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FG considers suspension of NIN enrolment over COVID-19

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  • NDLEA suspends screening of new employees

The Federal Government may suspend the ongoing enrolment for National Identification Number (NIN) in view of the surging crowds at the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) offices in Lagos, Abuja and other cities across the country.

Government says the decision may be necessary to protect many Nigerians from contracting COVID-19.

Already, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has suspended the screening of applicants for recruitment due to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NIN registration resumed nationwide on Monday after NIMC workers suspended the strike they commenced on Thursday over poor welfare package, lack of tools and risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, said on a TV programme Monday that the ongoing NIN enrolment could be suspended over COVID-19 risks.

He also urged the NIMC to reorder the enrolment process to avoid large crowds at its centres nationwide.

The minister, who is also a member of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, said the government had a duty to protect Nigerians.

“I don’t feel good looking at the picture where people are gathered in multitude; it’s like a super-spreader event, which we don’t like. But I’m also aware that the relevant ministry, which is the communications and digital economy, is looking at this.

“My understanding is that the whole process may be suspended so as to reorder the whole process in terms of management of the crowd because it was never intended that it would become a rowdy process like that.

“We have a duty as government to ensure that people are protected; we also have a duty to ensure people comply within the limit of what is good for the society at large,” he added.

The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) had ordered telecommunications companies to block all telephone lines of subscribers not linked to their NINs.

It also gave subscribers with NINs till January 19 to link their NINs with their SIM cards while subscribers without NINs have February 9 deadline.

Meanwhile, scare over the pandemic has prompted the NDLEA to suspend the ongoing screening of applicants for recruitment.

NDLEA’s spokesman, Deputy Commander of Narcotics, Jonah Achema, in a statement issued in Abuja, said the screening suspension was based on strict compliance with the directive of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mallam Abubakar Malami (SAN).

The NDLEA had on January 8 released the list of shortlisted candidates and directed the candidates, numbering 5,000, to appear at the agency’s academy in Jos for screening and documentation between January 10 and January 23.

But Achema said the minister had ordered the suspension of the exercise given the current alarming second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

“The agency is prepared to seek advice from the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on the public health implications of such an exercise, especially as it relates to the adequacy and possibility of strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols.

“The screening team had been directed to suspend all actions and return to the national headquarters, Abuja, immediately for further briefing.

“There shall be no prejudice against any candidate that turned up for the screening or that failed to do so,’’ he said.

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EFCC invites two Abia ex-commissioners over N22bn Paris Club refund

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Enugu Zone, has invited two former Abia State commissioners for finance for questioning reportedly relating to the spending of N22bn Paris Club refund.
The EFCC said Mr Philip Nto and Mr Obinna Oriaku, who served as Commissioners of Finance and Economic Development in 2014 and 2016 respectively were asked to meet with the agency’s Head Capital Market and Insurance Fraud Section for questioning.

It stated this in a letter dated May 25th, 2021, addressed to Abia Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Chris Ezem.
It said the two former commissioners were needed to make certain clarifications regarding some financial transactions in the state within the period of their stay in office.
It said this was in pursuant to section 38(1) and 2 of the EFCC (establishment) Act, 2004.

When contacted, Oriaku confirmed he was invited, promising to honour it.
He said, “I want to make it clear that EFCC invitation is not a crime and cannot be misconstrued as a sentence for crime.
“As commissioner for Finance for four years, it is necessary that I will be invited from time to time to shed light on what happened while I served as commissioner.”
Oriaku said the invitation was based on a petition by one Dr Murice Walton of Mauritz Walton Nigeria Limited on how the state government allegedly held back their payment since 2017.

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We’ll complete 2nd Niger Bridge next year – Fashola

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Construction work on the Second Niger Bridge will be completed in 2022, Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has said.
He stated this on Sunday at a forum organised by the News Agency of Nigeria to mark the sixth anniversary of the Buhari administration in Abuja.
The construction of the bridge commenced on September 1, 2018.
According to Fashola, the bridge, which will serve as a major link between the south-east and the south-west will be delivered between the second and third quarters of 2022.
He said the construction time was lost to the COVID-19 pandemic but added that the work had gone beyond the water level.
He said the project would facilitate the influx of investments to the south-east when completed.
“So, what you see currently is the final work. The sub-structure which entailed building cement structures underwater often costs a lot of money,” he said.
“We should finish the bridge next year between the second quarter and third quarter.”
The bridge is 1.6km long and furnished with other ancillary infrastructure, including a 10.3km highway and an interchange.
The bridge spans from Asaba in Delta state to Ozubulu, Ogbaru and other communities in Anambra state.
The minister added that the federal government’s investments in road building and infrastructure development have been impacting various economic activities nationwide.
Fashola said more wealth and job opportunities had been created with 850 contracts awarded and 13,000 kilometres of roads and bridges under construction and repairs across the federal highways.
He said, “President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to improving infrastructure sits squarely at the centre of the progressive ideal to improve the human condition.
“This connects many more doors and it is the most legitimate way for distributing money across board.
“One of the reasons our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), is called progressives is because there is a commitment to the progressive ideals.”

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I sold about N70,000 bread daily to bandits when Kaduna students were abducted – Baker

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Hassan Magaji, a baker in the Galadimawa area of Kaduna State, has confessed to supplying bread to bandits.

Magagi, who was recently arrested by the Intelligence Response Team of the Inspector-General of Police, said he sold bread worth N70,000 to the bandits during the time that some university students were abducted.

It is not clear if he was referring to students of Greenfield University, Kaduna, who spent over a month in captivity.

“I observed that whenever they kidnapped many people, like during the kidnap of those university students, the quantity of bread that they bought increased. During that period I delivered up to N70,000 worth of bread everyday until recently when it dropped to N50,000 again.”

“I have not benefitted much except that I married a new wife and I was able to save money to take care of two wives. To stop banditry, government should recruit more security men. We prefer police because they know the job.”

Bandits have been terrorising residents of Kaduna and its environs.

On Saturday, angry residents blocked the ever-busy Abuja-Kaduna highway to protest incessant attacks.

Despite repeated assurances from government, armed gangs have been making life a hell for people.

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