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Saturday, August 1

Nigerians troops mop up Dikwa, environs – Army

Colonel Sani Kukasheka, acting Director, Army Public Relations, said troops of 7 Div. Nigerian Army have mopped up Dikwa and environs of Boko Haram terrorists.

Kukasheka, who disclosed this in a statement issued on Saturday in Abuja, said the troops recovered four Toyota Hilux vehicles.

He said that they also discovered that the terrorists had converted the abandoned Chemistry laboratory of Dikwa College of Education into an Improvised Explosives Devices making factory.

“Some of the equipment recovered from the laboratory include a welding machine and mine detector.
“The gallant troops are in a very high spirit and more determined to further pursue the fleeing terrorists to all known enclaves and sanctuaries,” he said.
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Buhari vows to defeat Boko Haram by the end of this year

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that Boko Haram will be defeated hopeful by end of this year.

Buhari spoke in Cotonou on Saturday during a gala lunch held in honour by the President of Benin Republic, Boni Yayi.

He expressed optimism that the Multi-national Joint Task Force, MNJTF launched in Cameroon on Thursday would start yielding fruits soon.

This is as Yayi who described his country as the 37th State of Nigeria assured president Buhari that 800 troops would be contributed to the Joint Task Force by his country in the all-out-assault on insurgents.

While commending the gesture by Yayi, Buhari said “and I assure you that we will defeat Boko Haram by the end of this year”.

President Buhari who was on a one-day official visit to Cotonou as the special guest of honour at the 55th independence anniversary of Benin Republic was bestowed with the national honor of the Republic of Benin.

Nigeria’s president recalled that both countries have maintained peace over the years even when he was a military Head of State.

He said: “I am impressed by your concern and critical approaches by increasing your contributions to the multinational task force of the Lake Chad Commission. This is a great sacrifice on the part of the Benin Republic….

“Even in my first coming into office under a different arrangement, we have learnt to live in peace with our neighbours. Within the week I was sworn in, I went to Niger, Chad. I was supposed to go to Cameroon but I was summoned by the G7 leaders to brief them about the security situation in Nigeria concerning Boko Haram which declared allegiance to ISIS which gives it international dimension”.
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PDP workers blast Olisa Metuh, accuse him of working against GEJ during last election

PDP staff members who have been threatened with sack by the party's management following non availability of funds to pay their salaries, have come hard on the party's national publicity secretary, Oliseh Metuh for saying their public outright over their unpaid salaries and possible retrenchment is being sponsored by APC.

In a statement released today by members of staff of the party under the aegis, Peoples Democratic Party Staff Welfare Association and signed by the association's chairperson, Ngozi Nze, the workers alleged that Mr Olisa Metuh betrayed ex president Jonathan during the election campaign period because he, GEJ, refused to make him Metuh his campaign spokesperson.

They also debunked rumors that they are being sponsored by APC.

Read full statement below...

“We are not surprised that the allegation will become the most fashionable means of covering tracks. wide window into the impressionable character of the man who has been in saddle as the party’s image-maker and an ominous signpost into the shallow manner the publicity of the party has been run”. We wish to state that this is a man whose conduct, demeanour and media outings have been a repulse to professionalism and a source of embarrassment to party members.

We therefore place on record that the majority of the establishment staff of the PDP are not just unrepentant members of the party who have spent over sixteen years in service; who have assimilated the PDP ethos as a way of political life but are also the repository of the party’s institutional memory whose spirit can hardly succumb to the ephemerality of power loss. Who plays anti-party you may ask? Staff members who are genuinely resisting the morally repugnant and obsessively corrupt NWC so that the PDP will survive or the likes of Olisa Metuh who has a track record of anti-party given his open endorsement of APGA candidate in 2013 Anambra governorship election, the subsequent denigration of PDP candidate and his chances on live television program less than 24 hours after the election, even as the result was being awaited?

Earlier in January 2010, Anambra governorship election, Metuh as National Vice Chairman, South East, abandoned Chukwuma Soludo, the PDP candidate while openly galvanizing support for Hope Democratic Party candidate, his friend and benefactor. The PDP did not only woefully lose in Otolo Nnewi Ward 1 of the Party’s zonal vice Chairman but came a distant third in his polling booth! What a faithful party officer! Again, we have incontrovertible evidence that the man who is PDP Publicity Secretary worked assiduously against the presidential candidate of the PDP, former President Goodluck Jonathan, in the last election in order to requite the ex-President for rejecting him as Director of Publicity of the Presidential Campaign which was given to Femi Kayode, a development which came after Metuh had squandered a whooping sum of 450 million naira media fund earlier approved for the office of PDP Publicity Secretary by President Jonathan.

Last week’s controversial congresses in Anambra is another signpost to the destructive trajectory which the likes of Olisa Metuh is driving the PDP to. The chairman of the congress, Ike Abonyi, no doubt a veteran journalist is at present in Olisa Metuh’s employ as his media adviser. Another member of the committee, Collet Odenigbo is Metuh’s friend and adjutant on special assignments while the man returned as State Organizing Secretary, Sam Ben, is Metuh’s personal assistant. The process was so personalized to the chagrin of party members, especially leaders who were also illegally compelled to part with certain amount of money.

As we write, the party is still waiting for the result of the congresses a week after it was held, pending when Metuh is done with his conclave of distortion and extortion. This is the same man who we reliably gathered, is surreptitiously scheming to emerge as the Organizing Secretary of the party next year. To do what? Turn the party organization into Idumota Market and institutionalize exaction, graft and impunity.

This is a man who started in 1999 as a zonal youth leader, then National Ex-officio, Acting National Auditor, Zonal Vice Chairman and now publicity secretary. It is either his umbilical cord was buried at Wadata Plaza or that he can’t survive on any other thing except the PDP.

We make bold to add that the worst form of anti-party is the mindless plunder of the party resources by the NWC which Olisa Metuh is an integral part of, in fact the leader of the body’s extortion gang. Recall that the same man was the Chairman of Kogi State congresses which held last week and match it with the fact that the widely rumoured request for One billion Naira from the State governor emanated the same week. Indeed labeling the staff of the PDP could be a veiled attempt to justify the huge sum of 70 million naira which Metuh collected in July in the name of fighting the APC in the media. We wish to therefore advise him and the NWC to respond to gritty issues raised in our press briefing without which the fortunes of the party will continue to dwindle,” the workers said.
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Lagos hotelier’s son dies in hotel room

The Operations Manager of Maybeny Hotel at Ire-Akari Road in Isolo, Lagos, Mr. Uche Egwuenu, was found dead in one of the rooms in the hotel on Saturday, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

A source close to the hotel told NAN in Lagos that the deceased was the son of the owner of the hotel, whose name was given simply as Chief Egwuenu.

