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Leah Sharibu’s mother begs U.S. to rescue daughter

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Leah Sharibu’s mother begs U.S. to rescue daughter

The mother of Leah Sharibu, Rebecca, has told the United States of America to either intervene directly or press the Nigerian government to secure the release of the abducted girl. Rebecca, who spoke to a panel discussion on persecutions in Nigeria hosted by a think tank group, Heritage Foundation in the United States, last week, insisted that she has not heard from the Nigerian government in months about the effort to secure the release of her daughter. Leah, who turned 16 in May, has been held by a faction of Boko Haram since February 2018. She was abducted with 111 other students of the Girls Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State in February, 2018. In a video obtained by our correspondent of the panel discussion, Rebecca, who could not hold her tears when she was called out said: “I am here standing pleading on the government of United States to please help me! Please help me bring my daughter back. I need my daughter.” Rebecca, who was later helped out by a woman described as her friend and interpreter, Dr. Gloria Puldu, said she was not sure that the Nigerian government was still serious about rescuing Leah. Puldu stated: “And what she said at the beginning is to plead with your government to please pressure our government because our government seems unable to secure her release and we are pleading with you to please call on our government or to step in and do something.

I am glad that we have gotten this opportunity to come and just call on all of you. We know that President Donald Trump can do something about it. Your administrators can do something about it. All of you seated here can do something about it. Our government should be held responsible. Boko Haram has being raging all over the North Eastern part. We women and girls are going through hell. And Leah, which is a common name now, is what we are using to stand now to say Please pressure our government, help us.

We are out here. She is crying; just one thing, her daughter should be set free.” Puldu said: “We stand here with Rebecca Sharibu, the mother of Leah Sharibu. Her daughter was abducted on February 19, 2018 and she is still in captivity.

We have tried the best we could to get the attention of our Federal Government and even the state and local government to ensure that Leah Sharibu is released. But up till today, Leah has not been released. She is still in captivity. October last year, we held a press conference calling on the Federal Government to kindly do their best to ensure that Leah Sharibu is released because we have never heard any of government official visiting the parents to condone with them and to tell them anything concerning their daughter since she was abducted alongside 110 girls.”

She acknowledged that President Mohammadu Buhari had spoken to Rebecca on the phone through the Plateau State governor. She added: “Since October when the President spoke to her, we have not heard anything from the government. After two weeks of the President speaking with her, we got the attention of three ministers that he sent to Dapchi, which is the first official government people that came to see them in Dapchi. But after that one, we never heard anything again.”

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Viral video: Aisha Buhari apologises to Nigerians

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Viral video: Aisha Buhari apologises to Nigerians

Wife of the president, Mrs Aisha Buhari, on Wednesday apologised to Nigerians over the video of her altercations with Fatima that had gone viral on social media.
Apart from the public, the First Lady also apologised to her children for the embar­rassment the video​ might have caused to the institution of the office of the First Lady.
This is just as Mrs Buhari said the approval for the appointments of senior special assistants and special assistants for her office would enable her to concentrate more on the home front.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mrs Buhari made the disclosure while receiving wives of state go­vernors who paid her a welcome visit at the Presidential Vil­la, Abuja.
It will be recalled that the video showing the First Lady during an argument with Fatima the daughter of the Chief of Staff (COS) to the president, Mamman Daura, had gone viral on the social media since the return of the First Lady from the United Kingdom.
Fatima was said to have accepted responsibility for the video in which the First Lady was shown shouting over an apartment in the Presidential Villa.
The development has, however, elicited reactions from Nigerians with many of them condemning the recording and the release of the video to the public by Fatima.
Mrs Buhari, however, told the visiting wives of the state governors that she was sorry for any embarrassment that the video might have caused.
She also expressed her des­ire to reinvigorate the African First Ladies Peace Mission to foster peace and sustainable development of women and children.
She informed the vis­iting first ladies from the states that she had already secured 2.7 hectares of land in Abuja for the construction of permanent secretariat of the mission.
”I have successfully secured 2.7 hectares of land in Abuja for the construction of the permanent secretariat,” she said.
​The First Lady thanked the governors’ wi­ves for their continued support and pa­rtnership with her NGO, the Future Assur­ed Programme, in providing support to women and children, especially in the ar­eas of health, education and women and youths empowerment.
​Apart from this, she also thanked the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the governors’ wives for supporting the advocacy to improve maternal and child health in Nigeria.
The First Lady lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the appointment of some Special Assistants and Senior Special Assistants to assist in carrying out activities of her office.
According to her, the gesture would assist her to concentrate more in the home front.
The representative of Northern Governors Wives Forum and Wife of Borno State Governor, Dr Falmata Zulum, declared their loyalty and support to the first lady towar­ds uplifting the lives of women and ch­ildren in Nigeria.
”I want to assure you of our loyalty and support to all your initiative towards uplifting the well­being of women and children in Nigeria.
”We are ever ready to take on any assign­ment in seeing that women and children are in good health, especially with your Future Assured Programme.
“We are going to give you all the necess­ary support you require because we bel­ieve any decision you take will be in the best interest of women and children in Nigeria,” Zulum said.
Also speaking,​ the Chairperson of Sout­hern Governors Wives Forum, Mrs Betsy Obaseki, said they were at the State House to welcome the first lady from her visit to the United kingdom and thanked God for her safe return in good health.
​Obaseki prayed the Almighty God to guide and protect the first lady to achieve her purpose of being there for the well being of women and children in Nigeria.
The meeting was atte­attended by the wife of Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Women Affairs, Dr Hajo Sani, wife of former Governor of Nasarawa State Mrs Mairo Al-Makura among others

