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Gunshots, tension in Kaduna as police disperse protesting Shi’ites

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Gunshots, tension in Kaduna as police disperse protesting Shi’ites

There was panic and an uneasy calm as Police fired shots into the air to disperse members of the Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky – led Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shi’ites, who poured into the streets to Kaduna yesterday to protest the continued ‘incarceration’ of their leader and marked the international Quds Day celebration.

El-Zakzaky and his wife, Hajiya Zeenat Ibrahim, and some other members of the group, are facing charges in Kaduna State High Court and Magistrate Court respectively, following their arrest in December 2015 as a result clash with the military in Zaria. The Shi’ites in their hundreds made up mainly of young men and women, commenced the protest immediately after yesterday’s Jumaat prayer along Kano road by shouting “Allahu Akbar (Allah is greatest), free our leader.” As they stormed Ahmadu Bello Way, Kaduna city’s major thoroughfare, they were immediately accosted by security agencies who shot several canisters of teargas into the sky, forcing the protesters to run in different directions. Following the protests, there was immediate anxiety among residents and those who held their Friday Jumaat prayer in the area forcing everyone to scamper to safety for fear of being a victim of another crisis.

The police later cleared the roads linking to Ahmadu Bello Way, Kano Road, Ibadan Street and Abeokuta Street, among others, while directing traffic to enable people move freely as a result of the heavy traffic build up. But efforts to get the reaction of the spokesman for Kaduna Police command,DSP Yakubu Sabo, was not successful. Meanwhile, the spokesman for IMN, Ibrahim Musa, in a statement, said:

“A large contingent of the police in battle gear had been threateningly patrolling the streets of Kaduna even before the commencement of the march. “Hardly had the peaceful march started when the armed policemen opened fire without warning, with tear gas and live ammunition indiscriminately. This led to pandemonium on the busy streets of the central area. “They were seen thereafter mounting road blocks and emergency checkpoints and diverting traffic away from the central area. This year’s Quds procession has been marked everywhere in the country peacefully except in Kaduna.”

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Buhari promises sustained funding for Trans-Saharan Highways

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Buhari promises sustained funding for Trans-Saharan Highways

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the Trans-Saharan highway projects would continue to receive deserved attention and funding by his administration, not only to bolster economic activities, but to enhance regional and cultural integration in Africa.

President Buhari made this known in his remarks at the opening of the 70th session of the Trans-Saharan Road Liaison Committee (TRLC) in Abuja, yesterday, with all the Ministers of Works from all six member states in attendance.

The meeting, which holds every four years, would review most of what had transpired in the 69th session and also get an update on the technical and experts’ works on the trans-saharan roads.

Buhari was represented by the Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Mohammed Dingyadi.

The president said when he took over the mantle of leadership in 2015, his administration decided to introduce changes geared towards sustainable and quality infrastructural development to drive economic development and job creation.

“Our commitment is to increase Nigeria’s stock of road infrastructure in order to ease the cost and time of doing business and improve on economic competitiveness as envisaged under our Economic and Recovery Growth Plan.

“In view of this, our administration shares the aspiration and vision of the Trans-Saharan road liaison committee aimed at encouraging member countries to develop roads of Trans-Saharan within their respective territories.

“It is a pride to the African continent and that is why Nigeria has supported and will continue to support its existence.

“Special funds had been committed to the reconstruction works on the sections of Trans-Saharan roads from Lagos to Ibadan and Kaduna to Kano, other sections of the road from Ibadan to Ilorin, Ilorin to Jebba, Jebba to Mokwa and to Kaduna, these roads are either being dualised or being rehabilitated.”

Also speaking, Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, said there exists Trans African highway plan which sought to connect the whole of Africa, starting from Cape Town to Tunisia.

“There is a coast-to-coast connectivity from the West to the East of Africa and North-East of Africa to the North-West of Africa and from the South-West of Africa to East Africa.

“A total of nine highways of the different stages of connectivity, three of these highways pass through Nigeria and of all these, 80 per cent are at the point of completion.

“The roads serve 37 regions in Africa and connect 74 urban centres and 60 million people across the six member states that are part of the committee and, on the local front, the road passes through Lagos through Ibadan, to Ilorin to Jebba to Kaduna to Kano where we share border with Republic of Niger,” he said.

Fashola said the road offers many opportunities for member countries. While giving an update on the work so far done, he said they were expanding the Lagos-Shagamu on the Lagos to Ibadan axis among other developments.

