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Boko Haram Weakened, But Still Active In Nigeria, Buhari Tells World Leaders At UNGA

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During The Meeting With Party Leaders And Thoughts Leaders At The Kwara State Government House

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has said that Nigeria will spare no efforts at getting rid of Boko Haram terrorists, especially in the North-East part of the West African nation.

Buhari also said that though the insurgent group has been weakened by the defence forces, it is still active in the country, reining on soft targets.

He stated this on Friday while addressing over 80 world leaders at the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Addressing the world leaders including the new UNGA President, Abdulla Shahid of Maldives, Buhari said, “Mr President, terrorism continues to dominate security discourse worldwide. In Nigeria, Boko Haram terrorist group though fragmented by internal strife and weakened by our defence forces is still active and rein on soft targets.

“Nigeria will continue to work closely with the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Office with a view to bringing this group to an end.

“Nigeria has spared no efforts in addressing the challenges of terrorism posed by the activities of Boko Haram in North-East Nigeria, the Lake Chad region as well as banditry in the North-West and the North-Central.”

The President lamented that Nigeria was concerned about illicit trading and movement of small arms which he said has been increasing criminality and insurgency in the country.

Buhari added, “Mr President, Nigeria remains deeply concerned about the illicit transfer and circulation of small arms and light weapons. Their excessive accumulation and uncontrolled spread in many regions of the world have had socio-economic consequences, especially on the continent of Africa.

“It is on this note that my delegation calls for the worldwide application of the arms trade treaty to curb and define accountability in conventional arms trading which is critical to the security of nations.

“This is in recognition of the need for a broad-based global partnership in the ongoing battle against trans-border crimes including terrorism and piracy.

“Mr President, we must deal not only with the symptoms of conflict but also the causes that started the conflict in the first place. These include poor and undemocratic governance, human rights abuses, poverty, ignorance, injustice and inequality.

“There are no easy solutions to these problems, they require long-term investments and more effective international cooperation.”

Buhari also said that the democratic gains recorded in West Africa are now being eroded by the activities of power grabbers in the region, a thinly veiled reference to recent military takeovers in Mali and Guinea, both in West Africa.

He, however, restated that Nigeria supports the efforts of the continental and regional blocs including the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States at solving the issue.

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World War III Will Be Caused By Fake News – Lai Mohammed

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Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, has cautioned against the spread of fake news, saying it may cause World War III.

Mohammed spoke on Monday when he appeared before the house of representatives committee on information, national orientation, ethics and values to defend his ministry’s 2022 budget.

The minister said the manner in which information is disseminated today has drastically changed.

He said the means of receiving information 30 years ago was through television and radio sets, adding that people now prefer to patronise social media where fake news is easily spread.

“The people today, they don’t read newspapers, they don’t watch television — it’s social media. And it is most expensive; the most unseen enemy, they are there every moment,” he said.

“With fake news today and misinformation — I have always said here that the next world war will be caused by fake news.

“You can see even the US that use to pride itself on the freedom of the press is now questioning the role of the social media.”

Mohammed has often expressed concerns about the menace of fake news and its potential dangers.

This has prompted the federal government to push for legislation to bring social and online media under control.

At a public hearing in June, Mohammed asked the house of representatives to amend the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) act to empower the agency to regulate social and online media in addition to other channels of broadcasting.

This was after NBC had asked all social media platforms and online broadcasting service providers operating in Nigeria to apply for a broadcast licence.

In August, Mohammed said the federal government will not rest until social media platforms are regulated.

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Buhari Swears in Two INEC National Commissioners

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President Muhammadu Buhari has sworn in two National Commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The swearing-in took place on Monday at the Conference Hall of the First Lady’s office at the State House, Abuja, before the official launch of the eNaira and 2022 Armed Forces Remembrance Day emblem.

The new National Commissioners are Prof. Muhammad Sani Kallah (Katsina State) and Prof. Kunle Cornelius Ajayi (Ekiti State).

The duo are part of the six INEC commissioners cleared by the Senate in July this year.

President Buhari had on September 15, 2021, sworn in three of the cleared National Commissioners.

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Aggrieved Benue Pensioners Task Ortom On 33 Months Arrears

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Coalition of Aggrieved Pensioners in Benue State has called on the state government to direct the payment of their outstanding pensions and gratuities.

The union made this appeal, yesterday, in a rejoinder signed by its Chairman, Akosu Orban, and Secretary, Mac Mtsur, and made available to The Guardian in Makurdi.

Recently, the pensioners had protested against the non-payment of over 32 and 34 entitlements owed state and local council pensioners, even as they disclosed that they lost over 500 members to economic crunch.

But he state government had said it had agreement with the Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) leaders, who are part of the Local Government Joint Account, and had been paying N700 million to pensioners in the state monthly.

Acting Press Secretary to the Governor, Nathaniel Ikyur, said out of this amount, N300 million was paid to the local council pensioners and N400 million to state pensioners.

He added: “This mode of payment has been in effect in the last six months and government intends to continue with it until we are able to stabilise the payment system.”

The aggrieved retirees, in the statement, wondered how N700 million would be released by the state government monthly as claimed by the governor, yet the number of months owed them kept rising.

Chairman of the forum intimated that out of the 33 months pension owed pensioners, only six months was inherited from the previous administration.

RELATEDLY, Ortom has raised the alarm over sharp practices at the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), where a wage bill of primary school teachers is padded.

Ortom, who expressed this at a meeting with local council chairmen, SUBEB among others, yesterday, at the New Banquet Hall of Benue Peoples House Makurdi, said, with the continuous hike in wage bills, the dead seemed to be coming to life to receive salaries.

The governor, who vowed to take decisive steps to end padding of salaries, gave the local council chairmen one month to unmask the cartel behind the padding.

If proper checks are carried out with the involvement of council chairmen, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), leakages and other unwholesome activities would be stopped to give room for more recruitment.

According to him, since the decision to engage 2,000 teachers in primary schools was sacrosanct, his government would do everything possible to block financial leakages in the sector to guarantee expected goal.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Kenneth Achabo, presented a report on audited accounts of the 23 local councils from 2015 to 2019.

Ortom described the report as a novel initiative and stressed the need for those in positions of trust to keep financial records straight, to support auditors with facts and figures to do their job.

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