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Kyari, Funtua’s Contributions To PMB’s Govt Immeasurable – Mamman Daura [LEADERSHIP]

President Muhammadu Buhari’s nephew and close associate, Mamman Daura, has said the contributions of the late chief of staff to the president, Mallam Abba Kyari and the late media and business mogul, Ismaila Isa Funtua, to the Buhari administration in the first and second tenures were immeasurable.

The revered technocrat and industrialist described the passing of Kyari who died on April 17 of COVID -19 complications and Funtua who died of cardiac arrest on July 20 as disturbing to him.

In an interview on the Hausa service of the British Broadcasting Corporation aired yesterday, Daura recalled that Kyari and Funtua were his close associates of over 40 years.

Noting that Kyari and Funtua’s services to the administration of President Buhari were immeasurable, the renowned journalist and former chairman of NTA said he worked with the late Kyari when he was editor and managing director of the New Nigerian Newspaper, Kaduna.

He stated: “Truly, it (death of two intimate friends) was very disturbing. These two great personalities, aside from being my friends were my close associates.

“What they did for the government since they came in – Malam Ismaila Isa by the side while Abba Kyari in the centre, how they worked for this government was beyond our thought. May Almighty Allah have mercy on them.

“They were close associates, not blood relations. Close associates due to our long term relationship.”

Daura further stated that he and the late Funtua established the Funtua Textile Mills which has outlived other textile companies across the length and breadth of the country.

He continued: “After leaving New Nigerian, and retired as a Managing Director, I became the Director of United Nigeria Textile Limited, UNTL.

“It’s 40 years now. He was the Personnel Manager there. That was when we worked together and became intimate.

“Together, we established Funtua Textiles, close to Mairua Dam. All textile mills that were established at that time have all closed down. The ones in Lagos, Kaduna and Kano, at one point or the other, have stopped production but Funtua Textiles has been in operation in the last 40 years”.

Service Chiefs: Nigerians Must Learn To Divorce Politics From Security – Buratai [LEADERSHIP]

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai has implored Nigerians to divorce politics from security matters when commenting.

Buratai was reacting to calls for the removal of Service Chiefs for the first time noted that President Muhammadu Buhari who appointed the military chiefs knows exactly when to change them.

The COAS who spoke during a recent media chat with select team of media executives to mark the 2020 Nigerian Army Day celebration in Faskari local government area of Katsina State noted that the service chiefs had been fighting myriads of security threats facing the country.

On the clamour for the removal of Service chiefs, Buratai said, “Because I am an actor in it, I think it will not be appropriate for me to respond to that. But the most important thing is that we have a commander-in-chief.

“I have been appointed; we are fighting several battles in different fronts. You can say that in a war situation, everybody has a right to his opinion but the commander-in-chief has the final say.

“He appointed the service chiefs and I believe he knows when to make a change. I believe this is a situation whereby we have to look in a more strategic way, a more passionate way to divorce politics from security.”

Buratai explained that revealed that banditry had become a business which thrives because of the financial gains that the perpetrators derive from such illegal activities, adding that there are hired assassins posing as bandits.

He noted that although the Police remain the lead agency in internal security duties, the military had often been called to support civil authorities.

“The military, in this regard, comes in for internal security duties in aid of civil authority. So, if you look at it in this context, everybody should be concerned with all the activities of the bandits, be they in the communities where they get their funding whether from cattle rustling  or mere killing for cash because some of them are hired assassins. If you look at it from that point, you will realise that they do it for the financial benefits they expect to derive from it”, he said.

The army chief refuted claims that the military has a running battle with Amnesty International or any other right organisation in respect of human rights violations.

He said the military adheres to its rules of engagement in line with international laws of conflict, noting that the Army in its operations had abided strictly by its codes of conduct and United Nations rules.

He continued: “The issue of having a running battle with Amnesty International (AI) is a perception. That is the perception of majority of Nigerians but I don’t think we are having a running battle with anybody.

Over 5,000 Nigerians Stranded In Lebanon – NAPTIP [LEADERSHIP]

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has said that over 5,000 Nigerians stranded in Lebanon are crying for help.

