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The Concerned Northern Forum formed by lawyers has vowed to institute legal action against the Federal Government, demanding the payment of adequate compensation for the victims of Tudun Biri bombed by the military airstrikes in Kaduna State.

Over 120 villagers were killed while celebrating Maulud last Sunday night.

Speaking on behalf of the lawyers forum, Barrister Nafi’u Abubakar, explained that the forum would ensure that the families that suffered irreparable loss as a result of this unfortunate incident get justice.

Nafi’u who spoke while addressing newsmen in Kaduna on Saturday urged the Federal Government to take immediate and decisive action to ensure a thorough and independent investigation into this incident.

“It is imperative that those responsible are held accountable for their actions, and measures are put in place to prevent any recurrence of such incidents in the future.

“We also urge the Nigerian Army to reevaluate its rules of engagement and training procedures to prevent the loss of innocent lives during military operations. It is vital that the Nigerian Army, as a defender of the nation, exercises utmost caution to avoid any further instances of collateral damage and civilian casualties,” he said.

The forum with over 600 members extended their deepest condolences to the families who lost their loved ones during the tragic incident.

“We stand united with them in their grief and pledge our unwavering support in ensuring justice is served. The Concerned Northern Lawyers Forum will work tirelessly to pursue legal means to claim the compensation that is owed to the victims,” he said.

The governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP in Kogi State, Muritala Ajaka, has implored security agencies to apprehend anyone protesting in his name.

In a video released on Friday night, Ajaka stated that such persons plan was to create confusion as the protest was not at his behest.

Ajaka alleged that those behind the demonstration in Lokoja and Abuja were agents of the ruling All Progressives Congress.

He is currently challenging the outcome of the Kogi State Governorship election in court,

Meanwhile, Ajaka has disassociated himself from the purported planned protest by individuals claiming to be his supporters in Lokoja and Abuja.

He said, “I have just been informed of a planned protest by some people claiming to be members of Social Democratic Party, SDP, or acting on my instruction. I did not authorise any protest in Lokoja or Abuja on Saturday.

“Anybody protesting in my name should be arrested. They are all agents of Governor Yahaya Bello trying to cause confusion in the state and possibly in Abuja.

“So please, the security agencies should take note and get these people arrested. Anybody seen with SDP vest on Saturday, protesting, they should arrest them. They are agents of Yahaya Bello”.

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governorship candidate, Dino Melaye has reacted to reports of collecting N3 billion from the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar and Aliko Dangote for the Kogi elections.

Speaking at a dinner organised in his honour by members of his campaign organisation, in Abuja, Melaye debunked the reports, describing it as a smear campaign from his detractors and betrayers.

He also said different groups and senatorial districts in the state would have to come together to actualisation their goal of governing the state.

He also added wise counsels and admonitions from elders in the State must be heeded going forward.

According to Melaye, the speculation that he collected “N1 billion from Atiku and N2 billion from Dangote was fake news peddled by betrayers.

“One of the lessons is that the east now know more than ever before, that they cannot become governor alone. You will have to collaborate with other zones to become governor.

“The second lesson is also for those of us from the west. Next time, we should listen to the words of wisdom from our elders and not from commercialized characters who because of their individual and selfish interests created problems for us.

“Because at the end of the day, what our elders have been saying that this will be the worst (election) for us, is eventually what happened.”

A former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has called on the Federal Government to include students of private universities among the beneficiaries of its Students’ Loan Scheme.

The Students Loan Scheme was created by the current administration of President Bola Tinubu as part of the palliative measures to cushion the effects of the fuel subsidy removal.

Dogara, who is also the Chancellor of the Achievers University, Owo, Ondo State, stated this on Saturday in his remarks at the 13th convocation ceremony of the university.

According to the former federal lawmaker, there was a need for the government to ensure the students’ loan scheme was properly managed for the benefit of the teeming youths across the country, both in private and public tertiary institutions.

He said, “Let me appeal to the Federal Government to consider the plight being faced by students of tertiary institutions. While commending the Students’ Loan Scheme of this present administration, I join my voice in the call for the inclusion of private university students in the Students’ Loan Scheme of this administration as part of the palliative measures since they are also Nigerians.

“The scheme should also be properly managed for the benefit of the teeming youths of this country.”

