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Nigeria Is Not On Autopilot Under Buhari, It Has No Kind Of Pilot, It's Directionless —Sokoto Governor, Tambuwal

10 April 2022 - 3:42am

Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari and his political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) of turning Nigeria into an ungovernable state since they took over power in 2015. 


He stated this in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital at the weekend, adding that Nigeria is directionless with no leadership at the centre. 

Tambuwal, who is also the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors Forum, further said that the current situation in the country makes most Nigerians feel there is no government. 


Tambuwal said the government at the centre was being managed as if there was no one in charge of the affairs of the nation, adding that the country under the APC was on the edge of a precipice. 


He said: “So many people are making this mistake of saying that Nigeria is on autopilot. If an aircraft is on autopilot you are sure of safety; you are sure of direction, you are sure of even possible landing because there is technological control. 


“That is not the situation in Nigeria today. Nigeria is directionless. There are no pilots, there’s no autopilot. Everybody is on his own. Even the government is being run as if there is no one in control. 


“That is the reason we have been talking to ourselves in our party and reaching out to other well-meaning patriots to come together to rescue this country and rebuild it. 


“We are in such a state that we are in distress and we need every hand from within and from our friends. There is insecurity, economic woes, and bad leadership. No state is spared from insecurity. No part of this country is safe and secure at the moment. 


“In this present situation in our country, you can’t be talking about investment and development. You have to establish peace before talking about rebuilding the country."

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Respect Nigerians' Rights, Reverse Call Blockage For 72million Mobile Subscribers Within 48 Hours, SERAP Tells Buhari Government

10 April 2022 - 3:39am

A group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse the government’s decision through the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to block over 72 million active telecommunication subscribers from making calls on their SIMs.


The Buhari-led government had last week directed the NCC to block outgoing calls on all unlinked lines as the deadline for the verification expired on March 31.

Following the directive, over 72 million subscribers have now been barred from making calls.


SERAP on Sunday in a statement by its deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, said the decision infringed on the human rights of Nigerians.


He said, “Blocking people from making calls undermines their ability to communicate freely, and associate with others. It infringes on their rights to freedom of expression and family life, as well as socio-economic rights.


“The decision to block people from making calls is also inconsistent and incompatible with the country’s international legal obligations to respect, protect, promote and facilitate economic and social rights. The decision contradicts the tenets of the rule of law, and democratic society.”


SERAP said, “Immediately reversing the decision would be in conformity with the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 [as amended], and Nigeria’s international human rights obligations. Reversing the decision would also improve the confidence of the international community in human rights and the rule of law in Nigeria.”  


The statement reads in part, “Access to telecommunications services is a condition sine qua non for the effective exercise of human rights. Therefore, the decision to block people from making calls is discriminatory and a travesty.


“The decision will cause a wide variety of harms to economic activity, personal safety, and disproportionately affect those on the margins of society. This will directly hinder the ability of the government to achieve the 2030 Agenda’s Goal 8 on the promotion of sustained, inclusive, sustainable economic growth.


“Millions of Nigerians including persons with disabilities, elderly citizens, persons living in remote areas have been unable to capture their biometrics, and obtain their National Identity Numbers [NINs] due to logistical challenges, administrative and bureaucratic burdens, as well as the persistent collapse of the national grid. This has resulted in the discrimination of marginalised or vulnerable groups.


“We would be grateful if the decision to block people from making calls on their SIMs is reversed within 48 hours of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions in the public interest to ensure full compliance with human rights standards.


“The rights to freedom of expression, access to information, and freedom of association, whether offline or online, promote the democratic ideal by allowing citizens to voice their concerns, challenge governmental institutions, and hold the government accountable for its actions.


“The democratic ideal rationale also recognizes the necessity of having a well-informed citizenry to participate in the democratic process.


“We support any lawful means to address the growing insecurity across the country. However, while the authorities have a legal responsibility to protect, ensure and secure the rights to life and property, any such responsibility ought to be discharged in conformity with human rights standards.


