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Northern elders warn against danger of ejecting Fulani

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The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has expressed worry over reports of ejections and attacks on Fulani herders and communities in some states of the South.

It warned against the demonisation of law-abiding Fulani in the southern part of the country, noting that the trend was setting the country on a dangerous path.

Sunday Adeyemo, a youth leader better known as Sunday Igboho, recently issued an ultimatum to Fulani herders in the Ibarapa Local Government Area of Oyo state.

He later visited Ogun State on Monday, vowing to flush out killer herdsmen.

Reacting to the development, the northern elders called on President Muhammadu Buhari and other security agencies to intervene in the matter.

“The forum has been receiving reports of attacks on Fulani communities in the South since the night of Sunday, January 31, and had taken the responsible step by drawing the attention of authorities to the dangers which these attacks represent for all Nigerians,” stated the NEF’s Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, in a statement.

He said, “NEF is deeply worried by reports of ejections and attacks on Fulani herders and communities in some states of the South.

 “Law-abiding Fulani communities are advised to seek protection where it is available, and urged to resist the temptation to take the law into their own hands.

“The vast majority of Fulani are law-abiding and have rights to live lawfully wherever they can find means of subsistence.

“Like all Nigerians who can be found in every inch of Nigeria, the rights of the Fulani will not be abridged by criminals hiding behind ethnic interests to exterminate them.

“There are criminals in all ethnic groups, and the nation will be treading dangerous grounds if it continues to tolerate the demonization of entire groups over particular types of crimes.

“The forum demands the immediate arrest and prosecution of persons who are attacking Fulani and setting the country on a very dangerous path.

“The Fulani will not be ejected from any Nigerian community only on the basis of being Fulani or herding cattle within the limits of laws and regulations.

“States which seek to limit criminal activities are perfectly entitled to do so, but they must follow due process, and avoid exposing innocent citizens to danger at all cost.”

The forum called on northern governors to be prepared to receive the Fulani communities if they were forcibly ejected from the South.

“If communities in parts of the country insist that the lawful Fulani is unwelcome and has no right to their security, then the Forum will advise them to relocate to the North,” the statement read.

“Northern governors should move urgently to prepare to receive Fulani communities being forcefully ejected.”

The forum appealed to Nigerians to “exercise restraint” and not to play into the hands of “people who desire to achieve dubious political goals by pitching citizens against each other.”

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Pop star Shakira faces tax-fraud trial in Spain

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Colombian pop singer, Shakira, will face tax-fraud trial in Spain, a Spanish Judge said on Tuesday.

The music superstar faces eight-year jail term after she rejected a plea deal on accusations of tax evasion,  Spanish prosecutors in July 2022.

Prosecutors in Barcelona will also demand a fine of nearly 24 million euros ($24.5 million) from the 45-year-old “Hips don’t Lie” songstress, whom they accuse of defrauding the Spanish tax office out of 14.5 million euros on income earned between 2012 and 2014.

The Spanish prosecutor had offered a deal to settle allegations she defrauded Spain’s government of 14.5 million euros ($15 million) in taxes.

The Colombian pop singer had claimed innocence and wanted the law to determine her fate.

But on Tuesday, the court in Esplugues de Llobregat near Barcelona said that Shakira would face six counts of tax fraud.

The date for the trial has yet to be fixed, according to AP.

The case hinges on where Shakira lived during 2012-14. Prosecutors in Barcelona have alleged the Grammy winner spent more than half of that period in Spain and should have paid taxes in the country, even though her official residence was in the Bahamas.

Shakira, whose full name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, has been linked to Spain since she started dating soccer player Gerard Pique.

The couple, who have two children, used to live together in Barcelona but recently ended their 11-year relationship.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Retired soldiers protect against non-payment of security allowance

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Some retired soldiers on Monday protested in Abuja over non-payment of their security debarment allowances, among others.

The protesters who defied the rains demonstrated in front of the Ministry of Defence headquarters, clutching mats and banners as well as singing.

The protesters lamented the non-payment of their Security Debarment Allowance, among others.

They were joined by some relatives of deceased military personnel, blocking access road to the ministry located at Ship House on Olusegun Obasanjo Way in the Federal Capital Territory.

The military veterans under the aegis of the Retired Members of Nigerian Armed Forces and the Coalition of Concerned Veterans, accused the Minister of Defence, Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi (retd.), of being insensitive to their plight.

Addressing reporters during the protest, spokesman for the CVV, Abiodun Durowaiye-Herberts, vowed that they would not leave the ministry’s entrance until their demands were met.

He said they had already made arrangement to sleep overnight if the situation warranted it.

“We are here alongside our wives and children, and the widows of late military personnel and veterans who died in service, some of whom died fighting Boko Haram terrorists. We’ll be sleeping over at this place until the Minister of Defence, Magashi accede to our demands,” he said.

On his part, the National Secretary of RMNAF, Roy Okhidievbie, explained that the demonstration was to demand the payment of their security debarment allowance owed them by the Federal Government.

He accused the minister of refusing to disburse the allowances despite approval by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“We have had meetings with the Defence Minister, Magashi, but he appears to be headstrong, heartless, and unperturbed concerning the grievances of retired military officers, as he never paid nor showed any interest or concern to pay these allowances, especially the Security Debarment Allowance.

“Interestingly, President Buhari-led administration has approved the payment of this allowance, but Magashi has refused to make disbursements,”

In January, some retired soldiers under the aegis of the Coalition of Concerned Veterans protested against the non-payment of their pension arrears for 24 months.

The veterans who gathered at the Ministry of Finance headquarters, Abuja, insisted on getting answers to their demands, or else they would continue protesting.

They were seen with placards on which various inscriptions were written. One of the placards reads, “CCV demands immediate payment of security debarment allowance.” Another read, “Military veterans demand 24 months arrears of minimum wage approved.”

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Nationwide outage as grid collapses to zero megawatts again

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Nigeria was thrown into a total blackout Monday morning as the national grid collapsed to zero megawatts (MW).

The latest incident, which reportedly occurred at 10:51am Monday, is the seventh time the power grid would collapse this year.

This came just days after electricity consumers said they had enjoyed improved supply.

Some power distribution companies including Kaduna Electric, Enugu and Kano have already communicated the nationwide outage to their customers, adding that efforts were being made to restore supply.

The national electricity grid as of 10am on Monday had 3,712MW generated from 21 power generation companies (GenCos) before it dropped to 0MW one hour after, Daily Trust reported.

It stated that information from the System Operations, a section of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), indicated only Afam IV was on the grid but with zero supply as of 12noon.

It also showed that as of Sunday, the highest generation was 4,100MW while the lowest was 3,652MW with the frequency hovered between 49.04 Hertz (Hz) and 50.34Hz.

Electricity consumers have attested to improvement in supply in their various areas since July this year.

For instance, the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) recently confirmed increment in its daily allocation to over 500MW from the actual 300MW it had distributed before then.

Though the national grid had not cross 5,000MW, Daily Trust observed that level of load rejection especially around the DisCos’ networks had dropped significantly with some customers entitled to five-hour supply, recording over 12 hours daily.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had attributed the improvement in power supply nationwide to the partial activation of contracts seeking to hold sector operators liable for deliberate incompetence.

The national grid collapsed twice, in July and in August but was quickly restored and power supply improvement was sustained before the latest system collapse on Monday.

Although the TCN, the national grid manager, was yet to establish the cause of the crash, some insider said it could be as a result of a maintenance of the 330 kilovolts Jos – Bauchi transmission line maintenance slated for Monday.

 

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