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Kaduna parents give FG, El-Rufai 48 hours to rescue abducted students

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Tension is building up in Kaduna State as parents of 39 abducted students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, FCFM, Mando in Igabi Local Government Area have given a 48 hour ultimatum to the federal and state governments to rescue their children.

The parents also appealed to the United Nations, Nigerian Bar Association, Academic Staff Union of Universities, well meaning Nigerians and world leaders to prevail on the governments to rescue their children from the bandits.

A large number of bandits on March 11 invaded the school and kidnapped the students.

On Saturday, March 13, a viral video surfaced where the students were seen crying and appealing to the government to pay the N500 million demanded by the bandits as ransom for their release.

A statement by Chairman and Secretary of the aggrieved Parents, Kambai Sam and Friday Sanni respectively was read by the Chairman at a briefing on Monday.

They said “You would recall that on the night of 11th March, 2021, gunmen invaded the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, and forcefully abducted 39 students of the Institution at gun point – 23 of them are female students while 16 are male. Several others sustained varying degrees of injuries while running for their dear lives.

“The bandits had a field day on the night of capture and for over an hour carried out their nefarious activity largely unchallenged until the military came after 3 batches of students had been taken out of the college through the perimeter fence. Not a single one of the 39 abducted students has been rescued.

“We have put our trust in the government and school authority to rescue the students in good time and safely, but that has not happened. It is now 12 dark dreary  days since the unfortunate incident happened and we as parents have not received any positive message from either the school management, the Minister of Environment under whose ministry the school is or the  Kaduna State Government under  whose territorial  jurisdiction the school is located. This silence is unacceptable as it only feeds our hopelessness with each passing day. “We are using this press conference to call the attention of government at state and federal levels and all stakeholders involved, and indeed the world, to act with dispatch to ensure the immediate and safe release of  our children. “We have seen this kind of ugly event happen in Katsina, Zamfara and Niger states and swiftly the governments acted and ensured the safe and timely rescue of the victims, so why is the case of the Afaka 39 different? Why should our innocent children pay for the failure of government to provide security of lives and property? Or is it now a crime to seek education in schools? Let us not forget that the students were taken in bad shape – some were barely covering themselves, especially the ladies. This is a dangerous thing and should have made the government to act faster.”

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Agitation for Yoruba nation may degenerate into war, Ladoja warns

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A former governor of Oyo State, Rashidi Ladoja, yesterday, told agitators of Yoruba self-determination to exercise caution, as the agitation might degenerate into war if not well managed.

Addressing newsmen at his Bodija, Ibadan residence, after observing the Eid prayers to commemorate the end of the Ramadan fast, the former governor called for more religious tolerance and fairness, justice, especially in making political appointments.

Ladoja said: “Some parts of the country feel cheated in the appointment into some offices in the country. The country will collapse when we have incompetent people in power.

“We are a federation and not a mono-language or mono-ethnic country. We deserve the policies that make us strong, even with our diversities, but that seems to be our weakness. That is why people are looking for other options in terms of restructuring and dissolution. “And when that is the practice, it means the best of men are not in position and when you have people that are not competent running a system, the system will at the end of the day collapse. Let’s only hope that Nigeria will survive.”

Appealing to those beating the drums of war, the former governor said: “People only know the beginning of wars, but many don’t know how it ends. Some of the agitators for the Yoruba Nation don’t even know what it means.

“Nobody knows how the war in Syria started and it took years they have to take it easy. There will be a time when God will give us good leaders, and there will also be the time God will give us leaders that are not as good. If we want to go because of our challenges, we may need to sit down and talk things out on the way to go.

“When people are agitating, who says those in the North are not planning to go too? But let’s assume that people in the South are talking too much, while people in the North are acting too much.”

Southern, Northern govs should meet on grey areas —Mimiko

Meanwhile, former Ondo State governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, yesterday, urged the Southern governors to meet with their counterparts in the North to harmonise grey areas on the  resolutions reached at their meeting in Asaba, Delta state. Mimiko, in a statement, said that the resolution of the southern governors forum was commendable and the next step  is for them to meet with their Northern counterparts “to iron out what may just be minor areas of difference in substance and timelines.” The statement reads: “The resolution of the Southern Governors’ Forum, at the end of its meeting in Asaba, Delta State, on May 11 2021, is commendable.

“It is also salutary that members of the Southern caucus of the National Assembly have weighed in. “It is all a reflection of the realization of the fact that the nation may be perching at the precipice, and of the urgent need to pull her back.

“The next step is for the Southern Governors to meet with their Northern counterparts to iron out what may just be minor areas of difference in substance and timelines. “There cannot be any reasonable arguments against decentralization of policing to ensure emergence of compact and efficient sub-national forces under State (sub-national government control). “There surely cannot be any disagreement amongst the Governors on the issue of devolution of resources from the centre.”

