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FG needs Nigerians’ support to make lives better – Information Minister


The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris, says the Federal Government direly needs the support of all Nigerians to make lives better.

Idris stated this on Saturday in Kaduna at a reception organised in his honour by the State chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR).

He said that the government was implementing many programmes aimed at the betterment of the citizens’ lives, which required the support and complementary efforts in achieving the desired goal.

Idris added that with the money that was saved as a result of the fuel subsidy removal, the agricultural sector has experienced a boom.

‘For the first time, our country is experiencing dry season farming being really implemented by the sub-nationals.

‘Recently the CBN approved over two million bags of fertilisers to be given to the farmers,’he said.

The minister stressed that the Federal Government has resolved to no longer subsidise farmers that don’t have farms.

Idris also said the Federal Gove
rnment was fully committed to the well-being of the citizens, and saw the appreciation of naira against the dollar.

He said the government needed patience, collaboration, support and understanding of the citizens as it continues to put together policies that would benefit Nigerians.

Idris also recalled that skyrocketing prices of food items prompted the Federal Government to release 42,000 metric tonnes of assorted grains out of its 53,000 metric tonnes stashed across the country.

According to the minister, the gesture was among the various steps taken to cushion the hardship being faced by the citizens.

‘The Government has also met with rice millers and they made a pledge to release 60,000 metric tonnes of rice available in their factories to Nigerians.

‘Also, over N100 billion was put in the first instance to support agriculture,’ he said.

The minister expressed optimism that if the agricultural activities going on in many parts of the country were sustained, in the next three years, the country would
be a net exporter of food.

He also stressed that the government needed the support of Nigerians in that regard, where he frowned at hoarders who make money at the expense of Nigerians and later turn to blame the government.

‘It has to be reciprocal arrangements, while the government does its best, every patriotic Nigerian needs to do the same for the country’s survival,’Idris said.

Speaking on issues of insecurity, Idris acknowledged its existence, however stating that one could drive from far distance to another without much fear.

He added that recently, the Armed Forces have recorded huge successes against criminal elements across the country, which saw the rescue of the abducted people without the payment of ransoms.

Idris thanked President Bola Tinubu for his support to the ministry, adding that it made them reposition public communication.

He charged NIPR to help the government to restore trust and professionalism in the art of public communication.

Earlier, the President of NIPR, Dr Ike Neliaku,
said the Kaduna chapter had produced important personalities that were linked to the growth of the Institute.

Neliaku, represented by his Deputy, Prof. Emmanuel Dandaura, added that the chapter of the Institute has produced virtually every key position at the national level.

Describing the Information Minister as a gentleman and a solution provider, he said he had changed the narrative of public relations by the application of its core principles.

He thanked the chapter for organising the reception and its contributions to the growth of the Institute.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

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Chibok girls: U.S. pledges support for Nigeria’s anti-terrorism fight, victims’ families


The United States Government has pledged to support Nigeria’s fight against terrorism, as the country marks a decade of the mass abduction of over 200 schoolgirls in Chibok, North-East, by terrorists.

This is contained in a statement issued by the spokesperson of the U.S. Embassy, Aishah Gambari, on Sunday in Abuja.

Gambari said the U.S. would also support Nigeria’s terrorism survivors and their families, saying that the U.S.-Nigeria partnership was built on a foundation of shared values and common goals.

According to her, the U.S. will continue to support Nigeria’s efforts to combat terrorism, and to hold perpetrators of terrorist attacks accountable, as well as guarantee citizens’ safety and well-being.

‘The partnership between the United States and Nigeria is built on a foundation of shared values and common goals.

‘We will continue to work together to promote peace, security, and stability in the region, and to support initiatives that foster education, economic growth, and human rights.

‘As we mark
one decade since this terrible act, we reaffirm our support for the survivors, their families, and all those affected by terrorism.

‘The United States stands with Nigeria in its fight against extremism and its commitment to creating a safer, more prosperous future for all its people,’ Gambari said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that on April 14, 2014, Boko Haram terrorists stormed Government Girls’ Secondary School, Chibok, in Borno at night, and abducted no fewer than 276 girls.

