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Umahi Suspends Road Project Over Abduction Of 5

Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi has suspended work on the Effium axis site for one week in the ongoing ring road project which traverses eight local government areas.

Governor Umahi made the disclosure during the enlarged security council meeting held at the Governor’s Office, New Government House, Centenary City, Abakaliki.

Five persons were last month abducted by yet to be identified gunmen along the Effuim Axis of the ring road site.

He directed local government chairmen, traditional rulers, town unions and other stakeholders in the eight local government areas where the ongoing ring road projects pass through to within seven days swear affidavit, assuring security of the contractors or get the projects terminated.

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The governor expressed the regret that the entire ring road project is being threatened, insisting that he would be willing to shut down any of the sections that do not comply with the directive of ensuring the security of lives and properties of the contractors.

He directed the contractors to appoint liaison officers in all the communities the project will cross, adding that those who will swear the affidavit will take the responsibility of appointing the liaison officers.

“There will be more than 10 local vigilantes on the machine that will be patrolling your section from and back day and night while another set will be stationed at the yards of the contractors and you will pay them. I want them to be registered under the Ebubeagu security outfit so that the law will cover them”.

He also directed the state consultant on security, the project implementation unit, Attorney General and SSG to within seven days ensure the implementation of the directive. “Anyone that doesn’t comply with this directive within seven days, we will shut down the site”.

Umahi stated that he will not guarantee as the chief security officer of the state, the lives and properties of anybody who fails to comply with the directives.

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Vulnerable Groups Captured In NHIS Law Amendment Bill

Senate has amended the National Health Insurance Act (Repeal and Re-enactment) bill, 2021 providing for Vulnerable Group Fund.
The amendment of the law followed the consideration of a motion for re-committal of some clauses by the Committee of the Whole.
The Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi North), sponsored the motion for re-committal.
The deputy leader, Ajayi Boroffice, in his presentation on behalf of the senate leader, recalled that the National Assembly transmitted the bill after its passage to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent on April 23, 2020.

He observed that the President, after critical examination of the bill, raised some fundamental issues which, according to him, required fresh legislative action to clauses 20, 24(2), and 25(2)(c).
Boroffice explained that the decision by the National Assembly to amend the bill was in line with the need to address all observations raised by the President.
Accordingly, the upper chamber deleted clause 20 of the bill which provides for Third Party Administrator.

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It also amended the provisions of clause 24(2) on the implementation of the Basic Health Care Fund.
The amended clause reads, “for the purpose of subsection (1), the Authority shall implement the Basic Health Care Provision Fund as set out in the National Health Act 2014, and any guidelines developed in that regard.”
The Senate also amended the provisions of clause 25 by deleting clause 25(c) on the Establishment and Sources of Vulnerable Group Fund.

The upper chamber introduced a new clause to replace the deleted one.

The new clause provides for “Special Intervention Funds allocated by Government and appropriated by the National Assembly” as a source for the Vulnerable Group Fund.

The amendment was proposed by chairman of the Health Committee (Secondary and Tertiary), Yahaya Oloriegbe (Kwara Central), and seconded by Sadiq Umar Suleiman (Kwara North).

The Senate yesterday also passed five bills for concurrence.

The bills include National Hydrographic Agency (Establishment) Bill, 2021, Nigerian Maritime Security Trust Fund (Establishment) Bill, 2021, and Federal College of Education (Technical) Ako, Ago-Iwoye (Establishment) Bill, 2021.

Others are the Federal University of Education, Pankshin, Plateau State (Establishment) Bill, 2021, and Chatered Institute of Statisticians of Nigeria (Establishment) Bill, 2021.

The bills were sponsored by the senate leader, Yahaya Abdullahi.

Meanwhile, a total of three bills also scaled second reading during Wednesday’s plenary session.

The bills seek to provide for the establishment of the Institute of Culture and Tourism Oke-Igbo, Ondo State; a teaching hospital for the Federal University, Dustin-ma and management board for the hospital; and the Federal Orthopedic Hospital Obokun, Osun State.