In his address, the Pro-Chcellor of the university, Dr. Bode Ayorinde, said despite the harsh economic environment being witnessed globally, the university’s Governing Council had prioritised and would continue to prioritise the welfare of its staff and students.

He enjoined the graduates to be good ambassadors of the university, admonishing them to go into the world and demonstrate the leadership attributes imbibed as students of the institution.

“Remember as you go, that character maketh a man or a woman. You may secure the best job with your certificate, connection, or look, but note that good conduct is required to remain in employment and make progress in life. Society looks up to you for its reinvention.” Ayorinde admonished.

In her convocation address, the acting Vice-Chancellor of the varsity, Prof. Omolola Irinoye, disclosed that a total of 552 students of the institution were awarded first degrees.

He also disclosed that out of the number, 37 students finished with first class from various departments of the school in the 2022/2023 academic session, saying, “37 got first class, 259, second class upper division; 195 in second class lower division, and 27 in third class honour.”

The acting VC also explained that the institution had 27 undergraduate and 10 postgraduate degree programmes, adding that the university would continue to pursue with vigour its academic activities in teaching, research and community service.

Irinoye, who noted that the university had received permission to run 11 new academic programmes including medicine and surgery, said the university’s council had made provision for scholarships to many young people to make university education accessible to them.

“The students are offered a 100 per cent tuition-free scholarship for 15 programmes in the College of Natural and Applied Sciences and College of Social and Management Sciences. Students are offered 80 per cent tuition-free in 11 other programmes in the Faculty of Health Sciences, College of Natural and Applied Sciences and College of Social and Management Sciences.

“Also, students in all the seven engineering programmes are given 65 per cent tuition-free scholarship,” she said.

The National Security Adviser (NSA) Nuhu Ribadu and senators from northern Nigeria have passed a vote of confidence on the country’s security agencies despite the accidental military drone strike in Tudun Biri village of Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State. 

While 85 persons were confirmed dead in the strike and scores were injured in the most recent military mishap, Ribadu and the lawmakers are commending the commitment of security agencies to reducing the security challenges in the region.

The NSA who gave the commendation when he visited Tudun Biri village on a fact-finding mission, also assured that the bombing incident will not be swept under the carpet. He promised that a holistic investigation would soon commence to avert the recurrence of such an incident.

“We are here to physically see and also talk directly to the people, victims, and families and make an assessment for the Federal Government. It is a tragedy and misfortune. But it has happened. What matters is: how we move forward, what we going to learn from here, and what exactly we need to do,” Ribadu added.

He commended Governor Uba Sani of Kaduna State for his display of maturity and leadership in handling of the unfortunate incident, particularly in providing relief materials and other logistics to the victims.

The northern senators, led by Senator Abdul Ningi, also visited Governor Sani to condole with him over the bombing incident.

The senators while expressing grief over the incident, commended security agencies for the success in the war against terrorism and banditry in the North West and North Central geopolitical zones.

They are also appealing to Nigerians to drop their emotions and sentiments over the incident and allow the government to thoroughly investigate the incident to avert recurrence in the future.

While expressing optimism that victims of the military airstrike will get justice, Governor Sani urged the National Assembly to review some obsolete laws that will strengthen security agencies in discharging their constitutional responsibilities effectively.

A former Emir of Kano Muhammad Sanusi and a former Kaduna governor Nasir El-Rufai were also at Tudun Biri village to commiserate with the community over the unfortunate incident. They also paid a private visit to the community.


Army Apologises, Rights Group Faults Incident

Already, the Nigerian Army has apologised over the strike, reassuring that there won’t be a recurrence of such an incident but rights groups have condemned it.

“The Nigerian military’s recklessness is a result of the authorities’ consistent failure to hold them to account for a long list of such atrocities. These unlawful killings of civilians cannot be swept under the carpet,” said Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, Isa Sanusi.

President Bola Tinubu and Governor Sani have also ordered a probe into the matter which threw the nation into mourning.

The incident is the second such accidental airstrike in Nigeria. Scores were also killed in January in Nasarawa State. It happened on the border connecting  Benue and Nasarawa states.

