The hottest and most trending news articles for this week in all categories are captured in one shot. Find articles ranging from News to Sports, to Politics, to Entertainment, to Economy, to Metro plus, and many other categories. See below the top news for the week:
- Police strategise, NSCDC warns as terrorists infiltrate South
The police have mobilised to foil plans by terrorists to attack the southern part of the country sequel to the infiltration of the region by suspected Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province terrorists. As part of the strategies to prevent terrorists’ attacks, the police chiefs in Lagos met on Monday just as the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps warned Nigerians against employing fleeing terrorists. Also, it was gathered that police and the Department of State Services had deployed detectives to fish out fleeing terrorists in the South.
This followed the arrest of a suspected Boko Haram commander working as a security guard at a residential building in the Ijaiye area of Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, on Saturday. The arrest of the Boko Haram commander has triggered a flurry of emergency security meetings by law enforcement agencies in Lagos and Ogun states, and apprehension among residents in the southern part of the country. The development is coming on the heels of the July 5 attack on the Kuje Medium Security Custodial Centre, Abuja, where 69 Boko Haram commanders were freed by the Islamic State West Africa Province.
Also, suspected terrorists attacked the Presidential Guards Brigade troops at Bwari-Kubwa road, Abuja, in which a captain, lieutenant and six soldiers were killed and others wounded. A leaked memo from the NSCDC indicating that Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists were amassing dangerous weapons for massive attacks on Katsina, Lagos, the Federal Capital Territory, Kaduna, and Zamfara States, created fear in Abuja and anxiety across the country.
In preparation for the security challenge, the Lagos Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alabi, on Monday, held a security meeting with all area, squadron and Tactical Commanders in the state.
The Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Police Command, Benjamin Hundeyin, made this known via a tweet on Monday. Sharing photos from the meeting, Hundeyin noted that the security and safety of the residents remained a priority for the police. He also urged Lagosians to remain vigilant and report suspicious activities to security agencies.
Hundeyin, during a Twitter Space webinar, also told our correspondent that the command was working with other agencies to prevent terrorists’ attacks in the state. Responding to a question on the threat, Hundeyin said, “For now the threat level is not alarming. We are not restricting anyone’s movement. And we want people not to relax.
- Gani Adams’s Alarm: How We Are Dealing With Security Threat —Police, Amotekun, Hunters
On the heels of the security alarm raised by the Aare Onakakanfo of Yoruba land, Iba Gani Adams, heads of Amotekun in states of the South-West geopolitical zone have said a combination of local intelligence, security strategies of state actors and security consciousness of all and sundry are being relied upon to tackle security threats in the zone. Adams had in a statement on Sunday noted that intelligence reports indicated that terrorists, who are fully armed with various arms and ammunition, were already massing in forests both in Osun and Ogun states and were planning to strike in Lagos, Ibadan and Abeokuta.
However, in various conversations with thenewsmen, on Monday, heads of Amotekun in Ogun, Ekiti, Oyo, Osun said vigilance, proactiveness, collaboration between locals and security agencies had become more imperative now than ever to stamp out the security threats. Speaking with newsmen, the Ogun State Commander of Amotekun, CP David Aderemi (rtd), said that the operatives of the security outfit had identified the forests and were monitoring the situation. He said there was synergy between the state security command and others in the South-West states to deal with threats to Yoruba land.
Aderemi said: “The piece of information is a good one. We have our men on ground to monitor our forests. We are working hand in hand with our colleagues in other South-West States on security issues. We are not relaxing. We are gathering intelligence on movement of people in our forests. We have our volunteers all over that are providing us with information. We will continue to provide safety for lives and property.” The Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, said that the command had commenced intelligence gathering over the information.
- Outrage as Buhari gifts Niger Republic N1.1bn SUVs
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Wednesday, came under heavy criticism over the approval of N1, 145,000,000 for the purchase and supply of 10 Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles to Niger Republic. The revelation was made by an investigative journalist, David Hundeyin, who tweeted that he obtained a document from the Budget Office in Nigeria which showed that the President made the approval for the purchase of the vehicles to the neighbouring country. Hundeyin also attached a picture of the document to validate the claim that the President approved the release of the money to a company, Kaura Motors Nigeria Limited, on February 28, 2022.
The document read in part, “Being release of funds in the sum of N1,145,000,000 to the office of the Accountant General of the Federation IFO Kaura Motors Nig. Limited for supply of 10 numbers Toyota Land Cruiser V8 Vehicles to Republic of Nigeria vide Mr. President approval on page 83 dated 28/02/2022.”
Defending the purchase of the vehicles, the Federal Government said that the move was to enable the country to safeguard its territory in the best interest of Nigeria’s security. Fielding questions from journalists after the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said it was not the first time Nigeria was supporting her neighbours. She explained the President had a responsibility to take such decisions in the best interest of the country.
However, Nigerians had been criticising the Federal Government for disbursing funds to purchase the vehicles for another country amid other pressing needs, including the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities and the harsh economic realities in the country. The Country Director, Transparency International, Auwal Rafsanjani, said the gesture showed that the current political leaders were not sensitive to the plights of Nigerians.
- North-West, South-West lead as INEC registers 96.2 million
The total number of registered voters in Nigeria may have risen from 84 million to 96.2 million, newsmen have learnt. This is according to the latest voter statistics released by the Independent National Electoral Commission which states that 12.2 million voters registered in the Continuous voter registration that ended on Sunday. According to INEC, the North-West geopolitical zone, which comprises the seven states of Sokoto, Zamfara, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi and Jigawa, with a total of 22.67 million registered voters, has the highest number of registered voters.
As of the 2019 elections, the North-West had 20.15 million voters. However, the latest report released by INEC showed that 2.5 million new voters registered during the recently concluded continuous voter registration , bringing the total number of registered voters in the zone to 22.67 million. The South-West, which earlier had 16.29 million registered voters, now has 18.3 million, having added 2, 039, 982 new registered voters. The zone comprises Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Ekiti and Ondo. In third position is the South-South which comprises Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Cross River, Bayelsa, Edo and Delta states. The number of registered voters in the zone has risen from 12.8 million to 15.2 million.
The North-Central which is made up of Nasarawa, Kogi, Benue, Niger, Kwara and Plateau, now has 14.1 million voters while the North-East which is made up of Yobe, Borno, Taraba, Adamawa, Bauchi and Gombe, added 1.5 million new voters to reach 12.8 million registered voters. The South-East, which is the smallest geopolitical zone, and consists of five states – Ebonyi, Enugu, Abia, Anambra and Imo – now has 11.49 million voters while the number of registered voters in the Federal Capital Territory has increased from 1.3 million to 1.5 million.
Lagos maintained its position as the state with the highest number of registered voters, increasing its figure from 6.5 million to 7.1 million. Kano State also maintained its second position, adding 569, 103 new voters to increase its number to 6.02 million. Kaduna State now has 4.4 million registered voters while Rivers State has now overtaken Katsina as the fourth largest state in terms of voters. While Rivers now has 3.68 million voters, Katsina has 3.57 million. Some other states with a sizeable number of registered voters are Delta (3.3 million) and Oyo (3.3 million) Also, Ekiti retained its position as the state with the lowest number of registered voters despite rising from 909, 967 registered voters to 1, 034, 911.
A breakdown of INEC’s report also showed that about 71 per cent of the newly registered voters are youths. Of the 12.2 million newly registered voters, about 8.7 million are between the ages of 18 and 34 while about 2.4 million are between ages 35 and 49. Those between ages 50 and 69 are about 856, 017 while about 127, 541 are over 70. The statistics also showed that more women registered during the latest CVR than men. While 6,224,866 are women, 6,074,078 are men.
Speaking at the post-election training audit for the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun in Abuja on Monday, the National Commissioner and Chairman of the Board of The Electoral Institute, Prof. Abdullahi Zuru, said youths and women constituted the majority of voters.
A political analyst, Dr Busari Dauda, said the new composition of registered voters could determine the winner of the presidential election. He also said this was a signpost that youths were ready to stop recycling old leaders.
- We didn’t increase petrol price, marketers did –FG
The Federal Government on Monday insisted that it had not raised the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, above the regulated cost of N165/litre. It said the hike in the cost of the commodity, currently between N175/litre and N230/litre, depending on the location of purchase, was done by oil marketers. The government, however, could not explain why it was not enforcing the approved price.
Oil marketers across the country recently raised the price of petrol above the approved N165/litre rate without any official approval by the government. This was despite the fact that the cost of commodity was still being regulated. The marketers had argued that the N165/litre approved price was not sustainable and was contributory to the scarcity of petrol in many locations nationwide. They eventually hiked the pump price of petrol and had maintained the price increase for several weeks running without any resistance by the government.
Speaking on the sidelines of the stakeholders’ consultation forum on Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulations organised by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority in Abuja, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, insisted the government had not raised the price of PMS. Asked to comment on the disparity in the pump prices of petrol and why the government had not waded into the matter, the minister said, “Well, I can tell you authoritatively that we have not deregulated.
“The government is still subsidising, if there are increases in the price it is not from the government, it is probably from the marketers.But, of course, I will talk to the NMDPRA’s chief executive to ensure that they actually regulate the prices. But this is not from the government because we have not deregulated.” Probed further to explain why no action had been taken against the marketers and why there had been no monitoring exercise to enforce the government approved price, Sylva replied, “Well, I don’t know about monitoring exercise.
