NAF Deploys 4 Combat Drones In Zamfara [LEADERSHIP]
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is set to deploy four Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs) as part of efforts to address armed banditry and others.
The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, disclosed this, while on a one-day operational visit to Gusau, to inspect the site for the proposed runway and other facilities, which are expected to serve as the Northwest UCAV Base for the NAF.
A statement by the director of public relations and information, Air Commodore
Ibikunle Daramola said the visit, which began with a courtesy call on the Zamfara State governor, Dr Bello Mohammed Matawalle, also afforded the CAS the opportunity to inspect some facilities at NAF Base Gusau.
Speaking during the courtesy call at Government House Gusau, Air Marshal Abubakar thanked the government and good people of Zamfara State for their support and hospitality to the NAF since the establishment of the 207 Quick Response Group (207 QRG) in the State.
He further expressed satisfaction with reports that NAF personnel operating
under Sector 1 of Operation HADARIN DAJI had been performing their assigned tasks professionally, in synergy with other security agencies, whilst also ensuring cordial relationship with host communities.
He disclosed that he was in Zamfara State at the instance of the Commander- in Chief (C-in-C) of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, who had authorized the construction of a runway and ancillary facilities in Gusau for the deployment of 4 newly acquired UCAVs to cover Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi and Katsina states as well as
parts of Kaduna State. While highlighting the capabilities of the UCAVs, the CAS noted that the unmanned aircraft could remain airborne for up to 26 hours providing persistent presence over areas of interest.
He revealed that the four UCAVs were part of the 8 UAVs recently acquired by the Federal Government to enhance the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) as well as strike capabilities of the NAF not only in the fight against armed banditry in the Northwest and North Central but also in counterinsurgency operations in the North East.
Joe Biden Will Be The 46th President Of The United States [LEADERSHIP]
It became apparent yesterday that Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, will become the 46th President of the United States of America after taking a lead over incumbent Donald Trump in Pennsylvania, putting him on course to secure more than the 270 electoral college votes needed to win the presidency.
Absentee ballots in Pennsylvania gave Biden enough votes to beat the incumbent President Donald Trump in the battleground state.
As of the time of filing this report, Biden was up by more than 12,000 votes in the battleground state as state officials continued to tabulate ballots from the heavily Democratic precincts in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s largest city
Political analysts in that country have said the Democratic candidate is on the brink of winning the race for the White House, starting a new chapter in American history after the turbulence of Mr Trump’s four years in office.
Biden’s lead over Donald Trump in Pennsylvania has placed him on course to win more than the 270 electoral college votes needed to become the next US President.
According to experts, if Biden wins Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes, he would have more than enough to win the presidency.
He maintained leads in three other states that were yet to be declared yesterday.
Polls overstated the standing of the Democratic nominee and former Vice President in key states, leaving Biden to slog to victory over the Republican president by flipping the midwestern states of Michigan and Wisconsin after a bitter campaign dominated by the coronavirus and its effects on Americans and the economy.
With his re-election chances fading, Trump escalated his attacks on the results, appearing at the White House to claim the election was being “stolen” from him.
As Biden moved closer to victory, hundreds of Democrats gathered outside Philadelphia’s downtown vote-counting site, wearing yellow shirts that read, “Count Every Vote.”
Trump’s campaign is pursuing a series of lawsuits across battleground states, but legal experts described them as unlikely to succeed in altering the election outcome.
Judges in Georgia and Michigan promptly dismissed two lawsuits on Thursday.
The campaign’s general counsel, Matt Morgan, asserted in a statement yesterday that the elections in Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania all suffered from improprieties and that Trump would eventually prevail in Arizona.
“This election is not over,” he said. “Biden is relying on these states for his phony claim on the White House, but once the election is final, President Trump will be re-elected.”
He also said the campaign expected to pursue a recount in Georgia, as it has said it will do in Wisconsin, where Biden won by more than 20,000 votes.
Biden, who spent four decades in Washington as former President Barack Obama’s vice president and a longtime Delaware senator, called for all votes to be counted on Thursday.
He offered reassurance that the counting could be trusted and declared “each ballot must be counted.”
“I ask everyone to stay calm,” he said. “The process is working.”