The director-general of NAPTIP, Julie Okah-Donli, who confirmed this during a Television programme on Saturday while confirming a viral video of stranded Nigerian ladies in Lebanon, called on the government and eminent Nigerians to help evacuate them from the Middle-East country.

She noted that the federal government cannot fund this alone, adding that she will meet with the minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Umar Farouq tomorrow and also work with state governments to help facilitate the evacuation of the ladies.

LEADERSHIP Sunday gathered that Lebanon is mired in its worst economic crisis in decades, with the downturn sparking soaring inflation and plunging almost half the country’s population into poverty.

However, many Nigerians are being trafficked into the country with the promise of good, well-paid jobs.

The NAPTIP boss said, “About 150 of them have been captured, including the girls in the video, for evacuation.

“But the cost of chartering a flight amid coronavirus-induced lock-downs across the world is not cheap. When these ones are airlifted, another batch will cry for help”.

Ondo: Disquiet In PDP As Jegede, Mimiko Talks Collapse [THE NATION]

LEADERS of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State appear to be running short of time in reconciling  the party’s governorship candidate, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede, with his former political leader, ex-governor Olusegun Mimiko.

There is palpable tension in the party already ahead of the October governorship election as talks between the camps of the two erstwhile political allies remain inconclusive, party sources said last night.

The Nation gathered that many PDP leaders within and outside the state, had been optimistic about the possibility of Jegede reconciling with Mimiko ahead of the general election.

Sources close to the two camps said the failure of the reconciliation moves may not be unconnected with some developments within the party.

While Mimiko had allegedly made it clear he was not prepared to rejoin the PDP just yet, it was believed that he was willing to help Jegede defeat Akeredolu, who has also met the former governor to ask for his support.

One source said:”Mimiko was ready to support Jegede once again, even if it is from outside the PDP.

“He appreciated efforts by the PDP candidates and other party leaders to woo him. But as a politician, he needed to be sure he would not regret his action.

“But as we speak, the talks have failed and the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP)  now has a candidate. I can tell you some governorship aspirants from both the PDP and the APC are still begging to be made ZLP candidate.”

Mimiko belongs to the ZLP.

Another source claimed that the failure of the talks may not be unconnected with the issue of who will become Jegede’s running mate. The Nation gathered that the insistence of some party leaders that one of those who contested the ticket with Jegede must be chosen as running mate may run contrary to some positions held during the talks between the two camps.

“Mimiko is not a member of the PDP but he has a lot of allies and associates within the party. As a former leader of the party in the state, he understands how it works. Like Jegede, he believes the governorship candidate should be allowed to choose who he will work with. So, I can tell you that the current situation may not be pleasing to him.”

It appears the choice made by Jegede is being rejected by some prominent party chieftains.

An aide of the former governor, while refusing to comment as he wasn’t authorized to, said Mimiko would  not like to be part of a house that appears divided right from the onset.

However to douse tension within the party, its Director of Media and Publicity Zadok Akintoye in a two paragraph statement said: “Please, be informed that a deputy governorship candidate for the forthcoming governorship election in October is yet to be picked for the party. Consultation is currently ongoing to determine who would be nominated by the party for that position. While some names have been suggested, nobody has been nominated nor favoured by the candidate for that position.”

Reliable sources claimed that the ability to win Mimiko’s support for the party remains one of the factors that swung victory in Jegede’s favour during the primary election.

COVID-19: Anxiety In States As Schools Get Ready To Re-Open [THE NATION]

Anxiety is sweeping across the country as senior secondary school class 3 students get ready to resume on Tuesday in preparation for their final examinations.

All schools had been shut in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But following safety guidelines developed by the federal and state governments, it was agreed that SSS3 students can return to enable them prepare for their terminal examinations.

The state governments are already fumigating the schools in fulfillment of one of the conditions for reopening.

Other measures are: Training of teachers and other personnel on safety and hygiene measures; establishing a COVID-19 referral system; provision of an ambulance and access to a testing/isolation/treatment centre; provision of adequate water, sanitation, and hygienic (WASH) facilities across school premises; establishment of staff/students committee for regular surveillance, monitoring and enforcement of COVID-19 guidelines.

