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Group Praises Buhari, Service Chiefs For Return Of Peace To North-East, Peaceful Christmas

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The North East Peace Ambassadors (NEPA) says President Muhammadu Buhari and the nation’s service chiefs deserve credit for the return of peace and another Christmas celebration free from attacks in the region.

The group gave the commendation at a press conference on Tuesday in Modu Ganari, Maiduguri, Borno State.

In a statement co-signed by Alhaji Sadiq Bulama and Mallam Usman Geidam, its President and Secretary-General respectively, the NorthEast Peace Ambassadors said unlike some years ago, people were reunited with their families and are enjoying quality time.

Bar the attempted attack on Garkida in Adamawa State which was effectively repelled by gallant troops, the group said there was no breach of security across the six states.

The NEPA recalled how Boko Haram terrorists attacked Gadaka and Damaturu in Yobe States on Christmas Day in 2011 and multiple bombings in the Federal Capital Territory and surrounding towns.

According to the group, however, this year, people are celebrating the festive season in peace and love.

The NEPA thanked President Buhari for his leadership that is steadily bringing complete normalcy to the Northeast.

It noted that the appointment of the service chiefs have proven to be a masterstroke, as they have displayed confidence and efficiency.

The group also applauded the service chiefs for their innovation, cooperation and a sense of coordination, bringing results to the fight against insurgency.

The NEPA equally hailed the troops for their resilience, sacrifice and patriotism which has made life worth a living for them.

Read the full statement below:

You’re all welcome to this very important press conference in which we intend to highlight the current security situation in Northeast Nigeria and give credit to those who made it possible for us to experience one of the most peaceful holiday seasons in recent times.

You are aware that there are six states in the Northeast namely, Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and the Yobe States, but since the holiday season began, all the six states have experienced peace and tranquillity and people have to this moment been enjoying the festive season.

People travelled from far and near to spend time with loved ones as roads that were considered dangerous in the past have been cleared of all security threats and opened by the military while terrorist hideouts have been subdued and their foot soldiers flushed.

It is therefore a blissful time for most families as troops remained in the trenches to ensure the safety of lives and property.

The only incident that nearly threatened the peace and security of the region was the attempted attack on Garkida town of Gombi Local Government of Adamawa State which was repelled by gallant troops.

Today, Tuesday, 29th December 2020, those of us living in the Northeast, not those receiving third party reports, are happy to announce that we have celebrated the Christmas in peace and love, and we are looking forward to celebrating the New Year also in peace.

All these were made possible by the effective leadership style of President Muhammadu Buhari and the coordination of the Service Chiefs who have turned the heat on the terrorists and insurgents making them flee to the borders between Nigeria and Chad and struggling to survive on those fringes.

Though Boko Haram still operate within the tiny fringes, the remaining part of the Northeast is now peaceful.

Even the pockets of attacks by Boko Haram and other criminal elements to scare people during the Yuletide was contained effectively that most people are not even aware that such a thing took place.

The Service Chiefs were on top of the situation and our troops were fully on guard to repel thee, criminals,  killing many of them while others escaped with injuries.

We commend the Nigerian Military for mobilising Ground Toops and the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole who launched an attack on Saturday to repel the insurgents who invaded surrounding villages after an attempted attack on Garkida on December 24 that was aborted.

We have received reports about how our troops engaged the insurgents in a fierce battle in Tashan Alade, Shafa, Azare, Sabon-Kasuwa and Debro, in Hawul Local Government Area of Borno State on Saturday as the insurgents invaded the village and came in their dozens in nine gun trucks and launched attacks on the communities.

We are proud of our ground troops, who with aerial support from military jets, were able to contain and repel the terrorists.

We note that this is not the first time in the year 2020, that the military would be saving Garkida and its surrounding villages from similar attempted attacks by insurgents.

The military in similar pattern repelled an attack against the town in February and forced the Boko Haram fighters fleeing in different directions.

In July, the Nigerian Military rolled out tanks within and around the village and reclaimed the town from the violent hands of the insurgents and have now capped it all with the repel of the insurgents few days again.