- Most lawmakers backed Buhari’s planned impeachment – APC Senator
The lawmaker representing Bauchi North Senatorial District, Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa, has disclosed that majority of members of the Senate are in support of the move to impeach the President, Muhammadu Buhari, over the failure of his regime to address the growing insecurity in Nigeria. Bulkachuwa, a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, the party with the majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives, said almost all members of the Senate backed the move when the lawmakers were in an executive (closed-door) session at the plenary last Wednesday. The senators threatened to impeach the President over the worsening insecurity in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and the country at large.The angry lawmakers gave the President a six-week ultimatum to address the security crisis or face impeachment proceedings.
Speaking on Monday, Bulkachuwa, stated that the previous efforts especially made by the National Assembly to end the security crisis had failed. He also said the lawmakers, at the closed-door session, also raised the issues of the economy. Recalling some of the events that played out on the fateful day, the lawmaker said, “In the first instance, on that day, the Senate went into a closed session and it was at the closed session that these issues were discussed. Without divulging so much, I can tell you that majority of senators really felt there was the need to initiate that action.”
The APC lawmaker, however stated that it was not the question of the ruling party but “what is happening is that we in the legislative arm of the government, we have tried all within our powers except one thing.” He pointed out that the parliament had tried financing, “making sure that he gets all he needs by way of budgeting.” He said the lawmakers also tried to engage the service chiefs and other heads of security agencies to find out their challenges “and when they divulge their problems to us, we try to proffer solutions and we go ahead to advise Mr President.”
- FG’s Social Protection Programmes Reducing Child Labour, Poverty —Ngige
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has attributed the prevalence of child labour in Nigeria and Africa to high level of poverty, saying that the billions of Naira spent by the Federal Government on social protection programmes is a triple vaccination against poverty. Ngige said this in Abuja when he participated in a media briefing organised by the Labour Ministry in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation on the occasion of the 2022 World Day Against Child Labour, with the theme, ‘Universal Social Protection to end Child Labour.’
The Minister said that the Federal Government was vigorously implementing its numerous social protection programmes to better the lives of parents and the children, adding that “everything possible is being done to sustain the social protection programmes in spite of the dwindling revenue of the Federal Government.” He said that poverty was fuelling child labour especially in developing countries and expressed optimism that the scourge could be eliminated through establishment of social protection floors and programmes.
The Minister explained that social protection programmes are essential to fight poverty and vulnerability identified as the causes of child labour. He said, “The Government of Nigeria, through the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, in collaboration with the ILO and other stakeholders have been working assiduously and collaboratively to ensure the elimination of child labour in line with SDG 8.7 and that young workers of legal working age are protected and work in safe conditions. “Government is implementing vigorously the National Children School Feeding Programme (NCSFP) which is the major plank of the battle by the Federal Government to fight child labour, increasing children school enrollment and preventing them from dropping out of schools.”
Ngige said the government was also investing billions of Naira on the Universal Basic Education (UBE), which makes children to attend primary and junior secondary school free of charge, in a bid to prevent them from engaging in child labour. He said poverty was also being addressed through the conditional cash transfer programme, Trader moni and N-power programme, the diversification of the economy into agriculture through Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP) and the Technical Education Vocational Training (TVET) scheme.
He said the government has been trying to sustain all these programmes in spite of declining revenue. Ngige described the current upheavals in the country including Boko Haram insurgency, banditry and menace of unknown gunmen, as a rebellion of the have-nots against the big men and the uneducated against the educated. He called on the developed countries and the big corporate organisations in Nigeria to support the fight against child labour in Nigeria through investment in social protection.
- Minister Restates Support For National Gender Policy On Agriculture
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar has restated the Ministry’s support for the implementation of the National Gender Policy on Agriculture. The Minister made this known during a courtesy visit by the National Gender Steering Committee led by the Actionaid Country Director, Ms Ene Obi to his office in Abuja.
He recalled that last year, the Ministry inaugurated the National Gender Steering Committee on the implementation of the National Gender Policy on Agriculture to mainstream gender into climate change for people with disabilities, and access to input for women amongst others.
Dr Abubakar commended the Steering Committee for its achievement in creating awareness especially in translating the National Gender Policy into local languages to ensure the domestication of the policy in some States of the Federation. He stated that the commitment to implement eight out of the 11 objectives of the policy which align with the mandate of the committee had been forwarded to the World Bank through the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning for necessary action.
The Minister pointed out that the onerous responsibility of adopting strategies for a seamless implementation of the objectives of the policy and the well-articulated resolutions at the median retreat to pay courtesy calls on the Honourable Ministers of Women Affairs, Finance, Budget and National Planning, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation as a formidable strategy aimed at creating awareness on the policy for positive outcomes.
In her welcome address, the Director, Special Duties, of the Ministry Mrs Fausat Lawal represented by the Deputy Director (Special Duties), Akinrinlo Taiwo said that the focus of the Gender Policy on Agriculture was to mainstream women in the extensions services system, improve their responsiveness in Agricultural service delivery, integrate gender perspectives into Climate change and capacity of smallholder farmers on climate adaptation strategies.
In her remarks, the Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Ms Ene Obi said that the National Gender Policy was an assertive document, which recognized the limitation of growth and development of the Agricultural Sector She pointed out how female farmers had been supported by different Ministries through Actionaid Nigeria with agricultural produce and training programmes throughout States of the Federation for subsidized rates.
- #NotebookGate: Again, Oyo Awards Contracts Worth N694 Million To Companies Owned By Cronies
Review of data from Oyo State open contracting portal reveals a now familiar trend of contract irregularities as the state again awarded contracts worth N694 million to persons closely linked to the governor. The Seyi Makinde-led Oyo state government has been linked to several contract irregularities and the “friends and family” pattern of awarding contracts has seen the state award a total of N1.2 billion between 2019 and 2021 to a recurring name, Oriyomi Hamzat and cronies.
In earlier investigations published by Dataphyte, the Oyo state government violated its Procurement law in the award of contracts worth N998 million. The two-part report also established that the sitting governor of the state, Seyi Makinde may have abused privileges of his office, as contract beneficiaries were linked to him, raising issues of conflict of interest. A review of the Open contracting portal of the state has revealed yet another abuse of the contracting process by the state in the award of contract for notebook production worth N694 million in 2021.
Fresh investigations show that on the 23rd of December 2021, the Oyo state government awarded fourteen different contract lots for the production of the now famous notebooks. The contract amount per lot ranged between fifty-million naira to sixty-two million naira. The notebooks are meant for students of public secondary schools in the state. The following companies got contracts; Insider Multipurpose Ventures, Sure Etiquette Media Plus Limited, Porsche Diversify Ventures, Icon Printing Press, SEWA International Ventures, JEDA Global Ventures, ASP Integrated Ventures and Landgard Investment Limited.
Review shows that of the fourteen lots; Insider multipurpose ventures got two contracts worth N118 million, Sure Etiquette Media Plus limited got two contracts worth N112 million, Porsh Diversify Ventures was awarded two contracts worth N112 million, Icon Printing Press got two contracts worth N102 million, SEWA International Ventures with two contracts worth N100 million, JEDA Global Ventures with two contracts worth N100 million and ASP integrated ventures had a contract worth N50 million. Landgard investment, which won one of the contract lots, is the only company in this round of awards not linked to Oriyomi Hamzat, the remaining 13 slots were awarded to the same seven companies that have been linked to Hamzat and the governor in previous investigations.
- Oyo judiciary workers comply with sit-at-home directive by JUSUN
Judiciary workers in Oyo State on Tuesday complied with the sit-at–home directive issued by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) over delay in payment of July salary. The Oyo State JUSUN Public Relations Officer, Mr Obafunso Okulaja told newsmen that the decision for the action was resolved after the union’s congress on Friday. Okulaja said the workers had not received July salary while other government agencies in the state were paid on July 25.
Reports have it that at the Iyaganku Magistrates’ Court and State High Court, the entrance gates to court premises and some offices were locked while people and vehicles were restrained from entering. A worker who spoke on condition of anonymity, decried the delay in salary payment. “We urge the government to urgently do something about it,” he said. The gates to the customary court of appeal, was also under lock and key.
- CVR Extension: INEC turns down 70 CSOs’ request
THE Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Tuesday, turned down the request of 70 Civil Society Organizations, CSOs, to restart and extend the suspended Continuous Voters Registration, CVR, exercise, by two months. The electoral umpire, which ended the exercise on Sunday, after extending it from June 30 to July 31, said it could no longer entertain further extension to avoid harming preparations for the 2023 general polls.
Meanwhile, the commission disclosed, on Tuesday, that over seven million Nigerians, who did their voter pre-registration online did not complete the process at physical centres. Consequently, a coalition of over 70 CSOs, requested for an extension of the exercise for another two months.
The INEC had in June 2021, begun the CVR exercise and launched a portal, where Nigerians could register by filing in their biodata and required documents, after which they would visit INEC designated centres to complete the process physically. Going to a physical centre for biometric capturing was a prerequisite to complete the voter registration process.
According to data released by the commission, 10,487,972 Nigerians carried out their pre-registration online. Of this number, only 3,444,378 Nigerians, representing 32.8 per cent, completed the process at a physical centres. This means 7,043,594 persons, representing over 67 per cent of those who began their registration process online, are not eligible to receive a Permanent Voter’s Card, PVC, before the 2023 general elections and will, therefore, not be eligible to vote. Although, the INEC said 12,298,944 Nigerians completed their voter registration, it added that 8,854,566 of the number were individuals who did their registration entirely at a physical centres.