The ministries of education in the various states have spent the last few days fumigating classrooms and school compounds.

The Permanent Secretary, Office of Environmental Services in Lagos State, Mrs. Aderonke Odeneye, said yesterday that the majority of public secondary schools in the six educational districts in the state have been reached.

“The fumigation exercise which is on-going, preparatory to resumption next week for terminal classes will continue after the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) Exams,” she said in a statement.

The continuous exercise which commenced in late June has been effected in all the Model colleges across the six educational districts in the state.

Already fumigated are Oduduwa Junior Secondary School, Mushin, New Era Girls Secondary School, Surulere, Oriwu Junior and Senior Model College, Ikorodu.

Others include Lagos State Civil Service Senior Model College, Igbogbo, Igbo- Owu Junior and Senior Secondary School, Mushin and Junior Model College, Igbogbo.

She asked school management to provide hand sanitizers in all classrooms and hostels as well as ensure that students are tutored on the need to constantly sanitize their hands after every educational activity in the classrooms and wear nose masks always.

“Schools are to enforce physical distancing where applicable and also provide facilities to reduce the risk of the infection amongst teachers and students”.

“Disinfection of shoes and feet should be strongly encouraged frequently for each student to reduce bacterial infection that could lead to any ailment during their stay in the school”.

The state government has also directed all SS3 and Technical Studies (TEC3) students in both day and boarding schools in the State to resume tomorrow.

Education Commissioner, Folasade Adefisayo,  said this was to allow for revision classes and adequate preparation ahead of their forthcoming West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

Adefisayo explained that this directive became imperative due to the newly announced date by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) for the 2020 WASSCE scheduled to commence on the 17th of August, 2020.

According to her, “Only SS3 and Technical Study Three (TEC3) students are permitted to resume for the Day and Boarding Schools on the 3rd of August for revision classes and examinations”.

Boko Haram: We’re No Longer Safe – Shehu Of Borno [THE NATION]

Leaders and citizens of Borno State are no longer safe, Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai Elkanemi has decried.

The Shehu, in response to the attack on the convoy of Governor Babagana Umara Zulum, made this lamentation in Maiduguri when he paid traditional Sallah homage on the Governor at the Government House.

The Governor’s convoy was last Wednesday shot at at Baga town in Kukawa local government area during a visit to the area.

The Shehu, during his homage on the governor, said: “Your Excellency, we are not happy about what has happened in Baga the other time, it is very unfortunate and great pity. If the convoy of the whole Chief Security Officer of the state will be attacked, then wallahi nobody is safe, because he is the number one citizen of the state, he is the Chief Security Officer of the State.

If a convoy of such highly placed person in the State will be attacked, I repeat, nobody is safe. The matter is getting worse, I urge everyone to raise up our hands to seek for Allah’s intervention.”

The royal father, who also spoke on COVID-19 pandemic, urged Borno citizens to continue to adhere strictly to all preventive protocols advocated by health experts.

Speaking on the environment, the Shehu lamented on the high rate at which trees were cut in the state, urging the state government to take urgent steps in mitigating this dangerous act before it leads to a serious environmental problem.

COVID-19: Charter Airlines Defy Flight Ban, Fly Rich Nigerians Abroad [PUNCH]

Some charter airlines have begun offering services to members of the public despite a ban on international flights by the Federal Government due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sunday PUNCH has learnt.

It was also learnt that some commercial flights that were contracted by foreign missions to evacuate stranded citizens from Nigeria were also being used to convey passengers at an extra fee.

According to multiple Ministry of Aviation and airline sources, several Nigerians and foreigners have been travelling in and out of the country via the private charter and evacuation flights.

A top source at the Ministry of Aviation told Sunday PUNCH that the process of seeking approval from the ministry had become very easy and porous hence the current development.

While passengers with very deep pockets patronise charter airlines, others without the means join evacuation flights that have been commercialised.

“If you have a valid American residence/passport or British visa and the right money, I get you on a flight by Sunday morning,” a source in the ministry boasted.

