Niger Governor Signs 2017 Budget Into Law

Niger Governor Signs 2017 Budget Into LawThe Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, on Wednesday signed the 2017 Appropriation Bill of the state into law.

Presenting the approved copy of the N116 bn budget for the governor’s assent, the Speaker of the State Assembly, Honourable Ahmed Marafa, said the lawmakers tinkered with the proposed budget and increased it by N8 bn.

Details of the budget approved by the Assembly showed that N67 bn was for capital expenditure while the recurrent expenditure gulps N48 bn.

The Speaker commended the governor’s foresight in preparing a budget whose capital expenditure profile is higher than the recurrent expenditure.

He said the governor has shown commitment to actualising the restoration agenda of his administration and pledged the continued support of the lawmakers.

Signing the bill into law, Governor Bello said his findings at the ongoing ‘Mid Term Project Assessment and Meet the People Tour’ of the local governments would form the bedrock of 2018 budget.

He declared that henceforth, budget preparation in Niger State would be determined by the needs of the people.

“Our past budgets have been copy and paste. Our budget should be what the people want and not what we think they want. Findings from the ongoing tour will be used to prepare 2018 budget,” Governor Bello said.

Police Clamp Down On Rustlers, Others In Nasarawa

The Nasarawa State Police Command has signed a new partnership with some stakeholders in the state, aimed at ridding the state of criminals.

The Commissioner of Police, Abubakar Bello, who disclosed this to Channels Television said a special operation launched by the Command has led to the arrest of 40 suspects apprehended for terrorising Mararraban Udege and Agwada areas in the state.

He noted that the rate of crime especially kidnapping, armed robbery and cattle rustling has been on the rise in the areas, with hoodlums using the hills there as hideouts.

Mr Bello added that the trend propelled their decision to form a special crack team comprising of members of vigilante and Miyetti Allah groups, with the aim of clamping down on criminals.

“We have now started collaborating with the vigilante and members of the Miyetti Allah association, in order to get to the roots or places where these kidnappers hide on top mountains around Udege, Mararraban Udege, Udege Mbeki, Agwada and others. We got an information that this is where the criminals stay, they periodically come down to commit crime.

“This time around, with this collaborative efforts, it paid us very well because we launched a special operation with a special team which took about two weeks and during that two weeks, we were able to storm those mountain areas and chase some of them out and recover about 500 rustled cows, and also we made arrests of some of the hoodlums, about 40 of them,” he said.

In spite of the success recorded, the Police Commissioner assured the people of Nasarawa State that the operation would be a continuous exercise, until the rate of crime was reduced to the barest minimum.

“We are going to be on their trail to make sure that we get them and I believe with this exercise that we have started, we are going to have relative peace in those areas,” he avowed.

During the operation, the Police recovered 500 cows, 13 motorcycles and one AK-47 rifle with live ammunition among others.

Niger Govt. Claims N6bn Found With Ex-commissioner

Niger State, Abubakar Bello,Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello says the six billion Naira found in the account of a former commissioner in the state by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), belongs to the state government.

The EFCC had weeks ago announced the discovery of two bank accounts containing two billion Naira each with the funds suspected to be the proceeds of crime.

The governor told journalists in Abuja that an additional two billion Naira had been traced to the ex-commissioner, bringing the total amount discovered to six billion Naira.

According to the governor, the funds are believed to have been siphoned through inflated Hajj subsidies offered by the state government to pilgrims.

The governor, who commended the EFCC for its efforts in recovering stolen funds, promised that the funds would be deployed to developmental projects.

The EFCC has since declared the ex-commissioner wanted.

Supreme Court Affirms Bello As Niger State Governor

Niger State, Abubakar Bello,The Supreme Court on Friday in Abuja upheld the election of Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello.

The court declared that the case by a governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mustapha Babangida, lacked merit.

In the judgement delivered by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, the appellant did not participate in the election, even though he is an APC card-carrying member.

Mr Babangida had asked the apex court to nullify the election of Governor Bello and called for a fresh election.

He earlier dragged the APC to the Federal High Court in Minna, claiming among other reliefs that the party was biased and that the governor’s emergence as the APC flag bearer was null and void.

