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Lagos’ll strengthen partnership with U.S. on security, technology, good governance — Sanwo-Olu

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Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Wednesday said the State Government will strengthen its partnership with the United States and work closely to deepen a mutually beneficial relationship on security, business, entertainment, technology and good governance, among others, to better the lives of the citizens.

Governor Sanwo-Olu made the statement on Wednesday while receiving the new United States Consul General, Mr. Williams Stevens, who paid him a courtesy visit at the Lagos House, Marina.

The Governor said Lagos State Government is looking forward to using the opportunities and mutually beneficial partnerships between the State and the United States to better the lives of residents and create an atmosphere where businesses can thrive.

He said, “We know too well that you will do bigger and greater things with the government and the people of Lagos. The relationship that the government has with your office is great, it is phenomenal but beyond that, it is really about our people. It is about ensuring that we can use our opportunity to better the lives of our citizens and businesses both in institutions and the country.

“Over the last couple of months in Lagos State, we have seen direct investments from big American companies that have seen the need for them not to just verbalise that the future is in Africa but the future is actually in Lagos and we need to take those steps.

“We know that indeed this is where the huge number of youth population; the opportunity is here in tech, financial services, entertainment and tourism. This is where everything comes together. So, I am excited. We believe working closely with your office, we will be creating success on both sides and we will be building a mutually beneficial relationship.

“Security is paramount for you, myself and for our citizens. We will be taking that forward. I am sure over the period we will deepen the relationship further and build a visible clear vision for our cities.”

In his remarks, the United States Consul General, Williams Stevens said his country was poised to improve the economic relationships, bilateral trade and work together to combat crime while partnering to prioritise education, cultural engagement and entertainment, among other initiatives that would lead to investments in the state.

Stevens, who described the economic relationship as the foundation of any partnership as well as security, promised that the United States will partner with Lagos State and the Federal Government in combating trans-national crimes and ensure the security of lives and properties of residents, which according to him is key to creating a conducive environment for businesses to thrive.

He said, “We are focused on security. We are focused on ensuring that we are working together with Nigerian organisations and law enforcement to combat international crime and help the people here safer and more secure, which actually directly connects to trade investment.

“We are also focusing on the human concept on regulations, health, partnership, democracy, governance, preparation for the upcoming elections; everything we can do to ensure that people who are here in Lagos State and around Nigeria can have the opportunity to live healthy and safer.”

Stevens, who described Nigerian entertainers as global stars, said there is a partnership between Americans and Nigerians both in films and music in the classic entertainment industries.

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Bauchi: Police apprehend final-year law student for alleged online harassment, character defamation

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Adeyanju Esther

In a significant development that underscores the growing concerns over online defamation and harassment, The Bauchi State Police Command has apprehended a 34-year-old final-year Law student of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, Usman Adamu, for alleged involvement in defaming a Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in the state, CSP Danladi Mohammed, on Facebook.

According to a statement released by the spokesman of the Bauchi State Police Command, SP Ahmed Mohammed Wakil, Adamu stands accused of making derogatory statements against CSP Danladi Mohammed on his Facebook page, thereby tarnishing the officer’s reputation and character.

The arrest came after Adamu confessed to the online publication during police interrogation, admitting that he had based his statements on hearsay without a thorough investigation of the situation. The statement from SP Wakil highlighted the sequence of events leading to Adamu’s arrest.

It was revealed that the incident prompting Adamu’s defamatory remarks occurred on April 2, when one AbdulmumuniLiman, also known as Kwakiya, allegedly assaulted and inflicted injuries on another individual over a land dispute. The police received a complaint about the incident, prompting an investigation into the matter.

The situation escalated when a mob gathered in solidarity with the complainant, leading to a physical confrontation between the two sides. However, the timely intervention of a police team, led by DPO CSP Danladi Mohammed, helped resolve the conflict and prevent further escalation.

Despite the resolution of the situation, Adamu’s defamatory remarks on Facebook sparked concerns about potential misinformation and its implications for community peace and security. Consequently, Adamu was arrested and transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) for further investigation, in accordance with directives from the Commissioner of Police.

In a public apology posted on his Facebook page on April 8, Adamu expressed remorse for his actions, acknowledging his mistake and seeking forgiveness from the authorities and specifically from CSP Danladi Mohammed. He emphasized the fallibility of human nature and urged individuals to disregard his previous statements.

