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RUGA: Secret plot ongoing – Archbishop Martins

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The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Adewale Martins, has said that despite the suspension of the RUGA scheme, there is an ongoing plan to repeal the Land Use Act in order to accommodate the scheme.

The cleric, however, advised the Federal Government to jettison the idea of acquiring lands across the country for the purpose of creating rural grazing areas.

Martins, in a statement on Wednesday, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his bold step in suspending the RUGA project in response to the high tension which the issue had generated.

RUGA is a scheme designed to settle herdsmen and their cattle on acquired land in states across the federation.

It is one of the recent of many solutions offered by the Federal Government to resolve the frequent farmers/herdsmen crisis in the country.

Martins implored Buhari to resist the temptation of going back to it or any similar project that leaves an impression of wanting to promote welfare, economy and preservation of one section of the country over others.

The Archbishop said: “Such a move, if encouraged, will undoubtedly, further divide the nation along ethnic and possibly religious lines, thereby impacting negatively on the wellbeing of all Nigerians.

“At the moment, we gathered that despite the suspension of the RUGA scheme, there is a plan by some to move for the repeal of Land Use Act in order to accommodate the scheme.

“Any step in that direction will leave no one in doubt that the Federal Government is really not interested in settling the so-called herdsmen/farmer clashes.

“A bill to tamper with the present Land Use arrangement at this time cannot, but heat up the polity, if indeed, it is being contemplated.

“Any proposed solution to the problem should be put in the public domain for discussion so that it may have the desired effect.

“It is not enough for the Federal Executive Council, National Economic Council or any other organ of government to sit in a room and take decision without sampling the opinion of citizens, given the volatile nature of the issues at stake.

“It is even more ridiculous that a ministry without a substantive Minister is presuming to announce and implement such a monumental `decision’.

“The RUGA Scheme, as presently conceived for implementation is ill-conceived and skewed to create disaffection and divide the country, and must be totally abandoned so that a better solution to the problem can be reached.”

Martins advised President Buhari-led government “to commit more resources to securing our national borders, mop up small arms that are so easily available and be decisive in bringing anyone who unleashes violence on others to book.

“That would create confidence in the attempt of government to deal with the so-called herdsmen/farmers clashes.

“If perpetrators of the killings and kidnappings across the country were not urgently identified and dealt with, it may give the wrong impression.

“That impunity, murder and reckless disregard for constitutional authority by a group of outlaws remains the surest way of attracting the favour and patronage of the government.’’

The archbishop urged every well-meaning Nigerian to pray for peace of the nation and for those in government so that common good would be the guide of the actions and decisions of those who govern at all levels.

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Boko Haram Kills Aid Worker In Borno, Three Others Missing

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Boko Haram militants have killed a member of the Action Against Hunger, Grace Taku, as well as a driver while three health workers are missing.

The incident happened when a convoy of the aid agency was heading to Damasak in Borno State.

The attack is coming a day after an army commander, colonel and some soldiers were ambushed in Yobe State by Boko Haram terrorists.

A statement by Action Against Hunger reads, “One of the drivers was killed, while one Action Against Hunger staff member, two of the drivers and three health workers are missing.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragic incident as these are colleagues dedicated to providing life-saving assistance to individuals and families affected by the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the northeast of Nigeria. We are very concerned and want to ensure that they are safe and can be reunited with their families.

“Action Against Hunger strives to ensure that millions of people in need of humanitarian assistance in northeast Nigeria receive the essential services required for their survival, especially women and children.”

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Nigerian Passport Scam: EFCC Arrests Immigration Officer, 14 Others

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Lagos Zonal office, has arrested a Nigeria Immigration Service officer, Mr Adebimpe Kehinde, for his alleged involvement in passport racketeering.

Mr Tony Orilade, EFCC acting spokesperson, who disclosed this in a statement in Abuja on Thursday. Orilade said that Mr Kehinde is an immigration assistant.

According to Orilade, Kehinde was arrested alongside 14 other suspected passport racketeers following intelligence reports received by the commission.

The suspects are Nnadika Timothy, Oyeyiga Samuel, Sunday Adekunle, Lola Kadoso, Adebayo Damilola, Adeola Oluwafikayomi Ajiboshin, Abubakri Adebayo.


Others are Uka Ifeanyi, Raph Emeka Ibuaku, Henry Onyebuchi, Christy Odey, Aba-Peter Blessing, Ogunmefun Oluwanishola and Busayo Balogun.

Orilade stated that the suspects conspired to extort money from unsuspecting members of the public applying for international passports.

According to him, items recovered from the suspects at the point of arrest include five laptops, mobile telephones and “official documents”.

“They will be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded,” he stated.

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Atiku Gets 55 Cartons Of Documents From INEC As He Closes His Case Today

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Ahead of Friday’s sitting, the Independent National Electoral Commission has produced the documents which the presidential election petitions tribunal, in Abuja called for on Wednesday at the instance of the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

The documents which were packed in 55 cartons would be the last to be presented to the tribunal as the petitioners are expected to close their case on Friday.

However, only 58 out of its proposed 400 witnesses had been called as of Wednesday which happened to be the ninth of the ten days given to the petitioners by the tribunal to present their case.

The petitioners are, by their petition, challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress at the February 23 poll.

The tribunal of five judges led by Justice Mohammed Garba had on Wednesday ordered INEC to produce the documents by noon on Thursday.

This followed the complaints by the petitioners that the subpoenas issued and served on INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, and the commission’s resident electoral commissioner in Zamfara State to produce the documents had not been complied with.

The tribunal had on Wednesday adjourned the case until Friday, but the counsel to the PDP and Atiku, Chris Uche (SAN), attended the Thursday’s proceedings scheduled for hearing in respect of other petitions filed by the Hope Democratic Party and the Peoples Democratic Movement.

Uche said his presence in court was to ensure INEC’s compliance with the Wednesday’s order of the tribunal.

At about the time the five-man panel was to recede to chambers to write a ruling in respect of PDM’s petition, Uche informed the bench of his intention in court on Thursday.

In reaction, Justice Garba asked for update from INEC’s lawyer, Yunus Usman (SAN).

Replying, Usman informed the tribunal that the “documents had been substantially produced.

“It is a very tedious task, but we have to obey the court’s order,” he stated.

Within the period of the one-hour break observed by the members of the tribunal, INEC officials had brought in a total of 55 boxes of documents into the court room.

When the tribunal resumed sitting, INEC’s lawyer informed the panel that the order of the court had been complied with.

Pointing to the cartons of documents lined up in the courtroom, Usman said since the order of court was not for INEC officials on whom the subpoenas were earlier served to testify, the Director of Legal Services, Mrs Oluwatoyin Babalola, was present to represent the commission.

He also said there was a cover letter signed by the secretary to INEC, Mrs. Rose Orianran-Anthony, accompanying the documents.

He noted that the request by the petitioners for result sheets for the national assembly rerun election in Zamfara State were not available as no such election was conducted.

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