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FG deports 7 Korean nationals ‘for life’

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FG deports 7 Korean nationals ‘for life’

The Federal Government has carried out the deportation of seven Korean nationals “for life”.
The deportation was executed  by the Comptroller-General of Immigration, Mr. Muhammad Babandede, on the orders of the Minister of Interior, Ogbenu Rauf Aregbesola.
Spokesperson for the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Mr. Sunday James, a Deputy Comptroller of Immigration, who made the announcement in a statement Wednesday, gave the names of the deportees as follows:Jo Sun Phil,
Jang Sung Chol,
Che Chun Hyok,
Pak Yong Gon,
Ri Yong IL,
Ri Hak Su
Ri Tong Nam.
He said the minister exercised the power  conferred on him by the Immigration Act 2015.
“The Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service Muhammad Babandede, MFR, has carried out the deportation of the following seven (7) Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) nationals from Nigeria for life,” James said.
According to him: “They were deported by the order of the Honourable Minister Of Interior based on the powers conferred on him by the Immigration Act 2015.
“They were deported to their country of origin on the available flight on the 15th October, 2019 through Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.”

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Asuku takes over as COS from Onoja

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Asuku takes over as COS from Onoja

Former Director General Protocol to Governor Yahaya Bello has been appointed Chief of Staff, taking over Chief Edward David Onoja, who resign his position.
In a press statement signed by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mohammed Onogwu, Dr Gabriel Ottah as been appointed as Director General (Protocol).
The appointment letter was signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr (Mrs) Folashade Arike Ayoade.
Dr Ayoade said these appointments took effect from Monday.
Chief Edward Onoja is the Deputy Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress for the November 16 Governorship election in Kogi State.

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PDP to Buhari: N5000 ID card fee repressive, offensive 

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PDP to Buhari: N5000 ID card fee repressive, offensive 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned the imposition of N5, 000 fee on Nigerians, for the national identity card, by the All Progressives Congress (APC) led Federal Governments, describing it as repressive and offensive to the sensibility of the people.
The party said in a statement Wednesday by the National Publicity, Kola Ologbondiyan that the fee was unwarranted and unjustified levy on Nigerians.
PDP added the action amounts to fleecing and stripping Nigerians of their constitutional rights in their own nation.
“Our party holds that issuance of national identity card to citizens, as an obligation of the state to its citizenry, must remain free as established by the PDP.
“The N5, 000 levy must be immediately rescinded before it triggers restiveness in the nation.
“Already, the fee is generating tension in the country as Nigerians have continued to register their rejection in the public space,” the the party stated.
It noted what it described as “the increasing penchant of the APC administration to impose all sorts of taxes on suffering Nigerians.”

