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Governors Didn’t Hoard COVID-19 Palliatives – NGF

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The Nigeria Governors’ Forum on Monday denied allegations that governors hoarded palliatives meant for distribution to Nigerians in order to ameliorate their sufferings during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the forum, governors have held several meetings since the #EndSARS street protests started to address concerns of members of the public and that they identified calls for justice and an end to police brutality.

Towards this end, the forum noted that governors have since set up judicial panels of inquiry to look into such cases.

This was contained in a statement titled, ‘Governors and the CACOVID Palliatives,’ signed by the Head, Media and Public Affairs of the NGF, Abudulrazaque Bello-Barkindo.

The statement read in part, “The NGF regrets the loss of lives and property occasioned by the violent protests that erupted, and calls for calm.

“The NGF reemphasises and corrects the impression that palliatives found in warehouses that were broken into in Lagos and some other states were kept in storage for members of the society, especially our vulnerable citizens.

“The erroneous impression in the public domain that these palliatives were hoarded is not just inaccurate, entirely erroneous and untrue but also mischievous, to say the least.”

Bello-Barkindo further said, “For the avoidance of doubt, some of the palliatives had the CACOVID stamp embossed on them, meaning that their source is unambiguous.

“As we know, CACOVID operations are mainly domiciled in Lagos, being the headquarters of most of the public-spirited organisations, corporate bodies and individuals that came together to form the Coalition Against COVID-19 -CACOVID.

“Until mid-October, when the NGF had its last meeting, up to ten states had not participated in the flag-off ceremonies for the distribution of palliatives in their states. This was because the items meant for distribution in these states had not been completely received from CACOVID.

“Some other states that still had palliatives in their warehouses chose to keep a strategic reserve ahead of a projected second wave of COVID-19.

“As of a couple of weeks ago, some states were still receiving palliatives from the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.”

The NGF declared that no state has been involved in or has hoarded any palliatives.

It also assured all contributors to the palliatives that prior to the looting of these warehouses, states had kept full accounts of all the items received and distributed.

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Low UTME Cut-Off Mark Reason for Laziness Among Northern Youths – El-Rufai

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Northerners have refused to take advantage of the ‘educational benefits’ given to them by the Nigerian government, the governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El- Rufai, has said.

He specifically said the low cut-off marks needed for admission into northern universities via the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) was making northerners ‘lazy’.

Mr El-Rufai spoke during a plenary session on “Rethinking Sub-National Competitiveness” at the ongoing Nigerian Economic Summit.

These were some of the points he raised when he talked about restructuring the nation on Tuesday.

The members of this session were Mr El-Rufai, Azinge Azinge, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Justin Lin, a Professor of Economics.

“The northerners are at advantage. The low JAMB cut-off mark is making northern youth lazy rather than encouraging them. Despite the advantage of the education in Nigeria, we have the highest number of children out of school,” he said.

According to the United Nations, the huge number of out-of-school children in northern Nigeria poses an enormous challenge.

“For example, Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB), gives different cut-off mark for different states and you say you are building a nation, no you are dividing it.

“I am from the north but we have suffered educational disadvantage and the JAMB has given us lower cut-off mark to catch up, have we caught up?

“It is making people lazy,” the governor said.

He also said selecting leaders based on their ‘origin’ will not move any nation forward.

“This has become a big problem for Nigeria. Zoning in political parties cannot solve the economic problems we are facing,” he said. “Selecting the best person to get the job done will benefit everyone.”

“The best we can do is to give everyone equal opportunity.”

Reforms

He also harped on reforming the federal police and judiciary to improve their effectiveness.

“Implement state policing. Some governors have more influence on the police than others; state governors cannot control security actions except there is an order from the IGP. This makes state governors handicapped in serious matters.

“Same is applied to the judiciary system. We are the only country in the world that is running a federal judiciary system. This has exposed the sector to inefficiency. There are decisions for states to take for example, land issues, traditional issues.”

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Court Revokes Marina’s Son’s Bail, Orders His Arrest

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The Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday revoked the bail granted Faisal Maina, the son of Abdulrasheed Maina, and ordered his arrest for jumping bail in his trial on money laundering charges.

Justice Okon Abang also ordered that his trial on money laundering charges would proceed in absentia pending when the security agencies would be able to arrest and produce him in court.

The judge also summoned his surety, a member of the House of Representatives, Sani Umar Dangaladima, representing the Kaura-Namoda Federal Constituency of Zamfara State, to appear in court to show cause why he should not forfeit the N60m bail bond which he signed for Faisal.

The order for Faisal’s arrest came barely six days after the same court, on November 18, issued a similar order against his father, Abdulrasheed Maina, a former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reformed Task Team, who is facing separate N2.1bn money laundering charges before the court.

On Monday, Justice Okon Abang, sent Maina’s surety, Senator Ali Ndume, to jail for his inability to produce the fleeing defendant in court.

Earlier on Tuesday, following the judge’s November 18 ruling, Maina’s trial held in his absence with three prosecution witnesses testifying behind him and his legal team.

At the resumed hearing of Faisal’s trial on Tuesday, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s prosecution counsel, Mohammed Abubakar, said both the defendant and his surety had not attended court since June 24, 2020.

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FG, S’South Govs, Leaders Set to Meet in Rivers Tuesday

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A delegation from the Federal Government is expected to meet with Governors and leaders of the South-South geo-political zone in Government House, Port Harcourt today (Tuesday).

The Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, is expected to lead the presidential delegation.

A Government House source in Port Harcourt, who confirmed the meeting to our correspondent, said Gambari is on his way to Port Harcourt.

The rescheduled meeting is coming on the heels of the botched stakeholders’ forum, which angered the Southern Governor, during which the South-South Governors’ Forum, demanded an apology from the presidency.

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