Kaduna Commences Disbursement Of N1 bn MSME Funds

kaduna stateThe Kaduna State Government on Thursday commenced the disbursement of another N1 billion naira intervention fund to support operators of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the state.

The programme, which was executed in partnership with the Bank of Industry (BOI), was to support the accelerated development of the state through job creation, where the BOI and Kaduna state government contributed N500m each under a programme tagged ‘Graduate Support Grant’

Speaking at the flag-off ceremony, Kaduna State Deputy Governor, Nuhu Bajoga, who represented Governor Muhtar Yero, described the intervention as very critical and a major component for economic rejuvenation and prosperity of the state.

He further explained that the main aim of the programme is to empower the citizens, especially the graduates and also reduce the level of crime and poverty in the state.

Meanwhile, a mild drama ensued midway into the programme  when hundreds of graduate trainees under the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN)  stormed the venue with placards, demanding the State Governor, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, to release the N1 billion Graduate Empowerment Loan promised to them over five months ago after their training.

Chanting anti-government songs, the aggrieved Youths blocked the Deputy Governor’s convoy as it made its way out of Hassan Katsina House, where the event was held.

They alleged that they were promised by the government to be empowered with money to set up their own businesses immediately after their training.

The Youths also alleged that they were asked to register with money for them to be entitled to benefit from the N1 billion loan.

However, in a swift reaction, the Kaduna State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Shekarau Uchissa, denied the allegations saying the state government only went into capacity building where 1000 youths were trained in different skills, but were not promised any money.

Edo Murder: Family Protests, Demands Investigation Update

EdoFamily, friends and Civil Societies Organisations (CSO) in Benin City, the Edo State capital have staged another protest, calling on the Nigeria Police and other authorities to make public, the outcome of their investigations into the controversial death of 27-year-old Chibuike Edeh, a staff of a popular hotel in Benin.

The protesters blocked the entrance to the hotel with the corpse of the late Chibuike, saying they did not want the matter to be swept under the carpet.

The state Police Command had earlier explained that late Chibuike was killed by a hit-and-run driver as he tried to escape while leading the police to retrieve the money he allegedly stole from the hotel.

2015 Elections: Academics, Others Call For Peaceful Polls

ElectionsAppeals have continued to come from different quotas for peaceful polls in the rescheduled March 28 and April 11 general elections.

‎The University of Port-Harcourt Alumni Association, members of the civil society and other concerned individuals on Thursday, asked Nigerians to come out en mass to vote without causing trouble.

They also appealed to security operatives to be on the alert.

‎Acknowledging the transformation agenda of the present administration, the group advised voters not to be intimidated by tension in the atmosphere, noting that they have the freedom to make their choice by going to the polls.

The Nigerian Chief of Army Staff had on the previous day, warned that any one who threatens violence, no matter his position, would be met with organised violence by the Nigerian Army.

Lieutenant-General Kenneth Minimah stated that the Armed Forces, the Police and other security agencies have made adequate arrangements for security, ahead of the general elections commencing on Saturday.

He urged Nigerians to turn out en masse and vote candidates of their choice without fear for their safety.

Patience Jonathan Takes Campaign To Oyo State

patience jonathan- OyoAs campaigns wind to a halt across the country, Nigeria’s First Lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan, has called on women and youths in Oyo State to leverage on Federal Government’s programmes to enhance their living standard and improve productivity.

Addressing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members on Wednesday at the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, during the national women rally of the PDP, Patience Jonathan went down memory lane, stating that there were incontrovertible evidence that President Jonathan remains the most gender friendly president in the history of the country.

Describing Saturday’s election as a vote for freedom, she noted that thousands of young men and women have benefited from the YouWin Project, which has led to many women being empowered.

Citing different infrastructural development projects across the country, Patience Jonathan sought the support of Oyo State citizens for PDP in the coming elections, to enable the President do more as he promised.

The PDP governorship candidate in the state, Teslim Folarin and the Minister of State FCT, Jumoke Akinjide, both expressed optimism that President Jonathan would get massive votes in the south-west.

Mrs Jonathan had also at a rally in Lagos, reeled out other achievements of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration including youth empowerment, agricultural innovations, education transformation amongst others.

She called on all women to ensure they show their appreciation by voting PDP for continuation.

