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Major News Headlines in the Papers Today: UN releases $10.5 million to assist flood victims in Nigeria

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1. The United Nations UN) has announced the release of $10.5 million US dollars (about N4.6 billion) for flood response in Nigeria. The UN, in a statement on Friday, said the amount will be used to provide assistance to people affected and left vulnerable by floods across the country, including those already ravaged by insurgency in the North-East.

2. The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has said in line with its tradition of adequately preparing for eventualities, it has enough logistics to take care of a possible run-off in next year’s Presidential Election. INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu disclosed this on Friday in Abuja at a meeting with Bureau Chiefs and Regional Editors of media organizations.

3. Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for approving all the monies accruable to the Niger Delta States since 1999. Wike made the commendation while speaking at the commissioning of the Doctor Nabo Graham Douglas Law School built by the Rivers State government on Friday.

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4. Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, has assured the people of Benue State that he would continue to stand with them through thick and thin like he has always done if elected President come 2023. He spoke at the 82nd Synod of the Universal Reformed Christian Church, aka NKST at Mkar, Benue State.

5. The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr. Iyiochia Ayu has assured Nigerians that the presidential candidate of the party, Atiku Abubakar will hit the ground running upon declaration as the president of Nigeria in 2023. Ayu made this assurance while speaking at the official commissioning of the Peoples Democratic Institute (PDI), at Asokoro, Abuja, on Friday.

6. The Federal Government has blamed the menace of crude oil theft for the worsening unemployment situation in the country. Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, stated this in his opening remarks at the 8th Meeting of the National Employment Council in Abuja.

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7. Edo State government on Friday warned ritualists to stay away from the State secretariat in Benin. Commissioner for information, Mr Chris Nehikhare, told newsmen in Benin on Friday that the government was particularly irked by the slaughtering of ritual animals at the State secretariat by people of Irhirhi community.

8. A former Commissioner for Rural Development in Enugu State, Hon. Gab Onuzulike was killed yesterday evening by unknown gunmen. It was gathered that Onuzulike, who was also a former Chairman of Oji River Local Government Area, was shot dead alongside his elder brother, Elvis Onuzulike on Friday.

9. An FCT High Court has discharged and acquitted a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, and five others of N544million grass-cutting contract scandal. Justice Charles Agbaza on Friday held that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) failed to establish a prima facie case against Lawal and others.

10. No fewer than 20 criminal suspects have been arrested and paraded by the Anambra State Commissioner of Police, CP Echeng Echeng, at the force headquarters in Awka, on Friday. Some of the suspects confessed to various crimes before the police and journalists during interrogations on how they perpetrated their dastard acts.

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BREAKING: Aisha Buhari bows to pressure, withdraws case against Aminu

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Following unrelenting pressure and condemnation by activists, Amnesty International, the National Association of Nigerian Students, and other citizens, First Lady Aisha Buhari, has withdrawn the case against the final year student of the Federal University, Dutse, Aminu Mohammed.

The prosecution counsel Fidelis Ogbobe, withdrew the case on behalf of Mrs Buhari, said the First Lady, being the mother of the nation, decided to withdraw the case, following the intervention of “well-meaning Nigerians.”

Moving a motion for the withdrawal of the case, Ogbobe cited section 108 subsection 2(a) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

Justice Yusuf Halilu of the FCT High Court commended Mrs Buhari for withdrawing the case.

Halilu, while issuing the release warrant, called on parents to always monitor their children to avoid recurrence

According to a police report, Mr Muhammed was arrested at Federal University Dutse on November 18, 2022, after Mrs Buhari instructed a team of police detectives to track him down.

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The Presidency had earlier barred visitors from visiting inmates at the Suleja Correctional Centre, Niger State, following the arrest of Aminu.

Amnesty International Nigeria had also condemned the arrest and alleged torture of Aminu Muhammed, adding that the 500-level undergraduate of the Federal University, Dutse, Jigawa must be released and the charges against him, which it described as bogus, be dropped. The PUNCH reports.

Following reports that he has allegedly been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, including severe beatings, since being detained, AI said, “The Nigerian authorities must urgently release Aminu Muhammed and drop all charges against him. He is a student accused of defaming Aisha Buhari, the First Lady of Nigeria, on Twitter.”

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 Collection of PVCs commences December 12 – INEC

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Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the independent National Electoral Commission, on Friday, said that citizens who participated in the voters’ registration exercise ahead of the 2023 general elections would be able to collect their Permanent Voters Cards from December 12, 2022.

