Thursday, September 16, 2021.

Air force sets up panel to probe ‘accidental’ killing of civilians in Yobe

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Nigerian Air Force
Nigerian Air Force

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) says it has started an investigation into the air strike that killed nine people in Buhari village, Yunusari LGA of Yobe state.

The jet was said to be targeting members of the Islamic State in West African Province (ISWAP) but accidentally hit the village on Wednesday.

Many other residents were also injured during the air strike.

In a statement on Thursday, Edward Gabkwet, NAF’s director of public relations and information, said a board of inquiry has been set up to “thoroughly” investigate the circumstances of the incident.

Meanwhile, Mai Mala Buni, governor of Yobe state, has commiserated with the families of the victims.

According to the statement issued by his office, Buni said the government will join hands with the security agencies to unravel the cause of the incident.

The governor directed his special adviser on security affairs to liaise with the Nigerian air force and the multi-national joint task force to look into the incident.

He also directed government hospitals in Geidam and Damaturu areas of the state to offer free medical services to those who sustained injuries in the disaster.

Prof Ibiyemi named new LASU VC

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Prof. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello
Prof. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello

Prof. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello, wife of the Lagos State Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Tunji Bello, has been appointed the new Vice Chancellor of the Lagos State University, LASU.

By her appointment, she becomes the ninth Vice Chancellor of LASU and the second female to occupy the exalted post in the Lagos State-owned tertiary institution.

Ibiyemi, a Professor of Physiology, had served as Acting Vice-Chancellor of the institution before her appointment

The 57-year-old academic was born on April 23, 1964, in Lagos.

Her appointment was announced in a statement by the Lagos State Commissioner for Information, Gbenga Omotoso, titled, ‘Sanwo-Olu approves appointment of Vice Chancellor for LASU’, on Thursday.

“Lagos State Governor Mr. Babajide Olusola-Sanwo-Olu has approved the appointment of Professor Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello as the 9th substantive Vice-Chancellor of the Lagos State University.

“Professor Olatunji-Bello was appointed following recommendation by the Joint Committee of Council and Senate of LASU in accordance with the LASU Law, Cap 169 Vol 7, Laws of Lagos State.

“Prof. Olatunji-Bello as well as two other candidates, Professor Omotayo R. Awofolu and Professor Senapon Bakare, were recommended for the position in order of ranking respectively.

“The process of selecting a substantive Vice-Chancellor for LASU commenced with advertisements for the vacant position in three National dailies on Friday, July 30th and Friday 13th August, 2021 respectively.

“The tenure of the 8th substantive Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Olanrewaju Adigun Fagbohun, lapsed on January 11, 2021,” the statement read in part.

President Buhari pledges to use football for national development, unity

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Buhari and FIFA President Gianni Infantino
Buhari and FIFA President Gianni Infantino

President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in Abuja declared his administration’s commitment to use football for the development of the girl-child, inspiring young people to have rewarding careers in the game.

Receiving the FIFA delegation led by its president Gianni Infantino and the president of Confederation of African Football (CAF) Patrice Motsepe, at State House, the President called on the top echelon of football’s world governing body to see Nigeria as one of its greatest assets when it comes to the development of football.

On women’s football, the President expressed delight that Nigeria has produced excellent role models to inspire the next generation of stars to take up the sport. Our National women’s football team, the Super Falcons are a force to reckon with both on the continent and internationally.

“Some of our women footballers such as Asisat Oshoala, who only recently became the first African to win the women’s European Champions League with her club Barcelona.

“Rasheedat Ajibade, Rita Chikwelu, Onome Ebi, who is the only African to have played in five FIFA Women’s World Cup Finals, Desire Oparanozie and before them Perpetual Nkwocha, Mercy Akide-Udoh, Nkiru Okosieme and Ann Chiejiene are globally recognized stars,’’ he said.

President Buhari, therefore, urged the leadership of the world football governing body to consider Nigeria top on its plan for support and investment.

The President also told the visiting FIFA president, who is in the country for the six-nation Aisha Buhari Invitational Football Tournament, that since 2017 his administration had adopted football as a national asset.

He explained that the sport is being accorded the highest level of attention possible by the government to enable rapid development of abundant talents in the country.

“I have also approved the unveiling of a committee to draw up a 10 year football development master plan for the country. I expect that the recommendations of this committee will accelerate the development of football. It is my hope that it will further improve the fortunes of the game internationally.”

