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Our lives matter, families of abducted pupils say

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Family members of abducted Dapchi schoolgirls have arrived the Federal Capital Territory, ostensibly to remind the Federal Government of the need to intensify efforts geared towards the rescue of their daughters.

Pupils of the Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, in Yobe State, said to be 110 in all, were abducted by suspected Boko Haram militants on February 19.

Their ages range between 11 and 19 years.

As the world marks the International Women’s Day on Thursday March 8 (today), family members of the abducted pupils and other villagers marched on the Federal Capital, demanding the rescue of their daughters.

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BREAKING: Pinnacle Floors ICPC In Court

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Federal High Court Judge Nnamdi Dimgba has ordered ICPC to unfreeze the account of Pinnacle Communications Limited and counselled anti-corruption agencies of government against taking drastic action that could prevent private enterprises from flourishing prior to concluding investigations to justify such action.

Delivering his ruling in the case instituted against ICPC for instructing Zenith Bank to freeze it’s account Friday, the judge maintained that the anti-corruption war was as beneficial to the society as flourishing private enterprises pointing out that scuttling the operations of major private organizations like Pinnacle Communications Limited also sends negative signals to the international community about Nigeria’s business environment.

Justice Dimgba described ICPC’s action against Pinnacle Communications Limited as “an overkill just like using a sledgehammer to kill a fly” considering that even after six months since the case was instituted and despite lèeway provided by many adjournments by the court, ICPC could not file any charges against the company, emphasizing that it should not have frozen the account without establishing a prima facie against it. The judge remarked that anti-corruption agencies should not base their actions on rumours or “beer parlour stories” but on thorough investigations that could sustain judicial scrutiny.

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Senate Approves $1bn Completion Fund For Ajaokuta

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The Senate on Thursday passed a bill seeking to approve the release of the sum of $1 billion from the Federal Government share of Excess Crude revenue for the immediate completion of the Ajaokuta Steel Company.

The lawmakers stated through the motion that all monies that may from time to time be appropriated and authorized by any tier of government should be part of the funding for the completion of the company.

The Senate also added that all loans or grants from time to time made to the country for the purpose of completing the Ajaokuta Steel Company should be ploughed in the completion purse.

The bill titled: “Ajaokuta Steel Company Completion Fund Bill, 2018” is in concurrence to the earlier one passed in the House of Representatives on March 28, 2018.

Senate Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan representing Yobe North had presented the bill for concurrence to the Senate which handled the bill at a Committee of the Whole.

The lawmakers clarified that there was the need for the Federal Government to complete the plant as against the then plan to concession it.

According to the proposed law, all fund shall be applied by the minister subject to appropriation by the National Assembly only for the purpose of ‘’the construction, improvement, extension, enlargement and replacement of infrastructure and works, including the provision, acquisition, improvement and replacement of other capital assets required in respect of or in connection with the completion of the Ajaokuta Steel Company project.

‘’The acquisition of land and of any right or interest in or over land and in respect of the use of any invention.

‘’The carrying on of any survey, research or investigation preparatory to the undertaking of any such purpose as is referred to in paragraph (a) and (b) or the formation of any plan or scheme for the development, improvement, of Ajaokuta Steel Company project.’’

Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who presided, said that the bill if signed into law, would go a long way to facilitate the quick completion of the Ajaokuta Steel complex.

The Senate also adopted the Presidential Programme on Rehabilitation and Reintegration (establishment and implementation) Bill 2018.

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Governors Meet Over Minimum Wage Again

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Governors of the states of the federation have yet again met in Abuja on Thursday night to continue their deliberation over the new national minimum wage which they have yet to reach an agreement on.

The states had offered to pay N22,500 while the federal government wants to pay N24,000 against the N30,000 being demanded by the organized labour.

The meeting presided over by the chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara state at its National Secretariat in Abuja, did not appear to make much progress as Yari said there was nothing new to report.

Many state governors did not show up for the meeting that was a prelude to the National Economic Council (NEC) scheduled to hold on Friday.

In rejecting the N24,000 proposed by the federal government, the NGF had in their last meeting, set up a committee to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari to canvass its position.

It was not clear whether the committee was able to convince the president to back the NGF’s position on the minimum wage.

The NEC meeting to be presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will however focus on the Human Capital Development Programme of the present administration hinged on “investment in our people.”

The meeting is being convened in line with the administration’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) for inclusive growth human development nationwide.

Expected at the extended session are all NEC members including state governors and Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

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