When asked to explain, he stated, “If you own a private jet, all you need to do is write a letter to the minister indicating that you need to travel for medical reasons. And you would be given approval almost immediately. Once you are given the approval, you can add people to the flight under the guise that they are your personal staff or family members.

“These people who are supposed family members or personal aides are actually passengers who could pay you between $4,000 and $8,000 and sometimes $14, 000 depending on your destination and the kind of aeroplane you are flying.”

The official explained that nobody really investigates who is being conveyed on the plane.

He recalled what happened in the case of Musician, Azeez Fashola, aka Naira Marley, who travelled with several others from Lagos to Abuja to attend a concert during the ban on local flights.

The official added, “If you recall the case of Naira Marley, Executive Jet Services which flew him had received approval from the ministry under the guise that it was flying an Appeal Court Judge, Justice Adefope Okogie, from Lagos to Abuja.

“The names of Naira Marley and nine others were on the list but different names were given to the control tower by the captain and everything went smoothly and they would have got away with it if not for the controversy generated by the concert. That is how things have been going on in the aviation sector lately.”

On the evacuation flights, the official further explained that some officials of foreign missions were colluding with some international commercial airlines to fly Nigerians in and out of the country.

He explained that when some flights come for evacuation, they also take some Nigerian citizens at a different and more expensive fee.

The official stated, “Most times, when they want to evacuate foreign nationals, the ambassador of the foreign country would write to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the approval is usually automatic, based on international law.

“Once they get the approval, a letter is sent to the Ministry of Aviation which gives the final approval. These approvals are given automatically. Once the planes arrive, they evacuate their citizens along with Nigerians who have valid visas. Don’t you find it strange that more evacuations are going on now than during the lockdown itself?

“Have you asked yourself why during this ban on flights, several artistes and VIPs have been travelling to give birth abroad?

2023: No APC Member Has Right To Oppose Tinubu, Says Ex-SGF [PUNCH]

A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, has said nobody in the All Progressives Congress has the right to prevent the party’s national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, from contesting the 2023 Presidency.

Lawal, in an interview with Sunday PUNCH, also canvassed power shift to the South, particularly the South-West. He expressed dismay at some notable northerners desiring Presidency to be retained in their region.

He accused some APC governors of fuelling the crisis in the party so they could take control for their own selfish political purposes. He said the overall goal of the politicians was to undo the current structure under the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd).

He said it was laughable if the objective of the politicians, who he alleged to have masterminded the removal of the former party chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, was to oppose the alleged Tinubu’s presidential aspirations.

Lawal said, “Those who wanted Adams Oshiohmole out are more desperate because of 2023 because as a national chairman of a party, from my our own observation, there’s very little he could do to favour or impose a presidential candidate in his party.

“Except we want to bring the wrath of God on our heads, because of his role in building the party, equity and a sense of justice demand that he be given a chance in a free and fair system and let his luck prevail.

“Nobody with a clear conscience in the APC will deny Tinubu the opportunity to contest the Presidency. Nobody within the party has the moral right to even put a stumbling block on his path. The party must create an environment that is free and fair for anybody who wants to contest, including Bola Tinubu. Let the delegates, who must have emerged through a similarly free and fair process, decide who they want to vote for.”

Lawal also urged Buhari to support power rotation to the South to enable the emergence of his successor from the region.

“A just and equitable way of doing things is to agree, as gentlemen, that since the North has had its President for the second tenure, the opportunity should be given to the South to produce the next President,” he said.

Lagos Churches, Mosques Reopen Friday, Bars, Clubs Stay Closed –Sanwo-Olu [PUNCH]

The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, says worship centres in the state will be allowed to reopen from Friday, August 7.

He said Muslim worshippers are allowed to begin their services from Friday while Christian worshippers could begin their Sunday services on August 9, noting that the permission applies to Churches that have their main worship days on Saturdays.

He, however, warned that the religious centres would only be allowed to operate at 50 per cent of their capacity, noting that the safety protocols released by the government must be strictly adhered to.

Worship centres in the state have been shut since March as part of measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.

In June after the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 approved the reopening of worship centres, the state government on June 4 asked mosques to reopen from June 19, and churches from June 21.

But, at a press briefing on June 16, the governor canceled the plan due to increasing COVID-19 cases.

