Buhari promises Dapchi 105 released schoolgirls safety

By NewsDesk,

Barely 48 hours after controversial numbers of Dapchi abducted schoolgirls were released by their abductors, President Muhammadu Buhari has assured the girls and their parent of safety,just as he urged them to pursue their dreams unconditionally.

Buhari informed the innocent children that their safety were paramount to his government and that efforts were on to also rescue remaining Chibok schoogirls and other Nigerians in captivity of terrorists.

It could be recalled that the girls were released by Boko Haram two days ago, weeks after members the group abducted from Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, in Yobe State.

Speaking the children who were in Aso Rock to meet with the president after their released, Buhari confirmed that 105 Dapchi schoolgirls and two others previously abducted by the insurgents were unconditionally released by their abductors, and that the development which he described as cheering and hearty,  signified commitment of his administration to security and well-being of all Nigerians.

“To the rescued students, we want to reassure you as our daughters that you will freely live and pursue your dreams in Nigeria of peace and order, without fear of violence or molestation.

“While parents of the Dapchi girls rejoice because of the reunion with their children, I want to appeal to the Chibok Community never to lose hope or to despair.

“We are determined as never before, to bring back our remaining Chibok daughters and this, we must accomplish and that will be soon, by God’s grace,” he added.

The president, who visited Yobe State a week ago during which he sympathised with the parents, families, and people of the state on the tragic abduction of the students in Dapchi, reminded that he made a solemn pledge that Federal Government would do everything possible to ensure the unconditional release of the girls.

“We are never in doubt about our focus and direction since the assumption of this administration – security, anti-corruption and revamping of our economy are the main focus of our government.

“We reached out to our contacts at home and abroad, we embarked on backchannel shuttles with a clear view to bringing to an end this tragedy.

“We entered into negotiations solely to make sure that no single girl was hurt. This strategy paid off as the girls have been released without any incidents,” the President added.

Osinbajo puts FG’s school feeding program children beneficiaries at 7.4M

By NewsDesk,

The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has put number of children benefiting from Federal Government National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) at 7.4 million, with the program been currently operating in 22 states of the country.

He said that the programme has been providing  social safety net that improves health and education of poorest and most vulnerable children and that NHSGSP was one of pillars of the social investment efforts of the government.

Osinbajo, who represented by Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, at a National Symposium on NHGSFP in Abuja on Friday, stated that the present administration has plans to reach family unit in very real times, with good work in regard and the initiative was currently operating in 22 states in Nigeria with 7, 487, 441 pupils as beneficiaries.

At the symposium, organised in partnership with the National Social Investment Office, in honour of African Day of School Feeding, the vice president indicated that the NHSGSP was among the government’s efforts to combat poverty and that it was also anchored on ensuring nutrition for Nigerian children.

“I am amazed at the level this wonderful programme has attained; this is a major success recorded.

“We must appreciate the micro-economic effect of this; it has engaged 75, 330 cooks; over 8000 persons are employed in the value chain– that helps in fighting poverty,’’ he said.

He explained that there was need for all stakeholders to scale up their efforts at making the programme a huge success and that entire arms of government must strengthen commitments to NHSGSP.

However, the Special Advisor to the President on Social Investments, Maryam Uwais, said that objective of the meeting was to showcase the feeding program, its concept, process and challenges to generate the highest level of political commitment.

She dislcosed that the programme was functioning in 22 states including Abia, Anambra, Enugu, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ebonyi, Zamfara, Delta, Benue, Plateau, Bauchi, Taraba, kaduna, Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, Imo, Jigawa, Niger, Kano, Kastina and Gombe.

According to her, Ondo and Borno will begin before month runs off.

“During the 26th African Union Summit in Jan. 2016, the heads of states adopted school feeding programmes as a continental strategy to enhance retention and performance of children in schools and to boost income generation and entrepreneurship in local communities.

“NHGSFP is one of the major pillars of the social investment effort of the present administration that seeks to impact on the lives of millions of Nigerian in the most direct way possible.

“The others include National Cash Transfer Programme(NCTP), NPower, Government Enterprises and Empowerment Programme(GEEP).

“All these programmes have achieved profound successes so far. One the most important aspects of the social investment programmes is the millions of Nigerians who have and would benefit directly and indirectly from each of the various schemes.”

She hinted that social investments had recorded 7.9 million direct beneficiaries since inception and had presence in 36 states of the federation and Federal Capital Territory and that through NPower, 200,000 graduate beneficiaries were currently enrolled and working in various institutions around the country.

