U.S. to repatriate fresh $23m Abacha loot to Nigeria; Fake news, misinformation is worsening insecurity – Lai Mohammed | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • U.S. to repatriate fresh $23m Abacha loot to Nigeria
  • Lagos, FG start fresh COVID-19 vaccination
  • Fake news, misinformation worsening insecurity – Lai Mohammed
  • 4 kidnapped Catholic Reverend Sisters freed in Imo
  • Gunmen kill driver, abduct two Catholic priests

Across Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, these are the five top Nigerian news stories you shouldnt miss:

U.S. to repatriate fresh $23m Abacha loot to Nigeria

On Tuesday, the Nigerian government and the U.S. government inked a new agreement for the repatriation of more than $23 million that the late dictator Sani Abacha had embezzled.

At the agreement signing ceremony held on Tuesday at the Federal Ministry of Justice in Abuja, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, represented the federal government.

The agreement was signed on behalf of the United States by Mary Leonard, the ambassador to Nigeria.

She said that $23 million will be added to the $311.7 million in Abacha loot that Nigeria will receive from the United States in 2020.

“It is worthy to note that in line with the terms of this Agreement, Mr. President had already approved the funds to be utilized for the ongoing Presidential Development Infrastructural Funds, PIDF, projects, namely; Abuja-Kano Road, Lagos-Ibadan Express Way and the Second Niger Bridge under the supervision of Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, NSIA.

“The President’s mandate to my office is to ensure that all international recoveries are transparently invested and monitored by civil society organization to complete these three projects within the agreed timeline,” the AGF explained.

Lagos, FG start fresh COVID-19 vaccination

The COVID-19 Scales 3.0 vaccination program, launched by the Lagos State Government in partnership with the Federal Government, is intended to immunize the rest of the population against the COVID-19 virus.

The state’s health commissioner, Prof. Akin Abayomi, made this announcement at the event’s start in Ikeja, according to a release on Tuesday.

Scales 3.0 is a three-month strategy to accelerate COVID-19 vaccination in the state, according to Abayomi, who was represented at the event by the Permanent Secretary, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Akinwummi Mustapha. He added that it is crucial for all eligible people, aged 18 and over, to get the shots in order to stop the virus’s resurgence.

He said, “In collaboration with the FG, we have flagged off the COVID-19 Scales 3.0 vaccination campaign aimed at vaccinating the rest of the population against the COVID-19 virus.

“The state government has developed a robust vaccination strategy leveraging the strength of public-private partnership and COVID-19 vaccines are still available in designated public and private health facilities in the 57 Local Governments/Local Council Development Areas in the state where first, second, and booster doses are administered.”

The representative of the World Health Organisation and the COVID-19 Vaccination Coordination and Routine Immunisation Focal Person, Sherifat Lawal, noted that Lagos has reached a remarkable stretch of vaccinating 20 percent of residents, but there is a need to increase the figures.

Fake news, misinformation worsening insecurity – Lai Mohammed

False news and disinformation, according to the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, are escalating the level of insecurity in some areas of the nation.

The Minister raised the alarm on Monday in Abuja when he represented the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (ret. ), at the Citizens Summit for National Integration, Peace, and Security, hosted by the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, according to a statement released on Tuesday by his Special Assistant for Media, Segun Adeyemi.

“This summit couldn’t have come at a better time, with the issues of peace, security and national unity on the front burner of our national discourse. In recent times, in particular, the issues of peace and security have been on the lips of many Nigerians, against the backdrop of rampaging terrorists, bandits and kidnappers. Unfortunately, this insecurity crisis has been exacerbated by the twin evil of fake news and misinformation,” he said.

Mohammed stated that on August 10th of this year, the Kaduna State Government had to refute an internet story saying that hundreds of bandits had besieged the Kaduna-Zaria road. He gave other examples to demonstrate how false news is plainly stoking fear and concern in the nation.

He stated that extensively distributed fake news even warned travelers not to enter or depart Zaria due to the presence of bandits along the Zaria road near Dumbi and Jaji.

Mohammed said, “Imagine the apprehension and disruption of plans that this fake news could have caused. Imagine its impact on the security operatives who are doing everything, including paying the ultimate price, to keep us safe?

Also, in April 2022, a drone video showing a group of five men wearing red clothes and cooking inside an unknown forest went viral. Those circulating the video claimed that it was somewhere in Nigeria. But when BBC did a fact-check on the drone video, it discovered that it was not in Nigeria. The video was circulated just to create panic among the citizens and put society on edge.

“In June 2022, there were reports of bandits using a helicopter to attack residents in four communities in Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna. The Kaduna state government had to debunk the story by clarifying that the chopper was actually an Air Force helicopter dispatched to repel an attack in the area. Again, imagine the panic that would have been triggered by this fake news.”

He said he has not been spared by the purveyors of fake news and misinformation, as countless numbers of fake news have been attributed to him.

He said that in addition to working with major social media platforms like Facebook and Google to stop the spread of fake news and misinformation, the FMIC is combating the threat through the National campaign against fake news and misinformation, a national advocacy campaign.

He expressed happiness that many CSOs had joined the fight against false information, and that some media had established fact-checking departments to disprove such news.

The Minister praised NIPR for convening the summit in order to foster communication and national cohesion, particularly in light of the numerous obstacles to unity, peace, and security that the nation is currently confronting.

4 kidnapped Catholic Reverend Sisters freed in Imo

The four Catholic Church Reverend Sisters who were abducted on Sunday at the Okigwe-Mulolo intersection in Imo State’s Okigwe Local Government Area have been freed.

Secretary-General of the Sisters of Jesus the Saviour (Generalate), Zita Ihedoro,revealed this to reporters in Owerri yesterday.

On their route to a coworker’s Thanksgiving mass, the Reverend Sisters Johannes Nwodo, Christabel Echemazu, Liberata Mbamalu, and Benita Agu were abducted.

Announcing their release, Sister Ihedoro said, “With hearts full of joy the sisters of Jesus the Saviour wish to announce the unconditional and safe release of four of our sisters, who were abducted around Okigwe-Umulolo axis on August 21, 2022.

“Today is a memorable day for us. Therefore, we wish to share this joy with all men and women of goodwill, who in one way or the other contributed to the quick and safe release of our dear sisters.

“We sincerely appreciate and thank you for your prayers and moral support during this difficult moment. May Jesus the Saviour whom we have come to serve bless, protect and provide for you. Especially in times of difficulty.”

Gunmen kill driver, abduct two Catholic priests

Valentine Enwerem, a driver, was killed on Friday night when gunmen who were allegedly kidnappers attacked his car.

The event took place at the intersection of Nkwo Orji Market and Owerri-Okigwe Road in Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo State, in southeast Nigeria.

Prior to the gunmen attacking them when they became stuck in traffic, the deceased driver was transporting two Catholic priests.

The gunmen also kidnapped the two Catholic priests.

The incident was described by a lawyer named Uche Ejimonye, who is also the in-law of the deceased driver, Mr. Enwerem.

In a statement, obtained by Punch newspaper, Mr Ejimonye said the gunmen trailed them from Amaraku in Isiala Mbano Local Government Area of the state.

“He was caught up in the gridlock at Orji but on attempting to escape after coming down from his vehicle, he was shot five times at his back,” he said.

“The kidnappers then abducted the two Reverend fathers that were with him in the car and zoomed off. Attempts by passersby to rescue him by taking him to the hospital proved abortive as he died on the way,” Mr Ejimonye narrated.

The lawyer said the incident has been reported to the police.

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