Gunmen Kidnap Five Family Members, Two Others In Kaduna

Chief Imam’s Son, Two Others Kidnapped In Ogun Community
File photo of a gunman wearing bullets

 

At least five persons including a mother and her four children have been reported kidnapped by some yet-to-be-identified gunmen in Barkallahu community in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

The fresh attack comes barely one week after 17 family members were kidnapped who were said to be on their way to the farm at Udawa village in Chikun Local Government Area of the state.

While the police authorities are yet to confirm the incident, eyewitnesses told Channels Television that the attack occurred in the early hours of Friday when the gunmen invaded the community and started shooting sporadically while the residents were still sleeping.

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A resident of the community, Abdulsalam Haruna, whose wife and four children were kidnapped, said the gunmen invaded his house and forced the door open before gaining access into his apartment and later took away his five family members.

He added that the gunmen abducted two of his neigbour’s children and attacked two other houses.

The gunmen were said to have escaped with the victims before the arrival of security operatives.

Rugby: Black Ferns To Play Opening 2021 World Cup Match

File photo of Rugby World Cup trophy

 

World Rugby and hosts New Zealand Rugby have confirmed the Black Ferns will play their opening match of the Rugby World Cup 2021 at Auckland’s Eden Park.

Eden Park, a venue steeped in Rugby World Cup history having hosted the men’s finals in 1987 and the opening match and final in 2011, will break new ground as the host of the women’s edition of a Rugby World Cup for the first time.

Eden Park and Whangarei’s Northland Events Centre will host a combined six matches across the opening matchday on Saturday, 18 September 2021. The remaining pool stage match days – Thursday, 23 and Tuesday, 28 September – will be hosted at Waitakere Stadium and Northland Events Centre.

To mark 365 days until the tournament kicks off, rugby fans in New Zealand can register their interest in joining the team behind the tournament by becoming official volunteers of Rugby World Cup 2021.  Volunteers will play a key role in delivering the tournament and across a range of roles including hosting and way-finding, accreditation and team liaison.

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “The countdown is on with just one year to go until the women’s edition of the Rugby World Cup kicks off in the southern hemisphere for the first time in its history. While taking into account the unique and challenging circumstances caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, planning is progressing very well and hosts New Zealand are on course to supercharge the women’s game, welcoming the world’s best teams to what we know will be an exciting and exceptional tournament. 2021 is set to be a special year for women’s rugby as it takes centre stage.”

Rugby World Cup 2021 Tournament Director Michelle Hooper said it would be extra special for both teams and fans to have the opening match at Eden Park.

“Eden Park holds a special place in rugby history, not just in New Zealand but around the world. Players from across the globe aspire to play there and fans want to witness a match there. It will set the scene for what will be an exciting event for rugby.

Hooper said while the one year to go milestone marked the beginning of the official countdown, extensive work had been going on behind the scenes to ensure the tournament would showcase the best rugby in the world.

“Despite the challenges being faced by the global pandemic, the organising team are focused, on track and determined to deliver a once-in-a-lifetime Rugby World Cup. Rugby is at the heart of New Zealand communities and the opportunity to ‘supercharge’ the women’s game will inspire a generation of young people to strive to achieve their goals.

“The world’s best high-performance rugby players want to play here, and New Zealanders are ready to host them, and showcase our manaakitanga on the world stage. As proud hosts we are encouraging everyone who is keen to be part of the action to sign-up to express their interest to become a volunteer. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity.”

WTO DG: Okonjo Iweala, Four Others Scale First Round Screening

In this file photo taken on September 19, 2016 former Finance Minster of Nigeria Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala looks on during the Opening Plenary Session: "Partnering for Global Prosperity," at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. Bryan R. Smith / AFP
A file photo of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. PHOTO: Bryan R. Smith / AFP

 

Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is still in the race of becoming the next Director-General World Trade Organisation (WTO) even after the international body reduced the number of candidates to five.