On the Aisha Buhari Cup (ABC), with the theme “Playing for Good”, which is on-going in Lagos, the Nigerian leader said the tournament could not have come at a better time. “This Women’s football competition is a novel idea here and I am sure it will be exciting in its execution for our women folk and lovers of football. It is also a confirmation of what we already know about our women,’’ he said.

The President thanked FIFA for making ABC, a ranking tournament, adding that he looks forward to more countries joining to participate in the future.

President Buhari, who described football as one of the greatest sources of unity in the country as well as in many parts of the world, said:

“Our hearts beat as one anytime our teams are playing a football match. Our youth are always positively engaged when our national football teams are on assignment. Without any doubts here, football is a major tool of national unity’’.

The Nigerian leader commended the enormous work done by the organisation in the development of football, using it as a tool for positive social change and to drive global unity.

He pledged support for the latest FIFA initiative, the FIFA Connect programme which aims to drive football development at the grassroots using technology, assuring football body’s top echelon of Nigeria’s active participation in the programme .

Emphasising Nigeria’s huge pedigree in global and continental football, the President said the country has achieved successes in many international and continental competitions while maintaining close, cordial and mutually beneficial relationship with FIFA.

“Nigeria is one of the few nations of the world that has participated in all FIFA competitions, at all the different levels for both men and women.

“These have opened doors of opportunities for a lot of our young boys and girls, men and women to have rewarding careers in the game,’’ he said.

In his remarks, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development Sunday Dare said Nigeria, as the leading black nation in the world, was central to all that FIFA is seeking to achieve in its football development plan. “We love football and we follow the game passionately,’’ he said.

In his remarks, Infantino renewed FIFA’s commitment to support the development of football in Nigeria, pledging to strengthen its partnership with the Nigeria Football Federation.

“Nigeria is a big football playing country. We need Nigeria to lead the football movement in the world, together with Africa as a continent,’’ he said.

The FIFA president thanked President Buhari for supporting the development of the game, appealing to him to help FIFA amplify the message of football as a uniting force.

“When football is played there are no divisions in a nation or continent. Football brings people together and to do that we need important countries like Nigeria,’’ he said.

Sanwo-Olu, FIFA President grace football pitch as Aisha Buhari Cup kicks off in Lagos

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Minister of Youth & Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, FIFA President Giovanni Infantino and Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu during the opening of the Aisha Buhari Cup at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena Stadium, Onikan, Lagos, on Wednesday
Minister of Youth & Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, FIFA President Giovanni Infantino and Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu during the opening of the Aisha Buhari Cup at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena Stadium, Onikan, Lagos, on Wednesday

Lagos State, Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre, became the cynosure of the global soccer lenses on Wednesday, as Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu was joined by the President of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), Gianni Infantino, to attend the opening round of the maiden Aisha Buhari Women Cup.

Nigeria’s Super Falcons played against Mali’s Les Aiglonnes in the international tournament hosted by the Lagos State Government at Mobolaji Johnson Arena in Onikan.

President of Confederation of African Football (CAF), Patrice Motsepe, Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Pinnick, and top FIFA officials joined in Infantino’s entourage to the stadium.

Also, Lagos First Lady, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu and members of the Lagos State’s Executive Council stormed the stadium for the tournament.

The International friendly tournament, sponsored by MTN Nigeria and supported by Lagos State Government, was initiated to promote female football in Africa, gender equality and draw attention to development issues affecting women.

The first half of the opening match ended with a draw. However, 83 minutes into the second half, Super Falcons’ forward, Gift Monday, scored a goal, leaving the Malian side disoriented.

At 91 minutes into the added time, Monday again netted another goal, giving the Falcons victory over their opponents.

Six nations are participating in the contest, which will draw to a close on September 21. Other participants include South Africa, Morocco, Ghana, and Cameroon.

The tournament continues tomorrow (Thursday) with Cameroon’s Les Lionnes Indomptables slugging it out against Moroccan Atlas Lionesses.

Lagos signs JVA on establishment of aquaculture centre

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a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) with Dula Agro-Services Limited for the establishment of the Lagos Aquaculture Centre of Excellence (L.A.C.E) Project,
a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) with Dula Agro-Services Limited for the establishment of the Lagos Aquaculture Centre of Excellence (L.A.C.E) Project,

Lagos State Government has signed a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) with Dula Agro-Services Limited for the establishment of the Lagos Aquaculture Centre of Excellence (L.A.C.E) Project, an Aquaculture Production and Processing Centre.

