NYSC To Start Posting Corps Members To Farms For Primary Assignment

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The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has said that it would soon commence the posting of corps members to farms as Place of Primary Assignment (PPA).  

The Director General, NYSC, Suleiman Kazaure, said this on Monday in an interview with journalists during his official visit to the NYSC Permanent Orientation Camp in Sagamu, Ogun State.

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He said that the move to deploy corps members in farms was in line with the agricultural development programme of the NYSC.

According to him, the NYSC has concluded preparations to begin the posting at the conclusion of the three-week orientation exercise.

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He said that Bauchi, Oyo, Kebbi and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, had been earmarked for the pilot phase.

“It should interest you to know that the NYSC will soon begin its agricultural development scheme where corps members will be posted to farms for their primary assignments.

“Already the NYSC has acquired active farmlands across the nation’s geopolitical zones with four already fully operational in Kwali, Bauchi, Oyo and Kebbi.

“After this orientation programme for the Batch ‘A’ corps members, we will begin posting some of them to these farms as a pilot phase.

“Though we are starting with four states for now, we will integrate the other states as time goes, the project is ongoing,” Mr. Kazaure said.

The NYSC boss had tasked the corps members not to seek white-collar jobs which were non-existent but rather develop their potentials for entrepreneurship excellence.

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#DemocracyDay: Akpabio Mocks APC | ‘’If It Is Not Panadol, It Can’t Be The Same As Panadol”

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The Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has mocked the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led federal government, saying that it has failed to deliver on the basic needs of Nigerians in the last two years.

While blaming the ruling party’s alleged failure on the “lack of experience and technical-know-how to administer the country,” the two-term governor of Akwa Ibom State said, ‘’If it is not Panadol, it can’t be the same as Panadol.”

“I believed that if it were PDP–between 2015 and 2017, we would have made more significant progress,” he added, while speaking in an exclusive interview today with THISDAY in Abuja.

He said rather than focus on how to fulfil its campaign promises to the Nigerian people, the ruling party spent two years blaming PDP for its failure to perform.

He said: “A lot of plans have been outlined but, not much has actually been seen in terms of progress and delivering of campaign promises; most of the campaign promises have actually not been met.”

“But from a politician’s point of views, I am just imagining that probably, we could have handled the recession better, if it were PDP and that is how I looked at it.”

Speaking on why the ruling party failed to fulfil its campaign promises, the PDP chieftain accused the government of lacking focus and experience; and it kept blaming the so-called mess created and left behind by the PDP for its inability to perform.

‘’But they can’t say that; before you go into government you must do a critical analysis of what you intend to do. You can’t go and promise free education when you are not sure of whether you are ready’’, Senator Akpabio added.

‘’Before you make promises to the people you must have done not just the detailed analysis of the economic situation of the government, but a review of the economic policies of the government. So, if they say they underestimated the mess created or left behind by the PDP that means they, on their own part, were not prepared for governance.’’

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Abubakar Momoh: Renowned Professor And DG Of INEC Institute Passes On

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A prominent Nigerian civil society leader and director general of the Independent National Electoral Commission’s Electoral Institute, Abubakar Momoh, has passed on.

According to his associates, Mr. Momoh, a professor, who sat on the board of several non-governmental organisations, died in the early hours of Monday.

Confirming the development on his Facebook page, his associate and lawyer, Abdul Mahmoud, said:

“It’s true, I have just spoken to his brother-in-law.”

It is understood that Momoh died in Abuja and is expected to be buried in Auchi, Edo State later today, according to Islamic rites.

Until his death, Mr. Abubakar was the dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Lagos State University, LASU.

“Mr. Abubakar obtained PhD in political theory and began his lecturing career in 1988,” his profile published by the African Leadership Centre, says.

He has served on various boards and scientific committees including those of the Centre for Democracy and Development, and Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa.

Abubakar has also been a researcher and lecturer at many universities across the world, including being visiting research fellow, Institute of Development Studies, University of Helsinki, Finland; fellow, Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, Sweden.

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Nigeria Threatens To Shut Land Borders If Rice Smuggling Continues

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The Federal Government has threatened to shut down some land borders if the smuggling of rice continues from neighbouring countries.

This declaration was made by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, on Monday in Abuja, while speaking to newsmen on some of the Federal Government’s achievements in the agriculture sector in the last two years.

Ogbeh said the decision became necessary to encourage local rice farmers and to enable the country achieve self-sufficiency in rice by 2018.

He said: “We believe they are determined to sabotage the efforts that we are making to guarantee self sufficiency in rice and to save foreign exchange which we don’t have.”

“They insist on bringing in rice through the land borders, avoiding the duties and the levies we put on them and they are definitely bent on sabotaging our efforts and we are getting increasingly unhappy with them.”

“And I must say that very soon, if they persist, we will take very nasty measures against them.”

“We will like to advise our neighbours who believe that the ECOWAS Treaty means that Nigeria is a volunteer nation for economic suicide.”

“We have no such plans — destroying our own economy to make any neighbour happy.”

“The ECOWAS Treaty number two does not suggest that any country can be an avenue of smuggling foreign goods not produced in that country for dumping in his neighbour’s territory.”

“If they insist, I do not think that government is far away from considering permanently closing certain borders very near us and when we do, nothing will make us change our minds on the issue, ECOWAS Treaty or not.’’

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#DemocracyDay: Dear President Buhari, You Have Broken Our Hearts,

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#DemocracyDay: Dear President Buhari, You Have Broken Our Hearts, By Chude Jideonwo

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Two years ago to this day, you brought me to tears.

You were in our nation’s capital, being inaugurated as the first Nigerian in our nation’s history to win the presidency from an opposition party. I was far away, in Lagos; but I had a cherished privilege: to be the one to publish the very first tweet on your account as president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

This article was written by Chude Jideonwo. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.

And as my colleague, Oluwatobi Soyombo watched, I threw my head back on the chair, and I began to weep.

I couldn’t help myself. This moment was too big, was too strong; was too much.

They were tears of joy. But they were also tears of relief, personal and collective. Personal relief from the fear of the consequences of my decision – after having readied myself for four years of repercussion for supporting so publicly a man who was hardly likely to win; collective relief that we would not be facing four more years of the triumphal leadership of the corrupt and the reprobate; relief that we had just dodged a bullet.

Barely six months before, I had never met you, never stayed in the same space with you, didn’t even believe in you. The one thing I knew was that, for this young man, it was anybody but Goodluck Jonathan. But then you filled me with such hope, because you appeared to finally carry on your shoulders the burdens of an exhausted, furious generation.

I was as furious as anyone. Actually, I was more furious than most. Furious enough to burn bridges, risk backlash, annoy friends and family; to cross the divide to vote and work passionately for a man I had voted for reluctantly, even bitterly, only four years before.

It was like a miracle. I never believed this was going to happen. I never believed an opposition leader could win an election in our country; I never believed that citizens could make this change happen in my lifetime.

It was so hard to believe that I continued to argue with my team, right up to time that the incumbent president conceded. Our data already projected your win, but I refused to be seduced, memories of Karl Rove making a fool of himself on Fox News over a quixotic Mitt Romney win in 2012 haunting me. “Push all the votes from the South-East and the South-South to Jonathan’s column,” I said to my colleague Joachim MacEbong. “Assume Buhari gets zero votes there. What we have now is too deceptive. An opposition candidate can’t win with such a margin.”

I couldn’t believe it, until it happened. Some days, even now, I wake up and I almost still can’t believe it.

From 2010, when I became active in civic spaces, this had been the dream: to have a citizen-led movement that could put the fear of God into the political establishment.

I had spent days on the streets, in protest, at risk to life and business. I had sat in countless meetings and strategy sessions. I had spent millions of my own money invested in this vision. I had spent time in private and group prayer, shouting in pain, sobbing in frustration, crying out for all of this to not be for nothing, to be for some intervention, for some sign from God that our country would be better, even in our lifetimes. I didn’t believe it could be that dramatic, I didn’t believe it could come to pass.

But it did. And when it did, it was enough to overturn my theology of God’s agenda for politics. Because it certainly felt like an answer to our prayers. It certainly felt like divine intervention. It absolutely felt like the heavens had heard Nigeria’s heart cry. It had to be. This was a miracle. You were a miracle. You were a change, desperately sought. A change, desperately won.

But it wasn’t really about you, Mr. President. This was never about you.

You were a symbol of our aspiration, you were an expression of a democratic ideal: that the citizen is the most powerful force in any democracy. You were a symbol that we mattered, that our voices mattered. That if we organised, we could defeat powerful forces. That if we came together, nothing was truly beyond our grasp, no possibility beyond the reach of a determined population. That we, truly, are the ones that we have been waiting for.

For me, after 10 years of nation building aspirations and five years of activist engagement, you presented the unique opportunity for all to come together. For the networks, and the platforms and the reputation and the skills and the creativity that I had to come to a head, to join the effort to make change happen. And there were many Nigerians who took that risk also, because we saw a ray of sunlight.

We thought this was worth the risk. This had to be worth the risk.

The many people who worked incredibly hard to get you into office, but then stayed aside and asked for no benefit in return, thought it was worth that risk. It was the reason I said no to an offer to join this administration in its first two years; same as many people that I know. We couldn’t dare corrupt this one sacrifice – this gift – with the appearance of self-interest.