The arrest of Adamu serves as a cautionary tale regarding the consequences of online harassment and defamation, highlighting the need for responsible use of social media platforms and adherence to ethical standards in communication. As the investigation progresses, authorities remain vigilant in upholding justice and ensuring the protection of individuals’ reputations from unwarranted attacks.

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Ondo 2024: Aiyedatiwa coasts to victory

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..As supporters of aggrieved aspirants storm Party secretariat

…Aspirants call for cancellation of election, allege irregularities

By Akintunde Jacobs, Akure

Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa of Ondo state, has emerged as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the forthcoming November 16th, 2024 governorship election in the state.

Aiyedatiwa was declared winner of the governorship primary election which took place on Sunday by the Chairman of the APC Primary Election Committee and Governor of Kogi State, Ahmed Usman Ododo at the International Culture and Event Centre, The Dome, in Akure, the Ondo state capital.

Ododo, while announcing Aiyedatiwa as winner, said he scored 48,569 votes to beat other 15 aspirants.

He said the other aspirants score is as follows: Wale Akinterinwa; 1,952, Olusola Oke; 14,915, Mayowa Akinfolarin; 15,343, Jimoh Ibrahim; 9,456, Isaac Kekemeke; 1,045, Gbenga Edema; 395, Olamide Ohunyeye; 424, Jimi Odimayo; 490, Olusoji Ehinlanwo; 492, Morayo Lebi; 290, Diran Iyantan; 348, Francis Faduyile; 353, Ifeoluwa Oyedele; 462, Funmilayo Waheed-Adekojo; 529 and Funke Omogoroye; 115.

While Ododo said that the total numbers of voters; 171, 922, accredited voters; 95178, total vote cast; 95178, valid votes; 95178, invalid vote; nil.

According to Ododo, who was flanked by the secretary of the committee, Ovie Omo-Agege and other members of the committee said; “reports from the field revealed that the primary election went on peacefully, and the end of the exercise, votes were counted and recorded.

“By the power conferred on the committee, and in line with APC guide lines for the nomination of the candidate, of the party in the general election, I Ahmed Usman Ododo, Governor of Kogi State and the Chairman of the Committee and the Returning Officer of the Ondo State APC governorship primary election, held on the 20th, 2024, hereby declared that Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa having satisfied the requirements of the law and scored the highest numbers of votes cast in the direct primary election, is hereby return elected and declare winner.”

Some aggrieved members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Ondo state, on Sunday stormed the Secretariat of the party, in Akure, to express displeasure over alleged irregularities in the conduct of Saturday’s governorship primary election across the 18 local government areas in the state.

The protesters who were supporters of Olusola Oke, Wale Akinterinwa and Jimi Odimayo, alleged that the primary was fraught with irregularities and illegalities.

The demonstrators, who stormed the Secretariat, however, demanded for the suspension of Kogi state Governor, Ahmed Usman Ododo from the party, who led other seven-man committee to conduct the primary.

While flaunting different protest banners and placards such as “No election in Ondo.,” “APC primary electoral officers failed to show up in all wards in Ondo State,” “We demand fairness and justice in APC primary election in Ondo,” they alleged that; “Ododo is a criminal and a thief. In a saner clime, Ododo by now will be in jail. Election crime is a serious crime. You cannot come to the wards of our people and start terrorising them against their will.”

The placards also include inscriptions like, “No mandate for Aiyedatiwa, We’re calling for fresh primary election,” “NWC of APC, No Mandate for Aiyedatiwa,” “Saturday ‘s APC primary in Ondo was a sham,” “APC Must Not Collapse In Ondo State,” “Primary Election materials were not distributed in all wards across Eighteen LGAs in Ondo State,” among others.

They, however, called for fresh primary elections for the interest of peace and tranquility.

Addressing journalists, the Director General for Olusola Oke Campaign Organisation, Ondo Central Senatorial District, Adeniran Oyebade who spoke on behalf of the protesters said the election was a broad-day robbery.

