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President Buhari threatens to relocate projects from states creating impediments

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday has said that he is suffering from cold.

President Muhammadu Buhari has threatened that henceforth the Federal Government might be forced to re-allocate projects elsewhere if any state government or communities create unnecessary impediments in the allocation of land or access to such lands for federal projects.

This is even as he has expressed regrets that the refusal to allocate lands for federal projects or the growing hostility by communities against contractors on site were hurting the interests of the very people governments were elected to serve.

The warning was contained in a statement released on Saturday and signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

According to President Buhari, “the idea of chasing away contractors on site or making undue demands from them by local communities or the deliberate actions of state governments to frustrate the allocation of lands for federal projects is an antithesis of the people’s welfare.”

The president in a recent directive, had requested ministers in his government to have the states clear all lingering land issues threatening federal projects under their supervision or have such projects moved to willing states where that becomes impossible.

President Buhari regretted that some communities in the states were frustrating the siting of federal projects in their areas by making impossible demands for land compensation on contractors and even chasing them away from site where they are unable to meet up.

He noted: “To compound matters, contractors kept away from site often make further demands for payment whenever they return to site.”

The president stressed that “by denying the Federal Government lands for projects and creating unnecessary obstacles for the execution of these projects, it may be unfair to turn around and accuse the same Federal Government of marginalising people in terms of projects allocation.”

He added that, “when it comes to the welfare of the people, governments at all levels should be united by the common goal of improving the well being of the people, regardless of political affiliation.”

He concluded that it is, therefore, impossible to spread Federal Government projects when petty demands or politics is allowed to override the higher interest of the people.”

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South Sudan rebel leader in Juba for talks as peace deal falters

South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar (C) arrives to Juba international airport with his wife to attend a peace ceremony in Juba, South Sudan, on October 31, 2018. - South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar returned to the capital Juba for the first time in more than two years to take part in a peace ceremony. (Photo by Akuot CHOL / AFP)

South Sudan’s exiled rebel leader Riek Machar arrived in Juba on Saturday in a bid to salvage a peace deal with less than a month to go until he is to form a government with President Salva Kiir.

The foes, whose falling out in 2013 triggered a bloody civil war that has left almost 400,000 people dead and sparked a major humanitarian crisis, signed a peace deal in September last year that is meant to see them reunite once again in government.

The deadline for the formation of this government, in which Machar will serve as first vice president, has already been delayed once and is now set for November 12.

However crucial technical steps contained within the agreement, such as creating a unified army and agreeing on the internal boundaries of states, have failed to make progress.

“The two will have a closed door meeting at the presidential palace today (Saturday),” a spokesman for Machar’s party the SPLM-IO, Manawa Peter Gatkuot, said after the rebel leader’s arrival.

Machar and Kiir met in September in Juba, but failed to agree on the two issues of security and state boundaries.

When it won independence in 2011, the country was divided into 10 states but it has since been subdivided into 32, in what critics see as a gerrymandering of traditional boundaries by Kiir to shore up his power.

Machar is also seeking assurances about his personal security before permanently returning to Juba, which he fled under a hail of gunfire when a previous peace deal collapsed in July 2016.

Efforts to get warring parties to canton their troops with a view towards forming a unified army — a key part of the peace deal — have made little progress.

Observers warn that the only way forward in the absence of progress on such sticky issues, is for Machar and Kiir to strike a new political deal that will enable them to move forward with the formation of a power-sharing government.

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Police arrest suspected serial killer in Osun

The Osun Police Command has arrested one Teslim Raji, also known as Akerele, and his accomplice, Femi Bamidele, for alleged serial killings, kidnappings and gun running, within the Ikire axis of the state.

The state Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Ige, while parading the suspects in Osogbo, said the main suspect, Raji, was arrested after series of complaints by residents.

She said Raji, who is being investigated for the crime, was arrested last year, charged to court and granted bail but later jumped bail.

She said after jumping bail, the suspect still went ahead to kill someone and that since then the police had been on his trail.

“His conspirator was arrested earlier when our officer went to his house and one of his boys tried to escape,” she said.

Ige said the command also raided a shrine in Osogbo allegedly being used by fraudsters to defraud unsuspecting members of the public.