He commended the efforts made by President Buhari in ensuring that the ministry benefited from the Presidential Development Fund, adding that the investment in roads would help to harness the opportunities therein.

In his remarks, the Secretary General of TRLC, Mr. Ayadi Mohammed, said during the session, discussions would centre on the progress and problems of projects country-by-country.

Mr. Chukwunike Uzo, Director Highways Planning and Development, on his part, said the trans-Saharan road liaison committee, has link with six countries; Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Tunisia, Algeria and Mali.

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Bayelsa guber: Bias among security agencies fuelling electoral violence –Dickson

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Bayelsa guber: Bias among security agencies fuelling electoral violence –Dickson

Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson, yesterday said that the bias and unfair conduct of some federal agencies was fuelling violence during elections in the state.

The governor made the accusation at a Peace Accord signing event organized by the National Peace Committee in conjunction with the Niger Delta Dialogue at the DSP Alamieyeseigha Memorial Banquet Hall in Yenagoa.

A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, noted that the governor expressed dissatisfaction with the role the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) played in the last state and National Assembly elections in the state.

The governor said that the REC lacked the moral credential to talk about peace in the forthcoming election having accepted manipulated results in the last National Assembly.

Dickson said that a public officer entrusted with the responsibility of conducting such a critical election should have the required integrity to conduct a free, fair and credible election in the state.

While condemning the activities of INEC officials and security agencies who he alleged connived with the All Progressives Congress (APC) to disenfranchise the people through intimidation, he said they are writing fake results in some communities.

He stressed the need for federal institutions such as INEC to promote justice and fairness for democracy to thrive in the interest of the country.

The governor wondered why the REC and security agencies were excluded from signing the peace accord.

Describing the Bayelsa people as peace loving, he urged all stakeholders to show true commitment to ensuring a free, fair and peaceful governorship election on Saturday this week.

The governor said that justice and fairness are essential factors for the prevalence of peace in any society.

His words: “What we experience in this state is state sponsored terrorism. We have a situation in this state where communities are ransacked on the eve of election with the support of security operatives, law abiding peaceful people are maimed and killed in the name of elections.

“Results were cooked up by the APC and INEC accepted such results and the REC is here talking about peace. Let’s be clear that while peace is desirable, you cannot have peace without justice.

“Bayelsa is committed to peace, Bayelsa is peaceful and we are committed as a government to peace, but while we talk about peace, let’s not deceive people, let’s not be hypocritical, let’s talk about justice, let’s talk about propriety of actions.

“I know you are acting on the mandate of the National Peace Committee, but I was wondering why only the political parties and their candidates have to sign this peace undertaking. Why not INEC, why not the state REC, why not the representative of the National Chairman of INEC, why not the security agencies and why not the Nigerian military?

“Because our experience shows that our people are not the problem. The problem is largely caused by federal institutions that fail to do the right things.

“Let’s talk about responsibility on the part of institutions and practitioners, so it would have been nice if INEC, the REC who knew what he did in the last elections had also signed the Peace Accord.”

Earlier, the Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese, Matthew Kukah, who is also the Secretary of the National Peace Committee, underscored the importance of peace during and after elections.

Kukah urged Nigerians, particularly the people of Bayelsa, to imbibe the political culture of tolerance and peace while exercising their franchise as only the living can enjoy the dividends of democracy.

He said: “I want to thank you on behalf of Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar who is the Chairman of the National Peace Committee, which is concerned with efforts towards not just ensuring free and fair election, but also we do the little best we can to address the issue of the urgency of peace in Nigeria.

“As you know, not all Bayelsans are members of a political party, not every member of a political party is Bayelsan. It is on your behalf that this election is being conducted. I want to enjoin you to imbibe the spirit that only the living can participate in elections and enjoy the dividends of elections.”

On her part, the Convener of the Niger Delta Dialogue, Dr. Judith Asuni said a total of 26 candidates in the forthcoming governorship elections signed the peace accord and urged them to be committed to the initiative.

Among the candidates who appended their signatures to the Accord was the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Douye Diri while his APC counterpart was absent from the peace deal.

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Declare state of emergency on roads, SSANU tells FG

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Declare state of emergency on roads, SSANU tells FG

…threatens strike over balance of earned allowances

 

The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on Nigerian roads.

In a communiqué signed by its President, Comrade Samson Ugwoke and the Public Relations Officer, Comrade Abdussobur Salaam at the end of its 37th National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Ondo State, the non-teaching staff union of universities decried the deplorable state of roads across the country.

