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APC has shown itself as enemy of Benue — PDP Publicity Secretary

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By Titus Atondu, Makurdi

The Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Benue State Chapter, Bemgba Iortyom, has disclosed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state has shown itself as an enemy of Benue.

He alleged that the party continually holds and brands views targeted at demarketing the state while also seeking to scuttle the attainment of strategic gains being sought by the Governor Ortom administration all in furtherance of a scorched earth strategy which PDP had earlier condemned.

Mr Iortyom also described the state chapter of the APC as most dysfunctional and unpatriotic opposition in the history of Benue politics.

The PDP Publicity Secretary made the disclosure while briefing Journalists at the party secretariat in Makurdi during the weekend.

Iortyom said “without mixing words , we aver that APC in Benue State presently reckons as the most irresponsible, most dysfunctional and most unpatriotic opposition political party ever in the political history of the state, this on account of the conduct and publicly expressed views of the party such as have left so much to be desired.

“Ranging from handling of its internal processes to its position on matters of state, APC has come far short of the basic minimum required of an opposition party which should be seen as a partner in societal building.”

He further stated that “the crass inability of the opposition party to meet such elementary lawful requirements by fielding a credible candidates for the 2023 elections is at the moment a matter pending before the law courts, as such not subject for PDP are ommenting on, the party’s serial gaffes on matters of state policy and administration, such as was exhibited yesterday at a press conference it addressed in Makurdi calling for the impeachment of Governor Samuel Ortom over what it termed mismanagement of the local government tier of administration in the state need making a few observations on.”

The PDP Chief Scribe explained that Governor Ortom does not run the local government administrations in Benue State, rather the Executive arm of the state government under his leadership only to exercise oversight of that tier of government through clear cut constitutional provisions which do not include constituting councils and inaugurating the.

He further explained that local government council chairmen are vested with such responsibility, and if in the course of exercising their Constitutional responsibilities, they have inaugurated the vice-chairmen, which is a fact against the lie by APC that they have not been inaugurated.

According to him, they have encountered delay for a period of less than two months, which the party is aware for the purpose of consensus building and harmony within the system and this should be understandable, especially to a party like APC under which control it took President Buhari over half a year to pick a cabinet composed of recycle politicians.

His words: “It is the assurances from PDP as the sponsoring platform for those local government administrations as well as the Ortom administration that the right thing is being done at those councils as we are aware no council chairman has so far acted outside of their lawful powers, even as they have so very early shown through decisive steps that they will consolidate on the achievements of their predecessors and thereby continue on the trajectory of improvement of governance at that tier, even as we equally assure that the legislative arms of government at that level will within the shortest possible time be inaugurated.

“Governor Ortom holds the enviable distinction of since coming to office in 2015 having within the scope of lawful authority of his administration dutifully without fail provided for and ensured the conduct of elections into councils at the local governments, in 2017 when his administration was under the control of APC and which the party won and didn’t complain of any lapses therein, and under PDP in 2019 and most recently in May this year (2022) both of which APC in pathetic show of cowardice publicly declined participation in only to turn around and attempt to discredit, as they are doing presently.

“PDP is not unmindful of the fact that such a sterling record contrasts sharply with that held by the leader of APC in Benue State, Senator George Akume, who’s sole attempt at conducting local government elections during his time as Governor remains to this day marked as the most bloodstained chapter in the history of the state, when thousands were slaughtered by militia he allegedly hired and sponsored to enforce his handpicked but unpopular cronies over the council administrations.

“It is a manifestation of lack in depth of thought by the opposition party that they have shown themselves so incapable of comprehending even basically how the local government tier of administration functions, and also gone so far down the pedestrian lane as alleging unfounded acts of corruption against the Ortom administration and calling for his impeachment.

“Perhaps, APC in their latest call for Governor Ortom’s impeachment is still under the same temptation as propelled them to attempt the failed bid to impeach him in the buildup to the 2019 elections with only 8 out to 30 members of the state Assembly who were backed by “Federal Might”, otherwise how does the concoction of watery commonplace allegations against the governor amount to impeachable offences?

“By which consensus does APC hope to muster an impeachment of the governor in a legislative assembly where they have at the moment only 3 out of 30 members and it is doubtful by the trend of events if they will have even a single member by the turn of 2023?

“Only recently the opposition party targeted the Benue Television which is another of the Ortom administration’s milestones with derisive commentaries in the media targeted to besmirch it when it was advertised that the station now airs on Channel 8 on the Free-to-Air satellite system, despite that this represents progress as even major television stations such as AIT climbed up the ladder to be where they are today, yet the same party’s spokesman man has been using the television station and was even a couple of days back a guest on one it’s talk shows.

“The other day Benue APC came out condemning the calls by Governor Ortom for 13% derivation revenue allocation to Benue State from all mineral resources in the state, after the governor had mounted a case for the state to be designated a mineral producing state.

“This clearly is politics taken to the rock bottom of negativity where the very essence of society itself is put to jeopardy in the quest by a group to usurp access to power.

“This is politics which has not the interests of the state and the people in view as the objective, but rather that of a group and the self seeking interests of its members, but which are supposed to be subsumed under those of the state.