Biden will turn 78 in two weeks, making him the oldest elected President. He has placed himself in the center of the Democratic Party from the 1970s through today, even as a recent progressive movement sweeps his party.
He will take over the response to the coronavirus, which has killed 233,000 Americans as cases continue to rise across the country and caused a deep recession with no end in sight.
With millions of ballots yet to be tabulated, Biden already had received more than 72 million votes, the most in history. It could take several more days for the count to conclude.
While President Trump has insisted that ballot counting should stop, it was unclear exactly what that included.
He also was benefiting from the continued counting of votes in Arizona early Thursday after the Associated Press and Fox News called the state for Biden a day earlier but Decision Desk HQ and other news organizations declined to join them.
Trump has fixated on Pennsylvania, where the Supreme Court refused to toss a three-day extension.
Biden’s attorney, Bob Bauer, said the suits were meritless and were made “to create an opportunity for them to message falsely about what’s taking place in the electoral process.”
Meanwhile, thousands of anti-Trump protesters are demanding a complete tally of the ballots in the still-undecided election and have taken to streets in cities across the US.
Also, the Trump supporters have been chanting “Stop the count!” and “Stop the steal!” slogans. The protests came as the President insisted without evidence that there were major problems with the voting and the ballot counting, especially with mail-in votes, and as Republicans filed suit in various states over the election.
Also referred to as absentee ballots – as the name suggests mail-in ballots allow voters to send in their votes early by mail in the event they cannot make it to the polling station on Election Day. Typically, the category of mail-in ballots comprises citizens staying overseas and military personnel.
The US is a federal structure and this translates to states having their own laws for mail-in ballots too.
For example, Pennsylvania was still
accepting ballots yesterday, after the state Supreme Court extended the deadline and the US Supreme Court voted 4–4 to leave that timeline intact. But this court now has a ninth judge.
The Senate recently confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who is a Republican nominee, after Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away in September.
The Trump camp has now gone back to the court in a last-ditch attempt to push the deadline back to Election Day.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi Calls Biden ‘President-elect’
Meanwhile, United States House Speaker and the top Democrat in Congress, Nancy Pelosi, yesterday called Joe Biden the “president-elect” of the United States after he pulled ahead in key election results.
“This morning it is clear that the Biden- Harris ticket will win the White House,” Pelosi told reporters after Biden overtook President Donald Trump in the potentially decisive state of Pennsylvania.
“President-Elect Biden has a strong mandate to lead,” she said, adding that it is “a happy day for our country. Joe Biden is a unifier, because he is determined to bring people together.”
Pennsylvania is believed to be enough to put Biden past the magic number of 270 votes in the state-by-state Electoral College, which determines the presidency.
Biden also took a razor-thin lead in votes counted from Georgia, which Trump until late in the campaign did not consider to be in play.
The Democrat has stopped short of declaring victory but said he expected that he and his running mate, Kamala Harris would triumph.
Trump has angrily made unsubstantiated claims of fraud and sought to halt vote counting after prematurely declaring victory himself following the close of polls on Tuesday.
Biden’s performance came despite projections that Democrats will lose several seats in the House of Representatives, a major disappointment for the party which had hoped to expand its majority.
Pelosi played down the losses but said that the next House election in 2022 “will be a steeper climb” without Trump on the ballot.
The party of the president nearly always loses seats in Congress in the first midterm election.
Airspace Restricted Over Biden’s House As Secret Service Tightens Security Around Him
Meanwhile, the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has put the residence of presidential candidate Joe Biden under a temporary flight restriction.
This is even as the US Secret Service has sent additional agents to Delaware in an effort to increase protection around Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, who is inching closer to becoming the next US president.
The ‘no-fly zone’ – which has a radius of one nautical mile – covers the airspace over Biden’s Delaware house and will last until 7 November.
The decision, which was taken by the FAA, was announced through a Notice to Airmen and listed under ‘special security reasons’.
Despite no official statement by the agency, the Independent interpreted it as a way to increase security in the event of Biden winning the elections.
According to the Notice to Airmen, which provides information on temporary changes to the National Airspace System, pilots are not allowed to fly over the area, except in extraordinary circumstances, such as safety and emergency reasons.