The source said, “The deceased was last seen in the early hours of Friday before locking himself up in one of the rooms. Nobody heard from him throughout Friday.

“The assistant manager and other staff of the hotel reported the matter at the Isolo Divisional Police Headquarters, which prompted the DPO’s visit to the hotel for assessment.

“The DPO and others forced the room open and Uche was found dead and swollen on the bed, an indication that he died more than 24 hours before discovery.

“White liquid substance suspected to be hard drugs, diary and a bottle of Orijin drink with mixed liquid, were recovered from the room.”

When NAN visited the hotel at about 3pm on Saturday, a wedding reception was on, an indication that the visitors were not aware of the incident.

Efforts by NAN to speak with the management of the hotel proved abortive as people at the reception claimed that such incident did not happen at the hotel.

However, the Lagos State Police Command’s Public Relations Officer, Patricia Amadin, confirmed the incident.

She said policemen from the Isolo Division had deposited the corpse at the Isolo General Hospital Mortuary for autopsy.

Amadin, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, added that the police would investigate the circumstances surrounding the death.
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IN PICTURES: Buhari and Boni Yayi celebrate Benin Republic's 55th Independence Day Anniversary

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IN PICTURES: Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo visits IDP camp school in Kano

Nigeria's Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo on saturday visited the Mariri IDP camp school in Kano state.

The school was set up to provide quality education for children who lost their parents/guardians in various Boko Haram attacks.

The school runs with a full curriculum as other schools.

 According to Garba Shehu, the VP visit to the school was to commiserate and show the Government's support for Internally Displaced Persons in the state.

More pictures below...

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Boko Haram turns college of education’s chemistry laboratory into bomb making factory

The Nigerian Army has uncovered an abandoned college of education’s chemistry laboratory in Borno State which the terrorist group, Boko Haram, has turned into an improvised explosive devices factory.

The latest discovery was made during the clear-out of the terrorist group from Dikwa, which was recently liberated by the Nigerian troops, according to the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations and spokesman for the 7 Division, Nigerian Army, Col. Tukur Gusau, in Maiduguri.

Gusau, in a statement on Saturday, said, “Troops of the 7 Division, Nigerian Army, conducting mop-up operations to clear Dikwa and environs of Boko Haram terrorists, recovered 4 Toyota Hilux vehicles today (Saturday).

“They also discovered that the terrorists have converted the abandoned Chemistry laboratories of Dikwa College of Education into an Improvised Explosives Devices making factory.

“Some of the equipment recovered from the laboratories include a welding machine and mine detector.

“The gallant troops are in a very high spirit and more determined to further pursue the fleeing terrorists to all known enclaves and sanctuaries.”
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Nigerian rapper, Reminisce Loses Dad

Nigerian indigenous rap star Remilekun Shafaru, popularly known as Reminisce, has lost his father, Alhaji A.A Shafaru.

The rapper announced the passing on of his dad early Saturday via an Instagram post with picture of the deceased and a caption which reads: “Inna lillahi wa inallah-e-raji’oon. #RIP ALHAJI A . A . SAFARU. #DADDYMI.”

Reminisce, also known as ‘Baba Hafusa’, dedicated a song “Daddy Mi” (featuring Davido) off his sophomore album, to his father.

Already, colleagues and fans of versatile rapper and Samsung ambassador have been commiserating with him.

Alhaji Safaru was buried on Saturday according to Islamic rites.
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Ile-Ife: Anxiety mounts, women remain indoors as Oro festival enters second day

Many women in the ancient town of Ile-Ife remained indoors on Saturday as the annual Oro festival entered its second day.

Although a palace source told NAN on condition of anonymity that the festival had nothing to do with the rumoured death of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, the women believed otherwise.
NAN reports that some national dailies last Wednesday were agog with the news of the death of the Ooni, but was vehemently denied by the traditional council of the ancient town.

The commencement of Oro festival on Friday night, which is to last for seven days, further fueled speculations and anxiety about the monarch’s demise.

Oro is a deity worshipped across Yoruba land, which forbids women from going out at night during the period of the festival.

Although women were only forbidden to go out at night during the traditional festival, some women told NAN that it was better to be on the safe side by staying indoors during the period than to be caught and probably used as sacrifice.

Mrs Rebecca Olaide, a market woman, said she would remain indoors to avoid any unexpected circumstance.

Olaide said she had asked her eldest son to help her to manage her business until the festival was over.

Another woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said she had restricted her movement because of the Oro festival.

She said the Oro festival might not be unconnected with the reported demise of the monarch.
Another lfe resident who simply identified herself as Sade, said she had decided to remain within her vicinity to avoid any unexpected happening.

She said “although women were asked not to go out only at night, I decided not go out during the day too until the festival is over.”

However, palace source said the Oro was an annual festival in the town to appease the gods to ward off evil and usher in an era of prosperity.

The source said people in Ile-Ife usually celebrate Oro festival and other traditional festivals like Olojo, Orunmila, Edi, Oranmiyan, Esu, Obatala among others annually.

He said the celebration of Oro festival had nothing to do with the controversial news about the demise of the Ooni.

“The Oro festival does not have anything to do with the reported death of the royal father.
“It is a annual festival in the town which normally holds for seven days and it is taboo for young and old females to go out during the period.

“During this period, traditionalists will perform necessary rituals that will make the town more peaceful,” he said.

The source, who maintained that the monarch was still alive, said the closure of markets for businesses and ringing of special bell were the two major significant signs to indicate an Ooni had joined his ancestors.

Meanwhile, NAN learnt that the traditional festival coincided with the funeral of the head of hunters in the ancient town called Balogun in the cradle of Yoruba race.

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MFM splashes N91m on members with First Class

The Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries on Saturday gave out financial rewards of N91m to its members who graduated in First Class from different universities across the country.

The General Overseer of MFM, Dr Daniel Olukoya, made the announcement in Lagos at the monthly live broadcast programme of the church, tagged, ‘Power Must Change Hand’, which was monitored in Abuja.

He said 180 First Class graduates in the 2014 academic year and two others, who received NYSC Presidential honours after completing the National Youth Service Corps scheme, would get N500,000 each.

