworthy

Governor demands State Police, says Judiciary be decentralized.

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El-Rufai also stressed that banditry is a national problem and it is the responsibility of relevant stakeholders to calm nerves through their utterances and not fan the embers of division.

Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai has joined his voice with national analysts calling for devolution of power between the Federal Government and 36 states in the country.

The governor who was one of the speakers at a programme called ‘Radio Now’s Urgent Conversation’ aired on Thursday on NoRM‘s known Media TV said state police and devolution of the judiciary is important to save Nigeria from the brink of collapse.

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“I will dwell on three of the issues that I believe are critical to the immediate needs of the country to pull back from the brink.

“The first, it is imperative for Federal, state, and community policing. We do not have enough police. One centralised police for the country just has not worked.

“Secondly, we must amend the constitution and relevant laws to ensure control of oil and gas, mines, and minerals in the states that already have control over land under the land use Act with royalties and taxes payable to the Federal Government and the Federation Account

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“Number three, we must rectify the anomaly of a Federation that has a more or less unitary judiciary,” the governor explained.

While stressing his earlier points highlighted, the governor said, “My first recommendation is to implement the three key devolution proposals that I mentioned above. Give us state police now, vest all minerals in the state now, and decentralised our judiciary now, not tomorrow, not later.”

El-Rufai also stressed that banditry is a national problem and it is the responsibility of relevant stakeholders to calm nerves through their utterances and not fan the embers of division.

“It is an understatement to say that Nigeria is in one of its most difficult moments. The genuine fears for their lives and property felt by many citizens across the country need to be assuaged. All responsible persons must show compassion to our compatriots that have been affected while calming nerves.

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“Banditry is a national problem, with victims from all parts of the country, and we should address it with a common resolve,” El-Rufai said.

According to the governor, the country requires elite consensus to take the poison out of identity politics.

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#Newsworthy

Sheikh Gumi suggest what Gov’t should do to Bandits.

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This was after the cleric visited the camp of some bandits operating in Niger State.

Popular Islamic scholar, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, has called on the Federal Government to give bandits willing to make peace ‘blanket amnesty’ if the current security situation must be tackled.

The Islamic scholar disclosed this on Friday while addressing journalists in Minna, Niger State capital.

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“The Federal government should give them blanket amnesty, then if somebody continues, then we will deal with them,” Sheik Gumi said while giving updates on the demands of the bandits.

This was after the cleric visited the camp of some bandits operating in Niger State.

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He explained that some of the complaints of the bandits are that they were being killed and maimed unjustly.

“The outcome (of his visit) is very positive. We have many factions and each faction is saying I have complaints and grievances – we are persecuted, we are arrested, we are lynched -,” the cleric said, quoting the bandits.

Speaking concerning his discussion during his secret visit to the bandits, Sheik Gumi said there is a positive response from the bandits who are holding the Kagara school students and their staff captive.

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He, however, did not state if the students have been released.

Gumi’s comments come a few days after gunmen gained access to Government Science College, Kagara, Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State around 2:00am and abducted scores of students, teachers, and many others.

The school principal who escaped from the attack confirmed to NoRM’s known Media that the gunmen came in military uniform and shot sporadically into the air. He said the operation started from the staff quarters where they abducted members of staff including a couple before they gained access to the students’ hostels.

One student was killed during the attack.

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Targeted Institution
Kidnappers have in recent times targeted schools in the country. Less than three months ago, scores of students were abducted from the Government Secondary School, Kankara in Katsina State. They were, however, released by their kidnappers after some days.

Niger State has in the past days seen a spike in kidnapping by gunmen. A few days back, armed men attacked a bus belonging to the Niger State Transport Authority (NSTA) along Minna-Zungeru Road and abducted at least 21 passengers.

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#Newsworthy

EndSARs: Panel ‘set aside’ N20m for victims of police brutality.

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Two petitioners have been awarded N10 million each as compensation by the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Restitution and Inquiry set up to investigate cases of police brutality especially involving officers of the now-defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad.

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The two petitioners, Kudirat Obayomi and Hannah Olugbodi were awarded the compensation on Friday.

Olugbodi, a 35-year-old hairdresser, had on November 2020, narrated how she ended up on a crutch after her left leg was shattered by a stray bullet fired by some men of the disbanded police Special Anti-Robbery Squad who were attempting to arrest a young man with tattoos in June 2018 at the Ijeshatedo area of Lagos.

She said the SARS operatives were at one Ogun City Hotel, to demand money to fuel their vehicle when they saw the young man with tattoos among a group of persons watching a football match at the hotel.

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According to the petitioner, the owner of the hotel, one Abu, who usually gave the SARS operatives money, was not around to attend to them.

She said the SARS operatives labelled the young man with tattoos a Yahoo Yahoo boy (cyber fraudster).