The rally, which held at the National Stadium in Lagos, witnessed a large turnout of the party’s leadership and supporters.

The First Lady has been touring Nigerian cities seeking support for her husband, President Goodluck Jonathan, ahead of the 2015 presidential elections scheduled to take place on March 28.

DSS Tasks Voters On Security During Polls

dss_officersThe Department of State Services (DSS) has advised all registered voters to be law abiding and security conscious while exercising their franchise.

In a statement signed by the Spokesperson of the service, Marilyn Ogar, the DSS gave assurances of guaranteed security while asking voters to abide by all stipulated guidelines to ensure peaceful conduct.

A part of the statement reads: “The task of nation building is our collective responsibility; therefore, let us all play our parts and shun violence.

“Voters are advised to be weary of persons in loose or bulky midriff clothing, which are inappropriate for the weather, look out for unattended baggage, strange containers and other suspicious items.

“Similarly, all vehicles, motorcycles, tricycles and bicycles must be parked far away from the polling stations. Suspicious persons, activities and movements should be promptly reported to security agents.”

The DSS had last month in a statement, urged Nigerians to remain calm ahead of the postponed 2015 general elections. This was on the back of information it received that people were relocating to their states of origin in anticipation of violence during the forthcoming general elections in the country.

They gave an assurance to the public that adequate security is guaranteed for all citizens before, during and after the elections, wherever they reside.

The DSS also cautioned “those who spread falsehood or rumours of violence to desist from such acts. Those who intend to foment trouble are hereby warned that there will be no hiding place, as the long arm of the law will fish them out”.

Nigeria’s presidential elections is expected to hold on Saturday, March 28, after it had been postponed by INEC due to security challenges in some parts of the country.

Amosun Tasks Nigerians On Saturday’s Elections

AmosunOgun State Governor has advised Nigerians not to allow the ongoing deployment of soldiers deter them from casting their votes on Saturday (March 28).

Governor Ibikunle Amosun, in a statement in Abeokuta, the state capital, said although it was abnormal to deploy armed soldiers for supervision of civil acts like the voting process, the soldiers, like other security agents, can only help to maintain peace and security during the elections.

In his statement, Amosun said “those desperate politicians who think they can use the deployment of soldiers to intimidate and scare our people away from fulfilling their constitutional obligations will fail.

“They will fail because, one, our people are determined to use their votes to effect positive change and nothing will stop them. Two, our military men are also citizens of Nigeria.

“They are experiencing all the hardship that have resulted from the bad governance and they also desire change. In any case, the military are there to protect the people.”

The Governor further appealed to soldiers not to allow any politician use them to wreak violence on the people, urging them to demonstrate strict compliance with military ethics and provision of the electoral law in the cause of performing their duties during the election period.

Amosun urged Nigerians to conduct themselves in peaceful manner and ensure that they do not give any opportunity to ill-motivated politicians who obviously have no respect for the rights of the people to freely choose their leaders.

He advised all eligible voters in the state who were yet to collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to go for it, pointing that every vote would count in the coming elections.

He therefore, urged the people to ignore the antics of dubious politicians who continue to pester them to surrender their PVC.

“Their plan is to either destroy the PVCs or make it invalid so as to reduce the number of votes that will be certainly cast against them.

He appealed to Ogun State residents and Nigerians in general to vote for all candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming elections.

Sambo Assures 2million Votes for PDP In Kaduna

SamboNigeria’s Vice President has assured to deliver over two million votes for his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Kaduna State, noting that the people of the state are in full support of the party.

Vice President Namadi Sambo, an indigene of Kaduna State and running mate to the PDP presidential candidate, said President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration has performed well in all sectors of the economy to deserve the votes of Nigerians.

He also added that with the overwhelming support that the PDP currently enjoys in Kaduna State and the north-west zone, he is expecting an over overwhelming victory for the party on Saturday.

Although the All Progressive Congress (APC) Presidential Candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari is from Katsina State also in the north-west zone.

The Vice President, who spoke through his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr Umar Sani, at a youth empowerment programme in Kaduna, maintained that the zone is up for grab by the PDP, having achieved similar feat in the 2011 elections.

Sambo has literately relocated his office to his home state where he has been meeting with different groups across the state.

The purpose according to Sani, is to woo electorates to vote for the PDP in the coming election, stressing that the Vice President does not want to lose anything to chance in securing victory for President Jonathan and PDP.

