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Bello asks Nigerians to be grateful to God for keeping the nation one against all odds

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Bello asks Nigerians to be grateful to God for keeping the nation one against all odds

From John Akubo,, Lokoja

Nigerians should be grateful to God for remaining one entity as a nation inspite of myriad of challenges that would have thrown it into another round of civil war with all the attendant negative implications Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has said.
The Governor who spoke during his 57th independence anniversary speech in Lokoja Yesterday said “Everyone who has access to international news media knows of nations which have been confronted with the selfsame challenges that we face here and have descended into war and crises.
“Today is thus another perfect opportunity for gratitude, if not for the good we have achieved, at least, for the evils which God has kept from befalling us.”
He enumerated the challenges bedevilling the country to, Poor leadership, corruption, terrorism, militancy, separatist agitations, even a Civil War which ended 47 years ago constitute some of the self-inflicted troubles which was contend with in the Nigerian Federation.
The governor hinted that unlike other nations which have proved incapable of working through their differences and have gone up in flames, Nigerians have had the good fortune, if not the good sense, to keep talking.
“We may not always speak in polite tones, and our passion may sometimes be irrational, but we have maintained communication, and therefore avoided conflict. This is a wonderful blessing, and we must be grateful to God for it.”
The Governor who acknowledged the many negative publicity accorded him by his traducers said his critics cannot accuse him of tribalism as he has ensured equitable distribution of appointments and resources.
According to him, “The British may have had their own ulterior motives when they amalgamated the old Northern and Southern Protectorates into one Nigeria in 1914, but I believe they also provided us an opportunity which hitherto did not exist, i.e. the opportunity to be much more greater than we would have become as individual tribes or territories.”
“In my opinion, and I think most Nigerians will agree with me, that even though we have not harnessed our gains after amalgamation, the present Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR is making efforts to optimize our potentials as a Nation.”
Bello said that is evident in a more secured Nigeria after years of terrorism threat, as the economy was consciously being diversified towards agriculture and mining and the less privileged are being attended to through various social investment programs.
He said his Government was gratified to be invited by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to send a Team to the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York City as one of only four states in Nigeria considered success stories for their implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Our Team enjoyed a successful outing at the United Nations Headquarters, made a presentation at the Nigeria side event and signed a Memorandum of Understanding for deeper collaboration with the UN and her agencies. This is good for Kogi State and her people.”
He said though prompt payment of salaries is still a vexed issue, he will do his best to keep the workers happy given the competing demands on the income of the state per time.
“However, it is inevitable that from time to time we must ask workers to stand with us in sacrifice. We hope they will oblige in the overall interest of the state.
“In similar vein, prompt payment of Gratuities and Pensions is only possible within the ambits of a Contributory Pension Scheme. Like the automation of the workforce, a Contributory Pension Scheme for the Kogi State workforce is inevitable reform.”

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FG to provide Solar home systems for 5m households

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FG to provide Solar home systems for 5m households 

Nigeria’s Minister of State for Power Jedy-Agba has disclosed that the country is set for a ‘bounce back’ programme in its green recovery initiative that will provide solar home systems to 5 million households

He spoke at a UK hosted Climate Change Conference Roundtable on Clean Power Transition on 11 January during a virtual visit to the UK on 10–12 January by United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres which he attended. 

The Minister added that off-grid power sources have become more competitive since the removal of fuel subsidies.

He stressed that Nigeria was taking steps to merge its energy access and energy transition plan. 
He acknowledged that the largest population without electricity globally resides within its borders, and identified financing as a major constraint to Nigeria’s clean and renewable energy transition plans. 
According to him, 

“With the help of the international community, we can improve the decentralized renewable energy market to create jobs, provide energy more quickly to those without access, and ensure that we maintain and eventually reduce our emission levels to achieve our net-zero objectives.

“As the COP26 Presidency, the UK Government is committed to supporting the Nigerian government to develop ambitious evidence-based plans to deliver on Nigeria’s own commitments ahead of the COP26 summit in Glasgow in November 2021. 
“The UK supported the solar sector in Nigeria with a £66m programme between 2014 and 2020 which  helped provide energy access to   5.5 million Nigerians since 2015.
He said the UK is delivering ongoing programmes to develop quality standards, financing and manufacturing arrangements for solar home systems.
“Many UK companies are also active in the solar home system market in Nigeria.
“The UK considers the licensing of mobile money to facilitate Pay As You Go arrangements for solar home systems a positive development.”