But it’s not just about those who can afford to keep their distance. It’s more about the many whom your inchoate policies hurt the most – the people you told us you were running for.

Remember that woman who wrapped up her entire savings and donated to your campaign? Do you remember her, sir?

What would you say to her, if you saw her today?

I write this today because I don’t know what happens next.

I don’t know if you are well, or how well you are. You haven’t treated us, your citizens, your voters, with the respect of telling us what ails you, how it ails you and how it affects your ability to do your job. Instead you treat us with the scorn and contempt that Aso Rock seems to breed – the contempt of silence.

Look at the nation you left behind, as you duck for cover in the United Kingdom: Healthcare so shabby even you can’t rely on it for your own well being. Schools still exactly in the state in which you met them 24 months ago. An economy in shambles. An anti-corruption fight running around in circles. A nation fragmented, with the one time since the 1960s in which Biafra has become a dominant narrative – courtesy of tone-deaf ethnic-coloured politics. Businesses attacked by a combination of violent tax authorities and ham-fisted fiscal policies, which seem to punish citizens for the failings of past governments and inadequacies of this one. Indeed, the anecdotal stories of businesses folded up, investments dried up, jobs lost and dreams shattered have become the defining testimony of your leadership.

You have taken the hopes and the dreams and the faith that we invested in you, and you have shattered them into many tiny pieces.

Is this fair? Is this right? Is this why you ran? Is this what those four attempts were about? Is this the plan you had? Is this the vision you shared? Is this what this was all about – just being president?

It is easy for us to hide under the shadow of your acting president, Yemi Osinbajo, who makes it easy to prove citizens right, that we made the proper choice to vote for change and to upset the old system in 2015. It is convenient to turn to him as justification for our wisdom.

But the truth is that, for me, it isn’t. You are the man with the mandate. You are the man with the ultimate responsibility.

To be honest, there is no regret in voting for you. Even if everything failed, even if your acting president had been a failure, there would be no regret in voting for you.

We had a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea. As it turns out, we chose the deep blue sea.

If that time came again, I would make no other choice, even with everything I know now. With everything I have, and everything I believe and everything I hold dear, I am passionate about the fact that, despite the disappointment you have presented to us, voting what you represented for president was a crucial step in re-making Nigeria, in the long term.

I just wish you had made it easier, with your performance, with visionary leadership, with actions and decisions, to justify that choice. I wish we could point to the short term, as well as the long term as the vindication of that choice. I wish you had risen up to the occasion, Mr. President.

Yes, you care for Nigeria. I know that. Or at least I think I do. But that doesn’t matter. It’s neither here nor there. Love is not just something you say, love is something you do. And there is no evidence, today, of your love.

We didn’t vote for you to try your best; we didn’t vote for you to complain to no end, no. We voted for you to make change happen.

And no matter what your remaining rabid supporters, either blinded still by anger at Dr. Jonathan, blinded by the comfort of denial or blinded by proximity to power, say, this is the truth: we are disappointed in you. This is not the change we voted for.

Of course, there is still a year to make it happen before the politicking fully kicks in, but not today.

Instead, disappointment, shame, sadness – that has become your legacy.

And it breaks my heart sir.

It breaks so many hearts, home and abroad. Those who believed passionately in you. Those who didn’t believe but decided to give you a chance. Those who couldn’t bring themselves to vote for you but still celebrated the possibility of change. Those who rolled the dice and hoped for the best.

Your performance, your failings, the ineptitude, it has severely broken their hearts. It has severely broken my heart.

I sincerely hope, in your quiet moments of truth, that it breaks your heart too.

Chude Jideonwo is co-founder and managing partner of RED.

This article was written by Chude Jideonwo. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.

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15,000 PDP Members Defect To APC In Kogi State

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At least 15,000 members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Saturday defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Omala local government area of Kogi State.

Speaking while receiving the defectors at Abejukolo, the headquarters of the local government, the State acting Governor, Simon Achuba, assured them of equal treatment as the APC was working to make sure their welfare is made a priority.

He described the APC as a party that would reposition the State for growth and development, urging those who are yet to make up their minds in joining APC to do so now before it is late.

Achuba, while commending the decampees formally for joining the APC, admonished them to join hands and contribute their quota in the task of building a virile state.

The acting Governor, described the PDP as a sinking ship, saying the APC would provide for the new members a platform to actualise their dreams and aspiration.

The administrator of Omala local government area, Ibrahim Aboh, said the decamping of the members to APC was influenced by efforts to have a platform to quicken the pace of development of the area.

He said at least 15, 000 members of the PDP had added to the fold of the party in the area, describing the area now as completely an APC domain.

Aboh however appealed to the new entrants to be discipline within the party as erring members would be sanctioned.

Also, the leader of the decampees, John Kadiri, a two time special adviser, one time vice chairman of Omala LGA, said their conviction to join the APC was borne out of the need to join the fold of the progressives, as recent development efforts points to the fact that the past administration in the state failed in meeting the yearning and aspiration of the people.

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Police Arrests Father And His Children For Lynching Passer-By Who Urinated Near Residence

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The Police Command in Abuja has arrested a man, his children and other family members for allegedly lynching a 60-year-old man who urinated close to their residence.

The victim, Pius Inaiwe, was said to have been killed by the suspects for passing urine in their compound in Jiwa, a community in the Abuja Municipal Area Council.

The Punch reports that the victim went into a coma after he was assaulted by the suspects.

Inaiwe was subsequently rushed to a private hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival by the medical doctors.

It is understood that the incident, which occurred last Thursday, was met with outrage and uproar in the community as some irate youths attempted to attack the suspects involved in the assault on the deceased.

Local media, Northern City News, was quoted to have said that it took the intervention of the Divisional Police Officer, Gwagwa Police Station, and some other prominent persons in the area to stop the youths from attacking the suspects involved in Inaiwe’s killing.

Speaking on the incident on Sunday, the FCT Police Public Relations Officer, Perry Usen, said at least six suspects were in custody in connection with the incident.

“I can confirm to you that we have six suspects in custody in connection with the incident. A man and his family members, including his children were arrested for allegedly lynching a 60-year-old man because he urinated near their compound. Investigation is ongoing to know the level of their involvement in the crime,” he said.

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Nigeria’s Economy Bleeds As CBN Pursues Elusive Naira Stability

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Nigeria’s Economy Bleeds As CBN Pursues Elusive Naira Stability – Oyetunji Abioye

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Nigeria, the biggest economy in Africa, is down on its knees following the sharp drop in the prices of crude oil, the country’s major foreign exchange earner.

Since June 2014 when the prices of oil fell from about $110 per barrel to the current average of $50/barrel, the fortunes of the world’s fifth largest exporter of oil has nosedived sharply.

This article was written by Oyetunji Abioye. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.

With a major fall in economic growth from a six per cent average to the current negative position, jump in inflation from nine per cent to 17 per cent, and severe weakening of the naira from 150/dollar to 305/dollar on the official market and 380/dollar on the parallel market, the economy is believed to be on a life support.

This, according to experts, is evident in the massive job losses, factory closures, biting inflation, loss of consumer and investor confidence, erosion of disposable income and general lull in economic activities.

To save the import-dependent economy from collapse and huge shock caused by the sudden drop in crude oil prices, the Central Bank of Nigeria has implemented several foreign exchange management policies targeted at the demand and supply of forex.

The CBN’s forex management measures have created multiple exchange rates currently put at five in number.

The multiple exchange rates have led to subsidies and economic distortions with forex round-dripping becoming the order of the day in the nation’s financial system.

While the economy continues to bleed with gruelling hardship for about 170 million Nigerians, economic experts and analysts believe the worst is not yet over, arguing that the country has yet to put in place formidable policies that will take her out of the woods.

Key fiscal and monetary reforms are required but top economists say the journey must begin with the scrapping of the multiple exchange rates to pave way for a single exchange rate regime as well as real and effective exchange rate.

A former Governor of the CBN, Prof. Charles Soludo, believes that to get the country out of the current economic dilemma, policymakers must stop the current multiple exchange rates regime.

According to him, the CBN must achieve a unified market-determined exchange rate by eliminating the current multiple exchange rates as a matter of urgency.

Specifically, Soludo states that policymakers must scrap the current multiple exchange rates regime and reduce the wide spread between the official and parallel market naira exchange rates to a maximum of three to five per cent.

The currency currently has about five exchange rates, according to analysts.

Soludo points out that the CBN’s official exchange rate of N306 to the dollar has become redundant, describing it as an instrument for rent seekers and arbitrary allocation of scarce foreign exchange in the country.

He says, “With regards to exchange rate, I can see quite some changes in the last few weeks. I think some steps are beginning to be taken, but it is still quite a long way to go to get to a stable and predictable level that eliminates the premium among the multiplicity of exchange rates.

“Nigeria must get out of multiple exchange rates and we must eliminate the premium and get back on track at a competitive exchange rate regime. The uncertainty that is created by that is so enormous; and with oil price rising and with the increase in oil earnings, this is the time to take bold steps and do the needful.”

However, economic experts say that whichever way the regulator wants to achieve this convergence (either around the lower band of N305/dollar, mid-point band of N320/dollar or around the upper band of around N360/dollar), the country has a huge price to pay.

According to them, achieving convergence around the official rate of N305/dollar will take a long time as the CBN does not currently possess the stock of forex to push the parallel market rate from the current N380/dollar to the official rate level of N305/dollar.