Olukoya said the First Class honours award, which started with 12 students, had risen to 180, explaining that it was meant to encourage hard work among students.

He said the award was put in place to reward members of MFM, who were dedicated to their academic work, while also creating time to serve God.

A pastor, Shade Olukoya, and Vice Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Prof. Bamitale Omole, presented the award to the recipients.

Omole lauded the recipients for their dedication to their academic work and also serving God.

He commended the students for making themselves, families and the church of God proud through their hard work.

Omole urged the recipients to appreciate the grace of God upon their lives, noting that many of their peers, who started with them, could not complete their courses for different reasons.

He called on other churches to emulate MFM by encouraging hardworking students through similar awards.
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DSS arrests 28 kidnap masterminds in six days

The Department of State Services has arrested 28 suspected kidnappers nationwide within six days.

The service stated that it apprehended the suspects across various states in the South-South, South-West and the North-West regions between July 20 and 26, 2015.

A statement by one Tony Opuiyo on Saturday in Abuja, said the DSS line with its statutory mandate, initiated series of special tactical operations in states prone to the nefarious activities of criminal gangs.

The operations, it added, succeeded in the capture of the masterminds and other facilitators of kidnapping syndicates among whom is one Victor Afikparobo, who was picked up on July 20, 2015 at Owheologbo, Isoko North LGA of Delta State.

The suspect, the DSS added, was a key member of the ‘Federal’ gang, a kidnap syndicate which perpetrated series of kidnap incidents within the Ikorodu/Otta axis of Lagos State, adding that the arrest had given further leads to the gang leader of the Federal kidnap syndicate.

The service further claimed to have arrested three suspects, including one John Felix (a.k.a. Austin), Rowson Anufa (a.k.a. Amori) and Obukoko Emoabe, a local herbalist to the group on July 22 at Ovara Orugun village in Ughelli North LGA, Delta State.

The trio are key members of the kidnap gang that terrorised the Lagos-Ikorodu road, and Owo, Ondo State, the agency stated.

On July, 24, the DSS also apprehended Joseph Ojobor (a.k.a Chairman), the leader of the Lagos cell of the ‘Federal’ kidnap syndicate at Uduere, village in Ughelli North LGA, Delta State.

The DSS said he had also been linked to some incidents of illegal bunkering and pipeline vandalism.

It said, ”

Also, on the same July 24, at about 0500 hours, the team arrested another member of the Lagos cell of the ‘Federal’ kidnap syndicate, one Timothy Japheth in his house at Onokpasa Avenue in Okhan village in Ughelli North LGA, Delta State.

“Earlier, on July 19, another member of the notorious gang, one Howell Anufa, was apprehended by the service. The suspect was instrumental to the kidnap of the Regent of Akungba Akoko in Ondo State.

“Anufa also participated in the spate of kidnap incidents, carried out by the gang in Lagos and Ogun states respectively, before he relocated to Warri, Delta State, where he was eventually arrested.”
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Ekiti warns ‘Fayose boys’ over attacks on residents

Political violence returned to Ekiti State on Friday as innocent persons were allegedly attacked at various locations in the state.

The Ekiti State Government has, however, called on security agencies and residents to help in arresting the people claiming to be Governor Ayodele Fayose boys.

In a statement on Saturday, the governor’s Special Adviser on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, raised the alarm over some unscrupulous people now attacking innocent people, “claiming that Governor Ayodele Fayose sent them.”

The State Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Tope Aluko, had on Friday told newsmen how he escaped assassination attempt at the PDP secretariat in Ado Ekiti.

In a telephone interview with newsmen on Friday night, Aluko said, “I came out of the car and was moving towards the office when the people came from their hideout and opened fire at me in company with one of my aides. We quickly ran for cover.

“The assassins quickly escaped from the scene in a car parked across the road, probably thinking we won’t survive the attack.”

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Alberto Adeyemi, however, said he had yet to receive any report on the incident.

On Saturday, the state government, in the statement, said, “One Prince Bunmi Ademolaju was attacked at a popular hotel in Ado-Ekiti on Friday.

The government statement read in part, “The Ekiti State Government wishes to inform the general public that some unscrupulous people now go about attacking innocent residents of the state, claiming that Governor Ayodele Fayose sent them.

“Yesterday, Friday, July 31, one Prince Bunmi Ademolaju was attacked at a popular hotel in Ado-Ekiti. Those who attacked him were said to have shouted that they were Governor Fayose’s boys.

“We have it on good authority that the plot of these unscrupulous elements is to go about attacking notable indigenes of Ekiti State and claiming that they were sent by Governor Fayose.”

The government, who distanced itself from the reported attacks, said the trend might be another plot to discredit Fayose by those who had lost every war they waged against him.

it added, “By announcing that they were Governor Fayose’s boys, the motive of the criminals has no doubt been exposed, and it cannot be anything other than to set the people against the governor.

“We therefore wish to state categorically that Governor Fayose does not harbour criminals. He does not have boys anywhere, not to talk of sending them to attack innocent residents of Ekiti State.

“Anyone caught attacking or assaulting residents of Ekiti State in the name of ‘Governor Fayose’s Boys’ should be apprehended and handed over to law enforcement agents for appropriate action.

“Once again, we state that Governor Fayose does not habour criminals under whatever guise.

“Ekiti people and the law enforcement agents should take note of this new trend of criminality obviously coming from those whose only interest is to make Ekiti State impossible just because they lost power.”
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Egypt jails 300 Brotherhood supporters

An Egyptian court sentenced on Saturday 300 loyalists of the currently-blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood group of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi from three to 10 years in prison over violence charges, official MENA news agency reported.

Zagazig Criminal Court in Sharqiya province, Morsi’s hometown, sentenced 31 to 10 years and 269 to three years after being convicted of inciting and committing acts of violence, possessing weapons and belonging to the Brotherhood group.

Meanwhile, another criminal court in Giza, near the capital Cairo, delayed the trial of 379 Brotherhood members and supporters over weapon possession, murder and vandalism charges during a 2013 pro-Morsi sit-in to Oct. 18 to enable their lawyers to read the case and prepare for defense.

Morsi was removed by the military in July 2013 after mass protests against his one-year rule. His Muslim Brotherhood group was eventually designated as “a terrorist group” after growing terror activities prevailed in the country following Morsi’s ouster.

