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Buhari returns to Abuja from UK

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President Muhammad Buhari
President Muhammad Buhari
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President Muhammadu Buhari has returned to Abuja after joining world leaders in making firm commitment to increase funding for education sector at the recent Global Education Summit in London, United Kingdom.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Nigerian leader also used the opportunity of the trip to also spend a few days for his medical check-up.

The Global Education Summit, co-hosted by British Prime Minister, Mr Boris Johnson, and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, successfully generated about four billion dollars out of the targeted five billion dollars for the transformation of the education sector in low income countries, including Nigeria.

NAN reports that Buhari, who actively participated in the activities of the summit, appeared on a panel of discussants with a live audience alongside his counterparts from other African countries, including President Kenyatta, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, President Faure Eyadema of Togo and President Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi.

The summit focused on topical issues including Education’s Reset – Learning from COVID; Transforming the Child’s Learning Journey; Gender Equality in and Through Education; Ripple Effect – Education’s Impact on Sustainability, and Financing for Impact – Volume, Equity, Efficiency.

At the summit, Buhari pledged to increase the budget for the education sector in Nigeria by as much as 50 per cent over the next two years.

The Nigerian leader stated: “We commit to progressively increase our annual domestic education expenditure by 50 per cent over the next two years and up to 100 per cent by 2025 beyond the 20 per cent global benchmark.”

NAN reports that the president also held bilateral meetings with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Baroness Patricia Scotland, at the sidelines of the Global Education Summit.

Buhari and Boris Johnson, during the bilateral talks appraised the war against different forms of terrorism in Nigeria, and agreed that the judicial process be allowed to run its course.

Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, in a statement, quoted the two leaders saying it was important that ”the judicial process runs without interference, no matter who was involved”.

He said Buhari also briefed the Prime Minister on Nigeria’s power needs and efforts being made, as well as initiatives geared at achieving food security.

The president also reviewed the security situation in the different regions of the country, while Johnson pledged Britain’s preparedness to lend a helping hand.

“We are available to help,” Adesina quoted the British PM as saying.

”The two leaders equally discussed how to increase trade between the two countries, develop solar and wind power, leadership of the Commonwealth going forward and other matters of mutual interest,” Adesina added.

During the bilateral meeting with the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Baroness Patricia Scotland, Buhari said Nigeria would be glad to receive support from the Commonwealth in diverse areas of needs and challenges.

The president said Nigeria was doing a lot to address food security through heavy investment in agriculture, and tackle security issues confronting the country in different regions.

He, therefore, welcomed the offer of assistance by the Commonwealth scribe.

Baroness Scotland said the Commonwealth had developed programmes on agribusiness, adding value to agriculture products for young people to get involved, climate change, criminal justice reforms, police reforms and security.

She, therefore, invited Nigeria to benefit from technical assistance that could be provided.

She added that since Buhari was the Champion for Anti-Corruption in Africa, the Commonwealth had developed anti-corruption benchmark tools, and would like to work with Nigeria in both public and private sectors.

Other areas the Commonwealth could assist, according to Baroness Scotland, include countering violent extremism, trade and modalities to implement the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

Before departing London, Buhari was reported to have on Thursday visited former Lagos State governor and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, who is believed to be on medical trip to London.

NAN reports that those at the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja to welcome the president included the President’s Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari; Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammad Bello, security chiefs as well as some presidential aides. (NAN)

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Deborah Samuel: NBA Calls For Swift Prosecution Of Suspects, Postpones Conference In Sokoto

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The Nigerian Bar Association has condemned extra-judicial killings in any part of the country, describing them as reprehensible, barbaric and unacceptable.

A statement signed by the President of the bar, Olumide Akpata also called on security agencies to do more to stem these ugly developments, and to ensure that the perpetrators of these heinous acts are made to face the full wrath of the law.

Citing the specific cases of a young man (simply identified as David) in Lagos who was reportedly lynched by commercial motorcyclists around Lekki; and the incident in Sokoto involving the murder of Miss Deborah Yakubu, a 200-level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto by some of her school mates for alleged blasphemy, the NBA asked government to immediately commence the prosecution of all suspects involved in these brutal and arbitrary killings in order to send a strong signal that such acts will no longer be tolerated in Nigeria.

The NBA said it believes that the prompt and effective prosecution of the alleged killers will instill confidence in the citizens, promote accountability, and signpost the government’s commitment to the rule of law.

With particular reference to the murder of Deborah Yakubu and related developments in Sokoto, the NBA said it is worried by unconfirmed reports that the suspects have been charged with mere breach of public peace and called on the Sokoto State Government to immediately rethink its prosecution strategy and file charges that truly reflect the gravity of the situation.

On the demand for the release of the suspects by some protesting youths coupled with assault on innocent citizens, burning of worship centres and destruction of property, the NBA said this is worrisome and clearly a test of the will of the State to fully enforce its laws and foster rule of law.

