Sunday, 31 July 2016

Kogi jailbreak: Prisons recapture 5 escapees

The Nigeria Prisons Service has  recaptured five of the 13 prison inmates who escaped from the Koton Karfe Medium Security Prison during Saturday's jailbreak at the facility.

The Controller-General of Prisons, Ja’afaru Ahmed disclosed this on Sunday during an on-the-spot assessment of the jailbreak.

Ahmed confirmed to newsmen, the escape of 13 inmates comprising ten awaiting trial detainees and three convicts during the incident.

However, he announced that five of the escapees have been recaptured while eight remain at large.

“We have recaptured five escapees with the assistance of other security agencies and local vigilante groups as well as individuals and they have been returned to the prison,” he said.

FG bans procurement, distribution of souvenirs

As the country struggles with economic recession, the Buhari administration has banned the procurement and distribution of souvenirs including conference bags, T-shirts at events and activities like Conferences, Workshops and Seminars organised and funded by Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs.

The new measures which were  recommended by the Efficiency Unit of the Federal Ministry of Finance were conveyed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and the Ministers of Finance and Budget and National Planning, by the Chief of Staff to the President, Alhaji Abba Kyari for implementation following approval by President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to a statement signed by Salsiu Na’Inna Dambatta, Director of Information, Federal Ministry of Finance, “the directive is a recognition of the fact that in a period of lean financial resources in the face of huge national infrastructural deficit, wasteful and unnecessary expenditure on overheads such as  souvenirs and conference bags were luxuries that the government must eliminate to release funds for infrastructure and services such as health and education that would have direct positive impact on the wellbeing of the citizenry and promote economic development.”

According to Dambatta, the Federal Government also banned production of "unnecessary publications and books of short shelf life which have no real value to the concerned public institutions or the citizens,” adding that the government has emphasized “the need for the citizenry and other interested parties to be aware of the initiatives, activities and programmes being implemented by the government."

The MDAs were directed to save costs by uploading such publications on their websites which have the added advantage of wider visibility, and print only limited number of hard copies of the relevant publications.

Atiku Abubakar now Agricom Chairman

An agricultural services firm, Agricom Field Services Network has appointed a former Vice President of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as its Chairman.

The Executive Vice Chairman of the company, Mr Adegboyega Olulade, said the former Vice President had agreed to bring his wealth of experience both in agriculture and other successful businesses to Agricom, which provides extension services to millions of registered farmers across the country.

He also said that Dr. Adinoyi Onukaba was appointed the company's Executive Director (North). Onukaba, a university don, journalist and politician,  runs a fish and poultry farm in Bwari, Abuja.

He disclosed that Agricom works closely with federal and states’ ministries of agriculture to provide regular and timely information to farmers, as a means of bridging the gap between government officials and farmers.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Navy bombs Arepo creeks to dislodge pipeline vandals

The Nigerian Navy on Thursday began the aerial bombardment of Arepo creeks in Ogun State in an effort to dislodge pipeline vandals who have long been entrenched in the area.

Reports indicate that the vandals tried to fight back with General Purpose Machine Guns, GPMG mounted on wooden boats but were overwhelmed.

Security sources said that the decision to use aerial bombardment was borne out of the inaccessibility of the creeks by land and sea.

There have been rumours of casualties emanating from the aerial bombings but the Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ferguson Bobai told newsmen yesterday that you it too early to confirm since the area was still inaccessible.

13 inmates escape in Kogi prison jailbreak

13 inmates of the Kotonkarfe in Kogi State reportedly escaped in the early hours of Saturday after bringing down the wall of the facility.

It is still unclear how the inmates executed the plan but a security source told Vanguard that “It’s as if someone in the prisons did not do his/her job well and the prisoners took advantage of that to make good their escape.”

It was learnt that some kidnapping kingpins paraded by the Department of State Services were being detained at the facility.

Abujacitynews learnt that the Comptroller General of Nigeria Prisons Service, NPS has despatched a representative to assess the situation.

Environment Minister jogging with public servants at National Stadium Abuja (Photo)

The Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed on Saturday led a team of public servants for the July 2016 Jogging and Exercise at the National Stadium, Abuja.

Photo by Esther Agbarakwe.

Fear of violence: PDP candidate withdraws from Kano by-election

The main opposition candidate in the Minjibir by-election, Auwalu Ubale Minjibir of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP withdrew from the race Saturday morning, just hours to the commencement of voting.

