2023 elections: Agriculture my top priority -Tinubu; 2 guilty of TikTok defamation of Ganduje receive 20 lashes | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • 2023 elections: Agriculture my top priority – Tinubu
  • Ekweremadu’s daughter appears in court for human trafficking
  • 2 guilty of TikTok defamation of Ganduje receive 20 lashes
  • UK drops warning against travel to Abuja; insists ‘risks remain’
  • FG set to resume Kaduna-Abuja train service

Across Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, these are the five top Nigerian news stories you shouldn’t miss:

2023 elections: Agriculture my top priority – Tinubu

Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, has committed to restructure the agriculture sector to achieve optimal performance should he win the 2023 presidential election.

This was expressed by Tinubu in Minna, Niger State, during a town hall meeting with farmers and northern agro-product groups.

He explained that this will be accomplished by providing modern farm equipment at reduced prices to farmers across the nation.

Agriculture represents the hope and prosperity of farmers and the Nigerian economy, according to the APC presidential candidate, who noted the need to prioritize the sector for simple access to agric facilities and to increase the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

According to him, “The National Agricultural Commodity Directorate to be established will ensure the success of our agric policy to enhance food security and export.”

Sympathizing with the flood victims across the country, Tinubu added, “It is a natural calamity which requires proactive steps to reduce its impact on the citizens.”

Ekweremadu’s daughter appears in court for human trafficking

Ike Ekweremadu, former vice president of the Senate, has spent 138 days in custody in the United Kingdom for human trafficking.

The congressman was caught in June 2022 at Heathrow Airport in London for allegedly bringing a child into the nation to harvest his organs. He was instantly arraigned before a Magistrate’s Court.

Since June 23, he has been detained by British officials, but his wife, Beatrice Ekweremadu, who was arrested alongside him, was given bail by a criminal court in London.

Meanwhile, his daughter Sonia appeared in court on Monday, charged with trafficking a homeless man into the United Kingdom in order to harvest his organs.

The young man had reported at the Staines police station shortly after arriving in the UK which led to the arrest of the lawmaker and his wife; claiming subjection to some medical tests, none of which he consented to.

Pleas that were to be entered yesterday were delayed due to further arguments and the continuation of the trial earlier slated for May has now been brought back to January 31.

Prosecutor Oliver Glasgow, said, “We are told that this court is in a position to accommodate the trial…three months earlier.

“If an earlier date can be offered, and one can be, then it should be taken.”

2 guilty of TikTok defamation of Ganduje receive 20 lashes

A Kano State Magistrate Court presided over by Aminu Muhammad Gabari has ordered public flogging for Mubarak Isa Muhammad and Nazifi Muhammad Bala for defaming the character of Kano State Governor Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje on Tiktok.

The pair who are to receive 20 lashes each were also ordered to sweep the premises of the court and keep the toilet facility clean for 30 days.

The punishment was handed to them after they pleaded guilty to a two-count charge of defamation and inciting public disturbance.

Muhammad and Bala reportedly made snide remarks against the governor in videos posted on their Tiktok accounts alleging that the governor “does not see a land without selling it” and “he sleeps a lot.”

Barrister Wada Ahmad Wada, the prosecutor from the Kano State Ministry of Justice had applied for a summary trial against the duo and at the proceeding on Monday, trial magistrate Gabari ordered the respondents to pay a fine of N10,000 each for defaming the character of the Kano State Governor and another N10,000 for inciting public disturbance.

Gabari similarly administered non-custodial terms against the convicts namely the public flogging and sanitation service at the Justice Aloma Mukthar Court Complex located in the No-Man’s-land area in Kano City. He also ordered them to make tender a video apology to Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje on their social media.

UK drops warning against travel to Abuja; insists ‘risks remain’

Yesterday, the United Kingdom issued a travel advisory against the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.

Yesterday, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, FCDO, published an updated travel recommendation on its website.

On October 23, the United Kingdom issued a warning about a heightened risk of terrorist attack in the FCT and asked its nationals to remain vigilant and avoid public locations in the FCT.

Additionally, the United Kingdom blocked access to its High Commission in Abuja.

A few days later, the United Kingdom advised its citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Abuja.

The discovery occurred as the United States and Canada also issued warnings about potential attacks in Nigeria.

In response to this event, the federal government criticized the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada for issuing terror alerts without telling local authorities.

In the revised advisory issued on Monday, the United Kingdom stated that travel to Abuja remains dangerous.

“The FCDO no longer advises against all but essential travel to the Federal Capital Territory, including the city of Abuja, but risks remain, and further details about the continued threat from terrorism in this region has been added,” the update reads.

“Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Nigeria. Most attacks are conducted by Boko Haram or Islamic State West Africa, ISWA and occur in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States in the North East. There have also been significant attacks in other states, including in Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Bauchi and Taraba States.

“The risk of terrorism across Nigeria includes the capital city Abuja, and the surrounding Federal Capital Territory area. This risk has increased in 2022. Between May and July 2022 Islamic State West Africa, ISWA, have conducted a number of attacks in Kogi, Niger, and in the Federal Capital Territory.“

“Further attacks are likely and could occur at any time. Attacks could be indiscriminate and could affect western interests as well as places visited by tourists. The risks from terrorism activity are present in the city of Abuja, and across the Federal Capital Territory, but the risk increases the further you travel from the city centre.

“Public places where crowds gather have been targeted in the past, including places of worship, markets, shopping malls, hotels, bars, restaurants, football viewing centres, displacement camps, transport terminals (including train networks), government buildings, security and educational institutions (schools, further education colleges and universities are all regular targets), and international organisations.

“Attacks have taken place around religious and public holidays in public or crowded places, including places of worship as well as during election periods.”

FG set to resume Kaduna-Abuja train service

Eight months after terrorists attacked the Kaduna-Abuja train corridor and kidnapped scores of passengers, forcing the suspension of services, the Federal Government plans to restore passenger lifting on the route by the end of this month.

The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, made the announcement yesterday in Abuja while providing an update on the ministry’s accomplishments between 2015 and 2022. He stated that the federal government also planned to link the 36 state capitals in Nigeria with a rail network in order to provide citizens with seamless transportation.

Sambo, who acknowledged the anguish caused by the attack on the Kaduna-Abuja train route in March 2022, stated that the government had learned many lessons from the crime and took several measures to prevent future attacks and provide customers with a sense of safety and security.

While promising that all kidnapped passengers had been freed and reunited with their families, Sambo added that the rail line had been equipped with a 24-hour security monitoring system to enable constant real-time surveillance and control.

The Minister said, “The Abuja Kaduna tragedy shall not happen again not only because we have committed it to God but we have taken steps to prevent any further attack again. We have learnt lessons from the attack.

“The lesson leant is to provide constant surveillance, constant monitoring on a daily basis, weekly, monthly as each train leaves and returns. It should be possible for what goes on within the rail line to be monitored real time going forward.

“We shall resume that service this month. I told you we would only resume service after all the kidnapped passengers might have been released. By the Grace of God and through the instrumentality of our security agencies under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, that has been successfully done and we are going to resume operation on the Kaduna-Abuja rail route before the end of November 2022.”

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