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463 Kwara Civil Servants Get N303.8m Loan for Home Renovation

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FMBN home renovation loan

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The sum of N303.8 million has been disbursed to 463 civil servants in Kwara State as mortgage loans to renovate or improve existing properties that are personally owned by them or through family ownership.

The credit facility was given to the beneficiaries on Monday by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) under the FMBN home renovation loan scheme.

The Managing Director of the agency, Mr Ahmed Dangiwa, explained that the loan window affords Nigerians who are contributors to the National Housing Fund (NNF) an opportunity to access mortgage loans.

Mr Dangiwa, who was represented by the Deputy General Manager of FMBN, Mr Ibrahim Nafada, said before now, the agency had approved a sum of N401.2 million for 708 members of staff of the Kwara State Universal Basic Education which will be credited to individual beneficiaries’ accounts after execution of all other conditions precedent to disbursement.

“Permit me to applaud the commitment and cooperation of the Governor [of Kwara State] Mr AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq and the Head of Service (HoS), Mrs Susan Modupe, in executing these documents promptly which has enabled the Kwara State civil servants to benefit from FMBN home renovation loan to the tune of N1,025,283,000 disbursed to 1,575 beneficiaries. Today, we are disbursing the sum of N303,750,000 to 463 beneficiaries,” he said.

At the presentation of cheques to the 463 beneficiaries, the Governor, while speaking, said, “This home renovation loan scheme is basically an initiative of the FMBN that many of you have enrolled in.

“You have played your own role by enrolling in the scheme, trusting the system to work for you, playing your own role as patriotic citizens and as workers.

“For you to benefit from this loan, however, your state government must stand as your guarantor. And we gladly did because we trust that you have also worked to earn our trust,” Mr AbdulRazaq said at the event attended by civil servants from across ministries, departments, and agencies in the state.

Represented by the Deputy Governor, Mr Kayode Alabi, the Governor promised to mobilise available resources and grab every opportunity to improve the wellbeing of the civil servants as well as the ordinary citizens.

“Without workers, nothing meaningful gets done. For this reason, we will always mobilise available resources and grab every opportunity to improve the well-being of the civil servants as well as the ordinary citizens. This event is another testimony of the resolve of this administration to grab every opportunity to make our workers happy,” he added.

“We are ensuring that workers across all cadres enjoy their promotion and the pay rise that comes with it. We have also approved training and retraining for workers while offering support to those of you pursuing further degrees at home or abroad.

“We have also ensured a decent work environment with relevant tools through completion of the secretariat, purchase of new vehicles, and modern computers and accessories. We continue to support workers with health issues. We have also ensured that workers are paid as and when due as a matter of right.

“We are also considering other supportive measures to ease the effects of inflation on what you earn. For example, we are building a public school system that offers our children a standard that will be the envy of other states and the pride of our people.

“The recent recruitment of qualified and competent teachers is a bold beginning. We are following it up with school remodelling and reconstruction across the state,” the Governor stated.

Mr AbdulRazaq appealed to civil servants to continue to trust the government and work with the administration to build a sustainable future for all of the Kwara people.

For her part, the HoS said the present administration was doing everything possible to tap all available opportunities and resources from both governmental and non-governmental organisations for the benefit of the people.

“The scheme was designed especially for contributors to the National Housing Fund to benefit from their contributions on lower interest rates.

“Through the committed efforts of government, the FMBN not only approved the loan for all interested civil servants, who indicated their interests but also made cheques for them.

“I want to advise the beneficiaries of the first phase and those to benefit in subsequent batches to make use of the loan for the purpose for which it is meant for. A comfortable home for a civil servant is no doubt a sine-qua-non for comfortable living which ultimately would lead to the high productivity of such civil servant,” she said.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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Insecurity Will End With Full Cooperation of Citizens—Buhari

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Insecurity

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

President Muhammadu Buhari has said Nigeria will surely overcome insecurity in the country with the full cooperation of its citizens.

According to Mr Buhari, security is a responsibility of every member of the community and only through solidarity and cooperation with law enforcement agencies can defeat the problems finally.

