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Repentant Boko Haram Members Will Have Opportunity Of Schooling Abroad —— Senate Bill

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The proposed National Agency for the Education, Rehabilitation, De-radicalisation and Integration of Repentant Insurgents (Boko Haram) in Nigeria’ will get its funding from the Universal Basic Education Commission and the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, The PUNCH reports.

Other sources of funding include- donations, grants, annual subventions from the government and counterpart funding from the six North-East states of Borno, Bauchi, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba and Gombe. The details are included in the bill which was obtained by Punch on Thursday.

The controversial bill, which is officially known as ‘A Bill for the Establishment of the National Agency for the Education, Rehabilitation, De-radicalisation and Integration of Repentant Insurgents in Nigeria and for Other Connected Purposes’, passed the first reading in the Senate on Thursday last week.

But few hours after the bill, which was sponsored by Senator representing Yobe East, Ibrahim Geideam, passed the first reading, it attracted angry reactions from the Chibok Community, which was attacked by the insurgents in 2014, and the Christian Association of Nigeria.

Also, the #BringBackOurGirls movement, which has been calling for the release of schoolgirls abducted from Chibok in 2014 by the insurgents, said the plan to set up the agency should be done concurrently with the rehabilitation of thousands of internally displaced persons.

But on Monday, Geidam, in an interview with journalists, defended the bill. He said many Boko Haram terrorists were willing to lay down their arms but were afraid of the consequences of their action. The senator explained that his bill was not meant to take care of insurgents captured by the security agencies because those ones would be made to face the full wrath of the law.

Barely two days after the senator defended the controversial bill, 25 Boko Haram members and their wives, who surrendered to troops in Niger Republic, arrived in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, on Wednesday.

A copy of the bill on the agency for Boko Haram repentant terrorists, obtained by our correspondent, states that one per cent of TETFund and UBEC fund will be used in funding the agency for rehabilitating the terrorists. The agency will also be funded by 0.5 per cent of the federal allocation of the six North-East states. Reports says the TETFund obtains its funding from a compulsory two per cent profit tax that is paid by all registered companies to the Federal Government.

Section 10 of the controversial bill reads in part, “The agency shall establish and maintain a fund which will consist of initial take-off grant from the Federal Government; annual subvention from the government; states counterpart funding which will be deducted at source at 0.5 per cent of their statutory allocation; 1 per cent of the Education Tax Fund (TETFund) and UBEC fund.

According to the proposed law, the agency will also be funded by grants in aid, gift, testamentary dispositions, endowments and donations. The bill states that the proposed agency shall have a governing board which shall consist of the chairman who is to be appointed by the President in consultation with the National Assembly.

The governing council will also have one representative from each of the North-East states, one representative each of the stakeholders, three representatives of the impacted communities, one person from the Nigerian Army, air force, navy, police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, all of whom must not be below the rank of lieutenant colonel.

The council will also include one representative each from the federal ministries of humanitarian affairs, finance, environment, petroleum resources, North-East Development Commission and the Local Content Board. As regards the powers of the proposed agency, the bill gives repentant terrorists the opportunity of receiving foreign education.

Section 5(m) reads in part, “(The agency shall) implement programmes geared towards the rehabilitation of beneficiaries, engage the services of offshore and Nigerian institutions in the pursuit of the educational needs of ex-agitators.” The proposed agency is expected to implement a comprehensive programme in the area of disarmament, demobilisation, rehabilitation and reintegration.

It will also coordinate efforts of relevant agencies, organisations and institutions towards the attainment of set objectives as regards job placement, internship and sustainable reintegration.

BIG STORY

Nigerian Govt Announces Committee To Address Job Creation, National Security As Nationwide Rampage Continues

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The National Executive Council (NEC) has set up a committee charged with addressing unemployment and national security in the country.

This was part of the council’s resolutions at its meeting on Monday, vice-president Yemi Osinbajo’s publicist, Laolu Akande, said in a mail sent to media houses Tuesday.

