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8 million in Dire Conditions in Borno, Adamawa, Yobe—UN

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Attack on Borno Governor

By Adedapo Adesanya

The United Nations has issued an alert over the deteriorating situation for millions of mainly women and children in northeast Nigeria who continue to be affected by protracted armed conflict, just as the country enters the lean season.

The body said that well over 8 million people are in need of assistance in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) States and an estimated 600,000 face emergency levels of food insecurity because of extremist violence centred around the Lake Chad region, that’s now in its 12th year.

The UN’s top relief official to Nigeria, Mr Matthias Schmale revealed that although the previously dominant Boko Haram militia have been significantly weakened since the group’s leader was killed over a year ago, it continues to carry out indiscriminate attacks.

Another extremist offshoot, ISWAP, is also dangerous, although it had also suffered setbacks, he noted.

As in previous years, a staggering one million people are also beyond the reach of international aid teams, said Mr Schmale.

More than 80 per cent of those in need are women and children, who also face “abductions, rape and abuse”, while indiscriminate attacks in Borno state make it the most “unstable place to be”, he added.

He told journalists in Geneva that the UN was aiming to support at least 5.5 million, out of the 8.4 million in need overall.

“The conflict has left 2.2 million people presently displaced. We’ve just entered what is called the lean season that normally lasts until September; last year it lasted until November, so we’re also seeing the impact of climate change.”

Mr Schmale noted that although Nigeria is a major oil producer, it lacks refineries which means that it has not benefited from the global surge in energy prices, linked to the war in Ukraine.

“It’s early days yet in terms of understanding the full impact, as you may know, in Nigeria from the beginning there was speculation as to whether Nigeria would benefit as an oil-producing country.

“We’re not seeing that in fact at all, because Nigeria, as contradictory as this may sound, depends very largely on imports of refined oil so, the price rises we’ve seen are not benefiting Nigeria, that’s one concern.”

In time, the massive country could feed itself and avoid ever costlier food imports, the UN official insisted, although, for the moment, it lacks the infrastructure and agricultural investment required to be competitive at a global level.

It noted that there is a particular concern for 1.74 million children under five who are expected to be suffer from acute malnutrition in the northeast in the coming months.

“A key message is ringing the alarm bell,” Mr Schmale said. “If we don’t get immediate funding soon for an initial multisector response plan worth $350 million, we will have a crisis that will be much worse in a couple of months.”

He added: “We hope that the international community realises that you ignore a situation like in the north-east of Nigeria at your own peril; it could have far-reaching consequences beyond the borders of Nigeria if we’re not able to keep it stable.”

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Hakeem Baba-Ahmed’s Comments on Peter Obi Soothe Igbo Pressure Group

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Hakeem Baba-Ahmed

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The Director of Publicity and Advocacy of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Mr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, has been praised for his comments on the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 general elections, Mr Peter Obi.

Pan-Igbo socio-political pressure group, the South East Revival Group (SERG), in a statement signed by its national coordinator, Mr Willy Ezugwu, said Mr Baba-Ahmed is a patriot, who has the interest of Nigeria at heart.

After a meeting with the former Governor of Anambra State recently, the NEF spokesman tweeted, “I spent valuable time with Mr Peter Obi this morning. I wish those who see him as an ethnic candidate can get to know him better.

“I also wish those who try to sell him will tone down his ethnic identity. I hope the nation will see the candidates up close, we could see a revolution.”

These words were soothing to SERG and described them as a “rare patriotic view” of Mr Baba-Ahmed, who the group said “never spoke as a politician but as a patriot and courageous statesman.”

“We commend the rare patriotic view of the Director of Publicity and Advocacy of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, on Mr Peter Obi’s presidential bid and anyone who thinks otherwise is either a typical politician with a vested interest or an ethnic bigot who should not be taken seriously.

“Nigerians yearned for change in 2015 based on what was presented to them by a political party but they have so far been disappointed by the choice that was made.

“Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the ordinary citizens of Nigeria, irrespective of political and religious affiliations, have taken charge and made a choice of a presidential candidate they deserve after the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) disappointed them by their wrong choices.

“No patriotic Nigerian can approach the presidential bid of Mr Peter Obi from ethnic or religious perspectives. Support for Mr Obi is a vote for competence and accountable leadership.

“On his part, the Convener of the Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), Prof Ango Abdullahi, nailed it when he clearly stated that neither Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) nor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) can fix Nigeria’s challenges.

