Insurgency, killings: FG approves N10bn for rebuilding in Benue, others

Rose Ejembi, Makurdi The Federal Government has approved N10 billionto rebuild structures in Benue and other states that were destroyed

Rose Ejembi, Makurdi

The Federal Government has approved N10 billionto rebuild structures in Benue and other states that were destroyed as a result of insurgencies and herdsmen invasions.

Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, who disclosed this during a two-day visit to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in Benue State, yesterday, said the money would be used to provide security, resettlement of IDPs and restoration of farms and farmlands as well as education of the displaced children.

“We want to ensure that all villages that have been destroyed and attacked are secured.

“We want to ensure that IDPs return to their homes but, before then, places that were destroyed are rebuilt. Also, we must restore the farms and farmlands so that farmers can go back to work.

“Also, those who are not farmers, if they are into businesses, would be assisted to go back and do their business. We must also see to the education of the children.

“To ensure that all these projects are funded, the president and the full Security Council has approved N10 billion already; to rebuild places that have been destroyed across the country. The money is not only for Benue but for all places that were destroyed across the country,” Osinbajo stressed. He disclosed that President Muhamnadu Buhari asked him to take the responsibility of rebuilding areas that have been destroyed, and that the project would commence as soon as possible.Osinbajo, who visited the Abagena and RCM camps in Guma Lolca Government Area, assured that the places that would be rebuilt would be much better than places that were destroyed, even as he urged the people to keep faith with government.

“No one is doing you a favour by providing you security, shelter and education. These are your rights. All your sufferings us only the beginning of good things to come in your lives. The Bible says ‘weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning.’ The morning has come and joy has come for you.”

He encouraged the people of the state to organise themselves so as to benefit from the micro-credits for women and artisans as well as the Anchor-Borrowers program of the federal government.

On his part, Governor Samuel Ortom appreciated the federal government for the concern shown to the state since the beginning of the year, after the killings.

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Armed robbers attack Ekiti bank, 2 feared dead

•Monarch laments ordeal Wole Balogun, Ado Ekiti Suspected armed robbers attacked a bank in Ilawe-Ekiti, headquarters of Ekiti Southwest Local

•Monarch laments ordeal

Wole Balogun, Ado Ekiti

Suspected armed robbers attacked a bank in Ilawe-Ekiti, headquarters of Ekiti Southwest Local Government Area of Ekiti State, yesterday.

The reportedly left two people dead in their wake.

Eyewitnesses said the operation lasted over one hour and killed a policeman and a bank worker .

Another bank worker was also reportedly shot by the bandits on the arm.
Another eyewitness revealed that the robbers stormed the bank close to the Alawe’s Palace at about 2.45pm and operated unhindered, for over an hour.

They reportedly blasted the bank’s security door with dynamite before gaining entrance.
The eyewitness disclosed that the dynamite also blew up a blue colour Toyota Camry car parked within the vicinity of the bank.

The robbers reportedly stole a yet-to-disclosed amount of money.
Confirming the incident in a telephone chat, the Alawe of Ilawe-Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Alabi, expressed shock at the incident.

He said the robbers turned his domain to a warfront by firing dynamite and grenade which caused panic and subsequently, paralysed business, traffic and other social activities.
Oba Alabi said: “It was a terrible experience; my palace is very close to the bank. It was terrifying, it was like a warfront. They kept detonating grenades during the attack.

“I was in the palace during the robbery (and) the attack happened less than a hour after a bullion van delivered cash to the bank.

“We have been in touch with the governor and the state Police Command.”
Efforts to get the police reaction to the bank robbery were unsuccessful as telephone calls and text messages went unanswered.

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LG polls: We’ll investigate allegations of malpractices, says El-Rufai

Noah Ebije, Kaduna. Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El Rufai,yestrday said allegations of irregularities in last Saturday’s local government election will

Noah Ebije, Kaduna.

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El Rufai,yestrday said allegations of irregularities in last Saturday’s local government election will be investigated.

El-rufai added that steps will be taken to remedy such allegations if proved otherwise.

The governor, who addressed journalists after the All Progressives Congress (APC) local government congress for Kaduna North Local Government, saiddespite “human factor” which affected some aspects of the election, the voting machine worked “perfectly”.

Despite being adjudged free and fair, some electoral officials allegedly disappeared from some polling stations without announcing results.