Earlier in June, a court confirmed the death sentence against Morsi over mass jailbreak during the 2011 uprising that toppled long-time ex-leader Hosni Mubarak, besides handing mass death sentences to other Brotherhood members and supporters.

In its annual report released in late May, Egypt’s National Council for Human Rights said that the violence since Morsi’s removal has resulted in the death of 2,600 people, including 700 police and army men, 550 civilians and 1,250 Brotherhood members and supporters.

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Buhari's wife donates money to Gombe blast victims

Wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, has donated undisclosed amount of money to 48 victims of the recent Gombe bomb blast admitted at the Federal Teaching and Specialists’ Hospital, Gombe State.

Hajiya Aisha Jibir, member representing Dukku/Nafada Federal constituency of Gombe State, presented the money on Saturday in Gombe, on behalf of the First Lady.

Jibir told the victims that she was sent by the President’s wife to commiserate with them and gave them a token assistance.

“The President’s wife was told about your conditions and being a caring mother, she decided to assist.

“The amount is just a token to help relieve you of the suffering you are encountering.

“She also prayed for the soul of those that lost their lives in the blast, to rest in peace,” she told the victims.

Medical Director of the hospital, Dr. Abubakar Sa’ad, commended the President’s wife for reaching out to the affected people.

He said a total of 48 victims of the blast were receiving and responding to treatment at the hospital.

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APC is a party of shameless, desperate liars – PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), as a party of shameless and desperate liars.

The party berated the APC for sticking to its lies and empty denials despite overwhelming evidences that the new Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Alhaji Lawal Daura is an APC member.

PDP National Publicity Secretary Chief Olisa Metuh in a statement on Saturday said the spate of lies chunked out by the APC and its spokesperson, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in the desperation to suppress the truth is not only reprehensible but also symptomatic of lack of character.

"When the matter first came up, the APC spokesman hurriedly went on air on RayPower radio wherein he stated categorically to the nation that he never knew or met "the man", and that "the man" has never had any contact or dealing whatsoever with the APC as a party before his appointment as DSS Director General.

"When we came up with the newspaper advertorial sponsored by the APC wherein it announced Alhaji Daura as a member of its campaign Intelligence Committee, a very important position vested on him by virtue of his membership of the party, as well as pictures of him with other members of the committee, Lai Mohammed started singing a new tone, insulted PDP leaders as hallucinating out of poverty and asked PDP to produce Daura's membership card and evidence of registration.

 "We ask, is APC demanding that the PDP invade Daura's house to get his personal card? Or that we should go to Daura to get the APC ward register?  How on earth does the APC spokesperson want us to go and ask a man in charge of arresting and detaining people who hold views contrary to those of his party and government to give us his party membership card? How on earth can the PDP request and get the APC membership register in Daura's ward? Who do Lai Mohammed and the APC think they are fooling?  Nigerians?" the PDP queried.
The PDP noted that in his lame effort to defend his party, the APC spokesman either intentionally lied or exhibited crass ignorance by trying to equate the DSS with the National Orientation Agency (NOA), the Police Service Commission (PCC), or the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) where a Democrat, Mr. Leon Panetta was named by President Obama as head.
"Perhaps Mr. Lai Mohammed needs to constantly update and crosscheck his facts. We wish to inform him and the APC that there is a great difference between the CIA and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) after which the Nigerian DSS was fashioned.

"Whereas the US FBI and the Nigerian DSS are vested with the statutory tasks of providing domestic intelligence, security service and criminal investigations among others for the state and can be equated with the British M15 and Russian FSB, all of which have their headships insulated from politics, the CIA on the other hand is vested with collecting of intelligence overseas, the same role as Nigeria's National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

"Furthermore, the NOA and PCC are agencies that have no powers to investigate, arrest or detain, neither can they be used to harass, hound or intimidate. Also, we wish to remind Lai Mohammed that Mr. Mike Omeri, in writing, declined the appointment into the PDP campaign committee because of his position as Director General of the NOA. We note therefore that in drawing his comparisons, Mr. Mohammed either exhibited high level ignorance or acted ostensibly to deceive Nigerians yet again.
"Severally in the past, we have exposed Lai Mohammed in terms of lies but instead of retracing his steps, he keeps on moving from one 'lai' to the other. Only in May this year, Lai Mohammed nearly derailed the transition programme when he issued a false statement alleging that the APC team was being frustrated, just for the head of the APC's Transition Committee, Alhaji Ahmed Joda to announce that there was nothing of such.

"Nigerians have not forgotten how Lai Mohammed had in June 2014 issued a statement wherein he alleged that a plane carrying Kano state Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso to attend an APC rally in Ekiti was denied landing permission in Akure, only for Kwankwaso's Director of Press Affairs, Baba Dantiye to announce that his boss was at another event in Kano and had no plans to travel to Ekiti state.

"The APC spokesman should know that being a spokesperson of a political party does not mean he should be dishing out lies. He should shed his unnecessary arrogance and understand that the APC did not win the Presidential election on account of his lies and deceit. In fact, this constant falsehood has become a huge embarrassment and source of worry for responsible and respectable persons in the APC.

"Quite often, he boasts of arranging a course for the opposition. We ask, is he arranging a course in lies? For the umpteenth time, let us inform him and the APC that the PDP does not need their course on the spreading of hatred and strife with lies, propaganda and deceit. Our form of opposition is focused only on constructive criticisms while presenting credible alternatives to the policies and programmes of the present administration.

"Our worry however is that the APC spokesperson has so negatively influenced some hundreds of young people who now engage in abuses as a model for effective communication and this is not healthy for the polity. We urge Nigerians to purge themselves of this poisonous mode of communication so that we can have credible and decorous political discourse in this country" the party said.

The PDP insisted that in appointing its member to head the DSS, a very sensitive security agency vested with numerous powers, the APC has annexed the Service as a tool to suppress the opposition and other Nigerians who hold views contrary to that of government, thus preparing the ground for dictatorship and a reign of terror on the people.

"No wonder we are now witnessing invasions of houses of PDP members as well as harassments, arrests and detentions of electoral officers and tribunal members in Akwa-Ibom, Rivers and other PDP state where the APC is desperate to upturn our electoral victory at all cost and by any means", it stated.

The party however restated that no amount of harassment and threats or conniving with people, whether disgruntled PDP members or staff, can intimidate, blackmail or distract the PDP from discharging its duty to Nigerians, of providing constructive and credible opposition to the policies and programmes of the present administration.