The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Hakeem Adeniji signed on behalf of the State Government while the Chief Operating Officer/Director, Israel Tommy; and the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Adeyemi Adeshina both signed on behalf of Dula Agro-Services Limited (Dula).

Olusanya noted that the Centre, upon completion would produce 50 million fingerlings per annum; 2,000 tons of table-sized fish per annum; 20,000 tons processed fish per annum; and 24,000 tons fish feed per annum and it would be using the latest technology in Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS) and Semi-flow through Systems

The Commissioner opined that Centre is also expected to generate no fewer than 5,000 smallholder fish farms which would in turn create about 1,000 indirect jobs during the construction phase and another 500 direct job opportunities for people who would be engaged at different phases of the project.

According to her, the Centre is designed to have a hatchery, grow out, processing facilities, feed mill to produce fish feed for the facility and out growers that will be engaged to produce fish to feed the processing plant.

She added that in addition, the Centre will conduct research and training that are focused on farming practices, business skills and other areas that are at the core of sustainable fish production.

According to Olusanya, the LACE Project would anchor the growth and development of aquaculture; drive the diversification of farmed fish species; contribute towards food security; support 5,000 fish farmers; conduct extensive research and trainings focused on aquaculture farming practices in the State.

“The annual fish demand in Lagos State is estimated at 374,000 tonnes of which 174,553 tonnes (or 46%) is produced from both captured fisheries and aquaculture annually, therefore the need to upscale fish production to bridge the shortfall between the demand and supply gap necessitated the obligation to engage in strategic partnerships with innovative companies that have expertise in Agricultural based developmental projects such as aquaculture.

“The Value Chain is now a multi-billion Naira industry in the State which provides employment opportunities for thousands of Lagosians. As the fastest growing sub-sector of the agro-economy in the State, aquaculture has positioned Lagos in the map of agrarian States in the country.

“The sub sector therefore presents a huge potential for economic development, food security, provision of basic income and livelihoods for value chain actors and support the transformation of the fisheries ecosystem in State,“ the Commissioner averred.

The project would be jointly financed by the State Government and the private sector investor under the Pubic Private Partnership arrangement and would be located on a 35hectare parcel of land at Igbonla in the Eredo Local Council Development Area of the State.

The ceremony was witnessed by the Director General, Office Public Private Partnerships, Ope George, representatives of the Ministry of Justice and other top Government functionaries.

Appeal to media to focus on core issues as President Buhari goes to the UN

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Yoruba Nation agitators
Yoruba Nation agitators

For Nigerian diaspora groups to use the world’s largest platform, the United Nations General Assembly, to garner attention to their causes is not unexpected.

It was, however shocking, to see “Yoruba Nation” advocates yesterday unequivocally throw their lot in with Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

IPOB is a designated terrorist organisation. It has now publicly revealed a 50,000 strong paramilitary organisation.

It regularly murders security services and innocent civilians, with a significant uptick of violent attacks this year. And it is currently attempting to hold Nigerian states hostage with orders to stay at home under threat of terror.

Without doubt, Nigerians and the entire world will judge Yoruba Nation by the company it keeps.

No one can take seriously this organisation if it continues its IPOB association. When their allies systematically trample human rights, it raises sober questions about their claims to uphold the values of the UN.

The cooperation is a worrying development, once parsed with Yoruba Nation’s increasingly violent rallies in Nigeria.

Actions and associations speak louder than words. Yoruba Nation’s talk of human rights promotion must therefore be ignored.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian government will continue its work at the UN- to fight against corruption and illicit financial flows, and international cooperation.

If we want to see stolen funds returned to their rightful home in Nigeria, the government must continue to campaign for and coordinate global action on asset recovery.

The government will remain the leading regional actor in the fight against global terror – particularly against threats emanating from the Sahel. Through the Nigerian Technical Aid Corps programme, the country also shares technical expertise with countries from the Caribbean, Africa and the Pacific.

At the same time, the administration is implementing a programme of environmental sustainability to combat developments which destroys Nigerian communities in vulnerable regions.

Only through the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development can we secure a prosperous future for Nigeria.

