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    Buhari tasks spiritual leaders to mobilise followers against crimes
    By Ismaila Chafe

    President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday called on religious leaders to unite in fight against terrorism, kidnapping, banditry and the novel Coronavirus pandemic.

    Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, in a statement in Abuja said Buhari made the call during telephone conversation with the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar III.

    The Sultan originated the call to felicitate with the President on the successful completion of the Ramadan fast and the observance of the Eid prayers.

    The president called for continuous dialogue between the leaders of the two major faiths for peace and stability to reign in the country.

    He commended the Sultan for his effective leadership of the Muslim Ummah and credited him with the unity of the community sustained under his watch.

    On his part, the Sultan pledged his commitment to the continued existence of the country as one geo-political entity.

    He assured the president of the support of the Sultanate in the ongoing efforts to tackle challenges facing the nation. (NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    Insecurity: CAN declares 3-day prayer
    By Uchenna Eletuo

    The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has declared a three-day prayer for the peace and unity of the country in the face of mounting insecurity.

    The General Secretary of CAN, Mr Daramola Bade-Joseph, disclosed this in a statement on Saturday in Lagos.

    Bade-Joseph said that the event which would hold from May 28, until May 30, had become necessary following the spate of insecurity in parts of the country.

    He said that the prevailing circumstance had made it imperative to seek Gods intervention to restore peace and progress in Nigeria.

    According to him, all participating denominations are expected to gather in the evenings of each of the days set aside for the prayers.

    He appealed to CAN members to pray God to give the political leaders in the country the wisdom to do justice and show fairness to all manner of persons irrespective of ethnic group, creed and religion.

    We should also pray that the law enforcement officers rise to their responsibilities by providing the necessary security we need in Nigeria, Bade-Joseph said. (NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    Eid-el-Fitr: FCT fun seekers call for more recreation spots
    By Gami Tadanyigbe

    Some fun seekers in Kuje Area Council, FCT, on Friday called on the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and theCouncil to establish more recreation parks and gardens in the community.

    Speaking in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kuje, they claimed that the absence of recreation facilities made living in the community boring.

    Ibrahim Sani, a fun seeker, said it was disappointing for a town like Kuje with rapid growth in population not to have fun facilities, adding that the community was not supposed to lack fun spots.

    According to him, the absence of a park is the reason people usually leave Kuje town during festive seasons, saying that there is a need for more recreation spots in the area.

    Kuje is not supposed to lack recreation facilities that will bring people together, especially during a period like this.

    It kills our joy here, when we leave the satellite town to the central area just to catch fun and celebrate with our loved ones.

    People love to have fun, so when you do not have a place to relax within your community you become miserable.

    Most people who go to villages do so because there is no place to relax and have fun in their place of residence, he said.

    Sule Lamordi, another fun seeker, said that parks and gardens had a way of uniting the people of a particular entity and creating lasting memories that would stand the test of time.

    Lamordi also appealed to both government and individuals to build recreation facilities in the satellite town to enhance social development in the area.

    When you go to big towns, there is no dull moment for fun seekers, you can go swimming, play music in gardens, meet people of different characters, these are the things that make people happy in communities, he said.

    On her part, Mrs Naomi Akpan, a Social Counsellor, however, cautioned fun seekers in the area to observe the COVID-19 protocols and ensure they wear face masks during the celebration.

    Akpan expressed concern for the level of non-adherence to social distancing and COVID-19 protocols imposed by the government in the country.

    According to her, the essence of the holy month of Ramadan was to task all Ummah on good and compassionate living even after the fasting and the Sallah celebrations.

    Ramadan is a month of sacrifice, abstinence and above all, love and care for humanity. I encourage you all to be your brothers keeper.

    Look out for your neighbour in the firm belief that he or she too will look out for you; and most importantly always use your facemasks while going out to contain the spread of COVID-19 disease.

    As you celebrate Eid-el-fitr, I urge everyone, regardless of religious belief to continue to keep the peace and to live in unity with one another in Nigeria, she said.

    NAN reports that some spots did not put COVID-19 protocols in place for those patronising their fun spots.

