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Wedding suspended as Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye and Niger state speaker partner to empower 100 girls

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Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, minister of women affairs, says the planned marriage of 100 girls in Niger state has been suspended.

Kennedy-Ohanenye spoke in Abuja on Friday after meeting with Abdulmalik Sarkindaji, speaker of the Niger state house of assembly.

The meeting was also attended by Mohammed Mu’azu, Emir of Kotangora.

BACKGROUND

Sarkindaji had last week said he would sponsor the wedding ceremony of the girls on May 24 as part of his constituency obligations.

The development sparked controversy on social media, with many saying the speaker should have channelled the money into giving the girls an education or skills.

On Monday, Kennedy-Ohanenye stepped into the matter and asked the speaker to halt his plans or face legal action.

The minister said she had petitioned the inspector-general of police (IGP) and sought a court injunction to stop the planned wedding.

Sarkindaji subsequently cancelled his participation in the event and asked the minister to take over.

The speaker said the parents and guardians of the girls, most of whom are orphans, could do whatever they wished with the resources he had provided.

‘WE’VE MADE PEACE’

Addressing journalists after the meeting, the minister said she and Sarkindaji have reconciled their differences and are now partnering to seek better alternatives for the girls.

Kennedy-Ohanenye said she secured an injunction from the Minna high court to restrain the organisers from proceeding with the wedding.

She added that “the court injunction still subsists till we resolve all grey areas”.

“I want to let you know that as I speak to you now, I’m at peace with my royal father, Emir of Kontagora, Mohammed Bara’u Mu’azu, and I am in good terms with my brother, the Speaker. We have made peace,” Kennedy-Ohanenye said.

The emir also said he has suspended the proposed wedding and pledged his emirate’s willingness to partner with the ministry to provide a new lease of life for the girls.

‘EDUCATION, PHONES, HUGE MACHINES’ — MINISTER LISTS PLANS FOR MARIGA GIRLS

Kennedy-Ohanenye said, for a start, there will be a meeting with the girls to discuss their individual needs and preferences.

She said her ministry has taken “the entire village as a job,” promising to extend the opportunities for education and skill acquisition beyond the 100 girls to other orphans.

The minister described herself as a “protective mother hen” who is committed to defending the rights and safety of the vulnerable girls under her care.

“So, I have no problem with anybody. I have no problem with any religion, all I want to say is please don’t tamper with my children, don’t tamper with my women,” she said.

“My brother, the Speaker came to my office, and we have partnered (ministry of women affairs and the Speaker) to empower these women.

“The ones that want to go to school, we will send them to school. This ministry has taken up this village now as a job, and I am promising Nigerians. I am going to empower them with sustainable economic empowerment.

“By talking to them, I will know the kind of things they like to farm, and I will give them huge machines. If it is rice, beans, or corn, I will put one for a whole village to manage themselves and onboard them in the system on our portal.

“And whatever the federal government is doing for every other person, all of them will get it.

“I will go to the extent of giving them small phones—at least one in each family—to enable them to communicate and get involved in the portal so that they will be like every other woman.

“Because the speaker told me a lot of things concerning the village, like how they are always tormented by the bandits, everybody ends up there. If bandits want to hide, they end up there.

“But I am going to send them to this particular community, and these children will be able to go to school. We will empower them, teach them skills, and give them what to start off their skills with.

“I will equally help them on marketing whatever they will make out of their skills. We shall not, we will not abandon them.

“We are now working together to make sure we better the lives of these girls, not just the 100 girls but all the orphans, all the people that have been affected by this banditry and the insecurity we used to have before.”

The minister said her position on the matter reflects the wishes of President Bola Tinubu and thanked Nigerians for supporting her initiatives.

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Rivers crisis: Caretaker chairs denied access to offices as police barricade LGA secretariats

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Officers of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) have continued to barricade the 23 LGA headquarters of Rivers state.

On Tuesday, the Rivers police command announced the take over of the council headquarters following clashes between supporters of Siminalayi Fubara, governor of Rivers, and Nyesom Wike, his predecessor.

The crisis ensued after youths stormed the LGA secretariats to dislodge the elected chairpersons, whose tenure ended on Monday.