Conversely, the experts argue that to achieve rate convergence at the upper limit of say N360/dollar, the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) may go up significantly from the current N145 per litre.

According to them, oil marketers currently access forex from the CBN at N305/dollar.

Any attempt to achieve rate convergence around the upper limit of around N360/dollar will force oil marketers to increase the pump price of petroleum products.

This, experts say, will have severe inflationary pressure on the economy, causing general increase in the prices of several goods and services.

The central bank must determine what it intends to achieve.

The Managing Director, Cowry Assets Management Limited, Mr. Johnson Chuwku, says, “The choices are left with the monetary authority (the CBN) to determine whether they want to achieve rate convergence at the lower band or at the upper band.

“If you want to achieve rate convergence at the upper limit, it will affect petrol price. If it has to be at the lower limit of say N305/dollar, and this cannot happen overnight.”

A currency analyst at Ecobank Nigeria, Mr. Kunle Ezun, notes that fuel importation constitutes 33 per cent of the country’s import bill and, as such, the pump price of petrol will have to go up if the CBN seeks to achieve rate convergence and a single exchange rate regime around the upper limit of say N360/dollar.

The alternative, he says, is for the central bank to continue to manage the situation until 2019 when the country hopes to stop fuel importation.

The Managing Director, Afrinvest Securities, Mr. Ayodeji Ebo, says achieving a rate convergence and single exchange rate will have to be a gradual process that will take time.

He submits that the Nigerian economy cannot afford to face the distortion or inflationary shock that may arise from unifying the exchange rate and achieving rate convergence around the upper limit of say N360/dollar.

Ebo says, “I don’t think we need any major shock or pressure now. The opportunity cost of converging the rates, especially for oil marketers, will be too high for the country. We don’t have the revenue to subsidise fuel import and increasing the pump price will trigger inflation and related chaos.

“As the country progresses, rate convergence will be a gradual thing and it will be achieved when there is stability in the forex market.”

In the meantime, what the CBN needs to do, according to the Afrinvest expert, is to continue to allow market forces and transparency to prevail at the newly created ‘Investors & Exporters FX Window’.

Ebo believes this will attract more foreign portfolio investors to bring in forex into the economy.

He adds, “The CBN says about $1bn worth of transactions have been done on the newly created I&E FX window in the last one month. Out of that amount, the CBN contributed only $300m (30 per cent). That is good. It means if they allow transparency there, the foreign investors who have left the country will start coming in again.”

But economists are not sure if this measure only will get the country back to the point where large amount of forex will come to boost the external reserves and confidence will be restored such that JP Morgan and Barclays will bring Nigeria back to their global bond indexes.

JP Morgan and Barclays had in 2015 removed Nigeria from their global bond indexes when confidence was lost in the interbank forex market.

Chukwu believes that before foreign investors will come into the country with their forex in droves, Nigeria must achieve three things, namely rate convergence, favourable investment-friendly policies and absolute confidence in the country’s fundamentals.

He suggests that the way forward is for the CBN to seek to achieve rate convergence around N320/ dollar or N325/dollar. He believes this will make the inflationary shock and pressure on the economy to reduce.

The country, Chukwu says, needs to achieve rate convergence one way or the other.

Corroborating this view, a professor of Economics at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Sherriffdeen Tella, says the apex bank needs to come up with a strategic plan to navigate the country out of the multiple exchange rates regime as soon as possible.

He believes the CBN’s research department needs to use the data at its disposal to deal with speculators and achieve rate convergence and a single exchange rate regime.

Soludo also states that the general price level has adjusted and that it is time for the CBN to achieve rate convergence and eliminate multiple exchange rates.

Stressing the need for a unified market-determined exchange rate, the former CBN governor explains, “The general price level has already adjusted because that’s the primary price indicator in the market. The prices that people hear, i.e. the exchange rate that people talk about is the parallel market rate. Anybody who says it is irrelevant is not discussing Nigeria as an economy. The official one is like the time when you had the price control regime.

“Even those who had accessed forex at the official rate, when they are fixing their prices, they are fixing their prices in comparison with the imported ones, which are taking signals from the parallel market rate. So the general price level has adjusted there. The official exchange rate is redundant; it is just for rent and for arbitrary allocations.”

Meanwhile, an economist, Mr. Bismarck Rewane, has predicted that the naira’s real and effective exchange rate may occur between 360/dollar and 375/dollar.

This, he forecasts, may happen in the second half of this year, considering the recent policy measures introduced by the central bank.

He says, “With the current oil price, the movement of the currency towards the real and effective exchange rate is necessary and it will happen at about N360/dollar and N375/$. What will happen at this rate is that the amount, volume and frequency of interventions required to support the currency will reduce, and investors will bring in their money because of the good rate they will be getting.

“And this will be a true exchange rate. When will this happen? I think it will happen sooner than we expect, but definitely in 2017; most likely in the second half of 2017.”

Rewane, who is the Managing Director of Financial Derivatives Limited, a research and investment advisory firm, links the recent appreciation in the naira to sharp increase in oil revenue, increase in the amount of dollars supplied to the market by the CBN, and the improving structure of the market.

The CBN has also said recent forex policy measures, including the creation of the ‘Investors & Exporters FX Window’, have made the naira to appreciate on the parallel market from an all-time-high of 520/dollar to 379/dollar.

It says this is expected to lead to a near convergence of the official and parallel market exchange rates.

The Managing Director, SCM, an investment advisory firm, Mr. Sewa Wusu, says the CBN needs to be commended for its recent measures that have led to the appreciation of the naira.

However, he states that this does not rule out the need for a single exchange rate regime, arguing that multiple exchange rates create distortions, including round-tripping.

How and when the CBN will achieve this remains unknown.

This article was written by Oyetunji Abioye. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.

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Court Bans LGs In Nigeria From Conducting Marriages, Declares Certificates Illegal

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A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has barred local government areas from conducting marriages across the country.

In a judgment delivered, the court held that the Local Government Unified Marriage Certificate was unknown to law and therefore unconstitutional, null and void.

A Certified True Copy of the judgment by Justice I. O. Harrison of Court 37, General Civil Division of the Lagos Judicial Division, dated May 15, 2017, in suit no LD/1343 GCM/2016, was obtained by The Punch on Sunday in Abuja.

The plaintiff, Olamide Babalola, representing himself and other recipients of modified marriage certificates from the local governments, had dragged the Ikeja Local Government and Registered Trustees of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria before the court over the modified marriage certificate issued by the first and second defendants.

The plaintiff had sought a declaration that the first defendant did not have the powers to issue modified or customised marriage certificates different from the one provided in Form E under Section 24 of the Marriage Act Laws of Federation of Nigeria, 1990.

The plaintiff also prayed for a declaration that the second defendant’s Local Government Unified Marriage Certificate was unknown to law and unconstitutional.

Babalola also sought a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, their agents, officers, employees and representatives from further issuing modified or altered marriage certificates apart from the form as provided under Form E (1st schedule) and Section 24 of the Marriage Act, LFN, 1990.

In her judgment, Harrison held that the first defendant did not have the powers to issue modified or customised marriage certificates different from the one provided in Form E under section 24 of the Marriage Act.

Her words: “The court thus orders as follows: declaration that the second defendant’s ‘Local Government Unified Marriage Certificate’ is unknown to our law, unconstitutional, null and void.”

“A perpetual injunction, restraining the defendants their agents, officers, employees and representatives from further issuing modified or altered marriage certificates apart from the form as provided under Form E (1st schedule) and Section 24 of the Marriage Act, LFN, 1990.”

“A perpetual injunction, restraining the second defendant, their agents , officers, employees and representatives from further issuing Modified Local Government Unified Marriage Certificates.”

Citing Imunze vs Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2014 LPELR 22354 ( SC) and Onochie vs Odogwu, 2006 Nigeria Weekly Law Report, (Part 975) 65, Harrison stated that while registration of marriage is regulated by local government being under the concurrent list, formation of marriage is under the exclusive list within the domain of the Federal Government regulated by the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs – item 6 of 2nd schedule of 1999 constitution.

The judge pointed out that a marriage had been declared invalid by the Supreme Court on the grounds that it was not in line with Form E as provided by the Marriage Act.

“It is thus trite that the local and state government cannot make separate arrangements outside that provided for in the Marriage Act, that is Form E,” Harrison ruled.

The court however added that the marriages conducted by local governments and issued with the certificates, which are not in conformity with Form E, “will by virtue of Section 34 of the Marriage Act be regarded as good and valid in law to all intents and purposes.”

It “believes that there should be a re – issuance of the proper certificate to all persons in possession of the ‘invalid’ certificates.”

The judgment read in part, “ The court will further consequentially order that all such modified marriage certificates issued by the first and second defendants be surrendered to the appropriate local government where the marriage was conducted and appropriate certificate , in line with Form E, should be reissued to the claimants herein and all other concerned persons.”

The judge said the second defendant and its branches issued their own form known as the Local Government Unified Marriage Certificate , which was also issued to the claimant by the first defendant.

Following the judgment, the Federal Government has written to the various embassies in the country not to recognise marriages conducted by local governments.

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Nnamdi Kanu Defiles Court Order, Addresses Pro-Biafra Crowd (Watch Video)

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Despite court orders, the leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, was seen addressing a crowd of supporters – numbering more than 10 – in his father’s compound in Abia State.

