Buhari Reassures Parents of Abducted Schoolgirls

President Muhammadu Buhari today visited Dapchi in Yobe state, where 110 schoolgirls were stolen by Boko Haram gunmen on 19 February.

He visited the town after  meeting with stakeholders in Damaturu, the capital of Yobe State.

In Dapchi, Buhari reassured parents of the abducted schoolgirls that the Federal Government will not rest on its oars, until their wards are safely brought back home.

The President, who was accompanied by Governor Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe State, said he had directed full scale aerial surveillance and investigation to ensure that the girls were returned safely.

“I have read the full report of what happened in Dapchi. As I received the report, I was saddened and I am praying that God will continue to console you,” he said.

President Buhari also said that government will ensure that the Boko Haram menace is totally brought to an end.

“Boko Haram was in control of many local councils in Borno and some parts of Yobe State before we came. Now it has resorted to using young girls for suicide missions in mosques, churches and motor parks.

“We will not spare their members. We will ensure that Boko Haram meets its waterloo. By the will of God, I have directed the police and reinforced them, and the army and air force to keep searching until the children are returned alive,” he said.

Governor Gaidam had promised that the state government would continue to provide all the necessary support to security agencies to enable them embark on a successful search and rescue of the girls.

In her remarks, the Principal of the Government Girls’ Science/Technical Secondary School, Dapchi, Mrs Adama Abdulkarim, said some gunmen stormed the school premises and started shooting at about 7.00pm on February 20, 2018.

“We had a roll call and realised 110 girls were missing; out of 906 girls, we had 796,” she explained.

A representative of the parents, Alhaji Bashir Manzo, appealed to the Federal Government to do all within its means for the safe return of the girls.

Source: NAN

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All lives are equal, but a cow’s is more equal than others. by Wole Soyinka

IMPUNITY RIDES AGAIN.

It is happening all over again. History is repeating itself and, alas, within such an agonizingly short span of time. How often must we warn against the enervating lure of appeasement in face of aggression and will to dominate!

I do not hesitate to draw attention to Volume III of my INTERVENTION Series, and to the chapter on The Unappeasable Price of Appeasement. There is little to add, but it does appear that even the tragically fulfilled warnings of the past leave no impression on leadership, not even when identical signs of impending cardiac arrest loom over the nation. Boko Haram was still at that stage of putative probes when cries of alarm emerged.

Then the fashion ideologues of society deployed their distancing turns of phrase to rationalize what were so obviously discernable as an agenda of ruthless fundamentalism and internal domination. Boko Haram was a product of social inequities, they preached – one even chortled: We stand for justice, so we are all Boko Haram!

Read More at Vanguard.com 

FG will reduce borrowing cost – DMO

The Federal Government will implement prudent fiscal and debt management in the coming years to reduce the nation’s debt cost, the Debt Management Office (DMO) has said.

Ms Patience Oniha, the DMO Director-General, made this assertion on Thursday in Lagos.

Oniha spoke at the listing of the FGN 30 year 1.5 billion dollars Euro Bond and FGN 10 year 1.5 billion dollars Euro Bond on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

Other bond listed was FGN 5 Year 300 million dollars Diaspora Bond.

Oniha said that government would rebalance its debt and international debt portfolio to 60:40 split in the coming years.

She said that government was listing some of the securities issued in the international capital market in 2017 on the NSE because of the role of Nigerian capital market in economic development.

“We have already listed N1.5 billion early in the year, and we are coming toward the end of the year to list 3.3 billion dollars Euro Bond.

Oniha said that government had assessed the international capital markets four times in 2017 and achieved overwhelming success amidst uncertainty about the perception of Nigeria.

She said that funding of the budget deficit and refinancing the government’s inherited debt portfolio had been the key drivers behind the capital raising plans.

According to her, the borrowing will lead to significant benefits, particularly a reduction in cost of funds.

She said that the Diaspora bond provided an opportunity for Nigerians in Diaspora to contribute to the country’s development.

She also said that the Diaspora bond had boosted the country’s profile with Nigeria’s first SEC-Registered debt instrument.

Oniha said that funds raised would be applied toward development and to support government drive toward economic diversification from oil revenue and to sustain momentum in tapping the international markets following prior issuances.

The director-general said that DMO would continue with innovative and diverse fund raising plans to ensure the optimal funding structure.

Earlier, Mr Oscar Onyema, the NSE Chief Executive Officer, said that the Federal Government was the largest issuer of bonds on the exchange,

Onyema said that the exchange had collaborated with DMO and the federal government to introduce other types of bonds in the market.

He assured the investing publics that the exchange would introduce other types of products that would give them good asset class to boost product diversification.

NAN

Adamawa Queen emerges Miss Nigeria

Adamawa state queen, Mildred Ehiguese, has emerged as the new Miss Nigeria at the beauty pageant concluded on early on Friday at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island in Lagos State.