INEC had fixed June 30 as the deadline for the CVR ahead of the 2023 elections, but extended it till July 31 after a Federal High Court in Abuja stopped it from ending the exercise, and following several pleas by Nigerians and CSOs. However, a coalition of over 70 CSOs, again, yesterday requested for an extension of the voters registration exercise for another two months to avoid disenfranchising the people next year. The coalition, which is under the aegis of the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, said the exercise should be extended to accommodate more prospective voters, insisting that “there is still a window for extension in accordance with the Electoral Act, 2022.” The Situation Room said it received reports of a tedious registration process in the just concluded CVR exercise, despite INEC’s assurances of a seamless process.
In a statement issued in Abuja, on Tuesday, the CSOs, further asked the Federal Government to activate steps to address the current economic challenges, alarming unemployment, plummeting exchange rate and financial hardship on the citizens. It maintained that FG must desist from increasing or introducing new taxes, especially the proposed five per cent inclusive of excise duty on telecommunications services in Nigeria that will raise the tax to12.5 per cent. While expressing its disappointment over the state of the nation the Situation Room said there was need for President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately rejig the entire security architecture of the country.
- Minister decries non-utilisation of NIN database by security institutions to tackle terrorism
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, has decried the non-utilisation of the National Identification Number (NIN) database in the country by security institutions in the fight against insurgency, banditry and terrorism. Pantami, who said though the national database is still work-in-progress, noted that information available can help mitigate the rising insecurity in the country. The Minister spoke in Lagos on Monday, on the sideline of the forum organised by the Nigeria Office for Developing the indigenous Telecoms Sector (NODITS), an agency domiciled in the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC).
While acknowledging the escalating insecurity challenges in the country, Pantami said “though there are issues of banditry and other security challenges, some questions should be forwarded to the security institutions because what we have done is to establish the database, which is still work in progress. So far, there are over 86 million citizens in the database. What I inherited in 2020 when the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) was transferred to me was only 41 million.
Pantami, while urging Nigerians to ensure they get their NINs and link it with their Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards, said obtaining NIN is not optional; it is mandatory by law. He stressed that the National Identity Management Act 2007, Section 27, states clearly that obtaining NIN is mandatory for all citizens and legal residents and “it is not allowed for one to obtain a passport, driver’s license or enjoy any government services without NIN.”
- More states to procure AK-47 as insecurity worsens
The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, on Thursday said the state government would legally procure Ak-47 rifles for its security outfit, Community Volunteer Guards. Ortom disclosed this in Makurdi, the state capital at the unveiling of the security outfit just as states including Ondo, Ekiti, Osun and Zamfara also indicated that they would arm their security agencies as insecurity worsened in the country. Also on Thursday, representatives of security agencies, the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, the diplomatic corps and select government ministries, held a summit in Abuja on Thursday with a view to ensuring that schools are secure and re-opened
At the unveiling of the Benue State Security outfit, Ortom revealed that the state was being attacked as a result of the peoples’ refusal to surrender their land. Ortom said that 500 people drawn from the 23 local government areas of the state were recruited in the first batch and participated in the passing out parade that held at the IBB Square, Makurdi. The governor said that his administration decided to constitute the security outfit due to the failure of the Federal Government to disarm the militias. He pledged that his administration would legally procure AK-47, AK-49 and other sophisticated weapons for the security operatives. Ortom stated, “Given the fact that the Federal Government has consistently failed to disarm the terrorists who have continued to maim and kill our people at will, the state government is going to apply for a licence to legally procure AK-47, AK-49 and other sophisticated weapons for the Benue State Volunteers Guards to enable them tackle these murderous terrorists effectively.
“To do this effectively, the Benue State Government had approved a two-week capacity building programme for 500 personnel of the Community Volunteer Guards to learn some basic paramilitary aspects.” He promised that operations of the Benue State Community Volunteer Guards would be strictly guided by the law and warned that any official found operating outside the said law would be shown the way out. Thirty operational vehicles and 200 communication gadgets were procured to enable the Volunteer Guards function maximally.
- Makinde launches new ride-hailing service in Ibadan
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and Adeniyi Adebayo, the Minister of Industry, Trades and Investment, on Thursday launched a new taxi hailing service codenamed: “AFRICAR” in Ibadan.
The taxi hailing service was launched at a well-attended ceremony with 150 of the taxis. The new taxi hailing service had already begun operations in Ibadan with residents hailing its introduction.
Governor Makinde said the introduction of the taxi hailing service in Ibadan was in line with his administration’s goal of bringing investors into the state.
The governor, represented by his Chief of Staff, Segun Ogunwuyi, said that the launching of AFRICAR in Ibadan had attested to the business-friendly atmosphere provided by his administration for investors. He expressed delight at witnessing another demonstration of his administration’s commitment to make life comfortable for residents of the state.
“I am very delighted to be at the event of today, which is a further demonstration of our administration’s commitment to making life comfortable for our people. This will improve the socioeconomic activities of the citizenry and the state at large,” he said. The governor said that transportation was evidently important for economic activity and social life in a state.
- N’Assembly leaders fret, rally security chiefs for protection
The National Assembly has expressed fears over the worsening insecurity in the country, particularly the recent attacks on the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, by terrorists. Following the worsening insecurity, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on Wednesday, summoned the security chiefs to a marathon meeting where he described the situation as the “most frightening.”
Also at the meeting, the senators advised the security chiefs on how better to protect the FCT and the country in general. The various House of Representatives Committees on Security had similarly met with the security chiefs last Friday over the developments in the country. Also, the House said the terrorists were daring to have attacked the seat of power, warning the security agencies to go after the militants.
In the last few weeks, the FCT had faced grave security threats with terrorists launching separate attacks on troops and the Kuje Medium Security Custodial Centre. Last Thursday, suspected terrorists launched a vicious attack on soldiers at a checkpoint at Zuma rock, a few kilometres from the nation’s capital. Also on July 24, terrorists attacked the Presidential Guards Brigade troops at Bwari-Kubwa road, Abuja, during which a captain, lieutenant and six soldiers were killed and others wounded. An attack by Islamic State West Africa Province terrorists on the Kuje Medium Security Custodial Centre, Abuja, resulted in the release of 69 Boko Haram commanders and hundreds of felons on July 5.
A memo from the NSCDC had also suggested that Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists were amassing dangerous weapons for massive attacks on Katsina, Lagos, the Federal Capital Territory, Kaduna, and Zamfara States. Speaking before the security meeting went into a closed-door session, the Senate President said the upper chambers had hoped the security situation would have been better by now. Lawan admonished the law enforcement agencies to perform better and protect the rural populace.
- Kebbi APC welcomes 2512 decampees from PDP
About two thousand, five hundred and twelve card-carrying members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Shanga Local Government Area of Kebbi State decamped to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, weekend. A former PDP Chairman of the Local Government, Alhaji Yakubu Dala, led the 2,512 PDP members to join APC with all the Exco members, delegates, women and youth leaders in the area. Dala attributed their decision to join APC to the tenacity and good leadership style of Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, as well as the cohesion within the party in Kebbi State.
Welcoming the new members, the Kebbi State APC Chairman, Alhaji Muhammad Kana Zuru, assured them of equal treatment in the party. He also reminded people of Shanga of some of the developmental strides of Governor Bagudu in their area while calling for more support and loyalty to the Government. The Speaker of Kebbi State House of Assembly, Sani Abubakar Lolo, and the SSG, Babale Umar Yauri, also spoke of the need for all the party members to remain united to continue to provide development to the people of the state.
- Oyo 2023: Unity Forum drums support for Adelabu’s governorship ambition
The break-away faction of the All Progressives Congress, APC in Oyo State, the Unity Forum, has thrown it weight behind the governorship ambition of the former Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN Deputy Governor, Chief Adebayo Adelabu in the 2023 governorship election in the state.
The forum, which comprised of many aggrieved Oyo APC faithful, have been protesting the irregularities and injustice being perpetrated in the party decided and have decided to forge ahead with Accord Party.
The Unity Forum members, who are adherents of the late Bola Ige political dynasty, late Alhaji Lam Adesina called Lamists as well as some former commissioners under the immediate past administration including former local government chairmen during Abiola Ajimobi Administration and about 80 per cent of the elders caucus of the party in the state are unanimously united and have drummed support for Accord governorship candidate.
The members of the forum who were at the Adelabu Penkelemes Foundation House Jericho, Ibadan yesterday, agreed to mobilise the electorate across the geo-political zones of Ibadan, Oke-Ogun, Ogbomoso, Oyo and Ibarapa to vote for Accord party in the coming general elections.
Receiving the party chieftains, Chief Adelabu who had also served in various capacities in both public and corporate sectors, noted that he remains one of the highest employers of labour in the state with investments in real estate, finance, agriculture, hospitality and tourism, promising to create programmes and ideas that will enhance the economic prosperity of the state as well as making it a hub for industrialist.