This is not the first time the FAA lists US presidential candidates’ residences as ‘no-fly zones’.
In 2016, Trump Tower as well as Mike Pence’s Indianapolis home were put under restrictions before they took office.
The domiciles of Hillary Clinton and former vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine were protected during election night but lost all privileges when results came in.
The move to also send more secret service operatives to Biden’s house was made after his campaign noted that they would be making use of the Wilmington convention center for one more day, suggesting that the former vice president could make a major announcement on Friday, November.
Two sources told CNN that the extra Secret Service agents were sent to Delaware on Thursday November 5.
Delaware News Journal also reported that flights are temporarily restricted over Biden’s Wilmington home and the Chase Center in the city.
The Federal Aviation Administration listed the restriction over the Chase Center where Biden has delivered speeches for “VIP movement,” while the one over Biden’s home is for “special security reasons.”
Court Quashes Bid To Stop Bamalli’s Coronation As Emir Of Zazzau [LEADERSHIP]
The Kaduna State High Court sitting in Zaria has dismissed the application brought before it by a contender in the race for Zazzau throne, Alhaji Bashir Aminu, the Iyan Zazzau, asking the court to stop the state government from installing Ambassador Ahmad Nuhu Bamalli as the 19th Emir of Zazzau.
In his ruling which lasted for one hour, the presiding judge, Justice Kabir Dabo ruled that the court’s refusal to grant the applicant request was taken out of the best interest of the Emirate and its people.
“The refusal of the court to grant the Plaintiff his request was in the interest of peace and security and to avert any possible crisis in the Emirate.”
It also held that granting the application could create a vacuum in Zazzau Emirshp
stool which would possibly not go down well with subjects of the Emirate and could ignite crisis and breach of Security to the domain.
The Court also held that refusal of the injunction was better than granting it as it could push the subjects of the Emirate in crisis when the vacuum of the emirship
Thus, Justice Dabo adjourned the case to 18th, November 2020 for accelerated hearing on the substantive suit.
Meanwhile, arrangements are on top gear for the coronation of the new Emir scheduled for the November 9 in Zaria.
Crack In ASUU As Members Want End To Strike [LEADERSHIP]
Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have pleaded with the federal government to have mercy their children and those of ordinary Nigerians bearing the brunt of the protracted strike by quickly attending to their demands to enable them resume immediately.
The union had in March, 2020 embarked on the industrial action to press for their demands and kick against the use of force by the federal government to enroll its members on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
But eight months into the nationwide strike, the federal government has remained adamant about getting committed to meeting their demands, while the union is insisting it will not call off the strike.
Addressing a press conference at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife yesterday, members of the Akure Zone of the union cried out, saying they were tired of the strike.
The Zone which was represented by the chairman of the Federal University of Technology Akure, Dr Olayinka Awopetu, Ekiti State University, Dr Kayode Arogundade, Obafemi Awolowo University, Dr Adeola Egbedokun and Federal University Oye- Ekiti, Dr Gabriel Omonijo alleged that the federal government was rushing them to resume because of fear of protest by youths.
In the address which was read by the union zonal coordinator, Prof Olu Olufayo, the ASUU members explained that the lingering industrial action of the union was to get the federal government to fulfill the agreement of 2013 and 2019 and not primarily about Integrated Personnel and Payroll System (IPPIS).
They stated: “For the avoidance of doubt, our issues remain; funding for revitalization of public universities, payment of earned academic allowances, visitation panels to universities and renegotiation of 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement. Since 2009, we have conscientiously approached the government to be faithful to implement the agreement it freely entered into with the union. The current struggle is derived from this history.
“We are tired of the strike. Our children are attending the public institution and it is sad that those frustrating our agitations, their children are not attending schools in Nigeria. It is so unfortunate. FG is intentionally starving us for our members to compromise and resume.
Prof Olufayo noted that meetings with the federal government recently have failed to solve their demands because the government is bent on dishonouring the agreement earlier reached.
He urged FG to pity the children of ordinary Nigerians and quickly attend to the lingering issues without delay saying.
He continued: “The public should not blame ASUU for further damage to the university educational system but hold the federal government responsible.