The Katsina State Government on Wednesday inaugurated a special committee to probe the omission of some qualified candidates, scoring discrepancies, and other issues trailing the recruitment of 7,325 primary and secondary school teachers by the state government.

The State Commissioner for Women Affairs Zainab Musawa disclosed this to journalists at the Katsina Government House Press Centre shortly after the eighth State Regular Executive Council Meeting presided by Governor Dikko Radda.

She explained that the committee was set up following genuine complaints of some key stakeholders regarding the recent teachers recruitment exercise.

According to Musawa, this will enable the government to give employment offers to 22 qualified candidates omitted and strike out 152 names from the list of the 7,325 recruited teachers because they did not sit for the recruitment examination.

She maintained that 11 persons would also be removed from the initial list because they were not qualified.

Musawa further assured that Governor Radda would sanction the errant officials behind the recruitment scandal, adding that the state government would not take it lightly with anybody found guilty of indiscipline or engaging in acts contravening administrative regulations.

Governor Radda has also directed members of the State Executive Council to immediately commence ‘surprise visitations’ to public schools at their respective local governments of origin.

This is to assess the level of punctuality or otherwise of teachers in Katsina primary and secondary schools.

In the meantime, the State Government also reiterated its bid to commence full implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) in all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies ( MDAs) in the state civil service from January 2024.

According to the State Commissioner of Finance Bashir Gambo, a private consulting firm has already been engaged to coordinate the TSA implementation.

He explained that the company would operate for six months in the state, adding that within the period, the consulting firm would train personnel and administrators to take over from them after their exit.

The commissioner said this initiative would not only ensure total control of all revenues coming to the state but also block financial leakages.

In a related development, the State Government said it’s set to build at least 204 tube wells at various irrigation sites in the state while also providing solar-powered water pumps to farmers.

In this regard, each of the 34 Local Government Areas of the State would have six tube wells at their selected irrigation sites.

The State Commissioner for Agriculture and Livestock Management Ahmed Bakori disclosed this to reporters shortly after the Council meeting. He said the Federal Government has pledged to boost rice, wheat, and maize production in the state.

“On its part, the Katsina State Government would soon be providing viable seeds, together with NPK and urea fertilizers to identified dry season farmers in the state. Let me also add that the distribution of the farming inputs would be launched at one of the irrigation sites,” he added.

Last modified on Saturday, 09 December 2023 14:32

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has announced that it has discovered over 4,800 illegal connections on oil pipelines in the country.

The Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPCL, Mele Kyari disclosed this while appearing before the Senate Committee on Appropriations on Friday, December 8.

He said;

“We have over 4,800 illegal connections on our pipelines. That means in some lines, within 100 kilometres of pipelines, you have as much as 300 insertions.

“Therefore, even when you produce the oil, you cannot deliver them at the required pressure and therefore the volume will also be less.”

According to the NNPCL boss, people troop in from other parts of the country to insert illegal connections on pipelines in the oil-producing Niger Delta region of Nigeria.

Last modified on Saturday, 09 December 2023 09:09

President Bola Tinubu has expressed optimism on the prospect of increased investments from Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), saying his administration was ready to remove bottlenecks to attract investments.

He emphasised Nigeria’s long-term relationship with the company, which discovered the first commercial oil field at Oloibiri in the Niger Delta in 1956.

Receiving the management of Shell Group led by its Global Integrated Gas and Upstream Director, Ms. Zoe Yujnovich, the president in a statement by presidential spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, said his administration would continue to ensure the security and viability of existing and new investments in the country.

“We have made progress since our last meeting. I will continue to support and encourage you on this path. There is no doubt that there is a significant focus on investment in and around the continent. I am spearheading Nigeria’s global march for new investments at home.

“In view of our long-term relationship that has been established over the years, we want you to do more, and we are ready to encourage you in every way possible.

“We are very focused on resolving all investment-related issues. There is no bottleneck that is too difficult for us to remove in our determined march toward making Nigeria the African haven for large-scale investment in all key sectors. We need each other,” the president told the delegation.

In her remarks on behalf of the Shell Group, Ms. Yujnovich expressed Shell’s commitment to maintain its legacy of investments in Nigeria, particularly as the company refocuses its investment to key into new and existing opportunities in the deepwater and gas sectors.