Speaking at a press briefing on Saturday, Sanwo-Olu said, “Places of worship in Lagos State will be allowed to open from Friday, August 7 for our Muslim worshippers, and Sunday the 9th of August for Christian worshippers, but only at 50 per cent of their capacity. Churches whose main worship days fall on Saturdays are permitted to hold their services on Saturdays.”

He stressed that worship centres would not be permitted to have other services or fellowships outside of their main weekly services that hold once a week, but that they could schedule multiple services on their designated worship days. He said vigil remained prohibited till further notice.

Among the conditions to be met by the religious centres planning to reopen, he said persons above 65 were strongly discouraged from attending services and that the ‘No Facemask, No Entry’ policy must be maintained throughout the duration of services.

He added, “Regular cleaning and disinfection of facilities must be carried out to maintain clean and hygienic environments before and after every service. Appropriate screening equipment for COVID-19 symptoms such as a contactless temperature check must be available for entrants into the facility.

“It is mandatory to provide hand-washing facilities and sanitisers at the entry and exit points; national emergency response phone lines must be displayed prominently on the premises and handshakes, hugs and high fives are not permitted at gatherings.”

He stated that the use of stationary collection boxes and electronic methods for collection of offering must be encouraged and that the flow of human traffic in and out of the premises must be conducted in an organised manner.”

Sanwo-Olu said the number of cases had been decreasing over the past two weeks, adding that from August 14, restaurants would be permitted to open for in-dining services while social clubs and recreational centres would also be allowed to open, on the proviso that they maintain a 50 per cent occupancy capacity and obtain Provisional Safety Compliance Certificate from the government.

He added that the permissible capacity for public gatherings had been increased from 20 to 50 persons, warning that the closure of all spas, bars, lounges, night clubs, cinemas, games arcades remain till another review before the end of the month.

Edo Guber: Obaseki’s Family Members Endorse Ize-Iyamu [SUN]

In was a setback for the re-election bid of Governor Godwin Obaseki yesterday when some members of the Obaseki family endorsed and pledged their support for the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, in the September 19 Edo governorship election.

The endorsement of the APC candidate by the Obaseki’s family, which was led by Victor Obaseki, a cousin to Governor Obaseki at a meeting at Ize-Iyamu’s private residence in Benin‎ City, adds to the disappointing week for the PDP’s candidate, which saw numerous aides, appointees, and other government officials resigning their positions to back Ize-Iyamu.

Victor Obaseki, speaking at the meeting, admitted that although Godwin Obaseki is their kin, he would not be getting the support of the family.

His words: “I am here today in company of my cousins to support Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

“Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki, the executive governor, is our cousin. Generally, the Obasekis have their own way of doing things; we are different branch of faith, we are supporting our brother, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu with an unalloyed support fully for him. I have supported him before, and I would continue to support him, we would do all our campaigns for him without let or hindrance, fully from the bottom of our hearts.”

I Won’t Report Mimiko To EFCC – Akeredolu [SUN]

Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, has said that he will not report his predecessor and friend of over 40 years, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) because of political differences.

The state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo, gave this indication in a statement in response to stories making the rounds on social media that former Governor Mimiko may be arrested by the EFCC for allowing Akeredolu’s Deputy, Agboola Ajayi, to contest the October 10 governorship election on the platform of his political party, Zenith Labour Party (ZLP).

But Akeredolu described the rumour as a blatant lie planted to destroy his relationship with Mimiko spanning over 40 years.

He dismissed the widely circulated story as “untrue, puerile and utterly mischievous,” stressing that such story was a cleverly laid path for the two friends to engage in needless mudslinging.

According to him, his friendship with Mimiko remains unaffected by the current political permutations, alignments and realignment.

The commissioner further stated: “Clearly too, the former governor, in Governor Akeredolu’s view, is well acquainted with the antecedents of those who have chosen to embrace any straw, including those they had mindlessly plotted against in the past, to keep their waning political comfort zones afloat.

“Nonetheless, while Governor Akeredolu has nothing against his friend and immediate past predecessor, he has chosen to allow posterity to intercede and interpret the roles of men in whatever form.”












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