Minjibir cited the violation of the agreement reached with other critical stakeholders in the election as the reason for his decision. He said that his ambition was not worth the blood of any member of the electorate.

"We agreed on a number issues that would ensure free polls, but that gentleman's agreement has been sacrificed on the alter of desperation.

"From the evidence on ground, there is high risk of violence if I insist on my mandate, and I feel my ambition is not worth the life of my people.

"In the interest of peace, I have withdrawn from the race for another day," he said.

Meanwhile, voting commenced in all the eleven wards with very few voters turning up for the exercise.

Buhari approves Board of Trustees for Ogoni clean up

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the composition of the Governing Council & Board of Trustees for the Implementation of the Ogoni land Report.

Police calls for prosecution of Navy Commander who shot okada rider

The Network on Police Reform in Nigeria, NOPRIN has called for the investigation and prosecution of a naval officer who shot and critically wounded a commercial motorcyclist in Idah, Kogi State.

Muhammed Idachaba was shot by Navy Commander Otuh Bassey on July 26 , 2016 after being frog matched for apparently contesting the right of way with the military officer who was driving a Sport Utility Vehicle.

In a statement signed by its National Commander, Okechukwu Nwanguma, NOPRIN detailed the inhuman treatment meted on the hapless motorcyclist by the naval officer.

“Because the road was bad, the motorcycle rider felt that the Naval officer was trying to manoeuvre through the potholes.

“A little distance ahead, the okada rider met the same Naval officer parked by the roadside and as he passed, the Naval officer entered his vehicle and gave chase. He double-crossed the okada rider and forced him to a stop.

“The Naval officer, who was carrying a girl in his SUV, came out from his car and ordered the okada rider to park his bike, and he obeyed. He ordered him to kneel down and he also obeyed, and he then ordered him to frog-match.”

Saturday Punch reports that NOPRIN gathered that it became apparent that Bassey was visiting a past grievance on Idachaba when he pointedly told the motorcyclist that the time had come to waste him as he had promised during an earlier encounter.

“At this point, the Naval officer drew his pistol and started to shoot the boy and that he shot him several times until the boy fell in a poll of his own blood.

“Believing that the okada rider was dead, the Naval officer entered his SUV and drove to a motor park where he dropped off the girl he was carrying in his car and left.”

Unknown to Bassey however, a plainclothed policeman had trailed him to the motor park where he dropped off the girl in his SUV.

He arrested the girl and took her to the police station from where she was made to call Navy Commander Otuh Bassey who then came and made a statement.

“The girl then called the Naval officer from the police station and informed him about her arrest. He arrived at the police station and made statement claiming that he did not shoot the boy on purpose."

According to reports, Idachaba is billed to undergo surgery at the Federal Medical Center, Lokoja on 12 August 2016.

NOPRIN in its statement called on the Navy authorities to dismiss Commander Bassey and hand him over to the police for prosecution.

Friday, 29 July 2016

FG has paid N63.12b to construction firms - Fashola

According to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, the Federal Government has so far paid 70 construction companies the sum of N63.12bn for works done in the first quarter of 2016.

Fashola said on Friday that following the payment, the firms had mobilized back to their  construction sites, and in the process, recalled over 5,000 workers that had hitherto been laid off.

He stressed that the budget was an article of faith through which government expressed its commitment to the people.

“From the N4tn average budget in a time of plenty, this administration sets an ambitious N6tn with a 30 per cent capital expenditure. It pays serious attention to its budget as the article of faith that defines its commitment. Since the budget was passed in May, 70 construction companies got paid N63.169bn for the first quarter in Works ministry alone.

“The response is that in the last few weeks since budget was passed, construction companies that had demobilised from their sites and laid off workers due to lack of payment since 2014, are remobilising to rail, road, power and other construction sites, and are re-calling workers.

“The Kaduna-Abuja rail project, which was commissioned but never ran in the past government, was opened to public service on July 26 by this new administration. These are the first signs of productivity, they signal a clear pathway out of recession, and although results take time to manifest, Nigeria has chosen an appropriate pathway out of economic difficulty," he said.

Super Eagles Technical Adviser to be announced in August - NFF

Following the rejection by Paul Le Guen, Nigerian Football Federation, NFF has said that it will appoint a substantive technical adviser for the Super Eagles in August.

The Chairman of the NFF Technical and Development Committee, Chief Chris Green disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria.