- NNPC average monthly remittance falls by over 1000% —CBN sources
Remittances from the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPC, fell sharply by about 1000 per cent in eight years, contributing sharply to the dollar scarcity that triggered the sharp depreciation of the naira, a source in the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, insisted on Monday. The reaction followed NNPC’s rebuttal to allegations of zero remittance to the CBN. NNPC said it remitted $2.7 billion into its CBN accounts in the first six months of this year. The remittance according to NNPC sources comprise $645 million for dividend paid by the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Company Ltd, and $1.786 billion from the NNPC operational activities.
However CBN sources stated on Monday that average monthly remittance by the NNPC had fallen sharply by over 1000 per cent from what it used to be in 2014. Speaking further on the implication of the sharp decline in NNPC remittance, a source who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “The CBN requires at least $1. 8 billion monthly to fund the import obligations of Nigerians. How come nobody is asking the CBN how it is funding these import obligations of Nigerians.”
According to the CBN source, “From the report being circulated, NNPC only remitted $1. 786 billion to the CBN in 6 months. This is an average of less than $300 million monthly. Sometime in 2014 NNPC remitted $3.4 billion in one month to the CBN. Is the CBN therefore wrong to say that NNPC did not remit anything if the average they claim they sent was only $300 million?” The truth is that the NNPC must sit up and stop the bleeding in Nigeria’s treasury. Only recently, reports went round that fuel queues started building up again because the NNPC could not fund the importation of petrol into Nigeria.”
The source also said that both NNPC and Ministry of Finance pleaded with the CBN to borrow $500m from Afrexim Bank on behalf of NNPC to pay for import of petrol in March. This $500m will be paid by the CBN when it falls due.
- FG plans N712bn mortgage to fund 100,000 houses
The Federal Government on Monday said it was working to increase mortgages provided to contributors under the National Housing Fund to the tune of N712bn for the financing of about 100,000 housing units across the country. It disclosed this at the inaugural Board and Management Retreat of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria in Abuja, adding that efforts were on to deliver one million affordable homes to Nigerians under the National Housing Programme.
The Chairman, Board of Directors, FMBN, Ayodeji Gbeleyi, said the bank’s board had approved a strategy plan that would increase the amount of mortgages to be provided for the construction of houses for Nigerians.
He said, “In line with the mandate of the Federal Government to expand the housing sector in general and deepen the mortgage sub-sector in particular, the bank’s board approved a five-year strategy plan covering the period 2020-2024 with focus on certain key performance indicators.
The KPIs include growing the National Housing Fund contributions from N49bn in 2018 to N285bn per annum, increase contributors from about 4.8 million in 2018 to 31.6 million in 2024, to finance a cumulative of 100,000 housing units and grow mortgages to N712bn in 2024.”
He said some of the measures being promoted towards achieving the targets of the five-year strategy plan included deepening mortgage penetration by facilitating access to homeownership, growing and diversifying funding mix through diversification of funding sources, among others.
Gbeleyi stated that in order to address the housing deficit in Nigeria, the Federal Government had initiated the National Housing Programme, adding that the NHP’s target was to provide millions of homes across the country.
- World Bank Committs $8.5 billion to Nigeria To Fund Critical Issues
- The World Bank has committed $8.5 billion to Nigeria to fund critical issues ranging from agriculture to education.Disclosing this on Thursday in Abuja during a summit organised by the Emergency Coordination Center, the World Bank Country Director to Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, noted that the amount was the largest of any country. He noted that it was still infinitesimal compared with the needs of Nigeria, stressing, however, that around $2.5 billion to $3 billion of the fund had been channelled towards education. “Half of the population of Nigeria itself is less than 17 years old. This means there is a need to invest in human capital development,” he said. He noted that the future of Nigeria depended on the ability of the young people to go to school , stressing that it was important to make schools safe to ensure that fewer children were out of school.
He further said it was Nigeria’s call to determine how it would mobilise its financial resources to enable young Nigerians to go to school or whether its scarce resources would be used to subsidise petrol with over N6.5 trillion. Africa’s most populous nation is mobilising N6.7 trillion for petrol subsidies at the expense of education and health. About 10.1 million children are out of school, according to the education ministry, but a report suggests it is up to 18.5 million.’Bank commits $8.5bn to Nigeria, faults N6.7tn subsidy.
“In economics, subsidy is always bad. Yes, quite a lot of people depend on fuel, which is why they have continued to subsidise petrol, but we don’t know how much is really spent on subsidy.” He explained that the next government should not just remove subsidies, but also provide incentives that would alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians. However, he said removing petrol subsidy at the moment would cause untold hardship and social unrest for Nigerians, suggesting an alternative route Nigeria could take. “It’s completely true that the burden is weighing and will continue to weigh on the economy. Some discrete facts are here to help save the country.
- Nigeria’s budget deficit hits N30.58tn in seven years
Budget deficit has risen to at least N30.58tn in the last seven years. This is according to data from budget implementation reports for the third and fourth quarters of 2015; the four quarters of 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020; the first three quarters of 2021; and the first four months of 2022. An analysis of the reports on the Budget Office of Nigeria’s website revealed that Buhari’s administration had spent at least N54.98tn on budget implementation since its inception but has only financed this spending with N24.39tn, leaving a deficit of N30.58tn.
A breakdown of some of the expenses revealed that the present administration had spent at least N23.66tn on personnel costs, pensions, overhead costs, presidential amnesty programme, other service-wide votes, and special interventions. A minimum of N14.13tn has been spent servicing domestic and foreign debts, and at least N10.47tn has been spent on capital expenditure.
According to the reports, this deficit financing has been largely financed by government borrowing. The budget implementation report for Q4, 2015 said, “The FGN has arranged to raise short-term credit from the CBN through the mechanism of Ways and Means subject to a ceiling of 12.5 per cent of FGN’s revenue
Recently, the Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria raised concerns over the nation’s debt sustainability. It said the Federal Government’s debt profile was worrying and noted that there was a need for it to urgently diversify its revenue base. Commenting on the story, economists stated that a high deficit was not good for the economy and might cause inflation, recession, and slow down growth.
- Minister attacks FG’s plans to impose 5% tax on call, text, data
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, yesterday took a swipe at Federal Government’s plans to impose five per cent excise duty on telecommunications services in the country. He also vowed to use every legal instrument available to fight the decision as, according to him, the decision didn’t go through wide consultation, adding that if the decision was allowed to stand, it would affect the sector negatively.
The minister, who spoke at the maiden edition of the Nigerian Telecommunications indigenous Content Expo, NTICE, in Lagos, said the sector, which was already attracting huge revenue, creating jobs and adding huge revenue to the GDP, should not be over burdened with such taxes.
Pantami also lamented the huge percentage of importation of ICT and telecoms equipment into the country, even when some of them could be obtained in the country. He gave a marching order to all stakeholders that “henceforth, the Federal Government will not tolerate importation of anything into the country, when we have the capacity to produce it.
The Minister’s attack on the excise duty, is coming after major stakeholders in the sector, including the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria, ALTON, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, ATCON and National Association of Telecoms Subscribers, NATCOMS, also kicked against the move, describing it as anti-people, provocative, strange, insensitive and irresponsible.
At a stakeholders’ forum organised in Abuja by the NCC to throw light on its proposed implementation, they also argued that such imposition would further aggravate the suffering of the Nigerian masses who had already been pushed into hardship and extreme poverty. The new five per cent Excise Duty is part of the new Finance Act signed into law by the President in 2020. It is meant to be collected by the Nigerian Customs Service, and President Buhari had given directive that it be enforced on all telecoms service providers in the country on all local and foreign goods and services.
- FG may suspend free four million meters’ distribution
The Federal Government-funded Phase 1 of the National Mass Metering Programme, NMMP, slated to commence in August appears to have been mired in uncertainty, as newsmen learnt that it had been put on hold following allegations of fraud by the Central Bank of Nigeria against some of the Meter Asset Providers, MAPs. A source, who pleaded for identity to be shielded due to the sensitivity of the matter, told newsmen that there was no indication that the Phase 1 meter distribution would commence this month, as power distribution companies were yet to be furnished with meters.
The NMMP is an initiative of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, in conjunction with the Presidential Power Task Force. The initiative was launched in August 2020 to allow the CBN to fund the acquisition of meters on behalf of DisCos by paying directly to the MAPs. The free metering programme commenced with the Phase 0 where one million meters were supposed to have been distributed. However, the CBN, on July 20, asked the Federal High Court in Lokoja, Kogi State, to freeze accounts belonging to 157 MAPs for allegedly diverting funds meant for the procurement of prepaid meters.
The apex bank, in a suit, requested commercial banks to restrict the account of 10 companies that received power sector intervention funds under the NMMP for 180 days pending the outcome of its investigation. Following the ongoing court case, newsmen, on Sunday, learnt that the free mass programme had also been put on hold until further notice. Sources told newsmen that the DisCos had accused some MAPs of not supplying them with enough meters during the last visits by the CBN to the DisCos’ offices.
The NERC, on its part, said it created the initiative in response to President Buhari’s order that Nigerians must be metered. “The President has directed that there should be a nationwide mass-metering program in an effort by the Federal Government to put a stop to estimated and arbitrary billing for electricity.” The Commission had recently spoken of the success of Phase 0, and revealed it had shortlisted 45 companies for the next phase. It added that; “We are hoping that before the end of August, we will begin to see meters from our local manufacturers going to the electricity Distribution Companies and then to end-user customers.”
