‘repentant’ terrorists now useful to society —Lai Mohammed

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has said that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has so far trained 1,600 ‘repentant’ Boko Haram terrorists in various fields and they have been re-integrated into society where they are now contributing positively to their environments.

The minister spoke in an interview session with some selected international journalists in London Tuesday and said the Buhari-led government has been quite successful in tackling insecurity and insurgency in the country by initiating several intervention programs that has seen the fighters surrender to troops of the Nigerian Army.

Mohammed stated that the federal government has resolved never to leave any stone unturned in tackling insecurity in Nigeria and leave behind a safe country by the time its tenure ends in 2023.

The Information Minister spoke to selected journalists from Reuters, Times of London and The Economist, extolled the regime on winning the war against corruption, repositioning the economy, revamping the power sector and winning the war on terrorism. (Ripples Nigeria)


Arewa Group Faults CDS, Support Governor Matawalle over Call for Self-defense

Group, Arewa Development Forum for Peace and Justice on Sunday rose from its urgent meeting in Kaduna to declare its solidarity with Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle over his call on Nigerians to legally acquire firearms to defend themselves against bandits.

The group in a release by its Chairman, Alhaji Zubairu A Mustafa faulted the negative reaction over the suggestion of Zamfara state governor, bemoans “discouraging comment” by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor and other elites who were economical with realities of kidnapping, killings and attacks of the communities in Northwest region and environs by suspected bandits.

A few days ago, terrorists invaded a mining site in Shiroro local government area of Niger state killing several people including soldiers, police and local vigilantes, and abducting four Chinese expatriates. This was coming a few days after reports of alleged attacks and kidnap of many people in some villages in Kaduna, Kebbi, Niger, Katsina, Zamfara and Sokoto states went unabated.

According to the group, “this multifaceted crime against the Nigerian state and Nigerians has continued to thrive without any serious strategies in place to end the challenge by the security operatives, but, instead, we are awash with news from some higher-ranking officers in the security echelons and elites that they are not in support of public bearing arms for protection.

“To us, these groups of Nigerians are openly frustrating the efforts by the government of Zamfara state towards empowering communities to acquire and carry arms legally to protect themselves against the rampaging invading terrorists that have made peace impossible in their ancestral homes.

“Just on Thursday, June 30, at the funeral prayers for a slain Priest in Kaduna, the Catholic Archbishop of Kaduna Diocese, Most Rev Mattew Man-Oso Ndagoso openly supported the decision of Governor Bello Mutawalle of empowering and allowing citizens to carry arms legally to protect themselves against the incessant killings by the ravaging criminals.

“The Catholic leader also referenced Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State who had earlier suggested the same thing as the only way to complement what the military and police are doing in the fight against terrorists in the region.

“For those saying it’s not right and disastrous if citizens are allowed to protect themselves in self-defence against these bandits, then who is supporting or licensing those invading bandits to continue maiming and killings by using AK-47s and other dangerous weapons in our region? The group queried.

“Our leaders must act now or we continue to be a target of elimination by minority marauders going about with weapons against the majority.

“If the government refused to act now, they should know that when people are frustrated, they will look for the best option for themselves which is to arm themselves. Many people around Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina and Sokoto states who are victims of such carnages have endorsed the Zamfara state government’s idea.

“Southwestern states have brought down the alleged criminal animal rearers’ attacks on their communities by about 75 percent as a result of their vigilante outfit group known as AMOTEKUN in collaboration with community patrol volunteers is open to all. They bear arms and move around with an ale of confidence and fight against insecurity in their areas”, Tue group added.

The group however pleaded with the state governors in the Northwestern region to set up machinery and measures for the joint task force of able youths as community-based vigilante volunteers to complement the efforts of security operatives in the fight against criminal activities in the region like that of Community Protection Guard (CPG) launched in Zamfara on Saturday.

Physical, mental fitness critical to NAF’s operations – Air Chief

The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, has stated that with Nigerian Air Force (NAF) personnel actively engaged in various operational theatres across the country, it is important that they maintain a high standard of physical and mental fitness.