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FEC okays N5.4b for oil, gas parks, indoor shooting range

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FEC okays N5.4b for oil, gas parks, indoor shooting range

At its meeting on Wednesday, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved N5.4 billion for the construction of oil and gas parks and an indoor shooting range.
The Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva and the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who briefed State House correspondents at the end of FEC meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, disclosed these.
Sylva said FEC approved N3 billion for oil and gas parks in the Niger Delta region.
According to him, the parks are to support the development of oil and gas tools.
He said that the parks will create additional 1000 jobs and improve security in the region.
Sirika said that FEC approved N2.4 billion for the construction of indoor shooting range for aviation security.
This, he said, is in line with the approval for airport officials to bear arms towards boosting security at Nigerian airports.
The Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemi Saraki, also said FEC approved 300 buoys for River Niger, between Lokoja and Onitsha.
The contract, she said, will cost N581 million.

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Kwara Assembly approves N130bn revised budget 

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Kwara Assembly approves N130bn revised budget 

The Kwara State House of Assembly has approved N130,380,403,956 as the new revised total budget size of the state as against the initial N157,802,032,561 with a decrease of N27,421,628,605, representing 17.4 per cent.
This is sequel to the report of the House Committee on Finance and Appropriation on the Year 2019 Revised Appropriation Bill presented to the House by the Chairman of the Committee, Hon Ambali Olatunji Ibrahim.
The Committee arrived at the sum after perusing and scrutinizing the 2019 Budget of the Kwara State Government.
According to the Chairman of the Committee, the reduction of the budget size became necessary in order to enhance the state’s chances of benefitting maximally from the benefit derivable by the state from “The State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Programme for Result (SFTAS) open to all states with high/appreciable Budget implementation/performance, accountability, transparency and sustainability of their budgets”.
A breakdown shows that the total revenue estimate of the 2019 budget now stands at N130,380,403,956 down from N157,802,032,561, while the Approved Budget Surplus of N43, 638,537,362 was scaled down to N27,187,810,159, a decrease of N16,450,737,203, representing 37.70 per cent.
On the capital receipts, the House revised the capital allocation to N57,117,155,413 as against N79,594,046,011, a decrease of N22,476,890,598.
However, considering the fact that there is little time left to the end of the year, a term loan of about N1.67billion was granted as against the initial N6.221billion proposed by Governor Abdulrahman Abdurazaq.

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Turkey to retaliate against US sanctions over Syria offensive

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Turkey to retaliate against US sanctions over Syria offensive

Turkey will retaliate against U.S. sanctions over Ankara’s military operation into northeast Syria, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday, adding that all threats and sanctions against Turkey were unacceptable, reports Reuters.
Speaking in parliament, Cavusoglu also said Turkey expected the U.S. Congress to turn back from its “damaging approach”, and added that ties between Ankara and Washington were at a critical juncture. He said he would convey this to a U.S. delegation led by Vice President Mike Pence coming to Ankara.

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Buhari slashes estacode for ministers

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Buhari slashes estacode for ministers

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a directive for ministers, director-generals and other top government officials to submit travel plans for clearance.
This was announced on Wednesday in a statement signed by Willie Bassey, director of information to Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
Bassey also announced that henceforth, “travel days will no longer attract payment of Estacode Allowances as duration of official trips shall be limited to only the number of days of the event as contained in the supporting documents to qualify for public funding”.
The highlights in the statement are:
*Without approval from the president, ministers, permanent secretaries, chief executive officers and directors in the ministry are restricted to not more than two (2) foreign travels in a quarter.
*When a minister is head of a delegation, the size of such delegation should not exceed four,
*Submission of travel plans by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs)
*All public funded travels (local and foreign) must be strictly for official purposes backed with documentary evidence.
The statement said the development is to curb leakages and ensure efficiency in the management of resources.
The Auditor-General of the Federation has also been directed to treat all expenditures that contravene these guidelines as ineligible, reports online news portal, TheCable.
“President Muhammadu Buhari, has approved for immediate implementation, additional cost saving measures aimed at instilling financial discipline and prudence, particularly, in the area of official travels,” the statement read:
“Henceforth, all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are required to submit their Yearly Travel Plans for statutory meetings and engagements to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and/or the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation for express clearance within the first quarter of the fiscal year, before implementation.
“They are further required to make their presentation using the existing template and also secure approvals on specific travels as contained in the plan, from the appropriate quarters.
“On the Nature and Frequency of Travels, all public funded travels (local and foreign), must be strictly for official purposes backed with documentary evidence. In this regard, all foreign travels must be for highly essential statutory engagements that are beneficial to the interest of the country. Except with the express approval of Mr. President, Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Chairmen of Extra-Ministerial Departments, Chief Executive Officers and Directors are restricted to not more than two (2) foreign travels in a quarter.”
He said when a minister is head of a delegation, the size of such delegation should not exceed four, including the relevant director, schedule officer and one aide of the minister.”
The president also approved for ministers, permanent secretaries, special advisers, senior special assistants to the president, chairmen of extra-ministerial departments and chief executive officers of parastatals who are entitled, to continue to fly business class while other categories of public officers are to travel on economy class.
Earlier, Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour, had said the government would review the salaries and allowances of political office holders across the country.

