Arewa Youth Federation has disassociated itself from the demands for the sacking of the minister of defence, Badaru Abubakar, over the recent Kaduna bombing.
In a statement signed by its spokesperson, Comrade Adamu Adamu, the group said it does not know the individuals who held a rally calling for Badaru‘s dismissal.
While expressing regret over the unfortunate incident, Adamu lamented the political exploitation of security issues by certain politicians, particularly the use of fifth columnists who see the minister as the stumbling block to their selfish interests.
The group, however, reiterated its support for this minister‘s efforts to eradicate insecurity and usher the nation onto a trajectory of enduring peace, stability, and economic prosperity.
The statement said, „As representatives of the Arewa Youth Federation (AYF), we gathered here today to emphatically disassociate ourselves and the entire Northern Nigerian youth from the recent demands presented by a group during a rally held in Abuja, demanding the resignation of the Hon. Minister of Defence or his sack by the President.
„It‘s imperative to acknowledge the commendable efforts of the Minister of Defence in addressing the security challenges in the nation inherited by the current administration, particularly in stabilizing the Northern region which was severely ravaged by banditry activities. Notably, there has been a noticeable decrease in daily kidnappings along the Abuja-Kaduna Highway which testifies to the progress made so far in addressing insecurity challenges across the country.
“These proactive measures taken so far, have curbed the menace of bandits and crippled their capacity to carry out audacious attacks on villages as seen in the past thus providing a sense of security to the affected communities and the citizens at large. Regrettably, we recognize the unfortunate incident in Tudun Biri village in Kaduna State where civilians attending a Maulud gathering were mistakenly affected by an operation of the Nigerian Army that was originally meant to target bandits.”
Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has called on the country’s budgeting agencies to separate the budget of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) from Nigeria’s annual budget to enable effective implementation of the Fund’s mandate.
ASUU president, Prof Emmanuel Osodoke, made the appeal, yesterday, during TETFund Alliance for Innovative Research (TETFAIR) showcase held at Innov8 Technology Hub, Airport Road, Abuja.
Osodeke, who was speaking against the backdrop of suspicion that the national budget may not enjoy 100 per cent implementation, observed that strangely, for the first time, the government decided to add TETFund’s budget to the national budget.
The ASUU president added that once TETTund’s budget is included in the national budget, „it is finished.”
He also called on Nigerians to deal with the inferiority complex, which allows them to depend on services abroad, stating that every country in the world that wants to develop must use its ideas and use its people and those ideas are in the universities.
Osodeke decried continuous patronage of foreign goods and services by Nigerians even when they can be sourced locally.
“In 2020 we were challenged to produce something better than IPPIS, it took us two months to produce it, UTA, which we have presented to the National Assembly, to the House; then we said let’s test the twin and IPPIS came last; but Nigeria insisted on using IPPIS.
“Every year, the Nigerian government pays $40 to a company in the UK to pay my salary and you reject the one in your university. You want to do anything you run abroad,” he said.
While commending TETFund for the TETFAIR project, he assured that the men engaged in the scheme can solve Nigeria‘s problems, stating that “we must come back home and use our ideas.”
Osodeke also warned against political interference in TETFund from authorities overseeing the ministry.
“Nigeria is in a deep crisis. Our best brains whether in the academic or medical field are leaving the country. Thousands of our colleagues, the good ones, are leaving the country. Some are leaving to go and farm. We must rescue our country. Allow the money for universities go into universities,” he said.
Also, the minister of labour and employment, Simon Lalong, who described the occasion as a celebration of the remarkable innovative achievements over the year, said the scheme serves as a platform for researchers and innovators to showcase their groundbreaking ideas to transform them into tangible solutions.
Lalong expressed confidence that the valuable experiences gained through the TETFAIR will empower Nigerian scholars to contribute significantly to their fields at home and internationally.
Earlier, the executive secretary of TETFund, Arc Sonny Echono, said the fair was organised to support researchers in universities to bring their innovative ideas to fruition.
While reiterating the importance of Nigeria transiting to a knowledge-based economy, Echono stated that the world has moved from a resource rich economy to a knowledge-based one and Nigeria cannot afford to lag behind.
“TETFund, as the foremost interventionist agency in Nigeria‘s Tertiary Education Sector has deepened its intervention in content- based programmes. The Fund is making conscious investments in support of research, innovation and development as it remains the most compelling strategy for accelerating sustainable growth.
“In our bid to promote the institutionalisation of R&D, we have sought effective support for impactful research and innovation through partnership between tertiary institutions/research institutes, industry and government as a national response towards technology,” he said.
