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Senate President, Stakeholders Promise Support for Families of Fallen Heroes

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By David Torough, Abuja

The National Assembly has assured more support for families of Nigeria’s fallen heroes as the country marks the 2024 Armed Forces and Remembrance Day.

President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio gave the assurance in an interview with State House Correspondents after the laying of wreaths in commemoration of the day on Monday in Abuja.

According to Akpabio, today’s ceremony is just to signify to all of them that they are not alone, that we also mourn with them and we continue to pray for God Almighty to console them and provide for the children and their siblings that they have left behind.

He said, “the presence of all of us is also a major significance that yes, indeed, the government of the day would never let them mourn alone and I will do everything possible to ensure that their welfare is taken care of, and that this event reduces the calamities that we’re seeing in our country.

Also, Speaker, House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, pledged that the entire National Assembly will not leave the families of the falling heroes alone.

“They should know that what they are doing is a noble cause and we will be with them all the way. We will support them all the way; I will ensure that their siblings are not left alone.

“That is a commitment from the National Assembly, as you have learned from our Senate President. We will do everything humanly possible to improve the welfare of the families of the fallen heroes and the active men and women in the field,” he added.

Minister of Defence, Abubakar Badaru, who also pledged support for the families of war veterans, also used the opportunity to thank President Bola Tinubu for supporting the families of those who died in service of their father land. 

The Minister urged Nigerians to thank the President for all the support and the love he showed for the fallen heroes and their families, adding, “he has been very supportive and we try as much as possible to take care of them by every means and way.”

Badaru also gave a word of encouragement to serving military personnel saying: “They should keep working very hard and rid us of the menace of the security challenges in the country and I think they are doing wonderfully well now.

The National President, Military Widows Association (MiWA), Mrs Veronica Aluko, who also spoke to Journalists, noted with dismay that the day reminds widows of fallen heroes of their predicaments.

She said, “today refreshes the mourning in us. We are remembering today that these people left us for real. And the significance of today is remembering their sacrifice, which is not in vain. That gives us more strength, that since they are not forgotten, they didn’t die in vain.

Chairman, Nigerian Legion, retired Major General Abdulmalik Jibrin noted that It was befitting to set aside a special  day in remembrance of the supreme price paid by deceased members of the Armed Forces.

“This day is specially set aside for members of the Armed Forces to serve two purposes one, to celebrate the end of the Nigerian Civil War and also to celebrate those who are living, who have served and have left the military and including those who are serving.

“The second part is to remember those who made the supreme sacrifice during the First and Second World Wars through other international engagements coming down to operations that we had in Liberia, in Sierra Leone, and under United Nations and the African Union,” he explained.

The Chairman also used the opportunity to solicit for more support for war veterans who are still alive.

“But the Nigerian Legion is not well grounded in terms of finances, to be able to shoulder the enormous responsibilities of looking after all the families of the fallen heroes,” he appealed.

NEWS

Armed herders attacks soldiers, kill one, injured another in Benue

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From Attah Ede, Makurdi

Troops of Operations Whirl Stroke (OPWS), operating in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States, were reportedly attacked by suspected armed herdsmen leading to the death of one soldier, while another one was injured in Ochuekwu, Benue State.

The soldiers were deployed to Ochumekwu, Apa local government area of the State to keep peace following constant attacks on the community by the armed herders.

Force Commander, Operation Whirl Stroke OPWS Major General Sunday Iserihen Igbinomwanhia who confirmed this to newsmen on Monday, in Makurdi, said one personnel was killed and one injured.

He however said the troops in response killed three and injured several of the herdsmen, while one AK47 and rounds of ammunitions were recovered from them.

” OPWS is currently carrying out a clearance operation to flush out suspected armed foreign herders who have invaded Kwande local government area of the State”, he said.

It could be recalled that in February, a soldier was killed and two (2) others were injured in Agatu local government when suspected herders laid ambush on the troops.

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NEWS

Borehole Drillers Seek Expatriate Levy Review

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The Borehole Drillers’ Association of Nigeria (BODAN), has urged the Nigerian Government to reconsider its decision on the Expatriate Employment Levy (EEL), as it poses a threat to the survival of the drilling sector.

BODAN President, Mr Francis Uzoma, told newsmen on Monday that the decision has prompted many foreign drilling companies to consider relocating to other countries.

The Expatriate Employment Levy mandates an annual fee for organisations employing expatriate workers, requiring $15,000 (£12,000) for a director and $10,000 for other employees.

This move, according to the Federal Government aims to encourage foreign companies to increase the employment of Nigerian workers.

Uzoma said the federal government should reconsider the decision by reviewing the mandated levy to be more considerate in line with current economic realities.

According to him, its members, especially the foreign investors have been worried about the new decision saying it was not beneficial to continue to operate in the country.

“I just came out from a meeting with my members and they have expressed concern about the new law which mandates organisations employing expatriate workers to pay $15,000 for a director and $10,000 for other employees.

“These companies have already indicated their intentions to leave the country, many of them are Indian and Asian drillers.

“There are predictions of massive job losses, affecting mainly Nigerian workers and would contribute to unemployment.

“We are calling for total review of this annual levy as the one-month window given for payment is not tenable and would affect the economy.

“Without such reconsideration, there’s a risk of drilling companies relocating to neighboring countries, as they have expressed dissatisfaction and unfavorable business conditions”.

These effects, he added include potential repercussions on the borehole sector, hindrance to knowledge transfer, and limitations on equipment and technology use.

He stressed the potential retaliation from foreign investors, particularly Nigerians in diaspora, highlighting the importance of considering the policy’s impact.

He mentioned his intention to write to the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, outlining the adverse effects of the policy on the economy.

NAN recalls President Bola Tinubu’s cautionary statement during the recent launch of the EEL handbook, where he warned against using the levy to obstruct potential investors.

He highlighted the government’s expectations to enhance revenue and promote indigenisation, emphasising the objective of balancing employment opportunities between Nigerians and expatriates.

Tinubu clarified that the government’s aim is to narrow wage gaps between expatriates and the Nigerian labor force.

Also, it is to simultaneously foster increased employment opportunities for qualified Nigerians within foreign companies operating in the country. (NAN)

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Foreign News

Cambodia Arrests 2 Foreigners for Smuggling 2.27 kg Narcotics

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Cambodian customs police at the Phnom Penh International Airport said they have arrested two South Korean nationals for an attempt to smuggle 2.27 kg narcotics to South Korea.

The duo, a man and woman, were caught Sunday night while they checked in for a ZA215 flight bound for Seoul.

The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia said in a news release on Monday.

In their body searches, our customs officials found many packs of drugs wrapped around their waists, the news release said.

“As a result, some 1.29 kg of crystal methamphetamine and 0.98 kg of ketamine were seized from the two suspects’ possession.’’

The Southeast Asian country has no death sentence for a drug trafficker.

Under its law, someone found guilty of trafficking more than 80 grammes of illicit drugs could be jailed for life.

According to the country’s Anti-Drug Department (ADP), Cambodia nabbed 3,899 drug-related suspects, including 106 foreigners, in 1,659 cases from Jan. 1 to March 3, 2024.

According to the report they confiscated a total of 2.79 tonnes of narcotics.

Most of the seized drugs were ketamine, crystal methamphetamine, methamphetamine tablets, heroin, ecstasy, and cocaine. (Xinhua/NAN)

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