Following the expiration of the chairpersons’ tenure, Fubara ordered the heads of local government administration to immediately assume control of the 23 council areas of the state.

Despite the governor’s directive, some of the former LGA chairpersons reportedly attempted to resume duty at the council secretariat, but they were chased away by youths.

During the clash at Eberi-Omuma community in Okuama LGA, a police officer and one vigilante member were killed.

On Wednesday, Fubara swore in the caretaker committee chairpersons for the 23 LGAs.

Some of the caretaker chairpersons could not access the council offices because armed police officers remained stationed at the LGA headquarters.

Speaking in an interview on Channels Television on Wednesday, Darlington Orji, caretaker committee chairman of Ikwere LGA, said after the swearing-in ceremony, he could not access the council because it was barricaded by police officers.

Orji said the police officers said they were acting on the orders of Kayode Egbetokun, inspector-general of police.

Over the past few months, Rivers has been engulfed in political crisis due to the rift between Fubara and Wike.

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FG busts 1,618 civil servants with fake employment letters

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The Federal Government has announced that over the past year, it has identified 1,618 civil service officers with fake employment letters and removed them from the Integration Personnel Payroll and Information System (IPPIS).

Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, the Head of the Federation’s civil service, revealed this during a media briefing in Abuja on Wednesday, June 19.

The event was part of the 2024 Civil Service Week, themed “Education an African fit for the 21st Century: Building Resilient Education System for Increased Access to Inclusive Lifelong, Quality and Relevant Learning in Africa.”

Dr. Yemi-Esan explained that through physical verification conducted by various Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), the previously inflated federal civil service workforce has been reduced from over 100,000 to 69,308 verified employees now on the payroll.

She also mentioned that besides discovering ghost workers with fake employment letters, the verification exercise caught some civil servants who had left the country for better overseas opportunities.

These individuals returned for the verification process weeks later, claiming they were unaware of the schedule, and were given an additional two weeks to complete their verification.

According to the Nigerian Tribune, the Head of Civil Service of the Federation said instead of waiting for the two weeks in addition to the days they had already spent in Nigeria, “a lot of them tendered their resignation letters because no UK organisation would afford to give two additional weeks in the country to perfect the verification process.”

Regarding the widespread corruption in the public service, Yemi-Esan stated that her office has been collaborating with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to eradicate corruption from the system.

She also highlighted efforts to enhance the Federal Civil Service for better and more efficient service delivery to Nigerians, expressing confidence that the entire service would be fully digitised by the end of 2025.

Yemi-Esan revealed that the current administration has made significant strides in transforming and digitising work processes.

“From the service-wide perspective, all MDAs, all other ministries are also running with the digitalisation programme and there are different stages of implementation, but they have a mandate for all to achieve full migration by the end of 2025,” she said.

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Sanwo-Olu pledges to arrest Fouani brothers’ kidnappers, assures Lagosians of enhanced security

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Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has vowed to arrest the perpetrators behind the recent kidnapping of three Lebanese nationals, including Muhammed Fouani, the Managing Director of Fouani Nigeria Limited.

The Governor emphasized that his administration would not tolerate individuals with malicious intentions in the state.

He reassured Lagos residents, particularly business owners and religious tourists, that stringent security measures are being implemented to ensure their safety.

These assurances were contained in an official statement by Gboyega Akosile, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Lagos State Governor, on the Lagos State Government’s website on Wednesday.

“Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Wednesday vowed to arrest perpetrators behind the recent kidnapping of the three Lebanese nationals, including the Managing Director of Fouani Nigeria Limited, Muhammed Fouani, saying his government would not condone people of evil intentions in the State.

“He assured Lagos residents, particularly business owners and religious tourists, of adequate security in the state, saying his administration is committed to making the State peaceful, attractive and homely,” the statement read in part.

Furthermore, Governor Sanwo-Olu clarified that the kidnapping of three Lebanese nationals occurred on the waterway en route to Ikorodu, not around Five Cowry in Falomo as reported in the media.

He assured the public that authorities are actively pursuing the kidnappers and taking decisive actions to apprehend them.

The Governor emphasized that security forces are thoroughly combing all necessary areas to ensure those responsible are brought to justice.

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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.

She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others

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