His words:
“We are working to ensure that we finish with the other incidentals, because as at the last time we didn’t do that.

“We left it for the executive to do, which ordinarily should be their responsibility.

“But when they now asked us to go and do it again, they now told us to complete everything with the incidentals and send recommendations.

“It’s based on that, that we are doing this now; we don’t want a situation where somebody will come out again and say this and that.

“As I speak with you, we have made contacts, we have done interviews, we have asked questions and the rest of them – even verifying from every other person.

“We have considered at a lot of people, but we have zeroed in on one person.

“It may not be from the former list; it’s a different exercise entirely, because as I speak to you, even when we have closed entries, some people are still applying,’’ he said.

NAN

Boko Haram: troops liberate more towns in Northeast

Troops on counter-terrorism operations in the Northeast have continued to liberate more towns in the region.

A statement issued by the Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Col Sani Usman said that troops of Operation Lafiya Dole and troops of the Multi-National Joint Task Force, M-NJTF during the week cleared more towns of Boko Haram terrorists.

"In continuation with clearance operation of the remnants of Boko Haram terrorists hibernating in remote border towns and villages, troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE have cleared Kareto town since Monday 25th July 2016.

"The gallant troops are stabilizing the immediate environment, while others are maintaining blocking positions at various areas. In the same vein, today, troops of Operation GAMA AIKI under the auspices of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), have successfully cleared Dutchi and Damasak towns.

"In due course, the troops of both Operation GAMA AIKI (MNJTF) and Operation LAFIYA DOLE would link up with each other to continue the clearance operations."

IAAF bans Nigerian female relay team from Rio 2016 Olympics

The International Association of Athletics Federations, IAAF has banned a Nigerian athlete Tosin Adeloye for testing positive to drugs.

Consequently, the Nigerian 4x400m women’s relay team of which Adeloye is a member has been banned from participating in the 2016 Olympic Games holding in Rio, Brazil, next month.

The IAAF said that the female team was banned because one of them, Tosin Adeloye tested positive to drugs during the Confederation of African Athletics, CAA Super Grand Prix/Warri Relays in Warri, Delta State on July 24th last year.

Adeloye was been banned for eight years by the IAAF and all her results from both individual and joint events will be ignored.

Army moving heavy weapons in S/South, urges calm among public

The Nigerian Army has announced the commencement this weekend of a training exercise in the Niger Delta code named “EXERCISE CROCODILE SMILE” involving the 82 Division and elements of the 2 Division.

This was contained in a statement issued by the Army spokesman, Col Sani Usman.

“The general public is please requested not to panic on the sight of unusual movement of large number of troops, heavy military weapons and equipment in these areas.

“The aim of the exercise is to practice our Special Forces and other units of the Nigerian Army in Amphibious and Internal Security Operations in riverine environment and also check criminal activities like kidnapping, militancy and piracy and other forms of criminal activities in support of the civil authority,” the statement said.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

UN suspends aid to Borno over attack on convoy

Following Thursday's terrorist attack on its convoy which had gone to deliver aid materials in Bama, Borno State, the United Nations has temporarily suspended the delivery of humanitarian aid in the state.

Nigerian Army spokesman had said in a statement that a UN convoy escorted by soldiers had run into an ambush in which 5 persons were injured.

Also, Reuters quoted the UNICEF as saying that its convoy was attacked on its way back to Maiduguri from Bama after delivering humanitarian aid to IDPs. It said that a UNICEF employee and an International Organisation for Migration contractor were wounded in the attack.

“The United Nations has temporarily suspended humanitarian assistance missions pending review of the security situation,” it said.

Buhari felicitates with Fr Mbaka on ordination anniversary

President Muhammadu Buhari has felicitated with Rev Fr Ejike Mbaka of the Adoration Ministries on the 21st anniversary of his priestly ordination.

In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adeshina, the president described the fiery priest as a wise counselor and teacher.

“President Muhammadu Buhari felicitates with Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka, Director of Adoration Ministry, on the 21st anniversary of his ordination to priesthood in the Catholic Church which comes up Friday.

“The president extends his best wishes to Fr. Mbaka’s family, congregation and well-wishers as they celebrate this special occasion with him in his continued devotion to the well-being of others as a father, wise counselor, teacher and guardian.

“The president commends Fr. Mbaka’s steadfast devotion to his vocation and ministry, amply demonstrated in his love and service for his people, nation and God.