WTO in a Tweet on its official handle @wto on Friday announced that the five “candidates will be moving on for members’ further consideration in the next round of consultations, which resume on 24 September.”

 

 

Explaining further on its website, WTO said the five candidates were chosen from eight others after due consultations.

“The WTO took another step towards selecting its next Director-General today (18 September) as General Council Chair David Walker of New Zealand and his two co-facilitators in the selection process disclosed which of the eight candidates had secured the broadest and deepest support from the WTO membership and should consequently advance to the next stage of the process.

“In consultations with Amb. Walker, Amb. Dacio Castillo of Honduras and Amb. Harald Aspelund of Iceland, WTO members indicated that the five candidates who should advance are Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria, Yoo Myung-hee of the Republic of Korea, Amina C. Mohamed of Kenya, Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijri of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Liam Fox of the United Kingdom.”

General Council Chair David Walker of New Zealand said WTO membership considers all the five candidates highly qualified and respected individuals.

Walker adds that the second phase of consultations will begin on September 24 and run until October 6.

Okonjo-Iweala is Nigeria’s former minister of finance and former Managing Director of the World Bank.

She has behind her the support of her country.

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari had nominated Okonjo-Iweala for the WTO DG role with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) later backing her nomination.

Members House of Representatives in July 2020 also endorsed her, describing her as very qualified for the job of WTO DG.

Group Seeks Creation Of Mobile Courts To Prosecute Electoral Offenders

 

An independent civil society election observation body, Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), has called for the creation of mobile courts to prosecute electoral offenders in the country.

TMG’s Chairperson, Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, made the call on Friday at a press conference in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

Addressing reporters barely 24 hours to the keenly anticipated governorship election in the state, she explained that such courts would help reduce the incidents of violence, vote-buying, and other forms of electoral malpractices.

“TMG calls for the establishment of Electoral Offences Mobile Courts to deal with electoral offenders with dispatch before and on the day of the election as a way out to lessen violence on the day of the election.

“TMG will work to make a necessary intervention in this regard,” Akiyode-Afolabi said.

Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi

She outlined the pockets of challenges – operationally and logistically – which she said have constrained the efforts of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in dealing with obstacles to the integrity of the electoral process in the past.

 

No More Excuses

The TMG chief, however, believes there is the need for INEC to judiciously use the remaining time to tighten loose ends and create conditions for continuous addition of value and improvement to the process.

She stressed that INEC’s neutrality, non-partisanship, and utmost efficiency in Saturday’s election should never be in doubt.

Akiyode-Afolabi said, “No usual or new excuse will be accepted by the citizens and TMG because INEC had enough time to prepare for a credible election. Experience is the best teacher.

“The nation and voters are tired of routine challenges of the late arrival of election materials and officers, delay in accreditation and voting, card readers failure, missing names of voters and other mistakes and human errors.”

She also spoke about the security situation in Edo ahead of the poll, noting that about 13 out of the 18 Local Government Areas (LGAs) there were on red alert.

The TMG chief explained that this was due to pre-election violent activities of some “political gladiators who have seen the election as a do or die affair”.

She, therefore, called on the security personnel, especially the police deployed for the election to discharge their duties responsibly and professionally without bias.

 

Invading Governors?

Akiyode-Afolabi stated that TMG was aware of the presence of some governors from other states in Edo to support their candidates on the eve of the election.

According to her, the group condemns the practice of unnecessary last-minute solidarity which is capable of heightening tension in the state and can intimidate security agencies.

“Such solidarity should have been limited to the campaign period. Their presence will worsen cases of vote-buying and political tension judging from the nation’s experience in the past elections where ‘invading governors’ came to states having an election with bags of their state funds, their security details, and political thugs conducting themselves irresponsibly due to their immunity.

“This is unpatriotic and crisis-ridden. This style should stop immediately,” she said.

