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Reps Summon Foreign Affairs Minister, Perm Sec Over Breach Of Appropriation Act

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Geoffrey Onyeama

The House of Representatives has summoned the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, and permanent secretary in the Ministry to appear on Monday over alleged failure to comply with section 11 of the 2022 Appropriation Act.

The lower chamber expressed outrage over the deplorable condition of Nigerian embassies/high commissions and the hassle the country’s ambassadors were facing in the discharge of their duties.

The House at plenary yesterday expressed worries that many Nigerian embassies were in a dilapidated state and had become a laughing stock largely due to the refusal of the ministry to allow ambassadors/high commissioners access the capital components of their budgets to carry out needed facelifts.

The lawmakers spoke at plenary while contributing to a motion of urgent public importance moved by Rep Kasimu Bello Maigari.

They called on the federal government to compel the ministry to implement the provision of the 2022 Appropriation Act (S.11) which empowers Nigeria embassies and high commissions across the world to spend capital components of their budgets without recourse to the headquarters of the ministry.

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Maigari said Nigerian foreign missions and service officers had been at the receiving end of the negative effects of the actions and inactions of the ministry “which have sometimes resulted in hiring taxis for diplomats on official duties and in the forceful ejection of ambassadors/high commissioners and other foreign service officers from rented apartments with their personal effects and other property thrown into the streets of capital cities of the world even when such embassies/high commissions have budgeted capital funds lying unutilised in various bank accounts.”

The chairman House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Buba Yakubu, said the situation was so bad that Nigerian ambassadors could not invite their fellow ambassadors to their residences or the Nigerian houses all over the world.

“This is the issue all over; we were at the embassy in Washington DC; the cooling system was not working and we found Nigerians who had come with children to seek for consular services removing their clothes because of heat, it was a hot period and they started shouting at us that what kind of country is this.

“When we went to Cameroon where the former chief of defence staff is serving, in his residence, a fence that is not up to 50 meters fell but officers (of foreign affairs ministry) have to be sent from Abuja; pay their tickets and they will go to see it, come back to report to the Ministry before approval will be given for that fence to be rebuilt.”

Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila said he had a personal experience in many embassies which he described as a ‘crying shame”.

“It’s a crying shame that the National Assembly is trying to make things better for those we send out to represent us and some people are resisting,” he said.

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Lagos corporal beats up senior officer over traffic

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Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin

There was a mild drama on Saturday at the Simbiat Abiola Way, Ikeja, Lagos State, as a police corporal assaulted his superior during an argument.

PUNCH Metro gathered that the yet-to-be-identified corporal had confronted the superior officer, who was identified as Supol Edgar, for allegedly causing traffic at the junction linking the Awolowo Way.

This led to an argument, as the corporal punched Edgar.

Our correspondent learnt that the policeman did not know Edgar was a police officer who resided in a barracks close to the scene.

During the confrontation, Edgar reportedly reached out to his colleagues in the barracks, who stormed out and bundled the policeman into their premises.

Our correspondent, who was at the scene of the incident, observed as the corporal was forcefully dragged into the police barracks.

An eyewitness, who identified himself only as Stanley for security reasons, said the problem was caused by a tricycle rider, who tried to navigate through some vehicles at the junction.

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He said, “The Supol tried to caution a tricycle rider who tried to make his way past some vehicles and that led to the traffic jam. But when the corporal saw what was happening, he angrily rushed out of his car to confront him for causing a delay. That was how the argument started between them and even when the senior officer was telling him that he was also a police officer, he did not hear him out, as he kept on slapping and punching him. That was when the Supol called someone in the barracks and they came to carry him.”

A traffic warden, who was at the spot and begged not to be identified because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, said the officer did not reveal his identity on time before the matter escalated.

He said, “I was controlling traffic when I saw a man arguing with someone in the tricycle. I approached him to know what was happening but he refused to answer me. I left him to continue what I was doing. It was later that I saw that traffic had started building up and by the time I went back to check what caused it, I saw both of them dragging each other.”

Our correspondent also observed that before the corporal was taken into the barracks, he was stripped of his clothes and asked to kneel, while other senior officers in the barracks gathered around him.