The girls were preparing for that year’s Senior West African School Certificate Examination, and 10 years since then, while some of them were found, about 89 others have yet to return.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

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Expert urges Benue to establish commodity trading Agency to boost Agribusiness


Mr Chris Echikwu, an Agribusiness expert, has called for the establishment of a Commodity Trading Management Agency to promote agribusiness and address the challenges facing Benue’s agricultural sector.

Echikwu, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja, noted the necessity of the agency to tackle the multifaceted issues hindering the growth of the agricultural economy in the state.

According to him, Agribusiness, a fusion of agriculture and commerce, encompasses various activities ranging from production, storage, distribution, logistics, finance, to marketing.

Echikwu said that the challenges confronting the agricultural sector in Benue often referred to as the ‘Food Basket of the Nation, were significant.

He noted the abundance of commercially valuable agro-commodities in the state, including yams, sesame seeds, palm produce, and various fruits, saying these commodities contributed to its agricultural prominence.

According to him, the prevalence of trading activities acr
oss the state’s 23 local government areas, with major markets like Wannune, Buruku, and Zakibiam, showed pivotal roles in procurement.

Echikwu expressed concern over quality assurance issues regarding quality and weight accuracy, which have resulted in the blacklisting of certain commodities.

He highlighted the absence of transport logistics and formal structure for price dissemination, hindering market transparency and efficiency.

The expert underscored the importance of establishing direct linkages between farmers and end-users to enhance profitability.

He also added the need for improved government revenue collection from market activities to address inefficiencies in revenue generation.

Echikwu called for strategic interventions to reposition the agribusiness sector, stressing the importance of collaborative efforts between stakeholders to address the multifaceted issues impeding growth.

The expert said that the proposed Commodity Trading Management Agency, would provide a structured platform for ef
ficient, transparent, and organised trade in commodities.

He outlined collaboration with government agencies to enforce regulations, enhance market infrastructure, and establish links with domestic and international buyers.

The agency, he added would also advise on sustainable agribusiness development policies, extending its role beyond trading management.

Echikwu said the establishment of a Commodity Trading Management Agency was a strategic imperative to unlock the full potential of the agricultural sector and foster economic growth and prosperity.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

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Stop cursing Nigeria, Sanwo-Olu tells citizens


Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has called on Nigerians to refrain from speaking ill of the country, but pray for its betterment.

Sanwo-Olu gave the advice at the 2024 Eid-el-Fitr elebration on Saturday at the Lagos House, Ikeja.

The celebration had the theme: ‘Allah will not Change the Way of the People until they Change What is in their Hearts’.

The governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, urged Nigerians to change their thoughts and speak positively about the country.

According to him, God will not change anything for any society until the people would decide to change their minds for good.

Sanwo-Olu added that the citizens should stop cursing the country so that God would change it for the better.

He, therefore urged Nigerians to believe in their current leaders and pray for them and the country.

‘Almighty God will not change anything for any society until they change what is in their minds.

‘Our collective intent should be to keep praying for Nigeria and the leadersh
ip to do the right thing.

‘That is when Allah will intervene in the present situation of our country.

‘It is, therefore, important for us to desist from talking ill about the country,’ he said.

The governor also charged the people to be empathetic toward one another, adding that they should be their brothers’ keepers.

He appealed to parents to guide their children and wards right.

Sanwo-Olu harped on children being respectful while reiterating that it was the responsibility of parents to raise their children in the way of God.

In her address of welcome, the Wife of Lagos State Governor, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, urged Nigerians to emerge from Ramadan not only as individuals who had undergone personal growth but as agents of change within their communities.

She advised them to commit to fostering a society built on the principles of justice, equity and compassion.

‘Let us remember that true change begins within the depths of our hearts.

‘The joint Ramadan and Lent experienced this year should remind every
one of the universal value of humanity that unites all regardless of religious belief, background, or ethnicity,’ she said.

She advised Nigerians to reject bigotry and prejudice in all its forms and work toward building a more inclusive society where everyone would be valued and respected.

