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Buhari to Nigerians: Bear with us if we haven’t done enough

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President Muhammadu Buhari has pleaded with Nigerians yet to feel the impact of his government to bear with the administration.

He spoke in Ilorin through the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, at a town hall meeting with traditional rulers, youths, students, organised labour, market women and other stakeholders on the #EndSARS protest and its aftermath.

The forum was attended by the Kwara State Governor, Abdulrazaq Abdulrahman, Speaker of Kwara State House of Assembly, Yakubu Danladi; the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji  Sulu Gambari, and other traditional rulers, representatives of market women, traders and other stakeholders.

In the President’s message delivered by the minister, he said the administration had the interest of the youths and the people in general at heart and was doing a lot to touch their lives.

The President said the government was constrained by dwindling resources occasioned by the impact of COVID-19 which also affected the global economy.

He said, “If we have not done enough or we have not touched everybody, we appeal that you please bear with us.

“In the first instance, what we have is less than 60 per cent of the revenue that was available to other governments that came before us.

“We all know what we suffered during COVID-19, and as we are just trying to recover from this we also faced another crisis.

“We appeal that you should please assist the government and be patient. This government is dedicated to serving the people and we will continue to try our best to do so.

“I thank you all for your perseverance, understanding and patience.”

The President said the administration had many initiatives targeted at creating jobs for the youth and alleviating poverty among women and vulnerable groups.

He said the government initiated a N75bn National Youth Investment Fund to provide opportunities for the youth.

He said the fund was part of the N2.3tn economic sustainability plan aimed at cushioning the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on most vulnerable Micro Small Medium Enterprises across the country.

The President said other initiatives targeted at the youths included N-POWER which had engaged 500,000 beneficiaries with 400,000 more in December.

He said 10,000 youths had been trained and benefitted under N-TECH and N-AGRO respectively.

The President said the federal government FINTECH created enabling environment for growth of businesses that use technology to enhance or automate financial services and processes.

He said over two million farmers, traders, mostly youths, were empowered under FARMERMONI, TRADERMONI and MARKETMONI.

The President said over 500,000 youths had also benefited from the Graduate Internship Scheme which provides short-term employment graduates.

He said 1,000 farmers from each of the 774 LGAs in the country were empowered and guided under the Youth Entrepreneurship Support programme.

Also, Governor Abdulrazaq thanked the President for the initiative of directing ministers to interact with the people at the state level.

He prayed for peace, unity and stability of the country.

Emir of Ilorin said the town-hall meeting was a good forum for the people to express their minds and grievances to government.

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Just in: No bail for Nnamdi Kanu, says court

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A federal high in Abuja has refused to grant bail to Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Kanu was re-arraigned on an amended 15-count charge bordering on treasonable felony.

However, on April 8, Binta Nyako, the judge, struck out eight out of the 15-count charge.

While counts 6,7,9,10,11,12,13 and 14 were struck out, the defendant is to stand trial on counts 1,2,3,4,5,8 and 15.

Kanu’s lead counsel, Mike Ozekhome, moved an application for bail.

Ozekhome said, “Until a person is tried and convicted, he should be allowed to walk free.”

He reminded the court that a defendant ought to enjoy the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

He begged the court to consider the deteriorating health condition of the defendant.

Ruling on the bail application on Wednesday, the judge held that “the application is premature and refused with liberty to refile and reapply.”

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Fed Govt puts Facebook under watch over IPOB

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Information, Culture & Tourism Minister Lai Mohammed

FACEBOOK and other social media platforms have been cautioned against yielding their platforms to the members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to incite violence and instigate ethnic hatred in Nigeria.

The Federal Government gave the instruction through Information, Culture & Tourism Minister Lai Mohammed at a meeting with a team from Facebook.

In a statement signed by his media aide, Mr. Segun Adeyemi, the minister said since IPOB had been proscribed and classified as a terrorist organisation, Facebook has no justification to continue allowing its platform to be used by the organisation to further its campaign of hate and destabilisation of the country.

Mohammed was quoted as saying: “I have called this meeting to enable us to discuss the increasing use of Facebook by separatists and anarchists, especially those of them based outside the country, to instigate violence and ethnic hatred in Nigeria.

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“For whatever reason, they seem to have now chosen Facebook as their platform of choice. And their tools include disinformation, incendiary statements and hate speech.

“They use Facebook broadcasts to reach their followers, who are in thousands. They tag those opposed to their violent ways as ‘saboteurs’ who must be attacked, maimed and killed. They use both English and their local language as it suits them.”

He said the actions of the outlawed group have real-life implications, adding: “By purveying hate and inciting violence, people are getting killed while private and public property are being attacked and destroyed. Security agencies and other symbols of government are their choice targets.”

The minister said that despite the numerous complaints to Facebook on the activities of IPOB, nothing has been done by the company to curtail the group’s excesses on the social media platform.

He said: “Our social media people have been monitoring these separatists, anarchists and purveyors of hate, and have been reporting their atrocious actions to Facebook, but all they get are default responses that their complaints have been received and are being looked into.

“Most often than not, nothing has been done about such complaints… The truth is that whatever Facebook is doing to check these people is mere tokenism and is totally ineffective.”

Mohammed said the government would be monitoring Facebook and other platforms closely in the days ahead to ensure compliance with the demand, as it steps up the campaign for the responsible use of social media.

He said: “We have always advocated a responsible use of social media, and consistently called on all stakeholders to join us in achieving this. Some have tagged our efforts as an attempt to stifle social media.

“They are wrong, because we have no intention of preventing Nigerians from using social media responsibly. All we have been advocating is a responsible use of social media,” the minister said.

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Ex-EFCC chair Magu promoted to AIG before retirement

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The Police Service Commission has confirmed the promotion of a former acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, to the position of assistant inspector-general of police (AIG).

Spokesperson for the PSC, Ikechukwu Ani, announced this in a statement issued on Monday.

“The eight Commissioners of Police promoted to AIGs were; CP Mustafa Magu Ibrahim who is the most senior in the CP cadre and who missed the last two promotions after returning to the Police; Abraham Egong Ayim; Okunlola Kola Kamaldeen; Andrew Amieengheme; Akeera Mohammed Younous; Celestine Amechi Elumelu; Ngozi Vivian Onadeko and Danladi Bitrus Lalas (Airwing),” the statement reads.

The development comes amid Magu’s expected retirement from the Nigeria Police Force, having clocked the mandatory retirement age of 60 on May 5.

In July 2020, when Magu was still at the helm of affairs in the EFCC, he was arrested, detained, and suspended as the acting chairman of the anti-graft agency — after he appeared before a panel probing allegations of gross misconduct

The panel, led by Justice Ayo Salami, subsequently recommended Magu’s removal as EFCC boss “for failing to properly account for N431,000,000.00 security votes/information fund released to the office of the Executive Chairman of EFCC between November 2015 and May 2020”.

The panel further recommended that Magu should be referred to the inspector-general of police (IGP) for “necessary disciplinary action”, and that he should be prosecuted over the alleged offences.

Despite the recommendation of the panel, Magu resumed duties at the police headquarters as commissioner of police — his rank before he was appointed acting EFCC chairman.

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