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N’Assembly will ensure the return of Nigerian students trapped in Volcanic Caribbean Island – Lawan

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President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has assured Nigerian students currently stranded in the Southern Caribbean nation hit by volcanic explotions that the National Assembly will intervene to ensure that they are safely brought back home.

Lawan gave the assurance in response to a request for Intervention by the Consul General of the Island Nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Levi Odoe who paid him a courtesy call at the National Assembly, Abuja on Wednesday.

“Let me commiserate with you on the volcanic eruptions that took place in the Island.

“St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a country that is very friendly with our country Nigeria over a long time. We have many bilateral and multilateral interactions and we appreciate your cooperation, support and partnership over time with our country.

“It is rather sad that you had volcanic eruptions that have caused serious damage in the Island.

“I’m also saddened by the loss of lives and of course the situation of the Nigerian medical students who are now trapped in the Island.

“When we sit here at the National Assembly, we represent every Nigerian wherever that Nigerian is. Therefore, it is our responsibility and obligation to take all the necessary measures to ensure that the Nigerian students who are trapped are brought back safely to Nigeria until the situation is remedied.

“It is also the attitude of our country to come in support of countries and our friends. So when we have issues like this that require emphathy and support of our country, we will look into it definitely with a view to finding some kind of support for the Island,” Lawan said.

Earlier, the Consul General of the Island Nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Levi Odoe said the purpose of the visit was to seek Nigeria’s assistance for the Island and the intervention of the Senate President with respect to about 230 Nigerian medical students currently stranded in the Island.

“They(stranded Nigerian students) have been calling me requesting to see what can be done and I thought to myself, that the best thing to do will be to request an audience with His Excellency, the Senate President.

“So we are here to request any assistance at all that can be given to the Island and to Nigerians that are stranded there,” Dr Odoe said.

 

 

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Defence and Security

Army Has No Desire To Truncate Nigeria’s Democracy — COAS

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Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja
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The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, on Tuesday, restated the commitment of the Nigerian Army to defend the nation’s choice of government, democracy.

Addressing participants at a seminar on career planning and management organised by the Army headquarters, the COAS said the Army has no plans to truncate democracy in the country.

He charged officers of the Nigerian Army to remain above board in the discharge of their professional duties.

“Permit me to seize this opportunity to reiterate that the Armed Forces of Nigeria, particularly the Nigerian Army has come to terms with the country’s choice of democracy as the preferred system of governance,” he said during his address to officers.

“We are therefore agents of democracy and have no desire to truncate it. The Nigerian Army will continue to defend our constitution and not suspend it for whatever reason.

“It is the duty of our elected leaders to lead while the military does its job as enshrined in our constitution. Nigerian Army personnel must therefore remain professional and be above board as they discharge their constitutional duties.”

The commitment by the COAS followed the series of putsches in West and Central Africa which have experienced at least seven military takeovers in the last four years.

Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and most recently, Niger Republic — all members of the Economic Community of Western African States ( ECOWAS) — have pulled out from the regional bloc in last four years. Outside of West Africa, Chad and Sudan also experienced military coups in 2021.

 

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Economic: Defence Chief Warns Coup Advocates

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The Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, has warned against advocating for a coup due to economic hardship, emphasizing patience and the superiority of democracy.

He made this known on Thursday while speaking with journalists at the Nigerian Army 6 Division Headquarters in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, after commissioning some building projects.

General Musa urged individuals promoting military takeover to cease such statements.

The Chief of Defence Staff had earlier commissioned the newly constructed Entrance Gate and Officers Transit Accommodation at the 6 Division Headquarters.

Protests have occurred in Ogun, Oyo, Kano, Niger and some parts of the country in the last few weeks over the hardship experienced in the country as Nigerians lament food inflation, high cost of living, amongst other harsh living conditions occasioned by the removal of petrol subsidy, forex crisis, amongst others.

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Security: Bill To Introduce State Police Scales Second Reading

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Federal House of Representatives
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A Constitution Amendment Bill to introduce state police has scaled second reading in the House of Representatives.

The bill, which was sponsored by 13 members of the House, enjoyed support from majority of the lawmakers in the green chamber who believed that concerns of political victimisation by state governors, should take the backseat to the current state of insecurity across the country.

Last week, President Bola Tinubu and 36 state governors considered the creation of state police as solution to the menacing security challenges like kidnapping and banditry ubiquitous in the country.

State police has been a subject of controversy since the Seventh National Assembly and has failed to make it through the amendment phase.

Governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had recently restated their position on state policing, as the solution to the country’s worsening security situation, lamenting that Nigeria is “almost on the road to Venezuela”.

Also, regional socio-political groups such as Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Middle Belt Forum, and the Northern Elders’ Forum, have repeatedly called for state police as solution the myriad of increasing security challenges confronting the nation.

Already, states in the South-West geopolitical zone have formed the Amotekun while their counterparts in the South-East also created state-owned security outfit Ebube Agu. The Benue Guards has also been operational in Benue State in the North Central while states like Katsina, Zamfara and other bandit-prone sub-nationals have also come up with similar state-established outfits.

However, these outfits have not been effective as anticipated as they don’t have the backing of the Federal Government or the Presidency while states continue to demand that Amotekun, Ebube Agu and others are granted license to bear assault rifles like AK-47 to confront lethal gun-toting marauders.

 

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