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Zulum tasks Govs, political leaders to prioritise education, infrastructure devt to tackle banditry



…Outlines five areas of priority

Borno State Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum has tasked Governors and Political leaders in the country to prioritise education and infrastructural development to tackle banditry and insecurity.

Speaking at the 10th Annual Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial lecture and Merit Award, Zulum outlined five steps that can address the lingering insecurity in parts of the north.

In attendance were Vice President Kashim Shettima who was represented by the Special Adviser to the President, Political Matters, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, Governors Mohammed Inuwa Yahya of Gombe, and Mohammed Bago of Niger State, as well as the Senate President, represented by Senator Kaka Shehu Lawan, and Shehu of Borno Abubakar Umar Garbai Elkanemi.

The Governor stated, “The chosen theme for this year’s lecture, ‘Creating Pathways for Peace: Tackling Banditry and Insurgency through Good Governance for Sustainable Development,’ is both relevant and timely. It highlights the challenges we have faced over the years, particularly in the wake of the Boko Haram crisis. It is evident that good governance is crucial in curbing future insurgencies.”

Governor Zulum outlined five steps, including infrastructural development, educational reform, healthcare enhancement, empowerment and job creation, and security collaboration.

Zulum acknowledged that while his administration combined both kinetic and non-kinetic approaches to addressing Boko Haram crises, the root causes of insurgency have also been looked into critically.

He stressed that to contribute to curtailing banditry, insurgency, and other forms of insecurity, Borno has undertaken projects in many key sectors.

“Here in Borno State, we have undertaken various projects since assuming office with the aim of promoting good governance and tackling all forms of insecurity,” Zulum added.

The Governor highlighted the successes achieved in the last five years while emphasising the 5 key steps to addressing insecurity.

Regarding infrastructure, Zulum noted that the rebuilding and reconstruction of critical infrastructure were undertaken. This includes the rehabilitation of roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, and other essential facilities that were destroyed during the peak of Boko Haram insurgency.

The Governor also emphasised the prioritisation of education with various initiatives implemented to revitalise the sector. These initiatives include the establishment of new schools, recruitment of qualified teachers, provision of learning materials, and scholarships for students.

“By investing in education, we aim to provide opportunities for the youth, making them less susceptible to radicalisation and recruitment by insurgents,” Zulum explained.

He further highlighted the significant improvement in access to quality healthcare delivery, which contributes to the social stability in Borno. Comprehensive reforms, such as the renovation and equipping of health facilities, recruitment of medical personnel, and provision of essential drugs.

Zulum highlighted the critical need for job creation and empowerment in order to deter young people from engaging in criminal activities. He said various empowerment programmes such as skills acquisition training through Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVETs), entrepreneurship support, and youth employment schemes have been implemented by his administration.

Zulum also stated that in the last five years, he has maintained active collaboration with security agencies to enhance the security situation in Borno State. This includes providing support and resources to the military, police and other security forces to strengthen their capacity to combat insurgency.

“We have shown that through effective governance, a conducive environment can be created to tackle the challenges of insecurity and pave the way for lasting peace and sustainable development,” Zulum said.

Earlier in his opening remarks, Chairman Board of Trustees, SABMF and former Governor of Niger State, Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, said the rise of banditry and other forms of insecurity is a direct consequence of deep-rooted socio-economic and governance issues and urged everyone to come together and address it.

The guest speaker, Prof Tijjani Muhammed Bande, Nigeria’s permanent representative to the United Nations, presented a paper titled “Beyond Lamentation: Uprooting Banditry and Insurgency Through Good Governance For Sustainable Development.”

The event was also attended by the Deputy Governor of Borno, Umar Usman Kadafur, the Deputy Governor of Bauchi, Mohammed Auwal Jatau, Senator Muhammad Ali Ndume, Engr Bukar Talba, Speaker Borno State House of Assembly, Abdulkarim Lawan and the Shehu of Dikwa, Bama and Emirs of Biu, Gwoza, Askira, Shani and Uba among other dignitaries across the 19 states of the north.


NEITI develops corrective action plan to enhance Nigeria’s EITI implementation – Orji



The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), says it has developed a Corrective Action Plan to address issues identified in its validation report by the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

It said the corrective action plan had been shared with the EITI International Secretariat, outlining concrete steps to enhance Nigeria’s implementation of the EITI Standard.

Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, the Executive Secretary, NEITI said this on Wednesday in Abuja while briefing the newsmen on the status of the EITI implementation in Nigeria.

A delegation from EITI International Secretariat had visited Nigeria in January to officially communicate the validation outcome to the government.

Global EITI was established with the objective of transparency and disclosing payments and revenues from extractive resources.

The global institution has made significant progress in facilitating openness though the entire processes in the resource extraction value chain.

Orji, however, said the briefing was necessary to address important developments since after the EITI Mission in Nigeria.

“Meanwhile, as part of the follow up actions to the EITI delegation visit, NEITI has developed a corrective action plan to address the issues identified in the validation report.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Nigeria’s corrective actions will focus on improving our ranking on Stakeholders’ Engagement, which include: Government, Company and Civil Society Engagements as well as Multi Stakeholders’ Governance.

“Other requirements are Contracts and licence allocations and Licence Register Contracts.

“Already, our strategy on improving stakeholders’ engagement has yielded very positive results. We now have the NSWG in place with the SGF chairing the NEITI Board,’’ he said.