“The federal government is willing to strengthen support and cooperation with all the states. I believe that with the full cooperation of the citizens, we will surely overcome this problem,” a statement issued on Sunday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, quoted Mr Buhari as saying.

He said the President made this comment in his message to the government and people of Niger State over the recent attacks in some communities in the state.

“I would like to express sincere sympathies to the government and people of the State following recent security incidents,” the statement further quoted the President as saying.

Mr Shehu noted that the President, as Commander-in-Chief of the nation’s armed forces, has set the ball rolling for a major military operation in Niger State which has faced continued attacks on its communities by bandits and remnants of Boko Haram terrorists fleeing theatres of war in the North-western and North-eastern parts of the country.

In a directive to the Defence Headquarters a few days ago, the President asked the military to respond robustly to the cases of killings and kidnappings in the state and to give effect to the strategic objectives through the use of force.

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NDLEA Intercepts 1.5 million Tablets of Opioids in Edo

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NDLEA

By Adedapo Adesanya

About 1.5 million tablets and capsules of pharmaceutical opioids such as Tramadol, Exol-5, and Diazepam loaded in Onitsha, Anambra State and heading to Yauri, Kebbi State have been intercepted in Edo State by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

According to NDLEA spokesman, Mr Femi Babafemi, the agency intercepted the drugs on Friday, January 14, adding that on the same day, about 425,000 Diazepam tablets were recovered at Segemu, Kano.

In addition, a total of N1.4 million was seized along with arms and ammunition from a suspected bandit and a drug kingpin in Plateau State while over 137.754 kilograms of assorted illicit drugs were recovered during interdiction operations across seven states in the past week.

It was stated that the interception in Edo State was made possible due to credible intelligence and when the truck was thoroughly searched, the items were discovered to be concealed under legitimate goods.

The drugs seized included 394,480 capsules and 3,000 tablets of Tramadol weighing 83.707kg; Exol-5: 647,500 tablets weighing 203.315kg; Diazepam: 12,500 tablets weighing 2.05kg; Bromazepam: 1,500 tablets weighing 0.45kg; Codeine based Syrup: 999 bottles weighing 134.865kg; Pentazocine injections: 4,000 ampoules weighing 16.64kg.

The driver of the truck, Mr Bashir Lawali, 30, was arrested along with Mr Abubakar Sani, 30, and Mr Ali Abubakar, 19, while the exhibits in Kano were seized from one Mr Sa’idu Yahya, 31.

In other related operations, attempts by drug traffickers to export 73 parcels of cannabis (34.05kg) concealed in foodstuff plastic containers to the United Kingdom through the NAHCO export shed of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja Lagos were frustrated by operatives on January 8.

Also, another 50 parcels of cannabis consignment (27.25kg) meant for the United States was also intercepted at the export shed of the airport on Tuesday, January 11 and at least three suspects so far arrested.

In the reverse bid, moves by illicit drug merchants to bring into Nigeria 94 parcels of cannabis indica (Colorado) weighing 43.4kg through the Tincan seaport in Lagos were crushed on January 13 when operatives intercepted the drug inside a 40ft container from Canada.

The exhibit was concealed inside a Toyota Camry car. This came on the heels of a similar seizure on 11th Jan. of 59 parcels of Colorado (17.3kg) concealed in a Mercedes Benz vehicle imported from Canada.

In Plateau State, a fake security agent, Mr Babagana Ma’aji has been arrested through a controlled delivery of 5.6kg cannabis from Lagos. The suspect based in Damaturu, Yobe State, was nabbed following the interception of a commercial bus bringing the consignment from Lagos to Gombe in Mararaban, Jos on January 8.

On Tuesday, January 8, operatives of the Plateau Command of the agency also arrested a suspected bandit, Abdullahi Usman Ahmad, 28, at Hwolshe with one Beretta pistol; seven rounds of live ammunition; two empty shells; 12 grams of cannabis sativa; a pair of handcuffs and one million one hundred and thirty-six thousand, three hundred and forty-four naira only (N1, 136,344), suspected to be ransom money as well as an Opel car with registration number ZAR35LQ.

