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Unknown attackers kill Masquerade, 3 persons at Eche-ane festival in Kogi Central

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Unknown attackers kill Masquerade, 3 persons at Eche-ane festival in Kogi Central

Unknown attackers have allegelly killed a masquerade and 3 persons during the annual Eche ane cultural festival which started in the early hours of yesterday in Kogi Central.
Several other members of the community were reportedly injured in the attack.

According to eye witness account the masquerade that was detailed to announce the commencement of the festival as tradition demanded was allegedly attacked at Inike in Okene town by rival clan group opposed to the take off of the annual event.

Various dangerous brands of lethal weapons were allegedly deployed by the clans either to protect themselves or otherwise attack their assailants. 
The injured were taken to hospitals within Okene and environs where they were receiving treatments as at press time.

The Eche ane festival known for its propensity for catalysing clannish violence as means settling old scores was banned by later Prince Abubakar Audu who was Governor then to pave way for peace in the area, but due to its history and cultural significance to the Ebira as a race, stakeholders and politicians impressed it on the current government to lift the ban.

Though at a stakeholders meeting convened by the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Shuaibu Gamboat at the state police command headquarters in Lokoja, the leadership of the Ebira people assured that this year’s festival would be devoid of rancour and promised to conduct it in a peaceful manner it has turned the other way round.
At the meeting the DIG was also invited to witness the “most peaceful”Eche ani.

In a swift reaction, the Administrator of Okene local government Hon Abdulrazak Mohammed announced the ban and immidiete stoppage of the festival so as to forestall further destructions of lives and properties.

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Abuja-Lokoja-Benin Highway dualisation: Funding no longer a threat – FMWH Director

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Abuja-Lokoja-Benin Highway dualisation: Funding no longer a threat – FMWH Director

By Friday Idachaba

The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing has assured Nigerians timely completion of the Abuja-Lokoja-Benin highway dualisation project as funding will no longer pose a threat.

Director, Highways North-Central, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing Engr Yusuf Jimoh Adekunle, gave the assurance on Wednesday in Lokoja while on a routine check to asses the level of compliance of the contractors handling the projects.

Yusuf said the projects had hitherto suffered setback due to poor funding by previous administration’s but had gotten a new lease on life with alternative funding platforms provided through the initiative of the present administration of President Muhammadu Bihari.

He said, “We have no issues with funding here because it is part of the initiatives of this government. Before the inception of this administration there was nothing like SUKUK but this government has come up with those funding alternatives.

“We now have the SUKUK, we have Tax Relief, we have loans that we got from China NEXIM on some other projects but this particular project is enjoying the SUKUK loan apart from the budgetary provisions.”

He said that he was in the state to see the real progress of work as the project, luckily, no longer had problem of funding adding, “So all we just need is for the contractors to make sure they are working.

“So, this visit is mainly to ensure that quality work is being executed that’s why I’ve come together with my team”, Yusuf added.

Speaking further on the projects, Federal Controller of Works Engr Jimoh Kajogbola, in Kogi explained that dualisation of Lokoja-Benin section one was in two phases.

“We are on phase II now and it is about 41 kilometres. The total length of both phase one and phase two is about 58.15 km. The contractor has partially completed phase one which includes Okene bypass of about 14 kilometres virgin dual carriageway.

The contractor, CGC Nig. Ltd., has completed that except some little little issues which will be cleared but it has been opened to traffic for more than two years now.

Kajogbola said that the last extension granted the contractor was expected to expire in December, 2021.

“So, it is now left for the contractor to work harder to be able to access the provisions made for them within budget and from SUKUK Funding, We have about N2.5 billion to access this year, 2020.”, He said.

Alhaji Yaba Abubakar, Project Manager who spoke on behalf of CGC Nig. Ltd. assured, “By the special grace of God, by December 2021, at the level we are working, this project will be delivered.

Also speaking, Contract Director who identified himself simply as Engr Ephraim, for Gitto Construction Company working on Abuja-Lokoja Section IV, and the last section from the side, said work had attained 76 per cent completion.

Ephraim said the company had been remobilised and the project work was in progress and would be completed and handed over to the Ministry on schedule. #

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Refugee Commission Boss Appeals for More Funding

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Refugee Commission Boss Appeals for More Funding

The Honourable Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), Senator Basheer Garba Mohammed (Lado) has appealed to the House of Representatives committee on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and humanitarian matters, to use its legislative power to get more funding for the commission.

The Commissioner made the appeal during the budget defence by the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced on Thursday.

According to Senator Mohammed, the Commission is faced with myriads of challenges which can be surmounted with the lawmalers support.

“The most critical of the challenges is paucity of funds to run our activities, and I wish to humbly crave the indulgence of this Honourable Committee to use its legislative powers to ensure increase in funding for the Commission”, he added.

“The Commission has been working assiduously to ensure the implementation of its mandate, and has of recent recorded achievements and landmarks which are geared towards ameliorating the living conditions of our citizens displaced by the activities of Boko Haram, Banditry and common natural disasters”.