“Therefore, we urge all lovers of good governance, rule of law, infrastructure development, national unity, security of lives and property, as well as quality education to key into the Peter Obi Movement ahead of the 2023 presidential election for the sake of the future of Nigeria and her peoples of all tribes and religion,” the statement read.

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Reps Invite PenCom, PTAD Over Failure to Pay Pensioners

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PTAD

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The Director-General of the National Pension Commission (PenCom) and the Executive Secretary of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) have been asked to explain to the House of Representatives Committees on Pension and Public Service Matters why they have failed to pay federal civil service retirees their pensions for nine months.

This directive was given to the officials after a lawmaker from Edo State, Mr Sergius Ose-Ogun, moved a motion on the matter on the floor of the lower chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja on Tuesday.

Also to appear before the panels are the Head of Service (HoS) of the federation and the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGoF).

Presiding over the plenary today, the Speaker of the House of Reps, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, directed the teams to investigate the alleged non-payment of pension to the retirees by PTAD within four weeks and report back to the lower parliament with their findings.

While moving his motion today, Mr Ose-Ogun described as “unacceptable” the claims by PTAD that the non-payment was caused by technological glitches, specifically from the AGoF and the Government Integrated Financial Management System (GIFMIS).

According to him, the failure of the agency to pay pensioners’ monthly pensions and gratuities under the “Defined Benefits Scheme for the said period of nine months…amounts “to gross incompetence and ineffectiveness” as Section 32(b) of the Pension Reform Act Cap P4 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 saddles PTAD with the responsibility of carrying out functions aimed at ensuring the welfare of pensioners.

He said emphasised that Section 14(2) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) provides that the security and welfare of the people of Nigeria shall be the primary purpose of government.

He used the opportunity for the House to look into the matter based on Section 88 (1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), which empowers the National Assembly to conduct investigations into the activities of any authority executing or administering laws made by the National Assembly.

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INEC Gives Tinubu, Obi July 15 Deadline to Confirm Running Mates

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inec electoral bill

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has given presidential candidates of the various political parties partaking in the 2023 general elections until July 16, 2022, to confirm their running mates.

Nigerians head to the polls next year to elect someone to replace President Muhammadu Buhari, who leaves office on May 29, 2023, after he must have served a two-term of eight years.

Early this month, most political parties held their presidential primaries and while names have been submitted to the electoral umpire, there are speculations that things may still change.

The latest announcement is coming after the electoral body released the list of candidates of political parties for the 2023 general elections and it includes names of presidential candidates and their vice-presidential selections, as well as senatorial and House of Representatives candidates.

Presidential candidates on the list are Mr Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and his running mate, Mr Ibrahim Masari; and Mr Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and his running mate, Mr Ifeanyi Okowa.

Others are Mr Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) and his running mate, Mr Doyin Okupe; and Mr Osita Nnadi of the Action Peoples Party (APP) and his running mate, Mr Isa Hamisu.

The other presidential candidates are Mr Abiola Kolawole of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) and his running mate, Mr Ribi Marshal; Mr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) and his running mate, Mr Johnson Oladipupo; Mr Yabagi Sani of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) and his running mate, Mr Udo Okey-Okoro; Mr Ado-Ibrahim Abdulmalik of the Young Progressives Party (YPP) and his running mate, Mr Enyinna Kasarachi.

Also are Mr Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress (AAC) and his running mate, Mr Garba Magashi; Mr Mamman Dantalle of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and his running mate, Mrs Ojei Princess; Mr Chukwudi Umeadi of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and his running mate, Mr Koli Mohammed; Mr Oluwafemi Adenuga of the Boot Party (BP) and his running mate, Mr Turaku Mustapha; Mr Daberechukwu Nwanyanwu of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) and his running mate, Mr Ramalan Abubakar; Mr Dumebi Kachikwu of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) and his running mate, Mr Ahmed Mani; and Mr Hamsa Almustafa, presidential candidate, Action Alliance (AA) and his running mate, Mr Chukwuka Johnson.

The duo of Mr Tinubu and Mr Obi, while submitting their running mates, claimed they may still change them after consultations with key stakeholders.

The timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general elections released by INEC indicate that political parties have less than 20 days to withdraw or replace their candidates and running mates for the presidential and National Assembly elections.

Nigeria’s presidential and National Assembly elections have been slated for February 25, 2023, while governorship and state assembly elections will be held on March 11, 2023.

Initially, February 18, 2023, was chosen for the presidential poll but the date was amended after the signing of the amendments to the Electoral Bill by President Buhari.

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