“Our students have stayed home for almost a year, we are not the cause, we started our strike before COVID-19 and those students are fed up and it was part of what contributed to #EndSARS and the FG realised that. They are now calling for negotiations that they turned down months back.
The students during #EndSARS also included End bad governance. I know that students in Kwara State universities gave FG two weeks ultimatum to sort the issue with ASUU else they will hit streets with protest, that scares the government and they are rushing us to resume”.
In the same vein, the Academic Staff Union Of Universities (ASUU), Abuja zone, has stressed that the ongoing industrial action by the union is for the interest of the university system and Nigerians in general.
Speaking in an interview with LEADERSHIP Weekend on behalf of the zone which comprises Federal University of Technology, Minna, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai, Federal University of Lafia and University of Abuja, chairman of the zone, Professor Theophilus Lagi said what the union is doing is patriotic.
He said Nigerians should always blame federal government for failing to fulfill its agreement by implementing the MoA of 7th February, 2019, and other issues such as Renegotiation of the 2009 agreement, Revitalization fund to public universities, Earned Academic Allowance, Visitation Panel to public universities and proliferation of state universities and governance Issues in them.
Lagi who further stressed the need for government to allow theunion adopt University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) said, “Not just federal government accepting the UTAS because in principle we have agreed over time that once UTAS is accepted and it is has passed through integrity test then federal government will deploy it to be use within the university system and that the understanding between the union and government but to our shock and recently when the government invited the union for discussion government is still insisting that our members should go back and register with the IPPIS pending when the UTAS is ready.
“It is not very logical as if the government is still bent on forcefully encouraging our members to migrate to the IPPIS. The reason behind all these is what is not very clear to us because over time we have demonstrated the superiority of UTAS over IPPIS it captures our peculiarities and it respects agreement between individuals, even state universities what they have entered into concerning tax which ofcourse, does not recognize. “IPPIS is purely designed for civil service but it does not take cognizance of the peculiarities of the university system.”
Lekki shootings: Army files papers, lists top generals, senior officers as witnesses [PUNCH]
The Nigerian Army has filed papers at the registry of the Lagos State Panel of Judicial Inquiry probing the alleged shooting of #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki tollgate on the night of October 20.
One of our correspondents saw about three military men on Friday filing papers at the panel’s registry.
Saturday PUNCH investigations revealed that the army had filed papers ahead of its appearance before the panel.
Among the documents filed by the army are the witness statements of the Commander of 81 Military Intelligence Brigade, Victoria Island, Lagos, Brig. Gen. Ahmed Taiwo; the Chief of Staff, 81 Division, Nigerian Army, VI, Lagos, Brig. Gen. Nsikak Edet; Commander, 81 Division Garrison, VI, Brig. Gen. Francis Omata; Commander, 9 Brigade, Ikeja, Brig. Gen. Musa Etsu-Ndagi; and Commanding Officer, 65 Battalion, Bonny Camp, VI, Lt. Col. Salisu Bello.
It said it was also bringing before the panel expended and unexpended blank ammunition, which was used to disperse the crowd by firing into the air on 20th day of October, 2020.
The army has also submitted 13 flash drives containing the recorded videos of the soldiers’ involvement in the incident.
Our correspondent gathered that the testimony of the Army was listed as number one on the panel’s list for Saturday (today).
Confirming the earlier report by The PUNCH on the scheduled appearance of the army before the panel, the source added that the army’s testimony was listed as number one on the panel’s list for Saturday (today).
But it is unclear whether the army will still appear before the panel today as scheduled as the panel on Friday adjourned further hearing in the Lekki tollgate shooting till November 10.
The adjournment followed the inability of the panel to watch till the end on Friday the video footage of the incident submitted by the Lekki Concession Company, operator of the Lekki tollgate.
The panel was able to view only four hours of the 20-hour video footage.
#EndSARS lawyer clashes with LASG, others over CCTV footage
Before the commencement of the footage viewing on Friday, counsel for LCC, Mr Rotimi Seriki, had suggested that only the portion relevant to the probe should be viewed.
Backing him, counsel for the Lagos State Government, Mr Jelili Owonikoko (SAN), said he had had the opportunity of watching the video and the portion relevant to the probe should be from 5pm of October 20.
