Arewa Youths Celebrate Governor Ugwuanyi for Propelling State to Second Best in Accountability

The Umbrella organization of all youths in the 19 Northern states and Abuja, the Arewa Youth Forum (AYF) have commended the Governor of Enugu state, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for his accountability that propelled the state upwards in the 2019 Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) Accountability Index report.

Enugu State emerged the second best state in terms of accountability in the 2019 index, which was an improvement from the seventh position the state attained in 2018.

Presenting the report during a hybrid event, ICAN’s Chairman Steering Committee, Zakaria Muhammed, said Kaduna emerged the best state in terms of accountability with 72.7 percent; Enugu with 58.2 percent and Jigawa with 55.9 percent.

Meanwhile in a statement issued by the Arewa Youth Forum and made available to journalists in Kaduna, the group commended the Enugu state governor for his outstanding astuteness that propelled the state from seventh to second on the ICAN accountability log.

The statement signed by Comrade Gambo Ibrahim Gujungu, National President of AYF said, “the administrative acumen and human relations of the governor has put him ahead of his colleagues and his performance is there for all to see.”

The youths also said Enugu stand out as one of the states that had been having a robust relationship with other Nigerians residing in the state especially Northerners.

Part of the statement also said “President Muhammadu Buhari recently commended Governor Ugwuanyi for his peace initiatives and developmental strides in the state. The governor has shown that he is committed to the welfare of his people and that is why his footprints are all over the state for all to see.

“It is no surprise therefore that ICAN and other organizations easily noticed his giant strides and are rewarding the state with a fovourable ratings.”

The youths said anyone that is conversant with Enugu will see the difference that the present administration has brought to the people and that why his people are happy with him and supporting him to do more.

​Edo 2020: Tribunal dismisses AA petition against Obaseki

The Edo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal on Saturday, dismissed the petition filed by Action Alliance (AA) party challenging the exclusion of the party and its candidate from the September 19 2020 governorship election in Edo state in a unanimous ruling delivered by the tribunal.

It would be recalled that at the sitting of the tribunal on Monday, counsel to Governor Godwin Obaseki and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the petitioner failed to file for issuance of pre-hearing notice which is one of the conditions required by the Electoral Act 2010 and the tribunal consequently adjourned to Friday, December 11( today), for ruling.

Delivering the ruling, Justice Chukwudi Nwakwo alongside the Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Abdulrazak Abdulkareem, and the third judge, Justice Josephine Ayua held that in the petition against the first and second respondents, the petitioners failed to file the pre-hearing notice.

As a result he ruled that the petitioners were deemed to have abandoned the petition and, thereafter, dismissed the suit.

The petition is one of five filed by various individuals and their political parties at the Tribunal in their bid to nullify the victory of Governor Obaseki in the poll.

Others include the petition of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) and its governorship candidate, Emmanuel Iboi, against INEC, PDP, Governor Obaseki, as well as the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu; and the petition of the Allied Peoples’ Movement (APM) against INEC, PDP, Governor Obaseki, and his deputy, Philip Shaibu.

The remaining two petitions are that of Agol Ebun Tracy against INEC, PDP and Governor Obaseki, and the petition of the Action Peoples Party (APP) against Governor Obaseki, PDP, and INEC.

Kaduna Ex-Speaker, Health Unions, Others Commend El-Rufai as He Leads Eye Centre land Recovery

Pursuant to the continuous execution of the Kaduna High Court Ruling which ordered the vacation of illegal structures on National Eye Centre Kaduna, the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, today led the Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Agency (KASUPDA) to pull down the remaining illegal structures.

Speaking on the recovery of the land at National Eye Centre by Governor Nasir El-Rufai, the former Speaker of Kaduna House of Assembly and incumbent member representing Sabon Gari Constituency, Honorable Aminu Shagali, commended the Governor for the bold step of securing the Hospital.

‘’It is disheartening for people to intrude into a land dedicated for Health purposes where a lot of people are benefiting. It is criminal for people to now turn around and convert such lands as personal properties; it is wrong and I commend his Excellency, Governor Nasir El-Rufai for the bold step. This has no doubt rekindled hope for the Health sector of the Country and Kaduna in Particular.’’

Shagali warned that ‘’people, no matter how highly placed they are, must desist from converting public assets into personal use as such callous acts will jeopardize the essence of such Institutions ’’

‘’ I call on his Excellency to continuously secure all National assets domiciled in the State for effective utilization by the good people of Kaduna State and indeed Nigeria at large’’ he added.