Footage of the incident, which has since gone viral on social media, appeared to have violated some of the conditions set by Justice Binta Nyako when she granted Mr. Kanu bail in April.

IPOB Leader Nnamdi Kanu Meets Bail Conditions

The embattled IPOB leader, who is facing charges of treasonable felony at the Federal High Court in Abuja, has been at the centre of the call for an independent Biafra republic from the Nigerian state.

While attending to an application seeking for his bail in April, Justice Nyako listed 12 conditions, including an order for Mr. Kanu to avoid being seen in a crowd of more than ten people.

The court also instructed that Mr. Kanu desist from granting interviews or engaging in any form of rallies as part of his conditions for bail.

However, in the 13 minutes video, which was made public on Sunday, Mr. Kanu can be seen speaking to a congregation of Biafran supporters on the occasion of the Shabbat, a Jewish religious programme.

“Not minding what is happening, we remain IPOB, is that correct? (Crowd respond in chants of affirmation for Mr. Kanu’s question). We are unstoppable.  This congregation here is very special to me. This is the very first observance of Shabbat in this very family. My joy knows no bounds because in prison I used to dream about this; I used to dream about keeping the Shabbat,” he said.

The IPOB leader also made reference to the call by his organisation for Ibos and supporters of Biafra to shut down their business operations on May 30, a call that has been condemned by the police.

“On the 30th of May, we will shut this very place down and prepare for Biafra. The choice is theirs, if they will give us a date for the referendum. And if they fail to do that there will be no election in the south east forever and ever,” he said.

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GeneXpert: WHO Deploys New Technology To Tackle Ebola Virus Outbreak In DR Congo

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that it had deployed new technology that will allow for rapid diagnosis of Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Ebola Outbreak: Nigeria Orders Compulsory Test For Fever Patients

In a statement issued during the weekend, the apex health organization said that in collaboration with the DRC’s Ministry of Health and partners, it had rapidly set up an intensified field alert and response system resulting in early identification of suspect cases detected in the affected zone.

The DRC is using these new tools, as well as classic ones, to respond to an ongoing outbreak of the virus in a very remote area of the north east of the country, it said.

3 Feared Dead As WHO Confirms Ebola Outbreak In DR Congo

The world health body said scientists now quickly gathered samples, shipped them to Kinshasa and tested them at the National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB).

The UN health agency said: “One of the technologies being used to detect Ebola in DRC is GeneXpert, which was primarily developed to detect cases of tuberculosis, but has been adapted to enable rapid testing of many pathogens – HIV, malaria, STIs, and Ebola.”

“At the INRB laboratory in Kinshasa – with support from USAID, WHO, Canada, the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) and the Emerging and Dangerous Pathogens Laboratory Network (EDPLN) – technicians can use GeneXpert to test for the Zaire strain of Ebola in just one hour.”

“For samples that are negative, further testing is then undertaken to check for other strains of Ebola, other viral haemorrhagic fevers, or other diseases.”

“Other tests developed during the West African outbreak are also being deployed, such as OraQuick – a rapid diagnostic test, which has been developed with the support of the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and GOARN.”

“In the field, OraQuick can test blood or saliva samples for Ebola in just half an hour.”

“Even if many or all suspect cases now being tested are negative, it remains vital to actively follow contacts of all confirmed, probable, suspect cases for 21 days, and then to continue enhanced surveillance for an additional 21-day period.”

“Any period of calm is an opportunity to continue building and reinforcing local and country preparedness and response capacities and ensuring rapid investigation teams are ready in case the virus should resurface”.

This is the eighth outbreak of Ebola virus disease in the DRC since the disease was discovered in the 1970s in the country, WHO said.

“Health authorities in this country are recognised throughout the African region and the world has experts responding to outbreaks of this disease,” it said.

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Full Text Of Nigeria’s Acting President Osinbajo’s Inspiring Democracy Day Speech

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The Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday highlighted the various achievements of the Muhammadu Buhari administration since it came into office exactly two years ago on May 29, 2015.

The acting president, while delivering the Democracy Message to mark the 2017 Democracy Day, also said that the budget 2017 would soon be passed into law.

Osinbajo further called for prayers for President Buhari to be restored to full health and strength and to return to Nigeria.

Read the full speech below:


Dear Nigerians, I bring you good wishes from President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, who as we all know is away from the country on medical vacation.

