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BIG STORY

Why I Refused To Sack My Ministers —- Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has said that his decision to retain cabinet ministers in the last three and half years in spite of pressures from some quarters was because of their unique skills, strengths, and leadership qualities.

The president made this known during a valedictory session of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.

He observed that the ministers, who exhibited spirit of team work, were more rational in taking decisions aimed at tackling the numerous challenges facing the country.

President Buhari described the cabinet members as “a reflection of the Nigeria we aspire to achieve.”

“You will recall that when we started this journey, our country was facing numerous challenges.

“We inherited a broken economy which eventually went into recession in the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2016.

“The situation was further compounded by insecurity and massive corruption.

“Many would have given up. Indeed, many outside commentators said our situation was well-nigh hopeless.

However, we all came together and pushed forward to deliver our campaign promise to rescue our country from its parlous state.

“Although we all had a common vision, we frequently had heated debates in this room on the best way to achieve our goals. These differing views are what made the decisions we took all the more rational.

“It is this quality that made me retain my cabinet for the full term. Each of you in this room has a unique skill and strength.

“We are a reflection of the Nigeria we aspire to achieve – A diverse but tolerant nation where no one is silenced and where every opinion should be heard and considered.’’

President Buhari, who thanked the ministers for agreeing to serve the nation, urged them to be happy for contributing their quota in various ways to the development of the nation.

`I want you all to leave this meeting proud to have served your nation to the best of your ability.

“You should be proud to have been part of the government that liberated the local governments previously under Boko Haram rule.

“You should be proud to have contributed to our food security and economic diversification agenda which led to the revival of our rural agrarian economy

“You should be proud to have been part of the team that developed the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan which led Nigeria exiting its worst recession in decades.

“You should be proud to have introduced the social investment programme that enhanced livelihoods of millions of Nigerians.

“You should be proud to have participated in settling outstanding pensions of many senior citizens abandoned by previous governments while supporting state governments to meet their salary arrears.

“And of course, you should all be proud to have overseen the most ambitious road, rail and airport rehabilitation programmes in the history of our country,’’ the president added.

According to the president, the ministers’ achievements within the period had guaranteed their position in the history books of the nation.

He maintained that the ministers had succeeded in building the foundations for an improved economy and a more purposeful government.

The president, therefore, directed all ministers to remain in office until May 28.

“Although today is our last council meeting, I expect all of you to continue working until Tuesday, May 28, 2019 when you will officially hand over your schedules to your respective Permanent Secretaries.

“Your handing over letters should be submitted to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation,’’ he said.

In his remarks, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo thanked President Buhari for trusting him with various responsibilities, especially when he acted as president.

He said “My deepest gratitude comes from the great trust that you reposed in me at all times.

“I will never forget when you were going on medical leave in May 2017 and you said to me in the course of conversation that evening that you would not meddle in my discretion as acting President in anyway.

“And in keeping with your character and style you kept your words.”

Earlier, the ministers, who took turns to recount their experiences lauded President Buhari’s humility, integrity and hard work.

They expressed appreciation for his kind gesture and pledged to do more for the country when called upon to serve the nation.

The president and the out-going ministers later had a group photograph, as the cabinet members prepare to bow out of office on May 28.

(NAN)

BIG STORY

FG Suspends Evacuation Of Stranded Nigerians

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The Federal Government has suspended the further evacuation of stranded Nigerians overseas.

The development, according to Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama is to allow take-off of a new policy on the evacuation of Nigerians.

Onyeama said henceforth evacuated Nigerians would not have to go straight into a 14-day government monitored isolation if they test negative from their country of origin.

The Minister said the new policy will take effect from next week.

Consequently, he said further evacuation process has been suspended to give way for the take-off of the new policy.

He said with the new policy evacuees will have to be tested at most nine days before their flight takes off.

He said those who test positive will not be allowed on the flight

The new policy, he said will give the government enough latitude to fly more Nigerians home.

Nigeria has evacuated 989 stranded citizens with 265 from the United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom (253); United States (160); Saudi Arabia (292) and Lebanon (57)

Details shortly…




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BIG STORY

[BREAKING] School Reopening: FG Considers Morning, Afternoon Classes

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The Federal Government says it is thinking of sectionalizing classes for primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions in the country ahead of school reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, stated this on Wednesday during a briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja.

The minister, who faulted the reports that schools would reopen in the country on June 8, said the government could not afford to take any costly risk, especially as it regards the safety of pupils and students in the country.

He said, “Until we are sure these children can go to school, return safely and not bring up with them COVID-19 and infect people who are more susceptible than they are, then we are running a huge risk and God forbid, in our hurry, something happens to our children, I am not sure how anybody will be able to retrieve what has been lost.”

Nwajiuba said the ministry was being guided by the advice of experts including those of the World Health Organisation, noting that the decision to reopen schools would be carefully arrived at because education is on the concurrent list of the Nigerian Constitution.

He appealed to private owners of schools to co-operate with the government in ensuring a safe reopening.

“We are going to publish a specification on what we expect COVID-19 or post-COVID-19 reopening to look like. We are not talking about coping with COVID-19 but in spite of COVID-19, we expect that we will adapt.

“For a country that has over 115,000 primary schools, you will understand that 35,000 of these who are private must agree to set up the same standard in other to allow children to go in.

“We may have classes in the morning and classes in the afternoon so that we will have the whole of the infrastructure divided, provided they can serve us. I am not sure we will have classes at night. But we can do with morning and afternoon for now,” he explained.




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BIG STORY

BREAKING: Mother Who ‘Drowned 18-Month-Old Baby’ Remanded At LASUTH

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An Igbosere Magistrates’ Court in Lagos on Wednesday sent for psychiatric evaluation a nursing mother, Oluwafunmilayo Adisa, suspected of killing her baby.

Magistrate (Mrs) K. O. Doja-Ojo remanded Adisa, 22, at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), following an application by the Lagos State Office of the Public Defender (OPD).

The OPD is representing the suspect pro bono.

Its Director, Dr Babajide Martins, applied that Adisa be sent to and remanded at LASUTH “for psychiatric evaluation to help determine the state of her mental health.”

He based his application on Section 217 (3) of Lagos State Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL), 2015.

Magistrate Doja-Ojo granted the prayer and adjourned till June 26, for the outcome of the tests.

Adisa is suspected by the police to have drowned her one-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Oluwanifemi, in a bucket of water.

According to a temporary charge marked C/42d/2020 attached to the OPD’s application, “Adisa Oluwafunmilayo on May 11, 2020, at about 2020 hours at Plot 222, 21/211 Road Gowon Estate, Alimosho Local Government Area (LGA) Lagos… unlawfully killed one Adisa Oluwanifemi, female, aged one and a half years, by drowning her in a bucket of water and thereby committed an offense punishable under Section 223 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.”

It was signed by Deputy Superintendent (DSP) Yetunde Cardoso.

Speaking afterward, Martins said the OPD is representing Adisa in line with its statutory responsibility of providing free legal service for the indigent and vulnerable.

He said OPD came to her rescue by providing free legal representation and ensuring that the suspect was timely moved from the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti to the Federal Psychiatric Hospital, Oshodi as an outpatient pending her arraignment for further judicial action.




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