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Explain Your Failures, Stop Bullying Judiciary, Atiku Tells Buhari

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By Johnson Eyiangho & Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

The Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 general election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to stop harassing the judiciary to enable them perform their duty without interference.

Atiku, a former Vice President, in a statement, signed by his Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, and made available to DAILY ASSET in Abuja, advised the outgoing government to instead explained to Nigerians why it failed to deliver on its promises, especially the naira redesign, creation of job, protection of lives and property, end to divisions along ethno-religious and political lines, as well as galloping inflation and high cost of living.

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“We have read with disgust the shameful efforts by the Muhammadu Buhari administration in playing the role of chief marketing officer of the electoral heist deliberately orchestrated to keep the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in power against the wishes of Nigerians.

“Starting from President Muhammadu Buhari himself when he made a remark that will forever remain in infamy while hosting some governors of his party, and alleged “the opposition lost the election due to overconfidence and complacency,” we have seen a pattern whereby senior officials of government are subtly bullying the judiciary to submission.

“While it is generally acknowledged that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has a notoriety of acting busybody, it is ridiculous that the Minister will take a cue from his boss to weigh in on a matter that is already before the courts.

“The Muhammadu Buhari-led APC government has already breasted the tape for being the most irresponsible government in Nigeria on account of breaking its promises.

“Whereas President Buhari and his appointee INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu had promised Nigerians and the entire world of conducting a credible, free and fair 2023 general election wherein technology will be deployed to track and protect every single ballot, we have seen how woefully this administration failed to deliver on its promises.

“We will not wish to explain much on the depravity that trailed the conduct of the 2023 general election since it remains a matter before the judiciary.

“However, it is important to caution the APC and, especially, senior officials of the current administration to desist from making commentaries that portend as subtle acts of bullying against the judicial processes that is currently putting the legality of the last election into trial.

“If officials of the Buhari government must explain anything within their remaining days, let it be about telling Nigerians how they failed on their promises including issues of naira redesign; destruction instead of creation of jobs; the pervading state of insecurity and divisions along ethno-religious and political lines; galloping inflation and high cost of living; removing the corruption around the issues of fuel subsidy and their latest promise of conducting a national census, which, typically, they have failed to deliver upon.

“They must also explain to Nigerians why the country that they are leaving behind before going back to Niger Republic is the poverty capital of the world,” Atiku stated.

Buhari Scores Self High in Fight against Insecurity, terrorism

The Presidency has highlighted the giant strides of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in transforming and boosting the fighting capabilities of the Armed Forces of Nigeria between 2015 and 2023.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, in a 90-page document released on Sunday in Abuja, said the remarkable interventions had impacted positively on the capabilities of the military.

In counter-terrorism operations, Adesina said that deaths caused by Boko Haram dropped by 92 per cent from 2,131 in 2015 to 178 in 2021.

He cited a report on Global Terrorism Index 2022, which acknowledged Nigeria’s “successful counter-insurgency operations targeting Boko Haram” as a leading cause of the reduction in terrorism deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Adesina recalled that in May 2022, United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres also acknowledged the tremendous achievements of the military in the North East.

“Now, the Borno State I have heard about… was a Borno State of terrorism, of violence, of displacement, of despair.

“This is not the Borno that I found today. The Borno I found today is a Borno of hope. It’s a Borno with future…”, he said during a visit to the region.

Adesina also quoted the International Maritime Bureau in its report as saying that Nigeria in 2021 saw the lowest number of piracy attacks on its waters in 27 years.

On the equipping of the military, he said that the Buhari administration had acquired variety of weapons, aircraft and vehicles for the military within the period.

Adesina said the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) received 38 brand new aircraft since President Buhari assumed office in 2015.

They include 10 Super Mushshak; five Mi-35M Helicopters; two Bell 412 Helicopters; four Agusta 109 Helicopters; two Mi-171E Helicopters; 12 A-29 Super Tucano; and three JF-17 Thunder.

According to him, orders have been placed for 36 additional aircraft, comprising 12 AH-1Z Attack Helicopters and 24 M-346 Fighter Attack aircraft for the NAF.

“For the first time in its history, the NAF has, under President Buhari’s administration, successfully conducted several in-country Periodic Depot Maintenance and avionics upgrades of some of its platforms.

