NSCDC arrest 3 suspected kidnappers in Kontagora

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, Niger Command said it had arrested three suspected kidnappers in Kontagora, headquarters of Kontagora Local Government Area of the state.

The Commandant of the corps in the state, Mr. Philip Ayuba, who made the disclosure in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria in Minna on Thursday, said the suspects had been terrorising residents of the area for sometimes.

He said that operatives of the command rounded up the suspects in their hideout in Kontagora town, following an intelligence report.

Ayuba further said that the suspects, in their confessional statements, said they were in Kontagora to perfect their strategy to kidnap some prominent people in the town.

The commandant also disclosed that the leader of the gang, name withheld, was arrested with full military uniform and military identification card.

He said the command had handed over the suspects to the 311 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Kontagora, for profiling and identification.

“A female, who was kidnapped one month ago identified one of them and the vehicle they used in kidnapping her.

“The suspects also confessed that they normally come to Kontagora based on invitation by an insider.

“Exhibits found in their possession include Army uniform, belts, boots, camouflage T- shirts, 2 toy guns and a gulf car with registration number Lagos BH606 AA.

He said the suspects would be charged to court after the conclusion of the investigation into their case.

NAN

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Ijaw youths protest, shut down NCDMB headquarters

Ijaw youths, under the auspices of Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide, Central Zone, on Thursday shut down the activities of the headquarters of the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

For over two hours, the angry Ijaw youths in their hundreds, locked down Yenagoa, the state capital, claiming that the NCDMB had opened new offices in Lagos and Abuja contrary to the provisions of the Local Content Act.

The youths, who stormed the office complex, located along Isaac Boro Expressway at about 9:45am, had forced their way into the complex by pulling down a section of the fence when the security guards denied them access through the main gate.

The Chairman, IYC, Central Zone, Tari Porri, who led the protest, said it had come to their knowledge that the NCDMB had opened new offices in Lagos and Abuja contrary to Section 71, sub-section 3 of the NCDMB laws.

He stated that NCDMB Act empowered the Board to open offices in only in oil and gas producing areas, querying the board’s rationale for opening offices in Lagos and Abuja.

Porri said, “This place has been left redundant and the Executive Secretary now operates from Lagos and Abuja and comes here only once in three months. This is unacceptable! The Executive Secretary should stay here with us.

“The NCDMB laws stipulate that offices should be opened in only oil and gas areas, but the board has gone ahead to open offices in areas such as Lagos and Abuja which are not oil and gas producing areas.

”Some of the staff of the board like the security guards and drivers are working on contract basis, and this is unacceptable to us. We we want all the staff to be regularised.”

The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Asuquo Amba, who had arrived the scene one hour after, commended the youths for their peaceful disposition.

He urged them to remain calm as the state Governor, Seriake Dickson, was aware of their grievances and had promised to wade in the matter.

Amba said, “I have to appreciate you for making this protest a very peaceful one, and I will still employ you to remain peaceful. But we should respect the sanctity of this place as the headquarters.

”I have listened to all your grievances. I am in touch with the state governor and I have spoken to him and if there is anybody to lead this protest, it is the state governor himself, but he has personally told me to come and address you, compile your grievances and forward them to him.

“The Executive Secretary of the Board has given me the assurance that all the issues that you have raised would be addressed and it would be addressed in such a way that we would have a peaceful environment so that we can have more economic progress.”

Earlier, at a general congress, IYC Central Zone had suspended the President of IYC Worldwide, Mr. Owolaemi Peretubo, from all activities in the zone, accusing him of conniving with the NCDMB.

The congress also condemned the killing of four soldiers and a civilian as well as the burning of houses in Letugbene, Ekeremor Local Government Area of the state where the military had launched a manhunt over the reported killing of their personnel.

British PM says no plans to quit

British Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during a joint press conference with her Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe (not pictured) at the state guest house in Tokyo on August 31, 2017.
May arrived in Japan on an official visit on August 30 with an eye to soothing Brexit fears and pushing ahead on early free-trade talks with the world’s number three economy. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Laurent FIEVET AND KAZUHIRO NOGI

British Prime Minister Theresa May insisted she would lead the Conservative Party into the next general election, in interviews broadcast Thursday.
Her announcement followed reports that she was preparing to stand down when Britain leaves the European Union in 2019.

She told Sky News television there was “absolutely no basis for those reports whatsoever. I’m in this for the long term”.

May called a snap general election in June, hoping to extend the centre-right Conservatives’ slim majority and strengthen her hand going into the Brexit negotiations.

But the gamble backfired, she lost her majority and is now propped up by the support of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists.

