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US Okays Sale of Almost $1bn Attack Helicopters to Nigeria

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By Adedapo Adesanya

The Joe Biden administration in the United States has given approval for Nigeria to buy advanced attack helicopters worth $997 million to tackle insecurity in the country.

Nigeria is battling a series of threats from extremists and terrorists in the north.

The State Department on Thursday announced the approval of the almost $1 billion sales of 24 Bell AH-1Z Viper helicopters and related equipment to Nigeria.

The related equipment includes guidance, night vision and targeting systems as well as engines and training support, the department said in a notice to Congress.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a strategic partner in Sub-Saharan Africa,” the department told Congress.

The sale was initiated after Secretary of State, Mr Antony Blinken, paid a visit to Nigeria in November last year.

Mr Blinken also made clear the United States’ regard for Nigeria as a partner in combating terrorism and Islamic extremism in West Africa and the Sahel.

The deal is also intended to “better equip Nigeria to contribute to shared security objectives, promote regional stability, build interoperability with the U.S. and other Western partners, and will be a major contribution to U.S. and Nigerian security goals.”

During Mr Blinken’s visit in November, he said the US was looking forward to seeing the full results of the investigation and would make a decision on arms sales to Nigeria based in part on the findings and whether those responsible were held accountable.

Nigeria is also facing a growing threat from terrorists and bandits who are now working together in the country’s troubled northwest and threaten to further destabilize the conflict-ridden region.

Other parts of the statement noted that, “This proposed sale will also require multiple trips by U.S. Government and contractor representatives to participate in the program and technical reviews plus training and maintenance support in-country, on a temporary basis, for a period of five (5) years. It will also require approximately three (3) contractor support representatives to reside in the country for a period of two years to support this program.

“There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defence readiness as a result of this proposed sale.”

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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Co-founder of Bukka Hut Laolu Martins Dies After Battle With Depression

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Laolu Martins Bukka Hut

By Module Gbadeyanka

An investment banker and co-founder of Bukka Hut, Mr Laolu Martins, has died.

He was said to have committed suicide in the early hours of Tuesday.

Mr Martins has allegedly been battling with depression and had made efforts to overcome it, according to reports.

His family, which confirmed his demise in a statement on Wednesday, asked for understanding and privacy as they mourn him.

“We hereby solicit the support and understanding of everyone as the family grieves the loss of our beloved Laolu in our privacy.

“Our kind request is that you support the family – wife, children, aged mother and father and his siblings with your prayers at this difficult time.

“Further announcements will be made by the family,” the statement said.

Mr Martins established Bukka Hut with his friend, Mr Rasheed Jayeola. The company is a leading a restaurant that offers a wide variety of tasty homemade meals.

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NDLEA Sets Ablaze N194bn Cocaine Seized in Lagos

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By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The 1.8 tonnes of cocaine worth N194 billion recovered by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) from a warehouse in the Ikorodu area of Lagos last week has been set ablaze.

The illicit drug was burnt on Tuesday, September 27, 2022, in the Badagry area of Lagos and was witnessed by the Chairman/Chief Executive of the agency, Mr Buba Marwa.

Mr Marwa, represented by the Director of Prosecution and Legal Services, Deputy Commander General of Narcotics (DCGN), Mr Sunday Joseph, said the cocaine was set ablaze following an order of the Federal High Court in Lagos.

He said the sheer volume of the drug haul speaks volumes about the extent of the nefarious activities of the drug underworld, noting that this has made it imperative for Nigerians to continue to support NDLEA in the renewed war against illicit drugs.

The NDLEA chief said out of the 1.8-tonne seizure, 1,828 blocks of the cocaine will be crushed and set ablaze, while the remnant will be secured for the purpose of prosecution of the suspects who were brought to witness the procedure and sign the certificate of destruction.

According to him, the agency is proceeding with the prosecution of those arrested in connection with this consignment, promising that the organisation will pursue the trial to a logical conclusion.

“Since January 25, 2021, when we commenced our offensive action against drug traffickers, the Agency has secured record convictions.

“Presently, 2,904 drug offenders are serving various jail terms, while other cases are ongoing in court, which we are confident will end in positive results too,” he was quoted as saying in a statement signed by the spokesman of the agency, Mr Femi Babafemi.

While soliciting more support for the agency’s work, Mr Marwa said the safety of society was the responsibility of every citizen.

He said the fact that the Ikorodu operation was conducted clinically without any skirmish or bloodshed was further testimony to the evolution of the NDLEA and its new capabilities and a pointer to the fact that the game has changed in the war against illicit drugs.

He expressed appreciation to the organisation’s international partners, especially the American Drug Enforcement Administration (US-DEA), which supported the cocaine syndicate bust and the Nigerian military that provided additional firepower during the operation, as well as other law enforcement agencies that have been supporting efforts to rid Nigeria of illicit drugs.

The NDLEA had in a well-coordinated and intelligence-led operation that lasted two days last week, stormed a hidden warehouse at 6 Olukunola Street, Solebo Estate, Ikorodu. Five suspects, including a Jamaican, were arrested.

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Afenifere’s Support for Peter Obi Good for Nigeria’s Unity—SERG

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Peter Obi indices of development

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The endorsement of the candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi, by a pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, has been applauded by a pan-Igbo socio-political pressure organisation, the South East Revival Group (SERG).

In a statement issued in Abuja by the president and national coordinator of SERG, Mr Willy Ezugwu, the group said the support for the former Governor of Anambra State for the 2023 presidential election was good for the unity of Nigeria.

The leader of Afenifere, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, had said for equity, justice and fairness, the organisation would be throwing its weight with the candidate of Igbo extraction as it was the turn of the South East to govern Nigeria.

“The unequivocal support coming from credible South West political bloc, which the Afenifere represents, is a support for equity and justice, which will boost Nigeria’s national unity,” SERG said.

It maintained that “the renewed declaration of support for the Peter Obi presidential bid, alongside his running mate, Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, by the Afenifere has demonstrated that there are still individuals and groups around who love the country and would sacrifice anything to keep Nigeria united and prosperous.

“The support by Afenifere is in line with the advocacy sustained by the former Executive Governor of Kaduna State and elder statesman, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, ahead of the 2023 general elections before his death.

“Alhaji Balarabe Musa had urged Nigerians to give the South East the chance to produce the next President of Nigeria in 2023 to give the region a sense of belonging.

“We, therefore, totally agree with Pa Adebanjo that by the Afenifere’s support, the group is contributing to shaping Nigeria into a truly Federal Republic where no person or ethnic nationality would be sidelined or oppressed.

“We recognize the fact that Afenifere, as well as the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum, have been consistent in their advocacy for restructuring and, by extension, the need for a Nigerian President of South East extraction as part of efforts towards national integration.

“With this reiterated endorsement from the Afenifere against all odds, it should now sink into the minds of all Nigerians, especially South East political leaders, that the Peter Obi presidential bid is devoid of ethnic colouration and must be embraced by all and sundry in Igboland.

“We, therefore, call on all Igbo sons and daughters to join the support train, not because Peter Obi is an Igbo but because he has proven to be competent with a reasonable understanding of Nigeria’s problems and how they can be fixed.

“Nigeria is greatly troubled in every sector, with complications from security challenges as evident in all parts of the country, and we need urgent rescue from total collapse.

“Peter Obi has a track record of integrity, competence, and proven performance and has expressed his readiness to work with Nigerians of all tribes and religions to make the country work again by focusing on production, which will boost the country’s economy and return the country to the path of recovery and prosperity,” the SERG said.

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