He said one major message the EITI International Mission communicated clearly to our government was the urgency to reconstitute the NEITI NSWG (Board) which was dissolved on June 19, 2023.

President Bola Tinubu had on April 22, approved reconstitution of a 15- member National Stakeholders’ Working Group (NSWG) for NEITI.

The executive secretary said to reaffirm Nigeria’s highest commitment, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. George Akume was announced as the Chairman of the NSWG.

“Other members of the new NEITI Board (6th NSWG) include; the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), Zacch Adedeji representing government and the Group Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd.), Malam Mele Kyari representing Companies, among others.

“I wish to clarify that it is a 15-member Board, no more, no less as provided by law. As Secretary to the Board and NEITI Executive Secretary/CEO, I remain on a five-year single term, no more, no less as provided by law.

“NEITI is following with interest but from a distance, the ongoing independent process by Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to elect their representative on the Board.

“While we commend the painstaking efforts from the CSOs constituency, we hope this will be completed very soon to enable them take up their rightful position waiting for them on the reconstituted Board.

“For this to happen, I appeal and call on the civil society to close ranks and bury their differences. NEITI is and always will be their institution ready and open to work with all CSOs as important partners in the EITI,’’ he said.

Orji, while commending the larger CSOs on the support it had received from them in areas of partnership and collaboration, he said that its relationship with the media had been impressive, especially on information dissemination and public enlightenment efforts.

He reassured stakeholders, international partners and the global EITI that no stone was being left unturned in ensuring that at the next validation, Nigeria would score the maximum points of 100 in its assessment.

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Police arrest 2 over alleged church robbery in Benin



Police in Edo have arrested two suspects, aged 26 years and 30 years in connection with a Benin church robbery.

Police Commissioner in the state, Mr Funsho Adegboye, paraded the suspects before newsmen in Benin on Wednesday.

He said the duo stormed the church on April 14 and robbed the pastor, Ms Juliet Imubhin, and other members of their belongings.

“Imubhin told the police that three armed men walked into the church with guns and robbed them of their valuables.

“The armed robbers abducted the pastor and took her away in her Toyota Highlander jeep.

“She was driven to a spot where they forced her to disclose her bank debit card pin which they used to withdraw money from her account,’’ he said.

He explained that police operatives, however, intercepted the vehicle on Auchi Road on April 16 and arrested the suspects.

One of the suspects, however, denied his involvement in the crime while speaking with newsmen.

“My friend only asked me to serve as an escort to deliver a vehicle to its owner. We were on the road when the police arrested us.

“I only got to know that it was a stolen vehicle after we were arrested,’’ he said.

The other suspect also denied his involvement in the crime, saying his friend, still at large, asked him to deliver the vehicle to a buyer.

“On the said day of the robbery, I went to attend Oodua Peoples Congress meeting and after the meeting I went to meet my father. I know nothing about the robbery.

“I met my friend at a drinking joint. We were drinking when he received a phone call that they would be taking a vehicle to the owner.

“He then asked if I wanted to escort them and I agreed because he said they would pay money after the delivery of the vehicle,’’ he narrated.

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Tinubu approves take-off of N100bn consumer credit for Nigerians



President Bola Tinubu has approved the commencement of the N100 billion Consumer Credit Scheme for Nigerians amid escalating economic hardship in the country.

Ajuri Ngelale, the President’s spokesperson, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday.

He stated that interested Nigerians are expected to visit the portal of Nigerian Consumer Credit Corporation before May 15, 2024.

“Consumer credit serves as the lifeblood of modern economies, enabling citizens to enhance their quality of life by accessing goods and services upfront, paying responsibly over time. It facilitates crucial purchases, such as homes, vehicles, education, and healthcare, which are essential for ongoing stability and the pursuit of their aspirations.

“Individuals build credit histories through responsible repayment, unlocking more opportunities for a better life. The increased demand for goods and services also stimulates local industry and job creation.

“The President believes every hardworking Nigerian should have access to social mobility, with consumer credit playing a pivotal role in achieving this vision.

“The Nigerian Consumer Credit Corporation (CREDICORP) achieves its mandate through the following: Strengthening Nigeria’s credit reporting systems and ensuring every economically active citizen has a dependable credit score. This score becomes personal equity they build, facilitating access to consumer credit, Offering credit guarantees and wholesale lending to financial institutions dedicated to broadening consumer credit access today and Promoting responsible consumer credit as a pathway to an improved quality of life, fostering a cultural shift towards growth and financial responsibility.

“In line with the President’s directive to expand consumer credit access to Nigerians, the Nigerian Consumer Credit Corporation (CREDICORP) has launched a portal for Nigerians to express interest in receiving consumer credit.

“This initiative, in collaboration with financial institutions and cooperatives nationwide, aims to broaden consumer credit availability.

“Working Nigerians interested in receiving consumer credit can visit to express interest. The deadline is May 15, 2024.

“The scheme will be rolled out in phases, starting with members of the civil service and cascading to members of the public,” the statement said.

Recall that two months ago, a presidential spokesman, Bayo Onanuga, announced that the Federal Executive Council had given the nod for the establishment of the Consumer Credit Scheme.

He said the President’s Chief of Staff, Femi Gbajabiamila, will lead a committee that includes the Budget Minister, Attorney-General, and Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Finance to make the scheme a reality.

In March, the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service Chairman, Zacch Adedeji, said the Nigerian government would unveil its proposed N100 billion consumer credit loan in a few days.

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