The commissioner said during the raid a suspected fraudster, Fatai Olanrewaju, was arrested.

She said the raid on the shrine followed a complaint from a woman that she was duped by the suspect.

“The woman said the suspect had been collecting money under the guise that he was helping her.

“You can imagine the number of people who would have fell victims of his activities and the money rituals that would have been done here,” she said

The police boss, however, said all the suspects would be charged to court after the conclusion of investigation.

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Federal government engages 149 personnel to monitor 7,742 beneficiaries of cash transfer programme in Northeast

No fewer than 149 personnel have been engaged to monitor 7,742 beneficiaries in the second round of implementation of the Federal Government Cash Transfer Programme in four selected states of Taraba, Gombe, Adamawa and Bauchi.

The Executive Director of FAHIMTA Women and Youth Development Initiative, FAWOYDI, Maryam Garna, stated this on Thursday at a one day Northeast Zonal Town-Hall meeting for religious leaders with theme” Anti-Corruption Behaviour Approach, Social Norms, Roles of Religious and Traditional Institutions” organised by FAHIMTA in partnership with the African Network for Environment and Economic Justice, (ANEEJ) in partnership with Department for International Development, DFID, held at the Jolly Guest Inn and Resort in Bauchi.

She said that in December 2017, the SWISS government repatriated stolen funds from Nigeria during Abacha regime to the tune of 322.5 million dollars, following some period of negotiation between Nigeria and the SWISS government in which a memorandum of understanding for the return of the loot was signed.

According to her, the federal government announced that the 322.5m dollars will be used to support the poor through the Cash Transfer Programme in which the government pay beneficiaries of the programme N5,000 monthly.

“As part of the implementation of the project, African Network for Environmental and Economic Justice, ANEEJ worked with six partners and about 544 monitors, supervisors and deputies across 11 states to monitor the Cash transfer programme in December 2018”

“We are set to conduct the second round of monitoring and that is why we are conducting this Town-Hall meeting so that more stakeholders will be informed appropriately.7,742 beneficiaries will be monitored as follows. Adamawa 1,622, Bauchi 2,762, Gombe 1,692 and Taraba 1,662 and 149 monitors have been engaged. They will be trained, starting from 20-21st of the month of October” She said

In his presentation at the Town-Hall meeting, a lecturer with the Department of Sociology, Bauchi State University, Jamilu Yahaya described corruption as a misuse of public resources by public officials for private gains which is caused by greed, influenced by societal culture, weak rule of law and lack of values.

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Frank Lampard: Jose Mourinho had ‘a little go’ after Chelsea’s 4-0 defeat at Manchester United

Frank Lampard has revealed that Jose Mourinho “had a little go” at him following Chelsea’s 4-0 defeat to Manchester United on the opening weekend of the Premier League season.

Frank Lampard has revealed that Jose Mourinho “had a little go” at him following Chelsea’s 4-0 defeat to Manchester United on the opening weekend of the Premier League season.

The Blues, with a club legend in their managerial hot-seat, made the worst possible start to their domestic campaign in 2019-20.

A clinical display from the Red Devils at Old Trafford saw Chelsea sent back to west London with their tail between their legs, with Lampard given an early indicator of how tough life at the top can be.

Having spent much of his playing career at that level, the ex-England international is aware of the challenges he faces, and has tackled many of them head on to recover well from a slow start.

Lampard is also aware that criticism comes with the territory, as he is back under a top-flight spotlight, and appreciates constructive criticism from former bosses, family and friends.

He told talkSPORT of still being in contact with former Chelsea and United boss Mourinho: “With Jose, we would have texts from time to time. We had some at the start of the season around the Manchester United game where he had a little go.

“It’s all good. I’ve sat in the punditry chair for a year so I understand the need to say things so I’m not going to bang on too much. In terms of him, we have a relationship.

“Harry Redknapp is Uncle Harry so it would sound wrong if I didn’t speak to him but he was great for me in getting me the role at Derby. He was close to Mel Morris.

“He followed us brilliantly last year. He would text me and call me to talk about Derby and is doing the same at Chelsea so I have to shout Harry even though he is family.