“President Buhari prays that God Almighty, who has given the cleric the strength to devote his entire life to service in the vineyard will continually bless and prosper his ministry,” he said.

Sheriff vs Makarfi: Court cancels PDP National Convention

Ousted National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Ali Modu Sheriff has secured an order of a Federal High Court in Abuja cancelling the national convention of the party scheduled to hold in August this year.

Sheriff had approached the court, seeking an order to cancel the convention which is being organized by the Makarfi faction of the PDP on the grounds that the May 29th Port Harcourt convention which ousted him was illegal.

In his ruling on Thursday, Justice Okon Abang concurred with the position of the plaintiff.

“The convention was unlawfully held and the caretaker committee was unlawfully constituted. If the Markarfi-led faction, as an apostle of impunity, missed its way to the Port Harcourt division of the FHC, the court cannot be said to have acted within its legal jurisdiction in entertaining the matter,” he said.

Boko Haram: 5 wounded as insurgents ambush troops, UN officials in Borno

A contingent of United Nations officials on humanitarian mission escorted by Nigerian troops ran into an ambush mounted by Boko Haram insurgents on Thursday.

The UN team and other donor agencies were returning to Maiduguri from Bama where they had gone to deliver drugs and foodstuff to Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs.

Army spokesman, Col Sani Usman confirmed the attack in a statement he issued to newsmen.

“ Troops returning from Bama on humanitarian escort duty, were ambushed enroute Maiduguri by suspected remnants of Boko Haram terrorists hiding in Meleri village, a few kilometres from Kawuri.

“The gallant troops however, successfully cleared the ambush and exploited up to Afunori. Unfortunately, two soldiers and three civilians were wounded in the ambush, among whom were staff of United Nations agencies and other international humanitarian organizations.

“The wounded have been evacuated to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Maiduguri, and they are in stable condition.

“The Nigerian Army wishes to sympathize with our wounded colleagues, the United Nations and other non-governmental organizations whose personnel were also injured in this sad incident.

“We wish to reiterate our determination and commitment to ensuring safety and security in the North East and safeguarding the lives of all persons.”

Buhari receives Gavi and The Global Fund in Abuja

28 July 2016 | STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE
WE'RE MAKING GENUINE EFFORTS TO CORRECT OUR LAPSES AS A NATION-PRESIDENT BUHARI

President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that lapses that have characterized Nigeria as a nation would be corrected.
Receiving a team led by Dr. Seth Berkley, Chief Executive Officer of Gavi and The Global Fund in State House, Abuja, Thursday, President Buhari said he was impressed with the patience and steadfastness of leading supporters of health care in Nigeria, "despite our shortcomings as a nation."
"We are making genuine efforts to correct the lapses. We are very serious about people behaving themselves, and being accountable," the President said.
"We thank you for deciding to re-engage with us, despite our inefficiencies. You decided to be here, not minding our shortcomings. There are other countries that would bring less problems. We appreciate your commitment, and we will do our best to put ourselves in the best shape to help us," President Buhari said.
Dr Berkley, who noted that the three focal points of the Buhari administration; security, economic development, and anti-corruption were critical to the future of Nigeria, had raised issues over the way donor funds for health care were utilized in the past.
He said Gavi and the Global Fund were disappointed when forensic audit revealed systemic weaknesses and corruption in the utilization of funds given in the past, adding that there is now a "breath of fresh air" under President Buhari’s leadership and fight against corruption and they were willing to "close the books of the past, and look into future support."
Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, who was also at the event, disclosed that those indicted in the audit of the donor funds in the past, which was done between 2010 and 2015, had already been questioned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and would be arraigned in court soon.

FEMI ADESINA
Special Adviser to the President
(Media and Publicity)
July 28, 2016

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Herdsmen get free vaccines in Abuja

The leader of Fulani herdsmen in Abuja, Malam Ardo Bara has said that  the Federal Capital Territory administration has distributed free vaccines to herdsmen in the territory.

Bara told the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN on Wednesday in Abuja that the vaccines which would help in the prevention of cattle diseases were distributed to the herdsmen by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Muhammad Bello.

His words.
“I told them (herdsmen) that whatever transpired between us here, we take to government.

“So they know that they are very important and are recognised.

“They contribute to the economy; therefore, they should make their lives better.

“By obeying the rules and regulations of our constitution, by obeying laws by coming together and respecting themselves.

“We received a favour from the government last week; the government promised to vaccinate our cattle free of charge.

“The kind of diseases that destroyed cattle before is no more.