According to a statement by NAF spokesperson Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, the CAS stated Saturday at the 2022 Second Quarter Route March Exercise for NAF personnel in Abuja.

The Route March, which is routine, is part of the efforts aimed at continually promoting comradeship and esprit de corps among personnel as well as physical and combat fitness with a view to enhancing NAF operational readiness.

According to Air Marshal Amao, route march is a military tradition practiced worldwide and aims at ensuring NAF officers, airmen and civilian staff are physically fit in order to handle the rigours and stress associated with their daily tasks and responsibilities.

Speaking further, the CAS reiterated the need for personnel to continue to be vigilant and security conscious, while remaining apolitical, even as the Nation gradually approaches another election year.

According to him, “While I encourage you all to exercise your franchise, please be guided by the ethics and discipline that has been inculcated in you. You must also continue to foster peace and be law abiding even as you carry out your civic duties.”

Air Marshal Amao, who led the route march, went on to state that in addition to the weekly sporting activities held in all NAF units, the NAF Sports Week has been planned for the Third Quarter of 2022 so as to promote peaceful coexistence amongst personnel and families as well as serve as an avenue for discovering new NAF talents for the upcoming 2022 Armed Forces of Nigeria Games.

He also stated that the games would give the NAF an opportunity to engage the large base youths population rather than them engaging in the rampaging vices in the society.

While congratulating participants for a successful exercise, Air Marshal Amao expressed the gratitude of the NAF to the President Muhammadu Buhari, for his support to the growth and development of the NAF.

He also thanked the Commander 053 HQ NAF Camp and his team for professionally and successfully hosting the Route March with desired outcomes.


Edo Primaries: INEC accepts Dan Orbih Faction’s list of Candidates

What could be termed as respite is what is currently being experienced in the camp of the National Vice Chairman, South-South of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as the candidates who emerged from the primary conducted by his faction in the Edo State chapter of the party have been submitted to the Independent Nation Electoral Commission, INEC.

According to a report by Metrowatch Nigeria, Architect Mike Onolememen, Hon Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama and Hon. Paschal Ugbome top the list of names submitted as the senatorial candidates for Edo central, Edo South, and Edo North respectively.

An administrative staff of INEC in Abuja, confirmed that the list has been forwarded to INEC as ordered by the court.

Showing the receipt of acknowledgment as a proof, she said “Look, we have obeyed the court`s order instructing us to submit the names of those who emerged as our candidates from the primaries monitored by INEC, and these are the names”.

Some other names listed as sighted by our reporter in Abuja, are Mrs. Lucy Omagbon, Mr. Lewis Osobase, Mr. Felix Akhbue, Mr. Lawrence Ogieva, Mr. Nosa Adams, and all others who are members of the Edo Legacy PDP.

Zulum opens 2 roads for London Ciki, Ngomari communities

The Borno state governor, Babagana Umara Zulum, Monday commissioned two roads covering 5.8 kilometers with drainages at London-ciki and Ngomari communities in Jere local government areas in the metropolis.

The roads comprise newly constructed 2.1 km road and drainage in Zannari road and rehabilitated 626 meters Shiekh Abba Aji road,both in London-ciki.

It also included 3.1 kilometer Bintu-Sugar road and drainage in Ngomari.

Speaking at both commissioning sites, Governor Zulum dedicated the roads to the glory of God and humanity.

He enjoined benefiting communities to ensure proper use of the project with a pledge that his administration will work to fulfill all the campaign promises made.


How my husband abducted our one year old twin children – Wife

Armed soldiers, allegedly accompanied by a former member of the House of Representatives who represented Oron federal constituency in Akwa Ibom state, Hon Robinson Uwak, have forcefully seize and taken away twins children in Calabar.

The one year old twins are reportedly Hon Uwak’s.

His estranged wife, Mrs Kezie Uwak (nee Irek) had relocated from Uwak’s apartment in Abuja to her parents’ house at Victory Road Calabar after reportedly being subjected to all sorts of alleged inhuman treatment, torture and confinement.

The marriage, it was gathered, was consummated in 2020 but sources close to the in-law’s family in Calabar alleged that, Kezie, since after walking down the aisle, has received several threats to her life.