“To APC winning power in Benue State at the 2023 elections is a matter of hook or crook as can be seen in the manner of the party’s approach to the processes leading up to the elections, with tell tale signs of a preference for mob rule over the lawful prescriptions of the rule of law.”

He called on Benue people to beware of this same children of “Federal Might” as they have once again started the same and by now familiar dance steps targeted as usurping the popular mandate of the people which is being lustfully desired after by external forces which mean only ill for the Benue and her people.

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3 injured as 2 armed drones from Lebanon explode in Israel

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Two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Lebanon carrying explosives exploded in northern Israel on Tuesday, lightly injuring three people, Israeli authorities said, amid heightened tensions between Israel and Iran and its allies.

The Israeli military said in a statement that the armed drones crossed from Lebanon into Israeli territory and exploded in the area of Beit Hillel in the Galilee.

Three people sustained light injuries, Israel’s state-owned Kan reported.

The drones did not trigger air raid sirens, and the military said the incident was under review.

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CBN expresses commitment to harnessing digital technologies

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The Central Bank of Nigeria says it is committed to harnessing the power of digital technologies to enhance financial inclusion.

Mr Yemi Cardoso, CBN Governor, said this on Tuesday in Abuja, during a strategic institutions tour by participants of Senior Executive Course 46 of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS).

Cardoso, who was represented by Dr Bala Bello, Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, said that digital technologies would also boost productivity and create an enabling environment for innovation and entrepreneurship to thrive.

According to him, the apex bank has already deployed robust digital technologies in driving most of its processes towards achieving optimal performance.

He said that NIPSS, as a foremost national policy think-tank, had made invaluable contributions to the socio-political and macroeconomic development of Nigeria.

“We are, therefore, not surprised at the apt and relevant choice of your research theme.

“The CBN and NIPSS have had a long-standing and robust working relationship since the establishment of the institute. This has culminated into positive mutual benefits for the two institutions.

“The CBN, on the one hand, has provided infrastructural support to the institute through construction of an auditorium and a hostel, in addition to the provision of technical support.

“On the other hand, NIPSS has supported the technical capacity of the CBN through the training of some personnel both at senior executive course level and intermediate course cadre,” he said.

The Director-General of NIPSS, Prof. Ayo Omotayo, said that the study visiting would be representing the institute in getting information from operators of the apex bank on the relevance of digital technology to developing jobs for Nigerian youths.

According to Omotayo, a lot of progress has been made globally in using digital systems to run the economy.

“The more of our activities that we can put in digital format, the more we get the opportunity of providing employment access to a whole lot of the 120 million active Nigerians.

“We at NIPSS always knock at the frontiers of knowledge, checking what is going to happen in the immediate future.

“We are working towards a system where we believe that almost every service can be delivered digitally,” he said.

The Acting Director, Monetary Policy Department of the CBN, Dr Lafi Bala Keffi, commended the NIPSS study group for its interest in the apex bank.

She urged the participants to explore the time-tested culture of NIPSS, which is to diagnose national, profer practical solutions and recommend ways of making such solutions realisable.

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NCAA suspends licences of 3 private jet owners

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Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has suspended licences of three Permit for Non-Commercial Flight (PNCF), otherwise known as private jet owners, over alleged failure to comply with regulatory requirements.

Acting Director-General of NCAA, Capt. Chris Najomo, disclosed this to newsmen on Tuesday in Lagos.

Najomo said that after issuing a stern warning to the PNCFs in March, the authority deployed its men to monitor activities of private jet owners at airport terminals across the country.

He said that consequent upon the heightened surveillance, three private operators were found to have violated the annexure provisions of their PNCF and Part 9114 of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations, 2023.

Najomo further stated that NCAA would be carrying out a re-evaluation of regulatory requirements compliance of all PNCFs owners within the next 72 hours.

This, he said, this was in line with the authority’s zero tolerance for violations of regulations.

“In line with our zero tolerance for violation of regulations, the authority has suspended the PNCF of these operators.

“To further sanitise the general aviation sector, I have directed that a re-evaluation of all holders of PNCF be carried out on or before April 19, to ascertain compliance with regulatory requirements.

“All PNCF holders will be required to submit relevant documents to the authority within the next 72 hours,” he said.
Najomo recalled that in 2023, the use of private jets for commercial purposes had gotten the attention of the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr Festus Keyamo (SAN), who issued marching orders for cessation of such acts.

He said that in March, NCAA issued a stern warning to holders of the permit for non-commercial flights, PNCF, against engaging in the carriage of passenger cargo or mail for hire and reward.

Najomo said that the riot act was also directed at existing Air Operator Certificate (AOC) holders who utilised aircraft listed on their PNCF for commercial charter operations.

“It must be emphasised that only the aircraft listed in the Operation Specifications of the AOC are authorised to be used in the provision of such charter services.

“Any of those AOC holders who wish to use the aircraft for charter operations must apply to the NCAA to delist the affected aircraft from the PNCF and include it into the AOC operations specification.

“NCAA wishes to reiterate to the travelling public not to patronise any airline charter operator who does not hold a valid AOC issued by the NCAA, when they wish to procure charter operation services,” he said.

The NCAA boss, thereafter, encouraged legitimate players in the aviation industry to promptly report such illegal activities to the authority for necessary action.

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