“They promised to locate cattle anywhere in Abuja to vaccinate them, for prevention and cure.

“So this is a step forward for the Fulani community. I believe the previous governments were not able to do such things.

“That is to assure the Fulani that government needs him and it is very important.

“I still have to remind them that 10 together are greater than thousands that are divided.’’

Gov Seriake Dickson meets with PMB in Abuja (Photos)

The governor of Bayelsa State, Mr Seriake Dickson paid a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House Abuja on Wednesday, just after his election was upheld by the tribunal.

FG to inaugurate Abuja light rail Dec 2017

The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Mr Muhammad Bello has assured that the Abuja Light Rail which will link the rest of the capital city with the Abuja-Kaduna rail line will be ready for inauguration in December 2017.

Bello said at the commissioning of the Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge rail line on Tuesday that the Abuja Light Rail project would enhance transportation for FCT residents.

He disclosed that the first phase of the project has achieved 77 per cent completion.

"We are particularly happy in the FCT for the completion of the Abuja-Kaduna rail project because this project is expected to link the ongoing Abuja Light Rail project.

"The aim is to provide alternative means of transportation for the teeming population in Abuja city as well as the area councils.

"It is my pleasure to mention that the Abuja Light Rail project, which has been conceived in six lots, and currently under phase one, is 77 per cent completed and we hope to be here in December 2017 to launch the entire project.’’

The Abuja Light Rail project when operational will link  satellite towns like Nyanya,  Mararaba, Lugbe and Kubwa.

PMB taking a train ride during the flag off of Abuja-Kaduna rail line

President Muhammadu Buhari officially commissioned the Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge rail line.  He also took a train ride from Idu Station to Kubwa while flagging off commercial operations on the route.

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EFCC to arraign 2 Kano businessmen for scamming Swiss of $530,000

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has been granted leave by a Kano High Court to arraign two suspects for obtaining money from a Swiss businessman by false pretence.

The suspects Saminu Umar Ta’ambu and Ahmed Maiturare of Kantin Kwari textile market, Kano are alleged to have fraudulently used the name of the Kano State Government to induce a Swiss national, Mathias Hee of Okutex Ag, into supplying them with fabrics worth $530,000 (N164m).

Justice Dije Aboki granted the leave following an application  for leave to prefer charges against the two men by EFCC counsel A.T. Habib pursuant to Section 185(b) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

One of the suspects, Ta’ambu w allegedly  approached Mathias Hee around July, 2015 requesting for the supply of fabrics amounting to $530,000 under the pretext that he was acting on behalf of the Kano State Government, having forged a document titled, ‘Authorisation to Transfer to Foreign Account,’ purportedly issued and signed by the authority of the Government of Kano State.

“After the items were supplied, Ta’ambu failed to honour his part of the bargain and refused to remit the amount as agreed,” the statement said.

Justice Dije adjourned till October 5, 2016 for arraignment of the suspects.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

PMB appoints new Chairman for RMAFC

President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Elias Nwalem Mbam as Chairman, Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC.

The President also approved the appointment of Dr. Marilyn Amobi as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company.

According to a statement issued  on Tuesday in Abuja by the Director of Press and Public Relations in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Bolaji Adebiyi,the new appointments are “for a tenure of four years.”

Rio 2016 Olympics: Mikel and Oshonaike to lead Team Nigeria

Super Eagles captain and Chelsea midfielder, John Obi Mikel and veteran tennis player, Funke Oshonaike will be leading Nigeria's contingent to the Rio 2016 Olympics as team captain and assistant team captain respectively.

This was announced in a statement issued on Tuesday by  Nneka Ikem-Anibeze, Special Assistant on Media to the Minister of Youths and Sports, Mr Solomon Dalung.

Mikel is attending his first Olympics as one of the three over-aged players invited to the national under-23 football team for the games while Oshonaike is a veteran of the Olympics having made her debut at the Atlanta games in 1996.

“Mikel and Oshonaike were chosen because of their consistency, patriotism and dedication to national assignments.

“Mikel is a young, patriotic footballer of international status and we believe he will be a role model to the upcoming athletes, while Oshonaike is experienced and is one of the oldest athletes in the team.

“We believe that their combined efforts will bring goodwill to Team Nigeria and project the county’s image positively to the world,’’ said the statement.