Justice Abdulrraheem Ahmad of the Sharia Court of Appeal, Kwara State, said that the current situation in Nigeria was not vested upon the people by Allah but was a creation of the people’s handiwork.

He advised Nigerians to have a change of mindset and speak positively about the country.

Ahmad also urged the people to be righteous, as well as fair and kind to one another irrespective of religion, race or tribe.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

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CAN demands rescue of remaining Chibok girls


The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), has demanded the release of the remaining Chibok girls from captivity 10 years after.

The Christian body said the pain and anguish experienced by the parents of the abducted girls was still being deeply felt.

It said that it was not only a matter of national importance, but also a test of commitment to upholding the rights and safety of Nigerian citizens.

This is contained in a statement by its National Director for Education, Youth and Women Development, Rev. Ozumba Nicodemus on Saturday in Abuja.

‘The trauma experienced by the remaining 276 abducted girls from Nigeria is unimaginable.

‘The pain and anguish felt by their parents, who have endured sleepless nights filled with hopelessness, are deeply felt by CAN.

‘We cannot remain silent while their children remain in captivity, yearning for freedom and reunion with their families,’ it said.

CAN urged government to intensify efforts and take decisive action to rescue the remaining children still held hostage.

‘It is our duty as a nation to ensure their safe return, and to bring an end to the anguish and suffering endured by these innocent young girls and their families.

‘We call on the government to mobilise all available resources, engage relevant security agencies, and collaborate with international partners to secure the release of the remaining Chibok girls,’ It said.

The religious body also implored the international community, humanitarian organisations, and well-meaning individuals to join hands in advocating for the release of the Chibok girls.

‘Together, we can amplify our voices and exert greater pressure on the abductors to bring an end to this prolonged ordeal.

‘CAN remains resolute in its commitment to seeking justice and ensuring the safe return of the Chibok girls.

‘We will continue to engage with relevant stakeholders and utilise all available avenues to shed light on their plight and secure their release.

‘We urge all Nigerians to stand united, to lend their voices and to demand immediate ac
tion from the government.

‘Let us show our unwavering support for the families of the Chibok girls and demonstrate our collectivedetermination to bring them back home,’ It added.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

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Bako hails Danfodio varsity as campus radio begins broadcast


Veteran broadcaster, Dr Danladi Bako, on Sunday, congratulated Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto, as the institution’s UDUS Campus Radio 89.7 FM commenced full broadcast.

Bako congratulated the institution in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

The broadcaster, who holds a traditional title of Kogunan Sokoto, and former Information Commissioner in the state, also paid tributes to the Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Lawal Bilbis, over the feat.

‘Today, as a Senior Lecturer in the Mass Communication Department myself, I acknowledge the incredible efforts the current Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Bilbis, has put in during his tenure to make the dream of the Campus Radio a reality, ‘ he said.

This, he said, was for ‘the sole purpose of training our Mass Communication students to become world class.’

Recalling how the institution got accreditation for mass communication, Bako noted the roles he and the former Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Risqua Shehu, played.

Bako, who equa
lly paid tributes to Shehu, also said: ‘The former vice-chancellor pursued vigorously the acquisition of a radio licence from the National Broadcasting Commission, where I was former Director General and eventually licence was acquired.’

‘The Dean, Head of Department, Dr Mijinyawa, and the students must all be commended for their diligence , commitment and endurance toward the realisation of this project, which started transmission yesterday, Saturday April 13, 2024.’

He urged the university community and the public to give the members of staff and students support as they begin their first test of covering the institution’s convocation on Saturday.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

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FG to engage hunters, vigilantes in Safe Schools Initiative


The National Coordinator of the Financing Safe Schools Initiative, Mrs Halima Iliya, has revealed plans to engage hunters and vigilantes in intelligence gathering to curb attacks on schools nationwide.

Iliya in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, noted the importance of community engagement and student, parent, and teacher sensitisation, set to commence in the second quarter of the year.

She outlined strategies to train local vigilantes and youths in states without registered vigilantes, aiming to involve communities in intelligence gathering and prevention efforts.

‘As a component of the plan, for states with local vigilantes, we intend to train their hunters, vigilantes and volunteers while for states without registered vigilantes we intend to advocate to use youths.