The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres at the event challenged developed nations to fulfil their pledges to provide $100 billion annually for developing countries’ clean energy transition.
During the roundtable, the Foreign Secretary announced that the UK will pledge up to £38 million to the Climate Compatible Growth programme, supporting developing countries to accelerate their transition to clean energy while growing their economies.
“The UK is already moving to clean power faster than any major economy, and last year committed to protect at least 30 per cent of its land and ocean by 2030.
“Together these announcements address the two leading sources of global emissions – electricity generation and land use – and demonstrate the UK’s leadership in fighting climate change ahead of the COP26 summit in Glasgow in November.”

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Akpabio denies giving Attorney general $5m bribe over NDDC sole administrator

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Akpabio denies giving Attorney general $5m bribe over NDDC sole administrator

 
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio has denied paying $5 million bribe to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami and others to secure the appointment of a Sole Administrator for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
This was contained in a statement that was issued in Abuja on Sunday by his chief press secretary Anietie Ekong
He described the claim as a piece of fake news.
The statement reads in part,
“We wish to state categorically that this is a piece of malicious concoction manufactured from the pit of hell by mischief -makers.
“It is a figment of the imagination of the author of the fake news. Senator Akpabio denies the story in its entirety. The authors of the fake news should be ready to back up their claim or face the full wrath of the law.
 
“The story is a desperate attempt by some unscrupulous bloggers to impugn the integrity of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami as the claim is not only spurious but utterly ridiculous. 
According to him, in a suit number ABJ/CS/617/2020 filed by a Civil Society Organization, Forum for Accountability and Good Governance, at a Federal High Court in Abuja, Justice Ahmed Mohammed had granted an order restraining the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC from performing the functions of the board and accessing the Commission’s offices and files.
 
“The Order clearly listed the Managing Director Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei, Acting Executive Director of Projects Dr Cairo Ojougboh, Mrs Caroline Nagboh and Cecilia Akintomide as those restrained.
He said the Order also asked that “the most senior civil servant or administrator in the Commission be appointed” to take charge of the Commission.
 
“It was based on this order that President Muhammadu Buhari approved the elevation of the Acting Executive Director of Finance and Administration, Mr Effiong Akwa, being the most Senior Administrator to take over the headship of the NDDC as an Interim Administrator pending the completion of the Forensic Audit Exercise.
 
“It is therefore absurd for anyone to even imagine that the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio would bribe the Attorney General before an Order of the Court is complied with as the purveyors of the fake news have stated. “
He therefore advised the general public to discountenance the piece of trash.
 
He said, “It is obvious that some persons who are scared of the ongoing forensic audit of the NDDC as ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari are working tirelessly to scuttle the exercise by blackmailing the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio. 
“Their modus operandi is to churn out fake news in a bid to stop Senator Akpabio from sanitizing the NDDC.
“Otherwise, how can a responsible news website make such a grievous allegation without any shred of evidence to back up its claim.”
 
However, he restated the resolve of Senator Akpabio to continue to do the right thing as mandated by President Buhari adding that no amount of sponsored fake news and blackmail would deter him from achieving his mandate. “The Minister has the overwhelming support of the impoverished masses of the Niger Delta who have borne the brunt of underdevelopment of the region over the years.”
 
 

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NEF warns Nigerians against stoking religious war with unguarded statements

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NEF warns Nigerians against stoking religious war with unguarded statements

The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has asked Nigerians to watch and guard their statements so as to prevent any form of religious war in the country.
This was coming against the backdrop of inflammatory and inciting statements after the Christmas day sermon by fiery Bishop of Sokoto Catholic diocese leading to the issuance of a quit notice on the revered Bishop to leave Sokoto State.

NEF in a statement on Wednesday by its Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed warned that Nigeria should not be subjected to further difficult circumstances capable of imposing fear in the mind of citizens.

Baba-Ahmed who expressed worries about certain disturbing comments in the polity, therefore, warned those spreading explosive and inciting statements to check their ways and desist from such acts.

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