Apparently angered by his wife’s unexpected escape with the twin children of a boy and a girl, Hon Uwak allegedly stormed her in-law’s residence in a commando style, in the company of soldiers and plain clothes security men and allegedly ‘abducted’ the one-year-old kids and zoomed off.

Speaking with Journalists at the NUJ secretariat in Calabar, Monday, Kezia Robinson Awak, accused her husband of being behind the abduction.

She said: “At about 8:57am, someone knocked on our door and my younger sister went to check who was there when the door was violently pushed open.

“Suddenly, we saw a lot of armed masked men on military uniform and Mr. Robinson was also with them and wore a face mask. We heard him direct the army to take the children and then promised that he would deal with my whole family.

“He violently flung the children into a waiting Hilux van and then they drove away. I am terrified he can harm them because he has boasted on several occasions that he has the capacity to pay the police and army to perpetuate his acts.

“I have suffered terribly in Hon Robinson Uwak’s hands. The society and women group should please rise up and defend me. I have been abused, bruised and tortured and that is why I ran away from Abuja to stay with my parents in Calabar.

“Here again in Calabar, he came and violently took my children away. He has also abused and publicly embarrassed my parents and my parents using his influence in the society.”

However, the accused has denied abducting his children.

When contacted through his mobile line, Uwak said he was not aware of the matter, and abruptly dropped the call.

But the mother to the embattled lady, Mrs Riseline Irek, said the matter had been reported to Airport Police Station, Calabar.

The Police Public Relations Officer for the State command, Irene Ugbo, when contacted also, said the matter was yet to come to her table at the Police Headquarters, Diamond Hill, Calabar.


Ekweremadu faces more hard times over organ harvesting allegations

The University of Lincoln, United Kingdom, has banned Senator Ike Ekweremadu who it recently appointed a visiting professor of Corporate and International Linkages.

This followed Thursday’s arrest and subsequent arraignment of Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice, in London for alleged conspiracy to harvest the kidney of 15 years old Ukpo Nwamini David.

David, according to the prosecution, was trafficked from Nigeria and entered the UK with the passport of a 41-year-old man.

The London Mail on Friday quoted the university’s spokesperson as saying that Ekweremadu’s duties at the institution have been suspended for the time being.

Visiting professors are often, as is in this case, non-resident at the university, unpaid and advisory,” the university’s spokesperson said.

“We are deeply concerned about the nature of these allegations, but as this is an active police investigation, we cannot comment further at this stage.

“Whilst this matter is subject to investigation, this person will not be undertaking any duties as visiting professor at Lincoln.

Ekweremadu had, soon after the university appointment two weeks ago, tweeted: “It was a pleasure and an honour to receive a letter of appointment by the University of Lincoln, UK, as Visiting Professor of Corporate and International Linkages.

“I also got a highly treasured gift – a copy of the Magna Carta. It was created in 1215, about 807 years ago.”

David, the teenager at the centre of the organ harvesting allegation, is said to have entered the United Kingdom (UK) with his age put at 41 years.

The London Mail, in a report yesterday, said David also did not know that he was taken to London for the purpose of donating his kidney.


Anambra school pupils reject promotion due to school feeding programme

The Programme Manager, National Homegrown School Feeding Scheme in Anambra state, Mrs Eriken Uzoamaka, has lamented that pupils across public primary schools in the state were rejecting promotion to senior classes.

Uzoamaka, who explained that the class 3 pupils in public primary schools usually kick against promotion to primary 4 due to the menu being served them while in classes 1 – 3 every school working day, noted that efforts were on ground to solve the challenge.

She disclosed this at Awka, the Anambra state capital, after a two-day capacity building workshop on Enhancing Social Protection Programme in Nigeria, organised by the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ).

“We serve rich food to pupils in classes 1 to 3 as captured in the national homegrown school feeding scheme. That is why even those that agree to be promoted usually come to their junior class (primary 3) especially on Wednesdays to struggle for food with others. We serve beans and plantains (or with sweet potatoes) that day,” she noted.

Uzoamaka also listed other challenges facing the programme in the state to include hike in prices of commodities and death of 10 cooks, which according to her has made it impossible for affected schools to benefit because new cooks were yet to be employed by the federal government.