She said an attempt by the SARS operatives to arrest and take the boy with tattoos away was resisted by the other boys, making the SARS operatives resort to firing gunshots.

Olugbodi said she was at Ijesha market trying to buy pepper to prepare food for her children to take to school the following day when she was hit by a stray bullet.

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She said the market women rushed towards her and asked her for her address and the name of her husband, which she managed to give before passing out.

She said she was eventually taken to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital where they said there was no bed space and she was given four bags of intravenous fluid right in the bus.

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#Newsworthy

Lagos Gov’t must prove Seyi Tinubu doesn’t control Lekki toll gate – Bode George.

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The PDP chieftain said the open grazing in forests, in the farms and even in the cities is wrong, archaic, deleterious to the economy itself.

A former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Bode George, has called on the Lagos State Government to prove that the son of an All Progressives Congress leader, Seyi Tinubu, does not own or control the Lekki tollgate.

George called on the Lagos State Government to do this by honouring Freedom of Information requests and revealing the terms of agreement between the Lekki Concession Company and the state government.

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The PDP chieftain said this in a statement on Friday titled, “We Must Withdraw from the Brink”.

He said the state government must address allegations that Tinubu’s son and his former Chief of Staff, Sunday Dare, who is now the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, control the tollgate.

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The PDP chieftain recalled that the state government had changed the terms of the concession years ago and paid off the LCC.

He, therefore, wondered why tolls were still being collected from Lagosians.

George said, “We are demanding that the Lagos State Government through the Freedom of Information Act publishes the names of those who are managing the Toll Gates.

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“We do remember however that there was a buy-back several years ago returning the control and ownership of the Admiralty Tollgate to the Lagos State Government. The Lekki-Ikoyi Tollgate was built from scratch with taxpayers money.

“How then can anyone/company inexplicably make a legal claim to the Lekki toll gates? Again, what is the relationship between Seyi Tinubu and Lekki Concession Company?

“Equally, what is the relationship between Sunday Dare and the Lekki Concession Company? We all know that Sunday Dare until he became Minister last year was Bola Tinubu’s Man Friday. There are too many untidy, dirty, stinking intimations here. That’s why we demand that the details of the tollgate ownership should be presented to the public immediately.”

The PDP chieftain argued that since the tollgate was the epicentre of the #EndSARS protests where unarmed demonstrators were shot, the state government should demolish it and erect a monument in its stead.

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He said there was nowhere in the world where a single stretch of road would have two toll plazas as is the case along the Lekki-Epe Expressway.

“George added, “In fact how much is Lagos State earning from these two tollgates per day, per month, and annually? It is alleged that an estimated N400m is collected on both tollgates everyday. If we are wrong, let them bring out their books and tell us how this humongous money is being spent.

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“I have gone to this length to illustrate what could go wrong when there is a brazen interloper and a destructive tin-pot despot who has handcuffed the government of our state.

“This overbloated character is obsessed with the interests of the privileged few to the detriment of the majority of our citizens.”

George urged the Federal Government to tackle the tendencies towards nepotism and prejudicial preferences that are basically injurious to national unity.

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He argued that the seemingly intractable clashes between herdsmen and farmers across the nation which are now more pronounced in the South-West can only be stopped with the outright banning of open grazing.

The PDP chieftain said the open grazing in forests, in the farms and even in the cities is wrong, archaic, deleterious to the economy itself.

He added, “The corralling and the ranching of cows are the model in Argentina, Brazil and all other beef-producing nations of the world.

“This is the time that President Muhammadu Buhari demonstrates a rallying unifying leadership to bring all our people together.

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“Surely, this is not the time for ethnic or sectarian jingoism. This is the time for healing. This is the time to mend the broken places and rectify the pervasive wrongs.”

NoRM learnt that Dare had earlier in the week denied owning a stake in the Lagos toll gates while Tinubu’s son admitted to only controlling the advert display boards at the toll plaza.

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#Newsworthy

Federal Gov’t to set up 3 rice mills in Adamawa.

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The NALDA boss however, said the agency had identified its 4000 hectares of farmer estates in the state, as well as received additional donations of 5000 hectares for farming in the state.

As part of efforts to boost rice production in the country, the Federal Government, through the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA), has disclosed plans to set up three rice processing mills in Adamawa State.

Executive Secretary of NALDA, Paul Ikonne, said the agency is partnering the state government to assist farmers in value addition, as well as boost food sufficiency.

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In an interactive session with farmers in the state, Ikonne, stated that the government would assist the farmers to make money from their produce through value addition which had been lacking in agriculture.

Ikenne said the era of middlemen buying off farm produce from farmers at a ridiculous rate and engaging in price arbitrage was over, adding that the farmers will henceforth add value to their produce and sell.

