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Tragic Weekend: Many Killed in Clash, Stampede

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From Joseph Hans Apuu, Lafia, Attah Ede, Makurdi

Nine persons were killed, several homes razed, barns destroyed and cattle rustled following a violent clash between youths in Ponglong area of Lalin district, Mikang Local Government Area of Plateau state.

The communal clash between Montol and Taroh ethnic groups in Ponglong community happened on Saturday night.

The Transition Chairman of the council, Mr Daniel Kungmi said the clash which started between two persons led to youths taking up arms.

Trouble started around 6pm on Saturday following a farmland dispute.

Though security operatives had calmed down the situation, colossal damage had already been done.

The chairman of the local council said, “Within a short while, the situation degenerated leading to burning down of houses and barns.

“Several criminal elements took advantage of the unfortunate situation and rustled cattle.

“Immediately we got the news of the clash, we called on security operatives who moved swiftly to the affected community to restore law and order.

“I just returned from the community and the situation is under control, but we cannot ascertain the number of persons killed in the clash.

“I call on the people to be more tolerable and cautious of undesirable elements that might want to take advantage of the unfortunate situation to inflict harm on innocent persons.”

Stampede  Nasarawa, Bauchi

It was equally a sad weekend for the Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK) where two students lost their lives and 17 others injured in a stampede during palliative distribution by the Nasarawa State government.

Dr Ahmed Kana, the Head of Clinical Medical Services, Federal Medical Centre, Keffi confirmed the death to newsmen.

According to Kana, two students were confirmed dead, both females while out of the 17 injured students brought to the medical centre, only one was a male.

“For now most of them are stable and we are resuscitating others and by God’s grace some of them will go home very soon.

“What is important for us now is to treat the emergency cases and ensure there is no more fatality,” he said.

It would be recalled that Governor Abdullahi Sule, during a visit to the Federal University Lafia; College of Education, Akwanga; College of Agriculture, Lafia; among others and donated 7.5 kg packs of rice and N5,000 cash to students to cushion the economic hardship  experienced across the country.

The governor was scheduled to extend similar gesture to the students of NSUK on Friday but even before his arrival, students had thronged the location of the palliative distribution, the university convocation square and looted the food resulting in stampede.

The Vice Chancellor of NSUK, Prof. Suleiman Bala expressed shock over the tragic incident.

Addressing the press, Bala lamented the loss of lives, describing the day as a sombre one in the annals of NSUK’s history.

He said that the state government had provided palliatives consisting two bags of rice accompanied by monetary assistance to over 4,000  students.

He said the distribution process was marred by impatience, resulting in the stampede and subsequent casualties.

The governor in a press statement on Friday by his Chief Press Secretary, Ibrahim Adra expressed profound shock and sadness over the stampede.

The governor directed the authorities of the university and security agencies to commence immediate investigation into the unfortunate occurrence with a view to unveiling those behind it.

The statement reads, “Governor Sule deeply regrets the tragic death of two students of the institution in this needless stampede motivated by crime.

“Such distribution was a huge success and peacefully carried out at Federal University, Lafia, Isa Mustapha Agwai Polytechnic, Lafia, College of Agriculture, Science and Technology, Lafia, the School of Nursing, Lafia as well as the College of Education, Akwanga.

 “I pray their souls rest in peace. Our thoughts and condolences go to their families and friends at this moment of grief.

“These young people’s lives cut short in their prime under such circumstance is painful.”

Similarly, four persons were confirmed dead in a stampede during the distribution of alms by a philanthropist in Bauchi, Bauchi State.

The spokesperson of the Bauchi State Police Command, Mr Ahmed Wakil said the incident occured on Sunday at the AYM Shafa Holdings Office, when hundreds of people gathered to collect alms from a philanthropist, Alhaji Yakubu Maishanu.

He said the command received a distress call from the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH), about the victims being rushed to the facility for medical attention.

“The Commissioner of Police, Auwal Musa directed for urgent action and mobilised personnel to the scene.

 “The police operative joined the rescue operation, cordoned off the area to prevent further casualties while the exercise was stopped,” he said.

Wakil said that four females had been confirmed dead by a medical doctor while others were receiving treatment at the hospital.

The spokesman urged individuals and organisations engaged in philanthropist and humanitarian services to report to the police and make adequate arrangements in their distribution exercises to forestall future occurrences.

Gunmen Kidnaps 10 passengers in Benue

Gunmen suspected to be kidnappers reportedly kidnapped 10 passengers at Jootar community in Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State.

Jootar is located between Taraba/Benue States borders.

