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PDP Accuses Defence Minister Of Diverting Military Funds For APC Campaign

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, of diverting funds meant for the military equipment and welfare of the nation’s soldiers fighting insurgency in the northeast, to produce partisan materials for All Progressives Congress (APC) re-election campaign.

A statement issued by Kola Ologbondiyan, its National Publicity Secretary in Abuja on Monday, alleged that the minister diverted part of the military funds to produce APC’s campaign materials including an electronic momento book, “on which he ascribed credit to himself and the APC, while our soldiers suffer neglect in the war front.”

The party maintained that the placing of APC logo alongside that of the Ministry of Defence on the memento confirms its position “that the Buhari Presidency has compromised our defence architecture for Mr President’s re-election project.”

The statement added: “Our party considers it insensitive and a gross impunity for the Minister of Defence to be engaging in patronising souveniers for President Buhari at a time when our soldiers are being killed in their numbers.

“It is also instructive to note that President Muhammadu Buhari, as Mr Integrity, has not reprimanded the minister, ostensibly, given that the diversion of public funds for his re-election campaign is now a policy of the APC and the Buhari Presidency.

“Nigerians can now see how the Buhari Presidency and the APC have turned the Ministry of Defence into their Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) to fund their re-election, at the detriment of our citizens who are being daily attacked by insurgents and marauders in various parts of our country.

“There is a fixation in the Buhari Presidency on winning the 2019 elections at all cost even at the expense of the lives of Nigerians.”

The PDP noted that “with these revelations, the APC has proven to be a soulless mob, which has no interest in the good of our nation, but desperate to hang onto power by all means.”

The party, therefore, called for an open investigation into the handling of military funds “to unravel those benefitting from the racket especially given allegation that some persons close to the President are being used as conduits to fritter public funds for President Buhari’s re-election and their wasteful lifestyles.

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BREAKING: President Tinubu Appoints Kemi Nanna Nandap As Immigration Comptroller-General

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Nigeria’s President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has approved the appointment of Kemi Nanna Nandap as the comptroller-general (CG) of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), effective from March 1.

Ajuri Ngelale, presidential spokesperson, in a statement on Wednesday, said Nandap will take over from Caroline Wura-Ola Adepoju, whose term in office will expire on February 29.

Before she was appointed as the CG, Nandap was the deputy comptroller-general in charge of the migration directorate of the service.

“The President anticipates that the new Comptroller-General will deepen the ongoing reforms in the service and create a robust mechanism for efficient and dedicated service delivery to Nigerians, as well as strengthen the nation’s security through proactive and effective border security and migration management,” the statement reads.

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FG Will Allow Massive Importation Of Cement If Prices Do Not Reduce Nationwide — Housing Minister Dangiwa Threatens Dangote, BUA, Others

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A day after the Nigerian government and major cement manufacturers in the country agreed to bring down the price of the product, Ahmed Dangiwa, the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, threatened the manufacturers that the government would allow massive importation of cement if the price was not reduced across the country.

Ahmed Dangiwa issued the threat on Tuesday in Abuja at a meeting with Cement and Building Materials Manufacturers.

It was gathered that major cement manufacturers in Nigeria, Dangote, BUA and Lafarge, at a separate meeting on Monday, agreed that the price of a bag of cement will not exceed between N7,000 and N8,000.

The resolution was reached following a meeting between the Minister of Works, David Umahi, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Doris Uzoka-Anite as well as representatives of BUA Cement, Dangote Cement, Lafarge and Cement Producers Association on Monday.

The price of a bag of cement, used for construction across Nigeria, has increased to about N13,000 in many parts of the country amidst a cost-of-living crisis that has led to spikes in the prices of goods and services across the country.

While Nigerians wait to see if Monday’s agreement with the cement manufacturers will be implemented, the government on Tuesday warned that it might open the borders for cement importation if manufacturers of the product fail to bring down the prices.

Mr Dangiwa expressed concerns that in the past couple of months, the country had witnessed an alarming increase in the prices of cement and other building materials.

“Clearly, this is a crisis for housing delivery. An increase in essential building materials means an increase in the prices of houses,” the minister said.

“We are not the only country facing these challenges, many countries are facing the same type of challenges that we’re facing, some even worse than that.

“But, as patriotic citizens, we have to rally round the country when there is crisis, to ensure that we do our best to save the situation,” he said.

Mr Dangiwa said the cement manufacturers are enjoying the benefits of government policies.

“The government stopped importation of cement in other to empower you to produce more and sell cheaper,” he said.

“Otherwise the government can open the borders for mass importation of cement, the price will crash, but you will have no business to do.”

He said the reasons given by cement manufacturers for the price increase – the high cost of gas and manufacturing equipment – were not enough for such astronomical pricing.

While cement manufacturers can control the prices they sell the product, wholesalers and retailers often, arguably based on their operational costs, sell at prices of their choosing.

Mr Dangiwa, however, said the government wants the manufacturers to compel the wholesalers and retailers to sell at fixed prices.

He expressed his displeasure at the position of the Cement Manufacturer Association of Nigeria (CEMAN) that the association “does not interfere with the pricing of cement.”

He said the association should not just fold its arms when things were going wrong.

“One person cannot be selling at N3500 per bag and another selling at N7000 per bag and you cannot call them to order,” he said.

“The association is expected to monitor price control, otherwise the association has no need to exist.”

Earlier, the Executive Secretary of CEMAN, Salako James, said the housing policy of the administration of President Bola Tinubu was laudable and every responsible Nigerian has to key into it.

He, however, identified some areas of concern and appealed to the government to look into them to tackle the issue of cement pricing.

Mr Salako identified the challenges of gas supply to heavy users like the cement industry and urged the government to create a window whereby gas will be bought with Naira instead of dollars.

He also complained about the distribution channel, stressing that there was a great difference between the price from the manufacturers and the market price.

He, therefore called for government intervention to help stabilise the situation and bring sanity to the economy.

At the end of the meeting, the minister directed that a committee should be constituted to review the situation and come out with implementable resolutions that would benefit the common Nigerian.

The three major cement producers, Dangote Plc, BUA Plc and Lafarge Plc were represented as well as other industry stakeholders.

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Labour Party’s National Chairman Julius Abure Arrested In Edo [VIDEO]

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Julius Abure, the National Chairman of the Labour Party, has been arrested by security operatives in Edo State.

Abure, on Wednesday, was arrested a few days before the party’s primary election in Edo State.

It was gathered that he was arrested by operatives of the Zone 5 police headquarters in Benin, Edo State.

A crowd had gathered at the entrance, with only police officers and a few VIPs allowed inside.

It was gathered that his arrest was the result of a petition forwarded to the Zone from the office of the Inspector General of Police in Abuja.

Abure was captured in viral videos and pictures being forcibly handled by police officers, while his supporters from the LP party tried to intervene to stop his arrest.

Confirming the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer of the Zone, Tijani Momoh, said, “There is a standing order for now that nobody should come in.

“Yes, the Labour Party National Chairman is here and it has to do with a petition that was referred to this office from the Inspector General of Police.

“It was referred to Zone 5 from the IG’s office, he is with us but I cannot give the contents of the petition right now.”

When asked if he was being detained or just to take his statement, Momoh said, “I don’t know for now.”

Abure has been having running battles with some members of the party in the state over allegations of substituting candidates in the 2023 general election without the consent of the affected aspirants, an allegation he has denied.

It was also gathered that the arrest may be connected to the factional crisis rocking the party as a factional national youth leader was recently brutalised by some suspected members of the party.

Abure has also come under fire for allegedly mishandling party funds.

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