But counsel for the #EndSARS protesters, Mr Adesina Ogunlana, insisted that the entire 20-hour footage be viewed on the grounds that “we should not sacrifice quality for speed.”
The panel chairman, retired Justice Doris Okuwobi, ruled that the entire footage be viewed.
Though the panel normally ends its sitting by 4pm, the footage was watched till about 5pm when there was a power outage in the building.
Seeing that after over four hours of viewing, nothing eventful had been seen in the soundless video, Justice Okuwobi asked Ogunlana if he still wanted the entire 20-hour video to be watched, to which Ogunlana responded, “I will wait; it’s a marathon.”
But intervening, Owonikoko submitted that lawyers had a duty to assist the panel, stressing that having viewed the video, the portion relevant to the panel’s mandate would be from about 5pm on October 20.
“We can all agree on what portion of the footage is relevant to this panel,” Owonikoko said, adding that for transparency sake, Ogunlana should be given a copy to also go and watch.
Aligning with Owonikoko, LCC’s lawyer, Seriki, recalled that he had earlier suggested that the viewing should be limited to the portion relevant to the mandate of the panel, explaining that the LCC only made the entire 20-hour footage available to demonstrate transparency.
Seriki argued that the panel could not afford to waste time watching the entire footage because it had only six months to sit and it still had petitions from victims of human rights abuse by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad to contend with.
But Ogunlana maintained his stand, saying every second of the footage was important to him because “people died on my side.”
Facing the lawyers for Lagos and LCC, Ogunlana said, “We lost lives here, you lost money.”
I was surprised getting car, 25 shoes on my birthday –Dorathy Bachor [PUNCH]
The first runner-up of the television reality show, Big Brother Naija (Lockdown Edition), Dorathy Bachor, joined the long list of sleek car owners during the week when her fans presented her with a Mercedes Benz CLA 250 and 25 pairs of shoes to celebrate her 25th birthday.
Speaking with Saturday Beats, Bachor stated that she could not fathom why her fans gave her such an expensive car. She said, “I have never been surprised and I have never celebrated my birthday. This was my first. In the past, I just hung out with my friends and had lunch. This was the first time I would have a party where there would be more than 10 people gathered. It was so beautiful and I don’t have the right words to describe how I feel. It was everything I had ever imagined and I felt so blessed. I did not expect the car at all. 2020 has been a handful and people are still struggling from the effects of the pandemic. People have not really made as much money as they would have liked. Then, they had already spent quite much voting every week during the reality show to keep their favourite housemates in the house.
“I didn’t know they were planning anything for me. I was only going to host my friends in a club somewhere on Victoria Island, Lagos, but my management kept telling me to fix my party for the evening so my afternoon would be free. The night before, Prince (a former BBNaija housemate) called me and said he wanted to take me out to lunch. He picked me up and took me straight to the planned venue. All my close friends were there and it was really a beautiful surprise.
“In the morning, when I got 25 pairs of shoes, I was touched because I had always wanted to do something like that. When I was 23 years old, I thought of getting myself 23 pairs of shoes but I didn’t and two years after, I have my wish. This is my first car and I am just learning to drive. It is a big deal for me. What amazes me is the love I receive from my fan base. I ask myself what I do or say that has endeared them to me. I love my fans so much. BBNaija was just the breakthrough I needed. The platform brought me so much joy and love. People just want to do things for me. The way people turned out to show me love made me feel I am doing something right. I could not have wished for more than I got.”
#EndSARS: CBN gets court order to freeze accounts of 20 promoters [THE NATION]
A FEDERAL High Court sitting in Abuja has authorised the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to freeze the accounts of 20 #EndSARS promoters with immediate effect.
The accounts are domiciled in Access Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Fidelity Bank, First Bank, United Bank for Africa, and Zenith Bank.
The Lagos State Judicial Panel of Enquiry set up in the aftermath of the violence sparked by the #ENDSARS protests on Friday granted counsel to three #EndSARS protesters access to a surveillance video which captured the October 20 shooting at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos.
Also on Friday, President Muhammadu Buhari received a report on destructions resulting from the violence in Lagos from Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu,while Amnesty International vowed threats to the lives of its staff would not stop it from condemning perceived human rights abuses in Nigeria.
