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‘I’m Not Owing Workers Any Dime’ —- Yahaya Bello Speaks After Election Victory

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Kogi State Governor-Elect, Yahaya Bello, on Tuesday, rubbished claims that he was owing salaries, stressing that such were “lies.”

Bello said his administration met salary backlog owed workers in the state, but insisted that his administration was not owing workers.

The governor-elect, who said this while featuring on Channels Television, also alleged that thugs of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, stabbed a resident after he was declared the winner of Saturday’s election.

Bello also alleged that the wife of his deputy was also shot after he emerged winner of the election.

He said: “All these reports of me owing salaries are lies. Past governors of Kogi State were owning salaries starting from Audu to my immediate predecessor. Kogi state is not owning any dime at the state level, what is left is the ten percent from the previous government.

“As for El-Rufai kneeling, he was begging that Kogi people should forgive Bello for ensuring security and ensuring the state was peaceful and not because he could not pay salaries.”

On the claim of people being killed during the election, Bello said: “After I was declared winner, a PDP thug stabbed somebody and ran into the house of their women leader but he was caught and dealt with.

“My deputy governor-elect’s wife was shot at but thank God she didn’t die, the police are looking into it and would bring the culprits to book.”

Recall that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had on Monday declared Governor Yahaya Bello of the All Progressives Congress, APC, winner of the Saturday’s governorship election in the state.

INEC’s Returning Officer in the state, Prof. Ibrahim Garuba had declared Bello winner after polling 406,222 votes to defeat his closest rival, Musa Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who scored 189,704 votes.

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BREAKING: 28 Family Members Die In Bauchi Auto Crash

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No fewer than 28 persons said to be members of the same family were reportedly burnt beyond recognition in a fatal auto crash that occurred on the Bauchi-Ningi federal highway in Bauchi State.

The crash, we gathered, occurred in the early hours of Thursday.

Speaking to our correspondent in a telephone interview, a relation of the victims, Abdullahi Yamadi, confirmed the incident and described it as “very sad.”

Yamadi, who is the Secretary, North-West Zone of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, said the deceased were all his relatives.

He said they were on their way to Yola, Adamawa State when the incident occurred.

He told The PUNCH: “Yes, the accident is true and all of the deceased are my relatives.

“They were traveling to Yola, Adamawa State, for a visit when the unfortunate incident happened.

“You know, after the harvest and at seasons like this, people travel to visit loved ones resident in different places; and that was where they were going to.

“They left Dutsinma, Katsina State, and they had left Jigawa State and were within Bauchi State when their vehicle had a head-on collision with another vehicle.

“They were 29 in the vehicle and all of them died except the driver, who survived.

“This is very sad news and very pathetic for 28 people from the same family to die in an accident in one day.

“It is really sad.”

The Bauchi Police Command has yet to make an official pronouncement on the incident.

Details later…

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Human Rights Abuses: Stop Interfering In Our Affairs; Mind Your Business, Presidency Tells U.S. UK, EU

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A Nigerian presidential spokesperson on Wednesday warned the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union to stop interfering in Nigeria’s affairs, especially on the issue of human rights abuses.

This warning was issued by Femi Adesina, spokesperson to President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday while reacting to reports from the EU, UK and the U.S. that Nigeria has a high record of human rights abuses.

He reacted during an interview on Channels TV “Politics Today” programme.

Mr Adesina explained that Nigeria is a sovereign nation and “will not be bothered about the reports from the foreign countries.”

Invasion

Speaking on the invasion of court by operatives of the State Security Services (SSS) to re-arrest the Publisher of SaharaReporters, Omoyele Sowore, last Friday, he said: “We are not answerable to the U.S., the UK or the EU.”

“We are Nigeria, a sovereign country. Those countries and entities have issues of their own. Let them deal with their issues. Let Nigeria also deal with her internal issues. We are not answerable to them.”

Mr Adesina, a two-term president of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, however, said he would respect the opinion of Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka “than that of any foreign nation or commentators”.

“We respect Professor Soyinka. You don’t have too many of them in the country or even on the continent. He is an avatar, and he is well respected, but his opinion will remain his opinion. It will be considered and if there are things to act on, we will act on them,” he disclosed.

Some lawmakers from the UK and the U.S. have called for the release of Mr Sowore but the federal government has rebuffed this.

Apart from Mr Sowore, the Nigerian government is also illegally detaining many others including a former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki and the Shiite leader, Ibrahim El Zakzaky.

The presidency also described the opinions of those calling for the release of those ‘illegally’ detained as “that of a few Nigerians”.

“Genuine issues will be looked into. We have had instances in which the government had to reverse itself because there were concerns raised,” Mr Adesina said. “It shows that the government is responsive but you cannot listen to a babble of voices. It will distract you from what you are doing.”

Responding to allegations that he stopped being a journalist after taking up the job to be Mr Buhari’s media adviser, Mr Adesina said: “I am still in the media. It is just that the roles are a bit reversed. When I am done with the government by the grace of God, I will still return to the media,” he said.

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Passenger Slumps, Dies At Lagos Airport

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A passenger, identified as Chukwuma Anthony Ezeh, on Wednesday slumped and died at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.

An official source at the MMIA arrival terminal told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the passenger slumped on arrival from China and died while waiting to collect his luggage

Ezeh, according to information on his passport, was 47 years old at the time of the incident.

The spokesperson of the Police MMIA Command, DSP Joseph Alabi, who confirmed the incident to NAN at about 9.25 p.m. on Wednesday, said the passenger came on board Ethiopian Airlines.

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According to him, the incident happened at about 3:15 p.m. and the deceased was confirmed dead at the MMIA Clinic.

“While walking at the arrival hall the man slumped and died,” he said.

Alabi added that Ezeh’s corpse had been deposited at the Air Force Base Hospital mortuary.

(NAN)

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