    NAN also reports that the Kuje Area Council Secretariat was deserted on Friday with only security men on duty at the Council gate.

    It was observed that most civil servants working in the council are yet to resume work fully after the two days of public holidays to observe the Sallah celebration.

    The Federal Government had declared Wednesday and Thursday as public holidays to mark the 2021 Eid-el-Fitr celebration.

    The area council, usually a beehive of activities was virtually empty as most offices were locked (NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    Rain halts Djokovics defeat in Rome as Nadal gains revenge over Zverev
    Novak Djokovics Internazionali BNL dItalia quarter-final fixture with Stefanos Tsitsipas was halted by persistent rain on Friday with the world number one a set and a game down.

    Reigning champion Djokovic, who is seeking a sixth triumph in Rome, struggled to get going against Tsitsipas and trails 6-4 2-1 ahead of the scheduled resumption of play on Saturday.

    The top seed lost serve in the first game and continued to make some uncharacteristic errors which saw him trail 4-1 at one point.

    While Djokovic did earn a first break in the sixth game, Tsitsipas stood firm to take the opening set.

    He was in total control when again breaking his opponent early in the next set.

    However, soon after the Greek had opened up a 2-1 advantage, the worsening conditions led to a pause in proceedings.

    Organisers were eventually forced to bring the days play to an end.

    Djokovic, who converted just one of his six break-point opportunities, will return to the court on Saturday.

    He will need to improve if he is to join Rafael Nadal in the final four.

    Nadal exacted some revenge on Alexander Zverev earlier on Friday to reach the semi-finals for a 12th time.

    The Spaniard lost to Zverev at the same stage of the Madrid Open seven days ago but responded to questions over his form by easing through this latest encounter.

    Nadal, who saved two match-points before beating Denis Shapovalov on Thursday, raced 4-0 ahead in the first set against Zverev and had little trouble seeing the job through.

    Aiming for a record-extending 10th title in the Italian capital, Nadal saved all eight break-points he faced in the second set to advance 6-3 6-4 in two hours.

    I played more solid than (in) Madrid. Conditions are different, he said in his post-match interview. Here the conditions are a little more normal. I was able to control a little bit more.

    Im happy. I played a very solid match with not many mistakes, playing the way that I have to. Its an important victory for me against a great player.

    Nadal will face Reilly Opelka for a place in the final, the American beating qualifier Federico Delbonis 7-5 7-6 (7-2) to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final.

    Opelka entered the tournament on a six-game losing streak, but he kept his good run going in Rome by earning the only break of the opening set in the 12th game.

    Both players held throughout the second set and it was big-serving Opelka who prevailed 7-2 in the tie-break.

    The days other quarter-final between Lorenzo Sonego and Andrey Rublev also fell victim to the bad weather and will get underway on Saturday.(dpa/NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    Food availability: Expert harps on climate resilient farming practices
    By Patricia Amogu

    Mr Kolawole Banwo, a Development Expert, says adoption of climate resilient farming practices is a major panacea to the present shortage and high cost of food in Nigeria.

    Banwo also noted that the high level of insecurity in the country and the upsurge in COVID-19 have disrupted food supply chains making food availability and affordability difficult.

    He made the assertions while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Abuja.

    The expert however, added that Non Govermental Organizations
    (NGOs) were ever ready to support government in the implementation of laudable projects that would make food available at affordable rates to the people.

    As you know, the availability and affordability of food in terms of food security is a function of supply and demand.

    Until recently, access to land, farm inputs and affordable financial products, as well as the effects of climate change, such as flooding and rainfall shortages, constituted major challenges to food production, Banwo said.

    He noted that the recent high level of insecurity had denied farmers access to their farms and in some cases, harvests.

    According to the expert, COVID-19 also disrupted supply chains and food distribution in the country.

    These have all combined to cause shortage in supplies and surge in prices.

    NGOs have always been involved in advocacy with duty bearers to develop policies and programmes to empower small holder farmers to be efficient in food production by having access to affordable inputs, technologies and markets.

    NGOs also develop farmers capacity to undertake climate resilience farming practices for maximum yield and storage to avoid post-harvest losses which worsens supplies, Banwo said.