Ruling on the case with Suit No. FHC/Minna/255/2015 and dated February 3, 2016, Justice Onnoghen said after considering the issues, citing the case of Audu and Nyako and Section 87 sub-section 9 of the Electoral Act, 2010, the appellant did not participate, neither did he fail in the elections.

The CJN prepared the lead judgement and mandated the presiding judge, Justice Kumai Bayang Akaahs, to read the judgement, saying the appellant had no right to take the matter to court.

Counsel to the appellant, Mohammed Mohammed, called for an amendment of Section 87 of the Electoral Act which denied his client the right to sue, while counsel to the respondent, Yunus Usman, hailed the ruling of the apex court.

Briefing journalists on the judgement, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Nasara Danmallam, said the legal battle is over.

The commissioner further called on Mr Babangida to join Governor Bello in moving Niger State forward.

My Advice On Govt. Matters Will Be Confidential – Atiku

Atiku Abubakar, Ibrahim Babangida, Niger, GovernmentA Former Nigerian Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, on Tuesday said his advice on government matters will now be confidential and not for public consumption.

Mr Abubakar made the declaration after a closed door meeting with former Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), which lasted for two hours in Minna, the Niger State capital.

He noted that any advice that needs to be given to the government would be given confidentially, describing the use of media to advice the government as a great disservice.

“If I have to advise (the) government, I will advise them in confidence because I was in government before. My advice will not be on the pages of newspapers,” he said.

The former vice president, however, noted on the state of the nation that was not the duty of an individual to restructure Nigeria, adding that “It is up to Nigerians to decide on the restructuring of Nigeria”.

On his mission to Minna, he explained that the purpose of his visit was to greet the former president on his return from his medical vacation abroad.

“I came to visit General Babangida and to wish him well since he returned from medical vacation abroad,” he said.

Mr Abubakar, who arrived at the Minna Airport in his private aircraft, was received by the Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello.

He then proceeded to the Uphill residence of the former military leader where the meeting took place.

Governor Bello Uncovers Plot To Cause Crisis In Niger State

Niger State, Fulani, Abubakar BelloNiger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, says he has uncovered a well-planned attempt to use religion and tribal lines to create disaffection in the state by some individuals.

The governor, who made the assertion  on Wednesday in Minna, urged the people of the state to be at alert.

He also briefed reporters on his ‘on the spot’ assessment of the recent Fulani and Gbagy clash at Sabon Daga in Bosso Local Government Area of the state.

“What happened at Sabon Daga was very unfortunate and avoidable (because) I can’t imagine how hips of yam can lead to loss of lives and property.

“Those behind this devilish act will soon be exposed. I urge you all to desist from using inciting statements that are capable of instigating crisis in our communities.

“I am aware of a well-planned attempt to use religion and tribal lines to cause disaffection in the state, we know them.

“They are the elites who are using illiterates to their advantage while their own children are busy watching television and laughing at home. They should have a rethink,” he warned.

Governor Bello assured the residents that we would leave no stone unturned in curbing the situation.

He said his administration would inject more funds into security in the next three months while confirming an external influence in the crisis.

The governor lamented that the monies meant for the development of the state were being spent on providing succour to affected victims of various clashes.

Governor Bello, Mourners Offer Prayers For Late Kure

Abdulkadir Kure, Governor Bello, Mourners Offer Prayers For Late KureNiger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, on Monday led a group of mourners in prayers at the residence of late Mr Abdulkadir Kure.

Mr Kure, who died on Sunday at a hospital in Germany, was a former governor of Niger State in north-central Nigeria.

Multitude of sympathisers stormed the deceased’s residence for series of prayers at the Government Reserved Area (GRA) in Minna, the state’s capital.

The prayers were kick started by a league of Islamic leaders led by the Chief Imam of Minna, Sheikh Ibrahim Abu Fari.

Governor Sani Bello led the entire State Executive Council while officers of the 31 Artillery Brigade and Training Doctrine Command (TRADOC) of the Nigerian Army in Minna were also there to pay tribute to the departed former governor.