“And improved the serviceability status of NAF platforms from about 35 percent in 2015 to over 70 percent as at January 2023.”

Adesina also said the Nigerian Navy had recorded massive transformation within the period with the acquisition of more than 400 new platforms.

“The Nigerian Navy has acquired more than 400 new platforms since 2015, including 200 Riverine Patrol Boats, 114 Rigid- Hull Inflatable Boats, two Seaward Defence Boats, 12 Manta Class/Inshore Patrol Craft.

“Others are, three Whaler Boats, 4 Barges / Tugboats, 22 Fast Attack Boats, 14 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, four Helicopters, 14 River Town Class, 14 House Boats and four Capital Ships.”

According to him, the Nigerian Army has similarly been transformed into a more efficient well equipped fighting force in the last eight years.

Adesina said apart from doubling yearly intake of troops, there was massive acquisition of equipment, opening of new baes, divisions and commands, and improved welfare of personnel.

“The Nigerian Army has acquired hundreds of new equipment including VT-4 Main Battle Tanks, STI Light Tanks, SH2 and SH5 Artillery Platforms, MRAPs, ARRV and Mine Sweepers, Infantry Fighting Vehicles, Self-Propelled Howitzers, Armored Fighting Vehicles, Mountain Climber Bikes, and many others.

“Most recently, in 2023, the Nigerian Military acquired 700 brand-new Troop-Carrying Vehicles, all assembled in Nigeria,” he said.

On new military formations and bases, the presidential spokesman said that the Navy had established a base in Baga, Borno, and  received Presidential approval for new Naval Bases in Lekki, Lagos, Oguta, and Kano in Kano State.

He added that two additional Divisions of the Nigerian Army, 6 and 8 Divisions, were established, to cover new frontiers.

According to him, the Army also established the Cyber Warfare Command, and the Land Forces Simulation Centre in Abuja in 2021 – borne out of an alliance between the Nigerian Army and the National Information Technology Development Agency.

“For the Nigerian Navy, a Naval Doctrine Command was established, while the Nigerian Air Force created a new Special Operations Command and a Ground Training Command.

“The Buhari Administration also established the Defence Research and Development Bureau to harness the Research and Development efforts of the Nigerian Military. Also established, in 2017, was the Defence Space Administration (DSA).

“On Nov. 15, 2022, the DSA oversaw the launch of Nigeria’s first Military Satellite, DELSAT 1, into space.”

He added that the administration “increased recruitment of personnel into the Armed Forces, including a doubling of army recruitment numbers per intake, and a quadrupling of airmen recruitment numbers per intake.”

The presidential spokesman also said there was full operationalisation of the National Counter Terrorism Centre and inauguration of its complex.

He said the launch of Nigeria’s Revised National Counter Terrorism Strategy; National Crisis Management Doctrine and Revised National Defence Policy, were other milestones in the eight years of the administration.

He added that the administration also established Nigeria’s National Centre for the Coordination of Early Warning and Response Mechanism, in 2022, to respond promptly and efficiently to any potential crisis.

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Airports: Tinubu Seeks N24.6bn to Reimburse Nasarawa, Kebbi 

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By Lubem Myaornyi, Abuja

President Bola Tinubu has written to the House of Representatives seeking the preparations and approval of a N24.6 billion Promissory Notes to reimburse Nasarawa and Kebbi States on the costs of their Airports taken over by the Federal Government.

Nasarawa is to be reimbursed N9.5 billion while Kebbi is to be reimbursed to the tune of N15.

1 billion.

In the letter read by the Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu, who presided over the Plenary on Thursday, the President said, the takeover of the airports was in line with Item 3 of the Second Schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which placed the ownership of Airports and other Aviation related infrastructure in the exclusive list.

Similarly, the President in a separate letter presented an Executive Bill, the National Anti-Doping Bill 2024 for the House consideration.

The President said the bill seeks the creation of an agency for Nigeria to achieve world standards and codes on Doping by signatories to the international regulations.

He urged the House to give the Bill a speedy consideration before the commencement of the Olympic Games coming up later in July.

In another letter, the President sought the approval of a supplementary budget for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for the 2023 fiscal year.