His words: “We are protesting against our mandate that was stolen. It was  broad-daylight robbery, a monumental disaster. APC delegated some people to Ondo State to conduct the primary; apparently, that was never done. They remained in Akure and started writing results. They wrote the results of 203 wards all across Ondo State, taking the mandate of the people into their own hands.”

He alleged that, “at the end of the day, we started seeing different results flying around stating one particular candidate won the election, but that never happened.”

“APC as a party is about to set Ondo State on fire, and we will never take this lightly. We want the most popular candidate, a candidate that knows the people; we want the candidate whose name is a household brand in every part of Ondo State. We do not want an unpopular or controversial candidate; we don’t want a wife beater. We want someone with a sound mind,” Oyebade claimed.

He also claimed that “Ododo should be suspended from the party. Ododo is a criminal and a thief. In a saner clime, Ododo by now will be in jail. Election crime is a serious crime. You cannot come to the wards of our people and start terrorising them against their will. What we want is the cancellation of the election because any election did not take place. There is no need to say that the election was inconclusive.”

Ade Adeniyi and Bola Fisayo who also spoke said APC members, who are eligible to vote for their preferred aspirants, waited for the conduct of the poll but all to no avail.

As at the time of filing this report, the Ododo’s seven-man committee that came to conduct the primary is yet to announce the winner of the governorship primary.

Similarly another aspirant, Engr. Folakemi Omogoroye, vehemently denounced the process, alleging widespread absence of election and calling for its immediate cancellation.

The primary, scheduled for April 20th, 2024, failed to take place as anticipated, leaving Engr. Omogoroye and her supporters frustrated. “There was no election anywhere,” she asserted, decrying what she described as a “complete rape on democracy.”

Expressing her dismay, Engr. Omogoroye lamented the absence of election officials and voting materials at voting centres, rendering her and her supporters unable to exercise their right to vote. Despite her meticulous preparation and financial commitment to the party, she found herself circumvented  to participate in the democratic process.

In a bold move, Engr. Omogoroye called upon the party’s leader, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to intervene and annul the purported election.

Her words: “President Bola Ahmed Tinubu gave us women a renewed hope agenda that prompted me to go into the race with assurance that the election is going to be free and fair and that was why I went into this contest.

“But to my greatest surprise,  the reverse is the case. I was on the field from 7am, no election materials were seen, not to talk of seeing any party officials or INEC officials and a voice came up that Aiyedatiwa has won, Aiyedatiwa has won.

“I don’t know how that happened and I don’t know how the party is going to take that, because I, Engr. Folakemi Omogoroye will not accept that; because I believe in the party, I have been in the party for years, and this is the time we have to make the party better that other parties will emulate, but this is not the case.

“Other parties are now making a mockery of our party, all my political followers from all the books and crannies of Ondo state have been calling me that the same thing happened all over.”

She emphasised the urgency the situation is required to be redressed, warning of dire consequences for the party’s future in Ondo State if swift action is not taken.

Furthermore, she threatened legal action if her demand for a fresh and transparent election was not met promptly.

“I am not going to accept it, and now, I am calling for cancellation and if this is not done, maybe we’ll meet in court,” she added.

Also, the Governor of Kogi state and Chairman of the Ondo state governorship primary election committee, Ahmed Ododo, has explained reasons for declaring the Saturday election inconclusive.

Ododo, in a statement on Sunday said that the late arrival of materials and personnel to 13 wards in Okitipupa council area of state, the All Progressive Congress Governorship Primary Election Committee, necessitated the rescheduling of the exercise on Sunday.

According to him, “The rerun election would take place in all the 13 wards of Okitipupa Local Government with the total number of 9,515 validated registered party members.”

According to him, this is because of validated reports that the exercise did not hold in the Local government due to late arrival of materials and personnel as a result of logistics challenges.

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Cardoso clarifies CBN’s stance on Naira defence, market intervention

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…Reflects on lessons learned in first six months as CBN boss

…As CBN, Ministry of Finance forge strong alliance to combat inflation

By Sodiq Adelakun

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Yemi Cardoso has clarified the stance of the apex bank on Naira defense and market intervention.

He made this known in an exclusive interview with the International Monetary Fund African Department Director, Abebe Selassie, at the IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington DC, United States of America, held between April 11 and 20, 2024.

The Governor unveiled his strategic vision for Nigeria’s monetary policy, shedding light on the bold decisions that transformed the Naira from its worst state to the best-performing within a span of six months.

