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Insecurity: Ortom, El-Rufai trade words, accuse each other of failure

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The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, on Saturday, took a swipe at his Kaduna counterpart, Nasir El-Rufai, saying he had no moral justification to challenge another governor.

Ortom was reacting to El-Rufai’s accusation that his Benue counterpart was using the insecurity in his state to attack the Federal Government to cover up his failure.

The Kaduna governor, during a webinar on Friday, said, “I know him (Ortom) and he is not somebody I take very seriously, frankly. He has other issues of governance that he is using the Federal Government as a punching bag to divert attention from his failures.

“Go and find out how many months’ salaries are being owed teachers and public servants in Benue State then you can understand a lot of what Ortom is doing.”

However, the Benue governor, responding in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, said, “We want to believe that El-Rufai was wrongly quoted. A man who has failed in several aspects as governor of Kaduna has no moral justification to accuse another governor. “

According to him, El-Rufai divided the people of Kaduna against one another by allegedly not hiding his hatred for indigenes of the state on account of religion and ethnicity.

The statement read, “A governor who chose a Muslim deputy in a state where Christians have a huge population is certainly not one to preach unity and peaceful coexistence. El-Rufai’s attack on Governor Ortom is merely to make him look good before the Presidency.

“He has apparently fallen out of favour at the Villa and wants to use Governor Ortom as a launch pad back to reckoning. This is a man who has insulted almost every prominent Nigerian, including the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, a man who is his former boss and one who brought him to limelight.”

Ortom said Nigerians had yet to forget the unprintable things El-Rufai said during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, saying, “He insulted the then President and publicly supported terrorists attacking parts of the country.

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“His statements on the abduction of Chibok girls and several other acts of terrorism are still fresh in our minds. El-Rufai is on the record to have said repeatedly that Fulani people must retaliate any wrong done to them, no matter how long it takes.

“Is Governor Ortom responsible for El-Rufai’s inability to ensure peace in Kaduna State where bandits have taken over some communities while kidnappings and killings occur on a daily basis? El-Rufai admitted paying Fulani herdsmen whom he invited from other West African countries in the name of stopping attacks in Southern Kaduna.”

According to the Benue governor, since the “confessional statement,” attacks on the people of Southern Kaduna have escalate and kidnapping has become a “common crime” in Kaduna under the governor.

Ortom said Benue people did not take El-Rufai seriously, adding, “A man who has no regard for humanity does not deserve our attention. Nasir El-Rufai is a sycophant, ethnic champion and religious bigot who hates anyone who does not share the same faith with him. He is among the very few persons who have misled President Muhammadu Buhari.”

Ortom described his Kaduna counterpart as “one of the real enemies of the country who do not hide their divisive tendencies by elevating nepotism and ethnicity above the good values that have held Nigeria together over the decades.”

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Leadership

Eid: Buhari asks Nigerians to pray against banditry, kidnapping

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The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Wednesday asked Nigerians to pray against kidnapping, banditry and blackmail.

According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President made the call in his Eid-il-Fitr message.

The statement was titled ‘On the occasion of Eid, President Buhari calls for unity and solidarity’.

Shehu quoted the President as saying, “On this blessed occasion, I wish that the Eid festival brings with it peace, safety, security, brotherhood and love amongst all.

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“Unity and solidarity among all citizens, Muslims and Christians are imperative especially at a time when our country is faced with multiple challenges which are surmountable only when we come together as one.

“It is important that we remember how we share, through our faiths, common bonds that should serve to unite us and not allow ourselves to succumb to those who seek to divide us, using our two great religions, for their own selfish advantages.

“We should jointly pray against the tragic incidents of kidnapping and banditry and the desperate quest for political power expressed through blackmail against the existence of our country as a united entity.

“We must resist the temptation to retreat into our communities. I urge our political and religious leaders as well as traditional rulers to encourage our citizens to turn towards one another in love and compassion.”

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Leadership

Insecurity: Southern Governors ban open grazing, ask Buhari to address nation

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The governors in 17 states of the southern part of Nigeria have demanded the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to address Nigerians on the challenges of insecurity and restore the confidence of the people.

The Forum stated this in a 12-point communique read by its Chairman, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, at the end of its four hours meeting held in Asaba, the Delta State capital.

The governors affirmed that the people of Southern Nigeria remain committed to the unity of Nigeria on the basis of justice, fairness, equity, oneness, and peaceful co-existence between and among its peoples with a focus on the attainment of shared goals for economic development and prosperity.

He said, “Southern Governors expressed very grave concern on the security challenges currently plaguing the nation and strongly urged that Mr. President should address Nigerians on the challenges of insecurity and restore the confidence of our people.

“We observed that the incursion of armed herders, criminals, and bandits into the Southern part of the country has presented a severe security challenge such that citizens are not able to live their normal lives including pursuing various productive activities leading to a threat to food supply and general security.

“Consequently, the meeting resolved that open grazing of cattle be banned across Southern Nigeria.

“Agreed that the progress of the nation requires that urgent and bold steps be taken to restructure the Nigerian Federation leading to the evolution of state police, review of revenue allocation formula in favour of the sub-national governments and creation of other institutions which legitimately advance our commitment to and practice of true federalism.

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“In view of widespread agitations among our various peoples for greater inclusiveness in existing governance arrangements, the Federal Government should convoke a national dialogue as a matter of urgency.”

The forum expressed concern about the continued gridlock on the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway.

The meeting, therefore, recommended the activation and establishment of ports in other states of the federation to create new jobs and promote socio-economic activities in the country.

The Southern Governors also expressed concern on the economic implications of another lockdown on the country and therefore suggested greater coordination and cooperation between Federal and State Governments in evolving strategies for dealing with the pandemic.

Fifteen governors were in attendance at the meeting.

They are Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Dr Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), and Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos).

Others are Douye Diri (Bayelsa), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), David Umahi (Ebonyi), Willie Obiano (Anambra). Imo and Akwa Ibom States were represented by their deputy governors, while Osun and Cross Rivers states were absent at the meeting.

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Business

Buhari sends delegation to Ghana over Nigerian traders’ plight

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The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has directed that a ministerial delegation be sent to Ghana to resolve the prolonged conflict between Nigerian traders and Ghanaian authorities.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, disclosed this on Monday.

According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Ifedayo Sayo, the minister spoke at a meeting.

The statement was titled, ‘FG delegation to visit Ghana over Nigerian traders’ conflict with Ghanaian counterparts.’

“President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that a ministerial delegation be sent to Ghana to resolve the lingering conflict between Nigerian traders and Ghanaian authorities,” the minister was quoted as saying.

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Adebayo, who said he would be leading the delegation, added that members of the delegation “will also engage in further dialogue with Ghanaian authorities with a view to finding a lasting solution to the problem.”

He disclosed that the delegation is expected to embark on the visit between May 31 and June 1, 2021.

Other member of the delegation include the Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada; the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo; the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, Yewande Sadiku; Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa; and the President of National Association of Nigerian Traders, Dr Ken Ukaoha.

There has been lingering controversy over $1 million levy imposed on Nigerian traders and foreign investors by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre.

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