SSANU lamented that despite the huge amount of resources generated through crude oil in past years, Nigerian roads have become death traps filled with potholes, gullies and craters leading to avoidable road crashes.

The communiqué reads in part: “NEC in Session noted with great disappointment that the state of Nigerian roads is getting worse and more dangerous to traverse by the day. Coming from various parts of the country, members narrated the hazardous experiences they had on roads which have become death traps.

“NEC observed that it is indeed shameful that a country which has realised billions of dollars in crude oil revenue for years, cannot maintain its roads, no thanks to endemic corruption which has eaten into the fabric of the nation.

“NEC, therefore, appeals to the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on Nigerian roads to save Nigerians from avoidable loss of lives through road accidents and other mishaps.”

While calling on government to, without further delay, release the balance of the N30 billion Earned Allowances in the interest of industrial harmony in the universities, SSANU demanded that the Audit Reports of all disbursements of earned allowances be made public in order to guide government in subsequent disbursements.

The union has also directed its members to continue mobilisation to embark on a nationwide indefinite strike should government fail to keep to its part of the bargain on time.

The union recalled that after a five-day warning strike by the Joint Action Committee of NASU and SSANU to demand payment of N30 billion being part payment of arrears of Earned Allowances, the Federal Government, via a memo signed by the Director, Tertiary Education in the Federal Ministry of Education, had conveyed the release of the sum of N25 billion for the payment of Earned Allowances for staff of federal universities.

Alleging a breach of due process and established protocols in the disbursements of allowances, SSANU noted that “the pattern adopted for the payment was a gross violation of the University Autonomy Laws because the Governing Councils who by law are vested with the power of identifying and allocating allowances to staff in their various universities were bypassed while the Registrars and Bursars, being custodians of all university records in terms of allowances and remunerations, were not involved in the processes leading to the allocations of these monies.”

The communiqué further reads: “NEC in session, therefore, demanded that the Audit Reports of all disbursements of earned allowances be made public in order to guide government in subsequent disbursements.

“NEC in Session further reiterated its resolve to demand a minimum sum of N30 billion for the payment of Earned Allowances to the JAC of NASU and SSANU to correct the present imbalance while arrangements should be made to pay the total balance as the sum demanded represents only a fraction of the actual earned allowances owed the JAC of NASU and SSANU from 2009 till date.

“NEC in Session directed the National Administrative Committee to liaise with its JAC counterpart, i.e. NASU, to give ultimatum to the Federal Government to commence an indefinite strike for the failure of government on the release of the earned allowances as promised.

“NEC directed its members to continue mobilization for an industrial action which may become inevitable if government is not forthcoming in the fullness of time.”

On the new National Minimum Wage, SSANU called on the National Salaries Incomes and Wages Commission to expeditiously make public, the new salary tables based on the consequential adjustments.

While warning the Federal Government not to introduce economic policies that would be counter-productive and vitiate the gains of the new minimum wage regime, the union urged state governments to immediately domesticate the new minimum wage in the various states in order to ensure that employees at the states and local governments enjoy the new wage without delay.

Commending the government for the closure of the country’s land borders, SSANU urged the Federal Government to ensure a long term goal by creating an enabling environment for local industry to thrive through the provision of loans and microcredit facilities.

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Damaturu killing: Army begins investigation

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Damaturu killing: Army begins investigation

Aboard of inquiry has been established by the Nigerian Army to unravel the circumstances that led to the death of two persons in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, on Sunday.

It was reported that a military truck on speed, had hit a tricycle, killing two passengers.

But, the Army, while regretting the development, said the Sector 2 of Operation Lafiya Dole had set up an inquiry board over the incident.

The Sector’s spokesperson, Captain Njoka Irabor, who made the disclosure in a statement yesterday, said a toddler and a female student of the Federal Polytechnic Damaturu, were killed in the incident.

“The Sector has since conveyed a Board of Inquiry to unravel the circumstances that led to the unfortunate incident,” Irabor said.

According to him, “The Acting Commander Sector 2 Operation Lafiya Dole, Brig-Gen. Ibrahim Sallau Ali, most sincerely commiserate with families of victims of the unfortunate road traffic accident involving a tricycle and a patrol vehicle that occurred on Saturday 9 November 2019 in Damaturu.

“The unfortunate accident is highly regrettable, especially that precious lives were lost – a toddler and a female student of the Federal Polytechnic Damaturu lost their lives.

