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The Nigerian Army has claimed responsibility for the bombing of Tudun Biriin in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State during Maulud Nabiy celebration.
Over 30 people were reportedly killed when the village was bombed on Sunday night, with many others reportedly injured.
Samuel Aruwan, Overseeing Commissioner, Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Kaduna State, in a statement during a security meeting, said the army owned up to the bombing.
He said the Kaduna State Government received briefings on Sunday night’s attack which left several citizens dead and others injured.
Aruwan said in a meeting presided over by the Deputy Governor, Dr Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe, which had in attendance heads of security agencies, religious and traditional leaders, the Nigerian Army explained the circumstances which led to the unfortunate and unintended attack.
“The General Officer Commanding One Division Nigerian Army, Major VU Okoro explained that the Nigerian Army was on a routine mission against terrorists but inadvertently affected members of the community.
“The Deputy Governor at the end of the closed door meeting, conveyed the condolences of the Government and People of Kaduna State to the families that lost their loved ones, and prayed for the repose of the victims’ souls,” he said.
Aruwan stated that as of the time of this update, search-and-rescue efforts were still ongoing, as dozens of injured victims had been evacuated to Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital by the government.
“Heads of security agencies who attended the meeting include the Commissioner of Police, MY Garba, and Director of the Department of State Services (DSS) Abdul Eneche.
“The Chairman of the Kaduna State Chapter of Jam’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) Professor Shafi’u Abdullahi, led other religious leaders. Also present at meeting was the District of Rigasa, Alhaji Aminu Idris in whose domain the incident occurred,” he said.
Protests have erupted at the University of Calabar (UNICAL) over announcement of 100 per cent hike in tuition fees for undergraduate students.
Following the announcement of the tuition increase, the students convened at Malabor Square, where the Students Union Government secretariat is located, before marching to the female hostels carrying placards.
Some of the placards bore messages such as: “Florence Obia, UNICAL is not a private university, what’s with the ‘slight increment’? Say no to billing,” “UNICAL VC, refrain from pushing girls into prostitution,” and “This is a federal university, not a business center,” among others.
Recall that UNICAL‘s management announced the fee hike in a statement released to the press in Calabar on Monday, following an emergency meeting of the university’s Senate held on Friday.
This increase affects freshers, returning students, and final-year students in both science and non-science courses.
For non-science courses, the fees increased to N111,000, N91,500, and N114,000, respectively, for freshers, returning, and final-year students.
Additionally, third-party dues of N36,500, N21,500, and N21,500, respectively, are to be paid.
Correspondingly, fees for science courses escalated to N155,000, N125,000, and N148,000, respectively, for freshers, returning, and final-year students.
These students also face third-party dues of N38,500, N21,500, and N21,500, respectively.
Previously, tuition fees ranged from N64,050 for freshers, N52,050 for final-year students, and N49,500 for returning students, depending on the department.
The management justified the increase by citing current economic challenges and the imperative to uphold the academic reputation and standards of the university.
Lagos State’s participation in the ongoing 28th session of Conference of Parties (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, has yielded quick dividend of opportunities.
Two waste conversion initiatives, which the State pitched at the global climate summit, have attracted significant interest from investors. They are Advanced Garbage Collection and Waste-to-Energy project, and building of new Sewage Treatment Plant.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Sunday, broke the news at an event held at Nigeria Pavilion, where he also presented the Phase Two of the Lagos State Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plan (LCARP) before global partners.
Sanwo-Olu said the two waste sector projects were at a pivotal stage, awaiting technical review by interested partners and disbursement of funds in order to transform the ideas to reality.
The development, the Governor said, marked another step forward in Lagos’ journey towards environmental sustainability and resilience, noting that the projects, if successfully delivered, would turn what had been a burden to opportunity for the State.
Sanwo-Olu said the investments represented his administration’s commitment to improve the lives of Lagosians and maintaining the status of the State as a beacon of progress.
He said: “Today marks a significant milestone in our journey towards sustainability and resilience. Two of our key initiatives, which are Advanced Garbage Collection and Waste-to-Energy project, and Sewage Treatment Plant, have attracted significant investment interest. These projects are currently at a pivotal stage; we are waiting on the investors to conduct technical analysis and put in the funds to turn the ideas into reality.