He explained: “I am here in Adamawa State with a message from the president, the message says go to all the communities, develop their land and make the people rich. The only way to achieve that in all the communities is through agriculture, and if it is through agriculture and we are all farmers, that means this message is for us.

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“NALDA is back to make millionaires in all the communities in the country. We have to discovered that the people that make money from farm produces are not the farmers. NALDA coming back as a business platform is to help you understand that what you are doing is business, and when you understand it is business, you will be able to know how much you will place on what you are producing.”

The NALDA boss however, said the agency had identified its 4000 hectares of farmer estates in the state, as well as received additional donations of 5000 hectares for farming in the state.

The State Governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, commended the partnership, saying it would empower farmers in the state. He said he was committed to supporting NALDA in all areas of its endeavours.

Represented by the State Commissioner of Agriculture, Dr. Dishi Khabe, he added: “Where NALDA thinks we can come in, on behalf of the state government, we will come in and always do that.”

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Fintiri added: “I want to applaud NALDA for this great task, the state government cannot do it all alone, the Federal Government cannot do it all alone, but if a synergy is well built between both parties, our farmers would smile a home.

“The idea of this programme is to have food sufficiency in the state which is the goal of NALDA as it affects our farmers in the grassroots, and I saw when the data was collected, how it was collected, and I saw it was done to achieve its desired aim at the grassroots.

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#Newsworthy

Rivers State get new CP – Report.

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The new CP replaces newly promoted Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Joseph Mukan who has been redeployed to Zone 8 Headquarters as zonal commander.

Mr Friday Eboka has been appointed the new commissioner of police in Rivers.

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The command’s spokesman, SP Nnamdi Omoni, disclosed this in a statement in Port Harcourt on Friday.

The spokesman said Eboka would be the command’s 42 commissioners of police.

The new CP replaces newly promoted Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Joseph Mukan who has been redeployed to Zone 8 Headquarters as zonal commander.

Prior to his appointment, Eboka was the Commissioner of Police, Railway Police Command in Lagos.

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Eboka, who hails from Agbor, Ika South Local Government Area of Delta holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science from the University of Nigeria (UNN), Nsukka, Enugu State.

The statement described Eboka as a “versatile police officer with impeccable track record in crime fighting.”

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#Newsworthy

Buhari lauds Chad for security backup.

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President Muhammadu Buhari has lauded the Republic of Chad for what he calls the effective “security back-up” given to Nigeria in fighting against insurgency.

Mr Femi Adesina, the President’s spokesman in a statement, said Buhari made the commendation when he received in audience Mr Ahmat Oumar Ahmat, a Special Envoy of President Idriss Deby Itno, at the State House, Abuja, on Friday.

The Nigerian leader said the need for security collaboration with neighbours was why his first trips on assuming office in 2015 were to Nigeria’s immediate neighbours.

“I went round because we needed to work together. The peoples are the same, cultures are similar, so it was important that we also worked together on security,” he added.

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He wished Republic of Chad best of luck in general elections coming up in April.

The Special Envoy said he bore a solidarity message from President Itno on the security situation in Nigeria, as well as encouragement for Nigerian troops, who were working hard to end insurgency in the northern part of the country.

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#Newsworthy

Court ‘sentenced’ man to death by hanging.

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Ogunjimi said that the convict shot and killed Tosin Joye who was in the company of his friends on their way to buy pure water.

An Abeokuta High Court on Friday, sentenced a 33- year-old man, Sheu Jimoh, to death by hanging for murder.

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Delivering judgment, Justice Abiodun Akinyemi, held that the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubts.

Akinyemi said the offence committed contravened the provisions of Section 317 of the Criminal Code Laws of Ogun 2006.

”You shall be hung by your neck until you die,” he held.

During the trial, the state Prosecution Counsel Mrs Oluwaseni Ogunjimi and Assistant Chief State Counsel said the convict committed the offence on Sept. 15, 2013 at about 9p.m at Atala Junction, Bolatito, in Mowe area of Ogun.

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Ogunjimi said that the convict shot and killed Tosin Joye who was in the company of his friends on their way to buy pure water.

She said Joye died on his way to the hospital.

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#Newsworthy

Kwara temporarily shut 10 schools over Hijab controversy.

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Others are the ECWA School, Oja Iya, Surulere Baptist Secondary School and Bishop Smith Secondary School, Agba Dam.

Kwara on Friday directed an immediate, but temporary closure of some grant-aided schools in Ilorin pending the resolution of a Hijab controversy in the schools.

Mrs Kemi Adeosun, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development, said in a statement that affected schools are the Cherubim and Seraphim (C&S) College, Sabo Oke and St. Anthony College, Offa Road.