She outlined the company’s dedication to the development of the gas value chain in the country, including a substantial commitment of $1 billion over the next five to 10 years aimed at unlocking gas resources for domestic use and the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) project.

Ms. Yujnovich announced an imminent $5 billion investment opportunity in the Bonga North project off the shores of Nigeria, located in the deep water.

She expressed Shell’s eagerness to proceed with this investment and outlined several prospective investments that Shell Group is eyeing in Nigeria over the short to medium term. She commended the collaboration her team has experienced with the minister of state for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri and the special sdviser to the president on energy, Olu Verheijen, while acknowledging their roles in achieving significant progress in actualising the potential of these projects as well as others.

“Mr. President, I want to be successful in my role, and I cannot be successful in my role unless I can find a way to bring more new investments to Nigeria.

“I have made commitments to our investors that we will continue to invest in gas and oil. In Nigeria, I see all the conditions to continue to make this partnership stronger. In the deep water, we have an imminent investment opportunity in Bonga North. This is $5 billion. I am really keen to make that investment as soon as possible. We want to continue and build a pipeline of new investments in Nigeria,” she said.

Adamawa State Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri has presented a N225.8bn budget estimate for 2024 to the House of Assembly for consideration and approval.

Dubbed the ‘Budget of Reengineering’, the estimate includes N111.3bn (49.3 per cent) for recurrent, and N114.5bn (50.7 per cent) for capital expenditure.

The proposed budget is higher than the N214.2bn of 2023, which according to the governor, is based on current economic indicators such as an oil production benchmark of 1.78 million barrels per day, oil price benchmark of $77.96/barrel, an exchange rate of N750/$, national GDP growth rate of 3.75 per cent and national inflation rate of 21.5 per cent.

Fintiri revealed that the budget includes N68.047bn from statutory allocation, N47.7bn from the share of Value Added Tax, N1bn from the ecological fund, N16bn for exchange rate difference, N6.6bn from non-oil revenue, N2.2bn from other FAAC transfers, N22.2bn from internally generated revenue, N4.9bn from aids and grants, and N57.1bn from capital receipts.

The Ministry of Works and Energy Development will receive N25.5bn; Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development, N15.6bn; Ministry of Health and Human Services, N6.3bn; Ministry of Finance, N6.066bn; Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, N4.9bn; and the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, N4.6bn.

The governor stated that the state would continue to maintain the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) programme, which is fully implemented in the state.

He directed all ministries, departments and agencies to include the classification code and vote of charge balance on their memos when requesting fund release to enable financial experts to accurately track releases.

Fintiri also stated that the state government would continue to train and equip civil servants with skills to improve their desk functions and enhance service delivery in the state.

Fintiri emphasised that the state would explore untapped sources of revenue to enhance revenue generation.

He added that his administration would prioritise key areas to improve the state’s fortune while carrying out its duties in all social and economic spheres with due diligence.

The Speaker of the Assembly, Mr Bathiya Wesley, pledged that the House would act promptly to ensure the timely approval of the budget for the overall development of the state.

No fewer than five fake hospitals have been shut down by the Ebonyi State government while three fake drug distributors were arrested.

Governor Francis Nwifuru disclosed this on the floor of the House of Assembly as he presented the 2024 budget estimate, christened: “Budget of Innovation and Success,” to the legislature.

He said 107 medical quacks in the state have singed undertaking with a task-force on medical quackery in the state never to indulge in the unwholesome practice again.

Nwifuru said he was committed to upgrading the 13 general hospitals across the state to change its health status and provide access to healthcare services for rural dwellers


He said: “A total of 107 medical quacks have signed undertaking with the task-force on medical quackery never to indulge in quackery in Ebonyi State.

“The total of five quack centres have been shut down. The quack centres that have been shut down are: Eleri Hospital Afikpo, Party Hospital Ugbodo, Homeopathic Specialist Hospital Igbeagu, St. Patrick Hospital Iboko, and Alexander Hospital Umuezeoka.

“There’s also apprehension of three major distributors of fake drugs in the state and collaboration with the requisite agencies such as National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control.

“Imagine a state where every citizen regardless of their locations has access to world class health services.

“Our ongoing efforts to upgrade all the 13 general hospitals across the state are not just infrastructure enhancement. They are pathways to healing and hopes.”


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