“What he did for me in terms of getting me on the ladder managerially is huge and I will always be thankful for that.

“I had really good relationships with my managers but sometimes in football, Guus Hiddink actually sent me some great messages, you move on a bit and it doesn’t become like you were more acquaintances but I have huge respect for all of them.”

Chelsea, despite working under a transfer ban, have won many admirers this season for their free-slowing football and faith in academy graduates.

Lampard is pleased to see his philosophy paying off, but acknowledges that he still has a long way to go.

He added: “I feel like we are moving in the right direction but I always get nervous saying it because it is a catalyst for overconfidence.

“The last month was good and we had some good results. The international break always worries you slightly because will we forget the good things we were doing that made us get good results and we can’t forget the fact we can do much more and we need to believe in ourselves that we can do much more.

“There’s a lot of work to be done and I don’t know what success looks like at the moment. It’s competitive at the top of the league and I don’t think the league has given itself and real form yet other than Liverpool who are deservedly right up there and City but the rest of us are trying to bridge that gap.”

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Federal government, states, local councils share N693.529 billion for September

Ahmed Idris, the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF)

The Federal Government, 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory and 774 local government areas shared N693.529 billion as of September allocation disbursed by the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC).

The Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF) Ahmed Idris, who chaired the FAAC meeting said the N693.529 billion comprised revenue from Value Added Tax (VAT), exchange gain and gross statutory revenue.

He revealed that the balance in the excess crude account was $323.692 million.

A breakdown of the shared revenue shows that the Federal Government received N293.801 billion, while the states got N186.816 billion, and the local government councils received N140.864 billion. The oil-producing states got N51.532 billion as 13% derivation revenue, while the revenue-generating agencies received N20.517 billion as cost of revenue collection.

The gross statutory revenue for September 2019 was N599.701billion. It was less than the N631.796billion received in the previous month by N32.095 billion. For September, gross revenue of N92.874 billion was available from the Value Added Tax as against N88.082 billion distributed in the preceding month, resulting in an increase of N4.792 billion. Exchange gain yielded total revenue of N0.954 billion.

A further breakdown of the distribution showed that from the gross statutory revenue of N599.701 billion, the Federal Government received N279.985 billion, the states received N142.012 billion, while the local government councils received N109.485 billion. The oil-producing states received N51.417 billion as 13% derivation revenue and the revenue collecting agencies got N16.802 billion as cost of collection.

The N92.874 billion gotten from Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue was shared accordingly in which the Federal Government received N13.374billion, the States received N44.580 billion, and local government councils received N31.206 billion and the revenue generating agencies received N3.715 billion.

The communiqué also stated that in September 2019, revenue from Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) and Company Income Tax (CIT) decreased while Royalties, Import and excise duties and VAT increased considerably.

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Police exhume another corpse in Benue rice farm

Nigeria Police

The Police Command in Benue have exhumed an unknown decomposed body in a rice farm in Ukum Local Government Area of the state.

The Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the command, Ms Catherine Anene, disclosed this to newsmen in Makurdi.

Anene however said she had yet to get full details of the operation.

She said that the body was on transit to Makurdi, the state capital, adding that the media would be briefed accordingly.

“Yes, we have exhumed a decomposed body; for now we have yet to get full details,” she said.

The command recently exhumed 11 bodies in Ushongo Local Government Area and arrested six suspects who are already facing prosecution in the state.

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Expert: Contraceptives do not cause cancer

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The Director of family health, Federal Ministry of Health, Adebimpe Adebiyi, has said family planning or the use of contraceptives do not cause cancer.

Adebiyi disclosed this in Abuja on Wednesday at the National Health Dialogue.

The two-day event themed “Universal Health Coverage” – The Role of State and Non-State Actors in Healthcare Funding and Support”, is organised in partnership with the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ), the Project for Advocacy in Child and Family Health ([email protected]), the Project Pink Blue and the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).

Mrs Adebiyi who was responding to one of the questions after a panel discussion on gender access to healthcare in Nigeria, said youth and women within the reproductive age “have little or nothing to fear about the use of contraceptives for the prevention of pregnancy or child spacing”.