  1. Today marks the second anniversary of our assumption of office. We must thank the Almighty God not only for preserving our lives to celebrate this second anniversary, but for giving us hope, strength and confidence as we faced the challenges of the past two years.
  2. Our administration outlined three specific areas for our immediate intervention on assumption of office: these were Security, Corruption and the Economy.
  3. In the Northeast of our country, the terrorist group Boko Haram openly challenged the sovereignty and continued existence of the state, killing, maiming and abducting, causing the displacement of the largest number of our citizens in recent history. Beyond the North East they extended their mindless killings, as far away as Abuja, Kano and Kaduna.
  4. But with new leadership and renewed confidence our gallant military immediately began to put Boko Haram on the back foot. We have restored broken-down relations with our neighbours, Chad, Cameroon and Niger – allies without whom the war against terror would have been extremely difficult to win. We have re-organized and equipped our Armed Forces, and inspired them to heroic feats; we have also revitalized the regional Multinational Joint Task Force, by providing the required funding and leadership.
  5. The positive results are clear for all to see. In the last two years close to one million displaced persons have returned home. 106 of our daughters from Chibok have regained their freedom, after more than two years in captivity, in addition to the thousands of other captives who have since tasted freedom.
  6. Schools, hospitals and businesses are springing back to life across the Northeast, especially in Borno State, the epicentre of the crisis. Farmers are returning to the farms from which they fled in the wake of Boko Haram. Finally, our people are getting a chance to begin the urgent task of rebuilding their lives.
  7. Across the country, in the Niger Delta, and in parts of the North Central region, we are engaging with local communities, to understand their grievances, and to create solutions that respond to these grievances adequately and enduringly.
  8. President Buhari’s New Vision for the Niger Delta is a comprehensive peace, security and development plan that will ensure that the people benefit fully from the wealth of the region, and we have seen to it that it is the product of deep and extensive consultations, and that it has now moved from idea to execution. Included in that New Vision is the long-overdue environmental clean-up of the Niger Delta beginning with Ogoni-land, which we launched last year.
  9. More recent threats to security such as the herdsmen clashes with farmers in many parts of the country sometimes leading to fatalities and  loss of livelihoods and property have also preoccupied our security structures. We are working with State governments, and tasking our security agencies with designing effective strategies and interventions that will bring this menace to an end. We are determined to ensure that anyone who uses violence, or carries arms without legal authority is apprehended and sanctioned.
  10. In the fight against corruption,  we have focused on bringing persons accused of corruption to justice. We believe that the looting of public resources that took place in the past few years has to be accounted for. Funds appropriated to build roads, railway lines, and power plants, and to equip the military, that had been stolen or diverted into private pockets, must be retrieved and the culprits brought to justice. Many have said that the process is slow, and that is true, corruption has fought back with tremendous resources and our system of administration of justice has been quite slow. But the good news for justice is that our law does not recognize a time bar for the prosecution of corruption and other crimes, and we will not relent in our efforts to apprehend and bring corruption suspects to justice. We are also re-equipping our prosecution teams, and part of the expected judicial reforms is to dedicate some specific courts to the trial of corruption cases.
  11. We are also institutionalizing safeguards and deterrents. We have expanded the coverage of the Treasury Single Account (TSA). We have introduced more efficient accounting and budgeting systems across the Federal Government. We have also launched an extremely successful Whistleblower Policy.
  12. The Efficiency Unit of the Federal Ministry of Finance has succeeded in plugging leakages amounting to billions of naira, over the last two years. We have ended expensive and much-abused fertilizer and petrol subsidy regimes.
  13. We have taken very seriously our promise to save and invest for the future, even against the backdrop of our revenue challenges, and we have in the last two years added US$500m to our Sovereign Wealth Fund and US$87m to the Excess Crude Account. This is the very opposite of the situation before now, when rising oil prices failed to translate to rising levels of savings and investment.
  14. Admittedly, the economy has proven to be the biggest challenge of all. Let me first express just how concerned we have been, since this administration took office, about the impact of the economic difficulties on our citizens.
  15. Through no fault of theirs, some companies shut down their operations, others downsized; people lost jobs, had to endure rising food prices. In some States civil servants worked months on end without the guarantee of a salary, even as rents and school fees and other expenses continued to show up like clockwork.
  16. We have been extremely mindful of the many sacrifices that you have had to make over the last few years. And for this reason this administration’s work on the economic front has been targeted at a combination of short-term interventions to cushion the pain, as well as medium to long term efforts aimed at rebuilding an economy that is no longer helplessly dependent on the price of crude oil.
  17. Those short-term interventions include putting together a series of bailout packages for our State Governments, to enable them bridge their salary shortfalls – an issue the President has consistently expressed his concerns about. We also began the hard work of laying out a framework for our Social Intervention Programme, the most ambitious in the history of the country.
  18. One of the first tasks of the Cabinet and the Economic Management Team was to put together a Strategic Implementation Plan for the 2016 budget, targeting initiatives that would create speedy yet lasting impact on the lives of Nigerians.
  19. Indeed, much of 2016 was spent clearing the mess we inherited and putting the building blocks together for the future of our dreams; laying a solid foundation for the kind of future that you deserve as citizens of Nigeria.
  20. In his Budget Presentation Speech to the National Assembly last December, President Buhari outlined our Economic Agenda in detail, and assured that 2017 -would be the year in which you would begin to see tangible benefits of all the planning and preparation work. It is my pleasure to note that in the five months since he delivered that speech, we have seen tremendous progress, as promised.
  21. Take the example of our Social Investment Programme, which kicked off at the end of 2016. Its Home Grown School Feeding component is now feeding more than 1 million primary school children across seven states and would be feeding three million by the end of the year. N-Power, another component has engaged 200,000 unemployed graduates – none of whom needed any ‘connections’ to be selected. Beneficiaries are already telling the stories of how these initiatives have given them a fresh start in their lives.
  22. Micro credit to a million artisans, traders and market men and women has begun. While conditional cash transfers to eventually reach a million of the poorest and most vulnerable households has also begun.
  23. Road and power projects are ongoing in every part of the country. In rail, we are making progress with our plans to attract hundreds of millions of dollars in investment to upgrade the existing 3,500km narrow-gauge network. We have also in 2017 flagged-off construction work on the Lagos-Ibadan leg of our standard-gauge network, and are close to completing the first phase of Abuja’s Mass Transit Rail System.
  24. In that Budget speech in December, the President announced the take-off of the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative. Today, five months on, that Initiative – the product of an unprecedented bilateral cooperation with the Government of Morocco – has resulted in the revitalisation of 11 blending plants across the country, the creation of 50,000 direct and indirect jobs so far, and in the production of 300,000 metric tonnes of NPK fertilizer, which is being sold to farmers at prices significantly lower than what they paid last year. By the end of 2017, that Fertilizer Initiative would have led to foreign exchange savings of US$200 million; and subsidy savings of 60 billion naira.
  25. The Initiative is building on the solid gains of the Anchor Borrowers Programme, launched in 2015 to support our rice and wheat farmers, as part of our move towards guaranteeing food security for Nigeria.
  26. All of this is evidence that we are taking very seriously our ambition of agricultural self-sufficiency. I am delighted to note that since 2015 our imports of rice have dropped by 90 percent, while domestic production has almost tripled. Our goal is to produce enough rice to meet local demand by 2019.  In April, the President launched our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan which built on the foundations laid by the Strategic implementation Plan of 2016.  The plan has set forth a clear vision for the economic development of Nigeria. I will come back to this point presently.
  27. Another highlight of the President’s Budget Speech was our work around the Ease of Doing Business reforms. As promised we have since followed up with implementation and execution. I am pleased to note that we are now seeing verifiable progress across several areas, ranging from new Visa on Arrival scheme, to reforms at our ports and regulatory agencies.
  28. The President also promised that 2017 would see the rollout of Executive Orders to facilitate government approvals, support procurement of locally made goods, and improve fiscal responsibility. We have kept that promise. This month we issued three Executive Orders to make it easier for citizens to get the permits and licenses they require for their businesses, to mandate Government agencies to spend more of their budgets on locally produced goods, and to promote budget transparency and efficiency. The overarching idea is to make Government Agencies and Government budgets work more efficiently for the people.
  29. The impact of our Ease of Doing Business work is gradually being felt by businesses small and large; its successful take-off has allowed us to follow up with the MSME Clinics -our Small  Business support programme, which has taken us so far to Aba, Sokoto, Jos, Katsina, and we expect to be in  all other states in due course.
  30. Let me note, at this point, that several of our Initiatives are targeted at our young people, who make up most of our population. From N-Power, to the Technology Hubs being developed nationwide, to innovation competitions such as the Aso Villa Demo Day, and our various MSME support schemes, we will do everything to nurture the immense innovative and entrepreneurial potential of our young people. We are a nation of young people, and we will ensure that our policies and programmes reflect this.
  31. One of the highlights of our Power Sector Recovery Programme, which we launched in March, is a N701 billion Naira Payment Assurance Scheme that will resolve the financing bottlenecks that have until now constrained the operations of our gas suppliers and generation companies. Let me assure that you will soon begin to see the positive impact of these steps.
  32. Our Solid Minerals Development Fund has also now taken off, in line with our commitment to developing the sector. Because of our unerring focus on Solid Minerals development over the last two years, the sector has, alongside Agriculture, seen impressive levels of growth – in spite of the recession.
  33. On the whole, just as the President promised in the Budget Speech, these early months of 2017 have seen the flowering of the early fruit of all the hard work of our first eighteen months.
  34. We opened the year with an overwhelmingly successful Eurobond Offer – evidence of continuing investor interest in Nigeria. We have also launched the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020, to build on the gains of last year’s Strategic Implementation Plan. And the implementation of our 2017 Budget, which will soon be signed into law, will bring added impetus to our ongoing economic recovery. In the 2016 Budget we spent 1.2 Trillion Naira on infrastructure projects, another milestone in the history of this country. Our 2017 Budget will double that investment.
  35. That budget also provides for substantial investment to implement the rollout of Industrial Parks and Special Economic Zones (SEZs), as well as our Social Housing Programme. The Industrial Parks and Economic Zones will fulfill our ambition of making Nigeria a manufacturing hub, while the Family Home Fund of our Social Housing Programme will provide inexpensive mortgages for low-income individuals and families across the country.
  36. These plans offer yet more evidence that we are ramping up the pace of work; the work of fulfilling all that we promised. In the next two years we will build on the successes of the last two. We have demonstrated a willingness to learn from our mistakes and to improve on our successes. The critical points that we must address fully in the next two years are : Agriculture and food security, Energy, (power and Petroleum,) Industrialization and Transport infrastructure. Every step of the way we will be working with the private sector, giving them the necessary incentives and creating an environment to invest and do business.
  37. Our vision is for a country that grows what it eats and produces what it consumes. It is for a country that no longer has to import petroleum products, and develops a lucrative petrochemical industry.  Very importantly it is for a country whose fortunes are no longer tied to the price of a barrel of crude, but instead to the boundless talent and energy of its people, young and old, male and female as they invest in diverse areas of the economy.
  38. And that vision is also for a country where the wealth of the many will no longer be stolen by or reserved for a few; and where the impunity of corruption – whether in the public or private sectors – will no longer be standard operating practice; a land rid of bandits and terrorists.
  39. As citizens you all deserve a country that works, not merely for the rich or connected, but for everyone. And our promise to you is that we will, with your support and cooperation, take every step needed to create that country of our dreams.
  40. We also know that this journey will of necessity take time. But we will not succumb to the temptation to take short-cuts that ultimately complicate the journey. We did not find ourselves in crises overnight, and we simply do not expect overnight solutions to our challenges.
  41. The most important thing is that we are on the right path, and we will not deviate from it, even in the face of strong temptation to choose temporary gain over long-term benefit. As the President has summed it up: “The old Nigeria is slowly but surely disappearing, and a new era is rising.”
  42. And so we commemorate this second anniversary of our administration with confidence and optimism. I firmly believe that we have put the most difficult phase behind us; and we are witnesses to the ever-increasing intensity of the light at the end of the tunnel. We ask for your continued cooperation and support, to enable us realise all our best intentions and ambitions for Nigeria. On our part We will continue to carry you along on this journey, speak to you, explain the challenges, and share our Vision.
  43. And while we all daily pre-occupy ourselves with pursuing the Nigerian Dream – which is the desire to better our lives and circumstances vigorously and honestly – it is inevitable that grievances and frustrations will arise from time to time.
  44. This is normal. What is not normal, or acceptable, is employing these frustrations as justification for indulging in discrimination or hate speech or hateful conduct of any kind, or for seeking to undermine by violent or other illegal means the very existence of the sovereign entity that has brought us all together as brothers and sisters and citizens.
  45. Nigeria belongs to all of us. No one person or group of persons is more important or more entitled than the other in this space that we all call home. And we have a responsibility to live in peace and harmony with one another, to seek peaceful and constitutional means of expressing our wishes and desires, and to resist all who might seek to sow confusion and hatred for their own selfish interests.
  46. Before I end this speech, let me ask for your continued prayers for the restoration to full health and strength and the safe return of our President.
  47. I congratulate all of you on today’s commemoration of this important day in the democratic calendar our country. Nigeria is on a journey of greatness, and together we shall arrive at the destination of our dreams.
  48. May God bless you all, and bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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Shettima Disagrees With FG, Says “Boko Haram Degraded, Not Totally Defeated”

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Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State has spoken in contradiction to the federal government’s claims that Boko Haram has been defeated; even as he said that the group has only been degraded.

The governor made this known in Abuja during the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Profoturo, a global charity organisation based in Madrid, Spain; the Northern Nigeria Governors Forum (NNGF) and the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN).

Shettima, whose state was the hub of Boko Haram nefarious activities, argued that whoever said the terrorists were defeated was just being economical with the truth.

The governor further stated that even though Nigeria had made a lot of gains in the fight against insurgency, a lot still needed to be done.

His words: “We have to give it to this government that they have done marvelously well in containing insurgency, but they have not been totally defeated anybody. Who told you so is economical with the truth. But they have been degraded to such a level that they are no longer a threat to the corporate existence of this country.

“It is a work in progress, the commoners in the North are ever willing to cooperate with government agencies in returning peace and development of the country, because there cannot be development without peace.”