The TMG chief also asked various political parties to embrace the obligations imposed on them by the law and work together by embracing peace to restore normalcy to the electioneering process in Edo and other states.

She urged the electorate in Edo to come out and vote for the candidates of their choice without fairness or inducement.

“We call on the people of Edo State to take their fate in their hands by exercising their franchise during the election and remain resolute in their bid to entrench enduring democracy and rule of law in Nigeria,” Akiyode-Afolabi said.

 

Boko Haram Now Recruiting Our Children, Gov Zulum Laments

Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum on Thursday raised concerns and lamented that Boko Haram terrorists are recruiting youths in the state.

He said the ugly new trend is a direct fallout of unemployment and the continued stay of able-bodied people in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps.

The governor said this while receiving a committee of members of the House Of Representatives at his office in Maiduguri, Borno State capital.

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“The only solution we have now is to ensure the safe return of our people to their homes in a dignified manner. If nothing is done believe me sincerely we shall face a very serious challenge even more than what we are facing now.

“This is because right now the insurgents are recruiting many of our children into the sect because of the increasing unemployment rate,” he said.

He disclosed that there are more than 700,000 Internally Displaced Persons in Monguno and another 400,000 in Gamboru Ngala without access to their farmlands.

Zulum, therefore, suggested that the solution to this problem is to shift from short term Humanitarian support to longer-term development and sustainable solution with the safe return of internally displaced persons to their communities.

Meanwhile, the House committee chaired by Khadija Bukar, are in Maiduguri for an oversight function at the Northeast Development Commission.

Earlier the House committee had sought the government’s cooperation with the NEDC to achieve the common goal of improving sustainable development in the region.

Telcos Must Roll Over Subscriber’s Unused Data – NCC

NCC
NCC logo

 

The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has instructed telecommunication companies to henceforth roll over subscriber’s unused data to his/her subsequent data subscription

This was disclosed in a statement signed on Thursday by the agency’s spokesperson, Ikechukwu Adinde.

According to the statement, the agency reached the conclusion during its bi-annual meeting with Senior Executives of telecommunication companies on complaints management.

The meeting which was held (for the first time) virtually focused on consumer relations and complaint management processes.

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Adinde revealed that the NCC and the telecom service providers at the meeting agreed that the compensation policy should be revisited and complied with always to ensure full compliance with the new Complaint Categories and Service Level Agreement (CC/SLA) consented to by the NCC and the service providers.

“Additionally, it was decided that the Commission and telecom service providers will hold follow-up discussions on “Fair Usage Policy” on unlimited data bundles/data rollover, in order to provide a clearer explanation and a better understanding of the processes and procedures of the policy for the benefit of the consumers.

“The Commission hereby wishes to restate that its direction of June 2018 to service providers to commence implementation of data rollover from 26 June 2018, remains in force.

“In other words, a subscriber’s unused data must be rolled over to his/her subsequent data subscription. Therefore, the Commission urges service providers to continue to inform and educate subscribers on the procedures and processes for data rollover,” the statement read in part.

Service providers also agreed to ensure that senior-level customer relations officers support their respective complaints management teams, to resolve complaints that were not resolved to the satisfaction of the consumers when such complaints were first reported.

The service providers also promised to ensure that complaints are resolved in both the letter and spirit of the recently-reviewed Service Level Agreement (SLA).

Edo Election: We Will Checkmate And Monitor Police Officers’ Conduct – PSC

Police officers during the show of force in Edo State ahead of the gubernatorial election. PHOTO: SODIQ ADELAKUN/CHANNELS TV

 

The Police Service Commission (PSC) on Friday assured voters in Edo State that the conduct of Police Officers on electoral duties will be closely monitored.

The Commission in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Ikechukwu Ani said the police has a great role to play to ensure the success of Saturday’s Governorship election in Edo State.

He adds that if the Police get it right and ensure that the people of Edo State enjoys a peaceful voting exercise, the election will be a huge success.