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Osinbajo pledges support for IDPs

The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Saturday in Kano, told the Children displaced by insurgency not to lose hope as the Federal Government was committed to providing for their future.

Osinbajo gave this indication at the Internally Displaced Persons' School in Mariri, Kano, where some 100 children from Borno were receiving education and psychological therapy, courtesy of the Kano State Government.

According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari's administration is committed to the Presidential Initiative for the North East (PINE) Project to take care of all those affected by insurgency in the country.

He recalled the interaction the President had with the PINE Committee headed by Gen. Theophilus Danjuma in Abuja, adding that besides educating the children, government was interested in rebuilding places destroyed by terrorists.

He said PINE was a huge plan that had immediate, medium and long term plans.

He added that, part of that is the education of children who are displaced. Part of that also is resettlement, the rebuilding of homes and bridges and de-mining of farms."

The vice president said several farms in the North East had been planted with mines by the insurgents and that it was the plan of the Federal Government to remove all the impediments in the land.

He said government was doing a comprehensive de-mining of the affected areas to enable the displaced persons to return to their communities to resume their businesses and economic activities, including farming.

He explained that the IDP school established by the Kano State Government was a creative and humanitarian project, given the circumstances of the children.

He noted that the Kano State Government had demonstrated to others how to show concern for the future of the children.

He said, "despite everything that has happened to them, it is obvious that the children's future is bright."
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Nigeria assumes UN Security Council presidency

Nigeria will today, assume the one-month rotational Presidency of the United Nations (UN) Security Council as the country’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof. Joy Ogwu, takes over from Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen, the Permanent Representative of New Zealand, who held the Presidency for the month of July, 2015.

 In a statement yesterday, by the Spokesperson to Mrs Ogwu, Dr. Tope Adeleye Elias-Fatile, said this will be the first time in the history of the UN that an elected member of the Security Council would assume presidency of the Council for the 4th time in two separate tenures within 5 years.

 Nigeria was elected a non-permanent member of the Council on 17 October, 2013, and is serving for the period 2014 – 2015. “This is the fifth time since independence that Nigeria has been elected to serve on this most powerful decision-making organ of the United Nations charged with the responsibility of maintaining international peace and security. Nigeria previously served on the Council from 1966 – 1967, 1978 – 1979, 1994 – 1995 and 2011 – 2012.

 “Nigeria’s return to the Council in January 2014, after having left only in December 2012, represents one of the shortest periods in the annals of the United Nations that a Member State has spent between two terms on the Council. This is even more remarkable as it is occurring under the institutional memory of the same Permanent Representative, Ambassador U. Joy Ogwu.

 “Nigeria currently holds the chair of two Security Council Committees: The Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 2048 (2012) concerning Guinea-Bissau and Iraq Sanctions Committee pursuant to resolution 1518 (2003).

In addition, Nigeria is one of the three vice-chairs of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004), concerning the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and one of the two vice-chairs of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005) concerning Sudan,” it reads.

 It said wide consultations with various stakeholders had begun on Monday 27th of July, 2015 towards Nigeria’s assumption of the presidency of the Council. “With the support of other members of the Council, Nigeria will use its month-long presidency to actively promote the cause of international peace and security in line with the principles of the UN Charter and the mandate of the Council,” the statement concluded. ]
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The first person Buhari nabs for corruption won’t find it funny - Presidency

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina was until his appointment the managing director of Sun Newspapers and concurrently, the president of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE.

In this interview, by Bashir Adefaka, the presidential spokesman responds to issues on the pace and pattern of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.


How do you think the press and the executive arm of government can collaborate to move the country forward?

I think that cooperation is very, very important. You see, recently the relationship between the First Estate and the Fourth Estate had been downright adversarial and if it was not adversarial, it was suspicious. It is better today than it has ever been in the history of the country. We know that the country had been under long military rule during which the executive and the media were never friends.

We still have vestiges of that even now, but then things are fairly better than they have ever been. And I believe that under this administration, it will be a lot better. Don’t forget that the very day that President Buhari resumed at this Presidential Villa was also the day he visited the State House Press Corp in the gallery where they stay. It was some sort of wonderment for them because I heard a lot of them say openly that they had been covering this Villa for six, eight years and that they never received the President.

So, for President Buhari, to on the first day of his resumption in the Villa, to have paid the press people a courtesy visit, so to say, I think it foreshadows what is to come. It is going to be a pleasant relationship in the months and the years ahead. I read the column of one of them, I think Lekan Adetayo of The Punch, he narrated an account of the day they stayed very late at the Villa because there was a political meeting going on and when that meeting finished in the wee hours, the President (Buhari) passed by and he stopped by to greet them. He said members of the Press Corp appreciated that a lot because in the past, presidents would just walk by and would not give them a glance.

It shows that we are in for a good relationship. It does not mean that they will see the truth and will not talk. No, they are still going to be independent, they will report truly and factually but they are going to be treated as decent professionals. And it is going to be good for our country. Enough of adversarial relationship between the press and the executive!

What would be the signature programmes of this government?

Right from the campaign you knew the things that were dear to the heart of the president. I sat at an interview he also granted a television station and he reiterated those programmes. Of course you know that one of these is anti-corruption. He has always said unless Nigeria kills corruption that corruption will kill Nigeria.

So, anti-corruption is going to be very dear to his heart. I told some people privately that I pity the first person that President Buhari will catch in his anti-corruption drive (laughs). I pity the first person who is going to fall into this anti-corruption trap and that person is not going to find it funny.

And has he not caught the first person yet?

No. When he catches the first person, you will know publicly that there has been a catch, and he will look for more. If you have evidence that somebody has taken any major fund anywhere, and it comes to the knowledge of the President, you can be sure that he will also be dealt with. Gone are the days when people would be accused of stealing billions and trillions of Naira and it ends there and nothing comes out of it. You can be sure, not with this President, because anti-corruption is very, very dear to his heart.

Then, one thing that is also very dear to his heart is generating employment. He is concerned about the rate of unemployment in the country. He has said that about 60 percent of youths are unemployed. Youths that are the life blood of the economy, about 60 percent of them are out of jobs, or they are underpaid or disgruntled.