Granting the prayers of Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele in suit FHC/ABJ/CS/1384/2020, Justice A.R. Mohammed said the apex bank empowered him to direct the head office of each of the banks to “freeze forthwith all transactions on the 20 Bank Accounts listed hereunder and all other bank accounts of the Defendants/Respondents for a period of 90 days pending the outcome of investigation and inquiry currently being conducted” by the CBN.
The defendants include Bolatito Oduala, Chima Ibebunjoh, Mary Kpengwa, Gatefield Nigeria Limited, Saadat Bibi, Bassey Israel, Wisdom Obi, Nicholas Osazele, Ebere Idibie, Akintomide Yusuf, Uhuo Promise, Mosopefoluwa Odeseye and Adegoke Emmanuel.
The rest are Umoh Ekanem, Babatunde Segun, Mulu Teghenan, Mary Oshifowora, Winifred Jacob, Victor Solomon and Idunu Williams.
The court also said the 90-day freezing order, “when it lapses, may be renewed upon good cause shown by the applicant.”
It is also directed that “any person, whether artificial or natural, that is affected by this order may apply to the court to have his grievance or complaint heard by the court. The suit is adjourned till February 4, 2021.”
An #ENDSARS promoter, Modupe Odele, was last Sunday stopped by immigration officials from boarding a plane to the Maldives to celebrate her birthday.
Odele, who is a lawyer, admitted offering free legal aid to protesters who were unjustly arrested during #EndSARS protests through www.endsarslegalaid.co and they succeeded in helping over 80 peaceful protesters who were arrested get released.
“I’m not a full-time activist or human rights attorney. I am a corporate lawyer at the moment, so dealing with police stations isn’t my area of expertise. I did what needed to be done in the face of gross injustice and had the support of over 800 wonderful volunteer lawyers,” she said on Twitter.
The spokesman of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Sunday James, said Odele was under travel restriction on the orders of an agency of government
He said: “When there is a directive from any agency of government not specific, we have to enforce either entry or restriction of entry by anybody who has been directed not to be allowed exit or entry, and as a matter of fact, we cannot as a border management agency, allow anybody who has been restricted from leaving the country to go out and we cannot allow anybody who has been restricted from entry to enter.
“So, it is a routine assignment and it has nothing to do with EndSARS. We are the lead agency for the security management of the border. It has to do with the restriction order which we are duty-bound to enforce.”
Odele said yesterday that the NIS had contacted her to come and pick her passport which was seized on Sunday.
Bear with us if we have not done enough, Buhari appeals to Nigerians [THE NATION]
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on Friday appealed to Nigerians who are yet to feel the impact of his administration and those who believe that the government is not doing enough to bear with the administration.
The President made the appeal in Ilorin at a town hall meeting with traditional rulers, youths, students, organised labour, market women and other stakeholders on the #EndSARS protest and its aftermath.
The Kwara State meeting hosted in Ilorin by Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed was attended by Governor Abdulrazaq Abdulrahman.
The Speaker of Kwara State House of Assembly, Hon. Yakubu Danladi; the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Sulu Gambari and other traditional rulers, representatives of market women, traders and other stakeholders attended the event.
In the President’s message delivered by the minister, he said the administration has the interest of the youths and the people in general at heart and has been doing a lot to touch their lives.
The President said the government was constrained by dwindling resources occasioned by the impact of COVID-19 which also affected the global economy.
He said: “If we have not done enough or we have not touched everybody, we appeal that you please bear with us.
“In the first instance, what we have is less than 60 per cent of the revenue that was available to other governments that came before us.
“We all know what we suffered during COVID-19, and as we are just trying to recover from this we also faced another crisis.
“We appeal that you should please assist the government and be patient.
“This government is dedicated to serving the people and we will continue to try our best to do so.
“I thank you all for your perseverance, understanding and patience.”
The President said the administration has many initiatives targeted at creating jobs for the youth and alleviating poverty among women and vulnerable groups.
He said the government initiated the N75 billion National Youth Investment Fund (NYIF) to provide opportunities for the youth.
He said the fund is part of the N2.3 trillion economic sustainability plan aimed at cushioning the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on most vulnerable Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) across the country.
