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The Kwara State Governor, Dr. Abdulfatah Ahmed, has denied as false and misleading, insinuations linking him and the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, with the suspected cultists arrested in Ilorin, the state capital, and transferred by the Nigeria Police to Abuja.

Ahmed, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications, Dr. Muyideen Akorede, said neither him nor Saraki or any of their aides have links with the suspected cultists or their alleged activities.

He also denied any knowledge of or any intention to harm any individual as the political leadership in the state has never used violence as a political tool.

The statement referred the general public to the parade of the suspects by the state Commissioner of Police, Aminu Pai Saleh, on May 10, 2018 in Ilorin, during which he announced that the suspects were arrested for alleged murder and membership of cult groups, but made no mention of any confessional statement linking their activities to any sponsors.

Ahmed described the alleged killings as the outcome of clashes between rival cults in the state as most victims have been identified by security agencies as members of cult groups.

Governor Ahmed emphasised that the growing problem of cultism and cult-related criminalities formed the basis of his charge to Saleh, who assumed duties in the state last month, to focus on ending the menace.

According to him, the state government sees cultism as a serious security issue requiring urgent attention and has accordingly amended the State Cultism Law to prescribe stiffer penalties for convicts and those who aid and abet them, besides providing operational support to all security agencies in the state in their fight against all forms of criminalities, including cultism.

Governor Ahmed warned that cultism is a serious security challenge, which should neither be trivialised and turned into a political tool nor be treated with levity.

He therefore urged well-meaning Nigerians to disregard any attempt to politicise the menace of cultism but focus instead on joining hands with the government and security agencies to bring the menace to an end in the interest of public safety while allowing the rule of law and justice to prevail in the matter.

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ASUU Gives Conditions To Suspend Strike

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Thursday gave conditions upon which the prolonged industrial action will be suspended.

“The Academic Staff Union of Universities @ASUUNGR have asked @AsoRock to release N50 billion to demonstrate its commitment to the revitalisation of public universities, in line with previous agreements with the union,” ASUU tweeted.

The union said the N50 billion will form the first share of the N220 billion federal government agreed for the project this year and add to the N20 billion earlier released for the year.

It also disclosed that the union has “submitted its suggestions and awaits a meeting with the government next week.”

The lecturers are demanding improved funding of universities and implementation of previous agreements with the government, which led to the strike that started November 4, 2018.

Although the minister of labour, Chris Ngige, last Thursday said the government has approved N20 billion to be used to offset the outstanding arrears, ASUU said they are still awaiting its payment.

“Government promised to release the shortfall in salaries by January 18th, that’s a day away. Let’s wait and confirm that they’ve released it.”

“The union has submitted its suggestions and awaits a meeting with the government next week,” he added.

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Atiku’s US Trip: So Much Ado About Nothing —– Tunde Ajose

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For good watchers of the Nigerian politics, one thing has come to stay in our political experiment at getting it right in this country and that is the ability for smart politicians to easily sway the electorates with mundane issues.

The campaigns are no longer issue based but media sensationalism.

Latest of such was the sudden appearance of the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the United States of America! Then one begins to wonder why the opposition would think such is the needed magic wand to win the election.

And the euphoria may not be unconnected with the report that Atiku was barred from entering the States because of his fraudulent nature but the question is, why would any serious opposition believes such action would immediately translate into winning the Aso Rock.

One would have wondered why Atiku has chosen to travel with the current senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki? Could it be that he actually traveled under the diplomatic immunity of Saraki’s official delegation?

Diplomatic immunity is a form of legal immunity that ensures diplomats are given safe passage and are considered not susceptible to lawsuit or prosecution under the host country’s laws, but they can still be expelled.

We need to be circumspect as we move forward as a nation and be more discerning. The current government of Nigeria is focused more than before in ensuring that Nigerians, regardless of the class or status has a befitting country they could fall back to and call a home.

It is quite obvious that while the opposition are playing to the gallery, the presidential campaign organisation of president Mohammad Buhari is busy rolling up its sleeves and getting down to fields where the real electorates are and connecting with them.

This past week especially has been full of activities for the president despite his age. Within a spate of two weeks, Buhari had sat down to two interviews in-between journeying from the length and breadth of the country in getting the message of hope down to the people.

The president does not rely on his privilege as an incumbent, but insisted on talking to his people and ensuring that Nigerians are united as they go to polls come February.

No one is in doubt that his message also resonates well with the citizens as they troop out en masse to welcome and listen to what he has to say. With the multitude of crowd recorded today as he presented the gubernatorial flagbearer of the party to the good people of Delta State and the ovation that greeted it, there is no doubt that Buhari is truly loved.

As we count down to the elections, Nigerians need to bear it in mind that the 2019 election is about building on a new foundation which the present government has been able to achieve in the first four years and giving the solid foundation out to the marauders to destroy along with the better forgotten 16years in power.

If Atiku is in the United States today, there is no way the intelligence agencies of the federal government of Nigeria would not know about it.

Tunde Ajose, a political commentator, writes from Lagos.

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Two Church Guards Steal Pastor’s Daughter’s Pants In Ondo

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Two security guards, Samuel Linus and Adekunle Ogundana, who allegedly stole two underwears belonging to the daughter of a clergyman within a church’s premises in Akure metropolis, were yesterday paraded alongside suspected kidnappers by Ondo State Police Command.

Briefing newsmen in Akure, the state Police spokesperson, Femi Joseph, said the daughter of the clergyman washed two of her pants and spread them on the line at about 8p.m. in the presence of the guards and by 6a.m., next day, the panties disappeared.

Joseph said the suspects, who are attached to the orthodox church, were posted to the apartment, which was highly fortified by a private security outfit in the state.

The suspects, however, denied complicity in the offence for which they were paraded.

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