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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.

BIG STORY

Each Corps Member To Get N2m For Agriculture After Service Year —- NSPRI

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The Federal Government has said that it will empower members of the National Youth Service Corps that venture into agriculture after their one-year mandatory service with the sum of N2m.

The Executive Director, Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute, Dr. Patricia Pessu, disclosed this on Monday while speaking at a workshop on value addition of agricultural commodities for 40 corps members selected from the 16 local government areas of Kwara State.

Pessu said the two corps members, who completed their service in Oyo and Abia states respectively, had begun to benefit from the programme, stating that they were selected from the last batch of trainees at NSPRI.

He decried the increasing number of unemployed youth in the country and added that a similar opportunity awaited any trainee of the current batch who submitted a promising proposal at the end of the service year.

The NSPRI boss added that “to put things into context, Nigeria’s unemployed youth of 13.9 million is more than the population of Rwanda and several other African countries.

“This youth population is also about 64 percent of total unemployed Nigerians, suggesting that the most agile working-class population in the country remains unemployed.”

Declaring the workshop open, the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muritala Olanrewaju, said the government had promised to consolidate commercial agriculture through the provision of adequate machinery to assist genuine farmers in advancing their productivity, profitability, and competitiveness.

Olarewaju disclosed that the state government was repositioning the agricultural sector from being a mass social service to a profitable agro-business aimed at providing technical and environmentally friendly agriculture practice.

Also, the NYSC State Coordinator, Mrs. Francisca Olaleye, commended the agency for the opportunity given to corps members and gave the assurance that the beneficiaries would justify the gesture.

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Fleeing Ex-Pension Boss Abdulrasheed Maina Arrested In Niger Republic

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Security agencies in Niger Republic have arrested the former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, in that country.

A top security officer confirmed to newsmen that Maina was arrested by Nigerian Security agencies on Monday.

Maina, who is being prosecuted on 12 counts of money laundering to the tune of N2bn by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, jumped bail, forcing the trial judge, Justice Abang Okon, to issue a warrant for his arrest.

He was said to have stopped attending his trial since September 29, 2020, prompting Justice Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, to order the remand of his surety, Senator Ali Ndume, last Monday.

The court, however, granted bail to the Borno South senator last Friday.

The EFCC had earlier informed the court that it had sought the assistance of the United States and Niger Republic for the arrest of Maina.

The EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, could not be reached for comment on Monday as calls to his phone rang out.

Also, the Commissioner of Police, Interpol National Bureau, Garba Umar, did not respond to calls seeking confirmation of the arrest.

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I Have Directed Armed Forces To Take The Fight To Insurgents ——- Buhari

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Monday, said he has directed the nation’s Armed Forces to take the anti-terrorism fight to the insurgents.

According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President disclosed this in a message he sent through his Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, to the Borno State governor, Babagana Zulum; the Shehu of Borno and the Zabarmari community where 43 rice farmers were killed by insurgents on Saturday.

The statement was titled, ‘High powered government delegation visits Maiduguri, President Buhari vows to end terrorism’.

According to Shehu, the President, in his message, described the massacre as “senseless, barbaric and gruesome murder.”

He further quoted Buhari as giving assurances of his continuous commitment to fighting insurgency and all forms of insecurity in Borno State and all over Nigeria.

He said Buhari committed himself to making more resources available to the military to prosecute the war, adding that he will “work closely with neighbouring countries on bilateral and multilateral levels to ensure that there is no hiding place for the terrorists.”

According to the statement, the President said, “Nothing is more important than ensuring the security of lives and property of the people. Everything is secondary when security is at a stake.

“As we mourn the loss of our sons in Zabarmari, the Armed Forces have been given the marching order to take the fight to the insurgents, not on a one-off, but on a continuous basis until we root out the terrorists.”

The President also commended Zulum for his leadership in running the affairs of the state.

The presidential aide said apart from the message from the President, the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, spoke for the government team to the state.

Zulum was also quoted as thanking the President for “ensuring relative peace since his assumption of office,” stating that the situation is better than he met it.

The statement added, “The governor presented a number of requests on behalf of his people, including that the youth of the state should be enlisted in military and paramilitary organisations to play their roles in the defence of the nation.

“He called on the Federal Government to assist in the repatriation of Borno indigenes in camps in neighbouring countries and requested the National Assembly to tweak the draft budget now before them to allow better allocation of resources for the North East sub-region, which he alleged is being side-lined.

“At the palace of the Shehu of Borno, His Eminence Abubakar Umar Ibn Garbai, the traditional ruler described as ‘madness,’ the gruesome killings and urged his subjects to pray and offer useful information to the security agencies.

“He thanked President Buhari for his efforts in returning normalcy to the state.”

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