Asked by the BBC if it was her intention to lead the Conservatives into the next election — scheduled for 2022 — she replied: “Yes. I’m here for the long term.

“And it’s crucial. What me and my government are about is not just delivering on Brexit. We are delivering a brighter future for the United Kingdom,” she said, during a visit to Japan.

“It is my intention not just to deliver a good Brexit deal for the UK but also to ensure that ‘global Britain’ can take its place in the world, trading around the world and that we deal with those injustices domestically that we need to do to ensure that stronger, more global but also fairer Britain for the future.”

May could face a tricky time at the annual Conservative Party conference in September.

Some MPs are bristling about her handling of the general election campaign, which saw the party blowing the massive opinion poll lead it held over the Labour main opposition.

More than 2m pilgrims arrive in Makkah to perform Hajj

With the annual Hajj pilgrimage having officially started, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has announced the arrival of 2 million pilgrims to the Holy City of Makkah.

Saudi Arabia shoulders the responsibility of organising and conducting the pilgrimage, under the supervision of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, as well as Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

“Hosting Hajj each year is an honour and a great responsibility for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, one we hold dear to our hearts. We spare no effort when it comes to the well-being of pilgrims and our number one priority is to welcome individuals from all over the world as they seek to fulfil their religious and spiritual duty,” said HE Dr. Awwad Alawwad, Minister of Culture and Information.

Welcoming the world
This year, pilgrims have come from over dozens of countries. Among other nationalities, Saudi Arabia has to date welcomed:

184,000 pilgrims from Pakistan
170,000 pilgrims from India
127,000 pilgrims from Bangladesh
90,000 pilgrims from Turkey
41,200 pilgrims from Malaysia
23,500 pilgrims from Russia
12,700 pilgrims from China
6,000 pilgrims from the Philippines
3,500 pilgrims from South Africa
Hajj by the numbers
About 94 per cent of pilgrims have arrived by air. In order to reduce congestion and facilitate smooth passenger movement, the airports in Jeddah and Madinah have built dedicated terminals for pilgrims.

Some pilgrims travel by bus, minivan and car. This year, more than 30,000 vehicles have arrived. There are over 17,000 special buses operated by more than 22,000 drivers that transport pilgrims within the venue.

During Hajj, over 2.64 million meals are distributed daily. More than 2,000 Saudi Red Crescent Authority personnel have been deployed in Makkah, Madinah and other holy sites to provide ambulance services for pilgrims.

According to the Saudi Ministry of Health, more than 2,100 free medical procedures have already been performed on pilgrims.

Humans of Hajj
Beyond the impressive numbers and the logistical endeavour that managing the logistics around Hajj represents, the pilgrimage is both a deeply individual and a communal spiritual moment, as Muslims, regardless of their age and background, come together to observe their faith.

One of this year’s oldest pilgrims is 104-year-old Mariah Marghani Muhammad from Indonesia. For her, as for others a wide range of services has been made available to ensure their comfort during their stay in Saudi Arabia.

Modern technology
Even though Hajj is one of the world’s oldest pilgrimage, it incorporates modern technology to enhance the experience of pilgrims and ensure their safety and well-being. To this end, every pilgrim has been given an electronic identification bracelet containing personal and medical information to enable the Hajj authorities to identify individuals and provide necessary care.

The water-resistant and GPS-enabled bracelets that inform the pilgrims about prayer times also feature a multi-lingual help desk for non-Arabic speaking pilgrims.

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture and Information has launched two portals – Hajj2017.org and SaudiWelcomesTheWorld.org – to provide further assistance to pilgrims, as well as keep the rest of the world, including global media, informed and updated during this period.

Official Hajj rites conclude on September 4.

“Felabration” stopped in London

Fela Kuti

* 2017 marks 20 years since Fela Anikulapo-Kuti died.

This year’s Felabration festival, themed “The Prophecy”, was created by his daughter, Yeni Kuti, to celebrate her father.

Felabration London was the first of concerts to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the death of Afrobeat icon and sociopolitical activist, Fela Kuti. However, the concert did not hold as scheduled.

The highly anticipated concert, which was planned as part of the activities of this year’s popular London Notting Hill Carnival, was stopped by UK authorities because organisers didn’t obtain required permits.

The Felabration float at the carnival was successful although fans of the late Afrobeat maestro who had trooped out in large numbers to enjoy musical performances by Femi Kuti and other Afrobeat bands were left disappointed.

Femi Kuti, who is Fela’s son, who was already primed to perform at the concert was left visibly gutted.

