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[UPDATE] Abuja-Kaduna Train Attack: 5 More Passengers Confirmed Killed, 41 Hospitalised



The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, says about eight persons have so far been confirmed dead and 41 hospitalized in the recent attack on the Kaduna bound train.
This is five more casualties than the three reported by News Express on Tuesday afternoon.
Amaechi, who disclosed while inspecting the scene of the attack, described the situation as devastating.
”We don’t have all the figures of missing persons, kidnapped, and those injured at the moment.
”The numbers we have is that there are eight casualties. There are about 41 persons in different hospitals and the total number of passengers who got tickets are 398.
”So, we have had to wait on the security, the Kaduna State government, and the Nigerian Railway Corporation. They are all trying to make contact with those on the manifest.
”There are few persons who are not on the manifest like the staff of the NRC, staff of the cleaning contractor, they are not on the manifest and we may not be able to completely account for them but those on the manifest, calls are being made to reach them,” Amaechi said.
On the security sensors, the minister said its installation was delayed because of the rigorous procurement process.
”The process is tedious, the approval is also tedious, we have not been able to get that approval that will lead to the purchase of those items.
”If those items were here, drones alone will tell you that there are people around the rail tracks because there are drones, there are equipment that picks sensors if you touch the track.
”But unfortunately the process has not been able to get us that approval for us to import those items.
”So for me, I am devastated and I honestly don’t know what to tell Nigerians anymore.”
The Minister said it was not enough to have cameras inside the train, adding that a high-tech camera that would detect objects from afar was necessary.
”The cameras in the train cannot pick what is happening outside. What you need is a camera that shows 100 meters away from the train, that there are unknown persons carrying guns.
”Then, we can take precaution, but we have done all we need to do in the ministry of transport and we have forwarded to them for approval but we have not gotten approval.
”The patrol vehicles are available but they cannot reach everywhere. For the areas they patrol can patrol, it will forestall.
”We are thinking about the possibility of employing natives until we get that equipment. We also need helicopters, beyond the drones, we need helicopters,” Amaechi added.
The minister, who stated that the NRC may suspend the evening train, however, noted that stopping was not the solution but providing appropriate technology that would ensure security.
”The solution is not in running away from the militants or the bandits. The solution is providing the technology that lets you know that they are around.
”If it lets you know that they are around, there are two actions to take; either for the security men to go after them or you don’t ply within that period.
”But the agencies that need to give us approval have to give us the approval because we need to purchase those items.
”No matter the cost, you cannot equate it with the eight lives that were lost. The equipment was just N3billion and we are about to place an order for the one in Lagos but we need to know what is happening on the track, it is everywhere in the world,” he said.
On the perimeter fencing, Amaechi said some areas that have it were being demolished and it was not high enough to protect one from criminals, except for cows.
The minister reiterated the importance of getting approval to purchase the necessary equipment as human lives were involved.
”I had warned earlier that it is important they get us this approval because human lives would be involved. Since that warning till today, we have had two incidents.
”What kind of due process is that? When I say due process, it does not necessarily mean BPP but whatever agency it is, they need to get us approval so that we can get out of the cabinet.
”Even if they get us approval, it will take some months to acquire them from overseas to install them. We need to do that to enable us to see from Kaduna-Abuja, Itakpe-Warri, and Lagos-Ibadan. what is going on?

”So that we don’t continue to lose lives because lives are important. If we don’t do that, more people will die.
”The cost was about N3billion and the damage here is more than N3billion. So, if we had gotten the approval, we would have saved the N3billion and saved lives,” Amaechi reiterated.
The Chairman, of NRC, Ibrahim Alhassan, said the attack was anticipated and measures were taken to avoid it.
Alhassan said:” Two months back, we got information that some people were carrying out cognizance of the tracks.
”And the information was passed to the relevant authorities and I think some things were done and nothing happened.”
He said it was unfortunate that the attack occurred, adding that the NRC was doing all that was necessary to abate such reoccurrence.
”We would like to thank Nigerians, our passengers, and people who patronize us, their families, we would like to offer our condolences, our concern, and sympathies, we hope with God Almighty, this thing never repeats itself.
”We are going to, on our part, take some measures. To do our own scheduling thing like that and I believe the government and security agencies will come to our assistance with more help and assistance. I believe we are going to overcome this.
”It is not going to deter us, honestly, we are not going to give up because of this.
”The only thing we want is the cooperation of everybody, especially people living along the corridor, when they see any suspicious activity, they should report such.
”I believe people should help us to help all of us,” Alhassan said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that during the minister’s inspection, the Gidan train station and the community around were attacked by bandits.
The train with the minister and his entourage heading to Abuja from the visit to the scene of Monday’s attack was made to stop for some minutes before proceeding on the trip.
Security personnel was, however, seen around the area after the staff of NRC was said to have fled the scene.
This is the second attack within 24 hours along the same axis.



BREAKING: Gunmen Hijack Bullion Van In Ogun, Kill Finance Director Bureau Of Political Affairs



Yet-to-be-identified gunmen, on Wednesday, killed the Director of Finance to the Ogun State governor’s office, Mr. Taiwo Oyekanmi.

According to Daily Post, the accountant was waylaid and shot dead on the popular Kuto Bridge in Abeokuta, less than three kilometres from a bank where he had withdrawn a lump sum of money for government use.

The unknown amount was also taken away by the gunmen.

Sources from the government office hinted that Oyekanmi was gruesomely killed a few days after he celebrated his birthday.

The sources further stated that Oyekanmi was rushed to the state hospital, in Ijaye area of Abeokuta, where he breathed his last.

