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Tinubu will kill Nigerians if hunger doesn’t — Atiku’s aide

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Special Assistant on Public Communications to former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, Mr. Phrank Shaibu has stated allegedly that President Bola Tinubu’s ‘shambolic policies’ will kill Nigerians if hunger doesn’t kill them first.

Shaibu said this in a statement in Abuja, on Thursday.

He explained that the fallout of the shambolic policies of President Bola Tinubu-led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration, is killing Nigerians even as there are no efforts to stem the tide.

Shaibu said, “The unprecedented hunger, poverty, and hardship in Nigeria are part of Tinubu’s ultimate plan to decimate Nigerians and pauperise them until they have no shred of dignity left.

“Tinubu is like a quack doctor trying to treat a cancerous patient. But the quack doctor is likely to kill the patient even faster than the cancer itself. This is the dire situation that Nigerians have found themselves in.

“Rather than get to work, he continues to blame his predecessor, President Muhammadu Buhari, for handing him an empty treasury and a weak economy and the opposition for instigating mass protests. He talks as if Buhari was not a member of their diseased All Progressives Congress. He also forgets that his own kabukabu policies and its fallouts are what is instigating the mass protests across the country.”

The Atiku aide further noted that on Tinubu’s watch, poverty has reached an all-time high, with food inflation at 33 percent. He noted that the resulting effect would be a drop in unemployment, a rise in suicide levels, an increase in crime as well as a spike in the number of out-of-school children.

According to him, operators in the private sector of the economy continue to complain about how the Tinubu administration has led them into uncertain times, resulting in about 10 million small and micro businesses being closed.

He further stated that the free fall in the exchange rate and haphazard nature of government policies under Tinubu’s administration have made a rubbish of projections made by businesses during the last quarter of 2023.

Shaibu equally noted that in the past, garri and beans were considered food for the poor but even today, the poor cannot afford to buy beans which now costs N1,500 per mudu and with no prospects of a stop in the rising prices. SMA baby formula now costs N8,000 from N2,200.

He said, “Just over a year ago, a 50kg bag of rice was N47,000, but today it is N77,000. Beans used to be N36,000, but now it is N42,000. Bread was N700 for a loaf, but now it sells for N1,200.

“A single egg now costs N150. Imagine how much a crate costs? Even the agbado corn that Tinubu used in campaigning is also expected to go up by over 25 percent, according to AFEX.

“The tragedy now is that a vast majority of Nigerians whose means can’t afford decent meals, unfortunately contend with staples meant for animals.

“A recent BBC investigative report says that many people consume rejected rice grains by millers. The report specifically says that those rejected grains are purchased by fish farmers to feed their fisheries.

“In a similar context, a random visit to the Garki Market in Abuja will behold a large number of people queuing for maize shafts which they now turn into solid food. Normally, these shafts are sold to livestock farmers, but now Nigerians resort to these forms of staple as human food.”

To underscore how dire the situation has become, he quoted the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Lagos, as saying in December that the hospital recorded a 100 percent increase in the number of psychiatric patients admitted in the hospital.

Shaibu added that, “Just last month, a female banker committed suicide inside the banking hall, claiming that the economic hardship is unbearable. Indeed, as it is stated in Proverbs 29, verse 2: When the righteous rule, the people rejoice. But when the wicked rule, the people suffer. That is Nigeria’s current quagmire where life is brutish, short and nasty and kidnappers have taken over the land.

“When the Nigeria Economic Summit Group asked him last year to explain how he would pull out over 128 million Nigerians out of the poverty that his political party, the APC, had plunged them into, Tinubu responded by saying that he would not reveal his strategy because he didn’t want the other candidates to steal his plan. But his secret plan has now been revealed, which is to pauperise and decimate Nigerians.

“This was a man who advised the government in 2021 to recruit 50 million youths into the Nigerian Army in order to tackle unemployment. His balabu economic prescriptions have gradually brought Nigeria to its knees, putting the Naira as the worst performing currency in Africa, according to Bloomberg. This is just less than one year in office.

“After removing petrol subsidy abruptly and forcing the CBN to float the currency, he promised to provide succour to Nigerians and then went ahead to approve N3bn to review the social register. Monies meant for poor Nigerians were stolen by his appointees.

“A separate N40 billion meant for poor Nigerians was diverted. His Interior Minister, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, whose company got a questionable contract from this humanitarian fund, is still keeping his job.

“This President then suspended all humanitarian programmes amid this hardship under the guise of investigation.

“It is obvious that Tinubu’s ultimate goal is to transform Africa’s largest economy into a land of sweat and tears. Worse still, his so-called plan to convert CNG Buses and reduce the cost of transportation has also failed after appointing the FIRS Chairman, Zaccheus Adedeji, as Chairman of the committee. This is another example of putting loyalty ahead of competence.”

Atiku’s aide further said Tinubu’s perspective on economy had been limited by the fact that he had surrounded himself with his Lagos circle and had put loyalty ahead of competence in his appointment process

He argued that at least half of Tinubu’s cabinet members ought not to have been appointed in the first place but that the President decided to play politics, playing fiddle while Nigeria burnt.

Shaibu also said, “At a time Nigeria was facing its worst fiscal crisis, this man decided to waste the country’s resources by appointing the largest cabinet in the history of Nigeria with 48 ministers even though 36 ministers would have met the constitutional threshold. Many of these ministers have been seat warmers and have achieved nothing in the last six months.

“Some ministries were split into three, and three ministers were appointed to head each new unit. Even though Nigeria’s revenue shrunk, he decided to buy a yacht, renovate the Presidential Villa and that of the Vice President, sent a delegation of hundreds of people to Dubai for the COP28, and then approved over N120bn for SUVs for National Assembly members in order to win their loyalty over.

“He was doing all these while asking Nigerians to endure and sacrifice. At least even his own personal praise singer, King Wasiu Ayinde Marshal (KWAM 1), is now among those lamenting that the suffering is too much. He should be patient, Tinubu still has three years and three months to increase the poverty level.”

Atiku’s aide said Tinubu clearly knew little about Nigeria’s economy as he had been limited only to Lagos, which had always had a formal economy.

He said the President knew nothing about security or building a national economy, hence his over-reliance on IMF and other multilateral organisations.

Shaibu said, “Tinubu rode to power on the lie that he transformed Lagos economy. The truth is that Lagos had been the country’s commercial capital even before he was born. All banks, telecommunications firms, and oil companies are headquartered in Lagos. About 70 percent of Lagos’ revenue comes from income tax paid by staff of these companies.

“All Tinubu did was to enforce tax payment which the military government had neglected. This was the financial miracle he claimed to have performed. Now, he has been brought to the national level to repeat the so-called miracle, but the failed magician cannot rework his artistry.”

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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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