- FG to generate N160bn from call, data taxes
The Federal Government will generate about N160.46bn from excise duty on telecommunication services in 2023. According to the Nigerian Communications Commission, the combined revenue of operators in the GSM, Fixed Wired, and Internet Service Providers was N3.21tn in 2021. If the government implements its five per cent excise duty on telecom services, it will generate about N160.46bn. The amount, however, assumes that the revenue of the telcos would be static. But in real terms, it could either be higher or lower depending on economic fundamentals in 2022. Recently, the Federal Government disclosed a plan to implement a 5 per cent excise duty on telecom services in the nation.
This was revealed by the Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, during a stakeholders’ forum on the implementation of excise duty on telecommunications services in Nigeria. Ahmed, who spoke through the Assistant Chief Officer of the Ministry, Mr Frank Oshanipin, said the implementation of the excise duty was in a bid to increase the government’s revenue. She said, “The duty rate was not captured in the Act because it is the responsibility of the President to fix rate on excise duties and he has fixed five per cent for telecommunication services which include GSM. At the forum, the finance minister disclosed that the tax would be implemented soon but doubts have since risen concerning whether the excise duty will be implemented at all.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, on Monday, disclosed that he was against the tax and would everything to stop its implementation. According to him, the telecoms industry was already doing a lot regarding revenue generation in the nation and attempts to stretch it any further might negatively impact it. Speaking at the maiden edition of the Nigerian Telecommunications Indigenous Content Expo organised by the Nigeria Office for Developing the indigenous Telecom Sector, he stated, “The ministry of communications and digital economy is not satisfied with any effort to introduce excise duty on telecommunication services.”
He added, “Beyond making our position known, we will go behind the scenes and go against any policy that will destroy the digital economy sector. We will go to any extent to legitimately and legally defend its interest. It is public knowledge that our revenue cannot run our financial obligations, so we are to shift our attention to non-oil revenue. The responsibility of generating revenue to run government lies with us all.”
According to the Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecom Owners of Nigeria, Gbenga Adebayo, telecom consumers will bear the burden of the additional 5 per cent tax. The tax is likely to be passed on to telecommunications consumers who will bear the burden. Commenting on the amount the Federal Government might make from implementing this tax, the Chief Operating Officer, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, Ajibola Olude, said, “I don’t see the Federal Government implementing the five per cent excise duty.
- Health workers fault non-payment of new hazard allowance
The Federal Government is yet to commence the implementation of the increased hazard allowance for health workers seven months after its announcement, reports have it. The Federal Government, in December 2021, increased the hazard allowances applicable to health workers in its healthcare facilities across the country. The increment was contained in a circular with reference SWC/S/04/S.218/11/406, dated December 22, 2021, from the Chairman of National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission.
It read in part, “Concerning the review of the hazard allowance applicable to health workers in the services of the Federal Hospitals, Medical Centres, and Clinics in Ministries, Departments, and Agencies. The hazard allowance was reviewed to a flat rate that ranges from N5,000 to between N15,000 and N34,000 for health workers on the CONHESS salary structure, while doctors on CONMESS had theirs reviewed from N5,000 to between N32,000 and N40,000.”
However, health workers in the country confirmed to newsmen that the reviewed hazard allowance has not been implemented. Also, the National President of the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals, Dr. Obinna Ogbonna, said, “We thought we were going to receive the new allowance when we were paid in July, but we have not been paid,” Ogbonna said. Meanwhile, a former President of the Nigerian Medical Association, Prof. Mike Ogirima, urged the government to implement the increased hazard allowance as promised.
Also reacting, a professor of medicine at the University of Ilorin, Emmanuel Okoro, berated the Federal Government for not living up to expectations saying, “The government on its own, said the N5, 000 hazard allowance was poor and reviewed it and hasn’t paid since last year. Then, they said they were going to wait for the budget. The budget came, and they said they would wait till they start implementation in March. July has passed, yet nothing has happened. “The resident doctors have given the government two weeks to address their demands, and I hope they meet them to avert disruption in healthcare services.”
- UK licenses 266 Nigerian doctors in two months
The General Medical Council which licenses and maintains the official register of medical practitioners in the United Kingdom licensed at least 266 Nigerian doctors in June and July, 2022, newsmen have learnt. The implication is that at least three Nigerian doctors were licensed per day in June and July 2022 despite the moves by the Federal Government to stop the exodus of doctors and health workers in the country amidst worsening brain drain of the professionals in the country.
Newsmen, who have continued to monitor the GMC register, noticed that the number of Nigeria-trained doctors in the UK currently stands at 9,976. The figure does not include other doctors of Nigerian origin who did not undergo medical training in Nigeria. Presently, Nigeria has the third highest number of foreign doctors working in the UK after India and Pakistan. The country however suffers a shortage of doctors. The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria noted that Nigeria now has over 100,000 doctors who have registered with the council.
Worryingly, Nigeria with a population of over 200 million citizens, indicate the percentage ratio of doctors to patients still falls below the World Health Organisation’s recommendation of 1:600.
A poll by NOI in 2018 also showed that 88% of Nigerian doctors are considering work opportunities abroad, but experts say the figure may be higher due to the rising insecurity and economic crunch.
Other popular destinations for Nigeria-trained doctors include United States, Canada, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Australia. Reports have it that the Nigerian Medical Association has continued to call on the Federal Government to provide a thriving environment for doctors and health workers to curb the massive brain drain.
- We begged our husbands to leave our breasts to exclusively breastfeed —Mothers
As Nigeria joins the global community to mark the 2022 World Breastfeeding, reporters delves into the difficulties women in Nigeria face to achieve exclusive breastfeeding by speaking with some mothers in Lagos. They share how they overcame challenges hindering the attainment of the gold standard of six months exclusive breastfeeding, ranging from poor institutional and family support, inadequate baby-friendly facilities, and lack of awareness, among others.
The World Health Organisation recommends mothers worldwide exclusively breastfeed infants for the child’s first six months to achieve optimal growth, development, and health. Thereafter, WHO said, babies should be given nutritious complementary foods and continue breastfeeding up to the age of two years or beyond. Celebrated on August 1-7 every year, World Breastfeeding Week is a global campaign to raise awareness and galvanise action on themes related to breastfeeding. World Breastfeeding Week has been celebrated since 1992. It was established by the joint efforts of the WHO, UNICEF, and the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action.
The theme of World Breastfeeding Week 2022 is “Step Up for Breastfeeding: Educate and Support”. The Federal Ministry of Health recommends early initiation of breastfeeding within one hour of birth, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, and continued breastfeeding up to two years of age or beyond, with the introduction of appropriate complementary foods from six months.
According to Sekinat, who is a journalist said her husband’s support and her determination to give her children the best start in life made the practice an exciting experience for her despite the demanding nature of her job. “When we talk about exclusive breastfeeding, it’s the best gift we can give to our children and this is simply because when we breastfeed babies exclusively, we would have given them the best start in life because their immune system will be top-notch. No regular hospital visits for exclusively breastfed babies. There won’t be a situation of several visits to hospitals for such children except to take immunisations.
She said her husband sacrificed his enjoyment of the breasts for their kids. She further said there are some men that will be saying “what is all these, is the breasts for the kids alone or something?”. What I did was to educate their dad that this is like a sacrifice on our part for the kids. If we can do that, we will be spending less on hospital visits, treating infections, and ailments that will make children visit the doctor regularly and he agreed. The media professional noted that it was wrong for daddies to struggle over breasts with their babies, stressing that such an act could discourage mothers from embracing exclusive breastfeeding.
- Pregnant women sleeping in poorly ventilated rooms at risk of premature labour, stillbirth —Gynaecologists
Female reproductive health experts have urged pregnant women to be more cautious about the health implications associated with sleeping in poorly ventilated rooms. The experts warned that sleeping in improperly ventilated rooms when pregnant can negatively affect the woman’s health and that of the baby in the womb. A poorly ventilated room, the experts explained, is one in which there is no cross ventilation and free circulation of fresh air. Some of the adverse health complications a pregnant woman could suffer when sleeping in poorly ventilated rooms, they said, ranges from premature labour, to still birth, low birth weight, trouble concentrating, respiratory problems, and a higher risk of airborne infection such as tuberculosis.
According to an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Dr. Olajumoke Ogunro said the purpose of ventilation is to ensure that healthy air is provided for breathing. She further explained that, when a room is poorly ventilated it leads to the build-up of carbondioxide and low oxygen which can cause harm to an individual, pregnant or not. She said, “Whether you’re pregnant or not pregnant when a room is not properly ventilated it leads to the build-up of carbon dioxide and then low oxygen. That results in other adverse conditions like headaches, fatigue, trouble concentrating, respiratory problems, shortness of breath, and irritation of the nose, eyes, and throat.
Poor ventilation can also lead to stillbirth – that is, the baby dying in the mother’s womb, a low birth weight – that is, babies being very small, pre-term delivery or even congenital abnormality.
- After 168-day strike, ASUU extends strike by four weeks
The Academic Staff Union of Universities on Monday announced the extension of its ongoing strike by four weeks. The union’s President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, disclosed this in a statement made available to newsmen. According to Osodeke, the decision was to give the government enough time to resolve all outstanding issues with the lecturers.
The statement read, “Following extensive deliberations and taking cognisance of the government’s past failure to abide by its own timelines in addressing issues raised in the 2020 FGN/ASUU Memorandum of Action, the NEC resolved that the strike be rolled over for four weeks to give the government more time to satisfactorily resolve all the outstanding issues. The roll-over strike action is with effect from 12.01am on Monday, August 1, 2022,” the statement read.