    He said that some NGOs had also facilitated access to low cost credit facilities so that farmers could invest and increase production.

    Many NGOs also undertake monitoring and evaluation of government agricultural interventions to ensure they are effective and reach the intended beneficiaries, providing feedbacks for improvement, Banwo said.

    He said that the present rise in prices or food inflation, was caused mainly by the national economic downturn.

    Banwo noted that this had affected household incomes, jobs, livelihoods and cost of energy, affecting transportation, and could not be addressed in isolation. (NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    Financial Autonomy: Gov. Bello declares support for states legislature
    By Friday Idachaba

    Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi has declared his support for financial autonomy for states Legislative Assemblies to enable them to perform their functions without hindrances.

    He also said that it would help them to contribute more productively to the nations democracy.

    Bello made the declaration when he received Speakers of the Houses of Assembly from the 36 States of the Federation who paid him a courtesy visit on Friday night in Lokoja.

    The governor stressed that without a functional legislative arm of government, democracy would be in danger.

    He added that there was the need for the Legislature to be given the impetus to perform its functions better.

    Financial autonomy to the Legislature will give them needed impetus to perform their functions better and contribute more productively to the nations democracy, he said.

    Bello stressed that his administration, from inception, had backed his state Assembly to have its autonomy and used the occasion of the visit to applaud the State House of Assembly for its cordial relationship with other arms of government in Kogi.

    Bello called on the Houses of Assembly of other states to borrow a leaf from Kogi on how to work harmoniously with the Executive and the Judiciary Arms for the progress of their respective states.

    The governor said that the relationship between him and members of his state legislature went beyond officialdom adding that he had personal and cordial relationship with them to promote unity of purpose.

    For a democracy to thrive and serve its purpose, there must be understanding among the various arms of government, particularly between the Executive and the Legislature.

    If you remove the legislature, there will be no democracy, he added.

    Bello expressed appreciation to the Speakers for the courtesy visit and for identifying with the Speaker of Kogi House of Assembly, Prince Matthew Kolawole, in holding their extraordinary meeting for the first time in Kogi.

    Speaking earlier, Kolawole said that the relationship between the Governor and the House started on a rocky ground.

    He, however, added that the magnanimity of the governor and desire to serve and advance the state enable them to foster a harmonious and lasting relationship.

    He said that financial autonomy of the Legislature was sacrosanct if democracy must thrive and succeed in the country and called on all well-meaning Nigerians to support it, more so as it was a constitutional matter. (NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    Assessing Aisha Buhari passion for the less-privileged
    By Ahmed Ubandoma, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

    Evidently, the First Lady, Aisha Muhammadu Buharis administration in May 2015, the First Lady assembled team of experts from medical, educational and humanitarian background and come up with a workable template to complement governments efforts in responding to the humanitarian crises affecting women and children in the country.

    Future Assured has impacted positively on the lives of youths, women and children through her various interventions in the areas of Youths Educational Empowerment Programme (YEEP), Medical Outreaches, Women Empowerment and Support to Victims of Insurgency, Promoting Rights of Women and Children among others.

    On July 2016, the First Lady inaugurated the Get Involved an initiative under theFuture Assuredto generate funds for the improvement of the nutritional status of malnourished children and other humanitarian activities across the country.

    Mrs Buhari during the inauguration said with collective efforts from the public, no child in Nigeria should lack a good nutritional diet.

    During the period, more than N200 million worth of goods was raised and distributed to the needy across the country.

    While championing the advocacy for the health and physical wellbeing of the women and children, theFuture Assuredconducted screening for women and the aged to determine the status of their blood pressure, cervical cancer, sugar level, kidney function, HIV and AIDS screening, breast cancer as well as eye check where glasses were provided for those in need.

    Children were dewormed to ensure they have good oral hygiene while nutritional supplements were supplied to more than 250,000 nursing mothers. This is in addition to over 100 tonnes of the supplement to the malnourished children across the country.

    TheFuture Assuredalso built Maternity Clinics in some states with a view to expanding the network of access to maternity services for women across Nigeria.