The development prompted  the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to accuse Governor El Rufai of interfering with the process.

While admitting that some malpractices were reported, the governor promised they would be investigated.

“We have received reports of some electoral officers leaving their position. The electronic voting machine worked very well, but the human factors are always there, they must be addressed.

“They will be investigated and we will learn from it. But, what we are happy about is that the electronic voting machines worked perfectly.

“They also contained vital information that election riggers do not know about. We will investigate everything and we will take every step to remedy them” he assured.

The governor said the outcome of the coucnil elections has clearly indicated that members of the APC remain united.

“Our party is 100 percent united ahead of 2019 election. Our performance in the last local government election has shown that our party is united and one” he said.

Meanwhile, the council congress went smoothly as all the executives of the 23 local governments were returned through affirmation.

Chairman of the APC national committee monitoring team to Kaduna state, Comrade Saleh Moddibbo said the congresses went on smoothly in all the local governments areas.

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Impeachment threat: Police take over Kano Assembly

•My fate in God’s hands –Speaker Heavily-armed policemen and another security agency have sealed Kano State House of Assembly. The

•My fate in God’s hands –Speaker

Heavily-armed policemen and another security agency have sealed Kano State House of Assembly.
The police sealed the Assembly complex in the early hours of yesterday, in company with some officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence corps (NSCDC).

The armed policemen were deployed to the House at about 2:00am, to allegedly prevent members from gaining access into the complex.

The deployment of the armed policemen may be connected to a move to remove Speaker Yusuf Abdullahi Ata and principal officers by some lawmakers.

Reports indicated that the speaker had ordered for suspension of all activities in the House until after the Eid-El Kabir.

Police Public Relations Officer, SP Magaji Musa Majia confirmed deployment of his men to the Assembly and added that they were there to maintain peace in the complex.

“We deployed our men to the Assembly to ensure that nobody disrupts the peace.

“We need peace in the state and therefore we will not allow anybody to tamper with existing peace and harmony being enjoyed by the people in the state.”

Attah was sworn in, 10 months after the previous speaker resigned; following allegations of corruption. Now, his colleagues have accused him of incompetence and failure to carry everyone along.

It was gathered that 21 members have signed a motion for his impeachment while six other signatures are still needed to remove him.
Regardless, Ata confirmed the plot in a statement, yesterday morning.
Ata said as a Muslim who believes in destiny, he will accept his impeachment in good faith, if God wills it.

“In any thing in life, there is a starting point and the end.

“If Allah has designed it that my time is off, nobody will extend it by a second. And, if it is not time, nobody can remove me from office, that is my belief.
“My happiness is that I didn’t not steal anybody’s money. So, if today, they remove me from office, I will leave.

“I have a constituency that I am representing but, nobody will accuse me of stealing.”
He also said if the remaining six signatures are collected and all other impeachment procedures are completed, he would leave.

Ata succeeded Kabiru Rurum, who resigned from office in July last year, following allegations of corruption levelled against him.

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Ohanaeze furious over Enugu church’s explosion

• There was no bombing –Police Magnus Eze and Raphael Ede, Enugu President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Nnia

• There was no bombing –Police

Magnus Eze and Raphael Ede, Enugu

President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Nnia Nwodo, the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), leading clerics and groups, yesterday, condemned the bomb attack on Holy Cross Catholic Church, Iji-Nike in Enugu-East Council Area of Enugu State.

They said the attack in the early hours of Sunday is not only sacrilegious but also satanic.
Specifically, Nwodo flayed the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in Igbo land, calling on the security agencies to unravel those behind the dastardly act.

“I am alarmed that IEDs are beginning to be used recklessly in Igboland and this casts aspersion on the security in Igbo land. This places a serious bounding on the security to find the source of the IEDs.”
MASSOB, in a statement by its National Director of Information, Edeson Samuel said the unprovoked attack is a crime against the body of Christ, which would not be accepted.

The pro-Biafra group, which accused Islamic fundamentalists of the attack warned that they would no longer condone such aggression.

“MASSOB investigation has revealed that the aim of these traitors is nothing but to create fear and disaffection among us, this will give them the opportunity of divide and rule syndrome in Igboland. It was the house of Chief Nnia Nwodo and Chief Kalu Idika Kalu, now Catholic church,” the statement read.