One of such strategies is the distribution of cars, tricycles, sewing machines, wrappers and cash to PDP members in the state by his aide.

This is aimed at boosting the morale of party men and women and to reassure them of President Jonathan’s commitment to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians if voted into office for another term.

However, as Nigerians go to the polls this Saturday to elect their next president, political pundits are watching to see how the different strategies adopted by politicians will translate to victory, especially with the amount of resources so far deployed for the exercise.

INEC Accredits 107 Observers To Monitor Polls

inec-4The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has accredited 107 domestic and international observers to monitor the general elections slated for March 28 and April 11, 2015.

Among the observers accredited on Tuesday were embassies of 11 foreign nations of the United States of America, Switzerland, Britain, Germany, France, Japan, Canada, Ireland, Australia, Ghana and the Republic of Korea.

The commission also listed 14 international and regional organisations as part of the accredited observers, while the remaining 82 observers are domestic groups.

The international and regional organisations include: National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, Commonwealth Observers Mission, International Republican Institute, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, Kenya, Africa Students Association of Ireland, ECOWAS Mission, among others.

Similarly, the 82 domestic observers accredited for the election were: Police Service Commission, Justice Development and Peace Commission (Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria), Centre for Strategic Conflict Management, Election Monitor, Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, among others.

Going by the plans of the Electoral umpire (INEC), ballot papers for Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections are to be moved from the vaults of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Wednesday.

The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr Kayode Idowu said all the non-sensitive materials had already been distributed to the appropriate destinations.

The INEC spokesman emphasised, the ballot papers for the different positions and locations had been customised in such a way that it would be difficult to be faked.

However, this is in line with preparations for the forthcoming general elections slated for March 28 and April 11, 2015.

Chief Of Army Staff Warns Against Election Violence

kenneth-minimah-ArmyNigerian Chief of Army Staff has warned that any one who threatens violence, no matter his position, will be met with organised violence by the Nigerian Army.

Lieutenant General Kenneth Minimah said on Wednesday, that the Armed Forces, the police and other security agencies have made adequate arrangements for security, ahead of the general elections commencing on Saturday.

He thus, urged Nigerians to turn out en masse and vote candidates of their choice without fear for their safety.

Minimah noted that some politicians would want to disrupt peace during the elections, he does not envisage any problems.

The Chief of Army Staff had last week, given an assurance of victory against the Boko Haram sect in the north-east, at the first quarterly conference of the Nigerian Army for 2015.

He note in the meeting, when he was called to do stocktaking of the Nigerian Army’s operations in the north-east, and help prepare for the coming elections, should their services be required as proscribed by law, that the military would continue to adopt new strategies that will help end insurgency in the north-east.

Minimah further stated, that the military would continue to change strategies and restructure its plans as the operation demands to ensure  total victory  against the sect.

He however, attributed the recent victory in the north-east to the resilience of the Nigerian soldiers and  improvement in their equipment, welfare and training.

 

 

 

Lagos Residents Will Pay Fair Taxes – Jimi Agbaje

Jimi-AgbajeThe Lagos State governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Jimi Agbaje, says Lagos residents (Lagosians) will not pay heavy or light taxes, but will pay fair taxes instead.

Jimi Agbaje, spoke at a debate expected to have been attended by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and PDP Lagos State governorship candidates, organised by Channels Television in collaboration with the Enough Is Enough Nigeria (EIE) on Sunday.

The APC governorship candidate, Akinwunmi Ambode, was absent.

Mr Agbaje stressed that the government had always depended on tax for development, but that if elected, his administration would ensure Lagos residents (Lagosians) pay fair taxes.

He said the present administration was taking advantage of regulatory agencies, noting that it was generating tax in the wrong means.

He further said that he was called a tax invader due to politics. Agbaje said his company was not owing any tax.  “I got a letter from the state government, inquiring how I have been paying my land use charges.”

On his plans to ease the traffic situation in the state that had continued to eat into man hour, he said he would address the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) implementation issues, which he pointed out was not at its best.

“We will look at the implementation and see how we can strengthen it and make it better. Portholes are the major causes of traffic in the state. We will patch them to ease free flow of traffic in the state,” Mr Agbaje siad.