The commissioner had earlier stated that the sum of N5.7bn was appropriated for the agency as capital and recurrent expenditure in 2020, adding that the amount represents 36.5% increase from 2019.

He further said overhead was N29m, just as he disclosed that the commission just awarded contracts due to the delay occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic. He said out of the total sum, only N4.2m for overhead has been released so far while the sum of N2.1bn was approved for zonal intervention (constituency) projects for lawmakers.

The chairman of the comittee, Hon Muhammad Jega commended the commission for a comprehesive budget defense as the commission solocited0 the committee’s comtinued support in helping the commission make life better for displaced persons.

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Igbo youths professionals ask NDIGBOs to denounce Kanu, IPOB

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Igbo youths professionals ask NDIGBOs to denounce Kanu, IPOB

The conference of Igbo youths professionals worldwide has charged Ndigbo’s across the globe to demonstrate courage by denouncing Kanu, IPOB members and all that the group stand for.

This was contained in a statement the president of the group Barr. Maduabuchi Nwodo, issued personally in Abuja on Sunday.
According to the statement,
“The Igbo nation constitutes responsible, law-abiding and patriotic citizens, who are prepared to achieve their goals within the confines of a united and indivisible Nigeria.

“This, we shall achieve through non-violent means, as persuasion and conviction are the tools we shall deploy”.

Addressing foreign governments, especially the United Kingdom and Isreal, the Igbo group tasked foreign governments, to deny the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, the freedom of using the privilege of his foreign citizenship to incite violence against the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

This was as the group further reminded the foreign nations that Nnamdi Kanu remained a fugitive to the law, having jumped bail that was granted him by a court of competent jurisdiction trying him in Nigeria on a criminal charge of treasonable felony and other related offences.

The group alleged that the separatist leader was taking advantage of his sojourn in the aforesaid countries to cause anarchy and insurrection, through orchestrated incitement of members of the proscribed IPOB.

The Youth organisation recalled that, in the eyes of the law, IPOB is a terrorist organisation, as it had been so declared by a Federal High Court in Abuja.

Back home, the youth group reminded both the Federal and State Governments where members of the outlawed group reside, to act more decisively, in view of the extant law proscribing the IPOB.

Consequently, it tasked the military and other relevant security agencies to do the needful, as the law was on their side on the subject matter.

The group said its call was predicated on the latest utterance of the IPOB leader, where he incited police and military officers of Southern and Middle Belt extractions to resign and burn their service uniforms.

“Kanu’s call was unilateral. He was not speaking for the Igbo Nation but for himself.
We are disturbed at the incessant inciting statements coming from Mr Nnamdi Kanu, who has been parading himself as leader of Indigenous People of Biafra against the Nigerian state.

“We are aware of his status as a citizen of both the United Kingdom and the Nation of Israel. Having worked and contributed effortlessly to see Nigeria at its present state, we believe that the United Kingdom and Israel would not want to see Nigeria a shattered place. It is in this regard that we are strongly appealing to them to rein in on Kanu, whose activities have been against the unity of Nigeria.

“The latest call by Mr Kanu on the police and military officers of Southern and Middle Belt extractions was not only to abandon their duty post but to also resign and burn their service uniforms must be ignored. We wish to inform them that Kanu is alone in his cessation project and has nobody behind him,” the Youth group said.

Describing Kanu as a fugitive who escaped the law after being granted bail following his arrest and detention over treasonable felony, the Conference of Igbo Youth Professionals insisted that Israel and the UK can turn in the IPOB leader given that he was in the nation’s wanted list.

Even as it admitted that the South East region had not had its fair share in the one Nigeria project, the Igbo group said the pursuit of inclusive government must be channelled through appropriate lawful means.

“Though our people are highly marginalized and deserve the right for agitation, but that must be done legally and by the appropriate people not a deviant young man like Nnamdi Kanu who is out for his selfish interest,” it said.

It informed the foreign nations that Kanu was barred by a Federal High Court in Abuja from participating in, or addressing public rallies or protests, as part of the conditions for his bail, a development it regretted, had been ignored.

“Kanu has always lamented the treatment of people from the South East zone by the Nigerian government and by other Nigerians. This formed the reason for his agitation for a country of his own.

“However, while Kanu has a right to legally clamour for whatever he believes in, he should also know that the Igbo Nation has recognized spokespersons in the forms of the governors, legislators and Ohaneze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-cultural group. Any serious statements are supposed to come from these people after extensive consultations”, the group noted

Just as the group has thrown its support behind the lawful efforts by security agencies to check the excesses of IPOB members across the South East, and some contiguous states.

“We, therefore, call on our brothers from the other parts of the country, to recognise our cry agaisnt marginalisation, and support our course to produce the next President come 2023.

“Also, we call on the federal government to reflect the federal character principle in all appointments, to give Ndigbo the opportunity to serve their fatherland”.

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