ABUJA – Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has urged security personnel at the Abuja train stations not to allow anyone access into the railway complex without wearing a face mask.
The minister stated this while on a visit to the Idu, Abuja train terminal to inspect passengers compliance to COVID-19 safety measures, following the reopening of the Abuja – Kaduna train services after a four-month lockdown occasioned by the pandemic.
Amaechi noted that the incidences of eminent personalities flouting the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC COVID-19 safety measures at airports will not be condoned at train stations. While calling on Nigerians to imbibe the simple, safety basics, he noted that “protecting ourselves against COVID-19 takes no special training.”
He also debunked claims by the National Assembly that the amount of indebtedness of the country to foreign countries is tantamount to ceding the country’s sovereignty to other nations, particularly China.
According to him, loans being accessed from foreign financial bodies are for infrastructural development with payment stretched across a an agreed period , adding that as a result, an escrow account managed by the Federal Ministry of Finance has been opened, with the Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, making monthly payments towards loan repayment.
Fielding questions from journalists, Amaechi disclosed that he is to appear again before the House of Representatives on 17th August 2020, to give insight into the commercial loan agreement signed between Nigeria and Export-Import Bank of China to the tune of $5.3 billion.
“If there were financial institutions within the country that could loan the ministry such enormous sums of money, there would be no need seeking funds across shores”, he said. He, however, expressed confidence that the project, when completed, will not only have the capacity to repay the loans but will generate revenue for the country, as well as create employment for the teeming unemployed youths in the land.
Edo Deputy Governor Alleges Assassination Plot
The Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, has made allegations of a plot to assassinate high-profile personalities in the state.
Mr. Shaibu said this on Saturday during a press briefing in Benin-city.
“We have intelligence that some individuals are in Edo state and their assignment is to come and assassinate some known individuals in the state.
“So I am hereby bringing to the notice of the general public that these people are in town and we’ve communicated to the security agencies about their activities and why they are in town.”
Shaibu called on President Muhammadu Buhari to charge security agencies to “do their work because Edo will not be a theatre of war if these things are dealt with.”
“For us, we will continue to appeal to our people not to look for trouble,” the Deputy-Governor continued, ” not to disturb any program. We are law-abiding. We have a duty to protect lives and properties. That we will continue to do.”
“What we need is cooperation with security agencies not sacking”- Umahi
The Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi has urged President Muhammadu Buhari not to change the nation’s service chiefs.
The Governor made the appeal on Friday while laying the foundation stone of the Nigerian Army Reference Hospital in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi state capital.
The Senate and main opposition party, the PDP, have called for the sack of the service chiefs.
However, Umahi said instead of changing the top officials, more cooperation and information should be provided to them.
“I want to disagree with the National Assembly,” he said. “One thing I’ve realised in this country is that we like change too much. We want everybody to taste every seat. That is not what we need at this crucial time of our security challenges.
“What we need is cooperation with security agencies.”
He lauded the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu as a “stubborn man” who is committed to upholding the “policies and the laws of the land”.
“The Chief of Army Staff is also a very committed person, very friendly with civil society,” he added.
“So what these people need is cooperation, information. It is difficult for people to do anything without information.
“Even when you change, whoever that is coming is going to learn the ropes. And I believe strongly that the decisions taken by the service chiefs are not taken by them alone but by also the senior officers.
Accept repentant Boko Haram fighters or they go back to terrorism, presidency urges Nigerians
The Presidency on Wednesday asked Nigerians not to reject repentant Boko Haram fighters unless they want the terrorists to take up arms and resume terrorism from which they’ve repented.
The presidency also dismissed as untrue, the insinuation that the current administration had been absorbing repentant Boko Haram terrorists into the Nigerian military
Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, said in a statement that none of the 601 former Boko Haram members who voluntarily laid down their arms and had recently graduated from the Federal Government’s de-radicalization and rehabilitation programme, was going into the military.
“At the point of their graduation, a determination is made that the former combatants have repented and are better citizens, imbued with genuine nationalism. They must no longer represent a danger to society or to themselves.
“Where they’re certified as such, communities have the duty of accepting them. Unless they want them to take up arms and resume terrorism from which they’ve repented, community leaders must work with the relevant agencies to end their rejection,” Shehu said in the statement.
The presidential aide added that no serious leaders must fall for fake news on repentant terrorists, stressing that “nobody has ever been absorbed into the military from the de-radicalized Boko Haram and there is no such plan for their absorption.”
He said the Muhammadu Buhari administration as a responsible one was conscious of its duty to the state and society, and to the victims of terror as well as to those who inflicted these pains and losses on our people.
The statement read: “Now that groups with hitherto proven bona fides, some religious leaders and a few in the legislature have joined the supply chain of fake news, it is important that we step in to clear the false reports that the administration is absorbing repentant Boko Haram terrorists into the military.
“None of the 601 former Boko Haram members who voluntarily laid down their arms, and have recently graduated from the Federal Government’s de-radicalization and rehabilitation programme, is going into the military. This is the fourth such graduation of repentant Boko Haram fighters and not one of such graduates has been absorbed into the military.
“The public needs to be reassured that the de-radicalization, rehabilitation and reintegration of violent extremists of the Buhari administration code named ‘Operation Safe Corridor’, follows an established example from countries with similar experiences, and is supported academically and materially by the European Union and the United Nations.
“The lead agency for the implementation of the programme in Gombe is the International Organization for Migration, a leading inter-government organization which is represented in Nigeria.
“It’s also important to note that this programme does not have a place for hard boiled, ideologically hardened terrorists. It only admits, after careful scrutiny, repentant fighters that were captured and forced to bear arms in the first instance, and there are many who have been drafted by force”
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