He also listed MSMEs Survival Fund as part of the administration’s initiative at jobs sustainability.
He said the fund is a cluster of grants aimed at helping MSMEs to meet their payroll obligations and safeguard their jobs from the shock of COVID-19 pandemic.
The President said other initiatives targeted at the youths included N-POWER which had engaged 500,000 beneficiaries with 400,000 more in December.
He said 10,000 youths had been trained and benefitted under N-TECH and N-AGRO respectively.
The President said the federal government FINTECH created enabling environment for growth of businesses that use technology to enhance or automate financial services and processes.
He said over two million farmers, traders, mostly youths, were empowered under FARMERMONI, TRADERMONI and MARKETMONI.
The President said over 500,000 youths have also benefited from the Graduate Internship Scheme which provides short-term employment graduates.
He said 1,000 farmers from each of the 774 LGAs in the country were empowered and guided under the Youth Entrepreneurship Support programme.
Earlier, Gov. Abdulrazaq thanked the President for the initiative of directing ministers to interact with the people at the state level.
The governor prayed for peace, unity and stability of the country.
In his contribution, the Emir of Ilorin said the town hall meeting was a good forum for the people to express their minds and grievances to government.
Biden set to win US presidency as counting delays persist [THE NATION]
- Joe Biden of the Democratic Party closed in on victories in Nevada and Arizona on Friday while also overtaking Mr. Donald Trump in Pennsylvania.
But there will be a recount in Georgia where Biden was also the favourite.
Trump and his team remained defiant, insisting that the election was not over yet.
The Biden camp was optimistic of adding all of the 20 electoral votes in Pennsylvania.
The former vice president was billed to deliver a major speech at press time.
Last night, Biden was leading with 41,302 votes in Arizona,13,662 votes in Pennsylvania,1,553 votes in Georgia and 20,137 in Nevada.
Biden had 264 electoral college votes yesterday; six short of the 270 needed to win the race.
There were permutations that if he won Pennsylvania, he would have gained 20 votes and would no longer need either Arizona or Nevada.
But if he wins Arizona – which has 11 electoral college votes – and Nevada – which has 6 – he no longer needs Pennsylvania.
Trump, on the other hand, continued to talk tough even when the odds kept mounting against him.
He vowed to continue to “pursue this process through every aspect of the law to guarantee that the American people have confidence in our government.”
“I will never give up fighting for you and our nation,” he said.
Matt Morgan, his campaign general counsel, said: “This election is not over. The false projection of Joe Biden as the winner is based on results in four states that are far from final.
“Georgia is headed for a recount, where we are confident we will find ballots improperly harvested, and where President Trump will ultimately prevail.
“There were many irregularities in Pennsylvania, including having election officials prevent our volunteer legal observers from having meaningful access to vote counting locations.
“We prevailed in court on our challenge but were deprived of valuable time and denied the transparency we are entitled to under state law.
“In Nevada, there appear to be thousands of individuals who improperly cast mail ballots.
“Finally, the President is on course to win Arizona outright, despite the irresponsible and erroneous ‘calling’ of the state for Biden by Fox News and the Associated Press.
“Biden is relying on these states for his phony claim on the White House, but once the election is final, President Trump will be re-elected.”
Responding, Biden’s team said: “As we said on July 19th, the American people will decide this election.
“And the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.”
Ladoja blasts Obasanjo over claims on his 2005 impeachment [THE NATION]
A former governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, said on Friday that former President Olusegun Obasanjo got it all wrong on the reason for his impeachment by the state House of Assembly in 2005.
Obasanjo, speaking at the launch of the autobiography of former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala on Thursday ,had claimed that Ladoja was impeached because he was ‘ungrateful’ to the late Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu and Alhaji Yekinni Adeojo both of whom he said were instrumental to making him (Ladoja) governor.
But reacting to the Obasanjo claim on Friday ,Ladoja said he was surprised that the former president obviously descended to “an unprecedented level of a fabricator by telling lies” against him.
The former governor in a statement by his media aide, Alhaji Lanre Latinwo,said his impeachment was a kangaroo arrangement by Obasanjo and his stooge.
