The Late 5: FG says NHIS boss won’t escape investigation, Army to begin military operation in Benue, and other top stories

These are the top five stories that drove conversation in Nigeria today.

The Federal Government has said the reinstatement of the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Usman Yusuf will not stop the investigation of allegations against him.

Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed said this in reaction to the reinstatement of Yusuf who was suspended and accused of fraud.

The Nigerian army says it will launch a military operation “cat race” in Benue, Taraba, Nasarawa, Kogi, Niger and Kaduna states.

The operation, expected to last between February 15 and March 31, is to curb herdsmen attacks.

David Ahmadu, chief training and operations, confirmed the development on Wednesday.

The house of representatives has called for the resignation of Jimoh Moshood, spokesman of the Nigeria police force, over his derogatory remarks concerning the crisis in Benue.
At plenary on Wednesday, the lawmakers also asked Ibrahim Idris, inspector-general of police, to apologise for his “seeming unwillingness” to enforce the anti-open grazing law in Benue state.
This is after Idris described Benue governor, Samuel Ortom as a “drowning man.”

The Ogun State Police Command has refuted the alleged attack by herdsmen on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

There had been rumours on social media that herdsmen attacked travellers on the road.

The Police also asked members of the public to disregard a purported anonymous security alert letter.

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on Wednesday donated N200m to the people of Benue who were displaced from their homes following herdsmen invasion of their communities.

Wike also called for comprehensive measures to resolve the “unfortunate killing” of Benue people by persons suspected to be Fulani herdsmen.

And now, stories from around the world…

At least 27 people were killed and 60 more injured Wednesday in Syrian government air strikes on three towns in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Twelve children were among the dead, the UK-based monitoring group said.

Senate leaders unveiled a two-year budget deal Wednesday, a major victory for both parties that could prevent a government shutdown at the end of this week, but the plan still needs to pass the House where it’s already facing strong headwinds.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled the deal with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on the Senate floor, which would boost military and non-defense spending by $300 billion over the next two years as well as and more than $80 billion in disaster relief.

The Eiffel Tower was shuttered to tourists as heavy snowfall snarled traffic in Paris, bringing the city of lights to a standstill on Wednesday.

Photographs shared by the Eiffel Tower’s official Twitter account showed the French capital blanketed in white.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel moved a step closer to forming a coalition government with her center-left rivals on Wednesday, after four months of political uncertainty.

A spokesperson for the Social Democrats, (SPD) confirmed it had reached a deal with Merkel’s center-right CDU/CSU, but stressed that it would need to be formally approved by the party’s 460,000 members.
The announcement represents a huge breakthrough for Merkel, who has struggled to form a government since suffering embarrassment at September’s election.

South Africa’s Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says he is holding direct talks with embattled President Jacob Zuma over a transfer of power.

Mr Ramaphosa, who heads South Africa’s governing party, said both he and Mr Zuma understood the need for a speedy resolution.

He said the pair aim to conclude talks on the president’s future within days.

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