Ehiguese replaces Chioma Obiadi who represented Anambra state.

The pageant’s organiser and publisher of The Daily Times of Nigeria, Mr Fidelis Anosike, had said that he is using the show to define the Nigerian woman.

Miss Nigeria, formed in 1957 with the Motto, “Empowering Women Beyond Beauty’’, is an annual beauty pageant show which showcases positive attributes of Nigerian women and awards university scholarships.

The winner portrays exemplary qualities and serves as a role model for young women in the country. The pageant is organised by Daily Times Nigeria (DTN).

The current title holder is a Geology student of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, and former Miss Earth Nigeria Chioma Stephanie Obiadi, who represented Anambra.

The journey to this year’s finale started in November when auditions were held in three cities of Abuja, Port Harcourt, and Lagos within over a one-week period.

From personal photography sessions from Studio 24, using cool photo props, there were also monopoly games and passion project activities to keep the ladies entertained with refreshments.

The auditions started at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja on Nov. 7 with an impressive turnout of contestants from the Northern region who showed up for a chance to become the next queen.

The contestants were judged by George Okoro (Photographer and Lifestyle Magazine Publisher), Adama Indimi (CEO Reign by Adama Lashes), Ogugua Okonkwo (CEO Style Temple) and Andy Ogbechei (Creative Director, A-Squared Network).

They served as the guest judges at this phase of the auditions, accompanied by Enyinne Owunwanne (CEO, Times Multimedia – organisers of the Miss Nigeria pageant).

The team moved to Port Harcourt on Nov. 9 to receive contestants from the South-South/South-East region at the Echelon Heights Hotel, before heading to Lagos where the audition was held at the Times Multimedia, Lagos Headquarters.

From there, the 37 semi-finalists were announced in a special Instagram Live Session, setting the stage for Thursday’s grand finale.

The boot-camp ended on December 18, after which the girls went to Ilorin to meet the first ever Miss Nigeria, 86-years-old Mama Grace Oyelude.

NAN reports that in 2005, Anosike, young and bustling, took over a decapitated Daily Times and set out to revamp the vintage legacy of the publication.

He has since set his sights on rewriting the story of Miss Nigeria and graft in new chapters filled with hope, dignity, and value.

“For us, Daily Times, Miss Nigeria is one and the same,’’ Anosike said on Tuesday, shedding light on what Nigerians should expect,” he said on Tuesday in Lagos.

“The show is going to be the premier platform that the company’s products, services, and different people can use to connect to every woman.

“Every woman is a queen. What we’ve been doing over the past 10 years is to get the Pageant to metamorphose into what it should be.

“This year, we are going from strength to strength. Every state has got its own representative. And it’s also important to note that Miss Nigeria is 60 years old having been founded in 1957.

“This year, we are also able to do a proper boot-camp; all the semi-finalists met with several prominent Nigerians, including the Director-General of The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), who is the purpose-partner for this year’s pageant.

“This year’s Miss Nigeria will be crowned as the ambassador for Human Trafficking, and she will spend her time and energy working with NAPTIP to raise awareness about the ills of human trafficking and try as much as possible to contribute her quota to ending the illicit trade.

“We also had a couple of top women personalities who went into the boot-camp to talk to the girls.’’

Anosike said that Miss Nigeria had been fully restored to its original intent, which is to be a platform for young female empowerment in Nigeria,

“We want to use it to raise the voices of women. We believe that every Miss Nigeria will also take on these issues, raising the voices of women, especially as it relates to issues around the environment.

“We have very solid partnerships with over 30 media houses and everybody has now come to understand that this is a national pageant and not a beauty pageant,’’ he said.

On plans to balance the moral debauchery associated with beauty pageants, Anosike said about the content of Miss Nigeria that “it’s all about communication, about purpose; it is about people understanding that this is a platform for female empowerment.

“Every woman is a queen — mothers are queens, sisters are queens. This epitomises ‘queenship’. Miss Nigeria is supposed to be a role model for young women.

“What we are doing is building a purpose into the show, so, it is beauty and brains. The idea is to be able to inspire young women.

“We don’t do all those beauty pageant stuff where they go onstage and take off their clothes.

“We don’t commoditise women. Miss Nigeria has stopped that a long time ago. And that’s one of the reasons why we don’t send anybody to Miss World or Miss Universe because they go there and do all these kind of things.

“Miss Nigeria focuses on issues that affect Nigerian women; she is an ambassador of culture, of purpose, of the environment. We want her to focus on the Nigerian people,’’ he said.

The publisher of The Daily Times of Nigeria said that Miss Nigeria did not need any validation from anywhere, adding that she did not need to go outside to win anything. It’s a national brand, not a beauty brand.