So, he looks forward to a situation where the country will be so fixed that jobs will be available, particularly to the youths and that also is tied to the economy. When the economy is properly fixed, it will reflect in the employment situation. So, he plans that the economy must be fixed and Nigeria will become robust. Now when the economy is robust, there will be opportunities aplenty. That is also very dear to the heart of the President. I have so many

references about things that are dear to his heart to be achieved for the good of Nigerians. One day I was talking with the President, if you hear what he expressed about power, he said, “Ah, if this government can fix power, it will touch every aspect of the lives of Nigerians. It will touch the artisans, touch everybody, touch industries everywhere.” And saw the passion with which he was talking about that power and I know that he will make it.

Nigerians are saying that power has improved even when it is believed that the Buhari administration has not started working on power. What does it portend?

You can say that he has not done anything yet about power and the refineries, but then, the truth is that things are falling in place. So if things are falling in place naturally, you can then imagine, when he unfolds policies in those areas, you can imagine how better things will get. There is something called the right atmosphere. I believe that the right atmosphere is responsible for the improvements that you are talking about all over the place.

There is apprehension that the failure to appoint ministers may be contributing to economic difficulties especially the slide of the naira?

Before, the talk was that there were no service chiefs but as we sit down and talk today we have service chiefs. Few days ago, we would have said there was no National Security Adviser but as we sit down and talk today there is an NSA.

That shows you that appointment is work in progress just as people expected new service chiefs, and it happened; they expected a new NSA and it happened, the same way ministers will come. It is constitutional to have ministers and this President will never violate the Constitution. He knows that it is constitutional to have a cabinet but this Constitution does not prescribe the maximum or minimum number of ministers for him to constitute his cabinet.

The Constitution, I assume, believes that a President is a responsible person and he will do what is needful. And, for now, things are moving because what the President has done is to empower the Permanent Secretaries to run the bureaucracy. So, all

the ministries are moving. I was with him when he instructed a permanent secretary that, “What your minister should have done, you must do now that the minister has not come.” So, he has empowered the permanent secretaries to take decisions but that is not to say that ministers will not come at the soonest of time……

Some are rejoicing that the civil service is getting strong…..?

(Cuts in) The civil service should be strengthened. The bureaucracy lubricates the system. If the bureaucracy is hampered in anyway, the system will be affected. So, it is good that the bureaucracy is strengthened. So, when ministers come, the bureaucracy can work with them, advise them properly and then things will move better. Not that the bureaucracy should be relegated to the background.

So it is good that the President has strengthened the bureaucracy and what ministers will then do is to collaborate with the bureaucracy and then move on. The second part of that question bordering on devaluation or no devaluation of Naira, you know that kind of decision is not a one-man decision. There must be an economic team which will also come and when the economic team sits down they would articulate a thrust. That policy thrust will determine the direction to take.

What is your reaction to insinuations that the president has tilted the appointments he has made towards the north?

Well, what I would say is that the North is part of this country just like the South is. No part should be marginalized. In the South, South-South, South-West, South-East should not be marginalized. In the North, North-East, North West, North-Central should not be marginalized. There should be fairness and equity in the country. If there is any President that believes in fairness, it is this one. He believes in being fair to everybody. The mandate he received is a national mandate.

Thankfully there is that portion of our Constitution, which makes it impossible for somebody, who has not scored popular votes, who has not scored enough votes in a broad section of the country to become President. Before President Buhari emerged, he satisfied that part of the Constitution. So he knows that he has a national mandate and he is going to exercise that mandate nationally.

Before the new service chiefs were appointed, the talk was that there had been nine appointments and only one was from The South. Ahead we are close to 500 appointments because, Federal boards alone are populated by 601 people. So, all those boards will be constituted, there will be cabinet of which the Constitution says at least one from each state, then ambassadorial postings, there are going to be personal aides, there are going to be so many appointments. So, when the President has just got nine, it is too early to cry woe!

One would have thought that the recent removal of the service chiefs would also affect the police boss. Why was he retained?

IGP (Solomon Arase) is one of the best, in fact, the very best in the force now and by virtue of being IGP he is going to be one of the best. And you know that the IGP is not just holding that office, he is an outstanding officer.

A lot of people pay tribute to him. So, for the President to have retained him, it shows that he knows his onion. I also pay tribute to him as a man of honour. He is a fantastic officer, and for the President to have retained him, I think it was a good decision. The President has the prerogative to change anybody he wants to change. For him to retain the IG, it means that the IG simply merits being retained.

Culled from Vanguard
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Who wins Sunday's Community Shield? Arsenal or Chelsea

Arsenal’s readiness to mount a sustained title challenge in 2015-16 will be tested at Wembley on Sunday when they face Premier League champions Chelsea in the Community Shield.

Arsene Wenger’s team finished last season at a gallop, winning 20 of their final 26 games in all competitions and retaining the FA Cup by swamping Aston Villa 4-0 in a one-sided final.

They have carried that momentum into pre-season, winning all four of their matches, and having finally addressed their longstanding goalkeeper problem by signing Petr Cech from Chelsea, optimism is abundant.

“We want to win the league, of course we do,” midfielder Jack Wilshere told the Arsenal website ahead of the English football season’s traditional opening fixture.

“We feel we’ve been together a few years now, we’ve brought in world-class players who have had time to settle, we’ve added a world-class ‘keeper with all of his experience — he’s been there and he’s done it; he’s won everything — so we really feel we’re in a strong position.”

Arsenal will be wary of false dawns, having dispatched then-champions Manchester City 3-0 in last season’s Community Shield, only to finish 12 points below Chelsea in the title race.

But Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho appears to consider them genuine contenders, if the comments he has launched in the direction of the Emirates Stadium in recent weeks are anything to go by.

Citing the arrivals of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, Mourinho claimed that anyone who totted up Arsenal’s transfer expenditure over the past few years would be in for a “surprise” and said that they were “more than ready” to challenge for the title.

Wenger, whose tetchy relationship with Mourinho spilled over into a touchline scuffle at Stamford Bridge last season, responded in sanguine fashion.

“I think what you want is not to listen too much to what people say,” said the Frenchman, who has not beaten Mourinho in 13 attempts.

“Because sometimes in the same week I get two different reproaches: one, I don’t spend enough and one, too much.”

– Sanchez, Welbeck out –

With the experienced Cech between the posts, Arsenal look much more robust defensively, the Czech international having been allowed to join a major rival due to his close relationship with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.

Cech, 33, spent 11 hugely successful years at Chelsea before being dislodged by Thibaut Courtois last season, winning four league titles and the 2012 Champions League, and former team-mate Branislav Ivanovic has urged the club’s fans not to jeer him.