    On March 1, 2017, the First Lady inaugurated a mobile clinic programme to provide basic healthcare services to the less- privileged, especially those living in rural areas of the country.

    Speaking during the inauguration, she said, the idea behind the mobile clinic programme was to respond to the medical emergencies of women and children in the rural communities.

    The medical outreach was conducted in the six geo political zones of the country, especially in states like, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun, Cross River, Kebbi,Kogi, Gombe, Oyo, Adamawa, FCT, Benue, Katsina, Enugu, Plateau, Imo among others.

    OnOct. 9, 2017, the First Lady reaffirmed her commitment to building alliances with wives of state governors and other stakeholders to strengthen advocacy to eradicate problems associated with Reproductive, Maternal, New-born, Child and Adolescent Health and Nutrition (RMNCAH N) in Nigeria.

    She stressed the need for increase awareness on the importance of providing RMNCAH N services across the state of the federation.

    The first lady also inaugurated the Governors Wives Advocacy Coalition (GWAC) to cascade the advocacy down to local government levels.

    In the area of Women Empowerment, Aisha Buhari, built a women and youths empowerment centre because she viewed women empowerment as critical to sustaining the family, in light of these, the future assured organised skill acquisition programmes in different states of the federation and provided working tools to over 10,000 women.

    On April 28, 2017, the First Lady, through, inducted more than 2200 women with entrepreneurial skills.

    The organisation also mobilised women farmers to venture into agriculture and take advantage of the opportunities provided by government in terms of improved seedlings, fertiliser and other agricultural inputs, especially in the area of fisheries, livestock and poultry.

    More than 20,000 rice milling machines and 250,000 fish driers were distributed to women farmers as well as organised training for youths in paint making, leatherwork, pedicure/manicure and fish farming.

    In the area of education, the First Lady, being the champion and advocate for the girl-child education, organised a Youths Educational Empowerment Programme (YEEP), where she support the youths and girl-child with educational materials for conducive learning in the various schools across the country.

    Under the programme, the First Lady assisted large number of youths struggling to transit from secondary schools to tertiary institutions through tutorial classes as well as training them to develop good writing and communication skill.

    The First Lady also supported victims of insurgency in the IDPs Camps where at a time she presented a cheque of 55 million to parents of Chibok school girls and Buni Yadi school boys that were killed by the insurgents.

    In addition to the humanitarian support, the First Lady is also building a befitting orphanage and school in Maiduguri, primarily to cater for children in the IDPs Camps.

    The First Lady also supported victims of child abuse and women who suffered gender-based violence, battery and rape as well as advocated for legal framework to support victims and increase awareness on the need to expose the perpetrators of the act.

    The First Lady also made significant achievements in areas of advocacy against the spread of tuberculosis, drug abuse, cancer, HIV and AIDS and other illnesses that hamper the growth of women and children.

    On Sept. 4, 2018, in Beijing, China, Aisha Buhari, honoured an invitation by Chinese First Lady Prof. Peng Liyuan, to attend an advocacy meeting on Mother-to-Child transmission of HIV in Africa.

    Buhari has committed time and resources to the project by advocating for HIV test for all, especially young intending couples before marriage and organising routine medical checks for pregnant women to ascertain their HIV status so as prevent the unborn child.

    On the political front, the first lady participated actively in the electioneering campaigns of her husband, President Muhammadu Buhari.

    In a build-up to the 2019 Presidential election,, initiated the Women and Youths Wing of All Progressive Congress (APC) campaign team to support the APC Presidential Campaign Council for the re-election of President Buhari, first in history of electioneering campaigns in Nigeria.

    On Dec. 28, 2018, the campaign team was inaugurated by the President which has the first lady as the chairperson and wife of Vice President Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo as the co-chair of the team, which primarily engaged in house-to-house campaign for the re-election of APC Presidential flag bearer.

    The event attracted supporters from Kannywood and Nollywood as well as other well-meaning Nigerians.

    The outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, witnessed a significant decline in socio-economic activities in the country, however, the First Lady has contributed her quota to the fight against COVID-19 and redirected her humanitarian support to the victims of the pandemic.

