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APC Campaign Council Explains Tinubu’s Absence from Town Hall Debate

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The All Progressives Congress Campaign Council on Sunday night justified the absence of its presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, saying the debate clashed with his engagements.

The campaign council’s clarification is coming in the wake of Tinubu’s absence at a live presidential debate held at Transcorp Hilton in Abuja.

Tinubu’s counterpart in the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, who was said to be on his way from Morocco, was, however, represented by his running mate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State.

A pro-democracy think tank, the Centre for Democracy and Development, had invited the four leading presidential candidates in the 2023 elections to speak on their plans for the country.

The debate, which was aired live on Arise Television, was meant to allow Nigerians to ascertain which candidate and political party possessed the best ideas for bringing lasting solutions to the country’s challenges.

When contacted, the Director of Media and Communications, Bayo Onanuga, told our correspondent in an exclusive phone chat that the debate clashed with Tinubu’s campaign town hall meeting with agro-farmers in Minna, Niger State capital.

Onanuga made reference to the APC presidential campaign calendar to justify his position.

He said, “We are in Minna now for engagement with farmers and agro-commodities groups ahead of tomorrow. The media cannot suddenly come up with a debate and wants us to drop everything we are doing to attend it. It is wrong. We also have our campaign schedule to attend to.”

When reminded that the presidential candidate could still have shown up since the engagement in question is slated for Monday, Onanuga disagreed.

“Are we going to use jet to travel to Minna? As I earlier told you, we are in Minna already and cannot make it to the programme. In our own case, their proposal clashes with the campaign programme of our candidate. That’s why we didn’t turn up,” he stated.

Asked if Tinubu would have turned up at the debate if the Minna engagement has not been fixed, the campaign media director stated that there was a likelihood he might.

He said, “Maybe. But he is busy with some other things and he cannot leave that one for this. There are more important things.

“After Minna, we are returning to Abuja before the next engagement in Nasarawa State on Wednesday. After then, I think Calabar is up for Saturday. You can see that this week is a very busy one for the candidate.

“Again, next week, we will be in Imo State on Tuesday for a rally and zonal stakeholders meeting. It is not on Monday as some people erroneously reported. The earlier schedule people saw was just a draft, which is still subject to amendment.”

The presidential campaign calendar, which was revised again on Friday, shows that aside from the town hall meeting with agro-farmers on Monday, Tinubu will have a dinner with his campaign patrons in Abuja on Tuesday while another town hall meeting on interfaith stakeholders will hold in Nasarawa on Wednesday.

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Ban on Sales, Consumption of Sachet Alcoholic Drinks Still in Force, Says NAFDAC

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Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Moji Adeyeye, has reaffirmed that the ban on the sale and consumption of sachet alcoholic beverages in the country is still in force.

Adeyeye announced this on Wednesday during a press briefing in Lagos.

She said: “The ban on sachet alcohol is a ministerial directive and the ban still remains until the ministers respond. The meeting last week Thursday is a continuation of the discussion.

“The outcome of the meeting is that the ministers should write a memo to the Speaker (of Reps) and the House (of Reps), and the Representative of the Speaker, Prof Jake Dan-Azumi then said we should continue the discussion after the recess of the House members in July. So, the discussion continues.”

The Deputy Spokesman for the House of Representatives, Philip Agbese, disclosed last Friday that the House and NAFDAC resolved to lift the ban on the sale and consumption of sachet alcoholic beverages.

Agbese said the resolution to temporarily lift the ban was reached after a meeting between the House Committee and NAFDAC officials.

He said the lifting of the ban would end when the economy fully recovers from its current strain.

On February 1, 2024, NAFDAC commenced the enforcement of the ban on the importation, manufacture, distribution, sale and use of alcoholic beverages in sachets, PET, and glass bottles of 200ml and below.

The NAFDAC DG said the decision was based on the recommendation of a high-powered committee of the Federal Ministry of Health, NAFDAC, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, and the industry represented by the Association of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employers, Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria, in December 2018.

However, the move to enforce the ban has generated repeated protests by distillers and labour unions, who said the ban would cost 500,000 workers their jobs, and ruin N800bn investments.

Meanwhile, medical experts warned that lifting the ban on alcoholic beverages will lead to acute health complications, increased road traffic accidents, increased risk of abuse of alcohol, liver problems, heart-related problems, and cancers, among others.

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Court Denies Suspended DCP Abba Kyari Bail

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Justice Emeka Nwite of the Abuja Federal High Court has denied suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, bail.

In his ruling, the judge held that Kyari’s bail is at the discretion of the court in line with section 161 (2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

The judge ruled that Kyari had not shown any evidence to warrant the court granting him bail.

On May 22, the judge had granted the former boss of the Intelligence Response Team, IRT, temporary two-week bail to bury his mother.

However, the two weeks were extended by a week upon an application filed by Mr. Kyari for an extension of the bail.

On June 1, Kyari perfected the bail conditions and was released the same day.

At today’s proceedings, Justice Emeka Nwite refused to extend his earlier order but granted accelerated hearing in the case.

Kyari was detained following his arrest on February 14, 2022, by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency for alleged involvement with an international drug cartel.

He, along with four members of the Police Intelligence Response Team—Sunday Ubia, Bawa James, Simon Agirigba, and John Nuhu—was arraigned on March 7, 2022.

Two suspected drug traffickers, Chibunna Umeibe and Emeka Ezenwanne, who were arrested at Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu, were also charged.

While Kyari and the IRT members pleaded not guilty, Umeibe and Ezenwanne pleaded guilty and were convicted.

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Fubara Nominates, Swears-in 23 Caretaker Committee Chairmen

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Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, is swearing in new caretaker chairmen for the 23 local government areas of the state.

The swearing-in took place at the Government House in Port Harcourt, amid tight security.

The first batch of 11 CTC chairmen took their oath of office first.

It comes a day after he forwarded the list to the state House of Assembly led by factional Speaker, Victor Jumbo.

Channels Television reported that the lawmakers had invited the nominees for screening as early as 8 am on Wednesday.

See the names of the caretaker chairmen nominated by Fubara below:

Abua/Odua LGA – Madigai Dickson

Ahoada East LGA – Happy Benneth

Ahoada West LGA – Mr. Daddy John Green

Akuku Toru LGa – Otonye Briggs

Andoni LGA – Reginald Ekaan

Asari Toru LGA – Orolosoma Amachree

Bonny LGA – Alabota Anengi Barasua

Degema LGA – Anthony Soberekon

Eleme LGA – Brain Gokpa

Emouha LGA – David Omereji

Etche LGA – John Otamiri

Gokana LGA – Kenneth Kpeden

Ikwerre LGA – Darlington Orji

Khana LGA – Marvin Yobana

Obia/Akpor LGA – Chijioke Ihunwo

Ogu/Bolo LGA – Evans Bipi

Okrika LGA – Princess Ogan

Omuma LGA – Promise Reginald

Opobo/Nkoro LGA – Enyiada Cookey-Gam

Oyigbo LGA – – Gogo Philip

Port Harcourt LGA – Ichemati Ezebunwo

Tai LGA – Matthew Dike

Channels Television

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