Traditional Ruler Abducted In Ondo State

The traditional ruler of Iyani-Akoko, in Akoko North West Local Government Area of Ondo State, the Oniyani of Iyani Akoko, Oba Joel Sunday Daodu, has been kidnapped by unknown gunmen.

He was kidnapped along Ose Oba Akoko axis of Ikare-Owo road, the same spot where the former Regent of Akungba-Akoko was kidnapped two years ago.

A community leader in Akoko area, explained that many prominent people especially traditional rulers had narrowly escaped kidnapping on the road several times.

Confirming the incident, the Public Relations Officer of the Ondo State Police Command, Femi Joseph, told Channels Television that men of the command were busy on the trail of the hoodlums. He equally assured that the monarch would soon be rescued and the abductors arrested.

He urged people of the community and the entire state not to panic stating that the police is on top of the situation and that their lives and property are adequately protected.

A fellow traditional ruler in the area, the Owa of Ogbagi-Akoko, Oba Victor Adetona, who went with the police to the scene also confirmed the incident.

Meanwhile, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, Segun Ajiboye, expressed shock at the abduction of the monarch, describing it as a very unfortunate incident.

Osinbajo Asks Nigerians To Love, Support One Another

We Hear You, Loud And Clear, Osinbajo Tells ProtestersLove and hope were at the heart of the Easter message delivered by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, in Abuja on Sunday.

After leading the service at the Villa Chapel to mark the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Professor Osinbajo encouraged all Nigerians to shelve tribe or religion and embrace the love of Christ.

The Vice President told worshippers that as God loved all mankind, Nigerians should commit to supporting each other, regardless of ethnic groups to ensure the growth and development of all.

Buhari Condoles With General Gowon On Sister’s Death

President Muhammadu Buhari is celebrating a Prince of Sokoto and former Nigeria's High Commissioner to South Africa, Alhaji Shehu Malami, on his 79th birthday.Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has commiserated with the former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), over the passing away of his younger sister, Kande Martha Audu.

The President, who called from London, extended his deepest condolences to General Gowon and his family, urging them to take solace in the fact that Mrs Audu lived a worthy and exemplary life.

“Death is an inevitable end that must come to all mortals, and we must keep praying and working to ensure that we live a life that pleases our Creator and benefits humanity,” Buhari said.

He also prayed that God would comfort the grieving family and grant rest to the soul of Mrs Audu.

General Gowon, who thanked President Buhari for the commiserations, assured him that he would not relent in praying for the unity and progress of the country, adding that Nigerians are also praying for the President’s quick recovery.

This was revealed in a statement signed by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.

FG Signs Seventy Million Euro EU Support For Health

Nigerian Government Launches Action Plan Against PneumoniaThe Federal Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the European Union (EU) on 70 million Euro support to Revamp Nigeria’s health sector.

According to the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, the fund will be used to strengthen the nation’s already weak health system and eradicate polio.

The Head of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria, Michel Arrion emphasised the need to concentrate on reducing the nation’s burden of maternal child mortality.

Nigeria’s health sector has been grappled with inadequate financing as the National budgetary allocation fluctuates between 4.6 and 5.4 percent since 2011.

However, the Bauchi State governor, Mohammed Abubakar spoke on behalf of benefiting states, advocating for the building of internal capacity in the states rather than waste the money on consultants.

Besides strengthening the already weak health care system in the country, 2.7 million children under five years of age and 850 pregnant women are expected to benefit from this funding in Adamawa, Bauchi, and Kebbi states.

Okowa Calls For Availability Of Kerosene At Proper Price

Delta Govt. To Partner With NDDC On ProjectsThe Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa has called for necessary actions that would ensure regular supply and appropriate pricing of petroleum products, to ease the suffering of Nigerians.

Okowa made the call while commissioning an ultra-modern oil and gas filling station owned by North-West Petroleum and Gas Company Limited in Asaba, the state capital.

However, the governor observed that it was unacceptable that most Nigerians buy kerosene above the official price, yet the product was not readily available.

He stated that any action which would ease the suffering of the masses would be welcomed, especially in Delta state.

While expressing satisfaction that investors are having more confidence in establishing their business in the state, he urged them to consider the option of establishing modular refineries both in Delta state and the country at large.

He added that his administration was ready to facilitate acquisition of land for such investment.

French Naval Ship Visits Nigeria

French Naval Ship Visits NigeriaThe military cooperation between Nigeria and France remains intact, according to the Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ferguson Bobai.