READ ALSO: Buhari Calls For Free And Fair Election, Urges Candidates To Shun Do-Or-Die Methods

Austin Braimoh, a Commissioner in the Commission, representing the South-South Zone of the Country and who is leading the Commission’s delegation in Edo, also notes the PSC Monitors are in Edo to ensure that the Police Officers play by the rules.

“We are going to checkmate their conduct and ensure they operate within established rules,” Braimoh said adding that the Commission will commend Officers found to have discharged their duties meritoriously.

Police officers during the show of force in Edo State ahead of the gubernatorial election. PHOTO: SODIQ ADELAKUN/CHANNELS TV

 

“We are here with the carrot and the stick and we will ensure the Police gets it right ahead of 2023.”

The PSC will also be participating in the Situation Rooms for the Edo Governorship elections and cover the three Senatorial Zones of the State during the election.

Meanwhile, members of security agencies and paramilitary agencies on Thursday displayed a joint show of force in Edo State ahead of the Saturday gubernatorial election.

See photos from the show of force below…

PHOTO: SODIQ ADELAKUN/CHANNELS TV

Low-Income Countries Need To Spend $80bn To Close Social Protection Gap – ILO

 

Low-income countries in Central and Western Asia, Northern Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa would need to spend nearly 16 per cent of their GDP or $80 billion to close the social protection financing gap worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, the latest policy brief from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has shown.

The study released on Thursday explained that additional sources of financing are needed to guarantee at least basic income security and access to essential health care for all in 2020 alone.

It added that developing countries should invest approximately $1.2 trillion – on average 3.8 percent of their GDP to close the gap which had been before the pandemic.

“Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the social protection financing gap has increased by approximately 30 percent according to Financing gaps in social protection: Global estimate and strategies for developing countries in light of the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.

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“This is the result of the increased need for health-care services and income security for workers who lost their jobs during the lockdown and the reduction of GDP caused by the crisis.

“The situation is particularly dire in low-income countries who would need to spend nearly 16 percent of their GDP to close the gap – around US$80 billion, the report stated in brief.”

It stated that even before the COVID-19 crisis, the global community was failing to live up to the social protection legal and policy commitments it had made in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

“Currently, only 45 percent of the global population is effectively covered by at least one social protection benefit. The remaining population – more than 4 billion people – is completely unprotected.

Stressing further, ILO’s Director of Social Protection Department, Shahrashoub Razavi, said, “Low-income countries must invest approximately US$80 billion, nearly 16 percent of their GDP, to guarantee at least basic income security and access to essential health care to all.”

This is despite the measures taken nationally and internationally to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19, by providing short-term financing assistance.

The study stated that “some countries have sought innovative sources to increase the fiscal space for extending social protection, like taxes on the trade of large tech companies, the unitary taxation of multinational companies, taxes on financial transactions or airline tickets. With austerity measures already emerging even with the crisis ongoing, these efforts are more pressing than ever.

“Domestic resources are not nearly enough. Closing the annual financing gap requires international resources based on global solidarity,” it emphasised.

The study suggested that mobilisation at the international level should complement national efforts, complementing the efforts of international financial institutions and development cooperation agencies who have already introduced several financial packages to help governments of developing countries tackle the various effects of the crisis.

“More resources are needed to close the financing gap, particularly in low-income countries,” the study said.

Girl-Child Education Is Key To Our National Development, Says Sanusi

File photo of Former Central Bank Governor, Muhammadu Sanusi II.

 

Former Central Bank Governor, Lamido Sanusi has stated his belief that educating the girl-child is crucial to Nigeria’s socio-economic development.

Mr Sanusi who stated this on Wednesday during the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) challenge for local community teachers in the country, explained that the project will provide opportunities to improve access to quality and gender-responsive education for women and girls in crisis, conflict, and fragile situations.