The bills were sponsored by Senators Nicholas Tofowomo (Ondo South), Babba Kaita Ahmad (Katsina North) and Francis Adenigba Fadahunsi (Osun East), respectively.

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, referred the bills after consideration to the committees on Culture and Tourism; and Health (Secondary and Tertiary).

The committees were given four weeks to report back to the chamber in plenary.

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5 Niger LGs Under Banditry – Sen Enagi

Senator Bima Muhammad Enagi (Niger South) has disclosed that about five local governments in Niger State are affected by banditry.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP, he expressed confidence in the ability of the security agencies to crush the bandits.
According to him, “unfortunately, my state has experienced the worst of the insurgency, about five local governments are experiencing these challenges.
“Women and youths cannot go to the market, young boys cannot go to school, people can no longer to the farms. Fortunately, both the federal and state governments are battling these challenges and I believe it has drastically gone down in Niger State.”

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He further stated that “Nigerian security agents can crush and defeat these criminals but, it will take time.
“If you look at developed countries like America, they were in Afghanistan for 20 years yet, immediately they left, the country sank. Ours is worse because we lack basic modern war equipment. If the government can deploy modern equipment, our security agents will gladly end insurgency and banditry in Nigeria.”
He also stated that Nigeria’s debt level is not too bad considering the nation’s population and GDP level.

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He said, “The ratio of debt stock is still quite favorable and, it is within the best practice in the world. Anything below 40 per cent is still quite good. I think what we should do is work on our revenue-generating base.”

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WACT Attains Major Safety Milestone

APM Terminals West Africa Container Terminal Nigeria (WACT), Onne, has recorded a major safety milestone by attaining one million man-hours with no Lost Time Injury (LTI) in its ongoing Phase Two terminal upgrade and expansion.

WACT recently launched a USD 110 million Phase Two upgrade. The upgrade covers the acquisition of three additional Mobile Harbour Cranes (MHCs) to bring the number of MHCs at the terminal to five; acquisition of 20 Rubber Tyre Gantry Cranes (RTGs); three Reach Stackers; 13 terminal trucks and trailers, an empty container handler, deployment of reefer racks with 600 plugs capacity, as well as paving of the current yard and expansion by 13 hectares, new workshop and new terminal gate complex.

A no Lost Time Injury (LTI) means no employee or contractor sustained injury that resulted in the loss of productive work time.

Speaking at an event to mark the major safety milestone at the Onne Port, Rivers State on Friday, Senior Project Manager of WACT, Rutger ten-Thij, said, “We have our families at home and so everyone working on the construction site needs to go home safely at the end of the day. One million hours is only a number. To implement the project safely at all levels is our main goal. We need to achieve the whole project without an LTI. It is not only a goal for the project team but also for the workers on site, their supervisors, the management team from Vita Constructions and the entire construction team. A high-rise building is coming up. Other safety issues will emerge. It will be challenging but I am confident that together with the contractors, we will achieve that as well.”

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Also speaking, the Chief Operating Officer of WACT, Captain Prashant Baijal, said the achievement of one million man-hours without Lost Time Injury (LTI) was made possible by the “full collaboration between the project team and the construction contractor”.

“At WACT, safety is our license to operate, and Vita Construction understands that very well. Thank you to all the teams working night and day, the bar has been raised, let’s take it higher by ending the project without an LTI,” Captain Baijal said.

WACT is the first greenfield terminal built in Nigeria under the public-private partnership initiated by the Federal Government in 2003. Located in the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone in Rivers State, WACT caters to the greater Port Harcourt area and Eastern Nigeria, including the oil and gas industry. Since its inception, WACT has played a pivotal role in successfully connecting the South-South, South-East, North and West Central Nigeria to the global trading community.

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COVID-19: Niger Pilgrims Board Refunds N1.2bn Hajj Fares

Niger State Pilgrim Welfare Board has refunded N1.229 500.00 hajj fares to 834 intending pilgrims who could not perform the 2020 and 2021 holy pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The executive secretary of the state Pilgrims Welfare Board, Alhaji Umaru Maku Lapai, disclosed this yesterday to the Niger State council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Minna.

He said, “the board also has 1, 968 intending pilgrims who decided to roll over their payments till next hajj operations instead of getting refund of their money.”
According to him, the intending pilgrims who roll over their payment will be given priority to perform hajj from the state in the next hajj operation.
He said Mariga local government area of the state topped the list of refund with 122 intending pilgrims collecting back total amount of N181.5m followed by Kontagora local government from where 99 people got a refund of N147.5m among others.

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He assured the reporters of building more robust relationship with the NUJ in the state adding that the board would soon embed media corps in its hajj operation just as it has done with medical team.

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Speaking earlier the chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Niger State council, Abu Nmodu, expressed satisfaction with the board in handling hajj operations in the state.

He assured the board of the readiness of the union to collaborate with the board to educate intending Muslim and Christian pilgrims on the guidelines for performing their pilgrimage.

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He expressed satisfaction with the honesty and dedication of the executive secretary which he said had resulted in the achievements recorded by the board in the past three years.

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Ortom Warns LG Chairmen Against Multiple Taxation

Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has cautioned local government chairmen to desist from multiple taxations which is one of the ways for diverting the state IGR and as well discouraging traders from coming into the state to buy produce.

In a communique jointly signed by the Governor Ortom, Prof. Anthony Ijohor (SAN), Speaker Benue State House of Assembly Titus Uba at the end of a revenue generation stakeholders’ meeting in Màkurdi decried that the absence of traders to purchase farm produce has even contributed to post-harvest losses which led to a decline in the internally-generated revenue (IGR) of the state.

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The communique charged the executive council to promptly send an amendment to the state House of Assembly to plug the loopholes in the existing law that have left gaps for revenue leakages.
They also warned some of the MDAs who are in the habit of diverting monies collected from Pay As You Earn (PAYE) to desist from such unwholesome practice saying, doing so contravened the state revenue generation laws.

Also, the communique ordered for immediate dismantling of all illegal revenue collection checkpoints, with emphasis that anyone caught operating such illegal revenue collection checkpoints shall be punished according to the law.

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It also called on the office of the secretary to the state government (SSG) to convene a meeting between the Board of Internal Revenue Service (BIRS) and local government chairmen to know the revenue items accruing to local government and state in order to streamline the collection of same.

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“Any person who violates the revenue law no matter how highly placed shall be sanctioned.”

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2023: North Central Leaders Endorse Saraki For Presidency

Party chiefs and leaders of thought from the North Central geo-political zone of Nigeria, have reiterated their unflinching support for a North Central presidency.
They made the call in Jos, the Plateau State capital yesterday while addressing the Peoples Democratic Party executives and stakeholders at the party secretariat.
The North Central Advocacy and Contact Committee, led by its chairman, Prof (Sen) Iyorwuse Haghea, recalled the countless sacrifices the zone had made in the past to keep the unity of Nigeria.

The former presidential aspirant noted precisely, the gallant and giant strides of North Central leaders to steady the course of the country towards greatness.
“Buhari and APC represent the worst form of government since independence, and we have decided to unite as a zone to put forward one of our sons to rescue Nigeria from servitude”, Haghea declared.

“Those of us who ran for presidency in the past have decided to put aside our ambitions and promote one of us into the next presidential election. We must go into the next general elections with one presidential candidate,” Prof Haghea advised.
The erstwhile Nigerian High Commissioner to Canada said that Nigeria must be rescued back to the land of justice and equity, adding that only on such patriotic basis would Nigeria fulfill its potential.

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“We have identified one of our sons who is eminently qualified to lead Nigeria out of the current ruins. A man, who is no doubt, one of the best capable hands in this country. A man who is known for his bravery and people-centric leadership, I am talking about the former President of the 8th Assembly, H.E. (Dr) Sen. Abubakar Bukola Saraki”, Prof. Haghea concluded.

Former deputy Governor of Nasarawa State, Sen. Suleiman Adokwe, recounted the nationalistic attributes of Dr. Saraki and his many giant strides in governance.

He added, “Saraki is known for always putting the people first and championing nation building in any capacity he finds himself. These patriotic qualities are what have distinguished him from every other persons and most fit for the job.”

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The group which was earlier welcomed and received by the former governors of Plateau State, Dr. Jonah David Jang, H. E. Fidelis Tapgun, and House of Representatives member, Hon. Beni Lar, stressed the need to be united on all fronts to deliver a North Central presidency.

Recall that the group has been on a North Central-wide tour advocating and canvassing critical stakeholders on the need to support a sole candidate for the 2023 presidential election.

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The state chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chris Hassan described the action of the group as a right step in the right direction.

He said the North Central presidency is possible and assured them of the party’s support to enable them actualize the dream.

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Lawan Mourns Ex-Senate President, Joseph Wayas

The President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, has sent his condolences to the family of former Senate President, Joseph Wayas, who died on Thursday in London.

Lawan commiserated with the family of Senator Wayas, the Government and People of Cross River State, friends and political associates of the late elder statesman.

In a statement signed by the media adviser to the Senate President, Ola Awoniyi, he described the death of Senator Wayas as a great loss for Nigeria.

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“Senator Joseph Wayas was a great lawmaker and political leader who served his country and people with dedication and integrity.

“As the Senate President in the Second Republic, Senator Wayas led the upper chamber with competence and passion. He was a great symbol of his political era.

“Senator Wayas continued to contribute to nation-building, democracy and socio-economic development of Nigeria even after he left public office in 1983.

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“He played a significant role as Deputy Chairman of the 1994-95 National Constitutional Conference and took part in many other national assignments.

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“Nigeria will sorely miss his wealth of experience,” Lawan said

The Senate President, therefore, prayed to God to grant Senator Wayas’ gentle soul a sweet repose and to his loved ones the fortitude to bear his loss.

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2023: There ‘ll Be Turbulence In PDP Over Choice Of Presidential Candidate – Wike

Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has predicted that there would be disagreements in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over which part of the country will produce the party’s presidential candidate in 2023.

This is as he said that the presidential candidate of the PDP must be someone who will be ready to confront the All Progressives Congress (APC) even as he doubts the readiness of the ruling party to hand over power in 2023.

Wike, who spoke on Thursday during a live television programme monitored by our correspondent in Port Harcourt, vowed never to support any presidential aspirant that is not prepared to confront the APC.

The governor said: “The fact that the PDP national chairman came from the North and the one that just left came from the South, that does not in any way mean that we have chosen where our presidential candidate will come from. People are assuming that, that being the case, that is what will happen. That may be correct and that may not be correct.

“We will choose a candidate that is prepared to face the All Progressives Congress and their government. We are praying to God to help us, guide us to arrive at that choice. But that does not mean in arriving at this, there won’t be turbulence.

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“There are two types of turbulence; the one that leads to crash and the one that you pass through and it does not lead to crash. Our own turbulence will not lead to crash because we will come out of it but APC’s turbulence will lead to crash.

“If I tell you in PDP, we won’t go through turbulence, then, I am not being fair. There will be serious disagreements but it is not the type of turbulence that we can’t come out of. The turbulence in APC is so severe that it will crash but our own turbulence is normal turbulence.”

Wike stated that although everybody has the right to aspire to run for the office of the President on the platform of the PDP, he will not support any aspirant that just want to bear the title of former presidential candidate.

“Everybody has the right to aspire to be the presidential candidate of our party. If you want to run for President under PDP, I will not support somebody who just want to bear the name as former presidential candidate. I won’t do that.

“I must see that you are prepared to confront the evil called APC because when you are fighting evil, you must be serious to fight evil. APC is a party that can do anything and can go to any length. So, you must be ready for this evil.

“I will not support an aspirant who already has who will be Chief of Staff or who will be this and that. You must show how prepared you are to win this election. You must get someone who is very serious to confront APC and not what prophets and marabouts told you.

“Whether you are bringing marabouts from Senegal or prophets from Israel; no, I am not going to do that. APC are not people you think will hand over power. They will not agree; they will make sure it did not happen,” Wike stated.

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Boko Haram: Zulum Approves Scholarship For 500 Orphans

Borno State governor, Babagana Umara Zulum has announced scholarship for 500 orphans of Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) members who died fighting Boko Haram terrorists.
In January 2022, an initiative titled, “Borno Heroes Support Programme” will be launched by Borno State government for the award of educational scholarship to 500 orphans and their widowed mothers left behind by members of the Civilian JTF, hunters and vigilantes who died during battles with Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists.

Governor Zulum announced this during his 2022 budget address at the Borno State House of Assembly on Tuesday in Maiduguri.
“We plan to launch Borno Heroes’ Support Programme. This programme involves the setting up of a government team that will identify primary and secondary school-aged orphans of volunteers in the CJTF, hunters and volunteers who died during battles. Government will give these orphans scholarships to Federal Government Colleges and international schools.

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The programme is to be in phases with a pilot phase of 500 orphans,” Zulum disclosed.
“Many of these Civilian JTF fighters, hunters and vigilantes have lost their lives fighting for Borno’s peace. Insha’Allah, we plan to reward their priceless sacrifices by educating the children they left behind, and by supporting their widows through a programme we plan to launch in January, Insha’Allah,” the governor said.
Zulum explained that: “Another component of the Borno Heroes’ Support Programme is needs assessment of widows left behind by the deceased volunteers”. He said that government would allocate required support to these widows for sustainable livelihood.

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Gov Okowa Commissions Sokoto’s Advanced Diagnostic Centre

Delta State governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, on Wednesday, inaugurated a multi-billion naira Advanced Diagnostic Centre in Farfaru, Sokoto State.

The facility, with state-of-the-art medical equipment, has a Radiology Unit, Laboratory Unit, Out-patient Clinics, Dental Unit, and ENT Unit.

It will offer a variety of services, including medical investigations, radiological investigations, and laboratory investigations.

It also has provision for ECG, Stress ECG, Echocardiography, and Vascular Doppler, Gastrology, Endoscopy, Neurology, and EEG.

Also, it has extensive capacity for MRI, CT scan, Fluoroscopy, Digital X-ray, Mammography, Chemical Pathology, Histopathology, Microbiology, and Hematology.

At the commissioning ceremony witnessed by officials of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Governor Okowa lauded Sokoto State governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, for executing a project that has a direct bearing on the lives of the people, noting that building a tertiary health centre was not an easy task.

He stated that for Tambuwal to put up such an advanced diagnostic centre, he had shown his love for the health and wellbeing of his people.

“It is not today that I know Tambuwal. Our relationship started right from the 7th Assembly where he was a Speaker of the House of Representatives, then I was a Senator. Tambuwal has leadership prowess, that is why I’m not surprised by what I’m seeing today,” the Delta State governor said.

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Okowa further noted that Tambuwal’s humility and leadership style helped him to successfully preside over the affairs of the House of Representatives as a speaker, which he added was an indication of his sterling leadership qualities.

He also said the amount spent on such an advanced diagnostic centre attests to the prudent management public funds by the Sokoto governor.

On his part, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, said Governor Tambuwal had written his name in the history of the state by carrying out people-oriented projects.

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While describing the health facility as one of the legacy projects of Governor Tambuwal, the Sultan said the project was borne out of the governor’s commitment and foresight to ameliorate the plight of those who could not afford to travel far for better healthcare services.

“Some time ago I called the Governor and told him to consult the Governor of Zamfara, and Kebbi to form a synergy to build a centre of excellence that will take care of numerous health challenges of our people,” the Sultan revealed.

He explained that during the budget session, the governor captured it in the state budget, and just like a joke, it gave birth to the project.

He commended Tambuwal for heeding his advice and making what started as an idea a reality.

The Sultan advised Tambuwal to set up a Trust Fund where government, stakeholders, and well-to-do individuals in the society would contribute to assist the poor to access the medical services of the centre.

He also emphasised the need for the adoption of a maintenance culture that would ensure that the facility remains a centre of excellence for healthcare delivery.

On his part, Tambuwal said the project was borne out of the advice given to him by Sultan Abubakar III and thanked the revered monarch for his fatherly guidance.

He said that the centre will not only reduce foreign medical tourism, but will also make Sokoto State a destination for medical tourism.

He said for effective service delivery, the centre will be run under a public-private partnership arrangement.

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Earlier in his welcome address, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Mohammad Ali Inname, said the people of the state were grateful to Governor Tambuwal for his inspiring leadership.

Inname disclosed that the health sector has inseparable linkages to all sectors, saying no human endeavour can succeed in a state of ill-health.

The commissioner said the multi-billion naira advanced medical diagnostic centre is a world-class facility and a milestone in the history of medical diagnosis in Nigeria.

He said: “A staggering number of Nigerians seek healthcare services abroad, it has been reported that 5,000 Nigerians travel overseas for medical treatment monthly, with an estimated bill of over $1 billion annually. This has been a result of the non-availability of advanced healthcare technology in our health facilities.

“There are 860 public and private health facilities in Sokoto State. For this number of health facilities to provide effective services for a population of over 5 million in the state, they must adopt advanced technologies that are used globally.

“Because of this consideration, the Sokoto State Government under the leadership of Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal designed, constructed, and equipped this new Advanced Medical Diagnostics Centre to provide high-quality cutting-edge medical diagnostics services comparable to any other place in the world.

“The overall objective here is to provide healthcare services for our people and make Sokoto a hub for medical tourism, so the services provided by the centre are designed in such a way that they are affordable to the people.”

The commissioner added that already, medical consultants, medical officers, laboratory scientists/technicians, nurses, and other personnel required for the smooth running of the centre were being hired.

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Federal Govt Has Learnt Nothing From #EndSARS Protests, Say Utomi, Anya, Others

A former presidential candidate, Prof. Pat Utomi, Prof. Anya O. Anya, Chief Dele Momodu, Chief Ayo Opadokun, Prof Ngozi Ezeilo, Prof. Pat Utomi and other prominent Nigerians have disclosed that the Federal Government has failed to learn from October, 2020 EndSARs protest.

Speaking at Ndigbo Lagos-organised Conversation on Nigeria titled, ‘State Of The Nation: Whither Nigeria?’, moderated by Dr. Okey Ikechukwu, Maazi Tochukwu Ezeoke, and Chief Dele Momodu, and the host, General Obi Umahi, hairman Ndigbo Lagos.

The eminent Nigerians expressed their dissatisfaction with the state of the nation, calling for restructuring, noting that it will bring an end to the agony of Nigerians.

For his part, Prof. Anya, who specifically called for restructuring while speaking during the virtual conversation, said that EndSARs protest was a signal that Nigerian youths were ready to chase out older generation.

He said, “The ENDSARS is enough to warn us the older generation that the Nigerian youths are ready. Unfortunately the lessons that ENDSARS was meant to teach, those in power did not get the message.

“This is also a further information that each of us must digest, now that the report has come out. It simply authenticates what we already knew, we can now have an honest conversation on what we can take away from the ENDSARS experience.

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“We should use it as an opportunity to mobilize our youths. Finally, as we speak right now, some youths are being taken on a leadership programme as part of an initiative that I am part of. This also includes eminent Nigerians; retired Justices of the Supreme Court and others.”

Also, in his contribution, Prof. Utomi, who described the EndSARs protest as the best organised movement by youths in the last 25 years, lamented that Federal Government has used brute force to put fear in Nigerian youths which will never deter them from pursuing their aims and objectives for better Nigeria.

Utomi said, “Youths are smart, more exposed and the EndSARS protest is the best organized by youths in the last 25 years that i have seen. The challenge of our country is a challenge of getting a demographic dividends of our youths.

“We have a bigger trouble to overcome. But I am confident they can do it. The demographics are in their favour. But we have used brute force. The EndSARS attack and brutality was to put fear in them. That is why they were massacred.

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“They have technology on their side, and you just wait and see what they will do because they have not gone. The brutality of the beating they took was so not normal that they panicked for a bit. They are going to reorganized and change this country.”