“I hope they will give respect to him because he deserves it,” the Serbian defender told the Evening Standard newspaper.

“For 90 minutes the fans will support us. For sure, they will be on our side. Before and after the game, I hope and I’m sure they will give Petr respect.”

To date, Cech is the only new player that Arsenal have signed, but they announced on Friday that forward Theo Walcott and midfielder Santi Cazorla have penned new contracts.

Having finished last season with a flurry of goals and scored the winner against Wolfsburg in the Emirates Cup friendly tournament last weekend, Walcott will hope to start up front against Chelsea.
Sanchez will not feature, having been granted time off after scoring the decisive penalty in Chile’s Copa America triumph against Argentina on home soil, while Danny Welbeck remains out with a knee problem.

Arsenal’s supporters will hope for glimpses of young attacking trio Alex Iwobi, Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Chuba Akpom, all of whom have impressed in warm-up matches.

Mourinho revealed on Friday that centre-back Gary Cahill and last season’s top scorer Diego Costa will be fit to play despite sustaining injuries on the club’s pre-season tour of the United States.

Radamel Falcao is expected to make his first domestic appearance for Chelsea since signing on loan from Monaco following a torrid season at Manchester United that saw him score only four goals.
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Buhari exempts varsities’ boards from dissolution

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved that the Governing Councils of Federal Universities be exempted, for the time being, from the dissolution of Boards of Federal Government’s parastatals, agencies, institutions and government-owned companies announced on July 16, 2015.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement on Saturday.

He said all Vice Chancellors of federal universities have been duly informed of the exemption.

“All Vice Chancellors of federal universities have been informed of this exemption through a circular issued by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mr. Danladi Kifasi,” Adesina said.
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Police rescue eight pregnant girls from Delta baby factory

The Delta Police Command said on Saturday that it had discovered a “baby-production” factory in Asaba, arrested the operator, and rescued eight pregnant girls.

Spokesperson of the command, DSP Celestina Kalu, said in a statement in Asaba that the baby-making factory was discovered after detectives, acting on a tip-off, swooped on the premises.

“On July 30, 2015, Police detectives from GRA Division Asaba, while acting on a tip-off, raided a suspected baby factory opposite the Federal Radio Corporation, Asaba, and arrested its operator, Mr. John Ihezun.

“Detectives also arrested two boys, one Prince Chukwu and Obum Nwankwo, in the premises of the baby factory,” Kalu said.

The command said it found eight pregnant girls (names with-held).

The command said it had commenced investigations into the matter, saying that any person found to be involved, would be prosecuted.

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Flood destroys houses, crops worth N46m in Bauchi

Houses and crops worth N46.16 million have been destroyed by flood in Misau town and surrounding villages in Bauchi State.

Chairman, Misau Local Government Council in the state, Alhaji Ado Aska, made this known in Misau on Saturday, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria.

Aska disclosed that the incident, which occurred on July 28, destroyed 197 houses and crops worth N38.77 million in Misau town.

He explained that 52 houses and crops worth N7.39 million were also destroyed by the flood in Firko and Kafin Sule villages in the suburbs of Misau town.

He said persons displaced by the flood had taken refuge with their relations in various locations within Misau Town.

The chairman attributed the incident to poor drainage facilities, coupled with the porous nature of the soil within Misau town and its environs.

He said officials from the State Emergency Management Agency, had visited the affected areas and promised to assist with relief materials.

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Osama bin Laden’s relatives killed in plane crash

Four people have been killed after a private jet crashed in southern England, reportedly including deceased al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s half sister and stepmother.

The private plane owned by the bin Laden family overshot the runway when trying to land at Blackbushe airport in Hampshire on Friday morning. The plane crashed into a car auction site next to the airport.

Without confirming the identities of the victims, the Saudi Ambassador to Britain, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf Al Saud, offered condolences on the embassy’s official Twitter account to the bin Laden family, a prominent Saudi clan with vast business interests.

“His royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdul Aziz, the ambassador of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to the United Kingdom, offered his condolences to the sons of the late Mohammed bin Laden and their relations for the grave incident of the crash of the plane carrying members of the family at Balckbushe airport,” he said in the tweet.

Saudi media reported that the family members included Osama bin Laden’s half sister and stepmother.

(Al Jazeera)
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Kunle Afolayan becomes Air France brand ambassador

Award winning actor cum producer, Kunle Afolayan has concluded plans to shoot a new movie in collaboration with Air France . This is coming on the heels of his endorsement as the brand ambassador for Air-France.

According to Kunle, he decided to sign the deal with the brand because he believes that the relationship will help take Nollywood to the global market and he saw the connection between his brand and Air-France.

Speaking at the unveiling of the project to the media at Air France office, Lagos, during the week, Kunle Afolayan said that the journey was to take not just him as an individual globally, but to take Nollywood to other parts of the world through this means.

“The journey started when we went for Air-France sponsored, Nollywood festival in Paris, I met with the President of Air France and discussed with him briefly on a movie, (Figurine), that we wanted to do and we need airlines to sponsors us because the movie because, it will involve us travelling to Germany and other places. And out of all the airlines that we met, it was only Air-France that saw the vision in us.

When we came back to Nigeria they invited me and we agreed on the deal. The contract involves us doing a movie with the airline. So we are working on the movie which will be out next month. This I would say keys in well because we have people flying from one destination to the other for the movie production and being that they have passion for that, we would like to give them that platform to leverage on.

It is not just movie, we are going to create things, what ever Gold Pictures and Air-France believe in we are going to work that way. What we signed now lasts till the end of last year and if it works out well, we will continue. ,”. He said.

Responding, the Commercial Director, Air-France, Arthur Dieffenthaler, said that they are very pleased working with Kunle in this project. “Working with someone like Kunle Afolayan is a welcomed development to us. It will help us to connect to more people.

After our discussion with Kunle on a project, it connected with our core value of caring and investing in the culture of Nigeria and movie is the best way to expose peoples culture and tradition that was why we bought the idea. We also looked into quality knowing fully well that Kunle is a man that produces quality movies. The contract will last till the end of next year. We are looking forward to having a great time with him,” he said.
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IN PICTURES: Buhari departs Nigeria for a 1-day State visit to the Republic of Benin

President Buhari this morning departed Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport for a one day State visit to the Republic of Benin. According to Garba Shehu, The President will hold talks with President Boni Yayi as part of moves in strengthening regional cooperation against Boko Haram.

