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Ogun Govt distributes palliatives at Eid praying grounds

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By Omobolaji Adekunle, Abeokuta

Ogun State Government has continued its distribution of palliatives at Eid praying grounds to mark the Eid-el-Fitri celebration.

This is just as the Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has said that Nigeria is on the verge of recovering from its economic challenges as a result of the corporate prayers offered by Nigerians during the Lent and Ramadan fasting.

Governor Abiodun, who stated this while playing host to Muslim faithfuls at his Iperu residence in Ikenne Local Government Area, noted that the country’s challenges are surmountable but needed all hands to be on deck.

He averred that the current policies and programmes of the President Bola Tinubu-led federal government are yielding fruits as the economy is gradually taking shape.

“Naira continues to appreciate against the dollar. We will soon start to enjoy it. The development of Nigeria is now paramount. It is a must. Nigeria is going to rise again,” he said.

According to the Governor, Ramadan is a period to seek forgiveness and be kind to fellow humans, stressing the need for Nigerians to always be good to one another and uphold religious harmony.

He added, “Ramadan is a season of self-denial, a season of self-discipline and prayer to Almighty God. It is also a season of religious tolerance for both Christians and Muslims. Without a doubt, the Almighty has answered and is still answering all our prayers.

“My message to our people is that the same way we denied ourselves in the past 30 days, the same way that we forgive those that offended us, the same way we choose to live a life of impact by giving freely to the less privileged, let us continue in the same fashion and be good to our neighbours.”

Abiodun congratulated the Muslim faithful for the successful completion of Ramadan, describing it as a spiritual exercise that is beneficial to both individuals and the nation.

In the same vein, the state Deputy Governor, Engr (Mrs.) Noimot Salako-Oyedele also urged Nigerians to continue to pray for the success of the policies and programmes of the President Tinubu-led administration towards  repositioning the country.

Speaking at the Ota Central Eid ground, Engr. Salako-Oyedele called on the citizens to be optimistic about the emergence of a new Nigeria soon, even as she expressed delight that the new policies of the government at the centre are already yielding the desired results on the economy.

While renewing the commitment of Governor Abiodun at ensuring the even distribution of the dividends of democracy across the state, the deputy governor urged Muslim faithful to continue to pray for the government so they will be able to do more for the people.

She also advised Muslims to adhere to the tenets of Islam as well as live by the various teachings imbibed during

Meanwhile, the palliative distribution took place at the various Eid praying grounds across the state.

At the Eid praying ground, Sagamu, the Grand Chief Imam of Remo kingdom, Alhaji Abdul-Quadri Jinadu, expressed gratitude to Governor Dapo Abiodun for continuing to put smiles on the faces of residents of the state.

Alhaji Jinadu noted that the palliative would alleviate the current economic hardship and bring succour to the people.

“The various ongoing interventions by the state government are ways to ameliorate the economic situation. It is a sign that Nigerians will soon come out of the current economic hardship,” he said.

In his remarks, the Asiwaju Adinni of Ogun State and Baba Adinni of Remoland, Alhaji Samsideen Apelogun, appreciated the government for the palliative distribution, noting that this would go a long way in ameliorating the economic situation and put food on the table for the vulnerable.

In separate interviews, Mrs. Selimotu Tijani and Alhaji Nimotalai Adekunle commended the governor for the palliatives that were distributed during and after the fasting period, pointing out that the gesture had brought succour into many homes.

Muslim faithful who thronged the Ilaro Central praying ground were full of excitement with the food palliative.

Speaking with journalists during the distribution of the palliative, the Chairman of Yewa South Local Government, Hon. Lateef Salami appreciated Governor Abiodun for the gesture, adding that this year, Eid-el-Fitr would remain a memorable one as it served as a relief to the needy.

Speaking earlier, the Chief Imam of Ilaro Central Mosque, Imam Tajudeen Adewunmi, who thanked the governor for the gesture, pointed out that it would go a long way to ameliorate the suffering occasioned partly by the fuel subsidy removal.

He implored Islamic adherents to always reflect on the lessons learnt during the month of Ramadan while enjoining them to embrace peace at all times, love one another, and be kind to all, especially those in need.

In their separate remarks, Mr. Raheem Ismail and Alhaja Fasina Mopelola, who were some of the beneficiaries, thanked the governor for the food palliatives with prayer that Allah would continue to bless him and grant him success in office.

The palliatives were also distributed at Ijebu Ode and Ikenne Eid praying grounds.

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U.S. army sets deadline for troop withdrawal from Niger

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The United States has initiated the withdrawal of its military forces from Niger Republic, following directives from the West African nation’s military leadership.

The withdrawal process, slated to be completed by September 15, 2024, marks the end of an era of American military presence in the country.

According to a press release jointly issued by the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Homeland and the US Department of Defense on Sunday, discussions between the two parties, held from May 15 to 19, 2024, in Niamey, Niger, aimed to ensure the orderly and safe withdrawal of US forces from the region.

Led by high-ranking officials such as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, Christopher Maier, and the Chief of Staff of the Nigerien Army, Colonel-Major Mamane Kiaou, the discussions emphasised transparency and mutual respect.

The withdrawal encompasses troops stationed at key bases, notably the strategically significant $110 million drone base in Agadez.