“Given that all cities face a collective threat of climate change, bringing about solutions requires collaboration and partnership. Our participation at COP28 has been driven by the cardinal objective to have direct engagements on sustainability with committed partners who can collaborate with us to create sustainable solutions to our local environmental challenges. The global climate budget is reserved for sustainable development and for all of us to take action in mitigating impacts of environmental pollution and climate change.”
Sanwo-Olu told the multilateral audience that LCARP document was Lagos’ strategic roadmap towards a sustainable future. The resilience framework, he said, identified 30 ambitious projects, cutting across critical sectors including, transportation, renewable energy and waste management.
The Governor said the State required a long-tenure investment exceeding $10 billion to build not just the required mitigation infrastructure, but also adequate redundancy to ensure sustainability. He added that 14 of the 30 projects were ideal for Public-Private Partnership.
“As a committed Government with dedicated leadership, we are not taking actions on our own; we are in conversations to ensure that real partners get involved. We are ready to lead from the front. We have a clear strategy of what we need to do and how we are going to achieve our climate mitigation objectives. Lagos’ success on this journey would not just be the success of Nigeria, but also an African and global success story,” Sanwo-Olu said.
We need long-term financing to address water infrastructure shortage in Lagos – Sanwo-Olu
Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Hon. Tokunbo Wahab, said Lagos was desirous of environmental sustainability, because of the threat posed by observed rise in sea level and extreme temperatures.
The Commissioner pointed out that LCARP document was the second of four planned frameworks designed by the State Government as strategic response to climate change.
Wahab said: “If we fail to seek the required investment and build resilient infrastructure towards mitigating the consequences now, Lagos will be in need of $33 billion by 2050 to fight the threat. Our strategy involves tapping into a variety of blended financial sources.”
Managing Director of Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), Dr. Muyiwa Gbadegesin, said Lagos faced escalating waste management issues, leading to flooding during extreme weather events.
Introduction of Waste-to-Energy plants, he said, would facilitate improved waste collection, treatment, while reducing land demand for landfills. The project, he said, will be sited in Epe area of Lagos and it is expected to process 760-kilo tonnes of municipal solid waste per year.
Sanwo-Olu also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Sheikh Abdul Rahman Saif bin Saif Al Sharqi, chairman of Nigerian-Arabian Gulf Chamber of Commerce (NAGCC), at JAFZA One Convention Centre in Dubai.
The agreement will facilitate, mutually undertake, explore trade and investment opportunities between Lagos and Arabian Golf Chamber of Commerce (GCC) member countries.
The MoU will also provide a structured platform for dialogue, collaboration and exchange of innovative ideas between the business communities of Lagos and Arabian GCC.
German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck on Monday cancelled a trip to the UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai due to the budget crisis at home.
The move follows a landmark court decision earlier this month that blew a huge hole in the government’s spending plans.
Habeck’s presence in Berlin is necessary in order to make further progress in the talks on the 2024 budget, a spokeswoman for the Economy Ministry announced.
The cancellation was done in consultation with and at the request of Chancellor Olaf Scholz, she added.
Habeck, who is also economy and climate minister, was due to participate in the COP28 climate conference in Dubai on Tuesday.
A recent decision by Germany’s Constitutional Court struck down plans to reallocate 60 billion Euros (65 billion dollars) borrowed during the Coronavirus pandemic for climate projects instead.
The fallout from the decision, which almost certainly impacts other special funds as well, has created a major budget crisis for Scholz’s three-party coalition government.
Negotiations on the budget is currently taking place primarily in a three-way round with Scholz, Habeck and Finance Minister Christian Lindner.
The coalition must reach an agreement within the next few days if it wants to adopt the budget for 2024 before the end of the year.
A political agreement in principle must be reached by the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday so that there is still enough time for the parliamentary process.
Habeck, had earlier told Germany’s ARD television station on Sunday evening that he sees progress in the negotiations.
“I am very optimistic that we are well on the way to reaching an agreement,’’ he said.
When asked if this meant that he wasn’t sure that the coalition would reach an agreement, Habeck said: “I can’t speak for everyone. But I repeat that I believe we are making good progress.’’
“It is a process that is arduous, one can see that, but it is making progress,’’ Habeck added.
Many villagers are feared dead following a bomb allegedly dropped by a Nigerian Air Force jet during a Maulud celebration at Tudun Biri, a community within Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Though details of the incident remain sketchy, preliminary reports indicate that about 30 people died during the incident on Sunday, around 9:00 pm.
