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US Faults FG On Soldiers Indicted In Army, Shi’ites’ Clash

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President Donald Trump

The United States on Tuesday noted that there was no record that the Nigerian or military authorities had demanded accountability from the soldiers implicated in the December 2015 clash between the Army and members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria led by Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.

The US stated this in the International Religious Freedom Report for 2017 released by the Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour.

The report also noted that the Nigerian government continued to hold El-Zakzaky and restrict the free movement and association of his followers.

It read, “Human rights groups continued to report the Federal Government often failed to prevent, quell, or respond to violence affecting religious groups, particularly in the North Eastern and central regions of the country.

“In November, Kano State police fired tear gas and bullets, killing three members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria during its annual Ashura procession.

“The government continued to detain the leader of the IMN, the country’s largest Shia group, and restrict the activities, free movement, and free association of its members.

“There were no reports of accountability for soldiers implicated in the December 2015 clash between the army and IMN members that, according to a Kaduna State Government report and reports from non-government observers, left at least 348 IMN members and one soldier dead, with IMN members buried in a mass grave.”

It, however, alleged that dozens of IMN members were still being held since December 2015, charged with the death of the soldier.

It recalled that in August, the then Acting President Yemi Osinbajo announced the creation of a Presidential Investigative Panel that was committed to transparently and credibly investigating human rights abuses committed by the military.

It said the IMN, however, publicly stated that it would boycott the panel because it doubted its sincerity.

External human rights observers, it noted, also expressed concern over the lack of transparency and rigour of the panel.

The report noted that the Nigerian government had yet to obey court orders on the detained El-Zakzaky and his wife.

“The government stated publicly that Sheikh El-Zakzaky, leader of the IMN and a prominent Shia cleric, would remain in what it said was ‘protective custody’ pending the appeal of the December 2016 decision of the Federal High Court in Abuja that the government must release him.

“At year’s end, El-Zakzaky remained in prison.

“The court also ruled that the government must provide him with a house and pay him and his wife restitution of N25m ($69,600) by January 15; at year’s end, the court’s order had yet to be followed,” it said.

The report also indicated that terrorist organisation, Boko Haram, and its splinter organisation, the Islamic State-West Africa, continued “carrying out numerous attacks, committing mass killings, and targeting civilians. “

It quoted Nigeria Watch as estimating that activities by Boko Haram and ISIS-WA resulted in the deaths of 1,794 persons in 2017, including members of the two groups.

The Ministry of Defence’s spokesman, Charles Nwodo, said he could not comment on the report till Wednesday (today), when he would be back to the office.

“Defer the report till tomorrow. I will be back to the office by then.”

Nwodo declined further comment.

Meanwhile, the Director of Information, Defence Headquarters, Brig. Gen. John Agim, could not be reached for comment as his line rang out.

Also, a text message sent to his phone had yet to be replied as of the time of filing this report.

The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Texas Chukwu, also could not be reached for comment as of press time.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs could not be reached for comment as the minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, did not respond to calls. He had yet to reply to a text message as of the time of filing this report.

The MFA spokesman, Tope Elias-Fatile, could also not be reached as calls to his phone indicated that he was unavailable.

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Welcome the next set of MTN Scholars!

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360 young Nigerians receive scholarships from MTN Foundation

MTN Foundation has awarded scholarships to 360 university students at a virtual ceremony on November 12, 2020. The scholarships were awarded under the MTNF scholarship schemes made up of the MTNF Science & Technology Scholarship (STSS) and Scholarship for the Blind Students (SBSS). In attendance were the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, represented by the Technical Assistant, Dr. Olufemi Adeluyi; Honourable Minister of Science & Technology represented by the Acting Director-General of the National Space Research and
Development Agency, Dr. Francis Chizea; former Minister of Communication Technology, Dr. Omobola Johnson amongst other notable dignitaries.

Speaking at the ceremony, the representative of the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Olufemi Adeluyi said: “We are here with the MTN Foundation to celebrate scholars that have excelled in school. MTN is also supporting people with disabilities by funding their education and this is very commendable. The Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is constantly working towards elevating skills over degrees. We are also committed to ensuring that individuals are empowered with the right tools and skills.”