“While we recognise the need for your government to take measures to ensure security and safety of the people in the country, we are seriously concerned that the decision to block people from making calls appears to go beyond the restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, information, and association.


“The rights to freedom of opinion and expression and access to information are protected under section 39 of the Nigerian Constitution, article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act.


“We are concerned that the decision to block Nigerians from making calls will have a disproportionate chilling effect on vulnerable groups that rely on such peaceful means to communicate, and convey their opinions and views.


“SERAP is concerned that the decision appears to be arbitrary, and lacks any legal framework, independent and judicial oversight. This may allow authorities to act in an unfettered and potentially arbitrary or unlawful manner.”

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How Moribund Zamfara State University Operating With 4 Employees Now Operates From Primary School

10 April 2022 - 1:24am

When Amina Ibrahim, an indigene of Baruten Local Government Area of Kwara State completed her secondary education in 2017, she looked forward to gaining admission into the university to pursue her dream of becoming a certified nurse.

According to Daily Trust investigation, the following year, she registered for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) but was denied admission despite securing the cut off mark.

“I sat another UTME and failed, but I never gave up. Then I made another attempt for the third time and passed. I was very happy when I received my admission letter to study for a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from the Zamfara State University (ZAMSUT). I even hosted a small party in our family compound before proceeding for matriculation,” she said.

But no sooner had the footsteps of family members, friends and well-wishers who came to celebrate with her for securing a university admission faded, than Amina began to feel frustrated.

“My happiness for securing admission into the ZAMSUT turned into bitterness because it soon dawned on me that I had entered ‘one-chance’. After my matriculation I have not been stable in school as an undergraduate.

From 2000 we spent almost two years away from the school due to the coronavirus palaver. See Also Exclusive Exclusive: Zamfara University Operating With Only Four Employees Despite Offering 18 Courses And Having Over 1,200 Students Four Years After Establishment 0 Comments 1 Month Ago

 “Then I realised that the school depended only on visiting lecturers because they don’t have permanent academic and non-academic staff,” said Amina, who is now in 200 level.

She is just one out of the many students of the Zamfara State University who are worried over the deteriorating state of affairs in the institution. Another student, who also reads Nursing, lamented that they had found themselves in a rather bad situation.

The 200-level student who spoke on condition of anonymity said the state government was playing politics with the university. 

“Zamfara is the only state in the country that didn’t have a state university before it was established by the immediate past governor, Abdulaziz Yari. When the current governor took over, he suspended the university before reopening it.

“During our first semester, we suffered. There are no permanent lecturers and the visiting ones who come from time to time are not even paid. It is obvious that the governor is not serious about the university because since he came into office he has neither rendered any financial assistance nor visited the institution,” he said.

Another student of History and International Studies said she found it strange that the university, which was established in 2018, still operated from a temporary site and yet to employ permanent academic and non-academic staff.

“We only have visiting lecturers who come to teach us three times a week. Even at that, they usually rush us in order to go back to their primary areas of teaching, as a result of which we don’t have value for our money. There is also mass failure as a result of this arrangement,” she lamented.  

Findings indicate that the state university is among the over 50 universities currently owned by state governments across the country. It was established in 2017 during the second tenure of ex-governor Abdul-Aziz Yari Abubakar and was opened for admission in 2018.  

The former governor was said to have created the institution because Zamfara was the only northern state without a state university at the time. Checks further revealed that a primary school was converted at Talata Mafara for the takeoff of the university.

Daily Trust gathered that although the National Universities Commission (NUC) had approved the establishment of the university as the 162nd in the country as of 2018, it is yet to be accredited.

Following its establishment, students were said to have been enrolled in the 2018/2019 academic sessions taught by academic staff whose employment was contract-based while the students took the first-semester examination successfully in 2019 before a transition of power.  

Among the over 25 courses offered in the university, which is currently at its 200- level are Public Health, Nursing, Physiotherapy, Mass Communication, History and International Studies, Mathematics and Computer Science.  