Residents told Daily Trust that the bomb struck while the villagers gathered to commemorate Maulud in the village.
“They were celebrating Maulud (birth of Prophet Muhammad) when the jet dropped the bomb, resulting in the immediate death of more than 30 people,” a resident said.
There is apprehension that the death toll may increase.
When reached for comment, Samuel Aruwan, Overseeing Commissioner of the State Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs, did not provide casualty figures, stating that the government would address the media in a press conference at the Government House.
“We will address the press at Government House on the situation because there would be a security meeting later. So, let’s meet by 10 am,” he said.
NAF has also yet to speak on the incident as of press time.
The Medical Guild, an association of medical doctors under the employment of the Lagos government said it has lost 15 of its members in the state in the last six months as a result of ongoing co-morbidities exacerbated by manpower bleed and the attendant severe overwork at service points
The Chairman of Guild, Dr Sa’eid Ahmad, made the disclosure during a news conference ahead of the guild’s forthcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Scientific Conference, on Sunday, in Lagos.
Ahmad noted that the past year has been particularly challenging for the guild because of the number of members’ deaths.
“The intensity of the attendant sense of loss was probably brought to its peak with the tragic event of collapsed elevator in the General Hospital, Odan, Lagos, which claimed the life of our young colleague, Late Dr Vwaere Diaso.
“This was to be followed by end-on-end demises of some additional colleagues, sometimes, multiple over a few days,” he said.
Ahmad appealed to the Lagos State Government to prioritise the health and lives of healthcare workers
He further stressed that the sad events serve as an inescapable wake-up call to intensify vigilance towards self-care, and deepen level of engagement with the government to prioritise the health and lives of healthcare workers in the state.
“These, afterall, are the people in whose hands the health and lives of the people are entrusted,” he said.
To address the situation, Ahmad said that the guild, through a series of emergency General Assemblies and consultations, developed a comprehensive position paper.
He said the paper drew the attention of the state government to urgently take actions to salvage the spiraling health of the health workers.
Ahmad said that the document identified the roots of the welfare problems culminating in massive exodus, and proffered practical and workable solutions.
“We had demanded short, medium and long-term solution categories to these problems, including the basic need for healthcare workers to be able to obtain much needed care themselves within the system in which they work.
“This document has indeed formed the cornerstone of highest level policy discussions with the Government of Lagos state on behalf of our members.
“It is our hope that these discussions produce policy pronouncements and actionable directives at any moment,” he said.
He disclosed that the guild, through its Office of Social Welfare, spent N21.5 million in responding promptly to some of its sick members and support for families of bereaved members in times of loss.
The Chairman said the guild had embarked on housing mortgage and automobile facilities in a bid to provide members decent accommodation and mobility to ease their commuting to work.
Ahmad commended the government for resolving all issues of stagnation and demotion of In-service trained specialists and financial implementation of same since August 2023.
Speaking on the forthcoming AGM and Scientific Conference, Ahmad said that week-long activities, which began on Sunday, would feature medical outreach, cancer awareness campaign, lecture series, among others.
Ahmad noted that tapping into these intellectual reservoirs by health policy makers and other stakeholders would yield benefits.
He said it would greatly enhance appropriate policy formulation and implementation strategies for the overall benefit of saving lives and improving wellbeing of the people.
Barely four months after, the eight Akwa Ibom State graduates abducted on their way to the National Youth Service Corps orientation camp in Sokoto State have yet to be released.
PUNCH Metro reports that the fresh graduates were abducted by gunmen on August 17, on a highway in Zamfara State.
The prospective corps members from Akwa Ibom State were travelling in an AKTC bus to Sokoto State for the mandatory national youth service programme for Nigerian graduates.
Since their abduction, parents and relatives of the victims have been expressing concerns that the NYSC authorities and security agencies were not doing enough to secure the release of their children.
In September, the parents took to the street to protest, saying they had spent over N13m in an effort to have their children back.
The kidnappers had demanded that the parents of each of the abductees should pay a ransom of N10m, an amount the parents said they could not raise.
Despite the assurances from security agents that the victims would be released, none of them has been freed as of December 4, 2023.