Edgar threatened to lock him up at the Area F Police Command.

The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, said he was not aware of the incident.

He promised to respond after making enquiries. He had yet to do so as of the time of filing this report.

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Just In: Bandits kill three, abduct scores in Taraba

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Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba

Bandits on Sunday night attacked and killed three persons while scores were reportedly abducted by the attackers in Bali town, the headquarters of Bali Local Government Area of Taraba State.

Several sources in Bali told our correspondent on the phone that the attackers who rode on motorcycles attacked and killed personnel of Taraba Marshall at a checkpoint near General Hospital before proceeding to individual houses to kill and abduct people.

The Tiv central leader and Chief of Tiv in Bali, Zaki David Gbaa (Ter Tiv Bali II) told our correspondent that two of his subjects were killed and scores, mostly women, were abducted in the attack.

“The attackers invaded the town at about 11: pm. Two of my subjects were killed in the attack, and two others who were badly injured are receiving treatment in the hospital.

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“Many people, especially women, were abducted. It’s a terrible situation and I want to call on the government and security agencies to sit up and ensure the protection of the lives and property of citizens.

“For over four hours, the bandits held the town shooting sporadically and there was no response from security agencies. People are losing hope of the government’s ability to protect them and I think the bandits are no more than our security agencies,” he said.

This is even as the traditional ruler called on the government to support the injured who are receiving treatment in hospitals.

The attack came barely three days after bandits blocked the Mutum-Biyu- Garba Chede road killing a driver and abducting passengers in the neighbouring Gassol Local Government area of the state.

Efforts to get the Police to react to the attack failed as the Taraba State Police Public Relations Officer, Abdullahi Usman, did not pick up calls made to his line.

But a police officer in the Taraba State Police Command told our correspondent that the PPRO was attending a security briefing.

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NAF Fighter Jet Kills Banditry Kingpin, Followers In Katsina

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A notorious banditry kingpin, Abdulkareem Lawal alias Faca-faca, and many of his followers have been killed in airstrikes by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) fighter jets on some bandits’ enclaves in Safana Local Government Area of Katsina State.

Our correspondent learnt that the raids were carried out in the evening.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, Gambo Isah, confirmed on Sunday that eight suspected bandits including Faca-faca were killed during the raid.

 He also said the police Saturday night raided a terrorists’ hideout at Unguwar Dako, Tandama village in Danja Local Government Area of the state where they rescued six kidnapped victims. 

Isah gave the names of the rescued victims as Alhaji Garba DanMallam, 52; Rabiu Idris, 45; and Abba Samaila, 38, who are all residents of Unguwar Nuhu. 

Others are Yunusa Sani, 54; Ishaq Yakub, 40; and Danjuma Samaila, 45, all residents of Layin Sani village, Kafur. 

Meanwhile, bandits have killed two members of a local vigilante group and abducted a newlywed couple and other residents of Shola Quarters in the Katsina metropolis. 

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Residents said the bandits invaded the area around 1:25am and operated for over an hour. 

One of the sources said, “It was the vigilante members that even confronted the bandits but in the process, two of them were killed and two others wounded.” 

He explained that the vigilante members had to retreat for their safety when the bandits overpowered them. 

He said it was later that one body was retrieved while one of the injured persons rushed to the hospital died. 

Explaining how the newlywed couple was kidnapped, a relative, Usman Masanawa, said the husband, Yusuf Bishir, called to inform him of the attack but there was nothing he could do.

“We went there this morning; the bandits did not even enter the house through the entrance gate but they smashed the wall and got access into the house,” Masanawa said. 

He added that the number of residents abducted could not be ascertained but other residents said some houses were attacked and people abducted. 

When contacted, the PPRO who responded via WhatsApp message, said officers were on an operation (on the matter) and would communicate details later. 

In another attack, bandits abducted 13 people from Natsinta village, in Jibia Local Government Area, which is a few hundred metres from the army barracks in Katsina. 

A resident, whose uncle and two of his children were abducted, said the bandits had earlier abducted 26 people but when they got to where they parked their motorcycles, they took 13 with them and left the others.

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