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Kagara School Abduction: Nigeria Needs Solutions – Atiku Tells Buhari

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Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has told the federal government of Nigeria led by President Muhammadu Buhari to take decisive actions against criminals in the land.

Atiku spoke in a personally signed statement on Wednesday where he reacted to the abduction of some students and staff of Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State.

The former Vice President in his reaction warned that government has to stop rewarding crime by paying ransom to the kidnappers but has to unleash the laws of the country on them to serve as a deterrent to others.

He urged the government to be proactive rather than reactive on security issues as well.

Atiku thereafter prayed for the quick and safe return of the students and staff of the government secondary school abducted on Wednesday.

The full statement reads: “I condemn the abduction of students and staff of Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State. The reported death of one of the students in the process of escape, is heartbreaking. The thoughts of my family and I are with the parents and the authorities of the institution.

The spate of insecurity in Nigeria is now beyond alarming. It has gotten to crisis levels, especially when it involves children and other minors.

Now is not the time for fingers to point in blame. Our nation needs solutions. And we have now seen that paying ransoms, and allowing criminals to profit from their criminality is not a solution.

When you reward crimes, the end result is more crime.

The only long term solution to the insecurity challenge Nigeria is facing is to end the reign of impunity. The Federal Government must enforce the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria against abductions and kidnappings, by apprehending the criminals, trying them and making an example of those convicted, to serve as a deterrent to others.

Also, we must be proactive. We cannot wait for these abductions to happen and then go into reactive mode.

I, therefore, call on the Federal Government to declare all secondary and primary schools in the affected states and zones, as Federal Protected Zones, and post armed military personnel at all schools for 24/7 protection.

If it is not feasible to have armed military guards in all schools, then each state in the should as a matter of urgency replicate the Civilian Joint Task Force idea, that has worked so well in Borno, and deploy them to each school, along with men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.

What we must not do is do nothing. History may forgive us for making wrong decisions, but we will never be forgiven if we carry on business as usual.

As a nation, we must be willing to provide the same level of security that we provide for the schools that the children of the elite attend, for schools that the children of other classes of Nigerians attend.

I pray that the Kagara staff and students are rescued, and for peace to return to Nigeria.”

Meanwhile, Senator Bima Enagi (APC-Niger South) has described President Muhammadu Buhari as incompetent when it comes to tackling insecurity.

Reacting to the latest abduction of students on Wednesday while contributing to a debate on a motion sponsored by Senator Sani Musa, Enagi noted that insecurity has been discussed by lawmakers on many occasions but instead of things getting better, they are getting worse.

Source: Naija News

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‘You Can Not Say That Nigeria’s External Debt Is Too High’ – Finance Minister

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The Federal Government of Nigeria has insisted that the nation’s external debt rate can not be described as unreasonable.

Despite the accrued N31 trillion external debts, the incumbent government in a statement by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said the borrowing by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration can not be considered too high yet.

Naija News understands that the Minister stated this during a media briefing at the statehouse in Abuja on Thursday, February 25. According to Ahmed, Nigeria cannot make progress if it doesn’t borrow to fund the building of its infrastructure.

The minister disclosed that Nigeria’s problem was that of revenue, adding that there is a lot of sensitivity in Nigeria about the level of borrowing by the government and it is not misplaced.

The Minister’s statement reads: “I said earlier that the level of borrowing is not unreasonable, it is not high. The problem we have is that of revenue.

“So, what we need to do is to increase revenue to be able to enhance our debt to GDP obligation capacity. If we say we will not borrow and therefore not build rials and major infrastructure until our revenue rises enough, then, we will regress as a country. We will be left behind, we won’t be able to improve our business environment and our economy will not grow.

“So, it is a decision that every government has to take. Our assessment is that we need to borrow to build our major infrastructure. We just need to make sure that when we borrow, we are applying the borrowing to specific major infrastructure that will enhance the business environment in this country.

Giving further explanation on her claims, Ahmed said “Again, we all have to work not just the federal government but state governments to increase our revenue to enhance our debt service obligations.
“We also have to make sure that when we are choosing the projects, we are choosing carefully the ones that will enhance the business environment so that more revenue yields come into the treasuries of the country,”

Ahmed revealed that her ministry will soon secure the federal executive council meeting approval to compel federal government agencies to buy made in Nigeria vehicles as much as is practicable, adding that a supplementary budget will be sent to the National Assembly in March specifically for COVID -19 vaccination.

She added: “We already releasing money to the health authority to start operation in the first batch of vaccines that are going to arrive in the country in one week. But what we have in the budget is not enough.