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Others are the ECWA School, Oja Iya, Surulere Baptist Secondary School and Bishop Smith Secondary School, Agba Dam.

Also affected are the CAC Secondary School, Asa Dam, St. Barnabas Secondary School, Sabo Oke, St. John School, Maraba, St. Williams Secondary School, Taiwo Isale and St. James Secondary School, Maraba.

“The closure comes as a government committee comprising representatives of the Muslim and Christian communities meets on Friday to iron out the differences between the two religious communities.

“Government calls for calm and urges parents and religious leaders to avoid actions or comments that may further split the two communities,’’ Adeosun stated.

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Noble Reporters Media reports that the ban on the use of Hijab in some missionary secondary schools in Kwara has dominated public discourse in the state lately.

With the lockout of some students wearing Hijab in affected schools, the discourse has been generating controversies and heated debates.

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#Newsworthy

Niger Gov debunk news of Kagara students’ release.

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The continuous insecurity in the country has continued to spark outrage and criticism against President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, Friday morning said the Kagara students and teachers have not been released.

Bello said at a press briefing that the state authorities are doing their best to ensure the students are released within “the next few days or hours”.

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Bello is reacting to several media reports claiming that the abducted persons have been released.

He said he is “not considering resigning” over the kidnapping, adding that “this is the first time students are being kidnapped in this state”.

At least 27 students of Government Science College (GSC) Kagara and 14 others including teachers were abducted when armed bandits attacked their school on Wednesday morning.

The gunmen dressed in military uniforms stormed the school hauling students into a nearby forest, a government official and a security source told AFP.

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“Bandits went into GSC Kagara last night and kidnapped hundreds of students and their teachers,” said the official, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue.

“One of the kidnapped staff and some students managed to escape. The staff confirmed a student was shot dead during the kidnap operation,” the official said.

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Only two months ago, more than 300 students were kidnapped in Kankara, in nearby Katsina state.

On Tuesday, Niger state authorities said bandits also killed 10 people and kidnapped at least 23 others in attacks on two remote villages.

The continuous insecurity in the country has continued to spark outrage and criticism against President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

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Senators Mohammed Enagi (APC-Niger South), Sani Musa (APC-Niger East), and Aliu Sabi Aliu (APC-Niger North) on Wednesday described as unacceptable, the worsening state of insecurity in Niger State and Nigeria in general.

Senator Enagi during the plenary said the Federal Government under the leadership of Buhari is grossly incompetent.

The visibly angry lawmaker further noted that the government had been evasive on issues that ought to be given attention.

Enagi observed that it was unfortunate that the Federal Government was too incompetent to handle in such a way as to guarantee full employment for the nation’s teeming youths.

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Enagi suggested the amendment of laws that would allow governors who are chief security officers of their respective states to take charge, insisting that the government at the centre has failed woefully.

He added that citizens might need to be allowed to bear arms through the amendment of laws if the situation persists.

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#Newsworthy

NDLEA arrest 36 suspects in Jigawa.

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The National Drug Law Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Jigawa Command, said it arrested 36 suspects from three Local Government Areas of the state in two days.

Hajiya Maryam Gambo, the agency’s Commander, said in a statement in Dutse on Friday that the suspects were arrested between Feb.15 and Feb. 27, in Kirikasamma, Guri and Hadejia LGAs.

Gambo said the arrests were made in markets, shops and other hideouts, in a determined effort to rid the state of illegal sale and consumption of hard drugs.

She explained that different types of hard drugs, ranging from cannabis sativa (hemp) and psychotropic substances were recovered from the suspects

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According to her, the illicit drugs recovered from the suspects are Tramadol, Exol15, Diszepam, Prometazine injection and Lidocaine injection.

“In our effort to cleanse Jigawa of illegal consumption and sale of hard drugs, the NDLEA Jigawa command embarked on a mission in Kirikasamma, Guri, Hadejia and other parts of the state to clamp on illicit drug activities.

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“This is done in order to reduce crimes and criminality, which are drug induced in the state.

“Drug is an agent provocateur of other crimes as it negatively changes the mood of the user.

“The user, consequently, embarks on a mission he/she would not have dared to, under his normal senses,’’ she said.

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According to the commander, arrest, seizures, prosecutions, counselling and rehabilitation have been and will continue to be the agency’s mandate.

“While we continue to arrest and prosecute these merchants of death, who celebrate their success on the grave of others, we have also continued to educate the pupils and students in primary and secondary schools.

“This is because we believe in catching them young.

“Also, our Drug Demand Reduction Unit has continued to carry out enlightenment campaigns to tertiary institutions, motor parks, markets, women groups and the general public.

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“This, we will continue to do until success is achieved.

“`So, we solicit the cooperation of the general public in providing us with useful information to enable us serve better,’’ Gambo appealed.

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#Newsworthy