The event was witnessed by former military president, General Abdulsalami Abubakar and Niger State Deputy Governor, Mr Ahmed Ketso, as well as some lawmakers including Senator Philip Aduda, Senator Bala Ibn Na Allah and Honourable Abdullahi Mahmud.

Members of the State Executive Council during the eight-year administration of late Kure were also in attendance.

Communal Clashes: Senator Umaru Claims Over 400 Killed In Niger State

Niger East, Senator David Umaru,, Communal ClashesA lawmaker from Niger East Senatorial district, Senator David Umaru, claims that over 400 people across various communities in the zone were murdered by cattle rustlers and armed bandits in 2016.

According to Senator Umaru, the purported killing excluded what he referred to as “unprovoked military invasion” of Kpadna, Legbe and other communities in Bosso Local Government Area that allegedly led to the death of 22 people in August 2016.

He told reporters in Minna that several livestock including cows were rustled, while women and girls were abducted and raped by the marauders who also burnt houses and other property.

The lawmaker, who is the Senate Committee Chairman on Judiciary and Human Rights, claimed that communities bordering the neighbouring Kaduna State were the most vulnerable with the bandits, capitalising on the adjoining forest as escape route and safe abode.

He listed some of the communities to include Kaure, Kusasun, Mwaignu, Sabon Gida, Kwaki, Ajata, Kushaka, Bagna, Bassa/Kukoki, Allawa in Shiroro and Rafi local government areas.

Senator Umaru alleged that in most of the attacks, security operatives always arrived the scene hours after the blood-letting with the bandits safely in their abodes, while calling for more proactive measures to halt the menace in 2017.

“It is my duty as a Senator representing the communities that were affected to call on the State Governor, Abubakar Bello, to, as a matter of urgent public importance, take immediate and more positive measures including directing the relocation of Police (and) SSS headquarters to the affected area to liberate our people,” he said.

The lawmaker also urged the state government to make public the outcome of the commission of inquiry which investigated the remote and immediate causes of the bloody clash between the military and some villagers in Bosso Local Government Area public, and to also set up white paper committee to implement the report.

Nasarawa Police Command Highlights Successes

Nasarawa Police Command Highlights SuccessesThe Nasarawa Police Command said it has achieved relative success in the months of November and December in its task of ridding the state of criminals.

This was disclosed during the parade of 39 suspects caught for various offences at different locations in the state, including five suspects who were involved in the killing of three staff members of Cedar-Bay Mining Company.

The incident happened on November 28, 2016 at Wugibi Hills in Alogani village of Nasarawa Eggon where the three, including a Chinese national and a Police sergeant, were ambushed in a commando-like operation while the staff were on their way back from the mining.

The Commissioner of Police, Abubakar Bello noted that “investigation is still ongoing as such further arrests are likely to be made”.

Another notable arrest, according to the Police boss, was that of two suspects that were involved in the kidnapping of a four-year-old girl in Nasarawa town on December 14, 2016.

He said that the two suspects have made confessional statements and a single barrel gun, a locally made pistol and 200,000 Naira cash which was the ransom collected from the father of the kidnapped little girl were recovered from them.

“Other cases of kidnapping are still under investigation and we are making progress on them. By the grace of God we will get the suspects all arrested and charged to court,” he said.

The Commissioner said that the command was able to record the successes because of strategies that were emplaced to counter activities of criminal elements.

“Such strategies include constant raids of black spots, deployment of more patrol teams on our highways, visibility policing within the cities and intelligence led policing,” he said.

In all, two AK47 riffles, five locally fabricated guns, two vehicles, one motorcycle and 205,660 Naira were recovered.

He concluded with gratitude: “I would like to conclude by thanking the government and all the good people of Nasarawa state for their support and cooperation which has contributed immensely to our success story in 2016.

“The command is looking forward to a robust collaboration and cooperation with stakeholders as we match forward in the fight against crime and criminality in 2017.”

Niger State Hosts First Ever Christmas Carol Festival In Minna

Niger State Hosts First Ever Christmas Carol Festival In MinnaThe Niger State Government in partnership with its Ministry of Information, has organized the first ever Christmas carol festival with the theme ‘The Dynamics of Praise and Worship’.