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Shettima Disagrees With FG, Says “Boko Haram Degraded, Not Totally Defeated”

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Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State has spoken in contradiction to the federal government’s claims that Boko Haram has been defeated; even as he said that the group has only been degraded.

The governor made this known in Abuja during the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Profoturo, a global charity organisation based in Madrid, Spain; the Northern Nigeria Governors Forum (NNGF) and the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN).

Shettima, whose state was the hub of Boko Haram nefarious activities, argued that whoever said the terrorists were defeated was just being economical with the truth.

The governor further stated that even though Nigeria had made a lot of gains in the fight against insurgency, a lot still needed to be done.

His words: “We have to give it to this government that they have done marvelously well in containing insurgency, but they have not been totally defeated anybody. Who told you so is economical with the truth. But they have been degraded to such a level that they are no longer a threat to the corporate existence of this country.

“It is a work in progress, the commoners in the North are ever willing to cooperate with government agencies in returning peace and development of the country, because there cannot be development without peace.”

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British Council And Polly Alakija Partner With Lagos State For The Rivers Of The World Art Exhibition

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The official displaying of the Flying flotilla under the remodeled Falomo Bridge took place on Children’s day 27th of May.

The students transformed 6 canoes into beautiful works of art which represents their immediate surroundings, while under the supervision of the world renowned Polly Alakija.

The Flying flotilla has recently been selected to represent Nigeria as part of the Rivers of the world art exhibition which is to be showcased at the prestigious Thames festival. The “Rivers of the World” is the Thames Festival Trust’s flagship art and educational project delivered in partnership with the British Council.  It is an international arts education programme that works with schools across the world and young people aged 12 to 14 to help inspire, educate and connect them to their local river and waterfront.

Working with professional artists, the participants explore environmental, social, ecological and cultural aspects of their river and communities. They then create immense artwork inspired by their findings which help share their stories, ideas and hopes. Pupils at Akande Dahunsi Junior Memorial School, Grace High School Gbagada, Boys’ Junior Academy, New Hall International School Lekki, Lagos State Junior Model College and Daregoes Private School Ipaja had the rare privilege of working with the amazing Polly Alakija to produce the flying flotilla.

The Canoes will be displayed under the Falomo Bridge till August . After which, they will be displayed on the South Bank of the River Thames in London just outside the Tate modern gallery for three weeks as part of Totally Thames festival. The transportation of the Flying Flotilla to the Totally Thames festival will be sponsored by the Lagos state government as part of the Lagos @ 50 celebrations and this avails Lagos State an opportunity to showcase the creativity of children in the state to the world at large and also further establish Lagos State as one of the emerging tourist destinations in the world.

Ahmed Mohammed a Director from the British Council said, the British Council strives to create opportunities and build trust internationally and with our local communities. We offer engagement with school leaders and influential policy makers, educators and young people in Nigeria through our schools projects.

He also added that they have a range of school projects that have helped young people and educators demonstrate an increased capacity in the skills, understanding and outlook required to work in a global economy and contribute responsibly to society, locally and globally. This is critically reflected in the River of The World Project, we aim to support teachers as they continue to prepare young people to live and work in a dynamic, fast-changing and interconnected world.

Polly Alakija, who is currently the Chairperson of Arts and Culture in Lagos state, thanked the various ministries in the state for the opportunity to leave her mark in this public space. She urged other state governments to emulate the good work being carried out by the Lagos State government as the creative industry remains an untapped resource that can sustain the economy of Nigeria.  She also gave thanks to the several organizations like MTN Nigeria, Dangote Group and Kansai Plascon that partnered with her to ensure the event was a success.

In her address, she noted that the government alone cannot solve all the problems of Nigeria and also the creative industry needs support from the private sector as it is obtainable in developed countries.

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Nigeria’s Acting President Osinbajo Appoints New Heads For Pencom, BOI

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The Acting President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, has approved the appointments of some heads for some Federal Government Parastatals, Agencies and Commissions.

Olukayode Pitan was appointed as the managing director of the Bank of Industry (BOI), taking over from Waheed Olagunju who was the MD of the bank.

Dikko AbdulRahman was appointed chairman, governing board of BOI, while Emeka Nwakpa was made chairman, governing board of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC).

Osinbajo also appointed Ali Usman as chairman of the National Pension Commission (PenCom) and appointed Funhso Doherty as the DG of the commission.

See list below:

Ali Usman​​—Chairman, National Pension Commission.

Funso Doherty​—Director-General, National Pension Commission.

Manase Benga​—Executive Commissioner, National Pension ​​​​Commission.

Zaki Magawata​—Executive Commissioner, National Pension ​​​​Commission.

Ben Oviosun​​—Executive Commissioner, National Pension ​​​​Commission.

Nyerere Ayim​​—Executive Commissioner, National Pension ​​​​Commission.

Dikko Aliyu AbdulRahman— Chairman, Governing Board of the Bank of Industry

Olukayode Pitan​— Managing Director, Bank of Industry

Emeka Nwakpa​—Chairman, Governing Board of the Consumer Protection Council

All positions at the National Pension Commission are subject to the approval of the Senate.

Chris Okeke, director of press, office of the secretary to the government of the federation, who announced the appointments, said they were with immediate effect, with exception of those subjected to confirmation by the senate.

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Kidnappers Demand N1bn Ransom For Release Of 4 Abducted Lagos Pupils

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The kidnappers who abducted six pupils of Igbonla Model College in Epe, Lagos have contacted about 4 of their victims’ parents, demanding N1bn ransom to release them.

Sunday Punch reports that the kidnappers, who contacted the parents on Saturday to allow them speak briefly to their children, demanded that N400 million each be paid for two of the pupils while another two were told to raise N100m per child.

READ MORE: Gunmen Storm Lagos Model School Again, Abduct 6 Pupils

Details of ransoms demanded from the remaining parents had yet to be ascertained while the others were reportedly told to meet with the school authorities and the state government to raise the money.

One of the parents of the abducted schoolchildren, who spoke to The Punch on condition of anonymity, said the kidnappers called between 3pm and 5pm on Saturday.

The parent said: “They allowed me to speak with my son. I asked him if he was fine and he said yes. They asked me to meet with the school authorities to raise N400m for my child to be released.”

Another parent of one of the pupils said they begged the kidnappers that they had only menial jobs when they demanded the same amount.

“I said N400m was much, but one of them told me not to worry myself. He said I should meet with the school authorities and the government. I was also allowed to speak with my child. I spoke with two other parents and they said they were asked to pay N100m each,” the parent said.

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole, said the police had yet to be informed about the ransoms, adding that investigations were ongoing.

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Nigeria Releases N54 Billion For Settlement Of Pension Liabilities

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The Federal Government has released N54 billion for the settlement of inherited and current liabilities to retirees on the platform of the Contributory Pension Scheme.

This disclosure was made by the presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, when he featured on an interactive radio programme, “Hannu Da Yawa” on the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN Kaduna.

The programme was part of activities to commemorate the second anniversary of the Buhari administration.

He also revealed that the Buhari administration had further directed that regular monthly remittances be made into the Retirement Benefits Bond Redemption Fund (RBBRF) with the Central Bank of Nigeria to ensure the continuity of timely payment of benefits to retirees.

According to him, under the Buhari administration, PTAD saved N5.7 billion through the efficient administration of the pensions of parastatals and universities.

“In addition, pension assets increased from N4.96 trillion in June 2015 to N6.42 trillion as at March, 2017, indicating a growth of over 29 percent.

“The government of President Muhammadu Buhari will continue to ensure the strengthening and accountability of PTAD,’’ the presidential spokesman assured.

Shehu, who is the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, said the Buhari administration had brought to an end the series of fraud and scandals around the issue of pensions in Nigeria.

He said that this feat was achieved by strengthening the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), which had introduced a number of innovative measures over the past two years.

According to him, one of the measures is the automation of pension payment processes.

Shehu noted that the Bank Verification Number (BVN) policy had also been implemented in the pension scheme, with over 103,000 civil service pensioners verified.

“Pensioner records have also been digitalised for secure archiving, with thousands of thousands of old, physical pension folders converted to e-files.

“In addition, the government of President Buhari has enforced a new level of commitment to the welfare of pensioners and retirees, with the PTAD creating an automated and centrally administered complaints management process with a dedicated call centre that receives and treats over 200 calls on a daily basis,’’ he said.

He stated that in contrast to the past when a record number of pensioners died on queues trying to get their rights, “the new arrangement ensure that the pensioners are attended to with utmost care’’.

He added that the arrangement had also provided conducive atmosphere for verification, food and water as well as wheelchairs for those that have mobility challenges, adding that infirmed pensioners were verified at their home or hospital.

The Senior Special Assistant also claimed in the programme that the reform carried out by the administration in the National Drug Law Environment Agency (NDLEA), had brought “respect to Nigerian international travelers who now face less harassment at airports in other lands’’.

He revealed that under the present administration, the NDLEA had seized more than one million kilogrammes of various drugs, destroyed about 110,000 hectares of drug farms and arrested 17,000 suspected drugs dealers.

He announced that so far, about 5,000 persons had been convicted in the last two years.


