The Big 5: FG says Abacha’s $322 million loot to be disbursed to poorest Nigerians, finalises plans to set up 94 ranches in 10 states and other top stories

These are the stories you should be monitoring today:

The Federal Government is concluding plans to disburse $322 million fund repatriated from the accounts of former Head of State, late General Sani Abacha in Switzerland to Nigerians.

National Coordinator of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu at an interactive session with newsmen recently, noted that the development is in line with the President’s agenda of ensuring that the $322m was returned for deployment in the social safety nets project, which would make targeted transfers to the poor and vulnerable households.

Ibekaku-Nwagwu added that the funds would be paid directly into the accounts of the poorest Nigerians through their various accounts for two years and identification numbers to be made available on the website being developed by the National Social Investment office and the World Bank, adding that agencies working on the modalities would brief the public on June 28.

The National Economic Council (NEC) chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has approved a 10-year National Livestock Plan which includes ninety-four ranches in 10 states prone to herdsmen/farmers clashes.

NEC representatives led by Governor Samuel Ortom, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, and the Coordinator of the plan, Dr. Andrew Kwasari, disclosed this at a session with editors in Abuja, noting that the total spending for the 10-year period is slightly in excess of N179 billion. Funding for the first three years of the pilot phase is about N70 billion.

“We are going to have 94 ranches in 10 states. We have received 21 gazetted grazing reserves from seven states. Plan focuses on pilot intervention in the frontline states Adamawa, Benue, Edo, Ebonyi,  Kaduna,  Nasarawa, Oyo, Plateau, Taraba, and Zamfara.

“A Ranch Design Plan has also been proposed in models of various sizes clustered in 94 locations in the 10 pilot states. We will have clusters  of 30, 60, 150, and 300 cow ranch models in a location within the donated and gazetted grazing reserves, the Minister said, adding that the project is expected to take off in Benue and Nasarawa states any time from now.

Benue Governor, Samuel Ortom, has called on the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, to apologise to Nigerians over his call on June 5 for some states to suspend the implementation of  of anti-grazing law.

Ortom who spoke at the unveiling of the National Economic Council’s National Livestock Transformation Plan as part of efforts to end clashes between farmers and herdsmen in Abuja on Tuesday, cautioned the minister against giving Nigerians the impression that he was the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association.

“Coming from a security council meeting and making such statements, some people took it as the opinion of the security council. When he clarified that it was his personal opinion, it solved some problems. He needs to apologise to Nigerians,” he added.

National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno says the Presidency has approved a new special funding for the ongoing counter-terrorism fight in the country. 

Monguno who was represented by the Coordinator, Counter Terrorism Centre, Office of the NSA, Rear Admiral Yem Musa revealed the new measure while speaking at a special training workshop for MDAs and Civil Society Organizations, CSOs, on implementation strategy, on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism on Tuesday in Abuja.

According to him, the development which is part of implementation of a national action plan on preventing and countering violent extremism in the country will see relevant Ministries, Department and Agencies, MDAs, playing key roles in the fight against terrorism, stressing that all relevant MDAs were required to include in their subsequent annual budgets, proposals for necessary allocations in preventing and countering violent extremism.

Indigenes of Bilabiri 1 Community in Ekeremor, Bayelsa have have taken refuge in the forests and neighbouring communities over fear of military invasion following the attack on Tunu flow-station and the subsequent killing of three soldiers in a bloody shoot-out.

Paramount Ruler of Bilabiri 1 Community, His Royal Highness, Miebiotu Otidi and the Chairman of the Community Development Committee (CDC), Mr. Timipamine Otiti, in a statement on Tuesday, said the military authorities had tasked the community to fish out the hoodlums or risk military action.

“They said some of perpetrators are from Bilabiri 1 community but we do not know them as they do not reside in our community because of their criminal activities. “We are appealing to the military authorities not to invade our community for the sake of innocent people, particularly our women and children,” part of the statement read.

And……stories from around the world:

The Pharaohs of Egypt were slain by the rampaging Russians after conceding three goals in 15 minutes in the second half to lose 3-1.

Ahmed Fathi’s own goal just after the break in the 47th minute opened the floodgates for Russia, before Denis Cheryshev converted a well-worked team play to make it two in the 59th minute.

Artem Dzyuba scored another in the 62nd minute to make it three, but Mo Salah converted a penalty in the 73rd minute, which was more of a consolation.

A result that effectively means Egypt are out of the World Cup and that Russia became the first team to set a foot in the second round of the tournament.

United States President, Donald Trump told Republican lawmakers on Tuesday he would back either of the immigration bills making their way through the House of Representatives, as the outcry grew over his administration’s separation of immigrant parents and children at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Representative Mark Meadows said Trump told Republican members of the House at a meeting on Capitol Hill that they needed to get something done on immigration “right away.”

In the meeting, Trump said separating families was “certainly not an attractive thing and does look bad,” added Representative Tom Cole. (Reuters)

Israeli jets have hit militant positions in Gaza after Palestinians fired rockets and mortars into Israeli territory, the Israeli military said.

The military said 25 targets linked to the militant Hamas movement were hit, in response to a barrage of about 45 rockets and mortar shells.

Residents reportedly said two Hamas security personnel were slightly hurt and no Israeli casualties were reported. (BBC)

US forces in South Korea are preparing for the North Koreans to turn over the remains of an unknown number of US or allied service members who have been missing since the Korean war, US officials have said.

The officials who requested anonymity as they were not authorised to discuss the preparations before an official announcement, said the timing of a ceremony remained uncertain, but could be soon.

More than 36,000 US troops died in the conflict, including those listed as missing in action. Close to 7,700 US troops remain unaccounted for from the Korean war, and about 5,300 of those were lost in North Korea. (The Guardian, UK)

The Hungarian parliament is set to vote on Wednesday on a set of controversial laws targeting NGOs that would impose jail terms on anybody seen to be aiding illegal immigration.

Passage of the so-called ‘Stop Soros’ set of laws, which was a key campaign promise by Prime Minister Viktor Orban during his successful re-election bid in April’s general elections, is all but assured with his Fidesz party holding a supermajority in parliament. (Aljazeera)

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