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Southern, Middle-Belt Leaders Reject FG-Funded Fulani Radio

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Buhari

Less than two days after the Federal Government disclosed that it has acquired an Amplitude Modulation (AM) radio broadcast licence to reach herdsmen across the country, the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) has faulted the decision, saying the Federal Government is planning to turn the country into Fulani Government of Nigeria (FGN).

In a statement jointly signed by Yinka Odumakin, Prof. Chigozie Ogbu, Senator Bassey Henshaw and Dr. Isuwa Dogo, the forum noted that the move was ill-advised, and asked if the government would also establish similar radio stations for other languages in the country, saying the action was totally insensitive.

Adamu Adamu, Minister of Education, had confirmed the acquisition of the licence during an interview with newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday, disclosing that the decision of the government was a measure to enhance nomadic education, adding that it was to end the perennial farmers-herders crisis across the country.

However, the forum described the move as an indictment on the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

The statement reads, “The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum received with rude shock the in-your-face impunity of the Buhari-led government announcement of plan to set up an AM Radio Station for Fulani herdsmen to broadcast in Fulfude.

“The announcement came at a time the Federal Government has been acting as the information arm of Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen by dissing the correct interpretation of the groups’ activities by former President Olusegun Obasanjo as an attempt to ‘Fulanise’ Nigeria”.

While rejecting the proposal, the forum said it smacks of hypocrisy and deception that the Federal Government which has denied responsibility on behalf of the herdsmen is now contemplating setting up a radio station for them.

It said the radio will be used by the herdsmen to spread hate propaganda.

“We totally reject this insensitive decision of the government on the following fundamental grounds:

“It smacks of hypocrisy and deception for a government that has in the last four years denied responsibility on behalf of the Fulani herdsmen for crimes they even owned up to, to now tell us it wants to set up a radio for them to address the same issues.

“Section 55 of the 1999 constitution recognises English, Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo as languages in which the official business of the National Assembly can be conducted. There was no mention of Fulani which is not a language most northerners even understand. Why its sudden promotion to a language the Federal Government will set up a radio to promote? Will it also set up radio stations for the officially recognised languages and the over 250 languages spoken in different parts of Nigeria?

“We fear seriously that the proposed radio will become a weapon of spreading hate propaganda against other nationalities in Nigeria given the kid gloves treatment with which the Buhari administration has handled the killings of thousands of Nigerians in the last four years.

“We are guided the genocide-aiding role radio played in inciting ordinary citizens to take part in the massacre of Tutsis and moderate Hutus during the Rwandan genocide. From 1993 to late 1994, RTLM was used by Hutu leaders to propagate an extremist Hutu message and anti-Tusti disinformation by identifying specific targets and areas where they could be found and encouraging progress of the genocide. In 1994, Rwanda Radio began to advance the same message by issuing directives on where to kill Tutsis and congratulating those who had already taken part.

“Using the instrumentality of the Federal Government to set up a radio for Fulani herdsmen will throw a knife at the tiniest of the threads still holding Nigeria together as all illusions of an inclusive country would be removed and the rest of the country would conclude we are now under Fulani Government of Nigeria.

“We, therefore, demand that the Federal Government should perish the thought of a Fulani radio sponsored by government if it cares in any form about the corporate existence of the country”.

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Inside Nigeria

356 Soldiers Apply For Voluntary Disengagement, Over “Loss Of Interest” In The Nigerian Army

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Atleast 356 soldiers have reportedly applied for voluntary retirement citing loss of interest in the Nigerian Army.

Many of the soldiers are among the troops engaged in the decade-long war against Boko Haram in the Northeast, while others are from various other formations across the country.

But apart from the 356 who are leaving for losing interest in the army, 24 others are exiting because they want “to take traditional title,” making a total of 380 soldiers, including two Master Warrant Officers and 28 Warrant Officers, voluntarily discharging from the army, according to sources with direct knowledge of the development.