ASUU on Monday, February 14, 2022, announced the commencement of a strike over the failure of the government to meet lingering demands of the union. Speaking further in the statement, ASUU said, “NEC viewed with seriousness the recent directive given by the President and Visitor to all Federal Universities that the Minister of Education, in consultation with other government officials, should resolve the lingering crisis and report to him within two weeks.
- Strike: TUC Condemns FG’s Approach, Calls For Action To End, Reopen Schools
The newly elected president of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Comrade Festus Osifo, has called on the Federal Government to immediately resolve all lingering issues with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) without further delay. Osifo, in a release made available to journalists in Abuja, said, “We strongly condemn the continuous disruption of academic calendar in public tertiary institutions and the condescending attitude of political office holders towards government-owned educational institutions.
“The clear ineptitude in this administration is becoming more worrisome, unfortunately there appears to be no end in sight, making the country a laughing stock in the comity of nations. Government must engage ASUU without further delay in constructive negotiations to find a lasting solution to their complaints. Education is one of the factors that influence the progress of any society but in our clime, it appears there is a deliberate effort to stifle the sector to keep the country perpetually in the dark and under-developed.”
He further noted: “Nigerian politicians unfortunately, do not care because their children and wards school abroad. They arrogantly walk out of meetings called to resolve industrial issues and travel abroad to celebrate with their children on the day of graduation. This level of impunity will not be condoned anymore by the working people. The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria is in total support of the national protest, it is a just and patriotic cause. We will be strategising with the leadership of NLC and ASUU on how best to get the government to meet the demand of the university teachers.
“We wish to stress unequivocally that we are together with the university lecturers and their students in this struggle.” We are convinced that an injury to one is an injury to all, as such, everything must be done to dispense with the impasse to avoid a situation where Congress might be compelled to take further drastic actions.”
- N’Assembly proposes 63 new varsities, others, experts kick
No fewer than 63 bills have been tabled before the Senate and the House of Representatives for the creation of new universities, polytechnics, colleges of education since the beginning of shutdown of activities in public tertiary institutions in the country in 2022, investigations have revealed. However, The Academic Staff Union of Universities, Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics and Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union have, however, warned the government against the establishment of new institutions while failing to fund the existing ones.
Nigeria curtrently has a total of 49 federal universities. The official data from the National Universities Commission also revealed that the country has 59 state universities and 111 private universities. The National Board for Technical Education also puts the number of Federal Polytechnics at 40; state owned at 49 and private at 76. While a total of Federal and state owned colleges of health is 70; Nigeria currently has 17 private colleges of health. Also, the National Commission for Colleges of Education put the total number of colleges of education in Nigeria at 219.
An analysis of the 63 bills on creation of new institutions being considered by both the Senate and the House of Representatives revealed that 26 bills are for federal universities; 33 bills for federal colleges of education; agriculture; health; technology; and forestry among other specialised colleges. The lawmakers also proposed four bills for the creation of new polytechnics.
However, a professor at the Adekunle Ajasin University, Ondo State, Victor Olumekun, in an interview with newsmen, faulted the lawmakers for turning the establishment of new institutions into constituency projects. Olumekun said, “I say it often that it is not the number of universities that we have that matter but the capacity to do what universities are supposed to be doing. The General Secretary, COEASU, Dr Ahmed Bazza, also faulted the development. He said, “There is shortage of lecturers in all tertiary institutions because the system has made it so harsh that there is high level of brain drain in the system. We are trying to cope with that and also trying to cope with the funding and facilities. Then someone will just wake up for political reasons and say he is proposing a bill to establish a new university. That is not fair to the system honestly.
The Programme Director, Reform Education Nigeria, Ayodamola Oluwatoyin, also accused the lawmakers of trying to score political goals. Oluwatoyin said, “It is so unfortunate that we live in a country where lawmakers use matters like education to score cheap political goals, this is unheard of in any part of the world. How will you propose new bills for new institutions when the existing ones are on shutdown? Who advises these individuals?”
- NCC commits N500m for research in Nigerian universities
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has committed over N500 million to the Nigerian universities and other tertiary institutions across the country to facilitate research and innovations to promote developments in the Nigerian telecommunications industry. Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof Umar Danbatta who disclosed this at a two-day Regional Roundtable with Academia, Industry and Other Stakeholders, which ended in Kano at the weekend, said the funds have been committed to research grants to universities and tertiary institutions, including professorial chairs in the universities in salient areas to drive technology development.
Danbatta said the Commission is now focused on supporting the academia in the commercialisation of the prototypes from these innovative researches, as this is relevant to the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy’s policy towards achieving indigenous technology for sustainable development of our country. He said the roundtable organized by the Commission was to provide the necessary platform to support the commercialisation of locally-developed telecommunications innovations, which NCC has been sponsoring.
Danbatta said these efforts have enabled the Commission to contribute to national efforts to ensure overall growth of the industry and create wealth for innovators, saying all these are fundamental to the objective of the NCC’s R&D-oriented programmes. On the basis of these, he said ideas, inventions, and improvements that emanate from academia are required by the industry for improved efficiency and productivity. Danbatta said appreciable impacts had been achieved since the Commission reinvigorated research grants for telecommunications-based research innovations from Nigerian academics, focusing on the successful commercialisation of locally developed solutions to foster and deepen the uptake of indigenous technology by Nigerians.
- NAAT Vows To Resist Salary Disparity Among Varsity Workers, Rejects Briggs Committee’s Report
The National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) has reiterated its resolve to resist any attempt to institute and implement further disparity in the salary of workers in universities in the country. While expressing dissatisfaction with the Nimi Briggs Committee Report, the union maintained that the committee did not involve its leadership in the negotiation process, therefore would not accept the resolutions of the committee.
The Briggs-led committee was set up in March by the Federal Government to oversee the negotiations with the four university-based unions and submitted its report to the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, over a month ago.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja, NAAT President, Ibeji Nwokoma, said, “It is needless to say that we are indeed in trouble as a nation, if for five months or thereabouts that all our public universities have been forced to shut their gates against academic activities, the Federal Government of Nigeria has remained adamant and recalcitrant in addressing these germane issues. In a country where economic deficit and unemployment have become the order of the day, conceptualizing a business idea in Nigeria and subsequently starting it can be likened to a goldmine which offers an opportunity for people to tap into a better livelihood.
- Recommendations: ASUU kicks as FG excludes state varsities
The industrial dispute between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities may worsen following the insistence of the Federal Ministry of Education that its proposed agreement with the union will not be binding on state universities. The spokesman for the Federal Ministry of Education, Ben Goong , in an interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja on Wednesday, explained that the Federal Government could not dictate to states on education as it is on the concurrent legislative list.
A committee led by the Pro-Chancellor of the Federal University of Lokoja, Prof. Nimi Briggs, had reportedly recommended a 180 per cent pay rise for lecturers, but the government was said to have favoured a 100 per cent increase. It was gathered that the ministries of finance, education, labour and employment, Budget Office of the Federation, Office of the Head of Service of the Federation and the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission were still working out the final details of the proposal.
The ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, insisted that any agreement reached with the Federal Government would be binding on the states, thus opening another battle front between the union and the government.
- FG to capture schools’ security in 2023 budget
The Federal Government has promised to include the security of schools in the 2023 budget. Speaking at the safe-school summit organised by the Emergency Coordination Center in Abuja on Thursday, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said, “In 2023 budget, we will make sure we make specific budget to support financing of safety of our schools.” She noted that the Federal Government would also be encouraging states to make specific commitments to the safety of schools. She noted that consultation were underway with states, local governments and critical stakeholders to identify the most transparent, effective and accountable ways of mobilising and deploying resources.
Ahmed also disclosed that the national financing plan for the security and safety of schools across the country would be unveiled before the end of the third quarter of this year. She said the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning had established a committee with members drawn from the relevant ministries, departments and agencies, including the Federal Ministry of Education, the military and other security agencies, for this purpose. “The committee has been working assiduously to collate inputs from relevant MDAs and to develop a national plan for financing safe schools,” She added, “The plan will incorporate state level plans as well as Federal Government sectoral plans with an emphasis on ensuring adequate budgetary allocation in order to create a safe learning environment for teaching, learning and restoring confidence in the education system.
- Biden says killing of Al-Qaeda chief will bring ‘closure’ to 9/11 families
President Joe Biden on Monday said he hoped that the US killing of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri will help bring “closure” to families of those killed in the September 11, 2001, attacks. “It is my hope that this decisive action will bring one more measure of closure,” he said in a national address.
- US Will ‘Pay The Price’ If Pelosi Visits Taiwan, China Warns
China said Tuesday that the United States will “pay the price” if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan during her Asia trip. Pelosi was in Malaysia on Tuesday, the second stop in a tour that has sparked rage in Beijing after reports of a potential Taipei visit. China considers Taiwan its territory and has indicated through repeated warnings that it would view a Pelosi visit as a major provocation. “The US side will bear the responsibility and pay the price for undermining China’s sovereign security interests,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular press briefing in Beijing.
