The Nigerian Army has denied allegations that it is planning to free some senior Boko Haram Bomb explosive experts in it’s custody.
The Army also said more than 1,000 Boko Haram terrorists have surrendered to troops due to intense offensive operations on the hideouts and camps in the North East.
A statement by Brig Gen Onyema Nwachukwu, Director, Army Public Relations titled ‘Re: Army to Free 2 Senior Boko Haram Bomb Experts After Rehabilitation’ said the Army will never encourage any act of lawlessness or extra judicial killings.
It said, “Our attention has been drawn to a publication by some online news medium in which the authors deliberately misrepresented the facts contained in that report and twisted it to suit whatever purpose they seek to achieve.
“While the Nigerian Army (NA) does not want to be distracted from its main focus of dealing decisively with the threats against peace loving Nigerians, it has become necessary to put issues in their right perspectives.
“It is a known fact that in the recent past, over 1,000 members of Boko Haram and their families have surrendered to the troops due to the intense pressure from troops’ sustained offensive actions.
“Among those were key leaders of the terrorists group who have renounced their membership and have turned themselves in.
“The NA being a professional military organisation will continue to act in accordance with the dictates of the Nigerian Constitution, as well as international best practices.
“It must be known that the NA will never encourage any act of lawlessness or extra judicial killings.
“Accordingly, all surrendered terrorists will be received, processed and passed on to the relevant agencies of Government for further assessment in line with extant provisions.
“The ongoing Operation Safe Corridor is an outfit established by the Federal Government and not the NA.
“As such, it is absolutely wrong to say that the NA will free repentant terrorists.
“The NA therefore appeals to the public to disregard the deliberate distortion of facts by these online mediums and continue to support the NA in order to rid the country of terrorism and other forms of insecurity.
“The Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya has reiterated his admonition to all terrorists groups operating in the country to abandon their illegitimate cause and surrender to troops.”
NIRSAL Microfinance Bank (NMFB) yesterday denied claims that its staff had extorted applicants and promised to grant them approvals for their loan requests.
In a statement, the bank management described the accusation as not only spurious but unfounded as “NMFB frowns at any form of unethical practices or unprofessional conduct which contravenes our policy and core values”.
Some aggrieved individuals who applied for loans under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s Agribusiness Small & Medium Enterprises Scheme (AGSMEIS) had alleged that the bank conspired with Entrepreneurial Development Institutions (EDIs) to extort money from applicants with the promise to grant them approvals for their loan requests.
“NMFB has repeatedly warned applicants, through various social media platforms, that the AGSMEIS loan application process is individual-based, after the completion of a N10,000-cost training exercise by NMFB-accredited Entrepreneurial Development Institutions, EDIs.
“The business plan, which is also automatically generated on the portal, has two options – a free application and another that cost N5,000. Applicants have the liberty to use any of the two business plan options. No EDI has the right to charge extra cost,” the statement added.
The bank further urged applicants to report any observed anomalies or form of solicitation directly or through its whistleblower channels.
It also said that applicants who were recently sent a decline application message due to their inability to meet our set current risk assessment criteria that they could re-apply with a business plan tailored to the new maximum of N3 million threshold at no cost to them.
“Once again, we remind all Nigerians that the AGSMEIS loan is not a grant but a loan” it added.
The All Progressives Congress, APC, has denied zoning its presidential ticket to the Southern part of the country, ahead of the 2023 elections.
This is as the party said its doors were still open to candidates for the 2023 general elections, including the presidency.
It denied releasing any zoning formula for candidates on its platform ahead of the scheduled polls.
Secretary of the APC Caretaker Committee, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe issued the denial in response to reports that the party has zoned its presidential ticket to the south.
APC was reported to have zoned the President to the South, Vice President to the North, Senate President to the South and Deputy Senate President to the North.
However, Akpanudoedehe disowned the list.
In a statement, the APC Secretary said: “Our people should disregard the list. It is not from the Caretaker Committee, it is not from the party.
“This is absolutely false! Where was it done and at what occasion? This is a mere fabrication of the writer’s imagination. It is completely misleading.”
Abia State Government has debunked reports that Abia is among states that were yet to implement the new minimum wage.
The state’s Honorable Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, made this known in a statement made available to DAILY POST on Saturday.
Kalu said that the Abia State Government led by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, commenced implementation of the new minimum wage in January 2020 with the least paid worker in the state workforce earning above the minimum wage of N30,000.