On its annual conference of the Section on Public Interest and Development Law, SPIDEL scheduled to hold next week in Sokoto, the NBA said, having critically reviewed the current security condition in the state, it has become apparent that it cannot guarantee the safety of participants and accordingly, the Conference has been postponed also as a mark of respect for the memory of the slain Deborah Yakubu.

The NBA urged the State Government to fully collaborate with the Federal Government to initiate measures — and where necessary deploy its coercive instruments — to restore peace and order to the State, safeguard lives and property and dissuade vandalism and impunity.

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Accord Party’s comment on award of Osogbo-Okinni-Ilobu road project, unfortunate, illogical – Osun Govt 

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.…says it took over the project to alleviate citizens’ hardship

The government of Osun has explained that it took over the reconstruction of the Osogbo-Okinni-Ilobu road, which is a Federal road, to alleviate the hardship motorists and other road users face daily why plying the road.

The government said the facility had been in a deplorable condition for so long and it could not afford to allow its citizens continue to suffer on the road, adding that it followed due process in taking over the project.

One of the opposition parties in Osun, the Accord Party had in a statement published accused the State Government of taking over a road project that had already been awarded by the Federal Government.

Reacting to the statement by the Accord Party, Mr Ismail Omipidan who is the Chief Press Secretary to the State Governor, described the party’s claims as unfortunate, lame and illogical.

He said while the contract for the rehabilitation of the road had been truly awarded by the federal government on two different occasions since 2012, no concrete work had been done on the project, a development he said forced the State government to take over the project.

“The contract for rehabilitating the road was first awarded by the federal government 10 years ago, but since then, no significant work has been done on the project that has caused so much hardship for our people who use the road.

“It was for this reason that the Governor Adegboyega Oyetola-led administration decided to take over the project to address the needless sufferings and loss of man-hours on the facility,” Omipidan explained.

He further noted that Accord party should be more concerned on how to sell its candidate to the people of Osun rather than engaging in a futile exercise. “The party’s comments on the take-over of the road project by the State government are lame and illogical,” he added.

Omipidan further said: “Accord Party should simply bury its head in shame. Are they saying we should continue to allow the people of Osun to suffer under our administration simply because the road belongs to the federal government?

“If they were discerning enough and if they had listened to Mr. Governor’s speech on the day we flagged off the reconstruction of that road, I am sure they would not bother themselves issuing a statement that lacks substance.

“Mr. Governor said it clearly in his speech that the road contract was awarded about 10 years ago and that as a state government, even though it is a federal government project, we did everything possible to support all the contractors that have had cause to work on that road. But there was no positive result.

“The argument on the timing of the award of the project is preposterous and ill-judged. A government can award a project contract even a week to its expiration, as long as it is in the overall interest of the State and its people.

“We all know that there are processes to take over federal government project that explains why it took us time to start the reconstruction because we have to complete the necessary paperwork.

“During the Governor’s January broadcast, he stated it clearly that though 2022 is going to be an election year but as a responsible governor, he will not allow politics to over shadow governance, so if anything, the Governor should be commended for walking his talk.

“Hon. Lasun Yusuff, the candidate of the Labour Party in the July 16 governorship contest was on air just on Monday, stating how as a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, he facilitated the reconstruction of the road. He explained how some persons who were coming for his event from Lagos had to return without getting to their destinations after spending three hours on that road, so he was happy and even commended the State government for taking over the road project and so, are the immediate beneficiaries of the road.

“The benefiting communities and road users who ply the road will definitely not be happy with the position taken by Accord Party. The party has indeed missed its target as it cannot use this project to attack Governor Oyetola who has only done what the people desire.

“The party should be more concerned on how to sell its candidate rather than engaging in a futile exercise because this indeed is an exercise in futility, the people of Osun know Mr Adegboyega Oyetola very well as a man of his words and somebody who walks his talks. He has promised that he won’t allow politics to overshadow governance. As a matter of fact, we will reel out more road projects in the days ahead.”

 

 

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Death Toll Rises To Nine In Kano Explosion

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Scene of the Kano blast
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At least nine persons have died after an explosion rocked Aba Road in Sabon Gari area of Kano, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs said on Tuesday.

The bodies were recovered from the rubble of a collapsed building beside a primary school.

The police earlier said the explosion was triggered by gas cylinder and not a bomb as being speculated.

“It is not a bomb explosion, it is a gas explosion,” Commissioner of Police, Sama’ila Dikko, said in a voice recording. “A gas cylinder explosion.

“Because there is a welder, just by the place, and he is the first victim in this situation.”

Dikko added that the police, in collaboration with other security agencies, was also investigating what led to the gas cylinder explosion.

He maintained that the scene was under control.

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