    On June 2020, the First Ladys efforts in responding to the pandemic.

    In addition to this, I also donated some Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and some essential drugs to Nasarawa state government, for the benefit of the good people of the state.

    The items included hand sanitisers, surgical face mask, N95 respirator masks, multivitamins, anti-malarial, analgesics, intravenous fluids and oral antibiotics.

    Food items were also donated as palliatives to the health care workers, she said.(NANFeature).

    Source: NAN News

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    ICPC fugitive not Buharis inlaw  Presidency
    By Ismaila Chafe

    The Presidency says the person declared wanted by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) is not an inlaw to President Muhammadu Buhari as being claimed in some quarters.

    Malam Garba Shehu, the Presidents Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, confirmed this in a statement in Abuja on Friday.

    ICPC had declared one Gimba Yau Kumo wanted for alleged 65 million dollars fraud.

    Kumo, a former Managing Director, Federal Mortgage Bank, got married to Buharis daughter in October 2016 in Daura, Katsina State.

    However, the presidential aide disclosed that the (marriage) relationship had since ended some years ago.

    The statement read in part: A running story to the effect that the ICPC has declared an inlaw of the President wanted in connection with fraud involving the large sum of money, 65 million dollars to be exact.

    This should normaly be an affirmation that our anti-corruption agencies/institutions are truly independent and allowed unfettered freedom by the President. Which in fact is the case.

    That a state institution can issue such is a measure of the administrations commitment to accountability, equality and justice.

    To set the records straight, the person declared wanted by the ICPC is not an inlaw to President Buhari.

    While at some point in time the said fugitive from justice had been linked to a family member in marriage, that relationship has ended some years ago.

    It is therefore unfortunate to bring the Presidents family into this case.

    It is in our view an attempt to generate views and sell copies of sensational reporting.

    The Presidents position at all times is that the law be allowed to take its course.

    As is well known of him, President Muhammadu Buhari will not provide any cover for crime, no matter who is involved, the statement read in part. (NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    Edo Govt suspends activities of NCWS indefinitely
    By Kevin Okunzuwa

    The Edo Government has suspended all activities of the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS) in the state indefinitely.

    The Secretary to the State Government, Mr Osarodion Ogie, announced the suspension in a statement on Friday night in Benin.

    Ogie said the suspension included the proposed election of officials of the State Chapter of the society.

    He noted that activities of factions of NCWS, if not checked and harmonised, were capable of breaching the peace and security of the state.

    The attention of the Edo State Government has been drawn to the activities of factions of the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS) in the State.

    The activities of these groups, if not checked and harmonised, are capable of breaching the peace especially in view of the present fragile state of security in the nation.

    Consequently, the Edo State Government directs that all activities of the National Council of Women Societies in Edo State, including the proposed State Chapter elections, are hereby suspended indefinitely until pending issues are resolved, the statement read in part.

    The government further warned that anyone who disregards the directive would face the law accordingly. (NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    Group tasks Nigerians on philanthropy
    By Kadiri Abdulrahman

    A political group, Tinubu Vanguard, on Saturday called on Nigerians to imbibe the culture of philanthropy.

    The group charged Nigerians to be their brothers keeper as the country tackled economic and security challenges.

    The Director-General of the Tinubu Vanguard, Dr Johnny Benjamin, gave the charge in the Abuja National Mosque at the sideline of distribution of food items to indigent members of the society.

    Benjamin said that the idea of food distribution was to identify with poor Muslim brethren in the aftermath of the 30 days Ramadan fasting and Eid celebrations.

    He called on Nigerians to break ethnic and religious barriers and forge a common front to tackle various national challenges.

    This exercise is a mark of solidarity and support for the less privileged members of the Muslim community, he said.

    The director-general of the organisation criticised the lingering security challenges across the country.

    He, however, commended the government and security agencies for their efforts to restore law and order.

    The National Secretary of the group, Mr Jacob Obi, urged the beneficiaries of the humanitarian gesture to reflect and practice all the lessons learnt during Ramadan.

    The group offered prayers for security and peaceful coexistence in the country. (NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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