“So we are working with the health authorities to provide a plan that will be taken to the President for approval and to is be taken to the National Assembly as a supplementary budget specifically for COVID -19 vaccination.

“On the Supplementary budget, she said “there will be a supplementary budget, the first one will be in March relating the COVID-19 pandemic but we will also have a mid-year review like we did last year of the budget and if at the time we do the review and there is a need to go back to do any amendment for a supplementary budget, at that time we will take that decision, if not, we will just report the review.

Speaking on Chinese loans which received a series of condemnations by many Nigerians recently, the Minister said: “If I may be permitted to speak to the question by the business. I think it’s useful to look at the budget for each year; look at the revenues, look at the expenditure, if you take out the new borrowing, really, what will the size of the budget be? How much can the government spend?

“So there will be a lot of capital projects that are affected, so we need to look at it that borrowing is, even as you see it in the budget every year, used to support infrastructural development, otherwise, there’ll be a challenge.

“Secondly, let me add, I think we’re going through a process where we need to borrow now, let’s just say in the short to medium term, to get the economy going, while we also expect revenues to improve.

“So in terms of the pressure of debt service, by the time the revenue comes up, that should be lower, but there are some things you need to do now, to ensure that revenue comes up. So we need to keep that in mind that if the economy grows and revenues improve, then debt service to revenue, in future, should be lower,” she added.

Meanwhile, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) has confiscated $919,202 – equivalent to N350 million from Rivers State High Court staff.

Naija News reports that the ICPC found the money in the savings accounts of three people working for the court, including the Chief Registrar, the Deputy Registrar of the Federal High Court and the Station Road, Port-Harcourt Branch of Union Bank of Nigeria.

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‘Sheikh Gumi Right To Call For Amnesty For Bandits’

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The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has backed calls by renowned Islamic cleric, Sheikh Abubakar Ahmad Gumi, that the government grant amnesty to bandits.

Speaking to newsmen on Thursday, the spokesperson of CNG, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, said repentant bandits should be reorientated, reintegrated and re-assimilated back to the society.

According to Suleiman, the coalition decided to make its stand public due to attacks on northerners during the #EndSARS protests and the recent attacks in some parts of the region.

The group also backed the nationwide strike embarked upon by the Cattle and Foodstuff dealers under the aegis of Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria (AUFCDN) to stop movement of food and cattle from the North to South.

He said: “We align directly with Sheikh Ahmed Gumi’s position with regards to constructive engagement, opportunity for amnesty leading to reorientation, reintegration and re-assimilation of those who embrace peace within a reasonable timeframe after which, resort can be made to force in crushing the recalcitrant ones.

“The CNG also stands solidly behind the resolve of the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuffs and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria to suspend further movement of goods to the South to press for compensation for losses suffered in the attacks.”

Suleiman added, “We salute the decorum, decency, morality, accommodation, civilization and etiquette shown by northerners whose refusal to be goaded into reacting to the assault clearly justified the South as the volatile and violent part of the country.

“We call the attention of all northerners to note that the drivers of the unrest and disturbances going on in the North and elsewhere are mere antics antics for political ascendancy by attempting to force a transfer of power by shattering the northern cohesion.”

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Trouble As Ondo Chief Judge Accuses Akeredolu Of Plotting To Oust Her

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The Chief Judge of Ondo State, Justice Oluwatoyin Akeredolu has dragged Governor Rotimi Akeredolu before a federal high court plans to unseat her.

Naija News reports that Justice Inyang Ekwo has restrained Akeredolu, the state House of Assembly, Attorney-General and three others from taking any further steps in relation to the alleged probe of Justice Akeredolu.

Also restrained are the Attorney-General of the Federation, the National Judicial Council and the Inspector-General of Police.

This online newspaper gathered that reports had emerged that the Ondo government was planning to probe the Chief Judge over allegations made by Olupelumi Fagboyegun in a viral video.

Justice Akeredolu had claimed that the decision by the state government, through its former AG, Charles Titiloye, to refer the allegations made against her and the state’s judiciary to the House of Assembly for investigation, was an illegal act designed to remove her from office.

Ruling on an ex-parte application, Justice Ekwo granted all the four principal reliefs contained in the application moved by the plaintiff’s lawyer, Jibrin Okutepa (SAN).

He also ordered the service of all originating processes in the suit on the defendants and adjourned the case till March 5, 2021 for hearing of the plaintiff’s motion on notice.

“We fear that if there is no intervention of the court, we think it is a ploy to get her out of office. We believe it has political undertone,” Okutepa said.

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