‘Youths will volunteer to protect their communities because we cannot achieve anything within a community without their involvement.

‘We will bring them to the security architecture for them to defend and protect t
heir communities in the areas of intelligence gathering, prevention and detection deterrent capabilities,’ Iliya said.

She added that plans include leveraging the National Orientation Agency’s grassroots presence for efficient communication through training manuals in local dialects.

Dr Ahmed Audi, Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, stressed the importance of coordination among security agencies to protect schools effectively.

‘That is why the three Cs; coordination, cooperation and collaboration cannot be over emphasised as this has yielded results amongst security agencies in recent operations so I think we are on the right track,’ he said.

According to Audi, because the NSCDC regulates the operations of Private Guard Companies (PGCs), they have been leveraged on to contribute their quota to the security architecture of the country by providing intelligence reports.

The Corps, along with other agencies, is committed to ensuring school safety through initiatives such as
the School Community Security Vanguard.

The National Safe School Response Coordination Centre (NSSRCC) Commander, Hameed Abodunrin, highlighted ongoing sensitisation efforts to raise awareness about school security risks.

‘Research has shown that the fear of insecurity is worse than insecurity itself,’ he said.

According to him, plans also include conducting School Security Awareness training and distributing security tips books to students nationwide.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

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Respect helps marriages grow, cleric tells couples


Venerable Tiwatope Elias-Fatile, the Vicar of St. Matthew’s Anglican Church, Maitama, Abuja, has advised couples to always show respect to each other to enable them to stay in peace always.

Elias-Fatile gave the advice in a homily at a Thanksgiving Service to mark the 50th wedding anniversary of Prof. Jerry Gana and his wife, Lucy.

Gana was a Minister of Information and a former presidential aspirant in the build up to the 2023 general election.

He said that many marriages collapsed because the husband and the wife failed to respect each other.

‘Husband and wife must respect each other; there is no marriage without challenges, but how you navigate those challenges determines how it survives.’

The cleric said that the celebrants had survived their challenges because of the strategy of ‘respect’ for each other.

Elias-Fatile went down memory lane to narrate how Prof. Gana met his wife and urged Nigerians to always put God first in all they do including marriages.

‘Their family is an enviable Christian hom
e, worthy of emulation; they are best of friends and respects each other,’ he added.

Former Military Head of State, retired Gen. Yakubu Gowon, described the couple as ‘excellent match.”

Gowon said that the couple had been good in whatever they did.

‘And that means that couples should emulate them and do excellently in whatever they do,’ Gowon said.

Dr Ike Neliaku, who is a friend to celebrants, said that the love between the couple was exceptional, as there had not been any scandal whatsoever in the 50 years of their marriage.

‘It is remarkable for someone to be married for 50 years without issues and no scandal; it demonstrates the character of the man and the wife; this is the model of what marriage should be.

‘It means that we still have men and women of honour who understands marriage as a sacred institution that should be held very strongly.

‘It is very important for men to marry their wives, likewise for women to marry their husbands; you don’t just see anybody and because of one minute love, yo
u declare yourselves compatible as husband and wife.

‘It is not always easy for any man who has not married his wife; it is important for young people to be sure before they take that leap.

‘This is where counsel and guidance from those who are experienced come in handy, and more importantly, you cannot have a successful marriage outside of God. God is central to every successful marriage,’ he said.

Neliaku, who is the President of Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), also advised couples, especially the young ones, to always respect each other rather than adopting tolerance.

‘When you tolerate someone, it means you’re managing, but when it is respect, there is something deep in you that will make you to respect that person,’ he said.

In his remarks, Gana described his wife as an embodiment of beauty and respect.

According to Gana, his wife is gentle, kind and forgiving.

‘If she has not been forgiving me, this marriage would have been ruined long time ago, but she is so gracious, loving, kind,
gentle and forgiving.

‘She is also a prayer warrior. She prays for me always so that I will succeed; she is always praying for me and the children and God answers her prayers.

‘That is why I appreciate her tremendously and if I am to marry a thousand times again, I will marry this lady.”

