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Gunmen attack Zamfara mosque, kill five, abduct 18 worshippers

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Gunmen have attacked a mosque during prayers in Zamfara, killing five worshippers and kidnapping 18

About 100 cattle thieves riding on motorcycles reportedly opened fire on a Muslim congregation in remote Dutsen Gari village in Maru district as residents were observing the Friday prayers.

“The bandits killed five worshippers and kidnapped 18 others, including the imam,” state police spokesman Mohammed Shehu told AFP.

Residents however said more than 30 worshippers were abducted.

“The gunmen attacked the mosque while the imam was delivering the sermon and took away more than 30 people,  including the imam, after shooting dead five worshippers,” one resident, Ibrahim Altine, told AFP.

North-West Nigeria is a hotbed of criminal gangs who raid villages, stealing cattle, kidnapping for ransom and burning homes after looting food supplies.

The gangs maintain camps in the Rugu forest which straddles Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna and Niger states from where they launch attacks.

Troop deployments and peace talks with local authorities have failed to end the attacks.

Unlike Boko Haram jihadists, the criminal gangs have no ideological leanings, but concerns are growing that the jihadists are gradually infiltrating the gangs.

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Buhari presents 2023 budget proposal of N20.5tn to National Assembly

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday presented 2023 appropriation bill of N20.5tn to the National Assembly, the last budget to be put together by his administration before bowing out of office in May 29 next year.

He made the budget presentation to the joint session of the National Assembly at the temporary chamber of the House of Representatives.

The National Assembly had earlier approved the medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF) and fiscal strategy paper (FSP) — parameters on which the 2023 budget will be framed.

Buhari said the 2023 transition budget was designed to address critical issues and lay a solid foundation for the incoming administration.

Christened ‘Budget of Fiscal Consolidation and Transition’, the President said the revenue generation should reach about N16.87tn.

A breakdown of the budget shows that N744.11bn was earmarked for statutory transfers; N8.27tn for non-debt recurrent costs; N1.1tn for overhead costs, and N5.35 trillion for capital expenditure.

Buhari said, “We expect the total fiscal operations of the federal government to result in a deficit of N10.78tn.”

“This represents 4.78 per cent of estimated GDP, slightly above the 3 percent threshold set by the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007.

“As envisaged by the law, we need to exceed this threshold considering the need to continue to tackle the existential security challenges facing the country.”

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Eid-el-Maulud: FG declares Monday public holiday

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Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola

The Federal Government has declared Monday public holiday to mark this year’s Eid-ul-Mawlud celebration in commemoration of the birth of Prophet Muhammad.

Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, who made this declaration on behalf of the Federal Government, congratulated all Muslims both at home and in the Diaspora for witnessing this year’s occasion.

Aregbesola, in a statement signed by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Shuaib Belgore, on Thursday, admonished Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of love, patience, tolerance and perseverance which are deep spiritual virtues and which Prophet Muhammad exemplified, adding that doing so would guarantee peace, security and harmony in the country.

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The statement read in part: “Ogbeni Aregbesola enjoins Nigerians, particularly Muslims, to refrain from violence, lawlessness and other acts of criminality.

“As the indisputable leader of our race, we must demonstrate responsible leadership in Africa.”

He urged Nigerians to be security conscious, asking them to report any suspicious persons or activities to the nearest security agency and through the N-Alert application on Android and IOS, saying “when you see something do N-Alert, as this would elicit prompt response from security agents.”

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Bombs were going off frequently in cities when I came in – Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has said he inherited a country with bombs detonating frequently in cities of Nigeria.

He disclosed this during the passing-out parade and inauguration of cadets of regular Course 69 of the Nigerian Defence Academy, NDA, in Kaduna on Thursday.

He, however, said his administration had been able to manage the country’s security crisis since assuming office in 2015.

“When this government came in 2015, we inherited a country at a crossroads with bombs going off with frightening frequency even in our cities, and we came in to manage the crisis,” he said.

Buhari called on the cadets to replicate the spirit of social cohesion they learned at the NDA and be incorruptible models to society.

He stressed that the cadets emerged in the era of expanding global security threats.

A total of 239 cadets, including those from sister African countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, Niger Republic, Chad, and Uganda are passing out from the Academy as junior military officers.

Among the dignitaries present are service chiefs and the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali; Senate President Ahmed Lawan; the governors of Niger and Kaduna States, as well as National Assembly members.

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