Following the voiding of the 2019 elections in Zamfara State by the Supreme Court, Bello Matawalle, who was the candidate of the then opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, became the governor. He was said to have set up a strategy and development committee that reviewed all the works that were executed by the previous administration.   

Among other functions, the committee, chaired by Professor Yusuf Adamu Tsafe, was to advise the new governor on the smooth takeoff of the school. 

Other members of the committee were Prof Yahya Zakari Abdullahi, Alhaji Musa Ahmed Bungudu, Jalaludeen Ibrahim Maradun, Malam Gazali Shehu Ahmad, Dr. Bashir Maru Maru and Fati Nahuche, a lawyer.

It was gathered that despite the committee’s recommendation in favour of the university, the governor was initially averse to its continuation. However, following mass protests by concerned individuals, including parents and students of the institution, the government reopened the school in 2020 and appointed some principal officers, namely Prof Mu’azu Gusau as vice-chancellor; Bashiru Mafara as registrar; Usman Bungudu as bursar and Aminu Abdullahi as director of academic planning. 

However, in 2021, Prof Gusau handed over to the current vice-chancellor, Prof Yahaya Zakari Abdullahi and moved to the Federal University, Gusau, where he is currently working, also as vice-chancellor. He declined to speak on the status of the university when contacted by our reporter.

Documents obtained also indicate that the committee had recommended the appointment of academic and non-academic staff as earlier recommended by an implementation committee under the chairmanship of Prof Lawal Suleiman Bilbis (the current vice-chancellor of Usumanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto).  

Similarly, the committee recommended the sum of N3.6 billion for a successful takeoff of the university and N100 million monthly subvention as running cost.

While vowing to revamp the education sector in the state, Matawalle reportedly implored the new appointees to discharge their duties diligently, promising to give the institution all the required support “to meet the demands of a new age and become a world-class university.”

However, our findings reveal that for the past two years, the Zamfara State University has been operating from its temporary site, even without academic and non-academic staff. As a result, all the functions of the institution that are expected to be carried out by the relevant management staff, such as deans, heads of departments and examination officers are being performed by the visiting lecturers, who periodically come from other universities across the country. 

Investigation revealed that the university could not recruit permanent staff and even pay the temporary ones (visiting lecturers) due to the failure of the state government to release the monthly sum of N100million overhead cost that was recommended by the strategy and development committee.

There are fears among some educationists that the NUC may shut down the university which is yet to be accredited.

Meanwhile, the Zamfara State Government has blamed the situation in the university on the immediate past administration, saying the takeoff committee was neither given any clear terms of reference nor was it given the financial wherewithal to execute any initiative.

“For the record, the immediate past administration in the state secured the NUC licence for the establishment of the state university. However, it may interest the general public to note that only the site of the university was identified and secured in Talata Mafara and contracts for the development of facilities were awarded at hyperinflated costs to cronies. There was no management staff, academic and non-academic staff for the institution,” Ibrahim Magaji Dosara, the state information commissioner said.  

The commissioner said all the processes for the recruitment of 265 academic and 300 non-academic staff were in an advanced stage. 

“Interviews have been conducted for most of the applicants. They are awaiting the last stage of the final screening. The governor has also approved the release of N60m owed the part-time lecturers,” he said.

Similarly, SaharaReporters' investigation in March revealed that the university had been operating with an abysmally low number of academic and non-academic staff members for over two years. 
The report noted that the school’s management, which was established in 2018 during the administration of Abdul-Aziz Yari as governor of the state, had only four permanent staff members despite having over 1,200 students and offering at least 18 courses.

Apart from a vice-chancellor, registrar, bursar, and director of academic planning, who were employed in 2020 by the administration of the incumbent governor of Zamfara, Matawalle; the university had been using visiting academics from other schools with mostly master's degrees to function as deans, departmental heads, examination officers and assume other important roles in the institution.

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Politician's Guard, Colleague Break Into Former Edo Lawmaker’s Home, Kill Cook

10 April 2022 - 1:15am

File Photo: Violence

A guard has broken into the home of a former lawmaker and minority chief whip of the Edo State House of Assembly, Ezehi Igbas, in the Esan North-East Local Government Area of the state, killing his 38-year-old cook, Mary Atule.
It was gathered that the yet-to-be-identified suspect slit the throat of the victim, Punch reports.