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PAN takes one egg per day campaign to schools

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PAN takes one egg per day campaign to schools

The Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), on Wednesday, took its one egg per day campaign to government schools in Mararaba, Nasarawa State to sensitise children on the need to consume egg instead of snacks.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that more than 3,000 eggs were distributed to the students and pupils during the campaign.

This is coming against the backdrop of the world egg day marked on October 11.

Mr Lawson Okafor, the Chairman, PAN of the state chapter, called on the students to inform their parents on the need to give them one egg per day.

According to him, most parents are ignorant of the value of egg and instead they buy junks as snacks for them to eat.

He stated that egg was most valuable than meat pie, adding that parents should learn the significance of egg for their children in order to help them grow well.

Dr Boje Egboja, the PAN Coordinator, said that the distribution of eggs to the student was part of the activities to mark the world egg day.

She said that it was to tell the children the importance of egg in their system, adding that egg consumption would help their growth and also boost their immunity.

She added that it would also help to aid their intelligence quotient and save the children the hurdle of having to visit the hospital often, as it would improve their health status.

Also, Mr Peter Angbashim, the Principal of GSS, one of the schools, lauded the gesture, adding that egg consumption was imperative to the children’s growth.

He noted that though, the school was yet to benefit from the social intervention programme of the Federal Government through school feeding, he had no doubt that the school would soon benefit.

The principal said that the state was involved in the school feeding programme but it had been in batches and the school hoped to be part of the next batch.

Some of the students, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria, lauded PAN, stating that such move would encourage them to consume egg.

Abdulqudus Sodiq, a primary six pupil, said that he had learnt that egg was valuable to health to aid their growth, keep them fresh and make them strong.

Also, according to one of the students, Gloria, egg contains some vital nutrients that can boost immunity.

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Delta proposes N389bn budget for 2020

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Delta proposes N389bn budget for 2020

The Delta State government has proposed a N389 billion budget for the 2020 fiscal year.

The state Commissioner for Information, Charles Aniagwu, disclosed this while briefing journalists on Wednesday in Asaba.

Aniagwu said the budget approval was part of the decisions reached at the state’s Executive Council meeting of Tuesday which was presided over by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa at the Government House, Asaba.

Giving details on the proposed budget, the Commissioner for Economic Planning, Barry Gbe, said the approval for the budget followed a rigorous process.

Gbe said that during the process the inputs of Ministries, Departments and Agencies in the state were scrutinised and aligned to ensure compliance and realisation.

Gbe said the state government Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) adopted the crude oil production figure of 2.18 billion barrel per day and $57 per barrel bench mark in arriving at the budget figure.

“The budget for 2020 is N389 billion which dropped with about N1billion from that of 2019 of N390.3 billion.

“The Capital Expenditure is about N217 billion and the Recurrent Expenditure is N171 billion. This means that we will do more projects than spend more money on recurrent.

“The personnel cost actually moved up because we put into consideration the payment of the new minimum wage by 2020,” Gbe said.

Aniagwu further announced that the council also approved the recognition of Beneku community as a clan and that the recognition was subject to the approval of the State Assembly.

According to him, getting the assembly’s approval is a preparation for the appointment of a traditional ruler for the community which in Patani Local Government Area (LGA).

“The council also approved the appointment of Obi Ifeachukwude Chukwuka-Okonjo ll as the traditional ruler of Ogwashi-Uku.

“Approval was also given for the appointment of HRM Johnbull Kolokoiwe, Ongolo l, as Pere of Ogbolubiri Mein Kingdom of Burutu LGA.

“It approved the appointment of Obi Christopher Uzu as the traditional ruler of Onicha-Olona,” Aniagwu said.

He also said that an approval was given for the construction of Queens Street, Agbor, Ika South LGA, at the cost of about N600 million, reports the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

“That of Owa-Alero-Owa-Nta- Aliseme Road was approved for construction at a total cost of N1.3 billion,” he added.

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