Meanwhile, Nigerians have taken to the social media to bemoan the inability of government and security agents to rescue the young graduates who were on their way to serve their fatherland.
An X user with the username, @Isidore0001, said: “It is heartbreaking to note that those NYSC members from Akwa Ibom, kidnapped in August on their way to camp, are still in captivity till date; brutalised and raped every day, yet we all moved on. Govt, NYSC, Nigerians, Nigeria failed these youths.”
Another user, @kikkysamuel, stated: “The kidnappers are demanding N10million each from someone that took the risk of travelling from Uyo to Sokoto by road; if they had N10million, they wouldn’t do that.”
@eunice30116 disclosed that “My brother is still there,” wondering how their mother who sells oranges and akara would be able to afford N10m.
The Nigeria Police Force Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, has yet to reply to a text message sent to him by our correspondent as of the time of filing this report.
Some Nigerians have called for the scrapping of the NYSC scheme, while some others opined that individuals be allowed to serve in their geopolitical zones or states.
A former Niger State governor, Dr Muazu Aliyu, has broken his silence on how his administration practically chased out leaders of the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents from the state during his first term in office.
Aliyu noted that if not that he chased the late Abubakar Shekau, the dreaded leader of Boko Haram, and his lieutenant, Abu Qaka, Niger State would have been the foundation of the sect.
The ex-governor spoke at the weekend at the 2023 Annual Public Lecture/Awards and Election of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Kaduna Branch, where he was guest speaker.
He explained that when he took over as governor of Niger State he discovered the camp of the insurgents and got the support of then President, the late Umar Yar’Adua, to disperse them.
Aliyu said, “The primary purpose of government is the security of lives and property of the citizens, which some governors don’t take seriously. As chief security officer of your state, you cannot claim inability to secure your citizens. Yes, the officers of the security agencies might not have come from your state, they are federal officers posted to assist you in your state.
“Being proactive as a leader and follower also helps so much. When I arrived in Niger State, I found a security challenge. Nine people. who went to a village in the Mokwa Local Government Area, had multiplied in 2007 to 7,000 people, and were involved in armed robbery and abducting women in the area. They constituted themselves into a republic.
“I also discovered that many governors had tried to do something but were probably frustrated by Abuja. In fact, two immigration officers sent to investigate the activities of the group became members.
“When I took a census, I discovered that more than 60 per cent of the members were not Nigerians. The original Shekau and Abu Qaga were the leaders. I got the support of the late President Musa Yar’Adua to disperse them after compensating them and providing them fare to their destination in Nigeria and the foreigners were taken to their borders.
“That action probably saved Niger State from being the foundation for Boko Haram as we come to know; they were regularly visiting the River Niger bridge. That the Federal Government would support any governor who has done his homework is not in doubt.”
Speaking further, Aliyu said part of the solution to the security challenges bedeviling the country was proper planning and budgeting.
“Our planning must be people-centred and our budget must be treated as the law that it is.
“If the planning is proper, we cannot be talking of 20 million children out of school, we cannot be described as the poverty capital of the world, we also cannot be facing the insecurity of banditry, Boko Haram, and armed robbery. With proper planning we cannot have the level of corruption we have today.”
Earlier in his remarks, the state Chairman of the NIPR, Haroun Malami, noted the theme of the lecture: ‘Demographic Transition, Ethical Resource, Sustainable Development: Reflections on Northern Nigeria,’ was chosen in view of the rising unemployment among the youth, particularly in the northern part of the country.
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Senate President, Mr Godswill Akpabio to use his leadership position “to promptly reject the plan by the Minister of the FCT, Nysom Wike to spend N15 billion for the construction of ‘a befitting residence’ for the Vice President, Mr Kashim Shettima.”
SERAP urged him to “assert Senate’s authority and constitutional oversight roles to reject the N2.8 billion on publicity for the FCTA and other proposed wasteful and unnecessary spending that may be contained in the 2023 supplementary budget and the 2024 budget proposed by President Bola Tinubu.”
In the letter dated 2 December 2023 and signed by SERAP Deputy Director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “The plan to spend N15 billion on ‘a befitting residence’ for the vice president is a fundamental breach of the Nigerian Constitution and the country’s international anticorruption and human rights obligations.”
SERAP said: “The Senate has the constitutional duties to ensure that Mr Wike’s proposed spending is entirely consistent and compatible with constitutional provisions including his oath of office. All public officials remain subject to the rule of law.”