“The Sector wishes to use this medium to express our deepest sympathy in this trying time to the families of the deceased and also to wish other victims who are still recuperating in the hospital speedy recovery.

“Additionally, this headquarters has since paid a condolence visit to the deceased families and all those civilians involved in the accident.”

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Gunmen kidnap 2 lecturers in Kaduna, demand N7m

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Gunmen kidnap 2 lecturers in Kaduna, demand N7m

Bandits suspected to be kidnappers have abducted two lecturers in Kaduna state.

The first lecturer was kidnapped on Thursday, while the second who went to deliver a N2 million ransom and a new motorcycle to the kidnappers on Sunday was also detained.

The kidnappers are now demanding a new N5 million ransom for the release of the duo.

The incident took place at Mahuta community, Igabi Local Government Area of  Kaduna State.

Although the State Command of the Nigeria Police Force had yet to confirm the  incident,  spokesman of the Kebbi State Indigenes Association in the state, Garba Muhammad gave the names of the   two lecturers as Dr. Adamu Chinoko and Dr. Umar Chinoko, who worked at different institutions of higher learning in the state.

Chinoko is  a lecturer  at the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, while the other, Umar Chinoko lectures at the Kaduna Polytechnic, Kaduna.

Chinoko was first to be kidnapped by the gunmen on Thursday, according to the spokesman.

The two kidnapped lecturers are all indigenes of Kebbi State.

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Ekiti PDP to curb members’ imposition

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Ekiti PDP to curb members’ imposition

Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State, Chief Gboyega Oguntuwase has declared that the party in the state would strive to ensure that imposition of candidates during congresses and primary elections of the party would be completely eliminated with a view to achieving electoral success in subsequent elections.

However, Oguntuwase, who berated imposition of candidates which had become the norm in the party as perpetrated in the past by some party leaders, described such as outright anti-party activities which had robbed the party of cohesion and success.

He said: “We believe the best way to even bring those that are lost back to the party is to make sure that we stand for justice and fairness.

“We are appealing to all members to shun every divisive tendency so that we will have a strong, indivisible party so that we can have strength to take over power from All Progressives Congress in Ekiti State and even join hands with other states to take over governance from the APC at the centre.

“We would put a structure that would discourage imposition in the next congress and in subsequent primaries within the party. The party would correct every wrong that has been done in the past and we would make sure that we strengthen the party with total obedience to democratic norms.

“We will make sure that we stop people from wanting to impose people, stop those people trying to abort democratic process. We would be able to produce an acceptable executive which would not support any anti-party moves. Everything would be done in obedience to the party constitution and we will make sure that nobody suffers unduly.

“If Senator Olujimi had been declared winner in the South after the bye-lection, if the two candidates for the House of Representatives in South had pursued their legal matters with thoroughness and bravery, we probably would have recovered one or two.

“If you look at the North Senatorial District, the way our candidates lost at the courts were purely on technical matters. As far as we are concerned, we would have won even in the North. The PDP stands ab-initio is now being justified that we won the election.”

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Osun Cleric lauds FG’s economic drive

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Osun Cleric lauds FG’s economic drive

An Osun state-based cleric and founder of End of Time Revival Gospel Ministry, Prophet Adegboyega Ajani at the weekend said no nation would attain its greatness economically through downstream investment or policy, commending the federal government for its economic drive.

The cleric said this at a press conference tagged “Brave, Power and Gospel” with the theme “Jesus Christ appears” held in the ancient town of Iwo area of the state.

He said: “In addition, such one-legged investment programme has led to the limitations of human race as a whole to perishable riches i.e. riches of the gentiles, corruptible riches called Mammon of unrighteousness who make up false riches. Jn.6:27a, ITim.6:17 and Lk. 16:10-11.

“This implies that their investment focus being implemented as human development programme in all nations that make up this world is about taking energy from the nature (creation) in order to guarantee physical comfort of one another as human race at all levels of social, political, economic and religious undertakings on one hand.

“Investment focus that centres on implementation of downstream and upstream programmes simultaneously by which potential of human race in all nations are fully utilized with full remuneration should be embraced.

“Such balanced investment programme builds up into replenishment of the nature (creation) thereby being able to meet up with energy demand of human rave in proportion to population growth which make up energy comfort called energy boom.”

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A’Court upholds Abiodun’s victory

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A’Court upholds Abiodun’s victory

Ogun State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday urged politicians and non-political actors who genuinely desired peace and progress to join hands with Governor Dapo Abiodun.