INEC backs Makarfi as Acting National Chairman of PDP

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, says that it recognizes Senator Ahmed Makarfi as the Acting National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

In a statement issued by its Deputy Director, Voter Education and Publicity, Mr Nick Dazang on Tuesday in Abuja, the electoral body said it ratified the administrative approval granted Makarfi, based on the judgment of a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt.

He noted that the ratification was a follow up to INEC’s Decision Extract, issued on July 14, 2016 and signed by the Director, Commission’s Secretariat, Mr Ishiaku Gali.

According to Dazang, INEC will recognise the National Caretaker Committee's activities like primary elections for political officers and the party's list of candidates for any election to be conducted by INEC.

“Two weeks ago, the commission received the candidate forwarded to it by the Sen. Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the PDP, which had earlier secured an order from the Port Harcourt High Court,’’ he explained.

NAN

PMB with Progressive Governors Forum at the State House Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday met with the Progressive Governors Forum at the State House, Abuja.

Also present at the meeting was Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

President Buhari's address at the flag off of Abuja-Kaduna train services

26 July 2016 | STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE
ADDRESS BY PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT THE COMMISSIONING AND FLAG-OFF CEREMONY OF ABUJA (IDU)-KADUNA STANDARD GAUGE TRAIN SERVICE ON TUESDAY, 26TH JULY, 2016

Protocol.
I am delighted to be here today to commission the Abuja – Kaduna railway track and flag-off the Abuja-Kaduna train services (Passengers & Freight) on Nigeria’s first ever Standard Gauge Rail track to go into operation. This project was conceived by a previous administration, started by the last government and I am pleased to complete and commission it.
2. It is on record that between 1963 and early ‘80s, Nigeria had a vibrant rail system which conveyed agricultural and livestock and solid mineral resources to Lagos and Port Harcourt sea ports from where they are exported to other parts of the world. It is our vision and hope that those good old days will soon be back with us and indeed in a more prosperous way with the restoration of rail transport system which today’s occasion symbolises.
3. The construction of the Abuja-Kaduna Standard Gauge rail track commenced in 2009 and happily, seven years after, we are on the threshold of presenting to Nigerians a Standard Gauge Railway Train Service that will be safe, fast and reliable. The Abuja-Kaduna train service will provide the much needed alternative transport link between the Federal Capital Territory and Kaduna State, a corridor which has a huge potential for industries, agricultural activities and a growing labour force.
4. The Minister of Transportation, Chief Rotimi Amaechi and his team have put great efforts in the last few months to ensure the successful completion of this project under this Administration. Completion and Commissioning of this project is indeed in keeping with our vision of bringing about the desired change to make life easier for the generality of Nigerians through the development and provision of the necessary social and physical infrastructure.
5. In this regard, I wish to assure Nigerians that most State capitals and major commercial and production centres will be linked with railway system as a way of bringing about rapid socio-economic development and improving the quality of life of the Nigerians and promoting social & regional integration.
6. Furthermore, I wish to also reassure Nigerians that due attention will be placed on pursuing the 25-Year Strategic Railway Master Plan which is aimed at rehabilitating the existing 3,505km narrow gauge rail line and developing and constructing new standard gauge rail lines across the country.
7. As we celebrate the symbolic return of rail service today I wish to reiterate the commitment of this Administration to pursue with greater vigour and determination rehabilitation and construction of other rail lines including the major Lagos-Calabar and Kano-Lagos lines.
8. As we get down to work, I look forward to flagging off many more lines outlined in our transport policy programme.
Thank you, and safe journey to all our travellers.

Buhari commissions Abuja-Kaduna rail services

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday commissioned the $1.457 billion Abuja- Kaduna standard-gauge rail line.

While commissioning the high speed rail services at the Idu Station in Abuja, the president said that the Federal Government plans to link all states and commercial centres in the country by rail.

As part of the official flag-off, Buhari rode in the train from Idu to Kubwa station.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Boko Haram: troops rescue Emir's wife, daughter in Borno

Troops on counter-terrorism operations on Monday rescued the wife and daughter of the Shehu of Bama who were abducted by Boko Haram insurgents in 2014.

However, the royal father's son who was abducted alongside his mother and sister was not that lucky as he killed by the terrorists soon after the abduction.

Meanwhile, the General Officer Commanding, 7 Division, Nigeria Army, Brig. Gen. Victor Ezugwu has reunited the rescued queen and her daughter with the royal family.