He revealed that the project is in partnership with a Canada-based social enterprise, 1 Million Teachers (1MT) who will provide equitable and high impact initiatives that can enhance learning opportunities for the less privileged in the society.

READ ALSO: FG Launches Central Database For Recovered Stolen Assets

“Education holds the key to our development. We must continue to give priority attention to the sector because it is the bedrock of any development.

“We are part of wider society, our happiness, our success, and prosperity will come to nothing if we do not ensure that the vast majority amongst us share in that prosperity and success. I have the strong belief that educating the girl child will improve nutrition, reduce infant mortality, poverty, and provide a better life for the deprived in our society.”

He added that the project which will also be funded through an endowment fund, “aims to inspire and catalyse innovative community development activities that support the achievement of the SDGs, particularly quality education and gender equality.”

Mr Sanusi who is the Chancellor of the Kaduna State University said that community teachers who have ideas on how education can be delivered qualitatively and equitably to grassroots communities can apply for the challenge.

He stated that “successful applicants will receive 10 grants of $500 each across Sub-Saharan African countries annually.”

Participating teachers will have the learning opportunities in Design thinking, Stakeholder engagement, Project management.

In addition to this, one on one access to specialist advisors from Queen’s University Faculty of Education (Canada) and a dedicated mentor for each program.

Application to enter into the programme will kick off on the 1st October and close on October 31, 2020, and the eventual Winners/Awardees will be announced on December 15, 2020,” he stated.

Ondo 2020: Akeredolu Campaign Organisation Condemns Oba-Akoko Attack

A map of Ondo, a state in south-west Nigeria.

 

The campaign organisation of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has condemned the attack on its campaign train by some hoodlums.

According to a statement by the spokesperson of Akereredolu/Ayedatiwa Campaign Organisation, Olabode Richard the governor’s campaign train was attacked during its campaign at Oba-Akoko, in Akoko South West Local Government Area of the state.

“Hoodlums of the Governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), attacked the campaign convoy of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), at Oba-Akoko in Akoko South-West Local Government Area of the state.

“The Governor, Arakunrin Akeredolu, and the campaign train of the APC were on their way to Ikare-Akoko, in continuation of the local government rally when the thugs struck and attacked the convoy.

READ ALSO: Ondo PDP Accuse APC Of Attacking Party’s Campaign Team

“The hoodlums set ablaze the branded campaign vehicle donated to the Akeredolu/Aiyedatiwa Campaign Organisation by Ambassador Sola Iji,” the statement read in part.

Olabode said the driver of the vehicle sustained injuries and he is now receiving treatment in a hospital.

He noted that the attack is condemnable and capable of truncating the forthcoming governorship election.

The Spokesperson called on security agencies in the state to investigate the incident and bring the perpetrators to book.

The PDP governorship candidate, Eyitayo Jegede had earlier addressed a news conference in Akure, the state capital on Wednesday that some thugs attacked his campaign train, shooting indiscriminately and destroying 15 vehicles and injuring five persons.

FG Launches Central Database For Recovered Stolen Assets

Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, made an appearance on Channels Television on June 30, 2020.
File photo of Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, during an interview on Channels Television on June 30, 2020.

 

The Federal Government has launched a central database for the management of recovered assets.

The Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami during the launch on Thursday, in Abuja, said all the assets that have been recovered by the Federal Government are now tied to specific projects.

The launch was witnessed by officials from government agencies including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

READ ALSO: FG Approves Establishment Of New Anti-Corruption Agency

In his remark ICPC Chairman, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye said all anti-corruption agencies should be digitised and integrated for easy access.

He adds that the idea of the central database system is to ensure that all anti-corruption agencies harmonise all recovered assets.

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice had earlier in December 2019 told journalists in Abuja that a central database will be created for the management of recovered assets stolen from the country.

He stressed that the war against corruption in the country by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government is devoid of any political or ethnic sentiments.