He also said new bus stops should be created where necessary.

The Lagos PDP governorship candidate, who described water as a faster means of transportation in the state, said Lagosians were scared of the small boats, which were in use.

He pointed out that his administration, if elected, would provide bigger boats to ensure passengers’ safety.

On his role in the party, Agbaje stressed that ‘he is not a typical politician’, saying ‘see me as I am. I will no say what I will not do’.

He further explained his relationship with Olabode Goerge, saying Mr George is his party leader.

“If a man is charged to court and sentenced for a crime and a superior court frees him, then he is not guilty,” Agbaje said.

He, however, urged the people of Lagos state to go out and vote so as to discharge their civic duties.

FG Commissions 200 Units Of Bungalows In Kaduna

Kaduna Housing SchemeThe Nigerian Government has commissioned 200 units of bungalows in Kaduna State, north-west Nigeria, as part of efforts to bridge the housing deficit.

The housing units, fully funded by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), are among the first batch of Federal Government Mass Housing Schemes to be built across the country.

At the commissioning of the houses at Sky Diamond Estate in the State capital, Mrs Akon Eyakenyi , who represented Nigeria’s Vice President, Namadi Sambo, re-stated the commitment of the Federal Government to providing shelter for all Nigerians.

Mrs Akon Eyakenyi is the the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development.

She said the project was a testimony of the determination of the President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to provide low cost housing for all Nigerians.

The Minister commissioned the project on behalf of the Vice President, describing it as a demonstration of the present administration’s desire to bring affordable houses to the doorsteps of the citizen’s, particularly low income earners.

Significant Improvement In Housing

Mrs Eyakenyi disclosed that the housing gap in Nigeria was being reduced gradually by the present administration, especially with the drive to build more houses.

She further stated that the past four years had witnessed painstaking and remarkable achievements in many sectors, stressing that Nigerians are beginning to notice significant improvement in housing and urban development arising from the implementation of the many people-oriented projects.

The 200 housing units which was financed by FMBN, using resources of the National Housing Fund was completed within a period of one year.

The beneficiaries are Nigerians who work in both public and private sector and are also contributors to the National Housing Fund.

As part of its contribution to the project, Kaduna State government provided 20 hectares of land for the project at no cost and also constructed all access roads into the estate.

This was aimed at ensuring that the project was not abandoned half way due to lack of basic infrastructure.

While commending the Federal Government for choosing Kaduna as one of the pilot states for the project, Governor Muhktar Yero said the estate would contribute to the decongestion of the State capital.

Governor Yero disclosed that the State government had earmarked 12,000 hectares of lands for estate development aimed to accommodate over one million people in the State capital and other satellite cities, adding that government had so far spent over 1.2 billion Naira to provide affordable houses for the people of the State.

In his speech, the Managing Director of FMBN, Gimba Ya’u Kumo, described the commissioning as another credit to the successes of the President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda in the housing sector.

Kumo disclosed that the manner of collaboration had been successfully implemented in the six geo- political zones of Nigeria for the benefit of Nigerians, especially contributors to the National Housing Scheme(NHS).

Kumo added that under the arrangement, the government had provided construction, financing and in most cases, unencumbered land for housing development.

A representative of the Labour union, Mr Augustine Etafo, in a goodwill message, commended the Federal Government for the project.

The Estate consists of 200 number of three bedroom semi-detached bungalow, 500 KVA transformer and tarred access roads.

 

Jonathan Reiterates Commitment To Boko Haram Defeat

Jonathan-Boko HaramThe Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, has re-emphasised the government’s commitment to fighting the Boko Haram terrorist group, in what may be described as a ray of hope in the fight against insurgency in the nation’s north-east.

President Jonathan, who spoke to BBC in Abuja on Thursday, maintained that the Islamic sect was getting weaker and weaker by the day.

He expressed hopes that all territory seized by the terrorist group would be retaken within a month.

The Nigerian President admitted that the security forces had been slow in their response to the advance of the terrorists in the north-east Nigeria.

President Jonathan also admitted that the authorities “never expected that Boko Haram group would build up that kind of capacity”.

Earlier this week, the Nigerian military said the militants no longer control any urban centres in Yobe and Adamawa, two out of the three worst-affected states in the north-east.

The military also pledged that Borno State, the birthplace of the Boko Haram, would soon be freed.