A participant has raised the question about the “myths of contraceptives as causal agents for cancer”.

Mrs Adebiyi said there has been no evidence that contraceptives cause cancer.

She explained that women are not to be placed on any contraceptive methods without going through proper tests by medical experts to ascertain the method which will be suitable for them.

She also debunked the claims that there were some religions that do not support the use of contraceptives.

Mrs Adebiyi said both the Islamic and Christian regulatory bodies support the use of contraceptives for child spacing.

She said the government had taken its time to study and put into consideration the Islamic perspective of family planning in Nigeria as well as those of the Christian faith.

She said the document on the Islamic perspective of family planning was developed by the ministry in collaboration with the Sultan of Sokoto and other Islamic clerics

“The policy was duly signed by the Sultan of Sokoto in collaboration with Islamic clerics and they know what the Quran and Holy Books say about it. Also from the Christian perspective, we have the family planning policy signed by the president of the Christian association (CAN). So there is nobody to say your religion is against family planning except you just want to play pranks,” he said.

In an earlier discussion, the head of the department of planning research and statistics, Ministry of health, Emmanuel Meribole, had said that one of the free services women in reproductive age can access through the healthcare funding in the country is family planning.

Meribole said family planning services have been made free in all government hospitals so as to cater for the reproductive population of the country.

Meribole, while responding to the question after a panel session powered by DRPC PACFaH, said the youth are also captured to benefit from the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF)

The theme for the panel was financing universal healthcare in Africa, Nigeria’s comparative experience.

He said the scheme is meant to be enjoyed by everyone, especially the youth within the reproductive ages of 15 to 49 who would be having free access to family planning services in all government hospitals.

Meribole said the government is planning “not to leave anyone behind while executing the BHCPF as universal health coverage is a global agenda”.

He explained that the 1 per cent consolidated fund is an additional funding mechanism that the government introduced “beside the normal budgetary allocation to be sure that the country has the fiscal wherewithal to be able to move the sector forward”.

“We have a programme called the basic healthcare provision fund programme, and that’s where the 1 per cent is going to,” he said. “In talking about the National Health Act provision, it is not only talking about the 1 per cent, but it also talks about money from other sources from international health partners and the private sector. What we are trying to do is to capture the very poor, the vulnerable and move from there to capture everybody.”

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APC is notorious for lies – Cross River governor

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Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State had described the All Progressives Congress, APC, as a group of persons notorious for lies.

He said that the assertions credited to the APC chairman in the state, John Ochala, over his return to school to pursue a Master’s degree in law at UNICAL were as laughable and pathetic, adding that”the party in the state is notorious for lies.”

Yesterday, Ochala had described Governor Ayade as indolent and idle, who had time to return to school which he should have done when he was a senator or as a private person.

Ochala said Ayade is bereft of ideas on how to govern the state which he said had been plagued with many problems and infrastructural decays.

Ayade in a statement by his chief media adviser, Mr Christian Ita, said it is “funny that a party like APC which prides itself as a major opposition cannot engage the Governor on governance issues but chooses to lie to score cheap political points. If they didn’t see anything wrong with Gov Mallam Nasir El’rufai returning to school in 2017 in far away Netherlands for his PhD, what then is wrong if Gov Ayade returns to school to add to his numerous degrees within Calabar, the state capital?”

The statement reminded the APC that Chief Whip of the Senate and member of the APC, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu was an undergraduate student while serving as Abia State Governor.

“The timing of Gov. Ayade’s decision to return to school is unequivocally perfect. Unlike APC members, the Governor, despite all the resources at his disposal didn’t choose any foreign University, he decided to do it locally thereby boosting the reputation of Nigerian Universities at a time tertiary institutions in West Africa are under attack.

“For APC to lie to Cross Riverians that no serving Governor in the history of Nigeria has ever returned to school is unfortunate. Maybe, they just don’t have the guts to commend the Govervnor for patronising Nigeria University.

“Ignorantly, Ochala also lied that Gov. Ayade didn’t go to school while in the Senate. This is very shocking. Gov. Ayade was elected Senator in 2011 and later that year enrolled in Nigeria Law School, Abuja and was called to Barr in 2012.”

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