Chairman Medical and Health Workers Union, National Eye Centre branch, Comrade Solomon Bulus thanked Governor El Rufai for the giant step.

According to him, “it is the right step in the right direction. This land had been ceded to National Eye Centre for a long time. It is evident that compensation was also given to host communities, but the intruders persisted on selling off the land and also building on it.”

“Today, the Governor has again demonstrated his zeal to secure National Eye Centre by personally leading the KASUPDA team to demolish and reclaim the land for us. We are indeed grateful for this kind act of the Governor as it has boosted our moral for health care delivery”

Also Speaking, the Joint Chairman, Medical Workers Union,Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital Kaduna, Comrade Emmanuel Atule hailed the Governor stressing that the demolition of houses built by intruders on Eye Centre was key for the development of National Eye Centre.

Atule wondered why military personnel who should lead the securing of National asset should in turn convert same for personal use.

‘’Permit me to also thank the Governor for massive road construction on going in the town, this goes to show the commitment of the Governor in infrastructural development. In fact, the Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital Kaduna is grateful for the construction of Barnawa –Television road which passes in front of the Hospital. It means the usual traffic congestion around the area will be gone when the project is completed’’

Kaduna State Urban Development Agency (KASUPDA) had last weekend demolished some of the illegal structures on the land, leaving out some structures belonging to military personnel who were accused of deliberately refusing to vacate. However, when the Governor led KASUPDA on Thursday 10th December 2020 in the second exercise all structures illegally acquired and developed by intruders went down.

​Houses burnt as military invades Delta community in search of kidnappers

The Military Joint Task Force, JTF, yesterday, invaded Bolou-Tubegbe community in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State, reportedly in search of kidnappers.

Men of the 222 Battalion, Bomadi, Delta State, who carried out the joint operation, were reported to have burnt down houses in search of kidnappers, with sporadic shootings.

Reacting to the incident, the Egbesu priest of Esuku Kingdom, King Para Ekiyes, said: “As I’m talking to you, several houses have been burnt down in my community.

“All community folks, young and old, have fled into the forest for safety with many people sustaining various degrees of injuries.

“This invasion is condemnable. How can you attack a community, burn down houses because you are looking for kidnappers?”

Contacted, the JTF Commander, Bomadi, Capt. Dominic said: “It’s a normal routine anti-bunkering and sea piracy operation jointly carried out by the army and naval personnel from Warri. It’s a joint operation.

“There are a lot of kidnappings in that area; there are a lot of bad reports coming from that community. As such, we conducted an operation based on intelligence and information.

“I’m yet to get details from my men in the operation regarding the reported burning down of houses in the community.”

​We’ve reduced cost of data by 50% — FG

The Minister of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, said yesterday that his administration has reduced the current cost of data by 50%.

The Minister, who revealed this in a statement, explained that the reduction was made possible by his directives to service providers through the industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC.

According to him, this followed measures put in place by the Ministry to significantly reduce the average cost of data in an incremental rate.

He explained that the average cost of 1GB data was reduced from N1,000 in January 2020 to now be N487.18 in November, 2021.

This, the minister explained, was based on a report by the Nigerian Communications Commission to him, following the implementation of the directives.

The Minister had inaugurated a committee that developed the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020-2025) on December 16, 2019.

The Plan was unveiled and launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on March 19, 2020.

One of the goals of the plan, he noted, was to reduce the average cost of 1GB of data to a maximum of N390 by 2025.

“With the January 2020 baseline of N1,000 per GB, the maximum projected steady decrease for the end of each year was as follows: 2020 (N925), 2021 (N850), 2022 (N775), 2023 (N700), 2024 (N545) and 2025 (N390).

“In line with Dr. Pantami’s commitment to under promise and over deliver, the measures have caused the current cost of data to reduce significantly beyond the December 2020 projection of N925.

“Based on the report by NCC, the average cost of N1,000 data as at November 2020 was N487.18, which amounts to 47.33% lower than the projected value.

“The report also indicates that the cost of data in November 2020 was less than 50% of the cost of data in January 2020,” the minister added.

He said the Ministry, through the NCC, would continue to ensure that consumers enjoyed a price regime that was friendly and supports fairness.

“Policies are in place to ensure that operators adopt competitive pricing that eschews unjustifiable margins,’’ he said.