The Lagos leg of the Felabration Concert will be holding as planned in October at the New Afrika Shrine, Lagos. It will feature concerts, symposium and debates in addition to new additions such as tourist packages to Fela’s life spaces, Felabration Afrobics Dance Competition, Felabration Artwork Competition and international versions of Felabration across different cities of the world.

FG to link rail lines in 36 States, FCT – Amaechi

The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi has stated that the mandate given to him by Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari is to ensure that the entire country is connected by rail.

Amaechi made this declaration when he delivered a keynote address at the 2017 15th National Council on Transportation, in Sokoto yesterday.

“The President called two of us, myself and my Colleagues in the Ministry of Works and Power Babatunde Fashola and told me specifically that I must ensure that the 36 States including Abuja are connected by rail”, he said.

The Honourable Minister said that the ongoing rail projects in the Country will create employment opportunity for the teaming youths stating that to grow the economy effectively and efficiently, the railway must be developed.

He disclosed that the Federal Government is on the verge of signing a contract agreement with General Electric for the rehabilitation of the rail line across the country to ensure they are put to use in the very shortest time saying that Government has ordered more Locomotives for the Standard Gauge rail lines.
He stated further that the President has given approval for the construction of Abuja-Itakpe rail line and at the same time preparing to commence commercial activity on the Ajaokuta-Warri line which will be completed in June 2018.

Chibuike Amaechi in emphasising the importance of the National Council on Transportation said aside being the highest Policy Advisory body on all transport matters in the nation, the council sets the policy Agenda and provides the regulatory framework for the development of the Nigerian Transport sector.

He added that the theme for this year National Council “Efficiency of Intermodalism in Transportation: Panacea for Economic Recovery” was apt as it is consistent with the determination of the Present Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to diversify and stabilise the economy.

The Minister disclosed that the Ministry of Transportation has revived the erstwhileTransport Sector Reform Bills in the National Assembly which objective is to break the Federal Government’s monopoly in the transportation sector and open it for Private Sector and other tiers of Government participation. In this way he said, Government will now be left to focus on technical and economic regulations of the sector.

Earlier the Honourable Minister of State, Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika represented by the Permanent Secretary Sabiu Zakari in his Address emphasised the need for every sector of the economy to operate efficiently for the recovery of the nation’s economy given that the falling price of oil which is the main stay of the economy has led to the decline in Government revenue and is impacting negatively on the economy.

He disclosed that in preparation for an efficient inter-modal transport system, President Muhammadu Buhari had approved a robust Roadmap for the Aviation sub-sector. According to him, the road map which include Airport Concession, establishment of National Carrier, establishment of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility, Development of Agro-allied Cargo Infrastructure, establishment of Aerospace University and establishment of Aerotropolis cities through PPP is intended to address some of the infrastructural gaps and challenges with a view to providing long-term solutions.

In their contributions, the Executive Governor of Sokoto State, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto Alh. (Dr.) Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar reiterated the need for the Federal Government to connect the State with rail line in the shortest possible time.

However, His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto stated that the responsibility of road construction and maintenance in all designated Federal and States Roads ought o be under the Ministry of Transportation. In this way, according to him, all bottleneck and official diplomacy associated with road construction and maintenance between the Federal and State Governments in the country will be completely eliminated, and the benefits will be to the advantages of the citizenry.

Sallah: Be patient, FRSC urges

As Nigerian Muslims join the rest of the world to observe Eid-el-Kabir celebration on Friday, the Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi, has urged members of the public to be patient while using the road to avoid road crashes, obstruction and death.

He made the call in his Sallah Message urging the people to show love to other road users in the spirit of the celebration.

According to the Corps Public Education Officer, Bisi Kazeem, Oyeyemi while congratulating the Muslims on the observance of the feast, enjoined them to always show patience while using the road to prevent hazards.

He assured members of the public that towards ensuring hitch-free celebration, adequate provisions had been made by the FRSC through deployment of personnel and logistics at the identified black spots across the country.

The Corps Marshal called on the road users to cooperate with members of the Corps and other security agencies deployed to ensure free flow of traffic and attend to emergencies during the celebration.

“As you mark this year’s Eid-el-Kabir, I urge you to show patience and obey all traffic rules and regulations to avoid any form of road mishaps,” he stated.

On the level of preparedness of the FRSC to handle emergencies, the Corps Marshal urged members of the public not to hesitate to call FRSC Toll-free line: 122; 0700-CALL-FRSC (0700-2255-3772) or 112 to report emergency situations, noting that rescue teams have been mobilised and are on a standby at strategic locations to respond promptly to distress calls.

“I call on all Nigerians to join hands with the FRSC in its determination to ensure crash and obstruction-free celebration within the period and beyond,” he added.