The peaceful atmosphere we are now enjoying in the Northeast is something people never thought could happen as a few years ago, the entire Northeast and other parts of the country was reeling under the pains of Boko Haram inflicted atrocities.

We recall that on 25 December 2011,   there were bomb blasts in Gadak, and Damaturu in Yobe State which took the lives of many people.

The terror even extended outside the Northeast to faraway places like Madalla near Abuja where it was reported that at least 37 people died and 57 others were injured in an attack at St. Theresa Catholic Church on Christmas Day.

In Jos, there was an explosion at the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Church in Jos and gunmen later fired on police who were guarding the area resulting in the death of one police officer.

It was on the same day that Gadaka and Damaturu were rocked with explosions. The one in Gadaka even happened in a church.

The attack in Damaturu was found out to be the work of a suicide car bomber, who rammed the building housing the headquarters of the State Security Service and killed at least three people.

But this year, we are celebrating the festive season in peace and love.

We thank President Muhammadu Buhari for his leadership that is steadily bringing complete normalcy to the  Northeast.

We Mr. President for appointing the Service Chiefs who have proven to be highly confident and efficient.

We thank the Service Chiefs for their cooperation and sense of coordination which is bringing results to the fight against insurgency.

We also thank the Service Chiefs for their resilience and the innovation they’ve brought to the fight against

We thank the troops for their resilience, sacrifice and patriotism which has made life worth a living for us.

God bless Nigeria.

Thank you.

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Fulani Will Always Revenge Injustice, Says El-Rufai

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Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State says the Fulani tribe will always take revenge whenever they suffer injustice.

He, however, said they accept their fate whenever they are convicted of a crime. El-Rufai said this on Thursday during a webinar organised by the Africa Leadership Group.

The governor was asked to clarify his tweet in 2012 wherein he said, “Anyone, soldier or not, that kills the Fulani, takes a loan repayable one day no matter how long it takes.”El-Rufai had been asked why he made the comment and if the Igbo would be justified to take revenge on other Nigerians that killed them during the Biafran war.

In his response, the governor said, “If a Fulani man dies in war, it is different. If a Fulani man is arrested by the authorities and convicted, it is not an issue. What the Fulani never forgets is when he is innocently targeted and killed and the authorities do nothing. He will never forget and he will come back for revenge. This is it.

“So, it is better to understand the context given the context of what I tweeted which had to do with an issue in Plateau State in 2012. I hope you get the context. So, it is not that Fulani will never forget. Anyone that goes through pain and sorrow either forgets or doesn’t forget but when it is extrajudicial, when it is extra-official, the attitude is completely different.

“This is the context in which Fulani never forgets. It is not in every context. As I said, I lost relations during the war. It doesn’t mean I still hold a grudge. We’ve moved past that.”

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Buhari Probes N165.32bn Unremitted Operating Surplus by NPA

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The President, Muhammadu Buhari , is probing alleged non-remittance of about N165bn operating surplus to the Consolidated Revenue Fund by the Nigerian Ports Authority.

There are indications that the development may not be unconnected to the recent suspension of the Managing Director of the agency, Hadiza Bala-Usman.

Documents sighted on Friday showed that the government figured out discrepancies in the remittance of operating surpluses by the NPA to the Consolidated Revenue Fund for two consecutive years under the leadership of Bala-Usman.

Findings indicated that a total of about N73.61bn (N56.3bn in 2017 and N17.31bn in 2018) realised within the two-year period was not remitted to the CRF as expected by the government, although the suspended NPA boss provided explanations to the contrary.

Also, the Federal Ministry of Transportation in a May 4, 2021 letter to the President claimed that the NPA failed to remit N165.32bn to the CRF from 2016 to 2020 and called for an investigation and audit of the financial accounts of the authority

But in a letter, with reference MD/17/MF/VOL-XX/541, dated May 5, 2021 and addressed to the Chief of Staff to the President, Bala-Usman said the NPA was aware of Buhari’s approval for the Federal Ministry of Transportation to conduct an audit of the accounts of the NPA and its remittances to the CRF.

The letter was entitled, “Re: Request for the record of remittance of operating surplus to the Consolidated Revenue Funds account by the Nigerian Ports Authority.”