On his part, the minister of state for education, Hon Yusuf Sununu, said the TETFAIR was not the only research effort being made towards national development, stating that Nigerian researchers were also engaged in multi prong efforts, including the development of vaccines for preventable diseases in Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto.
Sununu called on TETFund to scale up copyright ownership protection so that the innovators will not lose copyright ownership of their products and services.
In her remarks, the chairman House Committee on Tertiary Education, Princess Miriam Onouha, expressed satisfaction with the level of research efforts put together by Nigerian academics through TETFund‘s partnership with Innov8 Hub under the TETFAIR scheme.
Onouha expressed hope that gains made in the project will eventually help to address unemployment in the country, while assuring that the legislature will provide the needed support to ensure success of the TETFAIR.
Ogun State Government has announced a N50m reward for anybody who could provide information leading to the arrest of the killers of Mr Taiwo Oyekanmi, the former Director of Finance and Administration attached to Governor Dapo Abiodun’s office, Oke-Mosan Abeokuta.
51-year-old Oyekanmi was killed last Wednesday, November 29 by gunmen at the Kuto Flyover Bridge in Abeokuta.
The bounty was announced in a statement on Friday by the Secretary to the State Government, Tokunbo Talabi in Abeokuta, the state capital.
It read, “The Ogun State Government has announced a reward of fifty (50) million naira for anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of the killers of the state’s Director of Finance and Administration (DFA), Mr. Taiwo Oyekanmi, on 29th November, 2023 in Abeokuta.
“Information provided would be treated with utmost confidentiality. Such information can be sent to the under-listed telephone numbers: 08037441955, 08033074371, 08081775020, 08034062773, 08032136765.”
Oyekanmi was accosted by the gun-wielding hoodlums, alongside two others, while returning to the Governor’s Office with money said to have been withdrawn from two major commercial banks within the Abeokuta metropolis.
President Vladimir Putin said Friday he will run for re-election in 2024, Russian news agencies reported, allowing the Kremlin leader to extend his decades-long grip on power into the 2030s.
The 71-year-old has led Russia since the turn of the century, winning four presidential ballots and briefly serving as prime minister in a system where opposition has become virtually non-existent.
Putin told Lieutenant Colonel Artyom Zhoga, a Russian military officer, about his decision to participate in the vote following an awards ceremony for army personnel at the Kremlin, state-run news agencies reported.
Putin will not face any major challengers in his bid for a fifth term and will likely seek as big a mandate as possible in order to conceal domestic discord over the Ukraine conflict, analysts say.
Following a controversial constitutional reform in 2020, Putin could stay in power until at least 2036.
Rights groups say that previous elections have been marred by irregularities and that independent observers will likely be barred from monitoring the upcoming vote.
Putin tightened media rules on covering the 2024 election in November, banning some independent media outlets from accessing polling stations.
The election will be held over a three day period from March 15-17, a move that Kremlin critics have argued makes guaranteeing transparency more difficult.
Five major parties have been allowed to submit a candidate for the 2024 vote without collecting signatures, all of which support the Kremlin and the offensive in Ukraine.
Putin’s most high-profile rival, Alexei Navalny, is currently serving a 19-year prison sentence on charges his supporters say are false.
In a statement issued through his team Thursday, he encouraged Russians to vote for “any other candidate” aside from Putin and called the elections a “parody” of electoral procedure.
– Pariah –
Since launching its full-scale assault on Ukraine last February, the Kremlin has waged a sweeping crackdown on dissent that rights groups have likened to the Soviet era.
Thousands of people have been detained and imprisoned for protests, and many thousands more have fled the country in fear of being called up to fight.
The Ukraine offensive has made the Kremlin chief a pariah among Western leaders and his country has been hit by unprecedented sanctions designed to curb its funding for the conflict.
But while sanctions initially prompted an exodus of Western companies and turbulence in industry, the economy has proven resilient and Putin’s domestic approval ratings have remained high.
Moscow has re-oriented much of its energy exports to Asian clients including China, allowing it to continue pouring money into the offensive, now in its 22nd month.
Analysts say Putin has sensed revived fortunes as Western support for Ukraine frays and Kyiv’s counter-offensive fails to pierce heavily entrenched Russian lines.
In a bid to boost turnout at the last presidential election in 2018, which saw Putin win by a landslide in every region, officials cast the vote as a pivotal battle against Western values.
The Kremlin appears to be employing the same strategy this time round, labelling the “international LGBT movement” as extremist in recent weeks, as part of a broader culture war with the West.
The Adamawa State Police Command has nabbed a 17-year-old boy for alleged intimacy with a cock.