“Representatives of the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of National Defense of the Republic of Niger met from May 15 to 19, 2024, in Niamey, Republic of Niger, as part of a Joint Disengagement Commission, to coordinate the orderly and safe withdrawal of U.S. forces from Niger.

“These discussions between the militaries were conducted in complete transparency and with perfect mutual respect between the two parties.

“The U.S. Department of Defense delegation was led by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, Mr. Christopher Maier; and the Director of Joint Force Development in the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Lieutenant General Dagvin Anderson. The delegation of the Ministry of National Defense of Niger was led by the Chief of Staff of the Army, Colonel-Major Mamane Sani Kiaou,” the statement read in part.

Despite the military disengagement, both nations affirmed their commitment to ongoing diplomatic dialogue and cooperation in areas of mutual interest, including counterterrorism efforts.

“The U.S. Department of Defense and the Ministry of National Defense of Niger have reached a disengagement agreement to effect the withdrawal of U.S. forces, which has already begun. It is therefore agreed that this disengagement will end no later than September 15, 2024.

“Both delegations confirmed the guarantees of protection and security to the American forces during their withdrawal. The delegations also established procedures to facilitate the entry and exit of U.S. personnel, including overflight and landing clearances for military flights.

“The U.S. Department of Defense and the Nigerien Ministry of National Defense recall the joint sacrifices of Nigerien and U.S. forces in the fight against terrorism and commend each other’s efforts to build up the Nigerien Armed Forces. The Parties undertake to continue cooperation in areas of common interest.

“The withdrawal of U.S. forces from Niger does not affect the continuation of U.S.-Niger development relations. The United States and Niger are committed to ongoing diplomatic dialogue to define the future of their bilateral relations,” it added.

The US initially established a military base in Niger to combat armed groups aligned with al-Qaeda and ISIL operating in the Sahel region, which includes Burkina Faso and Mali. The primary airbase in Agadez, located about 920km from the capital Niamey, has been a crucial site for both manned and unmanned surveillance flights and other military operations.

On April 19, 2024, the US announced plans to withdraw its troops from Niger due to the West African nation’s growing alignment with Russia and its distancing from Western powers. Consequently, the US Department of State agreed to pull out approximately 1,000 troops from the country, which has been under military rule since July 2023.

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Reps seek more financial investment for federal teaching hospitals

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The House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Health Institutions, Amos Magaji, has called for a sustained financial investment in the federal teaching hospitals across the country.

He said this will be in line with the Renewed Hope agenda of the President Bola Tinubu-led administration for the betterment of the citizenry.

Magaji disclosed this during an oversight visit of members of his committee to the Federal University of Health Sciences Teaching Hospital, Otukpo.

He stressed the need to allocate more funds in health sector, considering the primary responsibility of health institutions in the country.

Magaji appreciated the Chief Medical Director, CMD, and his management staff for showing interest in the growth of the teaching hospital, considering the tremendous achievements recorded within a period of one year.

He assured that he would work with his members to ensure that more funds are made available to develop the needed infrastructure including the medical equipment to meet up with the expectations of the people.

“We are glad to be in Otukpo today to see things for ourselves. We don’t want to depend on second hand information on the true condition of the Federal University Teaching Hospital Otukpo,” he said.

He assured the management of full support of the Federal House of Representatives as appropriate incentives would be given through interface with other critical stakeholders in Abuja.

The committee chairman enjoined the staff, whom he described as foundation staff to work as team despite the working condition, “we have seen how the environment is looking and we will continue to monitor the progress.

“So, as foundation staff, you all have the opportunity to write your name in gold.”

While welcoming the committee, the CMD, Prof Silas Ochejele, appreciated the federal government for the establishment of the teaching hospital in Otukpo which has drastically changed the medical services narratives in the state.

Ochejele thanked the House of Representatives Committee on Health Institutions for the pains to come down to Otukpo and believed that the visit has made them to see things themselves, which would go a long way in repositioning the hospital for the betterment of the people.

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JUST IN: Helicopter carrying Iran’s President crashes

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A helicopter carrying Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, has been involved in an incident while he was visiting neighbouring Azerbaijan, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on X on Sunday according to CNN.

“Some of the president’s companions on this helicopter were able to communicate with Central Headquarters, raising hopes that the incident could have ended without casualties,” it added.

It is unclear what the exact status is of Raisi’s helicopter, CNN reports.

The helicopter was part of a convoy of three helicopters. Two of those helicopters were carrying ministers and officials who arrived at their destination safely, according to Tasnim.

“Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Al-Hashem, Tabriz’s Friday Prayer Imam, and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were also reportedly on the helicopter with the president,” Tasnim said on X. BREAKING: Helicopter carrying Iran’s President involved in an accident

A helicopter carrying Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, has been involved in an incident while he was visiting neighbouring Azerbaijan, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on X on Sunday according to CNN.

“Some of the president’s companions on this helicopter were able to communicate with Central Headquarters, raising hopes that the incident could have ended without casualties,” it added.

It is unclear what the exact status is of Raisi’s helicopter, CNN reports.

The helicopter was part of a convoy of three helicopters. Two of those helicopters were carrying ministers and officials who arrived at their destination safely, according to Tasnim.

“Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Al-Hashem, Tabriz’s Friday Prayer Imam, and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were also reportedly on the helicopter with the president,” Tasnim said on X.

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