He made the affirmation while receiving a 90- man crew on board French ship Commandant L’ hermimier on a diplomatic mission to the country.

The ship berthed at the Naval Dockyard in Victoria Island, Lagos.

The 2-day visit would afford the French Navy a platform for exchange of strategic sessions with the Nigerian counterparts.

The visit is expected to also include training sessions in safety exercises, diving, as well as running of different techniques for boarding.

Rear Admiral Ferguson Bobai said: “We are going to take the opportunity of their visit to engage them in training some of our personnel in some agreed areas where they have the capacity to do so.

“So, in essence, the visit is a welcome development and it only goes to show you that there is bilateral cooperation between France and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Syria War: Russian Air Strike Kills Turkish Soldiers

Syria War: Russian Air Strike Kills Turkish SoldiersRussia’s president has sent condolences after a Russian air strike mistakenly killed three Turkish soldiers, north of Syria.

The soldiers were supporting Syrian rebels to recapture the city of al-Bab from so-called Islamic State as part of an offensive to push Islamic State and Kurdish fighters away from Turkey’s southern border.

According to Turkish military, a Russian aircraft attacked a building where some of the soldiers had been deployed.

It had been planning to hit I.S targets but “by accident three of their soldiers were martyred when a building was bombed where their units were”

Russia and Turkey back opposing sides in the Syrian war and have been jointly targeting Islamic State in air strikes recently.

Supreme Court Justices: NBA Shortlists Agbakoba, Eight Others

Supreme Court Justices: NBA Shortlists Agbakoba, Eight OthersThe Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, has forwarded the names of nine eligible applicants to the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman, Judicial Service Commission, Walter Samuel Onnoghen, for appointment as Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

This followed a rigorous process of shortlisting done by a select committee chaired by the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Abubakar Mahmoud, with eight other eminent lawyers as members.

Applicants shortlisted by the NBA for appointment as Justices of the Supreme Court are the following:

(1) Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, SAN
Year of Call: 1978
State:  Anambra

(2) Anthony Ikemefuna Idigbe, SAN
Year of Call:   1983
State: Delta

(3) Yunus Ustas Usman, SAN
Year of Call: 1983
State:  Kogi

(4) Babatunde Fagbohunlu, SAN
Year of Call: 1988
State:  Ondo

(5) Miannayaaja Essien, SAN
Year of Call: 1985
State:  Rivers

(6) Awa Uma Kalu, SAN
Year of Call: 1978
State: Abia

(7)  Professor Awalu Hamish Yadudu
Year of Call: 1979
State:  Kano

(8) Tajudeen Oladoja
Year of Call: 1985
State: Kwara

(9) Ayuba Giwa
Year of Call: 1983
State: Edo

The above mentioned applicants were shortlisted from a total of 89 Expressions of Interest that were scrutinized.

It would be recalled that the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, had earlier forwarded a request to the President of NBA, Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN  “to nominate suitable candidate for consideration as Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.”

PICTURES: Buhari Hosts Tinubu, Akande In London

PICTURES: Buhari Hosts Tinubu, Akande In LondonPresident Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday played host to two leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the UK where he has been on vacation.

Pictures of the President in a high spirit, hosting his guests were released by the Presidency via Twitter.

The President has been on a 10-day vacation in the United Kingdom since Monday January 23 and was billed to return to work on Monday, February 6, 2017.

He, however, requested a day earlier to have his leave extended in order to complete and receive the results of a series of tests recommended by his doctors.

The move generated controversies across the country with many citizens expressing fear that the President might be critically ill.

There have also been calls for the President to reveal details of his health status as some have doubted his capacity to manage the stress that comes with his job.

The Presidency has consistently assured Nigerians that the President is hale and hearty and the recent pictures are part of efforts to prove that he is indeed not in any critical condition.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has since taken charge as Acting President.

Kaduna Economy Not In Recession, Says Budget Commissioner

Kaduna Economy Not In Recession, Says Budget CommissionerKaduna state’s Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Muhammad Abdullahi, says in spite of the present economic challenges in the country, the state’s economy is not in recession.

Addressing journalists about the economic status of the state and the activities of the Ministry, Abdullahi said the present administration received meagre federal allocation compared to what past state governments collected, but was able to reasonably execute several capital projects.

He, however, raised the alarm that crisis in southern Kaduna has not allowed contractors to continue work on projects in the area.

With tears, he explained, “Initially when the contractors complained to me that they cannot move to site because of insecurity in southern Kaduna, I threatened them that I will revoke the contracts if they fail to deliver within certain periods, but I later understood with them when I saw the reality of killings on ground.

