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Senate Confirms Chairman, Members of North-East Development Commission

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The Nigerian Senate on Tuesday confirmed a retired army major-general, Paul Tarfa, as chairman of the North-East Development Commission (NEDC).

The Senate also confirmed Mohammed Alkali as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the commission and nine others as members of the board of the commission.

The members are Musa Yashi, ED Humanitarian Affairs; Mohammed Jawa, Executive Director, Admin and Finance; Omar Mohammed, Executive Director, Operations and David Kente, member representing North East zone.

Others are Asmau Mohammed, member representing North West zone; Benjamin Adanyi, Member representing North Central zone; Olawale Oshun, member representing South West zone; T.E.O Ekechi, member representing South-East and Obasuke McDonald, memb
er representing South-South zone.

The Senate, in October 2016, passed the bill for the establishment of the North East Development Commission to coordinate the rebuilding of the insurgency-ravaged North East region of Nigeria.

President Muhammadu Buhari assented to the bill in October, 2017.

The confirmation of the nominees was made after Abdulaziz Nyako, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Special Duties, presented the report of the committee.

He said all the nominees met the requirements for their appointment.

Prior to the confirmation, Binta Garba, frowned at the fact that the headquarters of the commission is located in Borno State and the MD of the commission, Mr Alkali, is also from the state.

“The commission is domiciled in Borno State and the CEO is also from Borno State. Is it in consonance with the ideal of the commission within and outside Nigeria?

“For example, the President of the United Nations is not from America. We need to get some clarifications. Late Wakili asked that the headquarters should be in Bauchi State but he was shut down,” she said.

In his response, Mr Nyako explained that during the debate at the Senate, the position was left open.

He said members of the House of Representatives, however, called for zoning and thus voted in that manner.

“In our bill, we left it open. During the public hearings, we agreed if the headquarters is in Borno then someone else should be the MD; but in concurrence with the House of Representatives, more inclined to the MD from Borno.

“It was the House bill that went with zoning and their votes were overwhelming than ours,” he said.

In his remark, Ibn Na’Allah, said the observations are valid because it relates to international organisations.

“Certain peculiarities demonstrate certain actions. The entire bill is associated to the beginning of insurgency in Borno State and Adamawa is close to it. In the selection, Tarfa is from Adamawa.

“The choice of Alkali is based on the assumption that there is quick establishment and its running. What swayed the Senate and reps to choose Alkali is entirely a legislative action,” he said.

The Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, said the nominees are eminently qualified and prepared to hit the ground running.

He, therefore, urged the committee on special duties to ensure the taking off of the commission as he said the situation in the North East requires it to take off immediately.

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, simply called for the commencement of an oversight for the commission.

“This is not the first time we are showing such concern. NDDC bill was originated by the National Assembly. The bill was vetoed by the executive but it was upturned. It shows the same character of concern.

“The NDDC is steeped in a lot of protocol and bureaucracy. So this commission should learn from that. The parliament should start an oversight of this agency.”

The Senate thereafter disolved into the committee of the whole to confirm the nominees.

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Brazil Rally Back to Win U-17 World Cup

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Brazil staged a remarkable comeback for the second time in a week on Sunday to beat Mexico 2-1 in front of their own fans and win the Under-17 World Cup for a fourth time.

Just three days after they recovered from being 2-0 down to beat France 3-2 in the semi-finals, Brazil scored two goals in the last 10 minutes to overcome their Latino rivals.

Although Brazil had more of the early chances, Mexico took the lead at 66 minutes when Bryan Gonzalez rose between two defenders to head a cross from the left into the net.

Kaio Jorge equalised from the penalty spot with six minutes remaining after the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) advised officials to pull playback following a challenge on Veron.

Then three minutes into stoppage time, substitute Lazaro ran on to a cross ball and calmly fired home, to the delight of the home crowd.

The Flamengo forward had also come off the bench to score the winner in Thursday’s last-minute win over France.

“They use the VAR when it is convenient for them,” said an unhappy Mexican coach Marco Ruiz. “We had the game under control until the VAR decision. They grew after that.”

The win was revenge of a sorts for Brazil, who lost 3-0 to Mexico in the Under-17 final in 2005, as well as to their Under-23 team in the final of the 2012 Olympics.

Earlier in the day, Arnaud Kalimuendo-Muinga scored a hat trick to help France come from behind to beat the Netherlands 3-1 and take third-place.

Dutchman Sontje Hansen won the golden boot for the top goalscorer with six goals.

(Reuters/NAN)

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Bayelsa Guber: APC Dislodges PDP in Massive Landslide Victory

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The candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Bayelsa State, Chief David Lyon, has emerged the winner of the governorship election held on Saturday.

Lyon, who won in six of the state’s eight local government areas, defeated his closest rival, Senator Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Diri won in two local governments.

Lyon’s victory marks the first time the PDP would lose a governorship election in the state since the nation returned to democracy in 1999.

The Chief Returning Officer, Prof. Faraday Orumwense, had after he released the result of the Ekeremor Local Government Area, which was the last being expected by INEC on Monday night, promised that the final result would be made public before 1am on Monday.

Orumwense made good his promise as he announced that Lyon polled 352,552 votes to defeat Diri, who polled 143,172 votes some minutes after 1am.

Lyon was declared winner in six out of the eight local governments announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission at the Prof. Mahmood Yakubu Media Centre in the state commission’s headquarters in Yenagoa, the state capital.

The six local government areas won by the APC are Brass; Nembe; Ogbia, Southern Ijaw, Ekeremor and Yenagoa while the PDP won in the Sagbama and Kolokuma/Opokuma local government areas.

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Theatres of War: Four Killed in Kogi, Violence Rocks Bayelsa

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The Kogi and Bayelsa states’ governorship elections as well as the Kogi West senatorial rerun were on Saturday characterised by violence, shootings, killings, vote-buying and ballot box snatching as many polling units across the two states experienced tension created by political thugs.

Four people were killed in Kogi during the election by political thugs while many were injured in Bayelsa where peace took flight as a result of electoral violence.

The Commissioner of Police in Kogi State, Hakeem Busari, had before the elections assured residents of the state of the safety of their lives and property as adequate personnel would be drafted for the polls.

The elections commenced on a peaceful note across the state as there was a large turnout of voters with the electorate, mostly women trooped to the various polling units as early as 6.30am in Kogi.

But in spite of Busari’s assurance and voters enthusiasm, mayhem broke out in some polling units in Kogi East, Kogi West and Lokoja, the state capital.

Two persons were also reportedly killed by stray bullets at the Adankolo polling unit in Lokoja.

Sunday PUNCH gathered that the incident happened when some hoodlums tried to snatch ballot boxes at the polling unit.

Eyewitness said the two persons were killed when voters resisted the thugs. The thugs, it was gathered, killed the two persons while a passerby sustained a life-threatening injury from gunshot wound.

This angered the youth who mobilised and set the house of a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress in the area ablaze.

When the state police command was contacted, its spokesperson, DSP William Aya, said all enquiries should be directed to the Commissioner of Police in the state Commissioner of Police.

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