I have delivered on ‘change’ I promised – Buhari; FG refutes allegations of ethnic bias in Nigerians’ evacuation from Sudan | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • I have delivered on ‘change’ I promised – Buhari
  • FG refutes allegations of ethnic bias in Nigerians’ evacuation from Sudan
  • Reps write UK govt to show mercy in Ekweremadu’s case
  • Dabiri-Erewa reappointed as NIDCOM Chair by Buhari
  • Senate to investigate passport issuance delay and printing contract

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

I have delivered on ‘change’ I promised – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday lauded his administration for delivering affordable housing to Nigerians. Speaking during the inauguration of a housing estate in Zuba, Abuja, Buhari said the new estate was tackling multidimensional poverty among citizens. The estate, which was built at a cost of N9.5 billion, consists of 16 blocks of three-bedroom flats, 32 blocks of two-bedroom flats, 14 blocks of one-bedroom flats, and five blocks of terrace duplexes in four rows.

Buhari urged the beneficiaries to work with the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) to ensure the maintenance of the property and the safety of the environment. He also noted that investments in housing had created employment opportunities for artisans and other skilled members of society.

The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said over 13,000 Nigerians were employed both directly and indirectly on the project. He also thanked the President for providing leadership through his approval of appointments to the leadership of the FHA Board and Management.

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of FHA, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, described the project as a manifestation of the government’s deliberate housing policy. He said the Authority delivered the project at a total cost of N9.5bn, with N7.5bn coming from the Federal Government. The balance of N2bn of construction cost came from the Authority’s other projects, which were ploughed to complete the estate.

While the President claimed that his government had fulfilled its promise of change, opposition parties have dismissed his claims, describing them as bogus. Despite the criticism, Senator Shuaibu Lawal, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of FHA, thanked the President for providing the grant of N7.5bn for the project to commence in May 2018.

FG refutes allegations of ethnic bias in Nigerians’ evacuation from Sudan

The Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denied allegations of selective evacuation of Nigerian students from war-torn Sudan.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Francisca Omayuli, the ministry’s spokesperson, said that the ministry had investigated the claims and discovered that they were baseless.

The allegations came after a video clip surfaced online in which one of the Nigerians stranded in Sudan alleged that some of them were left behind while others were evacuated. However, the Nigerian embassy in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, confirmed that Igbo residents were among the first batch of Nigerians evacuated to Egypt before being airlifted home.

The statement also revealed that there was an initial fracas between students and other Nigerian nationals over the limited number of buses. However, more buses were made available to accommodate every Nigerian national in Sudan who indicated interest to be evacuated.

The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) also reacted to the allegations made in the viral video. Abdur-Rahman Balogun, media aide to Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the chairperson of NIDCOM, described the allegations as “a fabricated lie from the pit of hell”.

The ministry has urged the general public to disregard the allegations and assured Nigerians that officials of the embassy had worked tirelessly on the evacuation exercise. This denial comes as several Nigerians have been calling for better treatment of Nigerian citizens stranded in war-torn countries.

The Nigerian government had earlier promised to ensure the safe evacuation of its citizens from conflict zones, including Sudan, and this latest development will raise questions about the government’s commitment to fulfilling that promise.

Reps write UK govt to show mercy in Ekweremadu’s case

The House of Representatives has called on the UK government to show mercy in the sentencing of Senator Ike Ekweremadu, scheduled for May 5.

During a plenary session on Tuesday, Toby Okechukwu, a member of the House, appealed for diplomatic intervention in the matter, drawing attention to the long-standing cordial relationship between the UK and Nigeria, as well as Ekweremadu’s contributions to the Commonwealth of Nations.

Okechukwu also highlighted Ekweremadu’s previous good deeds, including aiding many Nigerians, and his intention to save the life of his sick daughter, Sonia.

In his own appeal, Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila pleaded for clemency, stating that Ekweremadu is a man of integrity with no prior convictions.

Gbajabiamila also implored the court to consider the history of Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice, and their daughter, who is sick and dependent on her parents’ care.

The appeal follows the conviction of Ekweremadu, his wife, and their doctor, Obinna Obeta, in March for organ trafficking, the first conviction of its kind under the Modern Slavery Act. The trio was found guilty of facilitating the travel of a young man to Britain with a view to his exploitation after a six-week trial at the Old Bailey.

Dabiri-Erewa reappointed as NIDCOM Chair by Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has reappointed Abike Dabiri-Erewa for a second term as the Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM).

In a letter written to the Senate, the President requested confirmation of her reappointment.

Dabiri-Erewa was first named as NIDCOM chair in November 2018 and previously served as Senior Special Adviser to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora. She was also a member of the House of Representatives from 2003-2015, where she chaired the House Committee on Diaspora Affairs.

Additionally, President Buhari requested the confirmation of six federal commissioners of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to fill existing vacancies in the states. The nominees are Ayogu Eze, Peter Okpara, Hauwa Aliyu, Rajiya Ayuba, Kolawole Adebola, and Ismailia Agaka.

Senate to investigate passport issuance delay and printing contract

The Senate has mandated its Committee on Interior to investigate the circumstances causing the delay in the issuance and renewal of passports by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).

The Upper Chamber also asked the committee to probe the contract for the printing of passports by the NIS.

The Senate issued these directives to its committee on Interior at the resumption of plenary on Tuesday following a motion by Senator Uche Ekwunife who said Nigerians are facing hardship and stress in getting their passports.

She explained that despite the six weeks timeline given by the NIS to process passports, Nigerians now spend between three to six months to get them.

The lawmaker further noted that it has become extremely difficult for passports to be processed in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja and this is creating a situation where Nigerians who reside in those states now have to travel to other states in the country to process their passports.

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