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Year 2019 And The Search For The Nigerian President

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Year 2019 And The Search For The Nigerian President, By Majeed Dahiru

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In a few days the Muhammadu Buhari administration will be two years old. following the historic elections that swept an incumbent president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan out of power and reduced the majority of the former ruling PDP to a minority in the National Assembly, Nigerians were fully mobilised for a change in approach to governance that would hopefully transform our collective misfortune to progress and prosperity.

This article was written by Majeed Dahiru. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.

Unfortunately, the mid-term score card of the first four-year mandate of the Muhammadu Buhari presidency, records a disappointingly low performance in most critical aspects of its core responsibilities of the security of lives and property, economic well-being of the citizenry and national unity. Under the current administration, the economy slipped into a debilitating recession, leading to a drastic reduction in the already poor standard of living of most Nigerians. As a direct result of the non-conciliatory posture of the victorious APC’s Muhammadu Buhari, following the defeat of PDP’s Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 presidential election, which is expressed by his doctrine of a political scorched earth policy of rewarding only areas and peoples who voted for him (95 percent) and punishing areas and peoples who voted against him (five percent) and made real by his pattern of appointments and patronage, this has left the Nigerian nation as the most divided in its entire history as a sovereign nation.

This foregoing followed the pattern of voting in the 2015 presidential election, which was largely influenced by ethno-religious sentiments that saw the former President Goodluck Jonathan receiving massive support from the predominantly Christian population of his home region of South-South, and the closely ethno-geographically affiliated South-East region, while his main challenger and current President Muhammadu Buhari enjoyed the near total support of his predominantly Hausa-Fulani Muslim enclave of the North-West and the equally closely ethno-geographic Muslim population of the North-East region, thereby polarising the country into two extreme halves. The contest was tipped in favour of Muhammadu Buhari by the unbounded votes he received from significant sections of the Christian northern population of the central states, coupled with a slight majority of votes from the South-West. These were people already weary of the corruption-riddled government of the succeeding PDP administrations, and hence voted objectively for change as they were not affiliated to Buhari by tribe or religion but were drawn to him by his personal qualities of integrity, honesty and incorruptibility, which was bolstered a great deal by his consistent challenge of every incumbent PDP president in every election since 2003.

However, with the level of sectionalism witnessed under the current administration, it has become abundantly clear that the president owes his electoral success more to the support he had consistently received from the Muslim North but not the votes he obtained from other parts of the country, which made the difference in his electoral fortunes the last time. So far the president has largely implemented the original “Arewa agenda” that propelled his interest in partisan politics in the first instance, which led him to throw his hat into ring of contest to wrestle power from the South back to the North in 2003. Apparently, it was his devotion to this agenda that kept Muhammadu Buhari in the race and not his love for Nigeria, as previously widely believed. The negative consequences of this high level of sectionalism are largely responsible for the lack of progress in all aspects of national lives today.

Matters have been made worse by a corrupt and incapacitated political establishment, which controls the two major political parties, the APC and PDP. There appears to be no difference in approach to governance between the former ruling party and the current one. The same set of individuals who “destroyed Nigeria in sixteen years” now congregate in the ruling APC and holding forte in government at every level, from the top to the bottom. The more the APC blames the PDP, the more the former is looking and behaving like the latter. The current political establishment has become obsolete and is increasingly degenerating into political irrelevancy because it has failed to fulfil the promise of the economic dividends of democracy. The major preoccupation of the establishment is still power rotation and sharing of our national resources among the ruling elite, who because of their extreme comfort, are careless about the collective well-being of the citizens.

As 2019 approaches, Nigerians must begin to look beyond APC’s Muhammadu Buhari for good governance, progress and prosperity. The bar and standard of the quality of leadership must be raised above ethno-religious sentiments to pragmatic solutions to our problems as a nation. One lesson learnt is that the old order of power struggle, which is usually resolved by rotation and zoning of political offices leading to the institutionalisation of sectionalism in government business at every level, has not paid off the intended beneficiating sections of the country.

The original intention of power rotation, which was to ensure equitable distribution of resources and the even spread of development across the federating units, has unfortunately degenerated into a cesspool of corruption, resulting in an equitable distribution of loot among the ruling elite, cutting across all ethno-religious divides. For example, after six years of the “our son” presidency of Goodluck Jonathan, the fortunes of the Niger Delta region remains unchanged. He did not succeed in transforming the landscape of the polluted oil rich environment to a clean and safe place for his own people, neither did he significantly improve their socio-economic life. His developmental legacies in the Niger Delta are mostly of abandoned projects, including the vital East-West road. Similarly, the rate at which the Buhari presidency is underperforming, the enormous problems confronting the Northern region will largely remain unresolved. After his first four-year mandate and despite his sectionalism, the North will remain in the unenviable list of educationally disadvantaged regions.

His sectionalism will not improve the socio-economic fortunes of his North-West, which still ranks very low on the Human Development Index as one of the poorest regions in the entire world and hence the twin scourge of Al majiri and Boko Haram will remain with the North. Clearly, that a president comes from a section does not always guarantee benefit to the people. Therefore, the clamour for a northern presidency in 2019 by some regional groups is a recipe for retrogression.

There are no northern solutions to Northern Nigerian problems, neither are there southern solutions to Southern Nigerian problems. There is only a Nigerian solution to Nigerian problems, north or south, to be administered by a Nigerian president. The search must begin in earnest for a Nigerian president in 2019 – a president who will not be defined or limited by tribe, religion or region but by a broad based pan Nigerian agenda. Our next president must be a man who is not sectional in both his private or public life. The antecedents of our next president must be scrutinised to ensure his beliefs, association and personality exemplify a united pan Nigerian sentiment. The vital unifying tools of integration and assimilation of Nigerians into any society of their choice in any part of the country should be exemplified and promoted by the next president. In order to move ahead and catch up with the fast developing world, Nigeria should begin to exist more for economic reasons and cease being a waste land of negative politicking. We need a president who will drive the process of running Nigeria as a competitively profitable entity for both the government and citizens in the league of global competitive nations.

The agenda before the next president must set right by the citizens. To achieve rapid development, the next president must embark on a revolutionary educational reform, whose core principle will be to re-educate this current generation and educate the next to achieve political and economic development. One major objective of our educational system should be to produce Nigerians who are completely rid of the bias of ethno-religious mind-sets, with the necessary skills to contribute positively to the economic development of their fatherland.

No nation on earth is blessed with abundant human and natural resources, least of all Nigeria. Nigeria, like other prosperous nations, must necessary look beyond its borders for extra sources of income by tapping into the natural resources, markets for finished goods and quality human resources of other nations to shore up our own. Nigeria’s economy must begin to shift from a dependency on Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) to becoming a major player in global trade as an Overseas Investor Nation, beginning with the domination of trade in the West Africa sub-region. Therefore, to achieve these objectives seamlessly, the next president should be a visionary leader who is knowledgeably equipped enough to properly articulate for Nigeria, workable foreign, immigration and defence policies aimed at negotiating and getting a sizable chunk of global resources through bilateral/multilateral trade agreements. The discourse on the next president of Nigeria continues.

Majeed Dahiru, a public affairs analyst, writes from Abuja and can be reached through dahirumajeed@gmail.com.

This article was written by Majeed Dahiru. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.

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Amaechi Rejects Wike’s Top Award, Calls It “A Poisoned Chalice”

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The former Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, has rejected an alleged award of honour claimed to be coming from his successor, Governor Nyeson Wike – saying any award from Wike is “a poisoned chalice.”

The media office of Amaechi, the current Minister of Transport, confirmed the “unequivocal” rejection, in a statement issued on Friday.

The statement read: “In the past couple of days, Minister of Transportation and immediate past governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has been inundated with calls and enquiries from journalists about a purported award/honour to him from Nyesom Wike, the current governor of Rivers State.

“The minister was shown a publication of the Rivers State government indicating his name as one of many others to be given awards by Nyesom Wike. But as at today, Amaechi has not received any communication from Nyesom Wike and/or Rivers State government in this respect.”

“Be that as it may, we want to state categorically that whatever Wike claims to be giving to Amaechi is a poisoned chalice that has been unequivocally rejected by the minister.

“Firstly, the purported award itself is a contradiction of monumental proportions, a contradiction that can only come from a warped and perverted mind. From day one as governor, Wike has made it his sole, one-point agenda to attack, abuse, insult and falsely denigrate Amaechi, his immediate predecessor and erstwhile benefactor.

“Since he became governor, Wike spends most of his time making reckless, deeply irresponsible, malicious, false allegations against Amaechi, as he attempts, albeit fruitlessly, to malign and destroy the outstandingly superb performance and legacy of Amaechi in Rivers State.

“So, what is the bases or criteria for Wike to give an award/honour to a man he (Wike) has rashly attacked and called all sorts of unprintable names in the past two years? For Wike to do a 360 and give an award to a predecessor, he (Wike) has consistently but misleadingly and deceitfully called Satan, Judas, non-performer, thief and only this week a sponsor of cultists, shows evidently that Wike suffers from a grave but rare form of psychosomatic malady.

“Secondly, what will Amaechi tell Rivers People when he goes to collect an award from that man-child who sits in Government House that is directly or indirectly responsible for the present deplorable state of sufferings, economic and infrastructural decay, violence, crime, insecurity, kidnappings and killings in Rivers State? Amaechi will not accept any award from a petty lowlife conman, who rode to power on the blood of Rivers people.