As the largest country in Africa, the government takes seriously its leadership role and will continue to strive for continental unity, cooperation, and shared prosperity.

Our expectation is therefore for the media to work with the government to focus attention on the core issues the President, the leader of the country has on his programme.

Secessionists are like terrorists, they can take Nigeria down path of destruction – Gbaja

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Femi Gbajabiamila
Femi Gbajabiamila

Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house of representatives, says agitators for secession are not different from Boko Haram insurgents.

He said they will take the country down the path of destruction if they are “given time and space”.

Gbajabiamila spoke on the floor of the house on Wednesday while welcoming lawmakers from their annual break.

He said the green chamber will utilise legislative mechanisms to tackle insecurity.

The speaker said the lawmakers will prioritise national security bills to “defeat” enemies of the country.

“Insecurity remains an overwhelming threat to all our nation’s people and a hindrance that further delays the attainment of the critical development objectives necessary to put our country on the path to peaceful prosperity,” he said.

“Therefore, the ninth house of representatives will continue to take action as required to address statutory deficiencies that limit the ability of our national security apparatus to respond effectively to the myriad manifestations of insecurity in our country.

“In our last session, we convened a security summit to deliberate on the issue and articulate recommendations for executive and legislative action.

“At the same time, we have begun to take legislative action to implement the summit’s recommendations on statutory reform, amendments and the enactment of new legislation.

“Several such bills have already passed the second reading and now await action in the respective committees. I urge the chairmen and members of those committees to act quickly and conscientiously to bring those bills to the floor as soon as is practicable.

“In this parliamentary session, we will prioritise national security bills that seek to implement the recommendations of the summit. This is not to suggest that we will abdicate action on other matters of national concern.

“We only reaffirm our commitment to do all that we can to defeat those who have made it their cause to impose on our country an unending orgy of carnage and inflict our people with devastating grief.

“Let it be apparent to those who have made themselves enemies of Nigeria that this ninth house of representatives will respond to the audacity of their evil with every tool and resource at our disposal, and we will not be deterred.

“Thus far, we have rightly focused our national security concerns on the machinations of extremist insurgents who seek to remake our world in the image of their discredited theocracy and bandits who maraud and terrorise whole regions for profit.

“We must now add to these concerns an emerging threat that presents the same clear and present danger. In the south of Nigeria, east and west, miscreants and criminals masquerading as separationist activists have emerged to wreak havoc, take lives and commit economic sabotage against fellow Nigerians and against the state.

“These people, in their inclination for devastating violence against fellow citizens, their appetite for the destruction of private property, their disruption of academic activities, commerce, and industry, their propensity for defiling institutions of the state, society and community, their refusal to engage in debate, or to consider the possibility of dissenting opinions and alternative viewpoints, are no different from Boko Haram and ISWAP. Given space and time, they will take our nation down the same path of destruction.

The speaker said the nation will not be “reactionary in our approach” to allow criminal elements to destroy the country.

“This is the time to convene our best efforts to articulate a political, economic, military and policing strategy to address both the manifestations and root causes of this emerging threat,” he said.

“Let nobody be under the impression that there is a political opportunity in exploiting this moment. This is a time for statesmen to act beyond the petty considerations of politics, to do the hard things and achieve greatness.”

Twitter ban will be lifted in a few days, says FG

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Twitter
Twitter

The federal government says it is “very close” to resolving the issues that led to the ban of Twitter in the country.

The government had, on June 4, announced the indefinite suspension of Twitter’s operation following the deleting of tweets made by President Muhammadu Buhari, who had threatened to treat members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the “language they understand”.

The federal government had however attributed the suspension to “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”.

In August, the government said it had made “tremendous progress” in resolving the impasse following a series of meetings — and that an “an amicable solution is very much in sight”.

Lai Mohammed, the minister of information and culture, on Wednesday, gave an update to state house correspondents on the status of the talks between Twitter and the government.

He said: “I think even Twitter itself two days ago gave what I will call a progress report on our talks with them. And I think if I want to quote them rightly, it has been productive and quite respectful.

“And as to how soon is soon, right? I want to assure you that between the time that Twitter operation has been suspended, and when it will be restored is by far, much, much shorter.

“In other words, if the operation has been suspended for about 100 days now, I can tell you that we’re just actually talking about a few, just a few more days now.