Act fast on your resolutions, Onitiri urges Southern govs

Similarly, an activist and critic, Adesunbo Onitiri, yesterday, urged the 17 Southern governors to take action on their 10-point resolution adopted in Asaba, Delta State, on Tuesday, to save their people from the present insecurity ravaging the entire area. Applauding the governors, Onitiri,

in a statement in Lagos, said they have waited for long, while their states were being deliberately ravaged by armed Fulani herdsmen and other hardened criminals, who have been making life difficult for everybody in the entire area. He said: “The southern governors should realise that they are not an appendage or inferior to their Northern colleagues. We are in a very perilous state; we are looking for heroes to salvage our country from imminent collapse and calamity.

“The governors should immediately make laws to ban open grazing in their various states, address the people of your states on the deplorable state of insecurity in the country and appeal to their patriotic sense to cooperate with you to stem down the insecurity.

“The most insulting aspect of the matter is that farmers were being attacked, maimed, killed or kidnapped for ransom. As if that was not enough, the farmers were being sent out of their farms, their farm produce destroyed, and their wives and daughters raped as if Nigerians were in a banana republic.”

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COVID-19: Lagos places USA, Canada, South Africa, 11 others on watch list

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Lagos State has placed 14 countries on watch list as part of measures to prevent a possible spread of the new COVID-19 variant.

Commissioner for Health Prof. Akin Abayomi said the measure became necessary following the discovery of variants from banned countries within another country.

He said: “The affected countries are Canada, USA, France, Germany, Netherlands, Togo, Ghana, Cameroon, Angola, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.

“Nigerians returning from lesser hajj would have to undergo a compulsory seven-day self-isolation.

“The state will not hesitate to prosecute anyone, irrespective of status, who fails to comply with the directive.”

Abayomi stressed some of the possible events that could trigger a third wave include general laxity, false sense of security and non-adherence to guidelines, religious holidays, COVID fatigue, entry of mutations and variants.

He added: “The state has however developed a five-pillar strategy for curbing a potential third wave in Lagos.

“These include ensuring that all travelers carry out COVID-19 tests while we also introduce PCR test to determine variants and mandatory seven-day quarantine.

We will also utilise EKOTELEMED to monitor confirmed cases and provide telemedicine services.

“We will be sensitising Lagosians on the importance of non-pharmaceutical interventions such as handwashing, social distancing, thresholds for public gathering, as well as discourage super spreader events.

“Our oxygen supply approach will be two-phased – outsource oxygen plants to private partners and PPP for 700 cylinder/ day oxygen plant, while we also increase the number of vaccine doses administered by leveraging the private sector.”

The commissioner, who spoke on the successes recorded so far, said some isolation centres are currently empty.

“Landmark, Agidingbi, Gbagada, FCC, Lagoon and Onikan isolation centres have been shut while Amour II and Gbagada Isolation Centres are being re-activated.

“Of the 554 bed capacity, 550 beds are currently available. There is also a decrease in the number of patients who require oxygen therapy at IDH, Yaba. Following the reduction in number of positive cases, the use of oxygen has reduced from an average of 300 bottles per day in January 2021 to 60 bottles per day in April 2021,” he added.

Prof. Abayomi said of the 58,611 cases confirmed, 54,049 recovered, 4,346 were admitted; 3,906 were discharged and 354 deaths were recorded. One confirmed case is current in isolation with three suspected cases.

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Obaseki seeks NDDC’s restructuring

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The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) must be restructured to engender Southsouth’s  development, Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki has advised.

Obaseki believes that rather than spur the zone’s development,  the current structure of the NDDC had caused underdevelopment of the Southsouth states.

He also said that the Southsouth had the needed resources to develop itself but for  ”pretenders,” who according to him, must be stopped.

The governor spoke during his  meeting with members of   the Southsouth Zonal Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the Government House, Benin yesterday.

Obaseki said: “In the Southsouth, we must stand up to defend ourselves economically, politically, and security-wise. We have pretenders in the region, who try to exploit the region and we must stop them.

”The Southsouth region has the needed resources to develop itself, but the inability to do this has impeded growth.

”We have enough money in the region to build infrastructure and revive the economy. We can do it ourselves by stopping the interference.”

“The current structure of the NDDC has caused underdevelopment in the region, with the Federal Government not showing any concern.

“What is going on in NDDC today is totally untenable. NDDC cannot do any work in Edo and other states in the Southsouth. You cannot use the resources meant for the region to develop other regions of the country.”

The governor also claimed that the Federal Government seemed not to care about the scandals in the  NDDC.

Meanwhile, Niger Delta Affairs Minister Godswill Akpabio has said he  has not awarded any contract since his appointment.

Akpabio, who hosted  the Secretary of the  Interim Caretaker Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Akpan  Udohedehen,  in Abuja, however,  said the ministry has   completed 73 road contracts awarded before he came on board.

He said:  “We have not given out one single contract since we came on board, but we have meticulously worked on old contracts which we believe will be useful to the people. “As we speak, 73  roads have been completed, some dating back to 2003, 2005 and  2006.”

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