File Photo: Violence

It was learnt that the suspect and his accomplice, identified as ‘Atiku,’ stormed Igbas’ country home in Uromi to rob him at about 8pm on March 31.
They were, however, said to have missed their target on arrival as Igbas was said to have been away on a political engagement but met Atule, who immediately recognised ‘Atiku.’
Sensing that their identities had been exposed, our correspondent learnt that the unidentified suspect hit her head with the cutlass before slitting her throat.
The two suspects were also said to have dumped her corpse in the wardrobe of one of the apartments in the lawmaker’s compound and fled before they were arrested by the police on Friday.
It was gathered that Atule, who was employed on March 4 as a cook, planned to return to her home after preparing her boss’ dinner before she was murdered.
Igbas, who represented Esan North-East II constituency in the Assembly, told Punch on Saturday that he and the boyfriend of the deceased were detained for three days at the State Criminal and Investigation Department when the case was reported at the Uromi Police Station on April 1.
He, however, said they were released when the suspects were arrested.
“When I got home (On March 31), Mary had finished cooking and serving the food. She told me that day that she might go home because sometimes she went home and sometimes, she stayed in the house. I left the house and visited some political friends. I returned at about 12 am (on April 1). They (suspects) had done this thing (killed the cook),’’ the former lawmaker said.
“What I learnt was that as a politician and we are having elections, the (suspects) thought I had money and came to rob. They are at the state CID. The one they call ‘Atiku’ is the brother of a boy, Timothy, who I gave one of my apartments free of charge in May last year. He helps me to maintain the compound. It was a dastardly act. Mary was a nice woman; she was a vice president of the Legion of Mary at St Anthony’s Catholic Church in Uromi.
“When I got to the state CID, they said the thing happened in my house, so I had to stay with them until they were able to unravel whatever transpired.
“One of them (suspects) is a guard to a high-profile politician who lives along Uwalor Road and also happens to be a relation to the boy who resides at my security post while the second one is also a guard in a house down my street. We need to be careful about the kind of people we employ as security guards in our homes,” he added.
Confirming the arrest, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Kontongs Bello, said, “Two suspects are in our custody. The gateman (Timothy) was part of the person that carried out the murder. It was his brother that was involved in it. It was the gateman that led the police to his brother and one other that masterminded the killing of the (former) lawmaker’s cook to make the arrest. He (Igbas) was detained initially but he has been released.”

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Russian Invasion: UK To Deploy 120 Armoured Vehicles To Ukraine As Boris Johnson Tours Kyiv

10 April 2022 - 1:08am

Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, has pledged to send 120 armoured vehicles to Ukraine, after meeting President Volodymyr Zelensky for talks in Kyiv on Saturday.
The Prime Minister said he made his unannounced visit to the Ukrainian capital as “a show of our unwavering support for the people of Ukraine.”

As well as the armoured vehicles, in a significant stepping-up of UK military support, Mr Johnson said Britain would also be sending new anti-ship missile systems.
It comes the day after he announced a further £100 million worth of UK military assistance, including anti-tank and anti-aircraft weaponry and so-called “suicide drones”, which loiter over the battlefield before attacking their target.
Following his meeting with the Ukrainian leader, Mr Johnson said in a statement: “Ukraine has defied the odds and pushed back Russian forces from the gates of Kyiv, achieving the greatest feat of arms of the 21st century.”
SaharaReporters on Saturday reported how the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, condemned the latest wave of attacks on Ukraine when it kicked against the Russian missile attack on a railway station in eastern Ukraine that killed dozens of civilians, including children.
Guterres, in a statement on Friday by his spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, said the strike and others against civilians and civilian infrastructure were “gross violations” of international law.
The Secretary-General said the strike on the Kramatorsk railway station in eastern Ukraine, which killed and injured scores of civilians waiting to be evacuated, “including many women, children and elderly,” was “completely unacceptable.”
Guterres reminded all parties of their obligations under international law to protect civilians and of the urgency to agree on humanitarian ceasefires in a bid to enable the safe evacuation of and humanitarian access to populations trapped in conflict.
The Secretary-General reiterated his appeal to all concerned to bring an immediate end to this brutal war.
Similarly, UN Crisis Coordinator for Ukraine, Amin Awad, said many had suffered terrible injuries at the railway station and that the number of fatalities was likely to rise.