SERAP also said, “The National Assembly including the Senate has a constitutional responsibility to address the country’s debt crisis, including by rejecting wasteful and unnecessary spending to satisfy the personal comfort and lifestyles of public officials.”
The letter, read in part: “The National Assembly cannot continue to fail to fulfil its oversight function. The Senate must assert and demonstrate its independence by checking and rejecting all wasteful and unnecessary spending by the executive.”
“It would be a grave violation of the public trust and constitutional oath of office for the Senate to approve the plan to spend N15 billion on ‘a befitting residence’ for the vice president at a time when the Federal Government is set to spend 30% (that is, N8.25 trillion) of the country’s 2024 budget of N27.5 trillion on debt service costs.”
“The Federal Government also plans to borrow N7.8 trillion to fund the 2024 budget. Nigeria’s public debt stood at 87.4 trillion naira as of June with 38% owed to external creditors including multilateral and commercial lenders.”
“Should the Senate and its leadership fail to stop wasteful and unnecessary spending and rein in government borrowing, SERAP would consider appropriate legal action to compel the National Assembly including the Senate to discharge its constitutional oversight roles in the public interest.”
“SERAP urges you to refer to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) the allegations of corruption in the spending of the previously approved N7 billion for the construction of a new residence for the vice president.”
“The ‘construction’ was reportedly abandoned but the whereabouts of the N7 billion remain unknown.”
“The Senate has the constitutional competence and legitimacy to compel compliance with the Nigerian Constitution and the country’s international obligations.”
“The Senate ought to assert its authority and vigorously exercise its constitutional oversight roles to check the apparently wasteful and unnecessary spending by Mr Wike especially given the growing debt crisis and the indiscriminate borrowing by the government.”
“It is a travesty and a fundamental breach of the lawmakers’ fiduciary duties for the National Assembly to allow the executive to use national budget as a tool to satisfy the comfort and lifestyle of public officials.”
“Nigerians have a right to honest and faithful performance by their public officials including lawmakers, as public officials owe a fiduciary duty to the general citizenry.”
“Cutting the N15 billion on ‘a befitting residence’ from the FTCA budget would be entirely consistent with your constitutional oath of office, and the letter and spirit of the Nigerian Constitution, as it would promote efficient, honest, and legal spending of public money.”
“According to our information, the Minister of the FCT, Nysom Wike and the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) plan to spend N15 billion for the construction of ‘a befitting residence’ for the Vice-President, Mr Kashim Shettima.”
“The plan is contained in the N67 billion FCT supplementary budget which President Bola Tinubu had on Tuesday transmitted to the National Assembly for approval.”
“SERAP notes that Mr Wike proposed plan to spend N15 billion on a new residence for the vice president despite the recent allocation of N2.5 billion for the renovation of the current residence of the VP in the federal government’s supplementary budget already passed by the National Assembly and signed by President Tinubu.”
“The House of Representatives has reportedly approved the plan to spend N15 billion on ‘a befitting residence’ for the vice president.”
“The National Assembly has also approved another N3 billion for the renovation of the vice president’s residence in Lagos State. Mr Wike also plans to spend N2.8 billion on publicity for the FCTA.”
“The proposed plan to spend 15 billion on ‘a befitting residence’ for the vice president is different from the N100 billion for the FCT contained in the federal government supplementary budget.”
“SERAP notes that the Federal Government has also budgeted N8 billion on the two official residences of President Tinubu in Abuja and Lagos.”
“On top of the planned spending of N15 billion on ‘a befitting residence’ for the vice president, billions of naira have been allocated for the purchase of cars for the Villa and the Office of the First Lady.”
“Section 14(2)(b) of the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 [as amended] provides that, ‘the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.”
“Under Section 16(1)(a)(b), the National Assembly including the Senate has the obligations to ‘harness the resources of the nation and promote national prosperity and an efficient, a dynamic and self-reliant economy’, and to ‘secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of every citizen.’”
“Under sections 59(2) and 299 of the Nigerian Constitution, the National Assembly including the Senate has legislative powers over money bills including the proposed N15 billion, and other wasteful and unnecessary spending by the Federal Government.”