However, Archbishop of Enugu Anglican Communion, Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuma has attributed the incident to the porosity of security in the country.
He expressed doubt whether the present administration was really in charge of the security of lives in the nation.

Also, former President of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) and Bishop of Rock Family Church, Dr. Obi Onubogu described those behind the attack as cowards, stressing that they had failed if their aim was to destabilise the Igbo nation.

But he warned: “We can’t wait until they get into the market places.

On its part, the Igbo Civil Society Coalition (ICSCO) in a statement by its National Convener, Bismarck Oji said they believed the attack was related to the recent bombing of the country home of the Ohaneze President General.

The group alleged that those behind it might be non-Igbo, who were apparently doing a dress rehearsal for something much more serious.
But the Enugu State Police Command has denied reports of alleged bomb explosion at a Catholic church in the state on Sunday.

Command spokesman, Ebere Amaraizu, said there was no bomb blast in any church in the state.
“The command wish to make it categorically clear to the members of the public that there was no bomb explosion at Holy Cross Catholic Parish at Iji Nike in Abakpa, Enugu State, as being speculated.

“And that there was a report of alleged explosion in the church in the morning on Sunday in which the command’s Explosive Ordinance Department (EOD) promptly attended to together with other security operatives of the command.

“The command to this end, wish to advice members of the public to go about their normal lawful businesses as analysis from the men of the EOD of the command revealed that that it has got nothing to do with improvised explosive devise or it like.

“But it is pyrotechnic which the perpetrator used to cause panic to church members.
“There was no loss of lives, injury or damage to properties during the incident,’’ he said.
The spokesman said that police operatives in the EOD department had rendered the entire area safe.

“A full scale investigation has commenced into the alleged incident,’’ he said.

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Recruitment: Obaseki’s reforms throw up vacancies

• Gov seeks increased roles for family Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki’s revamp of the civil service and drive to

• Gov seeks increased roles for family

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki’s revamp of the civil service and drive to reposition the state for optimal service delivery has thrown up vacancies in the building, maintenance, emergency services and agricultural sectors in the state.

This is coming on the heels of the state government’s renewed commitment to inject new life in the civil service, in pursuance of impactful infrastructure and social development projects in the state.

The vacancies, according to a statement by the Chairman, Edo State Civil Service Commission, Mrs Ekiuwa Inneh, are for engineers, surveyors, firemen, architects, veterinarians, forest officers and town planners.
The recruitment is an affirmation of a number of policy pronouncements made by the governor in recent times, particularly the setting up of ambulance service to facilitate the work of first responders in emergencies; setting up structure for management of the state’s forest assets; establishment of livestock farms and reviving the state’s real estate and agricultural sectors.

It was gathered that the state government is keen on ensuring professionals man the key offices that would be interfacing with the private sector, which is increasingly expanding since the governor’s unrelenting expression of commitment to industrialising the state.

Meanwhile, Obaseki said with the invaluable contributions of the family institution to human development and advancement, more roles should be assigned to the institution.

Obaseki made the case on the occasion of the International Day of Families, celebrated on May 15, each year.
“As the basic unit of society, the family institution has continued to sustain the human race, socialising and preparing children for growth and development,” he said.

The governor added that despite socio-economic and other challenges, such as wars and conflicts, which disrupt the family system in parts of the world, the institution, “has fared well and deserves to be empowered to step out of its traditional roles and do more for society as development-focused governments seek ways of bringing governance closer to the people.”

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Jigawa: Allow people see me, Buhari tells security agencies

Commissions Typha Grass Trimming in Auyo Ahmed Abubakar, Dutse President Muhammad Buhari has flagged-off the trimming of age long Typha

Commissions Typha Grass Trimming in Auyo

Ahmed Abubakar, Dutse

President Muhammad Buhari has flagged-off the trimming of age long Typha grass from the Hadejia river valley in Jigawa State.

The president, who was in Jigawa for a two day working visit, arrived the state capital at 9:58a.m. and was treated to a reception by the Jigawa and Kano States Governors, Alhaji Muhammed Badaru Abubakar and Alhaji Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, respectively. President Buhari expressed disappointment with the manner with which he was prevented from meeting the people directly despite their efforts to troop to the occasion to see him.

