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Kankara schoolboys: Garba Shehu apologises for giving wrong figure

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Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Mallam Garba Shehu, has tendered an apology for saying only 10 schoolboys were kidnapped by bandits while reacting to the abduction of more than 300 students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State, last week.

Shehu, during an interview granted the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), had said only 10 students of the school were as of then could not be accounted for.

However, the President’s media aide on Friday said he regretted the development, blaming it on inaccurate briefing from supposedly informed sources and asked for forgiveness.

He said, “In doing this job, we are faced with as many risks as a journalist faces in reporting issues.

“When you are not physically present at an event, what you do is to rely on accounts rendered by others who happen to be there.

“We can be misled as reporters, as it happened with the conflicting numbers we gave of the abducted students of the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara who have happily all been returned to their families.

“What you do all the time before you appear for an interview, you do your research on the given subject. You make calls so that you are yourself, informed. What then happens when they gave you the incorrect facts?

“There was absolutely nothing to suggest that the number of 10 as the students taken by the kidnappers was given to us after a high level briefing by people who should ideally know.

“But I went beyond that to cross-check with other authorities and the confirmation was given as ten. As it turned out, more than 300 were taken as can be seen from the returnees.

“I feel sorry that I was misled into hurting grieving parents. I absolutely have no reason to underplay the seriousness of the situation we were dealing with. As a father, I would have felt the same way about this misrepresentation as did the aggrieved parents. Sorry about that.”

The kidnapped students regained their freedom on Thursday afternoon and paid a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari Friday afternoon at his Daura Katsina State, country home, before he returned to the State House, Abuja.

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Total power blackout in Kaduna as Labour unions begin strike

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The Management of Kaduna Electric has said that the current total power blackout in Kaduna State was due to the ongoing five-day warning strike embarked by labour unions.

Abdulazeez Abdullahi, Head of Corporate Communication of the company made the announcement in a statement issued on Sunday in Kaduna.

“In compliance with the NLC directive, the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN has knocked off all our 33KV lines in Kaduna State.

“Consequently, we are appealing to all communities, security agencies and vigilante groups to be vigilant so that men of underworld will not cash in on the situation to vandalise power supply installations.

“Any suspicious movement around distribution sub-stations (transformers) should be reported to the relevant security agency”, he said.

He stated that it is the collective responsibility of citizens to protect critical national assets in their neighborhood.

Abdullahi added that the company appeals to both labour unions and Kaduna State Government “to strive at an amicable resolution for normalcy to return”.

NAN

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Osinbajo offers scholarship to Ekiti artist Abosede Okeowo

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has offered a gifted physically challenged artist, Ms Abosede Okeowo,  a US online scholarship to enhance her skills.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Sunday in Abuja, said the presentation was made recently at the palace of Oba Adekunle Adeagbo, the Oore of Otun-Ekiti in Ekiti.

The 27-year-old artist had presented Osinbajo with his pencil portrait during his courtesy visit to the Ooni of Ife in 2020.

Inspite of her limitations, Okeowo focuses on her artistic skills and has gained recognition because of her talent.

Okeowo, an indigene of Otun Ekiti in Ekiti State, suffered an illness when she was a child which resulted in her current state of health.

The self-taught artist who, nurtured her talent in drawing to her current stage of expertise, is known for making drawings of many dignitaries.

Okeowo first caught the attention of the vice president when she drew a portrait of his wife, Dolapo.

She yet again enthralled Osinbajo with her skills when she drew and presented a lifelike portrait of him.

Osinbajo, the statement said, was represented at the presentation by a team led by Sen. Babafemi Ojudu, Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters.

Also in the team was Dr Ebi Awosika, Senior Technical Assistant to the Vice President on Community Engagement.

In her remarks, Awosika expressed gratitude to God for Okeowo, saying it was just the beginning of greatness for the young artist.

She presented to the talented artiste a special wheelchair, laptop and a scholarship in Hyper-Realistic Portrait Course, a virtual course offered through an American online programme.

“This scholarship will help Okeowo to realise her dreams and desire to own an establishment where she can teach others how to draw and help those who are physically challenged to also fulfill their life ambitions,”the statement quoted her as saying.

In his remarks, Adeagbo, who received the delegation on behalf of Okeowo’s family and Otun Ekiti community expressed gratitude to the vice president and his wife for making life meaningful for the artist and her family

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Ekiti to embark on Rice pyramid project

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Ekiti State Government on Sunday said it intends to produce of over one million metrics tonnes of rice within the next couple of years.

Mr Olabode Adetoyi, Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, made this known in Ado Ekiti at a news conference ahead of the official launch of the ” Ekiti Rice Pyramid Project” and flag off of the 2021 Wet Season Rice Cultivation, scheduled for Tuesday.

According to him, Mr Godwin Emefiele, the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, would perform the inauguration of the rice pyramid project while Gov. Kayode Fayemi, would be the chief host.

The commissioner said the state was embarking on massive production of rice so as to be able to meet both local demands and for export.

He explained that the state government had brought in investors, who were ready to invest in planting and processing of rice, adding that the product would be of high standards and stone free.

Adetoyi added that the state government was working assiduously towards ensuring that youths ventured into farming by making it more attractive and lucrative, through various agricultural incentives

He assured farmers in the state that the government would not fail in providing adequate security for them to enable them go to their farms anytime without entertaining fears

Adetoyi disclosed that 23 new investors had already been allocated lands to plant rice, cocoa and palm oil, among others, as the government was doing all to attract investors through provision of enabling environment.

“ Top notch rice processing plant like Stallion, Dangote and Jumlar rice have been allocated land in premium location in Ekiti Knowledge Zone for quality rice production.

“ Land clearing and development of over 5,000 hectares of land for commercial agriculture is also on, out of which 1,000 is cleared for swampy rice along the river banks and valleys in the state. Over 40,000 hectares is to be made available as time goes on,” he said.

The commissioner said that the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari, had conceived the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to provide easy access to credit for farmers and processors at low interest rate, among others.

He added that the government of Japan had also brought in some equipment such as harvesters to provide high quality rice production in the state.

Adetoyi warned people in the habit of setting fire to bushes while hunting game to desist from such acts to avoid causing damage to peoples’ farms.

According to him, some farms had been destroyed in the process.

The commissioner said that government had approved money to buy seedlings that would be distributed to those farmers who lost their farms in such preventable fire incidences.(NAN

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