“20,000 graduate beneficiaries in non-graduate category have commenced training in 34 states around the country.

“GEEP has 259, 541 beneficiaries of 4, 784 cooperatives that have paid across the country.

“NCTP has commenced developing a social register in all states that have met the criteria provided in the MoU signed with our office.

“So far, we have 455, 857 poor and vulnerable households uploaded onto the National Social Register, from which 297, 973 households have been mined and are being mined and being paid stipends in 20 states,’’ she said.

She listed the states benefitting from NCTP as Jigawa, Bauchi, Kogi, Osun, Cross Rivers, Anambra, Kastina, Kano, Taraba, Gombe, Adamawa, Niger, Nasarawa , Benue, Oyo, Ekiti, Kwara, Borno, Kaduna and Plateau.

Afreximbank opens intra-Africa Trade $800M credit line across 55 banks

By NewsDesk,

Intra-Africa Trade may soon start performing beyond bounds with latest development from African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) which opened credit lines amounting to $800 million in 55 banks across Africa to facilitate confirmation of letters of credit to support the continent trade hub.

The bank said that under the strategy launched in 2016, about $25 billion would be disbursed in support of intra-African trade during the five years ending in 2021.

The Director and Global Head, Communications and Events Management Department, Afreximbank, Obi Emekekwue, explained that the bank’s President, Dr Benedict Oramah, disclosed the strategy at the signing of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement in Kigali.

Speaking on Friday on the development, Oramah disclosed that under the strategy launched in 2016, about $25 billion would be disbursed in support of intra-African trade during the five years ending in 2021.

He hinted that the bank’s goal was to extend such lines to at least 500 banks in all African countries by 2021 in order to significantly reduce the cost of intra-African trade finance.

According to him, the aim is to counter the constraints posed by country risks associated with the confirmation of such letters of credit and Afreximbank was also on the verge of launching an intra-African trade platform that would facilitate the clearing and settlement of intra-African trade transactions in African currencies.

He signified that the platform would significantly reduce use of hard currencies in the settlement of such trade andthat 44 African countries had so far signed the Agreement Establishing the AfCFTA, while 43 countries signed the Kigali Declaration for the Launch of the AfCFTA.

The bank’s boss stated that 25 countries had signed the Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community relating to Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Right of Establishment.

Afreximbank is the foremost pan-African multilateral financial institution devoted to financing and promoting intra-and extra-African trade.

The bank was established in October 1993 by African governments, African private and institutional investors and non-African investors.

Since 1994, it has approved more than $51 billion in credit facilities for African businesses, including about $10.3 billion in 2016.

Afreximbank had total assets of $11.7 billion as at Dec. 31, 2016 and it is rated BBB+ (GCR), Baa1 (Moody’s), and BBB- (Fitch).

Man lands inside police cell after breaking 12yrs boy limb while punishing over disobedience

By NewsDesk,

A 50 years old man. identified as, Sirajo Mohammed, has landed inside Gombe State Police Command for allegedly breaking limbs of a 12- year-old boy while disciplining him.

The Commissioner of Police, Shina Olukolu, said that the victim was alleged to have stolen a mobile phone from his neighbours which led to the tying of his hands by the suspect.

“The tying of the boy’s hands was supposed to be a corrective measure taken by the suspect to discipline the victim from 0900 hours to 1800 hours of March 6.

“In the process, the victim developed injuries and complication resulting to the amputation of both limbs by medical doctors at the Federal Teaching Hospital, Gombe to save the life of the boy,’’ Olukolu said.

The commissioner further said the state police command had also arrested a 25-year-old man, Ibrahim Umar alleged to be a specialist in robbery and stealing.

He said that Umar was said to be a specialist in stealing motorcycles from banks within Gombe metropolis.

He said the suspect was arrested and fabricated master keys used to steal motorcycles were found on him when the police searched him.

Dangote, Gates to speak during NEC, economic recovery, growth plan session

By NewsDesk,

Two continental rich and successful businessmen,  Africa’s leading industrialist, Aliko Dangote, and Microsoft founder and philanthropist, Bill Gates, have been said that they were expected to address a special session of the National Economic Council on Thursday.

For the duo, a media advisory released by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s office said the two businessmen would deliver opening speeches at the meeting, the session  which was learnt would underscore President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) for inclusive growth and human development, the statement added.

The National Economic Council (NEC), is chaired by Osinbajo, who is also expected to deliver an address at the occasion.

According to the statement, the  session of the National Economic Council will hold at the Old Banquet Hall of the State House Abuja.