In the letter, she explained that the audited financial statements of the NPA provided operating surpluses in 2017 and 2018 that were contrary to what were arrived at by the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President.

The letter read in part, “Audited financial statements of the authority for the period 2017 and 2018 provides operating surpluses of N76.782bn and N71.480bn for 2017 and 2018 respectively as contrary to the sums of N133.084bn and N88.79bn arrived at by your office from the budgetary submission.”

The letter stated that the presidential approval for the audit of the NPA accounts arose from a correspondence between the Budget Office of the Federation and the Federal Ministry of Transportation where the budget office conveyed to the FMoT an observed shortfall of the authority’s remittances to the CFR.

Bala-Usman said, “We wish to state that the authority’s basis for arriving at the operating surplus on which basis the amount due for remittance to the CFR is guided by the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 as amended.

“It is further based on the statutory mandate Part 1, S.3(1) (b) &(d) whereby the FRC issued a template for the computation of operating surplus for the purpose of calculating amount due for remittance to the CRF.

“Accordingly, the figures so provided by the Budget Office of the Federation as the operating surplus for the respective years on which basis they arrived at the shortfall are derived from submission of budgetary provision not the actual amounts derived following the statutory audit of the authority’s financial statements.”

She argued that in line with the template issued by the Fiscal Responsibility Commission, the accessible operating surplus of the authority stood at N51.09bn and N42.51bn for 2017 and 2018 respectively.

“This amount will give rise to a remittance due to the CFR in the sum of N40.873bn and N34.065bn representing 80 per cent of the surpluses for the year 2017 and 2018 respectively.

“Accordingly, the authority consequently made a remittance of N42.415bn and N33.969bn for the years 2017 and 2018 respectively for the full amount required as remittance for the period.”

On remittances for 2019 — 2020, the suspended MD said the audit of the 2019 financial statement had been completed and awaiting consideration of the authority’s board at which point the final figures for the 2019 operating surplus would be determined for consequent computation of the amount due for remittance to the CFR.

“But thus far, the authority has made a remittance of N31.683bn for the 2019 remittance. The sum of N51.049bn has also thus far been remitted for 2020, while awaiting the audited financial statement to determine the final amount required for both 2019 and 2020 at which point the authority will make the payment of the balance as required,” Bala-Usman noted.

She stated that based on the above, the authority wished to clarify that the computation of its remittances to the CFR were concluded from audited financial statements using the template forwarded to the authority from the Fiscal Responsibility Commission and not budgetary provision.

“The authority has remitted the full amount due to it to CFR for the periods 2017 and 2018 arising from the operating surplus derived from the audited financial statement for the period totaling N76.384bn as evidenced in attached treasury receipts,” Bala-Usman said.

She added, “The authority has remitted a total of N 82.687bn for the periods 2019 and 2020 pending the audit of the financial statement at which point the amount so computed arising from the value of the operating surplus in the audited financial statement will be remitted to the CFR.”

She said the NPA wished to request the Chief of Staff and the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation who were the statutorily custodian of status of payment to the CRF to provide clarification on the above so as to establish the true position of the authority’s remittances to the CFR.

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Parents of Abducted Kaduna Students Protest at National Assembly

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Parents of the abducted students of the College of Forestry Mechanization Afaka in Kaduna State have occupied the National Assembly complex, Abuja, in protest.

The protesters which include members of the Students Union Government (SUG) of the institution are lamenting over what they described as the negligence of the state and Federal Government in securing the release of the children.

They chanted songs of solidarity and displayed placards demanding prompt rescue of the students.

“Education is our right! Safety is our right! Freedom is our right!, Free Afaka 29! ” the parents and students chanted as they marched to the National Assembly.

The protesters joined by the Publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore and Deji Adeyanju had earlier gathered at the Unity Fountain before proceeding to the National Assembly complex.

The main entrance of the National Assembly was however manned by security agents who denied the protesters entrance.

On 11th March, 39 students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization Afaka in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State were abducted from their hostels by bandits dressed in military uniform.

Ten of the students were released in two batches of five each but 29 others have remained in captivity.

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