According to him, Abia State is the first in the southeast region to have commenced payment of the new minimum wage to workers.
He further urged the national leadership of NLC and The Guardian to immediately verify and correct the misrepresentation of facts and apologize to the government and people of Abia State for the incorrect publication
“Our attention has been drawn to a publication in a national daily of Saturday, 13th March, 2021 which cited a document purportedly obtained from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and corroborated by the Deputy General Secretary of NLC, Bello Ismail, to the effect that Abia State is among states that are yet to implement the new minimum wage and wish to state that the report is false and without bearing to facts as it concerns our state.
“Abia State Government led by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, PhD, commenced implementation of the new minimum wage in January 2020 with the least paid worker in the state workforce earning above the minimum wage of N30,000.
“Indeed, the state is the first in the southeast region to have commenced payment of the new minimum wage to workers. We are therefore lost as to how the national leadership of NLC is not aware of this fact which is verifiable and available within the media space including previous publications by The Guardian.
“The least expected from the national leadership of NLC, before relying, compiling and publishing from the cited document on the status of the state with regard to the payment of the new minimum wage was to have called or cross checked with the local chapter of NLC or any state worker to verify the status.
“We hereby urge the national leadership of NLC and The Guardian to immediately verify and correct the misrepresentation of facts and equally apologize to the government and people of Abia State for the false publication,”the statement said.
The Federal College of Education, FCE (Technical), Akoka, Lagos, says the reported installation of Closed-circuit television (CCTV) Camera in the female hostel of the institution, published March 6, 2021, by a daily newspaper, is not true.
The Provost of the institution, Wahab Azeez, told a press conference on Friday that the report was a damaging publication and unprofessional in all its ramification.
He said the reportage was not true, but acknowledged that some students protested on Friday, March 5, over the ejection of illegal female occupants from the Independent Hall.
“So we are using this forum to correct this impression and other misrepresentation of our College circulated around by Thursday which some News media copied from them and published.
“To clear the air, it is true that some students demonstrated on Friday, March 5, 2021, basically to protest against the ejection of illegal female occupants and not because of what was reported.
According to him, “the purported installation of cameras is still ongoing in public places of the College and not in the female hostel to deny our cherished female students their privacy.”
The Provost emphasised that the College would not allow any criminal and indecent behaviour among the management staff, academic and non-academic staff and students.
He noted that the CCTV came about as a result of attacks of students in the night, especially female students, adding that the publication was not only damaging to the image of the College but malicious.
The Provost pointed out that contrary to the publication and misleading information that the College have 7,000 students cramped in the hostels beyond its capacity of 3,646.
“The students are comfortably accommodated in the College hostel, besides we have rules, regulations guiding the hostels and do not support, encourage illegal occupants or squatters,” he added.
Mr Azeez disclosed out that due to the security challenges, the College processed and obtained TETFund sponsorship to install CCTV cameras on the perimeter fences, buildings including male and female hostels.
“The CCTV cameras are not in the rooms, bathrooms or even toilet areas, meanwhile the installation is underway, yet to be completed and not activated yet, therefore no student privacy can be breached by the system, rather it’s an installation done purely for security reasons,” he expressed.
The President Degree Students’ Union, Adewale Yusuf, applauded the initiative led by Mr Azeez and his team, saying the management has been living up to expectations in making the College environment conducive for learning.
The Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) to President Muhammadu Buhari, Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno, has said that the NSA was misquoted on the interview with the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
Monguno was quoted to have said that the government was not aware of how monies meant for the purchase of arms were spent under the immediate past Service Chiefs and could not also trace the arms they claimed to have bought.
But the statement noted that the NSA did not categorically say that monies meant for arms procurement were missing under the former service chiefs, saying: “The attention of the Office of the National Security Adviser has been drawn to some media reports regarding armed forces equipment during an interview with the BBC Hausa service.
“We would like to state that the NSA was quoted out of context, as he did not categorically say that funds meant for arms procurement were missing under the former service chiefs, as reported or transcribed by some media outlets from the BBC interview.
“During the interview, the NSA only reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to deal decisively with insecurity and stated President Muhammadu Buhari’s continued commitment to providing all necessary support to the armed forces, including the provision of arms and equipment.”
“In the interview, the NSA clearly informed the BBC reporter that Mr. President has provided enormous resources for arms procurement, but the orders were either inadequate or yet to be delivered, and that did not imply that the funds were misappropriated under the former service chiefs.