“But it is unfortunate that contractors cannot continue work in the area because when you see some dilapidated schools, you will not believe that they are for human beings, you will weep. And now contractors cannot move to site to work on such schools.”

He, however, noted that with several capital projects currently ongoing in the state, the economic status of the state has immensely and positively improved for the betterment of the people.

“When we talk of recession, it does not mean that it is all aspects of the economy that is in recession, while some areas are experiencing decline, others are enjoying increase.

“For example, agricultural production declined to 9% over the last two years, but it has been improving since last year.

“Constructions of roads and other capital infrastructures are ongoing, and this has created jobs for labourers, food vendors, masons, block cement moulders etc. This, of course, has opened up the economy of the State.

“In 2016, the state raised N18 billion internally Generated Revenue (IGR), and for the 2017, we have projected N54 billion IGR, and we hope to get it from ground rent and other sources within the State.

“We were able to generate the N18 billion last year because we were able to block all the loopholes that people used to steal government money.

“Past government was after big money before they could carry out capital projects, but same government was spending huge amount of money to run government.

“Anybody that was born in Kaduna cannot be proud of the past administrations because the previous governments messed up the state.

“For example, in 2012, the state government collected N68 billion federal allocation, and executed only N15 billion capital projects, and expended N52 billion, running itself.

“We may not do public prosecution of those who mismanaged state’s public funds because we don’t want distraction. They may be asked to make refund secretly.

“But this present government collected about N36 billion in 2016, and expended N58 billion on capital projects, meaning it cares for the people than itself, and even in 2015, we spent more on capital projects than on current expenditures.

“It is all about prudent management of meagre resources at our disposal. Despite lower federal allocation we got we were able to work with it, and this shows you how efficient this government is.

“We did not take external loan, but we intend to do so in the nearest future to open up more of the capital projects coming up this year. We are already talking with the State House of Assembly on this.”

Nigerian Army Apprehends Soldiers That Molested Physically Challenged

Nigerian Army Apprehends Soldiers That Molested Physically ChallengedThe Nigerian Army says it has apprehended the two soldiers who were caught on camera assaulting a physically challenged man in Nigeria’s southeast.

The video clip released by eyewitnesses online showed the soldiers beating the physically challenged man allegedly for wearing a camouflage shirt.

In a statement signed by the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Usman, the Army confirmed that the incident indeed took place on Tuesday February 7, 2017, at Onitsha, Anambra State.

“In line with our zero tolerance for acts of indiscipline and unprofessional conducts especially in relation to violation of human rights, we wish to further state that the soldiers involved have since been identified and apprehended.

“They have also been charged for assault by their Commanding Officer.

“Similarly, troops have been warned to desist from such acts that infringe on human rights and cast serious aspersions on the good image of the Nigerian Army.

“The public should please regard this ugly incident as an isolated case which is not true reflection of the Nigerian Army,” the statement reads.

Wenger Says Arsenal’s Title Dream Not Over

Wenger Says Title Dream Not Over For ArsenalDespite back-to-back Premier League defeats Arsene Wenger insists his Arsenal side are still in the Premier League title race.

The Gunners are 12 points behind leaders Chelsea with 14 matches to play but Wenger insists his fourth-placed team are not yet out of the running.

“It’s never over – we cannot behave like that,” Wenger told Arsenal.com. “Even if you think it is, I don’t. We cannot even think like that.

“We look at the teams around us and we’re all in a pack that is very tight, where the fight for every position will be massive like it has always been in the Premier League, maybe even more this season than ever before.

“The way we respond to our disappointing result last Saturday is vital. If it is over for us, it’s over for everybody else. We are all together in a pack there, so first we have to focus on staying at the top, and then if we can reduce the distance between us and Chelsea after, you never know.

“They have an advantage where they aren’t playing in Europe. They have no midweek games, so of course they are in a very strong position.”

Arsenal next play a revitalised Hull City side fresh from a 2-0 victory over Liverpool, at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Wenger is not underrating The Tigers taking close look at their revival under new manager Marco Silva.

“Not really because I felt they played well since the start of the season but they had not always the results,” he said.

“The Premier League is difficult for everybody – they were a bit unlucky sometimes so they are a tough opposition for us.

“Every game is difficult, especially at the Emirates. We have to prepare well to face a Hull team with more confidence than when we played them, so we have to prepare well.

“We need to focus on what we do well and the quality of our game. As well these players have been great players [before] last Tuesday, they are still great players one week later. You are not a different player. You have to have common sense a little bit.”