I’m not interested in another term, Buhari tells UK PM Boris Johnson

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday held a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister of Great Britain on the margins of the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali, Rwanda, during which he once again reiterated his resolve to respect the maximum term limit in the Nigerian Constitution.

The Prime Minister, obviously not quite familiar with the maximum two terms limit, had asked if President Buhari would run for office again. To which the latter responded: “Another term for me? No! The first person who tried it didn’t end very well.” (General laughter)

On the leader of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, not being allowed to see his lawyers privately, the President dispelled such insinuation, saying the detained separatist was being given every opportunity under the law “to justify all the uncomplimentary things he had been saying against Nigeria in Britain.”

He said: “He felt very safe in Britain, and said awful things against Nigeria. We eventually got him when he stepped out of the United Kingdom, and we sent him to court.

“Let him defend all that he has said there. His lawyers have access to him. Remember he jumped bail before, how are we sure he won’t do it again, if he’s admitted to bail?”

On the keenness expressed by the Prime Minister to help Nigeria in the area of security, the President said helping to stabilize Libya could be an initial good step, as the fall of Muammar Gadaffi after 42 years in power unleashed his armed guards on countries in the Sahel, “and they are causing havoc everywhere, as the only thing they know how to do is to shoot guns.”

On Boko Haram insurgency, the President said there was serious effort to educate the people on the fact that only an unserious person could kill innocent people, “and say Allah Akbar (God is Great).”

“God is justice. You can’t take innocent souls, and ascribe it to God. And the education process is working, the people now understand Boko Haram as anti-God, and not about religion,” he said.

Prime Minister Johnson said he was delighted about the good news on trade between the two countries, adding that the UK was further reducing tariffs on some goods going to Nigeria.

He described the relationship between the countries as “very strong attachment,” adding: “I just want to be sure that we are doing enough. It’s a massive partnership for us, and we need to capitalise on it.”

The Prime Minister offered condolences on some recent attacks in Nigeria, particularly on churches.


Osinbajo leads NEC, ECOWAS on new strategy for human devt in West Africa

Determined to significantly improve the human development indices in West Africa, the National Economic Council (NEC) chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) is hosting an international forum to launch the Integrated Regional Human Capital Development Strategy.

The conference scheduled for Abuja today, Thursday, June 23, 2022, will have in attendance leaders in the public and private sectors across the ECOWAS sub-region, reviewing strategies on human capital development, while the launch of the integrated strategy document will be the highpoint of the event.

Other partners participating in the forum include the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office; the World Bank; Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Aliko Dangote Foundation, among others.

Nigeria’s HCD programme was launched in March 2018 by the National Economic Council (NEC). It conceptualized the HCD programme with the realization that human capital development plays a critical role in addressing poverty and ensures participatory and sustainable economic growth.

The goal of the National HCD Vision – which was launched at an extended meeting of NEC focused on the Human Capital Development in December 2018 – is for “Healthy, Educated and Productive Nigerians by the Year 2030,” with targets across three thematic areas; namely Health and Nutrition, Education and Labour Force Participation.

Ahead of the Thursday’s forum on Integrated Regional Human Capital Development Strategy, Prof. Osinbajo has urged improved cooperation among West African countries to address the issues of healthcare access, out-of-school children among other human development indices.

The Vice President stated this Wednesday when he received the Prime Minister of Guinea-Bissau, Mr Nuno Gomes Nabiam, on a courtesy visit to the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The Prime Minister is visiting Nigeria to attend a meeting on ECOWAS Integrated Regional Human Capital Development.

Thanking Mr Nabiam for honouring the invitation to attend the conference, the Vice President said “the Human Capital Development meeting is very important; it is an opportunity to share experience and help each other.”

Prof. Osinbajo noted that Nigeria’s “National Economic Council (NEC) has done a lot of work on Human Capital Development, focusing on various challenges including questions aroundout of school and healthcare access.”

On his part, the Prime Minister extolled the leadership qualities of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, stating that “what the President of Nigeria and Vice President are doing inspires us too.”