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DEFENCE

Presidency Gives Breakdown on $1bn Excess Crude Account Fund

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By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

The Presidency has released further details on how the $1billion which was withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) for security was spent. 

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and publicity, Garba Shehu, on Monday explained that the N876.

9million already spent from the money domiciled at the Central Bank of Nigeria.
 

According to him, a balance of $123,111,571.

29 has remained unspent at the CBN. 

Shehu said: “Here is as much detail as we can provide at this time concerning the USD 1,000 Million from Excess Crude Account which withdrawal was authorized by the National Economic Council.

“The record we have is that the Buhari administration paid $496,374,470 for a dozen Super Tucano fighter aircraft for the Air Force in a direct, government-to-government (no Contractors or Commission Agents) transaction with the government of the United States of America. They are due for delivery in 2020.

“Various other military procurements for critical equipment have been made. These are for the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Navy, amounting to $380,513,958,71. 

“These procurements include money for the purchase of Navy Lynx helicopters. Total amount spent so far: $876,888,428.71. The equipment paid for have due dates of delivery of between six months to two years.

“Balance of the money that is unspent as at today is $123,111,571.29.”

He said that the entire expenditure involved in these exercises is on the basis of government-to-government procurement. 

He added “In cases where the Nigerian government dealt with equipment manufacturers, their home governments have in all cases given guarantees to the federal government. 

“Again, it is important to stress that no contractors or commission agents have been involved in the procurements under discussion.

“All USD 1,000 million was domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria and to date, not a single Dollar of it has been transferred to the Ministry of Defence or any other ministry, agency of government, individuals or political party office as was the norm under the PDP administration.

“We note that the PDP made so much of a report claiming that the National Security Adviser, NSA had declared the entire amount of USD 1,000 million as missing. The NSA will not have said this. 

“I’am sure have the correct story to tell. Without approval of end-user certification as issued by his office, no arms can lawfully enter Nigeria. 

“In these days of fake news, citizens including political parties pretending to the role opposition parties must be careful about the reports they work with.” he said 

DEFENCE

Police Ban Covering of Vehicles, Motorcycles Registration Number Plates in Benue

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In a bid to curb the escalating security situation, the Police Command in Benue, on Sunday ordered motorists and motorcyclists to stop covering their registration numbers plates.

The order was contained in a statement signed by the State’s Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Sewuese Anene, in Makurdi.

According to Anene, covering vehicle number plates was an offence and would be met with the appropriate sanctions.

“The practice of covering number plate has become increasingly prevalent in the state, and this is posing a significant security threat to the state, as criminals can take advantage of this practice to perpetuate crime and get away with it.

“Consequently, the Commissioner of police (CP), Benue State Command, Hassan Yabanet, has ordered all Area Commanders, Tactical Commanders and Divisional Police Officers, to impound such vehicles for investigation and prosecution.

“Motorists are hereby advised to ensure that their vehicle registration number plates remain clearly visible at all times while driving within the state, to avoid any inconvenience that may be caused by the enforcement.

“Together, we can contribute to the promotion of public safety and the maintenance of law and order in Benue State.”the PPRO said in the statement. (NAN)

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DEFENCE

Troops Rescue Abducted Kogi Varsity Students, others in Multiple Operations

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The Nigerian Army says its troops have rescued the nine abducted students of the Confluence University of Science and Technology in Osara, Kogi State.

The army, in a post on its official X Handle on Sunday, said the troops in collaboration with other security agencies and local vigilantes carried out a successful search and rescued the victims.

It said the troops encountered the scouts deployed by the kidnappers in the vicinity of the Osara Forests and nearby areas, resulting to a fierce fire fight.

According to the post, the superior fire power of the troops led to the kidnappers abandoning nine of the kidnapped students, who were subsequently rescued.

It said the troops had in a series of successful operations across the country, dealt substantial blows to terrorist groups and rescued several kidnap victims while a notorious militant surrendered.

The post also revealed that troops in the North West also rescued two persons abducted by terrorists in Danzara Village in Kanoma District in Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara.

It said the troops demonstrated their rapid response capabilities, when they received a distress call on the abduction of the two locals by violent extremists.

According to the army, the terrorists, who had seized the victims in a red Golf car, were pursued by the troops but flee and abandon the hostages without harm in the cause of the confrontation with troops.

In Katsina State, the post revealed that the proactive efforts of the troops led to the rescue of 17 abducted victims in the Solar General Area of Batsari Local Government Area.

It said the troops engaged the terrorists in a fierce gun battle, compelling them to abandon the kidnap victims, who were later safely returned to the care of Batsari Local Government officials.

“In Borno, a notable incident occurred when Alhaji Wosai, identified as a notorious member of the Boko Haram Terrorists operating within the Garno Village, in Dikwa Local Government Area,  voluntarily surrendered to troops.

“Wosai handed over his AK-47 rifle and a magazine containing two rounds of ammunition.

“These operations, highlight the relentless efforts of the Nigeria Army troops in combating terrorism and underscore their commitment to the safety and security of all citizens.

“Troops’ resolve in addressing the threat posed by terrorists and kidnappers remains unwavering, as they continue to work towards restoring peace and stability in the affected regions,” it said. (NAN)

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DEFENCE

Gombe: Army Assesses Barracks Infrastructure, Restates Commitment to Troops, Veterans’ Welfare

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A team from the Nigerian Army Headquarters, Department of Army Administration, on Wednesday visited the 301 Artillery Regiment (GS) in Gombe, to assess the state of barracks infrastructure in the state.

This is contained in a press statement issued in Gombe by Capt. Mazinho Attah, the Acting Assistant Director Army Public Relations, 301 Artillery Regiment (General Support).

Attah said that the Acting Deputy Chief of Administration (Army) Veterans Affairs Department (VAD), Brig .

Gen Umaru Alkali, led the team to the state.

Attah quoted Alkali to have said that the visit was directed by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Taoreed Lagbaja, and aimed at improving  facilities and enhancing the welfare of veterans and serving personnel.

“The visit is to address current conditions of legions, Nigerian Army cemeteries as well as command schools and hospitals,” he said.

He further highlighted the ongoing efforts of the Nigerian Army leadership to ensure that troops and family welfare of serving and retired personnel remained top priority of the service.

While receiving the team, the Commander 301 Artillery Regiment, Colonel Musa Ahmed, briefed the team on the current conditions of facilities in Gombe State.

Ahmed noted the significance of completing ongoing projects at the new barracks and making it befitting for the regiment.

He further said that the assessment visit was crucial to boosting the morale of troops as well as impact positively on their living conditions.(NAN)

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