Cardoso addressed concerns regarding the defense of the naira, emphasising that it is not the bank’s intention to intervene in currency markets to prop up the naira’s value.

He outlined the CBN’s overarching policy and philosophy, which prioritizes a market-driven approach to currency valuation. ”Basically, what we are encouraging is for the market to be a willing buyer, willing seller, and price-discover-led one,” the Governor explained.

According to him, “I know that the issue of defending the naira has become an elephant in some room. I want to try to make this as clear as possible. It is not our intention to defend the naira. It is not.

“Much as I have read in the recent few days, some opinions with respect to what is happening with our reserves. If you think back to what our overall policy and philosophy has been here, you can see that it is counter-intuitive. Basically, what we are encouraging is for the market to be a willing buyer, willing seller, and price-discover-led one.

“Ultimately, I perceive a future where the CBN may really not need to intervene except in very unusual circumstances.

“As long as we have a vibrant currency market, why do we need to intervene? I can understand that, especially at the outset, we have experienced that we needed to get the Bureau de Change segment going.

“We had to release tiny amounts of money to catalyse those happenings. Individuals must have funds to send their kids abroad and do things that are important. It is important not to keep them out of the mainstay.

“What we have seen with the shifts in our reserves are the shifts that you would find in any country’s reserve situation. When debts are due and payments need to be made, they are to be made, because that is also part of keeping your credibility intact.

Recall that when the Naira has one time been regarded as the worst-performing currency of any country.

He stated: “When I started, we had a situation where within a month or two, we were regarded as the worst-performing currency of any country.

“Six months later, we are judged to have the best-performing currency of any country. So, I think those things speak for themselves. A situation where in the recent past, the greatest amount of liquidity on a daily basis was in the region of $200m to $300m; in six months, we have traded over $1bn.

“FX liquidity has taken a centre stage in the activity of the monetary side, and I think people see that; they also see the exchange rate coming down and they understand that there is a lag. Ultimately, the objective is that we can moderate inflation.”

…Cardoso reflects on lessons learned in first six months as CBN boss

Cardoso emphasised on the daunting challenges he faced upon assuming office, including high inflation rates and a severely stressed exchange rate, which had eroded trust and confidence in the system.

He reiterated the critical importance of rebuilding trust, acknowledging the significant backlog of unmet forward transactions and committing to address them as a means to regain confidence.

He however highlighted the integration of senior leadership from the Ministry of Finance within the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

…CBN, Ministry of Finance forge strong alliance to combat inflation

“In the MPC, we have the presence of very senior leadership from the fiscal side as members of the MPC in the person of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, who is here today, and we always have very good and open dialogue on issues so we are able to hear the different sides of the situation. Beyond that, we have set up different committees that work hand-in-hand with respect to ensuring that we are on the same page with respect to taming inflation.

“It is also commendable that the Ministry of Finance has begun that process of securitising the outstanding Ways and Means, and I think that is extremely commendable. I think it is less of an issue now, and we can work better together, bearing in mind that as we move towards inflation targeting, there has to be a strong partnership for it to be successful,” he reiterated.

The Governor highlighted the shift away from interventionist policies towards orthodox monetary practices, signaling a clear departure from past approaches.

He emphasised the necessity of communicating effectively with stakeholders, particularly international investors, to foster understanding and restore faith in Nigeria’s economic trajectory.

Meanwhile, Cardoso outlined bold measures such as liquidity mopping and interest rate hikes, demonstrating a commitment to tackling economic challenges head-on for the benefit of all Nigerians.

He stressed the importance of continuous dialogue and transparent communication to elucidate the rationale behind policy decisions and manage public perceptions.

Collaboration with the fiscal side was deemed essential for the success of inflation-targeting objectives, with Cardoso highlighting the need for a harmonious partnership with the Ministry of Finance to achieve sustainable economic outcomes.

Reflecting on his first six months in office, Cardoso emphasised the paramount importance of trust and credibility in driving effective policy implementation, noting the need for consistent communication and realistic expectations.

When questioned about currency risk management and the development of currency risk markets, Cardoso hinted at ongoing considerations, suggesting a phased approach to implementation aligned with broader economic objectives.

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