“Thirdly, the office of governor of any state is a prestigious, very dignified office and the occupant of that office who holds it in trust for his people is expected to act, talk and behave responsibly and decorously. When the governor talks, he should talk with facts and must be able to prove his claims. Most unfortunately for Rivers State, Wike possess non of these qualities. Wike is everything a governor should not be, with virtually no redeeming qualities. Amaechi will not accept any award from this kind of lying, reckless, irresponsible and brutal character that has become the laughing stock of the nation.

“Finally, We will not relent to remind Wike and insist that he must go to court, like he vowed, to prove his frivolous claims that the over $43million Ikoyi money and luxury apartment (found by EFCC), belongs to Amaechi and were stolen from Rivers State by Amaechi; or be ready to face the wrath of the law at the appropriate time; the wrath of the people and ultimately the wrath of God, which no constitutional immunity can protect him from.

“The only other alternative is for him to publicly apologize and tell us that he wickedly and maliciously lied when he had that disgraceful, middle of the night press conference to push the false narrative that Amaechi owns the money and apartment.”

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Ecological Fund: Jonathan Replies El-Rufai, Calls Him A “Big” Liar

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The immediate past President of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, has described Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State as a big liar, urging Nigerians not to listen to him.

The former leader made this known in a statement issued by his media aide, Ikechukwu Eze, on Friday, while reacting to el-Rufai’s claims on the disbursement of Ecological Fund under the Jonathan’s administration.

El-Rufai had on Thursday at the National Executive Council meeting, said:

“What President Goodluck Jonathan did was to take N2bn each from the Ecological Fund and give to some PDP states. Any PDP state that was not his friend, like Kano and Kwara, didn’t get.”

However, the former President said it was only the states that met the criteria for accessing the fund that received it.

The statement read in part: “It is so easy to expose Mallam Nasir el-Rufai as a liar as Akwa-Ibom, a PDP state governed by the then Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum and a close confidante of the then President, Senator Godswill Akpabio, did not get the monies alluded to by Mallam el-Rufai from the Ecological Fund as did multiple other PDP states including Ekiti state, a state governed by a thoroughbred patriot and Jonathan supporter, Ayo Fayose.”

“Also, it is false that non-PDP states did not get monies from the fund. Nemesis catches up faster with liars than any other agent of evil.  El-Rufai was probably led by the gods against his own sinister plot to confess in another breathe that states under non-PDP parties like APGA and Labour party also benefitted.”

“The fact remains that the Ecological Fund is a specialised fund with certain constitutional requirements which must be met before a state can access the funds. Every state benefitted from the fund under President Jonathan, who bent over backwards to accommodate states that had difficulty meeting the criteria for accessing the fund.”

Jonathan said the Kaduna governor was in the habit of telling lies against him, citing several alleged instances.

“Nigerians may recall that this is not the first time that el-Rufai has vented his known passion for lying against the former President. The public will recall that in October 2015, he falsely alleged that former President Jonathan spent a whopping N64bn on Independence Day celebrations, during his tenure when in fact only N333m was spent,” the statement concluded.

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Voter Card Scandal: Gov. Bello In Trouble As Kogi APC Disowns Him, Demands Resignation

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A faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi State has demanded the resignation of the State Governor Yahya Bello over his alleged double voter’s registration scandal.

The leadership of the party, while disowning the governor, also threatened to mobilise the state’s House of Assembly for the governor’s impeachment if he failed to resign.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had accused Bello of registering twice for voter card in a breach of the provisions of the Electoral Act.

It is understood that Bello, after registering in Abuja, was pictured in his office in the state registering as a voter the second time.

However, on Friday, at a press conference in Abuja, the Chairman of the APC faction in Kogi, Hadi Ameto; and lawmaker representing Kogi-West Senatorial District, Senator Dino Melaye, strongly condemned the governor for the alleged act.

Melaye described the conference as “individual and collective reaction” to INEC’s announcement.

He said, “Yesterday, INEC made an official press release to say that Governor Yaya Bello of Kogi State registered in 2011 for his voter card in Wuse Zone 4 (Abuja) and on Tuesday, he did a second registration in the Government House in Lokoja (Kogi).

“INEC said this contravened the provisions of the Electoral Act and Governor Yaya Bello has committed a crime.

“INEC also said that the Government House in Lokoja was not a designated registration centre, meaning that either through corruption, cohesion or diabolical means, the governor must have taken INEC (officials) to the government house to do the ‘bojuboju’ registration inside his office.

“This criminal behaviour of the governor has embarrassed the people of Kogi State and the APC. We dissociate ourselves from this criminal behaviour. Kogi people are responsible people and we are expected to have a responsible governor.

“This has underscored the fact that as of the time he was contesting in the election, he was not a registered voter in Kogi State. If he was not a registered voter ab initio, why did he accept the candidacy of the party?

“On this note, we are calling for the immediate resignation of the governor because someone awaiting trial cannot be representing the people of Kogi State as governor. But if the governor refuses to resign, we are going to mobilise our members in the House of Assembly to start an impeachment process against the governor because we have a valid point as expressed by INEC.”

In the meantime, there are very strong indications that INEC will embark on a massive shake-up in its Kogi State office following Bello’s alleged double registration.

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Troops Recover Voters, National ID Cards During Raid On Boko Haram Cell

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The Nigerian Army has said that its troops deployed to 31 Artillery Brigade on Thursday raided an evolving Boko Haram terrorists’ cell at Mokwa and its environs in Niger State.

57 Boko Haram Fighters Killed In Niger

The Army said the raid followed information of terrorists’ activities within that premises.

Also, Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman, Director Army Public Relations, in a statement, said the raid and subsequent bursting of the cell followed a painstaking surveillance that led to the arrest of the 3 leaders.

They are Mustapha Muhammed (Adam Bitri), Ali Saleh and Uba Mohammed.

The suspects were nabbed at their hideout at Gidan Mai village, along Mokwa-Tegina road in Niger.

The statement added that “preliminary investigation confirmed that Mustapha Muhammed, was among Boko Haram terrorists that kidnapped the late elder statesman, Alhaji Shettima Ali Monguno, in Maiduguri on 13th May 2013 along with one Bakura (at large).”

“Items recovered from them include Automated Teller Machines debit cards, Voters Registration cards, National Identity Cards, various mobile telephone handsets and Bank tellers, among other items.”

“The terrorists are currently being further interrogated.”

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Celebrating Children’s Day and Democracy Day: Zenith Bank’s Airtime Giveaways Promo Goes Live

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If you are a Zenith Bank customer, this long weekend will be a very happy one for you as the bank begins its Children’s Day and Democracy Day Airtime  Giveaways.

In keeping with its slogan of …in your best interest, the Airtime Giveaways promo is clearly directed at helping its customers have the best Democracy Day weekend.

On Children’s Day the 27th of May and Democracy Day the 29th of May, 2017,  1,932 people will enjoy a 100% bonus on all airtime purchases made via the bank’s *966# Eazybanking service between the hours of 6am – 9am and 6pm – 9pm on each day. So if you buy N2000 airtime you would get airtime worth a whopping N4000.

It gets even better in June as, every weekday throughout the month, 1,932 people will enjoy a 20% bonus on all airtime purchases made via the bank’s *966# Eazybanking service between the hours of 6am – 9am and 6pm – 9pm. So if you buy N2000 airtime on any weekday in June, you would get airtime worth N2400.

To participate in the airtime giveaways, simply buy airtime with *966# Eazybanking between the hours of 6:00am – 9:00am and 6:00pm – 9:00pm  on Children’s Day and Democracy Day as well as on all weekdays in June.  The promo is only active between 6:00am – 9:00am and 6:00pm Easter Monday (April 17th).

The Eazybanking code for airtime purchase is 966amount*mobilenumber# dialed from your mobile number
registered with the bank.

Want to participate in the Airtime Giveaways but don’t have a Zenith Bank account yet? Simply dial 9660# to open one instantly (you will be required to visit a Zenith Bank branch within 7 days to complete the process).

Other Things to Know

The maximum airtime purchase eligible for the reward is N2, 000 i.e. N2, 000 and below. Customers can only win once everyday during the period of the promo.

When buying airtime for others, only the phone number receiving the credit may qualify for the promo. To find out more, kindly visit www.zenithbank.com/966

Zenith Bank 966 June Giveaways-360nobs

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Democracy Day: Nigeria Declares Monday (May 29) As Public Holiday

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The federal government of Nigeria has declared on Monday, May 29, as public holiday to celebrate the 2017 Democracy Day.

Speaking on behalf of the federal government, the Minister of Interior, Lt Gen. Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau (rtd), congratulated Nigerians for witnessing yet another Democracy Day which marks the second year anniversary of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government.

Dambazau assured Nigerians of the government continued efforts towards guaranteeing security, revitalising the economy and tackling corruption, which are the three main focused areas of the administration.

He said: “While a lot has been achieved in the area of security, particularly in the Northeast, and in tackling corruption, recent statistics released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) have shown tremendous improvement of the country’s GDP.”

“No doubt, the nation is closer to getting out of recession, particularly with the recently launched Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) which seeks to revitalise the nation’s economy soonest. “With the recently signed Executive Orders on Ease of Doing Business, we have opened our doors wider for both domestic and foreign investors.”

The minister enjoined all Nigerians to join hands with the government of President Buhari in his sustained efforts in building a peaceful and enduring democratic legacy.

“He wishes all Nigerians a happy Democracy Day celebration,” he said.

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