The Command which tagged the act as an ‘unnatural offence’, said in a press statement, on Friday that the arrest of the boy followed a complaint made to the Police by one Esther Dimas, a resident of Viniklang, a residential community in Girei Local Government Area, just a 1.6km long bridge away from the Jimeta axis of the state capital, Yola.
The statement, released by the state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Suleiman Nguroje, said the complainant caught the teenage suspect in the act.
“Another 17-year-old suspect identified as Lawali Mori, a resident of Viniklang, has been arrested for having unlawful carnal knowledge of a cock against the order of nature,” the Police stated.
According to the statement, the suspect confessed that he sexually assaulted the cock, although “he could not add reasons to why he did such a thing.”
The statement said the state Commissioner of Police, CP Afolabi Babatola, had directed a discreet investigation into the matter.
The 2023 Labour Party, LP, presidential candidate, Peter Obi, on Friday, said the N15 billion budgeted for the new residence of the Vice President could be deployed to fuel police operational vehicles.
Obi said the money could be used to increase police officers’ allowances from N5,000 to N15,000 per day.
Posting on X, the former Anambra State governor faulted the money budgeted for the office of President Bola Tinubu, Deputy Kashim Shettima and their aides.
According to Obi: “Good morning Nigeria. While I am still waiting for the receipt of the full details of the 2024 budget for examination and to ensure the prioritization of the items for growth, I wish to comment on some of the items that are already in the public domain.
“The sum of N15.961 billion has been budgeted for trips for the aides of the president and the vice president. If the aides are spending this much, one can extrapolate that their principals, the President, and the Vice President, will spend twice as much, which will be about N30 billion.
“This means that in 2024 the office of the President and Vice President, and their aides will be gulping over N45b for trips alone. Furthermore, the office of the Chief Of Staff budgeted N20 billion for the renovation of the President and the Vice President’s offices in Lagos and Abuja and their full ‘digitization’.
“If you add N45 billion, being the least that will be spent on transportation, and N20 billion earmarked for renovations, it comes to about N65 billion, which is more than N57 billion, being the amount passed by the Senate last week for the Police Trust Fund, to secure over 200m people. Join me in figuring out the alternatives of what this amount can do in real productive terms for our dear country, especially in a critical area like internal security.
“We have over 5000 Police stations and operations, across the country. Half of these police stations have no functional vehicles. Even those that have are given less than N5000 for fuel in a day, which is why if you are lucky, for prominent people like me, to call the police for any intervention in an emergency, the first thing they tell you is – ‘we have no fuel’.
“Assuming we decide to prioritize our lists and use these resources as most of the trips and the renovations are of no value to our growth and productivity, we can approach local manufacturers like Innoson and others and order 2500 4×4 trucks which as of today cost about N30 million.
“We will be able to get a 20% discount because we are buying in large quantities and paying them upfront. It will amount to N25 million each, which will be N62.5 billion for half of the police stations that do not have operational vehicles today, and which will be taken care of by the money we save from the budgeted travel and renovations.
“The N15 billion budgeted for the new residence of the Vice President can be used for fuelling police operational cars by tripling their fuel allowances from about N5000 presently to N15,000 per day, which will come to N13.687 billion.”
Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, has raised the alarm over the consequences of ongoing divestment of multinationals in Nigeria, saying no fewer than 20,000 direct employees have lost their jobs to such divestments in recent times.
The umbrella body for employers and the voice of business in Nigeria raised the alarm in a statement titled “Urgent action to arrest the growing unemployment rate rate”.
NECA warned that the consequences of the massive job losses across sectors would continue to create insecurity challenges, and increase the occurrence of child labour among others.
The statement by its Director-General, Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde said: “We are concerned at the growing rate of unemployment in the country, made worse by the continuous divestment of global businesses and closure of local ones.
“It is worrisome to note that in the last three years, over 15 organisations with a combined value-chain staff strength of over 20,000 employees have either divested or partially closed operations.
“This has dire consequences not only for organized businesses but also for labour, government revenue and the households.”
Expressing the Association’s deep concerns, Mr. Oyerinde warned that “the consequences of this massive job losses across sectors will continue to create insecurity challenges, increase the occurrence of child-labour (as children will be forced to become bread-winners), adversely affect the disposable income of families, erode the purchasing power of individuals and drastically reduce economy’s output.”
While proffering solutions to this malaise, the NECA Director-General urged the Government to urgently address the multi-facet challenges currently being faced by organized businesses.
He noted that “the harsh business environment has made local businesses to be uncompetitive. The government must urgently address regulatory and legislative bottlenecks that tend to stifle businesses rather than promote them.