Buhari to commission Abuja - Kaduna rail line on Tuesday

President Muhammadu Buhari will on Tuesday July 26, 2016 commission the Abuja—Kaduna standard-gauge Railway Line, and flag-off commercial operations on the route.

The Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi has last week conducted an inspection tour of the project in preparation for Tuesday's commissioning.

President Buhari poses for a photograph with FIFA President

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday received in audience FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Secretary-General Fatma Samoura at the State House Abuja.

Suspected Fulani herdsmen behead farmer in Kogi State

Tempers are running high in Karagi community in Lokoja Local Government Area of Kogi State following the beheading of a 45-year-old farmer by people suspected to be Fulani herdsmen.

A member of the community said that the killing which happened on Sunday was the latest in a series of attacks on the indigens by Fulani herdsmen.

The victim who was identified as Adama Mohammed was reportedly working in his farm when he was attacked by his assailants.

With tempers rising high among the locals, Fulani herdsmen in the area are said to have fled for fear of reprisal attacks.

According to Amina, the wife of the diseased who is nursing a two month old baby, she raised the alarm when her husband did not return from the farm as expected.

The community then organized a search party which found the headless body of the victim in his farm with machete cuts all over.

A relation of the deceased said that he had been complaining about cattle destroying his crops for some time.

“This my cousin who just died now used to complain about the Fulanis. They used to carry their cows to come and destroy his own crops. I believe its through them that this thing happened," he said.

Another member of the community who was in the search party described how the victim was butchered by his killers.

“I followed the family members who came here to take him to the village. When we got here, there was machete wound on all parts of his body. After they killed him, they caught off his head and stabbed him on his stomach," he said.

The villagers are said to have been having running battles with Fulani herdsmen over the destruction of their crops by cattle.

Buhari abandons Kano film village over immorality concerns

Feelers from the presidency suggest that President Muhammadu Buhari has abandoned his proposed plan to build a multi billion naira film village in Kano.

The Buhari administration is said to have earmarked more than N3 billion for the project as part of its efforts to improve the Hausa language film industry known as Kannywood.

The government had also planned to create job opportunities and promote the culture of the people through the project.

However, following strident protesters from Muslim clerics who argued that the proposed film village would promote immorality, the president appears to have put the project in the cooler.

According to a presidential aide, Buhari being a listening president has considered the opinion of the people.

La Liga President promises tour of Nigeria by Barcelona, Real Madrid

Football fans in Nigeria have been promised a mouth watering tour of the country by top flight la Liga clubs FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.

La Liga President, Javier Tebas made the promise over the weekend in Abuja at the official opening ceremony of la Liga office in Nigeria in fulfillment of the collaborative agreement between the League Management Company of Nigeria, LMC and the organizers of the Spanish league.

Tebas said that the scheduled game between some Nigerian Premier League stars and their La Liga counterparts next week in Spain is part of the dividends of the mutual relationship which  will enable both sides to learn from each other.

"We've made a lot of progress in the last three months and in the next few weeks a team of players from Nigeria will be playing three matches in Spain. These players will have the chance to show what they can do in front of coaches and scouts from Spanish clubs. We will also be sharing our knowledge by sending coaches to work with the academies of clubs in the Nigerian league, the NPFL [Nigeria Professional Football League]," he said.

Speaking at the occasion, the Chairman of the League Management Company, LMC and First Vice President of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF Mallam Shehu Dikko said that La Liga was chosen because it is the best league in the world and would offer Nigeria the best opportunity to learn.

He added that the decision to emulate Spain in administration of football has started yielding results as no less than 10 leagues across Africa have already signified interest to  understudy the Nigerian League Management Company.

Nigeria has now become the second country in Africa to host a La Liga office after South Africa.

Javier Tebas was accompanied to the opening of the new office in Abuja by the Spanish Ambassador to Nigeria, Antonio Barnuevo; La Liga's Country Manager for South Africa, Antonio Barradas; and LaLiga's Managing Director of International Development, Vicente Casado.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

22 years old man arrested for stealing diesel in Maiduguri

The Nigerian Security And Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC has apprehended a 22-year-old man for allegedly stealing 90 litres of diesel from a 250kv generator meant to power street lights.

The Borno State Commandant of the NSCDC, Mr Ibrahim Abdullahi, disclosed this in a chat with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN in Maiduguri on Sunday.

He said that the suspect, who identified himself as Muhammad Ibrahim, confessed to the crime, adding that he was arrested at Circular Road area in Maiduguri.