A local who spoke on condition of anonymity told journalists on phone that the driver of the affected vehicle who escaped being kidnapped narrated the attack.

He disclosed that the driver of the Sharon vehicle explained that he picked up 10 passengers at Takum Junction in Wukari, Taraba State heading to Gboko in Benue State when the incident happened.

“The driver told me he was to drop them [passengers] in Gboko where they would get another vehicle to Akure in Ondo State.

“They took his phone. He had to use somebody’s phone to call me as soon as the incident happened. He is somebody I know very well.

“The incident happened around noon on Friday. That is what he told me. He picked them up from Takum, and the incident happened just 2kilomrtres to Jootar, Ukum LGA,” the source explained.

The driver was said to have reported the case at the Jootar police station.

When contacted, the lawmaker who represents Ukum State Constituency in the State Assembly, Ezra Nyiyongo said he received such a report.

He said, “I was told that a vehicle was intercepted. According to what I heard since I am not the one who spoke with the driver, he said he picked those people from Wukari, Taraba State, conveying them to Gboko.

“From Gboko, according to him, they were going to Akure for menial jobs. I am not quite sure. I am just reporting from the driver’s words. They were intercepted in Jootar in Ukum LGA.”

“This guy [driver] called me that his vehicle was stopped by heavily armed gunmen.

“They took his bus, abandoned him and drove into the bush with 10 persons who looked like artisans whom he was supposed to drop off in Gboko.”

The chairman of Ukum Local Government Area, Victor Iorzaa said he could not confirm the incident, stating that both the Divisional Police Officer and the Chief Security Officer of the local government area said they did not have such report.

Also, the state Commissioner of Police, Emmanuel Adesina said the command was not aware of the incident.

Crash Claims Mother, Injures Three Children

Another tragic event was a crash that resulted in the death of mother and injury of three of her children in Ikorodu area of Lagos.

Police Public Relations Officer in Lagos State, Benjamin Hundeyin said the Ikorodu Police Division received information of the accident on Friday at about 9:41pm.

According to him, the information received revealed that on same Friday, at about 9:35 pm, in front of Ikorodu Radio Solebo along Igbogbo Road Ikorodu, the accident occurred.

He said, “There occurred a fatal motor/pedestrian accident involving a Mercedes Benz C350 car driven by a 22-year-old man (name withheld) and pedestrians.

”he victims: one Ngozi, 40, her three children ages 16, 14 and 13. The driver was said to have lost control of his car while coming from Igbogbo, heading towards Ebute and hit the said Ngozi and her three children.

“They were said to be selling groundnut at the scene of incident. As a result of the accident, the victims sustained different degrees of injuries.

“They were all rushed to the Ikorodu General Hospital by the police, where the mother was confirmed dead by the doctor on duty while her three children were admitted for medical treatment.”

Hundeyin said that the corpse of the mother had been deposited at the mortuary for preservation and autopsy.

He said that the driver was in police custody for investigation.

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Federation Account Garners N7trn Revenue in Six Months – RMAFC

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja

Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) yesterday disclosed that a total sum of N7.31 trillion accrued to the Federation Account between July and Dec. 2023.This was captured in the monthly report to the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the caption “CBN Federation Account Component Statement”.

This amount is higher than the sum of N5.
244 trillion realised in the first half of year 2023, according to a statement signed by the RMAFC Chairman, Mr. Mohammed Bello Shehu and made available to the media in Abuja.The chairman disclosed that out of the total gross revenue inflows into the Federation Account, the sum of N1,692 trillion was transferred to the Exchange Gain Differential Account, thus leaving a balance of N5.
475 billion for distribution.He added that from the amount stated above, the sum of N3.26 trillion was deducted as approved statutory deductions by the OAGF, leaving a net balance of N2.2 trillion for distribution to the three tiers of government within the period under review.The chairman explained that out of the N3.267 trillion statutory deduction indicated above, N2.251 trillion was transferred to the Non-Oil Excess Account as savings, thus leaving a net statutory deduction of N1.016 trillion with further augmentations for sharing among the three tiers of government received from some “reserve accounts.”The statement added that within the period under review, the net sum of N4 trillion was shared with the three tiers of government, an amount higher than the total sum of N3.06 trillion.In terms of percentages, the chairman stressed that “the statutory deduction in the second half of the year constituted 44.12 percent of the total gross inflow into the Federation Account in the six-month period, which was higher than the first half deductions of 42.31 percent (inclusive of transfer to the Non-Oil Excess Account).”On remittances by Revenue Generating Agencies (RGAs), the RMAFC chairman disclosed that out of the total gross revenue inflows into the Federation Account, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) remitted N874 64 billion in the second half of the year as against the zero-remittance made in the first half of the year.Similarly, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) remitted the sum of N1.56 trillion while the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) remitted N3.65 trillion

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PDP NEC Meeting Ends with Damagum as Acting Chairman

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By Johnson Eyiangho, Abuja

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) 98th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting yesterday ended without a word on the much talked-about replacement of the party’s Acting National Chairman, Amb. Iliya Damagum, an indication that he will continue to function in that position.