The party made the call following judgement of the Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State, which yesterday dismissed a petition filed by the Allied People’s Movement (APM) against the victory of Abiodun in the March 9 gubernatorial election.

In the lead judgement read by Justice Muhammed Ambi-Usi Danjuma, the court held that the 10 grounds filed by the APM and its governorship candidate, Hon. Adekunle Akinlade, lacked merit.

But addressing a press conference in Abeokuta shortly after the judgement, the Ogun APC described the verdict as a reaffirmation of the divine mandate given to the party and the governor at the polls.

Its Publicity Secretary, Tunde Oladunjoye, said Abiodun who believed in politics without bitterness, needed well-meaning people to work with as he would continue with his inclusive administration.

Oladunjoye said: “The party believes that the latest judgement from the Appeal Court will put an end to the side distractions of this budding political association touting unmerited mandate.

“In line with the campaign promise of the Governor, the administration has been running and will continue to run an inclusive government. It therefore behoves politicians and non-politicians who genuinely desire the peace and progress of our dear state to join hands with our governor, who believes in politics without bitterness.

“For the first time, we are running a government that is not winners take all. It is not a government of me, my family and my friends. It has been a government of inclusiveness and it has really been very inclusive.

“The Special Advisers announced so far are not totally from the APC. Some of them contested on the platform of other political parties. The governor is walking his talk as far as such running inclusive government is concerned. 

“In politics, we say the more, the merrier. But you cannot dictate or give conditional entry into a political party. First you have to come in, look at things and what is on ground; do your calculations.

“But we are very determined that within the six months of his administration, which is not common in this state, you’ve seen different political leaders, parties, associations coming forward to say that we want to put our trust in this government, we want to trust this governor, and that is what we need to take the state to the next level.”

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Sanwo-Olu canvasses local professionals in construction sector

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Sanwo-Olu canvasses local professionals in construction sector

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo- Olu  has called for patronage all indigenous engineers and experts in the construction sector, saying that the nation can save a lot and reduce capital flight through engagement of the home-grown professionals in the built sector.

According to the governor,  his administration had  strong belief in the professional competence of our engineers and trust that they would hold their ground among their peers outside the country, saying that the time was now to take the advantage of local professionals to develop the country.

Speaking at the Association for Consulting Engineering in Nigeria (ACEN) Conference, with the theme “Integrating Nigerian Engineers into National Development”, Sanwo-Olu encouraged engineers to always abide by the new Public Procurement regulations in their projects execution, the governor stated that  the passage of the Public Procurement Act [PPA], which emphasized competence, appropriate pricing, structured funding, usage of standard and quality materials, amongst others, was meant or designed to entrench quality, efficiency and safety, in line with global best practices.

He said: “We require the services of construction engineers who will assist with project conception, implementation, delivery and management. Thus, it is important for us to galvanise and integrate skilled professionals including project engineers to supervise and ensure effective management and timely completion of projects.’’

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Insecurity: Gani Adams urges FG to declare state of emergency on roads

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Insecurity: Gani Adams urges FG to declare state of emergency on roads

Aare Onakakanfo-in-Council, the highest decision making body of the 15th Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Abiodun Ige Adams, rose  from its quarterly meeting at the weekend with a call on the federal government to treat deplorable road networks across the country as a national emergency.

The Council, which counselled 36 state governors to so do reasoned that there was a nexus between the appalling state of our roads and crimes like kidnapping, armed banditry and sundry others.

Fixing the roads, the Council in a communiqué issued after the crucial meeting, was a sure way of impeding activities of criminals who had turned their evil enterprise to mega business across the country.

However, the Aare Onakakanfo-in-Council, in the communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, also urged the South-West Governors to intensify efforts on its flagship security initiative, code-named AMOTEKUN, for the preservation of lives and property in the region.

Specifically, the Council commended the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu for its decision to support and collaborate with the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) as well as relevant private security organizations to stamp out crime and criminality in the region as well as enhance security nationwide.

The Council commended the national initiative to move Nigeria from a mono economy based on petroleum to diversify into other areas of economic activities.

It also urged the Yoruba to support the governors of the South-West to achieve success and total emancipation of the region as a way of achieving peace, security and stability.

The communiqué, however, implored the South-West governors to invest on agriculture, agricultural and livestock production, strategic storage, as well as concerted exploitation of the region’s fertile soil and clement climate to feed its teeming populace and gainfully engage the spiraling population of its unemployed youths.

This, the Council noted was a panacea for the prevailing criminal activities among that segment of our national population.

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