“The girls have their calendars planned and we have partners that will keep them busy because we want them to have a purpose. Going for international beauty contest is a colonial mentality.

“Queens don’t compete, they reign. You can’t say you are Nigeria’s Queen and go outside and be competing with other people.’’

On the challenge in organising the event, Anosike said it was the struggle to recreate the show’s purpose.

“The basic challenge we had was to be able to recreate the purpose for which this pageant was founded in 1957,’’ he said.

“Now, we have got it right; and we know this because of the responses we are receiving. We have people entering from Zamfara; from Kano.

“It’s going to be a beautiful show. We are trying to make the show like the Oscars, so it will be a fusion of fashion, beauty and everything good about Nigeria.

“The contestants have to know about the states they are representing. We also want to use this to help to promote our history and heritage. We must be proud of who we are.

“Nigeria has come of age; we’ve seen what people have done in the music industry. That’s the kind of inspiration that we want to draw on.’’

Anosike also said that when the pageant started, then, contestants were required to post their photographs to the Times headquarters in Lagos, before the finalists were shortlisted and invited to compete at the Lagos Island Club.

He said it was the premier pageant in the country, and was a powerful medium which empowered several young Nigerian women, and inspired the country as a whole.

The pageant was hosted by Bovi, Ebuka, Olive Emodi and Lala Akindoju; and 2face Idibia is set to perform.

NAN

The Beauty of Humility — BeautyBeyondBones

There’s a perspective that you gain with time. There are things that you see when you’re out of the thick of the moment. Kind of like when the news cuts to a helicopter-view of a traffic jam. From the viewpoint of a car in the snarl, all you can see are exhaust pipes and the…

via The Beauty of Humility — BeautyBeyondBones

APC slams PDP.

The ruling All Progressives Congress has likened the opposition, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to the leopard, which cannot change its spots.

It was the APC’s first official reaction to the national convention of the opposition party that has vowed to defeat it in the next general election.

APC National Publicity Secretary, Bolaji Abdullahi said: with “revelations of how money-for-votes and systematic rigging was brazenly perpetuated during the National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the All Progressives Congress (APC) is mindful of the popular axiom: “A leopard cannot change its spot”.

The APC said the abnormalities that trailed the PDP National Convention have further exposed the PDP as a Party not ready and willing to change.

“Indeed, the PDP has once again displayed itself to the generality of Nigerians that it is a Party with corruption deeply rooted in its DNA.

“Again, it is tragic that the PDP which used to pride itself as “the biggest political Party in Africa” has now been reduced to a regional party.

“By frustrating South West Chairmanship candidates, it is unfortunate that the PDP has decided to punish the South West for not voting for the Party in 2015.

“We urge members of the PDP that can pass the integrity test to join the APC so that we can together bring about the much-needed Change the country deserves”.

NAN

Kogi doctors extend strike notice till 31 Dec.

The Kogi chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) says it has extended to Dec.31 the ultimatum it gave to the state government to meet its demands or face strike.

Dr Godwin Tijani, the state chairman told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Lokoja that the extension of the date was due to the reassurances from the state government to meet the demands before Dec. 31.

“Congress resolved to extend the ultimatum to Dec. 31, for the actualisation of those promises.

“However, with effect from Jan. 1, 2018, NMA will be left with no option but to commence total withdrawal of services in all hospitals in Kogi.

‘’This is on the condition that the state government fails to properly address the demands on or before Dec. 31,” Tijani said.

According to Tijani, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Saka Haruna had also assured NMA that government would address its demands.

He said Haruna gave the assurance during the Emergency Congress Meeting (ECM) of the association on Dec. 8, which he attended with other top government officials.

“The Kogi NMA appreciates the Commissioner for Health, the Special Adviser on Health Matters and the Medical Elders for their role to ensuring industrial harmony in the health sector.’’

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the chapter, on Nov. 24, gave the state government the ultimatum to redeem the promises it gave the association in June 2017.

The state chairman said the decision to extend the ultimatum also emanated from the communiqué from the State Executive Council Meeting (SEC) of the association in Lokoja.

He said the the demands of the association include; failure of the state government to correct the salary underpayment of doctors in the Hospital Management Board (HMB).

NMA also demanded that continuous implementation of new tax regime be commensurate with implementation of staff promotion and annual increment.

Other demands are; that: the eight doctors cleared over three months ago should be paid their 11 to 12 months salary arrears, implementation of adjusted Consolidated Medical Salary scale, payment of four to five months backlog of salaries of doctors in public hospitals in the state.

NMA also called for payment of salaries of the newly employed doctors who it said assumed duty August 2017.

According to the association, its members do not yet understand the planned application of Clocking System and the payment of their salaries.

Tijjani expressed concern that the condition of doctors working with the Kogi Government has further deteriorated.

NAN

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