A document written by Gagariga on behalf of Buratai state’s that the soldiers’ disengagement date will take effect from January 3, 2021.

The document reads;

“In compliance with the provisions of Reference A, the COAS vide Reference B has approved the voluntary and medical discharge of the above named MWO, and 385 others listed as Annexes A and B.

“The soldiers are to proceed on terminal leave December 3, 2020, while their disengagement date takes effect from January 3, 2021, in accordance with the Nigerian Army Administrative Policy and Procedures No 27 Paragraphs 3 and 4. Accordingly, I am directed to request formations and units to release all affected soldiers to report at the Headquarters, Garrison, with their unit service documents for documentation.

“All forms of military-controlled items, arms, ammunition, and items of combat kits are recovered from the soldiers prior to their disengagement date and certify that they are properly de-kitted. Please acknowledge.”

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Inside Nigeria

We Used ₦1.5 Billion To Take Care Of Ourselves As COVID-19 Palliative — NDDC MD

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The sum of N1.5bn was used as COVID-19 relief fund for staff of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Kemebradikumo Pondei, Acting Managing Director of the commission, said.

Pondei disclosed this at the investigative hearing on the N40bn corruption allegation against the commission.

The Senate had on May 5 set up a seven-man ad-hoc committee to investigate the financial recklessness of the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC.

The MD and other delegates from the commission appeared before the committee on Thursday for the hearing.

The lawmakers raised concerns over the spending at the NDDC, noting that the commission spent N40bn last three months without due process.

However, Pondei when giving account of how money was spent, said staff of the agency had to be catered for, too.

He said, “We used it (N1.5bn) to take care of ourselves. We are NDDC, we need to take care of ourselves too.”

Part of the audit report read out by the Chairman of the committee, Olubunmi Adetunmbi, said N3.1bn was spent as COVID-19 funds between October 2019 and May 2020.

In the report, the lawmaker said, “N10m was paid to one person, N7m to two people, N5m to three people, 148 people took N3m each, 157 people got N1.5m each, 497 people got N1m each and 464 people were paid N600,000 each.”

Another N475m was given to the police to purchase face masks and hand sanitisers, he added.

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Inside Nigeria

Northern States Back FG On Schools’ Closure

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Education commissioners in the 19 Northern States have resolved to reopen schools only when it is safe to do so, following the spike in cases of COVID-19.

The commissioners in a communique in Kaduna on Saturday, after a virtual meeting to consider schools reopening and other issues to strengthen the education sector, said keeping schools closed in the face of the spike in COVID-19 cases across the country was a sure step to ensure that children remained safe.

The communique was signed by Dr Shehu Makarfi, Commissioner for Education, Kaduna State, who is also the Chairman of the northern states School Exchange Programme (SEP).

Other participants were his counterparts from Bauchi, Gombe, Niger, Nasarawa, Adamawa, Taraba, Kogi, Kwara, Katsina, Kano, Borno and Jigawa.

The commissioners applauded the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, for taking a decisive stand against school reopening and pledged their full support.

They resolved that “schools should be reopened only when it is safe to do so and when states have complied with the minimum COVID-19 safety protocols as outlined by the NCDC.”

They also said their states would “participate in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination and other examinations only when it is safe to reopen schools and when coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Education.”

They planned to carry out holistic assessment of schools to determine safety status for reopening and submit reports to their respective governors for consideration.

They also urged their respective states to take steps to provide critical facilities required for reopening of schools as specified by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

“Schools’ infrastructure, such as dilapidated classrooms, students’ hostels, source of safe water, sanitary facilities, including hand washing equipment and security are critical and should be improved.

“We will equally clear schools of bushes and grasses, as well as fumigate school’s surroundings to support learning and ensure safety when schools resume,” they said.

They, however, appealed to the Federal Government to support states in putting safety measures in place for school reopening.

According to them, many states may not have the financial strength to embark on such a huge capital-intensive project.

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