The Federal Government has expressed its readiness to kick-off two programmes targeted at alleviating the impact of fuel subsidy removal.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite, who disclosed this weekend, listed the two programme as presidential conditional grant and presidential palliative loan.
“In the presidential conditional grant programme, the federal government will disburse a grant of N50,000.00 to nano businesses across the 774 local government areas in the country.
“The Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN, will collaborate with state and local governments, federal legislators, ministers, banks and other stakeholders.
“The eligible nano business beneficiaries should be willing to provide proof of residential/business address in their local government area, and provide relevant personal and bank account information, including Bank Verification Number, BVN, for verification of identity.”
She said the eligible beneficiaries could get more information and apply at the website dedicated to the programme.
On the presidential palliative loan programme, Uzoka-Anite said: “The federal government will, similarly, disburse N75 billion to Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, MSMEs, across various sectors and N75 billion specifically to manufacturers.
“The loan shall be administered to the beneficiaries at a single-digit interest rate of nine per cent per annum.
“While MSMEs can access loan facilities up to N1 million with a repayment period of three years, manufacturers can access up to N1 billion to access financing for working capital with a repayment period of 1 year for working capital or five years for the purchase of machinery and equipment.
The House of Representatives Public Account Committee on Tuesday queried the Federal Ministry of Water Resources for allegedly sinking a single unit of borehole at N25 million and others at N12.5m per unit.
This is even as the Committee’s chairman, Bamidele Salam, faulted the N4bn reportedly spent by the ministry on the recruitment of 100 personnel for a three-month project tagged Youth Engagement for Sanitation across the 774 Local Government Areas of the country.
Appearing before the committee at the National Assembly Complex on Tuesday, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, Mrs Didi Walson-Jack, told the panel that the boreholes were sunk across some states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory.
Walson-Jack said, “In total, 299 new water schemes were embarked upon during the period just as a total of 188 old and abandoned solar boreholes were resuscitated during the period. Each state of the federation received N10 million intervention items.”
Not satisfied with the presentation, members of the committee took turns to demand the verification of the project sites to ascertain their genuineness and avoid mixing them up with previously sunk boreholes.
They also sought to know the modality of recruitment of the YES personnel, “Full list of the youths, their account numbers, schedule of payments sent to respective banks and all other documents related to the project.”
Speaking at the event, Salam pledged the readiness of the committee to do a thorough job, saying, “What I want this committee to note is that we are going to do project verification. Not only for this ministry but for other Ministries, Departments and Agencies who have said they have done one project or the other. The committee will need to go and see exactly what is on the ground so that we can have value for money”.
The lawmaker said Osun, Ogun, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Imo and Ebonyi states would be visited by the committee to verify the project sites.
Others include Kwara, Nasarawa, Katsina, Sokoto, Bauchi and Adamawa States.
The committee further called on the permanent secretary to tender all relevant documents related to every contract, procurement and the certificates needed to execute them on the next date of appearance.
Meanwhile, the committee refused to take the submission of the representatives of the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development over the N2bn intervention funds allocated to it and insisted that the accounting officer appear before it in person.
Also to appear before the committee is the management of the Federal Medical Centre, Jabi, Abuja over irregularities noticed in the dates of contract awards.
The Acting Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Umar Damagum, has said the National Working Committee under his leadership will not suspend or dismiss any ‘disloyal’ member.
This is coming on the heels of the recent admonition by some stakeholders within the PDP, asking Damagum to sanction former Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, and many others for alleged anti-party activities during the just-concluded general elections.
Damagum, who dismissed this while addressing the PDP Mobilisers Group in Abuja, revealed that the NWC had approved to set up a committee to review and reconcile all aggrieved members.
The chairman said the party was more interested in reconciliation and bringing more people into the party than sanctioning any alleged anti-party, which, according to him, may destroy the party.
He said, “They are always telling you these people are not doing the right thing. But when you are in a position of leadership, you are bound by a set of rules, and these rules, even though they are itching you, you don’t apply them—not because of anything, but so that you don’t destroy the house.
“I have been seeing the agitations within our platforms, saying the NWC was not doing this or doing that. This is an opportunity for me to explain.
“Somebody has said that sometimes when you are not knowledgeable about certain things and you go on saying about your thinking, it will always injure the sensibility of others to understand you.”
Damagum also described the 2023 presidential election defeat as “most painful”, cautioning members of the party against a blame game.