Membership of the NEC comprises of the 36 State Governors, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and other co-opted Government officials.

The Council was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari on 29 June 2015.

Statutorily chaired by the Vice President, the NEC, which meets monthly, has the mandate to “advise the President concerning the economic affairs of the Federation, and in particular on measures necessary for the coordination of the economic planning efforts or economic programmes of the various Governments of the Federation.”

Pope educates followers on religion symbols, abuse

By NewsDesk, with Agency report, 

Pope Francis has clarified that  use of religious symbol `the Crucifix’ (cross) as a fashion statement was abuse of the religious object .

In a speech at St Peter’s Square in the Vatican, Pope Francis said that the religious symbol should be “contemplated and understood”, and “not be abused”.

Highlighting the religious meaning of the cross, he said: “The crucifix is not an ornamental object or a clothing accessory which is sometimes abused, but a religious sign to be contemplated and understood

“The image of Jesus crucified reveals the mystery of the death of the Son as the supreme act of love, the source of life and salvation for humanity of all times.

“How do I look at the crucifix? Like a work of art, to see if it’s beautiful or not beautiful? Or do I look inside, within the wounds of Jesus up to his heart? I look at the mystery of God annihilated to death, like a slave, like a criminal.”

His comments mirror those made by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2013, within the foreword of his first Lent book.

Speaking about how the crucifix is used, Most Revd Justin Welby wrote: “For those early Christians it was a badge of shame. Today it is more commonly seen as a symbol of beauty to hang around your neck.

‘As a friend of mine used to say, ‘you might as well hang a tiny golden gallows or an electric chair around your neck’.”

Three ministers to meet with Dapchi released schoolgirls

By NewsDesk,

The presidency has directed its cabinet members including Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen Abdulrahman Danbazzau and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Khadijat Ibrahim, to visit Yobe State so as to meet with Dapchi freed schoolgirls who were just been released by their abductors, Boko Haram.

As gathered the delegation would first touch ground in Maiduguri before going to Yobe state, to meet with the girls and their parents, so as to ascertain controversial figure.

Before their ministers’ departure, they had attended weekly Federal Executive Council meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, during which they delegated to visit the state.

Speaking on the presidential order after FEC meeting on Wednesday, Mohammed said that the number of the Dapchi schoolgirls who were released on Wednesday has increased from 76 to 101, with the documentation of more of the freed girls by the security agencies, and that the figure could still increase, as compilation of the freed girls was ongoing.

He noted the release of the schoolgirls was outcome of the directive by President Muhammadu Buhari to all security agencies to do everything possible to secure the release of the 110 Dapchi schoolgirls, who were abducted in February.

“The girls were released around 3 a.m. through back-channel efforts and with the help of some friends of the country, and that it was unconditional.

”For the release to work, the government had a clear understanding that violence and confrontation would not be the way out as it could endanger the lives of the girls, hence a non-violent approach was the preferred option.

”Within the period when the girls were being brought back, operational pause was observed in certain areas to ensure free passage and also that lives were not lost,” he said.

APC praises Buhari after Dapchi schoolgirls return, attacks PDP

By NewsDesk,

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said that released of Dapchi schoolgirls by Boko Haram which abducted the girls weeks ago was an indication and demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s determination to protect and secure lives and property of Nigerians.

It said that the APC was delighted with the news of return of the schoolgirls abducted from Government Girls Science Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, by Boko Haram.

The National Publicity Secretary, APC, Bolaji Abudullahi, stated that with release of the Dapchi girls, the APC government has demonstrated how government should respond to such situations and that had immediate past Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration responded with similar alacrity,  Chibok schoolgirls, kinapped years ago by same group, would have been released or rescued

The APC spokesman noted that instead of giving the situation the urgency it deserved, the PDP wasted several weeks wallowing in denial and conspiracy theories.

He explained that the abduction of the girls left the APC government with no choice than to rescue many of the schoolgirls and rehabilitate them when it came to power in 2015.

Abudullahi assured Nigerians that the APC-led Federal Government was committed to securing the release of the remaining Chibok schoolgirls still held in captivity by Boko Haram.

The spokesman added that government would ultimately rehabilitate and reunite the girls with their families and loved ones when they were eventually rescued.

He expressed confidence that the reforms that the government had embarked on, would improve the capacity and efficiency of security agencies to prevent the kidnap of children by terrorists.

This, he said, would also diminish the ability of terrorist to carry out attacks on soft targets.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Boko Haram today, returned 105 kidnapped Dapchi school girls in nine vehicles same way they took them away on Feb. 19.