​16 killed on Abuja-Kaduna road: Ganduje rains curses, says killing devastating, frustrating

There seems to be no end to the wave of insecurity sweeping across the country as no fewer than 16 indigenes of Dambatta Local Government Area of the Kano State were on Tuesday killed by gunmen along Abuja-Kaduna highway.

This is even as a district head, youth leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and two others were yesterday kidnapped at Garin Gabbas in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State, by bandits, as Governor Abdullahi Ganduje rained curses on the perpetrators.

A source in Dambatta, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the incident leading to the death of indigenes (all males) occurred last Tuesday when the gunmen shot at a tyre of the moving vehicle (Hummer Bus) conveying them from Abuja back to Kano.

The source said the action of the gunmen resulted in a fatal accident which led to the death of the deceased.

Confirming the development yesterday, Kano State governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, in a condolence message to families of the deceased, issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Abba Anwar, described the attack as devastating and frustrating.

“We were shocked with the bad news of the death of 16 Dambatta indigenes on Abuja-Kaduna highway, who were travelling from Abuja to Kano, as a result of attack from unidentified gunmen. The news is devastating and frustrating.

“May Allah accept their martyrdom and may He punish all the perpetrators of this heinous act. There is nothing more shocking than this.”

He urged people to pray fervently for the repose of souls of the deceased and prayed that Allah gives their families the fortitude to bear the great loss.

“On behalf of the government and people of Kano State, I am condoling with the families of the deceased and the people of Dambatta Local Government over this tragedy. May Allah forgive all their wrongdoings and reward their good deeds,” Ganduje said.

APC youth leader, others kidnapped

Also, suspected bandits have kidnapped a youth leader of the All Progressives Congress in Garin Gabbas in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State.

The bandits also kidnapped the district head of Gunna in Yakila, also in Rafi Local Government, alongside children of two health workers said to be working at a Primary Health Care centre in the area.

Director-General of the Niger State Emergency Management Agency, Ahmed Inga, who confirmed this, said several members of the communities were still missing.

According to him, this makes it difficult to ascertain the number of other persons who might have been abducted by the bandits.

“We are still gathering details on the attacks. We will keep you updated,” Inga told reporters yesterday.

A member of Yakila community, Zanna Sanusi said the attackers stormed the two communities at about 2:30 am yesterday in large numbers.

He said Garin Gabbas and Yakila communities are still unsettled, with gunmen still laying siege to the communities.

At press time yesterday, the Police Public Relations Officer, Abiodun Wasiu, could not be reached for comments on the incident.

Police nab 2 transnational kidnappers

Meanwhile, operatives of the Nigeria Police Force have arrested two members of a transnational kidnap syndicate involved in the kidnap of a United States citizen in October.

The Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, who confirmed this in a statement yesterday, about six weeks after the victim was rescued by US military forces in Nigeria, noted that the victim, Philippe Walton, was kidnapped on October 28 at his farm in Masalata Village in the Republic of Niger.

Walton’s suspected kidnappers, Aliyu Abdullahi, 21, and Aliyu Umaru, 23, both from Sokoto State, were arrested on November 25.

Mba said: “The two suspects, who are members of a 15-man kidnap gang of Nigerian-Nigerien extraction, led by Barte Dan Alhaji and Dan Buda, were arrested, following a special intelligence-led operation aimed at arresting the criminal gang, disrupting and halting other criminal activities by them.

“Investigations by the Intelligence Response Team reveal that the gang was plotting other abductions to avenge the death of their cohorts – four Nigeriens and two Nigerians – who died during the rescue operations.

“The Force is collaborating with its Nigerien counterpart in the investigations to apprehend other members of the transnational syndicate currently at large.”

The police spokesman stated that the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, was already working in concert with other members of the West African Police Chiefs Organisation, WAPCO, as part of efforts to tackle transnational crimes in the sub-region.

According to him, this is aimed at deepening intelligence sharing among security agencies in the ECOWAS sub-region and strengthening security along the international borders of member-states.

Mba said the suspects would be arraigned in court as soon as the police complete their investigations.

The rescue of the American by US forces on Nigerian soil had sparked criticism from some individuals and groups in the country.

While some argued that the operation was proof of the inefficiency of the military, the government condemned the insinuations.

The Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi, retd, who addressed reporters in Abuja on November 3, insisted that Nigeria is aware of the rescue operation conducted by the US forces.