He said, “I am very proud to say that this party was started by me as a driver. Today, I am the acting national chairman by the grace of God. I have never calculated that I will be given this title. I believe in this party, I believe that this party is the best in this country.
“The NWC has already come up and approved a 2023 election review and reconciliation committee. They will go and investigate. We’ll give them the mandate to form subcommittees. However, there is only one national committee that will review the 2023 election and also review from 2015 to 2019. This is so that at the end of the day when they bring the reports, we will meet and take decisions.”
Damagum, who admitted that many members were involved in anti-party activities at different levels, said, “If I said we should start suspension, I will end up suspending many people because they were involved in anti-party activities. So, please bear with us. We intend to keep this party together and to manage it. This is my mandate.”
Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in this year’s elections, Mr Peter Obi, and the presidency have trade words over the 1,411 Nigerian delegation at the ongoing COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Many Nigerians have criticised the high number of Nigerian delegates, the third highest at COP28, amidst the economic suffering of millions of citizens due to government policies, including the rising cost fuel and food.
Obi on Sunday in a post on his X handle sarcastically congratulate Nigeria for having the same number of delegations like China’s.
“In a twist of sad irony, let me congratulate the giant of Africa, Nigeria, for matching the great China, with the same number of contingents at the ongoing COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Nigeria’s contingent to COP28 totaled 1411, the same number as the Chinese contingents.
“While China’s budget for 2024 is about $4 trillion, about $2,860 per head; Nigeria’s budget is about $33bn, about $165 per head. China has a high Human Development Index, HDI, with a ranking of 79 out of 191 countries measured, and Nigeria has a low HDI, with a ranking of 163 out of 191 countries measured,” Obi said.
He noted that Nigeria has more people living in ‘multi-dimensional’ poverty than China, despite China having seven times Nigeria’s population.
He said, “Most importantly, the vast majority of those in the Nigerian delegation to COP28 are either non relevant civil servants or relations, friends and hangers-on of high government officials. Most of them hardly understand or have anything to do with Climate Change.
“This huge contingent is out at public expense at a time when most Nigerians can hardly afford food and basic needs as a result of economic hardship. I pray earnestly that a day will come soon enough when we can focus on competing with China on productivity and the miracle of migrating the highest number of its citizens out of poverty over a relatively short time.
“As we have kept emphasizing, we must stop waste as a a tradition of our government and nation. We urgently need to cut the cost of governance and invest in production.”
The former Anambra State governor said Nigeria need to de-emphasize unnecessary ceremony and showmanship as a mode of government behaviour and to tie spending to necessity and national Priority.
However, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Temitope Ajayi, said that Nigeria’s 1,411 delegates at the ongoing COP28 in Dubai were not all government-funded.
In a statement on Sunday, the presidential aide, said that the Nigeria delegation include civil society actors, business persons and others who have different roles to play at the conference.
Ajayi said the Nigerian delegation include business leaders, environmentalists, climate activists and journalists.
He, however, did not state the exact number of delegates being funded by the government amidst speculations that over 600 were government-funded.
“In Nigeria like so many other countries, interested parties comprising government officials from both the Federal and sub-national governments, business leaders, environmentalists, climate activists and journalists are present in Dubai. Also participating are agencies of government such as the NNPC and its subsidiaries, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, NIMASA, NDDC.
“Many youth organisations from Nigeria especially from the Northern and Niger-Delta regions whose lives and livelihoods are most impacted by desert encroachment and hydrocarbon activities are also represented.
“The President of Ijaw Youth Council, Jonathan Lokpobiri, leads a pan-Ijaw delegation of more than 15 people who registered as parties from Nigeria. Among delegates from Nigeria are also over 20 journalists from various media houses,” Ajayi said.
Kano State Police Command says it has arrested Tasiu Al’amin-Roba, a Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Cabinet Office, and one Abdulkadir Muhammad for alleged diversion of the state’s palliatives.
In a phone interview on Sunday, the Commissioner of Police, Hussaini Gumel, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the suspects were apprehended at a warehouse in Sharada with over 200 empty bags.
He said that the suspects were repackaging rice and maize at the Sharada warehouse.
“We have since commenced intensive investigation to find out how many bags of maize or rice were repackaged and sold,” he said.
Gumel stated that the two suspects would be charged to court after the completion of separate investigations.