Similarly, the suspected leader of a cocaine distribution ring in Plateau, Mr Chibueze Okoro John, 42, has been arrested along Zaria Road, Jos, with quantities of cocaine and Tramadol recovered from him as well as a Sienna Bus (BWR 584 AL), Toyota Camry car (RBC 461 BF) and the sum of two hundred and seventy-seven thousand naira only (N 277, 000), which the suspect offered to the narcotic officers as a bribe but was rejected.

Meanwhile, in Delta State, the bid by 38-year-old Ejike Obiora to smuggle different quantities of cocaine and heroin into the Nigerian Correctional Centre, Ogwashi-Uku, Aniocha South LGA, was foiled on January 8, when he was discovered to have concealed the drugs in foodstuffs meant for an inmate.

This is even as 598kg cannabis was recovered during a raid in the Owo area of Ondo State with the two owners: Mr Arataye Raimi, 41, and Mr Tope Osinnuwa, 36, eventually arrested in follow up operations.

Still, on the latest feats by the NDLEA, one Abdullahi Mohammed was arrested in connection with the seizure of 48.5 blocks of cannabis in Potiskum, Yobe State, another fake security agent, Dike Davison was nabbed at Aliade, Benue State with 50grams of cannabis and 29 rounds of live ammunition of 7.62mm calibre.

In Abuja, a buy and bust operation on Friday, January 14, led to the arrest of one Habib Yusif, 41, with a total of 28.2kg cannabis recovered from him, while in Osun State, the trio of Samuel Joseph; Francis Ujor, and Sola Johnson were arrested in Onikoko village Area 5, Ile-Ife, with 100 bags of cannabis weighing 1,530 kilograms recovered from them on Thursday, January 13.

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ASUU Gives February Deadline Before Planned Strike

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ASUU Suspends Strike

By Adedapo Adesanya 

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has decided to hold on till February before embarking on a nationwide industrial action.

This follows intervention from the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) which plans to avert the strike action as the federal government was yet to fully fulfil its agreement with the academic pressure group.

The 50-member NIREC, under the co-chairmanship of the Sultan of Sokoto, Mr Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III; and the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Mr Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, is also backed by the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Bishop Mathew Kukah, among other Christian and Muslim leaders.

ASUU had resolved to embark on industrial action to compel the federal government to meet its demands since last year, threatening strike action among government-owned universities.

However, following the intervention of NIREC, ASUU has opted to go for more consultations and to give the government a few days within January 2022 to address all outstanding issues arising from the December 2020 Memorandum of Action (MoA).

In an interview with THISDAY Newspaper over the weekend, ASUU President, Mr Emmanuel Osodake, said that the union had agreed to wait till February.

He also added that it has also submitted its position to NIREC which promised to help mediate and resolve the issues.

“ASUU leadership has agreed to wait till February to give NIREC and other stakeholders enough room to address the union’s grievances,” he said.

The decision of ASUU to suspend action till February is seen as bowing to pressure from prominent Nigerians and the leadership of NIREC comprising of the Sultan of Sokoto, the president of the CAN and other stakeholders.

Mr Osodeke noted that ASUU would resist any attempt to blackmail it and derail its patriotic struggle for a productive university system “by official propaganda founded on tokenism and crumb-sharing”.

Its earlier statement had summed up the decisions reached at the emergency National Executive Council (NEC) of the union held at its National Secretariat, University of Abuja.

The meeting was meant to review the level of government’s implementation of the FGN-ASUU Memorandum of Action (MoA) of December 23, 2020, and other related matters to decide on the way forward.

In deciding to stay action on strike, Mr Osodake said: “NEC took full account of efforts by student union bodies, leading media organisations, traditional rulers, civil society organisations and other interest groups within and outside Nigeria to make government address all outstanding issues arising from the December 2020 MoA”.

In particular, the ASUU president said the union took special cognisance of the pledges made by the NIREC to make further consultations on the crisis in the coming days to find an amicable resolution.

He accused the government of reneging on its promise to set up an inter-ministerial committee to handle renegotiation of the 2009 agreement.

One of the issues in contention is the delay in approving the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) developed by ASUU.

ASUU said it was fully prepared to address all the reports of the “integrity test” on UTAS raised by the Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to pave way for its deployment.

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