Tinubu Transmits Bill on Sports Performance Enhancement Drug to Senate

Meanwhile, President Bola Tinubu has forwarded a bill to the Senate seeking to prohibit Nigerian athletes from consuming substances that enhance performance during or after competitions.

The president’s request was contained in a letter read by the Deputy Senate President, Barau Jibrin, who presided over the plenary on Thursday.

The bill titled “National Anti-Doping Bill 2024”, if passed, will regulate substances that can be consumed by athletes during sporting events.

In the letter, Tinubu said the bill would provide a legal framework for the establishment of the National Anti-Doping Organisation to regulate sporting competitions.

He explained that the establishment of the agency was a requirement for Nigeria to achieve compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code.

The World Anti-Doping Code (Code) is the core document that harmonises anti-doping policies, rules and regulations within sports organisations and among public authorities around the world.

Tinubu noted that the law will help Nigeria avoid the imposition of signatory consequences and the inclusion of laws of hosting and participating rights at regional, continental and world championships or major athletic events.

“In accordance with the provisions of section 58 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, I forward herewith the National Anti-Doping Bill 2024 for the kind consideration of the Senate.

“The National Anti-Doping Bill 2024 seeks to create an administratively independent National Anti-Doping organisation, which is a cardinal requirement for Nigeria to achieve compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code and the international standard for code compliance by signatures.

The enactment of this vital legislation will also help Nigeria avoid the imposition of signatory consequences, the inclusion of laws of hosting and participating rights at regional, continental and world championships or major athletic events”, Mr Tinubu added.

The president, however, urged the lawmakers to consider the bill before the Olympic Games seminar scheduled to be held in Paris in July for Nigerians to be part of the competition.

 “It is my hope that this submission will receive the humankind expeditious consideration of the distinguished members of the Senate of the Federal Nigeria for passage of the same to law before the Olympic Games seminar in Paris in July 2024.

“Please accept, distinguished president, the assurances of our highest consideration. Regards.”

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Medical Tourism: Senate Mulls Health Infrastructure Development Agency

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The Senate at the plenary on Thursday passed through second reading, a Bill seeking for an Act to establish the Health Infrastructure Development Agency to provide a comprehensive framework to guide the planning, financing, construction, maintenance, and regulation of healthcare infrastructure in Nigeria.


The proposed legislation titled; “Bill for an Act to establish Health Infrastructure Development Agency,” was sponsored by the Minority Whip, Senator Osita Ngwu.

Leading the debate on its general principles, Ngwu who represents Enugu West senatorial district explained that the bill seeks to promote development and improvement of healthcare infrastructure so as to enhance healthcare access, quality, and delivery across the country.