He also chastised the former president for denying that it was his (Obasanjo) failed third term agenda that prompted the illegal impeachment.
He said: “The former president has forgotten that the nation’s apex court had ruled that ‘there was no impeachment’.
“Obasanjo can be forgiven because he is an old man who may not recollect the past accurately, anymore. If not, why should he say that Ladoja became governor in 2003 through the grace of God, Baba Adedibu and Alhaji Adeojo when the latter also attempted to become governor.
“Did Obasanjo forget that Adeojo contested the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primary election which was held on 24th December, 2002 at the Liberty Stadium, Ibadan?
“Chief Obasanjo, in trying to rewrite history, has forgotten that he told Baba Emmanuel Alayande in Ibadan on his birthday in December, 2005 that Senator Ladoja should resign his position as governor, otherwise he would be impeached?
“And, true to his boasts, the illegal act was carried out few days later. But thank God the impropriety was quashed by the court of highest jurisdiction.
“Let Chief Obasanjo be told point blank that no amount of damage control employed, his past is closely hunting him.”
Ladoja said he has no regret for he “came to serve and he did just that to the best of his ability the result of which is the love his people have for him, till-date.”
Obasanjo at the launch of “Amazing Grace” had confronted Akala,saying: “You pointed out on page 140 that Ladoja picked up a quarrel with me for reason of a non-existent third term.
“I didn’t know that Ladoja picked up a quarrel that his becoming a governor was due to the grace of God and major contributions of two people- Yekinni Adeojo from whom the party structure was wretched and Chief Adedibu who spearheaded the whole programme.
“I pleaded with him to make accommodation for both. He told me that they were all Ibadan people and they knew how to deal with themselves. He subsequently proved himself right as they dealt with themselves and he, Ladoja, came out the worse for it.
Alao-Akala was Ladoja’s deputy and also served as governor when his boss was impeached. Alao-Akala also succeeded Ladoja in office as governor in 2007.
Tackling poverty will defeat insurgency —Zulum [THE NATION]
THE Borno State governor, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum, has said the war against insurgency in the Northeast region of the country would be easier to win when its root cause, which he identified as poverty, is dealt with.
The governor, who spoke to State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja on Friday, however, tasked government at all levels to ensure that youths are positively engaged with jobs, so as to root out insurgency.
The governor noted that peace was gradually returning to the Northeast, particularly Borno State, acknowledging the efforts put into the process.
He said the state had resettled more than 100,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in their homes, following the return of security.
He said: “I’m glad to inform Nigerians that there is gradual return of peace to the Northeast region, particularly in Borno State.
Government has started resettlement of people to their ancestral homes.
“We have received tremendous support from the Nigerian military, from the paramilitary, the Ministry of Finance, Humanitarian Affairs and its agencies especially NEMA, the North East Development Commission and others.
“The gradual return of people to their respective localities is a symbol of peace. So far so good, we are doing well.
“We need continuous support from the Nigerian military. We need sustainable support to ensure that this madness is brought to an end.”
On how best to fight insurgency and ensure that people live in peace, the governor said: “The kinetic measures will not solve the problem. There must be certain political solutions.
“Among the political solutions are the issues of supporting the Nigerian youths… with a means to earning their livelihood.
“As I have earlier said, there is need for us to address the root causes of the problem. One of the greatest root causes of insurgency is poverty. So government at all levels should give job opportunities to the youth and an enabling environment for the poor to have access to their farmlands.
“That is what I have been advocating since I assumed the mantle of leadership as governor of Borneo State.
“We want to ensure that people return to their communities, people have access to their farmlands, their livestock farms, aquaculture farms.
“I think this is the only solution; military solution alone will never solve the problem.”
Speaking on recent developments across the country, especially the #EndSARS protest, which precipitated other violent crises in different parts of the country, the governor warned young Nigerians to be careful not to plunge the country into another crisis, pointing out that the circumstances that gave birth to the Boko Haram insurgency started with a mere protest.
He said the #EndSARS protests failed to gain momentum in his state because the youth realised that the state is just coming out of a protracted crisis, coupled with the fact that the state government also worked with the youth, ensuring efforts to meet their needs.
Nigerian Communication Commission
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