More pictures below...

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Reasons why US shunned Jonathan's government - Okorocha

The Imo State Governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha, has explained why the United States Government was not keen on supporting the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, especially in the fight against the Boko Haram sect.

Okorocha said the US government shunned Jonathan because it (the US) could not establish confidence and trust in the former President’s administration.

He, however, said the American government had promised to assist Nigeria in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency.

The governor, who was among the few individuals who accompanied President Mohammadu Buhari to the US recently, added that the American government had pledged to rebuild the states destroyed by the activities of the terror gang.

Okorocha said, “The US made it clear that it could not support the government of Jonathan because it was not comfortable with it.

“Now the American government has promised to help us fight the Boko Haram sect and provide for the Internally Displaced Persons.”

The governor, who spoke while interacting with journalists in Owerri, the Imo State capital, said the meeting between Nigeria and the US would enhance robust relationship.

While describing Buhari’s visit to the US as the best so far made by any government, Okorocha said he was delighted when the US President, Barak Obama, described Buhari as a man of integrity and honour.

He said, “I felt like singing the national anthem when Obama described our President as a man of integrity and honour; the trip to America is the best outing any President has made outside Nigeria.”
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4.5 million Nigerians in North-East risk hunger – UNDP

At least 4.5 million people are at risk of going hungry in the North-Eastern Nigeria due to the Boko Haram insurgency.

The United Nations Development Programme stated this on Friday while saying it had begun to implement a programme that would create hundreds of jobs and promote peace and social cohesion among conflict-affected communities in the zone.

The United Nations agency said, “The violence in the North-East has destroyed lives and communities and displaced 1.4 million people, while 4.5 million are at risk of going hungry. Funded by the Government of Norway to the tune of $1.7m (N338.3m), the programme will help communities in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states to make a living, as well as establish new networks to prevent conflict and promote dialogue.

“The UNDP will train an initial 500 women and youths so they can acquire the skills to work in a diversity of trades and disciplines, including producing metals, electrical installation, plumbing, computer and cell phone repair and catering.

“Many of them will also learn how to do book-keeping and accounting so they can operate small businesses of their own. With the economy in these three states at a standstill, and the livelihoods of communities and households disrupted, the jobs will go a long way toward helping families to sustain themselves and restart their lives once the conflict has ended.”

Working through the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation, the UNDP is also providing seeds, equipment and training so that 1,400 Internally Displaced Persons in Adamawa and Borno states can grow and sell their own food.

The programme is also expected to establish an early warning system in the three states including Gombe State, allowing people to report incidents through text messages and dedicated social media platforms.

The UNDP said, “The information will immediately be collected by monitors within the respective States, who will transmit it to relevant authorities for follow-up action. In order to help prevent and resolve conflicts, programme participants will be trained in various aspects of conflict prevention and transformation, and community outreach. Thanks to the programme, psychosocial counselling and support for trauma healing will be dispensed to victims of violence, including many women and girls.”

In early July, the UNDP, working with local partners, began to screen victims of the insurgency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, identifying close to 300 of them as eligible to participate in the programme. This exercise will continue in the coming weeks so as to identify more victims to be supported.

UNDP will work with beneficiaries for an initial period of six months to one year. They will be given secure accommodation and paid a monthly stipend of $100 (N19, 900) for the entire period of the training. At the end of the training, they will be assisted with equipment to establish their own businesses.

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Multi National Joint Task Force will defeat Boko Haram - Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said with the coming on board of the Multi National Joint Task Force which has been established under the auspices of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, Nigeria and neighbouring countries are now on a better stead to defeat the Boko Haram sect.

According to him, with the formation of the stronger regional coalition, the countries in the region have an increased capacity to deal effectively with the sect and other terrorist groups.

A statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, quoted the President as speaking while granting audience to the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa, Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Adesina said Buhari reaffirmed his belief that the full activation and deployment of the joint task force would lead to the speedy defeat and elimination of Boko Haram.

The President added that with the Command and Control Centre of the Nigerian military now in Maiduguri, Borno State, the morale of troops in the front-line states had improved significantly.

“You can tell the Secretary-General that we are doing our best and our best will be good enough for the nation and the sub-region,’’ Buhari told Chambas.

Against the background of upcoming elections in Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea and Burkina Faso, the President also called on the UN to assist African countries in the acquisition and use of innovative technologies to ensure more credible elections.

“When citizens recognise that their votes count, it will boost their confidence in democracy and their countries’ electoral systems,” he said.

Recalling that in the last general elections in Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission used smart card readers to authenticate prospective voters, President Buhari observed that while Nigeria could afford the use of such technology in its elections, other African countries may require support and assistance from the international community.

Chambas commended Buhari for his strong and positive actions against terrorism.

The UN envoy also welcomed the President’s successful visit to Cameroon this week and his reaffirmation of Nigeria’s commitment to the peaceful resolution of all border issues with Cameroon.
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Anxiety heightens over the death of the Ooni as Oro Festival begins in Ife

The anxiety surrounding the demise of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, has continued to heighten as worshippers of Oro began the annual festival in the ancient town on Friday night.

Oro is a deity worshipped across Yoruba land, which forbids the womenfolk from going outdoors in the night during the period of its festival.

Although, sources in Ife revealed that the festival, scheduled to commence on Friday night had nothing to do with the demise of the Ooni, the public believe otherwise.

The sources, however, insisted that the festival, which would last for seven nights, should not be mistaken for the commencement of the rites of passage of the Ooni.

They also insisted that the Ooni was still alive, contrary to the media reports that the monarch died in the United Kingdom.

Although some youths interviewed said they were not aware of the festival, they said the festival would force everybody to remain indoors at night throughout the seven- day period.

A former Commissioner for Culture and Tourism in Osun State, Mr. Sikiru Ayedun, confirmed to our correspondent that the festival would start on Friday night.

Ayedun, who is from Ife, said, “Yes, Oro will start tonight (Friday). But it has nothing to do with the rumour of the death of Baba (Ooni).

“It is an annual festival and it holds around this time. So, it has nothing to do with the rumour in town.”

The news of the death of the Ooni was reported by the media on Wednesday, but the 16 chiefs, known as the Royal Traditional Council of the palace, led by the Lowa of Ife, Oba Joseph Ijaodola, debunked the news.

The Lowa also led the chiefs to announce to Governor Rauf Aregbesola on Thursday that the monarch was alive and not dead.
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