American officials often make discreet visits to Taiwan to show support, but Pelosi would be a higher-profile visitor than any in recent history. Reports of her plans have sent US-China tensions soaring. In a call with US President Joe Biden last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned the United States against “playing with fire” on Taiwan. And China’s ambassador to the United Nations, Zhang Hun, said Monday that such a visit would be “very much dangerous, very much provocative”.
While the Biden administration is understood to be opposed to a Taiwan stop, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Pelosi was entitled to go where she pleased. “There is no reason for Beijing to turn a potential visit consistent with longstanding US policies into some sort of crisis.” Kirby cited intelligence that China was preparing possible military provocations. He said Pelosi was travelling on a military aircraft and that while Washington did not fear a direct attack, it “raises the stakes of a miscalculation”.
- Moscow Blacklists 39 Britons, Including Ex-PM Cameron, Labour Leader Starmer
Russia on Monday said it was blacklisting 39 British citizens, including Labour Party leader Keir Starmer and former prime minister David Cameron. London has been one of Kyiv’s most vocal supporters after President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine on February 24. Russia’s foreign ministry said the citizens listed, including journalists, “contribute to the hostile course of London aimed at the demonisation of our country and its international isolation. The choice in favour of confrontation is the conscious decision of the British political establishment, which bears all responsibility for the consequences,” the ministry added.
Moscow has banned several dozen British citizens — mostly politicians and journalists — from entering Russia since the start of its military campaign in Ukraine. The new additions include several Labour MPs, Scottish politicians and members of the House of Lords. Among the media are the head of the BBC’s newsgathering Jonathan Munro, TV presenter Piers Morgan and BBC News presenter Huw Edward.
- UN Chief ‘Warmly Welcomes’ Departure Of First Ukraine Grain Ship
United Nations chief Antonio Guterres “warmly welcomes” the departure Monday of a first ship carrying Ukrainian grain under a plan to lift Russia’s naval blockade, a spokesperson said.
“The Secretary-General hopes that this will be the first of many commercial ships moving in accordance with the initiative signed, and that this will bring much-needed stability and relief to global food security, especially in the most fragile humanitarian contexts,” the UN said in a statement.
- Sri Lanka President Seeks Unity Government To Save Economy
Sri Lanka’s new president Ranil Wickremesinghe has formally invited MPs to join an all-party unity government to revive the bankrupt economy by undertaking painful reforms, his office said Sunday. Wickremesinghe took office earlier this month after public anger over the island nation’s worst economic crisis forced his predecessor Gotabaya Rajapaksa to flee the country and quit.
In a meeting, Saturday with the influential monks of the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, one of Buddhism’s most sacred shrines, Wickremesinghe outlined his plans. He has written to all lawmakers asking them to join a unity government.
A former opposition MP, Wickremesinghe, 73, took up the premiership for the sixth time in May after Rajapaksa’s elder brother Mahinda resigned and there were no other takers for the job.
Wickremesinghe went on to become the president after Gotabaya escaped on July 9 when tens of thousands of protesters angry at the economic crisis stormed the presidential palace.
He fled to Singapore where he resigned five days later and Wickremesinghe became interim president and later won a vote in parliament confirming his ascension. Sri Lanka’s 22 million people have endured months of lengthy blackouts, record inflation and shortages of food, fuel and medicines. Since late last year, the country has run out of foreign exchange to finance even the most essential imports.
- US, NATO ‘Main Threats’ To National Security – Russia
The United States’ quest to dominate the oceans and NATO’s expansion are the biggest threats facing Russia, according to a new Russian naval doctrine signed by President Vladimir Putin on Sunday. The 55-page document said the “main challenges and threats” to national security and development were Washington’s “strategic objective to dominate the world’s oceans” and NATO military infrastructure moving towards Russia’s borders.
Moscow views the Western military alliance — the Soviet Union’s enemy during the Cold War — as an existential threat, using Ukraine’s membership hopes to justify its offensive on February 24. The doctrine said Moscow will seek to strengthen its leading position in exploring the Arctic and its mineral resources and maintain “strategic stability” thereby bolstering the potential of the northern and Pacific fleets.
It also mentioned Russia’s desire to develop a “safe and competitive” sea route from Europe to Asia, known as the Northeast Passage, via the country’s Arctic coastline and ensure it worked throughout the year.
- US Declares Monkeypox A Public Health Emergency
US President Joe Biden’s government on Thursday declared monkeypox a public health emergency, a move that should free up new funds, assist in data gathering and allow the deployment of additional personnel in the fight against the disease. The move came as nationwide cases topped 6,600, around a quarter of them from New York state, and experts warned swift action was needed if the outbreak is to be contained in its early stages. “We’re prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus, and we urge every American to take monkeypox seriously and to take responsibility to help us tackle this virus,” Health and Human Services secretary Xavier Becerra said in a call.
Observers believe the real number of cases could be much higher than official figures suggest, since symptoms in the current global outbreak, which began in May, have included subtle signs, such as single lesions, in addition to the more familiar widespread rashes. This can lead to cases being missed or misdiagnosed as the presentation is similar to common sexually transmitted infections.
The US has so far delivered some 600,000 JYNNEOS vaccines — originally developed against monkeypox’s related virus, smallpox — but this number is still far short of the approximately 1.6 million people considered at highest risk and who need the vaccine most.
- Guild confirms release of kidnapped actors
The Actors Guild of Nigeria has confirmed the release of two of its members, Cynthia Okereke and Clemson Cornel (Agbogidi), who were abducted in Enugu State. In a release shared by Monalisa Chinda Coker, the Guild’s Director of Communication, on Wednesday, the association informed the public that the abductors were “touched by the spirit of God” and set the Thespians free. The statement read in part, “This is to inform the public that the kidnapped actors, Cynthia Okereke and Clemson Cornel, have been released, unhurt.
The elated National President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, Ejezie Rollas, announced their release by the abductors who were touched by spirit of God to set them free and unharmed. “The guild has arranged for medical checks and psychological support for the victims. “On behalf of their families, the National President expressed our heartfelt appreciation to the Nollywood industry and Nigerians at large for the support and prayers during this trying period. He urged members to be security conscious on and off movie sets and always take precautionary measures on their security at all times.”
Okereke and Agbodigidi were declared missing on Saturday when family members could not reach them after working on a film set. Their abductors afterwards reached out, demanding a ransom of $100,000, which the Guild’s National President, Ejezie Rollas, stated could not be raised, in an interview with Sunday Scoop. According to Rollas, while a sum of N1.2million was raised, the abductors mocked their efforts.
- Ebenezer Obey mourns son, wages war against drugs
A veteran and well-respected juju musician, Ebenezer Obey-Fabiyi, has said that despite the efforts he made to help his late son, Olayinka, to ‘fight his weaknesses’, he did not succeed. Recall that Olayinka, 48, was said to have passed away on Friday, July 31, 2022, and interred the next day.
In one of his statement, the iconic musician also noted that he was starting a new ministry tagged, ‘Freedom from Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Ministry’ as part of his efforts to join forces with the war against alcoholism and drug addiction, especially among young Nigerians and those in the Diaspora. The statement read in part, “The doctors called me six months ago to inform me that Yinka had less than six months to live.
It was very painful and bad news that a father must not hear about his son. Since then, l went back to the Holy Spirit to teach me what to do and the result of my communication with the Holy Spirit is the launching of this ministry.
- Osun Osogbo festival kicks off
The popular Osun Osogbo festival is set to from August 1-29, 2022 in Osogbo, the Osun State capital. The festival is an annual event that is usually celebrated in August at a sacred grove, to worship Osun, the Yoruba goddess of fertility. The festival is believed to renew the contract between humans and deities. A huge tourist attraction, the festival is usually attended by tourists from all over the world, as well as Osun worshippers.
Events lined up for the festival include the traditional cleansing of Osogbo, which is known as ‘Iwopopo’, on August 1, followed by the lighting of the 500-year-old six-point lamp called ‘Atupa oloju merindinlogun’ which comes up three days after the cleansing of the land.
“Bibo Ade Oba Osogbo”, which is meant to honour past kings of Osogbo is slated for August 8, 2022. On August 11 is the ‘Dida Ifa arugba’, where a young virgin woman (arugba) of a royal lineage, offers sacrifices to the deity. This will be followed by the ‘Dida Ifa Arugba’, while the festival will end with the ‘Osun Ajigun’ on August 29, 2022.
- 19-year-old lifter gives Team Nigeria another medal as Amusan, Brume, Ofili enter the fray
Team Nigeria’s weightlifting squad, on Monday, continued their good run at the ongoing Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, with 19-year-old Islamiyat Adebukola Yusuf, the latest medallist. On Saturday, Adijat Olarinoye and Rafiatu Lawal gave the country two gold medals, while Umoafia Edidiong brought home a bronze to take the country’s haul to three.
Yusuf, added yet another bronze medal to the kitty, coming third in the Women’s 64kg event at the National Exhibition Centre. She lifted a total of 212 kilogrammes to end behind Canada’s Maude Charron and Cochrane Sarah of Australia, who won the gold and silver medals respectively. The men’s table tennis squad, led by Quadri Aruna, was involved in the semifinals of the team event against India as of press time.
- Onyekwere Becomes First Nigerian Woman To Win Commonwealth Games Discus Gold
Reigning African Games and African Championships champion, Chioma Onyekwere, saved her best for the last major competition of the year to make history as the first Nigerian woman to win the Commonwealth Games gold in the Discus Throw event. Onyekewere, 28, threw 61.70m in her fourth attempt to take the lead from home girl, Jade Lally, who led from the start of the competition with her opening throw of 57.33m.