“The NSA also informed the reporter that Mr. President is following up on the procurement process, as is usual with contracts relating to military equipment, in most cases the process involves manufacturing, due diligence and tedious negotiations that may change delivery dates.
“As the NSA conveyed during the Aso Villa media briefing, questions relating to defence procurement should be channeled to the Ministry of Defence. All security and intelligence agencies are working together to bring an end to insecurity, with the full support of Mr. President and stakeholders, including the media and civil society, as part of a whole-of-government and a whole-of-society approach to address our security challenges.”
The immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, has denied fiddling with funds meant to procure arms and ammunition while in office.
Mr Buratai, a retired lieutenant general, stated this in a statement by his lawyer, Osuagwu Ugochukwu, on Friday.
The National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, had said in an interview with BBC Hausa Service, that funds running into billions of naira meant for the procurement of arms and ammunition under the immediate past service chiefs, were unaccounted for.
The immediate past service chiefs are Gabriel Olonisakin, chuef of Defence staff, Abubakar Sadique, chief of Air staff, Ibok Ekwe Ibas, chief of naval staff and Mr Buratai.
Mr Monguno has since denied the report, saying he was quoted out of context.
Mr Buratai, who was the COAS between 2015 and 2021, said no arms fund was missing under his stewardship.
He also said his name was never mentioned in the interview granted by Mr Monguno.
LT GEN T Y BURATAI AND OTHER EX SERVICE CHIEFS NEVER FIDDLED WITH ARMS FUND
My attention has been drawn to an interview granted BBC by National Security Adviser (NSA) RTD Major General Babagana Monguno wherein he was alleged to have accused former service chiefs of filtering ARMS Fund away.
I can confirm that LT General Buratai and other ex-service chiefs were never mentioned in the interview and neither was any arms fund missing under the stewardship of LT Gen T.Y Buratai.
Interestingly, NSA Babagana Monguno has denied making such accusations. We therefore urge members of the public to discountenance any such misquoted narrative suggesting sleaze on the integrity of RTD LT Gen T.Y Buratai.
Anyone interested in knowing how Arms were procured by the ex-service chiefs and particularly LT Gen T.Y Buratai should channel such request for information to the Ministry of Defence and stop the habit of speculation and false information peddling. Because any attempt to further tarnish the image of the former Chief of Army staff will be resisted legally.
Osuagwu Ugochukwu ESQ
( Attorney to LT Gen T.Y Buratai RTD)
The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), on Friday, denied that it has increased fuel price from N162 to N212 per litre, as the new retail price.
The agency described the news as mere speculations stressing that the initial price posted on its website was, “only indicative of current market trends,” thus the news report was reportedly “misconstrued and misleading.”
In a statement signed by Abdulkadir Saidu, the PPPRA Executive Secretary, the agency does not determine the market prices of the PMS but its solely determined by the market forces through the Market Based Pricing Regime for PMS Regulation 2020.
One of the conditions for the implementation of the new pricing regime for petrol is the monthly release of the guiding price to reflect current market fundamentals.
It could be recalled that due to the forex challenges, otherwise dollar scarcity which prevented oil marketers from importing petrol into the country, only the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) currently imports fuel into Nigeria for local consumption.
The statement reads in part, “The attention of the PPPRA has been drawn to speculations about the increased pump price of PMS.
“The PPPRA by this release wishes to state clearly that the Guiding Prices posted on our website was only indicative of current market trends and do not translate to an increase in the pump price of PMS. However, publications by the media to this effect have been misconstrued and thus misleading.
“The Agency wishes to remind the general public of the introduction of the MarketBased Pricing Regime for PMS Regulation 2020 as gazetted by the federal government. Based on this regulation, prices are expected to be determined by market realities in line with the dictates of market forces.”
It added that PPPRA “is not unaware of the challenges with the supply of PMS due to some concerns leading NNPC to be the sole importer of PMS. PPPRA is also mindful of the current discussion going on between the government and the organised labour on the deregulation policy. While consultation with relevant stakeholders is ongoing, PPPRA does not fix or announce prices and therefore there is no price increase. The current PMS price is being maintained while consultations are being concluded.”
Though it acknowledged the gradual increase in petrol price in the past few months, however, the agency noted that pump price has remained the same and it is currently monitoring the situation across retail outlets nationwide.
While assuring the public of adequate products supply, the agency restated its commitment to performing its statutory function by ensuring easy access to the product.
Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said Friday that President John Magufuli was “strong and working hard as usual”, dismissing fears he was ill after an extended public absence.
Magufuli has not been seen in public since February 27 and has failed to make an appearance even to appease days of rumours he is gravely ill with Covid-19, which have caused panic on social media.
“I want to assure Tanzanians that your president is strong and working hard as usual. You should not worry,” Majaliwa told a mosque in the southern region of Njombe, in a video posted online.
“I even talked with him this morning about my trip in Njombe and he told me to greet you on his behalf. I talked with him on phone from Dar es Salaam and I was in Dodoma,” said Majaliwa.
The comments are the first direct rebuttal of rumours that Magufuli is ill.
Tanzania’s information minister and justice minister have this week only threatened those spreading rumours with jail time, without directly addressing the concerns.
The main opposition party Chadema on Friday again called for an explanation on where the president is.
“We are forced to ask this since the president appeared in public some two weeks ago and no official statement has been issued after media reports that he was hospitalised. We have the right to know this,” said Chadema secretary-general John Mnyika at a press briefing.
Chadema’s opposition candidate in presidential elections last year, Tundu Lissu, wrote on Twitter earlier this week that “the president’s wellbeing is a matter of grave public concern”.
He says his sources indicate Magufuli has been flown to India for health reasons, while a newspaper in Kenya said he was hospitalised in Nairobi.
None of these reports have been confirmed.
Magufuli insisted for months that Covid-19 had been fended off by prayer, refusing measures such as masks and lockdowns. But last month he conceded it was still circulating after the vice-president of semi-autonomous Zanzibar was revealed to have died of the virus.
Several Tanzanian officials have died recently, while the finance minister appeared last month coughing and gasping at a press conference outside a hospital to dispel rumours he had died of Covid-19.
Tanzania stopped releasing data on Covid-19 in April 2020 and in January Magufuli said vaccines for the disease were “dangerous”.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Hajj Monsur Consolidated Travels Limited, Amir Qamardeen Ajala, has petitioned the Department of State Security (DSS) over some malicious remarks made in defamation of his person by a social media preacher, AbdulWasiu Atayese (Jakmal).
Ajala made this known at a press briefing held in Lagos, calling on the security agency to arrest and prosecute Jakmal for false allegations against his personality and some other Muslim scholars from the southwest region of the country.
It was revealed that the preacher, Atayese of Ile Ajia in Ilorin, Kwara State, had alleged in a widely broadcast social media video that Sheikh Ajala, alongside other eminent scholars, were the architects of terrorism, adding that they were members of Boko Haram.
Some of the scholars he allegedly linked with the terrorist group were Sheikh Qamardeen Yunus, Sheikh Abdulmajeed Eleha, Professor Abdurrazaq Alaro, Sheikh Abdulhakeem Kutubi, Sheikh Abdulfatai Sarumi, among others.
Reacting, Sheikh Ajala, who anchors Wole Ola, a popular Yoruba Islamic programme on TV, distanced himself and the accused scholars from the terrorist group, noting that their ideology did not in any way align with his.
Ajala said the malicious rumour was an attempt to denigrate his image and those of others mentioned above.
“This unguarded and misguided pronouncement of his will not be allowed to slide. This will be vigorously challenged, inshaa Allah, by every instrument of the law,” he said.
He stated categorically that he had no dealings whatsoever with the maniac group called Boko Haram at any point in time.
“I am not one of them and will never be one. There is no reason for any association with them until they renounce their violent ideology against the state and the law of the country. I, as well as all the above-listed scholars, have always and will continue to warn the youth about the warped ideologies of Boko Haram.
“It is public knowledge that the Boko Haram stares their members away from what they consider Western education while I, on the other hand, never had issues with Western education. In fact, I am also an advocate of girl-child education. Therefore, these allegations by Abdul Wasiu are unfounded, baseless and complete balderdash.
“It doesn’t worth any one’s time. But for the avoidance of doubt, the social media contains a litany of my public lectures, my radio and TV shows, and teachings at different fora on various topics. Violence against the state or the people, regardless of their faith, isn’t one of them. But the present situation looks more like an attempt to eliminate real or imagined adversaries by spurious allegations. It is an attempt to give a dog a bad name, and then have the justification to kill it. Nigeria is no Banana Republic; it’s a country of law and order. For this reason, people must be held accountable for their actions and inaction as they affect others.”