In an interview with newsmen after the meeting, the PDP spokesman, Hon.
Debo Ologunagba said for now, the party is focusing on issues of reconciliation and its stability, adding that the issue of the Acting National Chairmanship had been “deferred to the next NEC meeting, which is tentatively scheduled for August 15, 2024″.
Also speaking, the Governor of Bauchi State and Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Bala Mohammed said the party is united as there was no dissension and rancour.
In his words, “It was planned that the party would have an implosion. PDP is more than that. We have gone beyond all that. This party is united, guided by experience and constitutionality.”There were a lot of permutations and mischievous thinking outside there. But we looked at all the issues and we worked along our guidelines and constitution.“There is no problem or dissension and problem among members,” Mohammed said.The well attended NEC meeting was held amid tight security as police and personnel of the Department of State Services (DSS) condoned off roads leading to the PDP Secretariat, Abuja and diverted vehicular traffic.It will be recalled that the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) had passed a vote of confidence on Damagum during its meeting on Tuesday.A communique issued at the end of the three hours meeting commended all the organs of the party for their collective resilience, steadfastness and commitment towards the unity, stability and sustenance the party despite daunting challenges.The communique commended the efforts of the NWC in its effort towards rebranding the party and urged all party members to continue to work together for the success of the PDP for the benefit of Nigerians and sustenance of democracy in our country.

The document which was read by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Ologunagba, however, expressed concern over what it described as the ill-implemented policies of the APC administration, leading to worsening insecurity, harrowing economic hardship, soaring unemployment rate, high cost of food and other necessities of life with pervading misery and despondency across the country.”NEC expresses serious apprehension over the spate of acts of terrorism and violence including the escalated cases of mindless killings, mass abduction of innocent Nigerians and marauding of communities in various parts of the country.”NEC condemns the insensitivity, nonchalance, incompetence and arrogance in failure of the APC administration which continues to conduct itself in a manner that shows that it has no iota of interest or commitment towards the wellbeing of Nigerians.”NEC also condemns the creeping totalitarianism and tendencies towards a One-Party State which is inimical to the peace, stability and corporate existence of our nation as well as the development of Democracy and good governance in the country,” it said.The communique demanded that President Bola Tinubu should urgently convene a special National Security Council meeting to proffer a holistic solution and measures to curb the disturbing insecurity with its attendant negative consequences on the nation.It also called on the president to “immediately rejig his Economic Team to bring in persons of proven integrity and competence without bias and vested interest to assist in repositioning the economy.”NEC further demands that the Federal Government should review all policies and programmes which are stifling the economy with suffocating effect on the lives of citizens; including the increase in price of fuel without cushioning measures, hike in electricity tariff, increased taxation and implementation of adverse fiscal policies,” the communique added.Present at the meeting were FCT Minister Nyesom Wike, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and many other past and presently elected members of the PDP.

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CBN Reduces Banks’ Lending Rate to 50 Percent

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday announced a review of the loan-to-deposit ratio (LDR) for banks from 65 percent to 50 percent to align with the current monetary tightening.

LDR is used to assess a bank’s liquidity by comparing its total loans to its total deposits.

An increase in the loan-to-deposit ratio allows banks to expand their credits to businesses and individuals, however, a decline in LDR reduces their ability to loan customers from depositors’ funds.

CBN disclosed the increase in a circular titled “Re: Regulatory Measures to Improve Lending to the Sector of the Nigerian Economy”, signed by Adetona Adedeji, CBN Acting Director, Banking Supervision Department.

“Following a shift in the b  ank’s policy stance towards a more contractionary approach, it is imperative to review the loan-to-deposit ratio (LDR) policy to align with the current monetary tightening by the CBN,” the apex bank said.

“Accordingly, the CBN has decided to reduce the LDR by 15 percentage points to 50%, in a similar proportion to the increase in the CRR rate for banks.

“All DMBs are required to maintain this level and are further advised that average daily figures shall continue to be applied to assess compliance.”At the last monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting on March 26, the CBN retained the CRR at 45 percent and the liquidity rate at 30 percent.

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