It was further gathered that the news of his demise has been broken to his family and the Secretary to the State government (SSG), Tokunbo Talabi, as at the time of filing this report, was with the family of the deceased paying his condolence.

When contacted, Spokesperson of the Ogun State Police Command, Omolola Odutola, confirmed the incident but insisted that nobody died at the scene.

But when the commissioner of police, Abiodun Alamutu, was called, he confirmed the incident and also admitted that Oyekanmi was killed.

The police boss said, “This afternoon, the accountant, the Director of Finance with the driver and one other person left for Fidelity Bank to make some withdrawal.

“They went with a homemade bullion van. They were supposed to have a police escort, but for certain reasons, the person was permitted to travel to attend to some issues.

“Consequently, he was not part of the movement today. According to the story, after making the withdrawal, and on their way back to the office, they were accosted.

“A vehicle blocked them on top of the bridge, five occupants of the vehicle came down, shot at the director and from their vehicle brought out a sledge hammer to force the receptacle where the money was kept open and they left with the money.

“The director that was shot was thereafter taken to Ijaye hospital where he eventually gave up the ghost.

“For our investigation, I have directed the area commander to get to the bank and request for the CCTV footage which will give us insight into the vehicle in question and possibility of identifying the culprits if they ever tried to step out of the vehicle or maybe they just maintained their position in the vehicle.

“I have reached out to Lagos and everywhere in the command to block all the exits out of the state, while we are trying to identify them because they said they were five and they were hooded.”

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We’ll Overhaul Nigeria’s Security Architecture — President Tinubu



Nigeria’s President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, says the nation’s security architecture will be overhauled on his watch.

Speaking on Wednesday while presenting the N27 trillion budget estimate before the joint sitting of the senate and house of representatives, Tinubu said the federal government will re-organise Nigeria’s entire internal security architecture.

Highlighting key issues in the appropriation bill, Tinubu said the budget seeks to achieve “job-rich economic growth, macro-economic stability”, better investment environment, and access to social security.

“Defence and internal security are accorded top priority,” the president said.

“The internal security architecture will be overhauled to enhance law enforcement capabilities and safeguard lives, property and investments across the country.

“Human capital is the most critical resource for national development. Accordingly, the budget prioritises human development with particular attention to children, the foundation of our nation.”

Tinubu said his government is committed to “improving the lot” of Nigerians and delivering on his campaign promises.

He said the 2024 budget has the potential to boost performance, promote the development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, enhance security and public safety, and improve the general living conditions of our people.

“I am confident that these budgetary allocations and directives will set Nigeria on a transformative path towards a sustainable and resilient energy future, fostering economic growth, job creation, and environmental preservation,” he said.

The president added that despite global headwinds, the Nigerian economy has proven resilient, maintaining modest but positive growth over the past twelve months.

In June, Tinubu appointed new security chiefs after he retired those who served in the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

Last week, Christopher Musa, chief of defence staff (CDS), while speaking at a security debate organised by the house of representatives, said Boko Haram suspects plan operations and move funds from behind bars.

The defence chief alleged that some prison warders help high-profile inmates to move funds through their bank accounts.

On escalating insecurity in the south-east geopolitical zone, the general said Simon Ekpa, factional leader of the proscribed Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB), is a menace to Nigeria, noting that his “utterances” and actions have caused significant harm to the country.

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2024 Budget: Federal Government Targets 3.76% Economic Growth, N9.18tn Deficit



Nigeria’s President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on Wednesday said his administration is targeting a 3.76 percent economic growth in the 2024 fiscal year.

This was as he spotlighted national security, local job creation and poverty reduction as the top priorities of the 2024 Appropriation Bill which he called the ‘Budget of Renewed Hope.’

“A critical focus of this budget and the medium-term expenditure framework is Nigeria’s commitment to a greener future…We expect the economy to grow by a minimum of 3.76 per cent, above the forecasted world average. Inflation is expected to moderate to 21.4 per cent in 2024,” Tinubu said when he presented the 2024 budget proposal to a joint session of the 10th National Assembly in Abuja, his first since assuming office exactly six months ago.

Addressing the NASS, Tinubu promised to overhaul the nation’s internal security architecture to enhance law enforcement capabilities to safeguard lives, property and investments nationwide.

He said the proposed budget prioritises human capital development, with particular attention given to children because human capital remains the most critical resource for national development.

Therefore, “To improve the effectiveness of our budget performance, the government will focus on ensuring value for money, greater transparency, and accountability.

“In this regard, we will work more closely with development partners and the private sector,” he explained.

“To address long-standing issues in the education sector, a more sustainable model of funding tertiary education will be implemented, including the Student Loan Scheme scheduled to become operational by January 2024,” Tinubu added.

On the economy, Tinubu argued that a stable macroeconomic environment is crucial in his administration’s quest to catalyse private investment and accelerate economic growth.

Consequently, he affirmed that his administration shall continue to implement business and investment-friendly measures for sustainable growth.

Giving a breakdown of the 2024 Appropriation Bill, the President said: “Accordingly, an aggregate expenditure of N27.5tn is proposed for the Federal Government in 2024, of which the non-debt recurrent expenditure is N9.92tn while debt service is projected to be N8.25tn and capital expenditure is N8.7tn. Nigeria remains committed to meeting its debt obligations. Projected debt service is 45 per cent of the expected total revenue.

“The budget deficit is projected at N9.18tn in 2024 or 3.88 per cent of GDP. This is lower than the N13.78tn deficit recorded in 2023, which represented 6.11 per cent of GDP. The deficit will be financed by new borrowings totalling N7.83tn, N298.49bn from Privatisation Proceeds, and N1.05tn draw down on multilateral and bilateral loans secured for specific development projects.”

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