He further explained that it seeks to strengthen the healthcare system by focusing on the modernization of healthcare facilities by leveraging public-private partnerships for sustainable infrastructure development.
The lawmaker lamented that the Nigerian healthcare industry faces challenges associated with outbound medical tourism, inadequate medical personnel and deteriorating medical infrastructure.
Making reference to a report by the International Trade Administration, which stated that Nigeria is still underdeveloped, lacks modern medical facilities and its healthcare indicators were some of the worst in Africa, Ngwu recalled that to reverse the trend, the government approved the second National Strategic Health Development Plan (2018-2020).
He pointed out that part of the objective of the plan was to improve availability and functionality of health infrastructure required to optimize service delivery at all levels, saying that it’s against this background that this Bill is proposed.
The lawmaker added that the Bill was a bold attempt at not only reversing the medical tourism of Nigerians to other countries, but also seeks to make Nigeria a medical destination hub within the shortest possible time.
“Healthcare infrastructure constitutes a major component of the structural quality of a health system. It is a key pillar that supports the aim of promoting improved standard of medical care and wellbeing. The Bill outlines the responsibilities and powers of a Board, emphasizes collaboration and coordination among stakeholders, and provides for the issuance of regulations and guidelines to support effective implementation of its objectives.
“The Bill proposes the establishment of an Agency to administer the framework for policy direction, standards, guidelines, efficient construction processes, and quality control measures. The Agency would also ensure that healthcare facilities are designed, constructed, and maintained to meet the highest standards and support the delivery of quality healthcare services.
“The Bill emphasizes the importance of rural healthcare access and outlines strategies for addressing healthcare disparities in rural areas. By implementing these strategies, Nigeria can enhance healthcare access and delivery in rural communities, improving health outcomes and reducing disparities. Provision is also made to accommodate the importance of public-private partnerships (PPPs) and the types of PPP models that can be employed. By implementing these guidelines, Nigeria can effectively leverage the expertise and resources of the private sector to improve healthcare access, affordability, and quality,” Ngwu said.
Thereafter the Bill was put to a voice vote by the President of the Senate; Godswill Akpabio who presided over the session and it was passed and referred to the Committee on Health Institutions.
Senate Passes North West Development Commission Establishment Bill
Similarly, the Senate on Thursday passed the North West Development Commission (NWDC) establishment bill, to address challenges facing the seven states in the zone.
This followed the adoption of the report of the Senate Committee on Special Duties, on the NWDC (Establishment) at Thursday’s plenary.
Presenting the report, the Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Shehu Kaka from Borno State said the purpose of the bill was well structured and strategically streamlined, for the socio-economic development of the North West zone of the country.
He added that the commission’s establishment would bring the federal government closer to the north western states, and meet the yearnings and aspirations of the people.
Kaka, therefore, urged the Senate to pass the bill.
The lawmakers unanimously passed the bill when it was put to a voice vote by the deputy senate president, Barau Jibrin who presided over the plenary.
In his remarks, Barau commended his colleagues for supporting the bill’s passage.
He said the commission would address the challenges, facing the zone and, by extension, the country.
Describing the North West as the food basket of the country, he said the commission would also work toward the restoration of infrastructure, destroyed by Boko Haram insurgents and bandits in the zone.
“So if we are serious about ensuring we have food, and for food security to be attained in this country, we must provide the necessary infrastructure for all our key sectors to thrive well.
“This commission is needed. I commend you all for supporting this; no one said no. Everybody supported this idea. So, now we are pushing the Bill to the House of Representatives for their approval and then, to Mr President for assent,” he said.

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Herdsmen Kill Pregnant Woman, 10 Others in Benue

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From Attah Ede, Makurdi

Suspected armed herdsmen again reportedly killed a pregnant woman, 10 other persons during attack on Akilo community in Usha council ward in Agatu West of Agatu Local Government Area (LGA) of Benue State.

It was gathered that the victims were killed in their homes by the marauders who invaded  the community at about 3:30pm on Sunday.

The caretaker chairman of Agatu LGA, Mr.

Yakubu Ochepo, who confirmed the killings, said that “11 people  were killed.

Ochepo said of the number of  deaths recorded, seven corpses have been recovered.

According to him, A pregnant woman corpse, an elderly man and that of five youths have been recovered, adding  that the community members were able to achieve this through the  aid of soldiers and Air force personnel deployed to the area.

“Soldiers and Air Force went there yesterday (Sunday), to recover the corpses. There were gunshots and they were running away only to regroup again.

“I’m in Makurdi now to report to Operations Whirl Stroke. We need more hands. We hear they captured some alive and threw some into the river but we are still waiting for more reports from the area.

“We have not been able to recover the remaining four corpses yet,” he explained.

Ochepo appealed to both the state and Federal Governments to take drastic action towards ending the carnage by deploying more security personnel to Agatu to check the activities of the killer herdsmen in the LGA.

When contacted, the Benue State Command Police Public Relations Officer, Catherine Anene said she was yet to get information about the fresh attack in Agatu.

It would be recalled that three farmers were reportedly killed by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen at Ogbaulu community in Agatu LGA.

 The victims were working on their farms when the herders came to slaughter them.

Similarly, on April  9, 15 persons were killed after suspected herders attacked same Ogbaulu community.

It was gathered that the attackers conducted relentless attacks on the area for two weeks, invading  all the villages the area.

The Chairman of Agatu listed some of the communities currently  under siege by armed herders in Agatu LGA as: Olegomakwu, Onahe, Ocholonya, Okokolo, Ugboju, Olegobidu, Odugbeho, Odejo, Ogbaulu, Imwenyi, Adana, Ologba-Gishu, Iwarri, Ejima-gope, Ejima-gochi, Ikpele and Okpokpolo.

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