Also speaking, Honourable Minister of Science &  Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu represented by Dr. Francis Chizea said: “I am glad that MTN, in giving back to the society through its foundation, set up a scholarship scheme to empower the youths and as well, drive science and technology. This is a welcome development and a commendable effort that other organizations need to emulate.”

A major highlight of the ceremony was a fireside chat themed “Insight. Influence. Impact” with thought leaders sharing inspiring insights with the scholars. Nigeria’s former Minister for Communication Technology, Dr. Omobola Johnson reiterated the role MTN continues to play in the ICT space and its impact on the country. “We need to get a workforce that is very comfortable with technology. We are in a state where we need world-class educational institutions and interventions such as this that will enable students to be very vast in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics,” Johnson said.

Leading to the ceremony, this year’s graduating students from the scholarship programme were hosted to a career incubation boot camp facilitated by experts from Google, Oracle, Cisco and Jobberman. Facilitators shared insights on various opportunities amongst other vital employability tips.

Speaking on the scholarship award ceremony and workshop for graduands, Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation, Nonny Ugboma said, “Providing access to quality education is the first step to a world of opportunity for the youth of our nation. We know it does not stop there. We need to also ensure that they are adequately prepared for the
workplace. We hope that the fireside chat at the award ceremony will inspire the students to reach for greatness and innovation. Furthermore, it is our belief that the employability workshop held earlier will enrich the career path of the graduating students. The MTNF scholarship scheme is more than just funds; it is a commitment to
build the capacity of our youth. We wish all our graduating scholars success as they set out to take on the world and congratulate all awardees as the next set of young nation builders in the making.”

The newly awarded scholars will each enjoy a scholarship grant worth N200,000 annually till graduation as long as they maintain a CGPA of 3.5 or its equivalent. The scholarship covers tuition, book allowance and stipend. Till date, MTN Foundation has awarded scholarships to 3,829 students valued at over NGN 2.1Billion.

The MTNF annual scholarships are awarded to high performing students in Nigerian public tertiary institutions.

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Illegal Abortions Responsible For Mysterious Deaths In Bauchi: State Govt

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Bauchi Governor Bala Mohammed

Bauchi Governor Bala Mohammed

Bauchi State Government has revealed that the mysterious deaths recorded in the State has been as a result of illegal abortions.

An investigation carried out by the Bauchi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency has revealed that illegal abortion by unqualified medical practitioners is the cause of mysterious deaths in Azare and other local government areas in the northern part of the state.

According to reports, no fewer than 200 women have died in Bauchi as a result of this and there are projections that the number could be more at the end of the investigation.

The Executive Chairman of the agency, Dr Rilwanu Mohammed, disclosed this Friday, May 29, at an interactive session organized by the Bauchi State Public Health Media Network.

Also Read: We Spend N4,500 Daily On Meals Of Each COVID-19 Patient: Bauchi Govt

Mohammed said the deaths resulted from unwanted and unplanned pregnancies by both married and unmarried women of childbearing ages who, after becoming pregnant, visited quack health workers to terminate the pregnancies.

He said the lack of understanding of the importance of child spacing as well as ignorance of what to do with such pregnancies had become a major problem to family health in the state.

He emphasized the need for adequate sex education for the girl-child by parents, particularly mothers, to reduce unwanted pregnancies, thereby reducing deaths from complications.

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Ondo Govt Arraigns Suspected Killers Of Funke Olakunrin

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Funke Olakunrin's killers

Funke Olakunrin’s killers

The Ondo State Government has arraigned four men suspected to have killed Mrs Funke Olakunrin, the daughter of the National Leader of Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti.

Recall that it was earlier reported that the Nigeria Police Force handed over the suspects to the State Government.

Also Read: BREAKING: Suspected Killers Of Funke Olakunrin Arrested – Police

They are Lawal Mazaje from the Felele area of Kogi State, Adamu Adamu from Jada area of Adamawa State, Mohammed Usman from Illela area of Sokoto State, and Auwal Abubakar from Shinkafi area of Zamfara State.

The suspects were arraigned on Friday by the government at a Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Akure.

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