Buhari, who spoke in ‘Hausa’ at the Hadejia emirs palace, said: “I was enveloped in a dark vehicle which prevented the large number of people from seeing me. I also saw the disappointment on their faces when they could not even guess the vehicle that conveyed me.

“I hope when I’m going back they would put me in an open vehicle so my people will see me and I can also wave at them.”

The president, who, on arrival in the morning, immediately boarded a helicopter which conveyed him to Auyo, where he commissioned dredging process of the river canal.

The project was first awarded in 1981 and had since been abandoned by successive governments. When dredged, the canals are expected to provide enough water for irrigation purposes and other domestic use.

He also proceeded to commission 114 kilometre  Guri-Tasheguwa-Abunabo Road construction work awarded at the cost of over N11 billion by the state government.

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Osun govt. debuks PDP’s allegation of squandering N6bn

Clement Adeyi, Osogbo The Osun State Government has described as ‘false, baseless and unfounded’ the allegation of wasteful spending levelled

Clement Adeyi, Osogbo

The Osun State Government has described as ‘false, baseless and unfounded’ the allegation of wasteful spending levelled against the administration of Governor Rauf Aregbesola by the opposition party, the PDP last week.

This was contained in a statement, on Monday, by the Media Adviser to the Governor, Mr. Sola Fasure, who said “PDP had once again demonstrated its skill at deception and uncanny ability to turn white into blue in a bid to discredit the people-oriented government of Aregbesola.”

The party, had last week, accussed Aregbesola of misappropriating the state’s fund to the tune of over N6 billion naira. The party Chairman, Soji Adagunodo, who made the allegtion based on the state’s 2016 edited report released by a European Union Transparency Initiative,  had alleged that the reckless spending accounted for the financial crisis and hardship that has been rocking the state.

Adagunodo had also alleged that the money expended was higher than the entire amount spent on education, agriculture and health in the same year.

But Fasure stated yesterday that “the opposition PDP in Osun in company with the party’s governorship aspirants had only succeeded in dishing out concocted figures that were a mix-bag of lies and half truths containing wildly flawed and incorrect statistics about spending in the Office of the Governor.”

He insisted that Osun PDP had demonstrated for too long its inherent ability for untruth and deception, claiming that the recent information it purportedly disclosed to the public was nothing unusual as it had been the party’s stock in trade.

Fasure described the alleged financial misappropriation as a display of monumental fiscal ignorance to ascribe the Office of the Governor to the person of Governor Rauf Aregbesola.

He said that “the dubious press conference by the PDP was a desperate attempt to change the narrative on the soaring popularity of Governor Aregbesola and the APC in contrast to the dwindling fortunes of the PDP in the state and all over the country.”

The statement read in part: “We therefore have the following to say on the cacophonic baloney concocted by the PDP on the account of the state.

The primary source of the information relied upon was the state audited account for 2015 and 2016 that had been publicly presented with fanfare on April 4 this year.

“It is therefore curious how the state’s account transparently presented to the public could be a source from which the opposition will draw allegations of financial impropriety.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Osun is the only state among the six participating states in the State and Local Governance Reform (SLOGOR) Project that publicly presented its account for three years running. Others are Anambra, Cross River, Jigawa, Kano and Yobe.

“The PDP got its facts wrong by claiming that the Office of the Governor spent N6.3 billion in 2016. It was actually N9.7 billion. N4.8 billion was also expended in 2015, as against N1.2 billion falsely claimed by PDP. But it is a display of monumental fiscal ignorance to ascribe the Office of the Governor to the person of Governor Rauf Aregbesola.

“There are 28 agencies under the Office of the Governor. These are: Osun Park and Gardens; Wife of the Governor; Office of Regional Integration; Bureau of Government House and Protocols; Christian Welfare Board; Muslim Welfare Board; Public Procurement Agency; Osun State Sports Council; Office of the Deputy Governor; Public Service Office; Special Project Office; Sustainable Development Goals; O’Jobs; Office of Human Resources; Bureau of Public Service Pension; Office of Economic Development and Partnership; Policy and Economic Team; Office of Forestry, Natural and Mineral Resources; Office of Policy Coordination; Bureau of General Services; Osun State Emergency Management Agency; Bureau of Lands; O’Honey; United Nations Development Programme; Osun State Agency for the Control of AIDS; Sustainable Development Goals; and Bureau of Communications and Strategy. These are the agencies which received the budgetary allocation under reference, not the person of the governor.