This was made known in a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja.

According to the statement, the Commission met, on Thursday, December 1 2022, and deliberated on a number of issues, including the dates for the collection of Permanent Voters Cards nationwide.

The Commission held a retreat in Lagos with all the Administrative Secretaries and Resident Electoral Commissioners from the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory from November 28 to December 2, 2022. At the retreat, the Commission finalised the procedure as well as the timetable for the collection of PVCs.

The statement which was signed by the commissioner in charge of voters education, Festus Okoye partly reads, “Consequently, the Commission has fixed Monday 12 December 2022 to Sunday 22 January 2023 as the dates for the collection of PVCs in all the 774 Local Government Offices of the Commission throughout the Federation.

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“The Commission also resolved to devolve PVC collection to the 8,809 Registration Areas/Wards from Friday 6th to Sunday 15th January 2023. Those that are unable to collect their PVCs at the Local Government Offices of the Commission can do so at the Registration Areas/Electoral Wards. After the 15th of January 2023, the exercise will revert to the Local Government Offices of the Commission until January 22, 2023.

“All eligible and valid registrants can collect their PVCs from 9.00 am to 3.00 pm daily, including Saturdays and Sundays.

“All the RECs and Electoral Officers have been directed to convene a meeting with the critical stakeholders in their States and Local Government Areas, including traditional and religious leaders, civil society groups, community-based organisations and the media to brief them on the modalities for the collection of the PVCs in order to sensitise the public and ensure seamless exercise.

“Similarly, RECs and EOs have also been directed to set up help desks to assist registrants with complaints about their PVCs or with the PVC collection procedure for immediate redress.

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“The Commission appreciates the patience and understanding of Nigerians, especially those who registered as voters or applied for transfer/replacement of their cards from January to July 2022. In making the cards available for collection, the Commission is also working to ensure that the process is simple and hitch-free for Nigerians.”

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Former President Jonathan accepts ambassadorial role

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Former President Goodluck Jonathan has been accepted as Africa’s Agricultural Technology Ambassador by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF).

Making the announcement after meeting with the former President in Yenagoa, Bayelsa South-south during the week, the AATF Executive Director, Dr Canisius Kanangire, said the appointment was informed by the former President’s track record of championing agricultural transformation on the continent.

AATF, in a statement by its Communications Officer, Alex Abutu, described Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as a Nigerian politician who served as the President of Nigeria from 2010 to 2015 and had since been at the forefront of agricultural improvement on the continent.

In his acceptance speech, Dr Jonathan said that as a former Head of State, his interest in serving the continent is driven by the interest he has in driving food security and transformation for a better quality of life in Africa.

Kanangire said: “Dr Jonathan’s commitment to uplift agriculture on the continent was exemplified by the Agricultural Transformation Agenda he pursued and diligently implemented in Nigeria during his tenure as President.

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“The agenda targeted increasing efficiency and profitability in about 12 selected key agricultural commodities, which include: cotton, cocoa, cassava, oil palm, maize, soya bean, onion, rice, livestock, fisheries, tomato and sorghum.

“Under the agenda, about 3.5 million new jobs were created based on the selected key products, while many more jobs were created from other value chain activities, with over N300 billion of additional income in the hands of Nigerian farmers and rural entrepreneurs. In addition, over N60 billion (US$380 million) was injected into the economy from the substitution of 20% of bread wheat flour with cassava flour.

“Another critical element of Dr Goodluck’s agricultural legacy as President of Nigeria was his ability to cut down on the importation of food that can be produced locally, thereby, saving the nation well over N1.3 trillion per annum on the importation of foodstuff.

“Dr Jonathan was able to demonstrate in Nigeria that agriculture should be treated as a business and supported by relevant policies for the improvement of the livelihoods of our growing farming population.”

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AATF’s boss further said that Dr Jonathan is a Pan-Africanist who had stood for the eradication of rural poverty and the peaceful coexistence of the continent, hence his involvement in peaceful conflict resolution on the continent.

“As AATF’s Ambassador, Dr Jonathan will advocate for the advancement of Africa’s agricultural goals and economic growth through the application of innovative technologies and enhanced investment in agriculture. AATF is honoured to have the former president as our Ambassador, whose role will accelerate ongoing efforts to improve our agricultural terrain.”

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