“I can assure us that we’re mindful of the anxiety of Nigerians and both parties are working very hard to put a closure on the matter. And like Twitter itself said, the changes have been very, very productive on both parties.”

When asked for a specific date when the matter will be resolved, the minister said: “Honestly, we have gone very far. I won’t be specific but we have gone very far, and honestly, it’s just going to be very, very soon, just take my word for that.”

The Twitter ban has attracted criticism from various quarters including Amnesty International, British and Canadian missions, and the Swedish Embassy in Nigeria.

Magu still on FG payroll as police officer, we’re awaiting final decision – Minister

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Ibrahim Magu
Ibrahim Magu

Muhammad Dingyadi, minister of police affairs, says Ibrahim Magu, former acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), is still on the payroll of the federal government.

The minister said this on Tuesday during an interview on Channels Television.

Magu was the acting chairman of the EFCC between 2015 and 2020, but was arrested on July 7, 2020, detained and suspended as the head of the anti-graft agency.

Magu’s ordeal started when Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, petitioned the president, levelling allegations of corruption and insubordination against him.

A panel led by Ayo Salami was subsequently instituted to probe the allegations levelled against Magu. A report on the investigation was submitted in November 2020.

Magu was earlier being considered for promotion to the position of assistant inspector-general of police (AIG) despite the recommendation of the Salami-led panel which asked that he should be prosecuted.

On July 8, the Police Service Commission (PSC) removed Magu from the list of those to be promoted to the position of AIG.

Speaking on the development, Dingyadi said since the report was submitted to the president, no further communication has been sent to the ministry and the police force.

The minister said despite the suspension of Magu as acting EFCC chairman, he is still a police officer under the payroll of the federal government.

“The matter, like you said, is investigated. The man is still in the service; he is still in the force headquarters, and I don’t want to expatiate at this material time as to what is happening to the report of the committee,” he said.

“What I know is that the matter has been submitted to Mr President and as far as I know, no communication has yet been submitted to the ministry or police force on this matter. So we are waiting for the final outcome to be made public.

“Of course, he is still a police officer even though he is under suspension. So what you know is that he used to be the chairman of the EFCC, but he is no longer one.

“But that does not mean he is not within the payroll of the FG. He is still a civil servant, he is still a police officer so until the final decision is taken on the matter. I don’t think I should say more than what I have said on this matter.”

Strike: Resident doctors agree to sign MoU with FG

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Doctors
Doctors

The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding with the federal government in an effort to end the ongoing strike.

On August 1, NARD embarked on strike over “irregular payment of salaries”, among other issues.

Efforts of stakeholders, including the house of representatives, to mediate between the federal government and the resident doctors did not yield results.

The industrial court had restrained members of NARD from continuing with the action, after the federal government filed a suit against the association on August 23.

Specifically, the court said: “It is hereby ordered that claimant/applicant and the defendant/respondent suspend all forms of hostilities forthwith pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”

At the court session on Wednesday, Tochukwu Maduka, counsel representing the federal government, said he has filed a case of contempt against NARD.

“Despite the order of this court that all hostilities be suspended, the defendants who render essential services have refused to call off the strike,” he said.

Femi Falana, counsel to the doctors, told the court that he has filed a further affidavit in support of notice for stay of execution. He also opposed the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case.

However, Falana added that parties should go back to the negotiation table. He said going back to the negotiation table is in line with the order to suspend hostility. “We can resume today or even tomorrow if a decision is reached,” he said.

While Bashar Alkali, the judge, stood down the matter for ruling, parties in the case gathered to reach a consensus.

Speaking with journalists after the court session, Maduka said: “Counsel for the resident doctors approached us on behalf of his clients indicating that they want the matter to be settled and that they are prepared to go back to work.”

On his part, Falana said: “We had consultations on both sides with our clients and with the lawyers of the government and we have agreed to come back on Friday to report the efforts we have made.”

“There is an agreement that was not signed by our client. We’ve studied the agreement and we have advised our client that since there is a clause in it that nobody shall be penalised or sanctioned for participating in the industrial action. We believe that there should be no inhibition in signing the agreement trusting that there would be good faith on the path of the government so that we can put this matter behind us.”

The judge adjourned the matter till Friday for ruling.

He asked parties in the suit to try and resolve the issues before Friday. “Both parties should try and shift grounds so that the country can move forward,” the judge said.

He also restrained parties from making defamatory comments to the press and on social media.