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THE NATION

Osinbajo meets IG as policemen protest in Maiduguri

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Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday met behind closed doors with the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The meeting came shortly after the news broke that some policemen were protesting against non-payment of their allowances in Maiduguri, Borno State.

The meeting, which was held inside the Vice-President’s office, came at a time President Muhammadu Buhari was attending the 31st Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Mauritania.

The agenda of the meeting was not made public neither did Idris spoke with journalists at the end of the meeting.

Mobile policemen took to the streets of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, on Monday morning to protest six months’ unpaid allowances.

It was learnt that the officers were posted to the state in January to beef up the security of the troubled state, which had been bedevilled by Boko Haram insurgency for about a decade.

The protesting policemen, who were fully armed, marched in their hundreds to the Borno State Police Headquarters located on a major highway in the town, barricaded the highway, shooting sporadically into the air and scaring off motorists.

Some of the students and workers had to turn back to their homes as they could not pass through the barricade.

Some of the policemen, who spoke on condition of anonymity, lamented that since January when they were deployed in the state on a special operation, they had not been paid their allowances.

They complained that many of them had had to endure inhuman treatment as they had to sleep on the corridor of the office on returning from duty at night.

When contacted, the Commissioner of Police in Borno State, Damian Chukwu, said he was aware of the protest and said the delay in the payment of the policemen’s allowances might not be unconnected with the late signing of the budget.

It was later learnt that the IG waded into the crisis by directing the commissioner in charge of the Police Mobile Force to immediately relocate to Maiduguri to address the crisis.

In a press statement in Maiduguri, the spokesman for the Borno Police Command, Edet Okon, said, “The IG has consequently directed the Commissioner of Police in charge of Police Mobile Force to relocate to Borno State and address the situation.”

He added, “The Borno State Government has also intervened and pledged to assist to better the condition of the visiting PMF personnel.

“The Police High Command is aware of their plight and liaising with appropriate Federal Government agencies to address the situation.

“We are hopeful that since the 2018 budget has been signed by the Presidency, the allowances will be paid soon.

“Meanwhile, efforts by officers of the command yielded results as the situation was brought under control. Members of the public are, therefore, encouraged to go about their lawful activities without any fear or apprehension.”

However, the Force Spokesman, acting DCP Jimoh Moshood, had in a statement in Abuja denied reports that riot policemen protested over the delay in the payment of their special duty allowances in Maiduguri on Monday.

Moshood said that the policemen simply visited the Borno State Police Command headquarters to enquire about the delay of their allowances.

Moshood’s claim was, however, contrary to pictures circulating online, showing policemen holding leaves and firing their weapons in the air.

Moshood explained that the Inspector-General of Police, Idris, had directed the Commissioner of Police in Borno State to explain to the men why there was a delay in the payment of their allowances and to also assure them that “since the budget has been approved, the allowances will be expeditiously processed and paid without any further delay.”

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THE NATION

DSS denies tapping telephone lines of Nigerians

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The Department of State Services (DSS) has denied tapping the telephone lines of Nigerians.

A political group had alleged that the DSS had tapped the telephone lines of Nigerians.

But Mr Peter Afunanya, the Public Relations Officer of the DSS, said in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja that the organisation was committed to its professional ideals and would not engage in unethical conduct.

He said the DSS had been criticised by unpatriotic citizens who fed the public with fake news and hate speeches against it.

The spokesman said that the social media had been awash with wrong information regarding the operations of the DSS that were misunderstood and misrepresented.

“It is obvious that some merchants of violence are determined to use their platforms to misinform the public for their selfish and political ends,” he said.

He warned mischief makers against misleading the public, adding that the law would catch up with them.

“The DSS is a responsible organisation and thus professionally adheres to the ideals of intelligence and security governance expected of it in a democracy,” he said

Afunanya urged the public to disregard the claims of the political group.

He said that the DSS should be left out of politics to maintain its usual transparency and neutrality in the discharge of its mandate.

The spokesman enjoined carriers of fake news and social media manipulators to always think of Nigeria.

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THE NATION

Kebbi Gov. Bagudu signs 2019 N151bn budget

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GOVERNOR Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi state, on Wednesday, signed the state 2019 N151 billion budget into law.

Bagudu, while signing the budget at the Government House, Birnin Kebbi, said it would consolidate the gains achieved in 2018.

He said N104 billion of the budget representing 70 per cent is for capital expenditure while N47 billion representing 30 per cent is for recurrent expenditure.

“The budget will improve on infrastructure, power supply and exploration of mineral resources.

“It will further add value and improve the lives of the people,” he said.

The governor also commended the state House of Assembly for the speedy passage of the budget.‎

Earlier, the state’s Commissioner of Budget and Economic Planning, Alhaji Muhammad Yauri, commended the house ‎for passing the budget on time.

The Speaker, Alhaji Abdulmuminu Kamba, said the house has fulfilled it promised of ensuring speedy passage of the budget with thorough scrutiny.

Kamba also assured that the house would sustain its cordial working relationship with other arms of government in the state

‎The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN

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THE NATION

Airspace to remain open throughout election period – NAMA

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The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has insisted there was no disruption in the provision of air traffic services on Saturday, a day earlier scheduled for the Presidential and National Assembly elections before it was shifted till next Saturday.

The airspace manager said the flight service was in keeping with the agency’s mandate to provide uninterrupted safe, effective, efficient, and economic air navigation services in the country.

The agency also said it had earlier on Friday ensured a 24-hour operation at all Nigerian airports to facilitate the transportation of materials nationwide by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The claim counters Saturday’s claim by INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu that adverse weather condition stalled movement of electoral materials by air.

Some airline sources said apart from slight delays as a result of weather, there was no cancellation of such of flights.

NAMA in a statement by the General Manager, Public Affairs, Khalid Emele explained that it has sustained 24-hour operation in line with the directive of the Minister of State (Aviation), Sen. Hadi Sirika.

It said, “In the same vein, NAMA wishes to reassure all airspace users and the general public that the Nigerian airspace shall remain open for all airspace users before, during and after the rescheduled 2019 general elections.

“Thus, the agency has put in place appropriate contingency measures to ensure safe flight operations within the period, as well as possible extension of operational hours of any domestic airport when the need arises”.

NAMA urged airline operators, the travelling public and other service providers who are dependent on the agency’s services, to go ahead with their businesses as usual.

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