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Nigerian Gospel Singer, Chioma Jesus Reacts To Colleague, Osinachi’s Death

10 April 2022 - 12:58am

Popular gospel singer, Chioma Jesus, has reacted to the death of her colleague and popular music minister, Osinachi Nwachukwu.
SaharaReporters on Saturday reported that friends of the late gospel singer, Osinachi Nwachukwu, alleged that the “Ekwueme” crooner died from domestic violence, and not throat cancer as widely claimed. 

Some of her friends had said the cause of death was a kick in the chest by her husband, Peter Nwachukwu - an injury that placed the victim on five days of life support before she passed on.
Osinachi died on Friday after an illness, although the details of her death were still sketchy. 
In a series of Facebook posts and WhatsApp status messages, it was revealed that the singer had been a victim of domestic violence for a long time.
Her death has thrown both her fans and the entire gospel music industry into a state of mourning.
Reacting, Chioma Jesus revealed she was heartbroken by the news of Osinachi’s death.
Her Instagram post reads, “OSI’M I’m so heartbroken and still in disbelief.”
The singer’s family is yet to issue a statement on her death.

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Terrorists Take 13 Taraba Communities, Chase Away Policemen, Sleep With Housewives

10 April 2022 - 12:52am

Terrorists, locally dubbed bandits, have taken over at least 13 communities in the Gassol and Karim Lamido local government areas of Taraba State.

According to Daily Trust, findings revealed that the worst affected by the bandits’ activities is the Kambari community.

Kambari village in the Karim Lamido Local Government Area is located on the bank of River Benue and not far away from the border of Plateau State.

The town and other neighbouring villages are also surrounded by thick forests and without access roads which make it a haven for criminals.

The daredevil bandits, it was further learnt, have forced the police and vigilantes to abandon their duty posts in that axis.

The bandits, according to sources in the area, forcefully sleep with housewives and young girls.

Residents of the town have resigned to fate as there is no action from the authorities to arrest the criminal activities.

Similarly, other villages in both Gassol and Karim Lamido local government areas located on the bank of River Benue are also under the threat of terrorists.

Residents of six villages across River Benue, in the Karim Lamido local government area, were forced to relocate to other places because of the criminal activities of the terrorists.

The villages include Gwammo, Wurno, Tungan Kaya, Gidan Kawoyel and Ali Kwala.

Similarly, WuroJam, Karar, Shika, Amar, Zip, WuruJam, Illela and Maigemu among others are now under the threat of the terrorists.

It was gathered that the bandits move freely day and night with their weapons in some of the affected villages and towns.

Findings revealed that the terrorists have become lords to themselves and are kidnapping residents including housewives without let or hindrance.

In some of the affected villages, young boys were said to have been recruited by the terrorists and are the ones informing the terrorists of houses of wealthy individuals.

A resident of Kambari town who spoke on condition of anonymity said the bandits have taken over the town and it is now their operational base.

According to him, many residents have relocated to Mutumbiyu town and other places.

He said the bandits are mostly from Zamfara and Katsina and they number over 200.

“There is no presence of police and vigilantes in Kambari, terrorists are in total control of the town and they move freely with their arms,” he said.

A former resident of the area, who relocated to Mutumbiyu town, said it is no longer safe to stay in the town.

“We are under siege; we need the government to intervene by sending soldiers to chase out the terrorists because they are regrouping every day and also recruiting our young men,” he said. 

He revealed that the terrorists are responsible for most of the kidnappings and killings in parts of Karim Lamido, Gassol and Bali local government areas of the state.


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