For his part, Chief Dele Momodu while speaking at the virtual meeting said that the time has come to mobilise Nigerian youths practically to bring the desired change in the country.

He said, “I believe the time has come for us to mobilise our young ones practically. In America the young were able to contribute money for the man as old as Trump. Once your message is relevant to the young, they are ready to go all out for you, they did it for Abiola, they did it for Trump.”

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In addition, Chief Ayo Opadokun said radical change was possible in the country when if there is proper engagement of youths by identifying with their needs.

He said, “The youths are there for you but somebody must be ready to engage them by educating them and then mobilize them to take up leadership.”

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Alleged Killers Of Customs Officers Arrested Inside Ogun Shrine

A member of a gang of smugglers responsible for the death of two customs officers in Ogun State, has been arrested on Thursday morning inside a shrine where he had gone to perform ritual against his possible arrest.

The suspect, who fled into Benin Republic after the killing of the officers, sneaked into Ogun State, on Monday night.

According to the Nigeria Customs Service, as at the time of his arrest, the suspect was said to be dressed in red cloth, and was holding a cock and reciting incantation to prevent him from being arrested and prosecuted.

LEADERSHIP reports that two customs officers attached to the Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A, Ikeja, were killed in two separate incidents in October 2021, by suspected smugglers in Fagbohun village in Yewa South local government area of Ogun State.

The first victim was allegedly macheted to death by suspected smugglers while two others were abducted by another gang also in October, 2021.

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The body of one of the officers was found in a river in the area the next day after the unfortunate incident while the body of the second officer was recovered a day later.

Addressing journalists on Thursday, the Controller of the Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, Kehinde Hussein Ejibunu, said the first suspect had been on the wanted list of the service.

Ejibunu said the suspect was arrested right inside his shrine while performing ritual on how to evade Customs’ arrest.

“As at the time of arrest, the suspect, was dressed in red cloth and was holding a live cock. He was also reciting incantation,” he added.

The FOU A boss further disclosed that the second suspect was arrested on Thursday morning by officers of the unit who have been on his trial.

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“The second suspect masterminded the killing of a customs officer in the area. In fact he is the owner of an uncompleted building where some bags of rice smuggled into Nigeria were stored.

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“After the customs team evacuated some bags of rice from the uncompleted house, the suspect and his gang ambushed the patrol team and martcheted the deceased to death,” he added.

The Customs boss, however, said that the paramount ruler of Yewa land, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle, has promised to partner the unit to stem attacks on officers.

He said, “the paramount ruler came here to condole with us on the death of our officers and he has promised to work with us. Also, we are working on sensitising the youths of the community on smuggling and how they should support the service in ending smuggling.

“We are awaiting the date for the town hall meeting because they should know we are only enforcing the directive of the federal government.”

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ADP Members Defect To PDP In Ondo

About 10,000 members of the Action Democratic Party (ADP), have defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State.
The party members from across the 18 local government areas were led to the PDP by its leader Prince Foluso Mayowa Adefemi.
According to the party members, the time has come for APC to bow out of governance in the country, adding that Nigerians can no longer condone APC ineptitude and visionlessness in governance.

Admitting the ADP members into the party, the leader of the PDP in Southwest, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State assured the new members of plain level ground for them in the party.
The governor who was represented by the gubernatorial candidate of the party in the 2020 gubernatorial election in Ondo State, Mr Eyitayo Jegede SAN, said the party is ready to give the new members sense of belonging in every aspect.

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Jegede who described the Southwest leader of the party, Seyi Makinde, in glowing terms said the party is lucky to have such a dependable and hard-working leader in Southwest Nigeria.
He told the new members that in PDP, there is comfort, unity of purpose and accommodation, adding that the presence of notable PDP leaders and stakeholders including chairmen of local governments is a demonstration of the love, the leadership has for the new members.

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Earlier, the state’s chairman of the party, Fatai Adams, commended the new members for taking a very bold decision to join PDP saying the rot in the educational sector, the bastardization of the economy, health and other critical sectors of governance should worry any right-thinking individuals.

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Wayas’ Death Sad End Of An Era, Says Mark

A former President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, has described the demise of one of his predecessors, Dr. Joseph Wayas, as a sad end of an era.