"The culprit confessed that he has been stealing fuel from the generator for the past two years. We are still investigating him because we know he has buyers.

"The command had recorded several cases ranging from vandalism, phone theft, defilement, murder and fuel diversion, among others.

"While we keep vigilance and watch to curb all nefarious activities, the command warns perpetrators to desist from their activities or they will face the wrath of the law,’’ he said.

Buhari celebrates 2nd anniversary of eradication of polio in Nigeria

24 July 2016 | STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE
STATEMENT BY PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI ON THE SECOND ANNIVERSARY OF INTERRUPTION OF WILD POLIO VIRUS TRANSMISSION IN NIGERIA

1. Today, July 24, 2016 marks two years since the last case of wild poliovirus was reported in Nigeria. I congratulate all stakeholders that have made this historic achievement possible and those who have worked tirelessly to maintain the effort and permanently halt new polio cases in the country.
2. The next major milestone for us as a country is the certification of polio-free status in 2017 by the World Health Organisation. This administration remains firm in its commitment towards making this a reality by continuing to support in every way possible, routine immunization and the revitalization of primary health care system.
3. As a nation, we are cooperating with international public and private partners to ensure that in our lifetime our children do not suffer from this crippling disease again. We recognize the power of global partnership to achieve a polio-free world and Nigeria will continue to honour its commitment to ensure that this disease is wiped off the face of the earth for good.
4. In the last 14-months since this administration came into office, we have had a number of challenges in the drive to eradicate polio. The downturn in the economy, the frequent disruption of services by health workers, the insecurity in some of the eleven polio high risk states, are just some of the rivers we must cross to achieve our objective and protect our children against this vaccine-preventable disease.
5. We will continue to do our best to ensure timely release of funds required for polio eradication programme. The good health and well-being of Nigerian children remain an important part of our drive to national development.
6. We have demonstrated our strong commitment in this regard with the allocation of N12.6 billion in the 2016 budget for vaccines and programmes to prevent childhood killer diseases such as polio, measles, yellow fever and others.
7. The Government will encourage leaders in the states and local governments to continue to provide direction, supervision and improved surveillance activities. These are critical as we collaborate towards ensuring that polio moves closer to extinction in Nigeria and by extension on the African continent.
8. I applaud the immense support given by our revered religious and traditional leaders through the years as I invite others who are yet to lend their weight to this laudable task of polio eradication. It is a collective effort that requires the support of all communities including parents, guardians, teachers, health workers, international partners and leaders.
9. Just a fortnight ago, I directed the Federal Ministries of Health and Information and Culture, to reinvigorate their strategies in concert with State governments, to ensure our certification by 2017.
10. A year ago when Nigeria was delisted as a polio endemic country, I remarked that our fight against other communicable and non-communicable diseases must be anchored on a strong health system. I am pleased that the National Health Act has made provision for universal access to basic healthcare with a focus on the poor and the vulnerable as well as the basic healthcare provision funds to support its implementation. This government intends to improve the whole field of Medicare during our term of office.
11. I thank our development partners particularly WHO, UNICEF, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Aliko Dangote Foundation, USAID, US-Centre for Disease Control, Rotary International, and a host of others who contributed financially and materially to this effort. Together we can achieve our vision to make polio a thing of the past.
Thank you.

Arik Air staff beat up passenger for questioning flight cancelation

A passenger who dared to ask why his flight was canceled got the beating of his life on Sunday from some staff of Arik Airlines at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The man who was traveling with his family had approached the airline's desk to request for boarding pass only to be told that all flights for the day had been canceled.

The passenger's demand to know the reason for the cancelation was rebuffed by Arik staff, upon which he demanded for a refund of his air fare.

It was at that point that the passenger was said to have been pounced upon by Arik workers who beat him to a pulp before he was rescued by airport security personnel.

Slain RCCG female preacher buried amid tears in Abuja (Photos)

The remains of the Late Deaconess Eunice Olawale Elijah who was murdered in the early hours of Saturday July 9, 2016 by suspected religious fundamentalists, while on evangelism at the Gbazango area of Kubwa were laid to rest at the Gudu Cemetery, Abuja on Saturday 23 July 2016 amid tears and wailing.

Among those present at the funeral service which was conducted at the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG Kubwa were the Senior Special Assistant to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Media and Publicity, Mr Laolu Akande; Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, David Babachir Lawal and former Deputy Governor of Plateau State, Mrs Pauline Tallen.

See photos below.

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