Atiku rejoices over Dapchi abducted schoolgirls release

By NewsDesk,

Hours after news on released of Dapchi abducted schoolgirls broke, with controversial figure, the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has expressed joy after the girls were reported freed by their abductors Boko Haram, who returned them, four weeks after they were kidnapped from their school in Dapchi, Yobe State.

Atiku, through a press statement released on Wednesday by his media office in Abuja, expressed gladness on return of the girls and rejoiced that various families who had been heartbroken would have reasons to smile again since they would soon be reuniting with their kidnapped daughters.

Atiku,  noted that grief of parents, whose abducted daughters were not among those that were released, would probably take on a new and more tormenting dimension, as they continue to wait and pray for their safe return.

This is a moment of joy for all of us as a nation,” he said. “We may not all be in Dapchi at the moment but we are all celebrating with the families, the community and the entire Yobe State.”

“May God continue to strengthen and give them hope,” he said.

I believes that while the events of today are fresh in our heads, a call for a more permanent solution to the problem of kidnapping of girls from schools should be found.

He said: “I have proposed several ideas including immediate reassignment of 150,000 Nigerian police personnel to secure schools in volatile areas of the northeast. In addition, the government should look at redesigning schools to make them more secure from attack including the addition of safe rooms.

“We cannot continue to allow our daughters to be used as instruments of negotiation, subject to capture and release at the whim of any group,” he said.

“For the sake of our youth who embody the best of our tomorrow, we must confront this Frankenstein monster. Working together as a Nation we can and must bring an end to this. Not a day must be wasted in finding solutions. We must make it safe so our girls and women in every part of the country can study and flourish in peace”.

105 of abducted Dapchi schoolgirls regain freedom-Presidency confirmed

By NewsDesk,

One hundred and five of 110 schoolgirls abducted from Dapchi after Boko Haram attack the town recently have regain freedom from their abductors.

As gathered, it was learnt that the girls were returned on Wednesday morning and that they have been transported to their homes for checks, though where about of the remaining five were yet to be told.

Sources from the town said that militant group came with the girls in nine vehicles same way they took them away and that five of the girls died in captivity, but cannot verified the authenticity of the report.

Confirming the released, presidency, through President Muhammadu Buahri’s Senior Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Shebu Garba, on Wednesday,  said that the return of the 105 of 110 abducted schoolgirls in Dapchi was authentic and that the girls have ben transported to their homes.

“It is true that 105 of the 110 abducted schoolgirls in Dapchi have been released. The girls are being transported to their homes,

However, the release of the girls came barely a week after Defence Minister, Dan Alli, assured that return of abducted Dapchi schoolgirls who were kidnapped by a faction of Boko Haram at Government Girls Technical College, Dapchi in Yobe state in Febuarary

A father of some girls among those abducted, Amharic M-grah, disclosed that his children were brought back on Wednesday morning and that the report was authentic

“The report is true. I have seen my two daughters who were kidnapped last month,” he said.

Another resident said there is confusion in the town as many people are running out of fear.

“Boko Haram just returned the kidnapped girls this morning. They brought them back in the same set of vehicles which they used in conveying them last month,” the resident said.

“People are scared because they do not know what the insurgents are up to.”


Meanwhile, Spokesperson, Abdullahi Bego, to Yobe State Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam, has yet to issue a statement, and he may be caution after he falsely said the girls were recovered hours after they were captured on 19 February.

It would be recalled that Buhari visited Damaturu and Dapchi on 14 March, during which he promised that his government would do everything possible to rescue the girls.

The president expressed his sadness over kidnapped of the girls and nightmare which their parents could be undergoing.

“On the 19th of February 2018, we woke up to the painful news of the abduction of 110 students of Government Girls Science and Technical College Dapchi. Since this ugly incident happened, I have not left any stone unturned in making sure that the girls are rescued

“I have ordered the service chiefs and the inspector-general of police to take direct charge and brief me on a daily basis on the effort to bring back the girls. Within four days of the incident, the minister of information visited Dapchi and the next day, the minister of interior, who was accompanied by the minister of information, re-visited the school for on-the-spot assessment.

“I have ordered the re-strengthening of a joint operational base involving relevant agencies and services to coordinate the rescue mission.

“Consequently, the service commanders have not only established a unified command center in Maiduguri, the military has raised several rescue teams to comb the forests in the Northeast theatre of operations. In addition, the Nigerian airforce has maintained aerial surveillance of the area.