“Continuous efforts must be made to promote locally-made goods through the provision of critical infrastructures; urgent stabilization of the foreign exchange market and ensuring that Ministries, Departments and Agencies are appraised not only by how much income they generate but also by how many businesses they facilitated or promoted.
“The private sector creates reight out of every 10 jobs and deliberate effort must be made to ensure its sustainability and competitiveness.”
The Nigeria Defence Headquarters has made a promise to Nigerians.
It said it would no longer bomb any target unless it was 100 percent sure.
This followed the accidental bombing of civilians in the Tudun Biri community, Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State by unmanned drones of the Nigerian Army, last Sunday,
“Henceforth, we will be 100 percent sure of our target before we carry out bombings,” Director of Defence Media Operations, Major Gen Edward Buba, said as he revealed the casualty figure of the aerial bombardment.
According to him, 81 persons were killed and 70 were injured.
“We, as the Armed Forces of Nigeria, will continue to conduct our operations consistent with the rules of engagement, which we have always done and our operations wËll always be joint.
“Regarding the incident that happened in Kaduna, the military always learns from its operations and continues to build from it. The military will deal with it squarely. We will ensure that we have zero occurrences in the future.”
On allegations by an Arewa group that the bombing was aimed at reducing the population of the North, Gen Buba faulted such thinking, saying: “The armed forces of Nigeria is a professional force. We have members from every tribe, ethnic group from all parts of this country. Whatever that group is saying, it is faulty, it is in error and unpatriotic.
“We should realise that it is not just the military that is at war, all the country is at war. We are in it together. The country is taking part in the war. We will make sure that going forward, we get more training, more understanding of the processes and protocols involved to make sure that next time, we are 100 per cent sure before we carry out bombings.
“For now, we will continue to urge communities to pass information to us. Ie you see something, know something, give us information, and timely, too.”
On Thursday, December 7, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), secured the conviction and sentencing of Eze Harrison Arinze in court.
Arinze was convicted by Justice J.K Omotosho of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja for defrauding 34 victims in 13 countries of $592,000 (Five Hundred and Ninety-Two Thousand United States Dollars).
Arinze was re-arraigned on one count bordering on impersonation and obtaining under false pretence.
The amended count charge reads: “That you, Eze Harrison Arinze alias Charlotte Brain, sometime between April 2021 and December 2022 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, did fraudulently impersonate one Charlotte Brain a purported owner of digitrades.netxxxxxxxxxxxxxx investment platforms on telegram and in that assumed character obtained cryptocurrency worth $592,000.00 (Five Hundred and Ninety-Two US Dollars) from Coinbase exchange users, through your bitcoin address - 333AgHuT8wAhowRBQZ2ASxxxxxxxx domiciled with Coinbase, a Virtual Asset Service Provider and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22(3)(b) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention) Act, 2015 and punishable under Section 22 (4) of the same Act.”
The defendant pleaded guilty to the charge when it was read to him.
Given the guilty plea, prosecution counsel, Christopher Mshelia urged the court to convict and sentence the defendant as charged.
Earlier, Ogunjobi Olalekan, a prosecuting witness and a detective of EFCC, while concluding his testimony -in -chief told the court that the evidence gotten in the course of the investigation was based on the printout from the defendant`s email, other digital currency platforms, his telegram page code-named `Digi-trade, including response from banks which was in a cumulative sum of $592,000 worth of cryptocurrency as at December 4, 2023.
He added that the defendant was afterwards invited to make statements under words of caution.
Justice Omotosho convicted and sentenced Arinze to three years imprisonment, with an option of N3,000,000.00 (Three Million Naira only) fine. He added that 11.07 Bitcoins valued at $461,280.70 as of December 4, 2023 be restituted to the 34 victims from 13 countries as identified.
Furthermore, the judge ordered that a total sum of N37,977,108 domiciled in his bank accounts be forfeited to the Federal Government, including a plot of land located at plot No. 34 Anioma Layout, Umuchigbo Iji-nike in the Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State, measuring approximately 1380.609 squares meters.
According to the EFCC, Arinze’s journey to the correctional centre started when he impersonated one Charlotte Brain and created a fictitious investment platform, digitrades.netxxxxxxxxxxxxxxon telegram and in that assumed character obtained cryptocurrency worth $592,000.00 (Five Hundred and Ninety-Two US Dollars) from Coinbase exchange users, through his bitcoin address.
His victims are from Burundi, Cameroun, Costa Rica, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, India, Rwanda, Singapore, South Africa, Uganda, the United States of America and Zimbabwe.