The Nigerian, who opened with 55.82m, knew she needed more than the 58.19m she threw to win the African Championships gold last June in Mauritius. She responded without success in the second round with a 56.42m effort, fouled the third attempt before swinging the discus to a personal season’s best mark of 61.70m, her second best career mark after the 63.30m personal best she threw last year at the CVEATC, Chula Vista in California, USA.
Team Nigeria made further history by producing two medallists in the Discus Throw event for the first time with reigning Nigerian champion, Obiageri Amaechi, winning the bronze medal with her 56.99m fifth round effort. Onyekwere has now become the second Nigerian after Adewale Olukoju to win the Discus Throw title for Nigeria in the history of the championships. Olukoju threw 62.62m to win in Auckland in 1990.
- CWG: Nigeria’s Nwachukwu, Oluwafemiayo win gold, smash records
It was a great day for Team Nigeria on Thursday as the country’s national anthem was sung twice at the ongoing Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, following medal-winning performances from Goodness Nwachukwu and Alice Oluwafemiayo. The duo set new world records in both the women’s discus throw and women’s Para-powerlifting heavyweight events. Nwachukwu threw 34.84m to break her own world record, which she achieved on March 20 in South Africa, when she threw 33.35m, while Oluwafemiayo recorded a total point of 123.4kg in her event.
Also in the women’s Para-powerlifting heavyweight events, Bose Omolayo came second to win Nigeria’s second silver of the Games.
- Akeredolu dissolves Ondo football agency committee
The Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, has ordered the dissolution of the Ondo State Football Agency interim Committee with immediate effect. This was contained in statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr Richard Olatunde, on Thursday. According to the statement, the governor had put the management of the agency under the direct supervision of the state Ministry of Youth and Sports Development pending the constitution of the Board.
The statement read, “Governor Akeredolu has also directed that efforts must be made within one year to find a suitable investor to take over the Sunshine Star Football Club on a Public Private Partnership arrangement. “He thanked members of the interim Committee headed by the Deputy Governor, Hon. Lucky Aiyedatiwa for a job well-done, while reiterating his administration’s commitment to repositioning the state football agency for optimum performance and result-oriented.”
- Unregistered motorcycles will be impounded nationwide – FRSC
The Acting FRSC Corps Marshal, Mr Dauda Biu, has directed the 37 Sector Commanders across the nation to impound any motorcycle without appropriate registration. Biu gave the directive in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday by the Corps Public Education Officer, Mr Bisi Kazeem. “All unregistered motorcycles are to be impounded. The owners are required to complete full registration of the motorcycles before they are released. Operatives may not issue a notice of offence ticket to the operators. All impounded motorbikes must be fully documented, however,’’ he added.
The FRSC boss said the directive became necessary following the increasing number of unregistered motorcycles plying the roads. According to him, there is also a need for all motorcycles to be duly captured in the National Vehicle Identification Scheme database. He noted that the directive would help to curb insecurity if all captured motorcycles are in the national database.
Biu urged sector commanders to immediately liaise with the Boards of Internal Revenue in their respective states to set up a task force on the issue. He directed that the impounding of errant motorcycles should be done jointly with the police, the Vehicle Inspection Office and other stakeholders for effective enforcement.
- Human Trafficking: Osinbajo calls for collaborative efforts of all stakeholders
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has called for collaborative efforts of all stakeholders in the fight against human trafficking and migration. The Vice President made the call on Monday in Abuja at the grand finale of the 2022 UN Day Against Human Trafficking. Represented by Mr Adéọlá Ipaye, Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Office of the Vice President, stated that it was only by working together that the war against human trafficking could be won.
According to him, human trafficking is a global phenomenon, while encouraging everybody to rekindle their commitment so that the fight against the menace can be won. He said that President Buhari administration had continue to deploy political will in the fight against human trafficking, saying that the drive would continue in that direction.
Osinbajo congratulated NAPTIP for the progress it had made in the fight and other stakeholders for the support they had given the agency for the feat it had achieved. He said that policy document would continue to set agenda and reversal of human trafficking in order to ensure safety of Nigeria in the Federal Government standard procedure.
- Taraba, Plateau bandits kill 10, amputate baby
Bandits on Sunday attacked Joro Manu village in the Gassol Local Government Area of Taraba State, killing three people and abducting six others. No fewer than seven persons were also killed in the Jos South LGA of Plateau State by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen. The residents in Joro Manu village said the attackers came on motorcycles around 2pm and shot anyone in sight.
The acting Taraba State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Gambo Kwache, confirmed the incident. The police spokesperson said, “We are on top of the situation. We have made a deployment to the area to track down the attackers.”
The immediate past chairman of Gassol LGA, Musa Chul, had last year raised the alarm over the regrouping of terrorists in forests around the council area. The killings in Jos, however, came less than 24 hours after 18 other persons lost their lives during a clash between bandits and members of a vigilance group in the Wase council area of Plateau State. The National Publicity Secretary of the Berom Youth Moulders Association, Rwang Tengwong, confirmed the latest killing on Monday.
He said the attack happened on Sunday around 9pm in Danda Chugwi community of the council area. Tengwong said, “Seven people have been confirmed dead at Danda Chugwi community following an attack by Fulani militias. Others, who sustained serious gunshot injuries, have been taken to the Vom Christian Hospital for immediate medical attention.” It was learnt that among those injured was a four-month-old baby whose hand was amputated by the gunmen.
- Arise TV Presenter, Rufai Oseni, Appears In Court, Fined N70,000 For Driving On BRT Lane
The Arise Television presenter, Oseni Rufai, who was accused of driving on BRT lane on Lagos highway and also resisting arrest by policemen, on Tuesday appeared in a Lagos mobile court and accused of contravening Lagos State Transport Law of 2018. The court found him guilty of driving on the BRT lane in contravention of the law and was fined the sum of N70,000 and after he made the payment, his vehicle was released to him.
This was disclosed by the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, while giving an update on the development on his Twitter handle on Tuesday night. According to his tweet: “Mr Rufai Oseni was in court earlier today. He was found guilty of contravening Lagos State Transport Law (2018). He was subsequently fined Seventy Thousand Naira Only. He made the payment, after which his vehicle was released to him.”
- Soldiers torture Lagos policeman to death, brutalise four
An Inspector serving with the Lagos State Police Command, Orukpe Monday, has died from the torture he allegedly received from soldiers who attacked him and his colleagues in the Trade Fair area of Lagos State. Another Inspector, Igbafe Ojo, who was reportedly tortured by the same soldiers, has been hospitalised at the military hospital in the Ojo Military Cantonment, where doctors were said to be battling to save his life. It was gathered that the soldiers were on their way to attend a training programme at the Ojo Military Cantonment on Wednesday when the bus conveying them to the destination encountered mild traffic around the Trade Fair area of the Lagos Badagry Expressway.
A source said some of the soldiers, upon realising that the traffic was caused by policemen trying to pave the way for a truck driver to link the expressway, came down from the vehicle to challenge the policemen. The source, however, said the situation led to an argument that degenerated into a fight when one of the soldiers allegedly slapped one of the policemen, adding that the soldiers arrested two policemen. In comparison, the other three policemen fled to safety. It was said that about 30 soldiers were going to Ojo Military Cantonment for a training programme. They were being conveyed in a green army coaster bus, but as they approached the Trade Fair area, they encountered traffic. About five policemen were around the axis standing by the roadside when one truck attempted to enter the Lagos Badagry Expressway. So, the policemen had to stop vehicles on the expressway for the truck to navigate safely into the expressway.
“During that period, it slowed down vehicular movement; the first three vehicles were driven by civilians but the fourth was the bus conveying the 30 soldiers. When the soldiers realised that it was policemen that stopped the vehicles ahead of them, some of the soldiers got down and started challenging the policemen. During the argument, one of the soldiers slapped a policeman, and the incident led to a fight. So, the soldiers, because of their numbers, overpowered the policemen. The soldiers attempted collecting the gun held by one of the policemen, but while preventing them, the soldiers removed the magazine. “The soldiers beat and took two of the policemen to their barracks. They wanted to take the third policeman away but he shot in the air and escaped. The other inspector was also able to escape but the senior policeman was beaten severely, and they took his gun.”
The source said the soldiers allegedly tortured the two policemen they took to their barracks, adding that one of them died because of the injuries he sustained during the torture. “By the time the police got to the barracks to ask for the two policemen, they met one of the policeman unconscious while the body of the other policeman had been bandaged due to the torture from the soldiers. “The injured policemen were seen at the military hospital in the barracks, and the soldiers refused to release the policemen to the senior policemen who came to ask after their colleagues. The soldiers said the policemen are not strong enough to leave the hospital and also refused to release the guns in their possession,” the source said.
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, said, “There was an issue between soldiers and police on Wednesday, and the command is working closely with the army high command to resolve the issues. But one of the policemen involved in the incident is dead.” In a statement on Friday, the spokesperson, 81 Division Nigeria Army, Major Olaniyi Osoba, said the army was already in touch with the state police command to resolve the matter. Accordingly, the Division has instituted a Board of Inquiry to unravel the circumstance surrounding the unfortunate incident. At the end of the investigation, anyone found culpable will be made to face the full wrath of the disciplinary provisions.