LEADERSHIP recall that Dr. Wayas was the Second Republic President of the Senate during the administration of President Shehu Shagari between October 1, 1979 and December 31, 1983. Dr. Alex Ekwueme was the Vice President while Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke was the Speaker, House of Representatives.

The death of Dr Wayas has further depleted the ranks of key players of that era. He was the 4th President of the Nigerian Senate.

In his tribute on the transition of Dr Wayas, Senator Mark described him as a flamboyant, vibrant and distinguished parliamentarian who left his positive footprints in the sand of time.

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According to a statement signed by the media adviser to Senator Mark, Paul Mumeh, on Thursday, the former Senate President paid glowing tribute to Dr Wayas for his invaluable contributions especially his solid foundation for democracy and the legislature in Nigeria.

He said: “Senator Wayas was a great nationalist. He was a parliamentarian per excellence. His diligence, honesty and uncommon dedication to the ideals of nationhood remains reference points.

“He brought dignity and respect to the legislature by adhering to the rule of law, separation of power and collaborating with the executive arm of government without compromising the independence of the legislature.”

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Senator Mark recalled the wise counsel he received from Dr Wayas while in office as the President of the Senate, adding, “Wayas was always handy anytime we had some knotty issues in the Senate. He called and visited regularly to see how we were fairing.”

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He further described his death as a loss to the nation especially the legislature because “We shall miss his wise counsel and honest contributions to the issues and welfare of Nigerians.”

Senator Mark, therefore, canvassed that the federal government immortalise Wayas in recognition of his contributions to national development.

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Passengers Groan As Air Peace Delays Flight, Abandons Luggage In Lagos 

  • As Max Air abandon luggage in Abuja

Passengers onboard Air Peace Lagos-Warri flight on Wednesday have lamented the abandonment of their luggages in Lagos.

The passengers also complained that the flight which was scheduled for 7:30am didn’t depart for Warri until 2:30pm in the afternoon.

According to the passengers, the flight, P47210 which was delayed for six hours was initially changed to 1:30pm before the flight eventually left Lagos at exactly 2:30pm.

However, on getting to Warri, while waiting for their check-in luggage, an official of the airline informed them that the luggage were left behind in Lagos and will arrive the next day.

Speaking, one of the passengers, said the airline did not inform them earlier about the time change and also failed to notify them that their luggages were left behind in Lagos.

The passenger who craved anonymity said, “I left my home this morning as early as 5am so as to arrive the airport early because the flight is initially scheduled for 7:30am. On getting to the airport, we were informed that the departure time has changed to 1:30pm. Many of us were angry and questioned the officials of the airline on why they didn’t inform us earlier. We risked our lives to arrive at the airport early.

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“Even the 1:30 pm time was not adhered to. We left Lagos by 2:30pm. On arrival in Warri, an official of the airline told us that only a few luggage were in the plane and the others will arrive the next day (Thursday).

“We were at the airport for more than six hours and nobody informed us that our luggage will be left behind.

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“They were so rude and unprofessional. Right now, all I have with me is my phone and charger. Every other item are in the luggage and I have nobody in Warri,” she said.

When contacted, the spokesperson of Air Peace, Stanley Olisa, said the aircraft had weight restrictions and the passengers were informed about that.

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He, however, apologised for the inconveniences, but said the remaining luggages were another flight to Warri.

He said, “We had weight restrictions on the aircraft. So, some luggage could not go on the flight for safety reasons. All passengers were advised on this before departure yesterday.  The remaining luggage is on a flight to Warri now.  We apologise for the inconveniences caused,” Olisa said.

Meanwhile, in Abuja, a Max Air flight which was initially scheduled for 11.30am on Thursday morning, December 2, 2021, was suddenly rescheduled backward to 8.40am via email and SMS messages sent to passengers at about 1am on Thursday.

The flight which eventually departed Abuja by 9.25am arrived Lagos without a luggage belonging to a female passenger.

The furious passenger was told that another Max Air flight will bring the luggage from Abuja around 3pm.

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