The festival witnessed presentations from different choir groups representing various tribes such as: Nupe, Gbagi, Hausa, Igbo, Tiv, Yoruba, Kamokun and Calabar.

The festival which was its maiden edition also witnessed a large turnout of Christians and surprisingly, Muslims in the state.

Asides signifying oneness amongst the two major religions in the state, top dignitaries were also in attendance and they were full of praise for the Governor, Abubakar Bello, who despite not being a Christian, chose to show concern to the Christian community in the state.

Speaking through his representative, the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of Niger State, Nasara Danmallam, said that the Governor was full of praise to the Christian community and appreciated their level of understanding and peaceful coordination amongst the non-Christians in the state.

While promising the sustenance of the festival, he used the opportunity in wishing all Christians in the state and Nigeria in general a peaceful celebration.

The convener of the Christmas carol festival, Commissioner for Information Culture and Tourism, Hon. Jonathan Vatsa could not hide his feelings as he was also full of praise to the Governor.

He also assured the Christian community that the best was yet to come and called on them to come together in unity.

He wished every Christian in the state a happy and peaceful celebration.

Niger Governor Reshuffles Cabinet

Niger, Abubakar BelloNiger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, on Tuesday made a minor change in his cabinet.

The governor redeployed the Commissioner for Land and Housing, Haliru Jikantoro, as well as his counterparts in Agriculture and Rural Development, Aliyu Abdullahi and that of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Kabiru Musa.

A statement by the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Jonathan Vatsa, after the last State Executive Council meeting for the year 2016 revealed that there would be more changes in 2017.

Governor Bello, who thanked the commissioners and council members for their cooperation and contributions, was not so impressed with their performances saying he could only give a pass mark of 60%.

“I commend every one of you but you must all sit up because 2017 will be a year of fulfilled promises. I can give you a pass mark of 60% but much is expected of you by next year.

“Everybody must sit up because we must deliver the dividends of democracy to the electorates,” he said.

Governor Bello redeployed the Mr Jikantoro to Local Government Affairs while Mr Abdullahi is to take over from him.

He also directed Mr Musa to take over from the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development.

Similarly, the Permanent Secretaries of Ministry of Health, Dr. Umar Ibrahim Tiffin, that of Justice, Mr Ndagi Wali and the Director of Hospital Management Board, Dr. Makunsidi are to report to the Head of Service for new redeployment.

The Director of Planning and Statistics in the Ministry of Health would also resume at the Hospital Management Board.

While wishing all members a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in advance, Governor Bello tasked them to show more commitment in carrying out their functions in accordance with his mandate.

He said that “more changes will come with the new year”.

Niger Governor Woos Indonesian Investors In Textile Manufacturing

Niger stateNiger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, has urged Indonesian investors to cash on the abundant availability of high quality cotton in the state to establish textile manufacturing companies.

The governor made the call on Wednesday at a meeting with the Indonesian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Harry Purwanto, at his office in Minna, the state’s capital.

He acknowledged the uniqueness of Indonesian fabrics and informed the envoy that Niger State was endowed with abundant and high quality cotton.

Governor Bello assured the Indonesian business community of conducive business environment that would guarantee profitable return on their investment.

He commended their Small Medium Enterprise (SME) sector and noted that his administration was eager to partner Indonesia with a view to developing and perfecting the SME sector in Niger State.

“We are impressed by the way your country handles her SMEs. We are ready to partner with you to develop our SMEs the way you have developed yours,” he told the visiting ambassador.

The governor also called for collaboration in the areas of agriculture, tourism and youth development, which he said were the priority areas of focus of his administration.

He further acceded to the request for allocation of land for an industrial park in Tegina, Rafi Local Government area of the state for the manufacturing of Indonesian products.

On his part, Mr Purwanto expressed the readiness of Indonesian investors to collaborate with the State government in developing Nigeria’s vast natural and economic potentials.

He said his country and Nigeria had a lot in common and stood to benefit from the over half a century diplomatic relationship.

The ambassador disclosed that a team of investors had earlier visited Nigeria, with the sole aim of establishing an industrial park.

He also commended the efforts of the Niger State Governor towards making the state conducive for its inhabitants.