“A breakdown of the 2016 sum reveals that N648 million was spent on personnel, N2.5 billion on overhead while N4.99 billion was spent on pension, making a total N8.1billion. The balance of N1.56 billion was expended on capital acquisition and other critical expenditures.

“It is ridiculous and the height of mischief to claim that the state government spent N1.8 million on health in 2016. Capital project and project funded on health alone was to the tune of a total sum of N498 million in 2016. Hospital Management Board in 2016 also got N1.5 billion. Capital projects in health were also carried out under Sustainable Development Goals and the Ministry of Health.

“PDP also claimed that the Office of the Governor spent N276 million on ‘infrastructure maintenance’. This is false. The sum was expended on ‘infrastructure acquisition’. There is a world of difference between ‘acquisition’ and ‘maintenance’.

“The state government has had to use huge sums to repay debts. These debts date back to the old Oyo State. Aregbesola’s administration inherited a total of N19.9 billion debt incurred by the previous PDP administration. These debts were owed UBA, Zenith Bank and Sterling Bank. As it is evident to all, the bonds were used efficiently for infrastructure development. The state government also took more than N25 billion loan to pay workers salaries and it was in order to avoid cumulating more debts to pay workers salaries that the government adopted the modulated salary structure arrangement.”

Fasure averred that it is sad to behold the display of intellectual ineptitude of  PDP which made a mountain out of the molehill and in the process exposed itself to ridicule and public opprobrium with the expression of monumental ignorance on simple fiscal matters.

He stated that the PDP leadership, with its governorship aspirants including a professor and a Senator of the Federal Republic, shamefully displayed crass ignorance in its failure to know and distinguish the difference between the Office of the Governor and the person of the governor.

Fasure said the faux pas had morally disqualified PDP and its aspirants from occupying any leadership position, having demonstrated their unsuitability to govern the state.

He alerted the media and the public “to be wary of the diabolic intentions of the PDP leadership who are ‘certified Confusionists that have perfected the art of lying and public deception.”

 

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Airman killed in Bayelsa as gunmen attack Air Force helipad

Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa The relative serenity of Igbogene, a suburb of Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, was shattered Sunday when

Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa

The relative serenity of Igbogene, a suburb of Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, was shattered Sunday when suspected gunmen attacked a Nigerian Air Force helipad, killing an airman in the process.

The helipad is being maintained by the Nigerian Air Force Mobility Command, which has its headquarters in Yenagoa.

According to investigations, the gunmen, numbering six, had stormed the helipad and opened fire on Air Force personnel on duty. The targeted personnel, however, repelled the attack by fighting back.

One airman was said to have been killed, with others were wounded, while the gunmen were said to have carted away arms and ammunition.

The leadership of the Mobility Command has briefed Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who has ordered an investigation into the incident.

A terse press statement from the Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force, Air Vice Marshal Olatokubo Adesanya, confirmed that Sadique has ordered a probe of the incident.

The statement read in part:

“In the early hours of Sunday, 13 May 2018, a group of unknown gunmen attacked the guard post at Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Helipad at Igbodene in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. Although the NAF personnel on duty were able to repel the attack, an airman paid the supreme sacrifice in the process. The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has immediately ordered an investigation to unravel the circumstances surrounding the incident”

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Court slams N4m bail on woman over alleged N3.7m land scam

NAN A Kubwa Grade 1 Area Court, on Monday, slammed a N4 million bail on a 38-year-old woman, Florence Obasi,

NAN

A Kubwa Grade 1 Area Court, on Monday, slammed a N4 million bail on a 38-year-old woman, Florence Obasi, over alleged N3.7 million land fraud.

Obasi of Lugbe, Abuja, had at his arraignment on May 11 pleaded not guilty to a three-count charge bordering on forgery and cheating brought against him.

The judge, Mr Mohammed Marafa, who gave the ruling, said the defendant should produce one reliable surety in like sum‎.

Police Prosecutor Babajide Ol‎anipekun had told the court that the defendant deceived the complainant, Mr Terry Adogeri of Kubwa, Abuja, into giving her N3. 7 million on April 18 to purchase a land also in Kubwa.

The defendant issued as genuine a forged document to Adogeri for the land, he alleged.

The offences contravened Sections 321, 363 and 366 of the Penal Code.

Further hearing in the case has been fixed for July 13.

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