The decision was taken on the backdrop of issues triggered by the weeks-long #EndSARS protests where young Nigerians sought an end to police brutality before it was hijacked by hoodlums who have caused chaos across the country in the past week.

Headed by the vice-president, the committee has the governors of Sokoto, Borno State, Niger, Ondo, Ebonyi, Delta States as members.

The committee, Mr. Akande said, is expected to engage “relevant stakeholders” to chart a way forward on “employment, social safety net programmes, and national unity among other key issues of concern” for the country.

This, he said will be done alongside engaging with security agencies, including at the state level, “to provide compensation for those who have incurred losses in the last few weeks and a framework for social security to deal with the problem of unemployment and poverty in the country.”

Four in 10 Nigerians are poor and the country’s unemployment rate rose to 27.1% in the second quarter of 2020, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

“The council observed the low morale of security operatives during the period and members resolved to commend the Nigeria police and all the security agencies for their handling of what is clearly an unprecedented problem,” Mr Akande said in his statement.

“NEC also supported President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to a complete overhaul of the country’s security services by improving the capacity of security officers across the rank and file while providing them with the necessary equipment to carry out their jobs effectively,” he added.

Since the protest for police reform turned violent last week, the has country has experienced series of destruction, large-scale looting of public and private warehouses, and loss of lives, including those of security officials.

To this end, Mr Akande said NEC urged the CACOVID leadership, a private initiative committed to given palliatives to Nigerians to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, “to come out with an independent statement on the status of the distribution of palliatives donated to States which should clearly explain the circumstances behind the delay in the distribution of food items domiciled in warehouses across the country.”

“Council reviewed the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other secessionist groups, stressing that these subterranean and violent tendencies must be quickly addressed given that they have continually hijacked demonstrations and caused mayhem and lawlessness across parts of the country.

“Council decried the irresponsible use of social media in fueling misinformation and increasing social tensions,” Mr Akande noted.

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BIG STORY

BREAKING: Sanwo-Olu Approves Full Reopening Of Markets In Lagos

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The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has approved the full reopening of markets in the state.

The Lagos Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, Dr Wale Ahmed, made this known in a statement on Tuesday.

The statement made available by the governor’s Senior Special Assistant on New Media, Gawat Jubril, noted that both food markets and non-food markets can reopen every day of the week.

Before the announcement, food and non-food markets were allowed to operate three days in a week – Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

The state government had regulated the opening of the markets to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

The statement read in part, “The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has approved the full resumption of operations of both food markets and non-food markets.

“They are now to open daily.

“Mr Governor took the decision to further enhance trade and commerce and mitigate the hardship of recent times and ensure that Lagosians can recover fast.

“Mr Governor also advised the continued observance of all safety protocols.

“Traders and their customers must adhere strictly to the covid 19 protocols for their safety and the citizenry at large.”

Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, on Monday, announced that the country recorded 119 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of infections in Nigeria to 62,111.

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BIG STORY

520 Suspects Arrested For Arson, Vandalism, Others In Lagos

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The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, on Tuesday, said 520 suspects have been arrested in connection with the series of arson, vandalism, burglary, and robbing of unsuspecting members of the public of their valuables during the unrest occasioned by the #EndSARS protest in the state.

Odumosu, who disclosed this during a press briefing at the command headquarters in the Ikeja area of the state, said the #EndSARS protest was hijacked by hoodlums, adding that the arrested suspects would be charged to court.

While stating the facilities affected in the state, the CP said, “A lot of public and private facilities were set ablaze, our police stations were also burnt and vandalized.

“Based on the incidences, the command swung into action realizing that this is no more #EndSARS, where lives and property are lost and vandalized and burnt. We realized that the protest had been hijacked by hoodlums, so we moved in and we were able to recover some of the stolen items and arrested the perpetrators.

“So far, 520 suspects have been arrested for various offenses, ranging from arson, robbery, murder, rioting, malicious damage, and unlawful possession of firearms. All the suspects we have arrested are not #EndSARS protesters and they will all be charged.”

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