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Biden takes presidential oath, vows to be president for all Americans

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Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Wednesday took the oath of office as the United States 46th President and first female Vice President respectively.

Biden emphasised unity of the country and pledged to be a president for all Americans in his inaugural address. “This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge,” he said on the Capitol steps, shortly after he was sworn in. “And unity is the path forward. And we must meet this moment as the United States of America. If we do that, I guarantee you we will not fail.”

BBC News described the event as an inauguration like no other, amid a raging pandemic, in a city that has become a fortress of fences, concrete barriers and security checkpoints.

 “I will be a president for all Americans,” Biden declared.

Once at the White House, Biden is expected to sign a blizzard of executive orders that will lay out his coronavirus, immigration and climate policies.

As Biden became president, it remained uncertain whether he would have any Senate-confirmed cabinet members by the end of his first day in office.

Multiple senators and their aides said they did not know whether any of the five nominees who had hearings Tuesday would proceed to final votes when the Senate meets.

Earlier, former President Donald Trump, who refused to concede, left the White House and flew to Florida — making him the first president to skip his successor‘s swearing-in since 1869.

“We will be back in some form,” Trump told a modest crowd that showed up at Joint Base Andrews for his departure.

Vice President Mike Pence eschewed Trump’s send-off for the inauguration.

On his final full day in office, Trump granted clemency to 143 people, including former adviser Stephen K. Bannon, GOP megadonor Elliott Broidy and former Republican members of Congress; but he did not preemptively pardon himself or his family.

With about an hour left in his presidency Wednesday, Trump issued one more pardon, to former Republican power broker Al Pirro — the ex-husband of Fox News personality Jeanine Pirro.

Trump undid one of the only measures he had taken to “drain the swamp,” rescinding an executive order that limited former administration officials from lobbying the government or working for foreign countries.

A dozen members of the National Guard were removed from inauguration duty as the federal government screened troops for possible insider threats­.

On his first day in office, President Biden will end Donald Trump’s “emergency” border-wall funding, scrap his travel ban on people from seven majority-Muslim countries, roll back his order to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census and erase the “1776 Commission.”

“I’ll be driving our efforts to ensure that matters of equity and justice are fully incorporated into all that we try to do,” said Susan E. Rice, chair of Biden’s Domestic Policy Council.

Rice’s comments came in an interview with The Daily 202, in which she described the January 6 insurrection that shattered windows and democratic norms at the US Capitol as “seismic” but said it would not disrupt Biden’s early agenda.

And Rice promised “we’re going to be an administration that tells the truth” in the face of proliferating disinformation, much of it from Trump, fueling widespread Republican doubts that Biden won.

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NNPC to inject fresh N1tn into road projects

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited is to provide additional N1tn for road projects in Nigeria, NNPC Group Chief Executive, Mele Kyari, has said.

Kyari, in a video clip seen in Abuja, disclosed this on Thursday during a tour of the ongoing construction work on the Agbara-Badagry road, Lagos.

He said the N1tn would come through the Federal Government road infrastructure tax credit scheme.

He said, “We are very happy about the state of this road development. We are very happy with this intervention across the country not just in this place. We are doing 1,800km across the country. We are taking another set of over N1tn of investments in road infrastructure in the country.

“We believe that this tax credit system which Mr. President has put in place is the game changer for our country.

“We believe that in the next 24 months, there will be massive change to the entire road network in this country and this is why the NNPC is your company and working for all of us.

“We think that it is the best way to intervene and bring up our infrastructure. We are adding another set of cash, we have not reached the final numbers, but I know it is over N1tn.”

According to a Punch report, the NNPC in the third quarter of 2021 announced its intention to provide funds for the reconstruction of selected road projects in order to ease the movement of petroleum products.

This was executed under the tax credit scheme that was funded by the NNPC through the Federal Inland Revenue Service in accordance with the President’s executive order 007.

The construction exercise was under the management of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, as the NNPC provided funds for the construction of 1,804.6km of roads at a cost of N621,24bn.

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Military under pressure to compromise elections, says CDS Irabor

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Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, has disclosed that the security agencies and the military have been under pressure to compromise general elections through financial inducement.

He however assured Nigerians that the military would maintain neutrality in the whole electoral process.

He spoke at the weekly ministerial press briefing on Thursday in Abuja and gave updates on strides made by the military in the fight against insurgency, terrorism and banditry.

He stated that military personnel were being trained to follow the codified rules of engagement before, during and after the elections.

The CDS disclosed that over 300,000 persons had been freed from the hands of abductors since 2016 while refugees who fled the North-East owing to insurgency were already returning.

General Irabor who admitted there were few sabotaurs within the military asserted that they had not succeeded.

He debunked a recent allegation by an international news media which accused the military of carrying out over 10,000 illegal abortions on female victims of the war in the North-East.

According to him, it is impossible for the military to have been engaged in a planned abortion programme since 2013 and as the military commander in charge of Operation Lafia Dole between 2016 and 2017, he never heard of any such thing.

The CDS also revisited the alleged Lekki tollgate massacre in 2020, insisting that the Nigerian military is not interested in killing its own people, but more concerned about protecting the citizens.

He added that the efforts of the military in the fight against crude oil theft had been yielding positive results with the increase in the crude oil production of 1.6 million barrels per day.

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FG recovers N120bn from crime proceeds —Lai Mohammed

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Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

The Federal Government has said it had realised at least N120 billion as proceeds from criminal financial operations since the bill on Proceeds of Crime Recovery Management was signed into law earlier this year by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the disclosure at a news briefing where Minister of Environment presented the scorecard of the ministry under the Buhari administration in Abuja, yesterday.

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Mohammed said:  “I have an update on the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act (POCA), 2022. In line with the new law, all relevant agencies of government have now opened ‘Confiscated and Forfeiture Properties Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

“I can confirm that so far, the Federal Government has realised over N120 billion, among other currencies, from POCA. This money will be used to fund the completion of ongoing critical infrastructure projects in the country such as the Second Niger Bridge as well as Lagos-Ibadan and Abuja-Kano Expressways. We will continue to update you on this,” he added.

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