He urged young couples to be patient with one another to make their marriages last long.

‘The young people are too impatient; before you know it, they are going for divorce.

‘This is our 50 years; and gives us another 50 years, we will still be happy together because we are patient.

‘Every little thing the young people want to scatter their marriage; life is not like that; again, tomorrow is greater, so don’t ruin your today because tomorrow is greater,’ he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that former Governor of Adamawa, Mr Boni Haruna, and some lawmakers were among dignitaries, family and friends that graced the occasion.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

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ECN appoints new head of registration and planning


WINDHOEK: Chief Electoral Officer Peter Shaama on Saturday announced the appointment of Thomas Shapi as the new deputy director of registration and planning for the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN).

Shapi, who is currently the control administrative officer in the division of registration and planning at the ECN, will take up his new assignment on 01 May 2024.

Shaama in a media statement here said: ‘We are confident that Mr. Shapi’s wealth of knowledge and experience will make him a valuable asset in his new role. He will be responsible for ensuring the participation of voters in regular and free elections, using sustainable systems, people, and processes.’

He said Shapi further ensures the efficient provision of services in relation to the maintenance of the national voters’ register, planning and coordination of electoral activities during general registration of voters, supplementary registration of voters, polling, counting of votes, and collation of results.

He has been in his current role since
2012 and has served in various positions within the public service for over 34 years.

Shapi has been a part of the electoral process since 1992, when he worked for the ECN as a regional coordinator, presiding officer, registration and voting officer, and returning officer.

His educational background includes qualifications in business administration, education, and election management. He is also presently studying toward a master’s degree in electoral administration and policy, Shaama concluded.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency

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Pedestrian hit and killed at Oshuushe village


OSHAKATI: A 39-year-old man died instantly after he was hit by a vehicle while crossing the road at Oshuushe village in the Oshana Region.

According to Chief Inspector Thomas Aiyambo of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) Oshana Community Policing Sub-division, the incident occurred in the early hours of Sunday on the Ondangwa-Oshikango main road.

‘It is alleged that the driver of a silver Polo, (registration unknown) was coming from Oshikango towards Ondangwa, and hit a pedestrian who was trying to cross the road,’ he said.

The deceased was identified as Paulus Lumbu from Oshuushe village, and his next of kin were informed.

A culpable homicide case has been opened against the driver.

Police investigation into the matter continues.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency

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Pensioner dies in car accident at Omanoakambungu village


A 62-year-old Namibian man died on the spot after he lost control of the vehicle he was driving at Omanoakambungu village in the Oshikoto’s Olukonda constituency on Friday.

Namibian Police Force (NamPol) Oshikoto Regional Crime Investigation Coordinator Deputy Commissioner Titus Ekandjo on Saturday said the incident happened on Friday around 14h30 and the deceased was identified as Uukelo Tomas, a resident of Onakandi village in the Oshipala area.

‘It is alleged that the driver of a white Toyota double cab pick-up with registration number N 216711 W was driving from Olukonda to Oshipala when he lost control of the vehicle at a curve, causing it to overturn,’ said Ekandjo.

The driver died on the spot and the two other occupants in the vehicle, aged 71 and 69 were transported to Onandjokwe State Hospital for medical treatment, he said.

The deceased was transported to Onandjokwe Hospital for a post-mortem to be conducted. The next of kin have been informed.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency

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Oshana police initiate manhunt for alleged murder suspect


OSHAKATI: The Oshana police have initiated a manhunt for a suspect involved in an alleged stabbing incident which led to the death of one person while another was seriously wounded.

According to the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) Oshana’s Community Policing Sub-division Chief Inspector Thomas Aiyambo on Sunday, the incident occurred around 01h30 at Teddy Bar Oneshila Evululuko location when the suspect was allegedly poured a glass of wine in the face, and a fight broke out between the two.

‘In the process, the suspect reportedly stabbed the victim two times at the back and once on the head, with a knife, and proceeded to stab another person who is currently receiving treatment at the Oshakati hospital,’ he said.

The suspect now faces charges of murder and attempted murder.

Police investigations into the matter continue.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency