Super User

Super User

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it has discovered other fraudulent dealings involving Covid-19 funds, World Bank loan, Abacha recovered loot at the ministry of humanitarian affairs.

In a statement on Sunday, Dele Oyewale, EFCC spokesperson, said the funds were released to the ministry by the federal government to execute poverty alleviation programmes.

The anti-graft agency said its recent investigation into the affairs of the ministry has led to the recovery of N32.7 billion and $445,000 so far.

The EFCC added that “suspended officials” of the ministry were linked to the fraudulent practice, saying those found wanting will be prosecuted accordingly.

“At the outset of investigations, past and suspended officials of the Humanitarian Ministry were invited by the Commission and investigations into the alleged fraud involving them have yielded the recovery of N32.7billion and $445,000 so far,” the statement reads.

“Discreet investigations by the EFCC have opened other fraudulent dealings involving Covid-19 funds, the World Bank loan, Abacha recovered loot released to the Ministry by the Federal Government to execute its poverty alleviation mandate. Investigations have also linked several interdicted and suspended officials of the Ministry to the alleged financial malfeasance.

“It is instructive to stress that the Commission’s investigations are not about individuals. The EFCC is investigating a system and intricate web of fraudulent practices. Banks involved in the alleged fraud are being investigated. Managing Directors of the indicted banks have made useful statements to investigators digging into the infractions.

“Those found wanting will be prosecuted accordingly. Additionally, the EFCC has not cleared anyone allegedly involved in the fraud. Investigations are ongoing and advancing steadily. The public is enjoined to ignore any claim to the contrary.”

On Wednesday, Betta Edu, suspended minister of humanitarian affairs, said she had no link with the N30 billion purportedly recovered by the EFCC.

On January 8, President Bola Tinubu suspended Edu and directed the EFCC “to conduct a thorough investigation into all aspects of the financial transaction” involving her ministry.

 

The Cable

Investors have continued to backpedal on the stock market, especially in the banking sector, on the back of the proposed recapitalization of the banks announced late last month by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

The risk-off sentiment resulted in the loss of N633 billion as investors took profits from the banks.

Consequently, the market capitalization of all the listed equities fell to N57.87 trillion at the close of the holiday-shortened week from N58.498 trillion in the previous week, representing a 1.1 per cent decrease.

Also, the benchmark All Share Index (ASI) of the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) declined by 1.1 per cent to 102,314.56 basis points from 103,437.67 basis points in the previous week, driven by losses in the shares of Guaranty Trust Company (GTCo) Plc (-13.75%), FBN Holdings Plc (-11.15%) and Zenith Bank Plc (-5.88%).

Month-to-Date (MtD) and Year-to-Date (YtD) returns slipped to -2.1 per cent and +36.8 per cent, respectively.

Further analysis shows that activity level was also impacted by the shortened trading week, as the total trading volume and value weakened by 69.2 per cent Week-on-Week (w/w) and 50.5 per cent w/w, to 734 04 million units and N31.58 billion respectively.

Sectoral performance was negative, reflecting the sour mood in the market.

Precisely, all the major sectoral indices declined with the banking sector, leading with 7.2 per cent depreciation, followed by the insurance sector 2.4 per cent; consumer goods sector (-1.3%); oil and gas sector (-0.3%) and the industrial goods sector which fell by 0.2 per cent.

Analysts at Cordros Capital, in their projection for the week, said: “Looking forward, we anticipate that market sentiments will remain negative, with investors continuing to react unfavourably to the potential dilution stemming from the CBN’s recapitalization initiative.”

“In the medium term, we expect investors’ sentiments to be influenced by developments in the macroeconomic landscape and corporate actions,” they added.

Analysts at Parthian Securities, however, projected that the market performance will be mixed this week, saying: “We expect investors sentiment to be mixed at this week’s trading session.”

 

Vanguard

ISRAEL’S REPORTS

IDF: A short while ago, in response to the launches that were fired toward northern Israel overnight, IDF fighter jets struck a significant Hezbollah weapons manufacturing site in the area of Nabi Chit, deep inside Lebanon.

Attached is a video of the strike: https://bit.ly/4aFcEwI

** IDF: Over the past hours, IAF fighter jets and additional aircraft struck Hezbollah military compounds and terrorist infrastructure in the areas of Kfarkela, Maroun El Ras, and Markaba in southern Lebanon. In addition, a Hezbollah observation post was struck in the area of Matmoura.

Throughout the day, IDF soldiers struck targets to remove threats in the areas of Ayta ash Shab and Souaneh in southern Lebanon.

Attached is a video of IDF strikes in southern Lebanon over the past few hours: https://bit.ly/3UeQ34b

** IDF: Following a situational assessment, it was determined that as of 00:00 Israel time tonight (Monday), changes will be made to the Home Front Command’s defensive guidelines.

As part of the changes, it was decided to restore educational activities across Israel. In the areas of the northern border and communities near the Gaza Strip, educational activities will resume in subject with restrictions. In addition, the restriction on gatherings is removed in green areas.

Attached is the Home Front Command's defensive guidelines: https://idfanc.activetrail.biz/ANC15042422

The instructions published on the official Home Front Command channels must be followed. The full instructions are updated on the National Emergency Portal and the Home Front Command app.

 

HAMAS’ REPORTS

Hamas: We consider the Iranian military attack on the occupying entity a natural and deserved response to the aggression against the embassy in Damascus, and the peoples of the region have the right to defend themselves against the Israeli aggression. We call on all the forces of the nation to continue to support the resistance and the Al-Aqsa flood.

** Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades - Ramallah:

With God's help and strength, our fighters engaged in fierce clashes today at dawn with the Zionist occupation forces north of the city of Ramallah with machine guns, confirming direct casualties among their ranks.

** Clashes intensified between the Al-Qassam Brigades and the occupation forces penetrating north of Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip.

** - Hamas offered, in exchange for the release of any civilian prisoner, the release of 30 Palestinian prisoners

Hamas demanded the release of 50 Palestinian prisoners for every female soldier, including 30 life sentencers.

- Hamas demanded the lifting of the sanctions imposed on all Palestinian prisoners after October 7

Hamas demanded that the third phase include a commitment to end the siege and begin the process of rebuilding the Gaza Strip

** In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Press Statement

The scenes that documented the occupation soldiers protecting the terrorist settler militias as they vandalized and burned citizens’ property in the village of Beitin, northeast of the city of Ramallah; Clear evidence that these barbaric attacks are an organized and systematic process, supervised by the fascist occupation government, and in which the roles of the fascist occupation army complement the herds of extremist settlers, in implementation of the Zionist agendas aimed at seizing Palestinian land, Judaizing it, and expelling its people from it.

We call on our people, our revolutionary youth, and our heroic resistors in the West Bank, to escalate their clash with the occupation army and the settler militias, and to make them pay the price for their crimes against our people and our land. We also call on the international community and the United Nations to condemn this barbaric behavior and work to hold accountable the fascist settler government, which is practicing the most heinous acts. Crimes and violations against our safe people in their towns, homes and farms.

Islamic Resistance Movement - Hamas

Sunday: Shawwal 5, 1445 AH

Corresponding to: April 14, 2024 AD

** Urgent || ABC, about an American official:

- At least 9 Iranian missiles penetrated Israel's defenses and hit two air bases

- 5 ballistic missiles hit the Nevatim air base, damaging a transport plane and an unused runway

- 4 ballistic missiles hit the Negev Air Base, but there were no reports of major damage

 

Israel Defense Forces/Hamas Brigade al-Qassam

WESTERN PERSPECTIVE

Ukraine's top commander says Russia aims to capture Chasiv Yar by May 9

Ukraine's top commander said on Sunday Russian forces aimed to capture the town of Chasiv Yar by May 9, setting the stage for an important battlefor control of high ground in the east where Russia is focusing its assaults.

The fall of the town west of the shattered city of Bakhmut by the date Moscow marks the Soviet victory in World War Two would indicate growing Russian battlefield momentum as Kyiv faces a slowdown in Western military aid.

Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, who warned this weekend that the situation in the east had deteriorated, said Russia was focusing its efforts west of occupied Bakhmut to try to capture Chasiv Yar before moving towards the city of Kramatorsk.

Chasiv Yar in the Donetsk region lies 5-10 kilometres (3-6 miles) from Bakhmut, the devastated city captured by Russian forces in May last year after months of bloody fighting.

Kyiv's brigades were holding back the assaults near Chasiv Yar for now and had been reinforced with ammunition, drones and electronic warfare devices, he said in a statement on the Telegram messenger.

"The threat remains relevant, taking into account the fact that the higher Russian military leadership has set its troops the task of capturing Chasiv Yar by May 9," he said, without elaborating.

Ukrainian Defence Minister Rustem Umerov, writing on Facebook, said he visited Ukrainian units on the eastern front on Sunday and described the situation as "tense", with Russia trying to make headway in areas west of Bakhmut.

"Despite the numerical superiority of the enemy, we effectively disrupt these plans thanks to the courage, training and professionalism of the defenders," he wrote.

Russia marks May 9 with a big military parade on Red Square overseen by President Vladimir Putin who won a new six-year term in the Kremlin in March.

ATTACKS ON THE ENERGY SYSTEM

The war has escalated in recent weeks with Russia staging three massive air strikes on Ukrainian power plants and substations, raising fears over the resilience of an energy system that was hobbled in the war's first winter.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told Ukrainians in his nightly address on Sunday: "The situation at the front during such a hot war is always difficult. But these days - and especially on the Donetsk front - it's getting harder."

The Ukrainian leader has warned the Kremlin may be preparing to launch a big offensive in late spring or summer.

It is unclear where that attack would come, but Russia has focused its attacking efforts in the Donetsk region.

Ukraine has this year tried to find a pressure point to strike back against the Kremlin, using domestically-produced long-range drones to bomb oil facilities deep inside Russia.

Ukraine now faces manpower challenges and artillery shell shortages.

Rob Lee, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, a think-tank in Philadelphia, said on X that Chasiv Yar would likely prove an important battle.

"Chasiv Yar is located on defensible high ground. If Russia takes the (town), they could potentially increase the rate of advance deeper into Donetsk (region) as part of an expected summer offensive," he said.

"Russian forces will still have to cross the canal to take the (town), but they have now reached the canal southeast of the (town). Immediate increased deliveries of ammunition could prove critical."

 

RUSSIAN PERSPECTIVE

Russian Armed Forces hit IRIS-T air defense system launcher, Ukrainian ammunition depot

Over the past 24 hours, the Russian Armed Forces hit a launcher of the IRIS-T anti-aircraft missile system, the Russian Ministry of Defense said.

"The launcher of the German-made IRIS-T anti-aircraft missile system and an ammunition depot were destroyed," the ministry said. The personnel and equipment of the Ukrainian Armed Forces were also defeated in 129 districts.

The Russian Armed Forces also shot down 41 unmanned aerial vehicles, three Hammer and JDAM guided bombs, as well as one HIMARS MLRS shell of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the ministry said. "Over the past 24 hours, air defense systems shot down 41 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles, 3 Hammer guided aerial bombs made in France and a JDAM made in the US, as well as a missile of the US-made HIMARS multiple launch rocket system," the ministry said.

At the same time, units of the Russian North group of forces hit the personnel and equipment of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the regions of Kharkov and Sumy in the Belgorod direction. "In the Belgorod direction, units of the North group of troops, with the support of aviation and artillery, hit the personnel and equipment of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the areas of the settlements of Ternovaya, Gatishche in the Kharkov region and Radyanskoye in the Sumy region," the ministry said.

 

Reuters/Tass

I never thought I could attend the Eid prayer held on 10th April, a day after I clocked the definitive age of 60: I have now joined the senior citizens' rank. Not being confident I could attend the Eid prayer seems an understatement; for actually, in February, the way I was feeling within me, it was looking to me that I would not witness Ramadan, not to talk of participating in the Eid marking its end.

I easily get exhausted from the littlest of tasks, making me always gasping for air to fill my lungs. It reached a stage where I could not walk ten metres without bending down, holding my knees and inhaling from both my mouth and nose.

It all came to a head when the news of the death of my mother reached me in the early hours of January, 8. I could not walk at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja which made the flight authorities move me in a wheelchair to the base of the plane, where I climbed the stairs with great effort, stopping at the plane’s entrance to gather myself.

The same routine was enacted when our plane landed at the Malam (don’t know why they spelt it MALLAM with a double l) Aminu Kano International Airport, where I had to be wheeled to the vehicle that conveyed me to Potiskum. To ease my difficulty, I had to be injected intravenously with bronchodilators on the three-hour journey.

Throughout the week I was at Potiskum for her seven-day prayers, I was ensconced in my room and couldn’t be at the family house where the main gathering took place. And I became dependent on my wives for many things a healthy person would do for himself.

And it is not as if I had not sought medical attention. God knows I had always advocated for our leaders to attend hospitals at home. I did the same. Some seven years ago I went to the Asokoro General Hospital where an x-ray was done for me. They said there was nothing wrong, but I knew something was wrong with me. Even then, I started feeling exhausted because I could not do what I normally did easily. And it had nothing to do with ageing.

I did some tests in some private laboratories, and the results were normal. Then I went to NISA Hospital in Abuja where I was looked after by a pulmonologist, James Agada. It is not a run-of-the-mill hospital and not cheap, moreover, I paid for VIP treatment. Yet, my case kept deteriorating till I became almost an invalid.

Then I had an opportunity to visit my governor, Mai Mala Buni, over an issue that needed some clarifications and he saw my condition. He became alarmed and sought to know what happened. I explained what I could to him, including my voyage to hospitals here that were quick to give me a clean bill of health that I knew was not true.

He undertook the process to reverse the ailment and give me back some lost health. He got in touch with an agent, Shettima Alkali, a kind-hearted professional, who got me a visa to Saudi Arabia. Buni, a man of faith, said: “To be there, drinking the holy Zamzam water and praying at the Ka’aba itself would do you wonders.”

And so began my journey in search of health.

I left Nigeria on 12th February from the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport via Air Peace. I will talk about Air Peace and its wonderful, friendly crew another day.

As had become the norm, I was wheeled into the plane from Abuja to Kano to board the Saudi flight and at the Kano airport too I was wheeled into the plane. It was the same procedure at Jeddah Airport until I reached the apartment where I was to stay. Once there I found it easier and more convenient since I had my son, Abubakar Sadik, a big, strong fella to do the wheeling.

In Saudi Arabia, one goes through the healthcare system from the Primary Health Care Centres except if one wants to go straight to a private hospital. To conserve funds and also see how their system works, I started from the former despite my almost desperate condition.

However, if you are an Umrite (my coinage for one undergoing the Umrah), you have an inalienable right to be accepted and diagnosed in government hospitals free of charge, even though there are fee-paying options.

Relying on that right, I started by going to the Jeddah East General Hospital where various tests were carried out on me: blood tests, electrocardiogram (ECG), x-rays, computerised tomography (CT) scans, etc., and the results were good. With all health issues eliminated, everything pointed to problems to do with pulmonology.

Still, I went to a Primary Health Centre this time around. Their primary health centres are as equipped as our general hospitals, if not better. Being the entry point to the health system, every General Hospital has a PHC that refers patients to it. And so this one referred me to King Abdul Aziz General Hospital, Jeddah, where the same tests conducted at Jeddah East were repeated with the same conclusion.

With the certainty of what my ailment was, I left Jeddah for Madinah, arriving at Makkah the next day. I searched online for a good pulmonologist and each search result had one Egyptian, Hebatullah Kamal Taha of Saudi-German Hospital, Makkah, coming up tops. She also comes a bit more expensive than the others. I then booked and paid for an appointment with her for the next day.

At exactly 10 am the next day, accompanied by my wife, Aminat Zakari, and son wheeling me, I was ushered into Heba’s office. A petite, friendly, middle-aged woman. After analysing the results from the two General Hospitals we went to in Jeddah, she made us do a test to ascertain the level of oxygen in my blood and then prescribed some drugs, telling us to return after five days.

** Hassan Gimba is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Neptune Prime.

 

Generative AI is getting better every day. We now have ChatGPT4, Claude 3, Gemini, Perplexity, and whole gamut of specialized GenAI tools that await your discovery. And people are using these tools in creative ways.

For example, UNICEF now explicitly states that they will not accept job applications that use Generative AI. I wonder how they would know when 70% of job applicants use GenAI today. Maybe if  the application was an obvious copy/paste or careless applicants included “as of my last knowledge update” in their documentation. In that case, the application should be trashed because it’s a bad application, not because the applicant used GenAI.

Which brings me to today’s question: “Should it matter if a proposal is written using Generative AI?

How Is Generative AI Different?

We are already using different types of AI to write everyday correspondence. I know you used AI in your proposal process, even if you didn’t think of it as artificial intelligence. For example:

  • Autocomplete is a simple AI automation program.
  • Spellcheck and Grammar Check are pattern recognition AI.
  • Google Translate is AI interpretation.

Generative AI is using probabilistic algorithms – a fancy way of saying it guesses at the next most common associated word or phrase, versus “knowing” anything – to create plausible text that may or may not be based on a known reality. It still takes human cognition to understand if the text is factually correct and edit it to make sense in the context of the full document.

3 Ways GenAI Can Improve Proposal Writing

I liken Generative AI in proposal writing as using a good assistant. It can help, but it’s not going to generate a perfect proposal for you on the first try. At least, not yet. I see three ways that we can use GenAI in the proposal process today. I’m sure you can think of more – add them in the comments!

1. Understanding Requests for Proposals

I already use the Ask Your PDF Research Assistant custom ChatGPT tool to summarize long documents and highlight key themes. This is especially useful when reports don’t have a strong executive summary.

Most donor RFPs have many pages of rules and regulations that crowd around a few select pages of technical explanations of what the donor really wants. I remember a USAID RFP that was 175 pages long, with only 12 pages detailing what was to be done. GenAI tools can cut through the clutter and pull out specific action items.

2. Developing Strong Win Themes

Once you know what you want to do, GenAI can build on proven responses – both from within an organization’s past experiences and from the greater corpus of development knowledge.

For example, DevelopMetrics has created DELLM, a GenAi tools that makes the Development Clearinghouse Exchange useful. It uses DEC entries, tagged and coded by development experts, to find which interventions were the most effective in different sectors and countries. That’s beyond the ability of any single human, but GenAI can do it easy-peasy.

3. Writing Compliant Submissions

I do feel sorry for local organizations trying to compete with traditional implementing partners. The 15 pages of certifications and representations required in many RFPs can be overwhelming even for me – and I’m a US citizen, Native American English speaker, and have 20+ years experience reading bureaucratic forms.

There is no way a 20-person NGO with 10 years of deep local connections that USAID wants, can ever hope to submit a compliant proposal when English is the 2nd or 3rd language learned – unless they use GenAI. That’s one reason I created the ADAIR and ADS Bots, tested GenAI on the FAR, and I am building a FAM/FAH Bot. We need more and better tools for local firms if we’re ever going to increase localization.

If you think GenAI isn’t ready to write proposals yet, then check out Grant Assistant – an LLM designed specifically to co-create proposals with human editors that include strong objectives, complaint activities, and buzzword usage that will be indistinguishable from (or better than) proposals solely written by humans.

What Are Generative AI Downsides?

Fake Quality: A good proposal put through Generative AI tools can become a great proposal, even a winning proposal. Hence, there is a risk that a subpar proposer could use GenAI tools to win a contract and then be unable to implement a successful project in compliance with the donors regulations.

How would that be any different from a subpar organization hiring a great proposal writer to create a winning proposal? Or donors not doing enough due diligence before awarding funding?

Overwhelming Volume: GenAI tools also make it easier to create proposals, allowing more organizations to submit more proposals using the same resources. Hence there is a risk that donors could be overwhelmed by too many quality proposals to judge properly under existing grading schema.

Might that really say that donors should have better RFPs? Or have different submission and grading criteria? Or just use GenAI themsevles to make proposal assessment easier?

Of course this all portends a day when machines will write proposals for other machines to review and reward – kinda like product review sites and Google Search today.

This is a 100% handcrafted post. Though how would you know if I used GenAI in its production – or not?

 

ICTworks

Iran launched a swarm of explosive drones and fired missiles at Israel late on Saturday in its first-ever direct attack on Israeli territory, risking a major escalation as the United States pledged "ironclad" backing for Israel.

Sirens wailed and Reuters journalists in Israel said they heard distant heavy thuds and bangs from what local media called aerial interceptions of explosive drones. Authorities said a 7-year-old girl was critically injured.

Israel's military spokesperson Daniel Hagari said Iran launched dozens of ground-to-ground missiles at Israel, most of which were intercepted outside Israeli borders. They included more than 10 cruise missiles, he said.

The Iranian salvo amounted to more than 200 drones and missiles so far, Hagari said, and had caused light damage to one Israeli military facility.

The Israeli military said later that it was not advising any residents to prepare to take shelter, revising an earlier alert in what appeared to signal the end of the threat.

Israel's Channel 12 TV cited an unnamed Israeli official as saying there would be a "significant response" to the attack.

Iran had vowed retaliation for what it called an Israeli strike on its Damascus consulate on April 1 that killed seven Guards officers including two senior commanders and said its strike was a punishment for "Israeli crimes". Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the consulate attack.

"Should the Israeli regime make another mistake, Iran's response will be considerably more severe," the Iranian mission to the United Nations said, warning the U.S. to "stay away". However, it also said Iran now "deemed the matter concluded".

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned Iran's attack, saying he was "deeply alarmed about the very real danger of a devastating region-wide escalation."

The U.N. Security Council aims to meet at 4 p.m. ET (2000 GMT) on Sunday, a diplomat said on condition of anonymity, after Israel requested it condemn Iran's attack and designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization.

U.S. President Joe Biden, who on Friday had warned Iran against an attack, cut short a weekend visit to his home state of Delaware. He returned to Washington and met national security advisers, including his secretaries of defence and state, in the White House Situation Room. He pledged to stand with Israel.

"Our commitment to Israel’s security against threats from Iran and its proxies is ironclad," he said on X after the meeting.

The Gaza war between Israel and Hamas, now in its seventh month, has ratcheted up tensions in the region, spreading to fronts with Lebanon and Syria and drawing long-range fire at Israeli targets from as far away as Yemen and Iraq.

British maritime security company Ambrey said in a statement that drones were also reportedly launched against Israel by Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi group.

Those clashes now threaten to morph into a direct open conflict pitting Iran and its regional allies against Israel and its main supporter, the United States. Regional power Egypt urged "utmost restraint".

While Israel and Iran have been bitter foes for decades, their long feud has mostly unfolded via proxy forces or by targeting each other's forces operating in third countries.

U.S. and British warplanes were involved in shooting down some Israel-bound drones over the Iraq-Syria border area, Channel 12 reported. Two U.S. officials said the U.S. military had shot down dozens of drone aircraft headed for Israel.

ESCALATION

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose official jet took off shortly after the attack began, convened the war cabinet at a military headquarters in Tel Aviv, his office said.

Israel and Lebanon said they were closing their airspace on Saturday night. Jordan, which lies between Iran and Israel, had readied air defences to intercept any drone or missile that violated its territory, two regional security sources said.

Residents in several Jordanian cities said they heard heavy aerial activity.

Syria, an ally of Iran, said it was putting its ground-to-air defence systems around the capital and major bases on high alert, army sources there said.

The European Union, Britain, France, Mexico, Czechia, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands all condemned Iran's attack.

Israel had been bracing for an Iranian response to the Damascus consulate strike since last week, when Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Israel "must be punished and shall be" for an operation he called equivalent to one on Iranian soil.

Iran's main ally in the region, the Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah that has been exchanging fire with Israel since the Gaza war began on Oct. 7, said early on Sunday it had fired rockets at an Israeli base.

 

Reuters

Nigeria has become the first country in the world to roll out the "revolutionary" new Men5CV vaccine against meningitis, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

Nigeria is one of the hotspots of the deadly disease in Africa. Last year, a 50% rise in annual cases was reported across 26 African countries regarded as meningitis hyperendemic countries, according to the WHO.

“Nigeria's rollout brings us one step closer to our goal to eliminate meningitis by 2030," Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director General, was quoted as saying in a statement.

Between last October and mid-March this year, 1,742 cases were suspected in the country, with 153 deaths recorded in seven states in Nigeria, data from the WHO shows.

The new vaccine is reported to protect against the five major strains of the disease that are prevalent in Nigeria, unlike the initial vaccine that works against only one strain, said the WHO.

 

Reuters

Security officers have arrested 16 “gunmen” suspected to be members of a group identified as Oodua nation agitators for invading the state secretariat at Agodi, Ibadan, Oyo. 

A source told NAN that the gunmen who were more than 10 blocked the secretariat, Total Garden road, to make way for other members of the group to force their way into the secretariat complex.

The gunmen, who were said to be dressed in military camouflage, were subdued with the arrival of security personnel.

The security personnel were able to arrest some of the gunmen while others took to their heels and were pursued into the nearby bushes and forest.

Sources said the gunmen were heading to the Oyo state house of assembly premises located within the secretariat when they were repelled.

They were also said to have removed the Nigerian national flag in the secretariat and replaced it with their “Oodua nation flag”, before the intervention of the security personnel.

“It was in the process of leaving the assembly complex that we started hearing gun shots and everyone began running for safety,” NAN quoted an eyewitness as saying.

The gunmen were said to have arrived in an ash-coloured Toyota Hiace bus and two motorcycles, which have now been seized and taken to the state police headquarters.

Adewale Osifeso, spokesperson of the Oyo police command, confirmed the incident.

The arrested suspects have been moved to the police headquarters at Eleiyele, while security personnel were stationed at the secretariat gate.

 

The Cable

Not fewer than 10 persons have been killed in an attack in Mandung-Mushu and Kopnanle villages of Bokkos Local Government Area of Plateau State.

The attack began at about 10pm on Friday after the villagers had retired for the day.

It lasted for about two hours. A source told our correspondent that the attack has created tension in Bokkos town and environs as some of the victims and those with gunshots wounds were brought to Cottage Hospital in the town.

The source said five members of one family were killed in the attack, adding that similar attack last week led to the death of his brother’s pregnant wife.

In a statement, Bokkos Cultural Development Council (BCDC) Vanguard condemned the attack, saying the attackers targeted innocent, unarmed, and peaceful residents as they slept.

The statement signed by Chairman of BCDC Vanguard, Farmasum Fuddang, said the unfortunate incident happened despite security presence nearby.

“This brazen attack, which predominantly targeted children, appears to be part of a calculated effort to instill fear and perpetrate further displacement within our communities.”

“Just hours before this tragedy unfolded, BCDC Vanguard submitted a petition to the Department of State Services (DSS), challenging a leaked memo that falsely accused our people of planning violence against Fulani residents. We unequivocally stated that the intelligence behind the memo was fabricated and defamatory.

“Despite our efforts to rectify these falsehoods, the security apparatus failed to protect our community from the very threats we highlighted. The timing of this attack, following closely on the heels of the DSS’s erroneous warning of an impending assault on Fulani communities, raises serious concerns about collusion or deliberate neglect.

“Should the authorities fail to provide satisfactory explanations within the shortest possible time, we are prepared to pursue legal recourse. Enough is enough—we will not allow our people to be targeted and vilified while those responsible for our safety turn a blind eye,” the statement read.

Confirming the attack, Plateau State Governor, Caleb Mutfwang, described it as unfortunate and unacceptable.

The governor in a statement by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Gyang Bere, said the needless occurrence also happened at a time the government was facilitating the return of displaced persons to their homes, and warned perpetrators of these dastardly acts to desist forthwith.

 

Daily Trust

Page 1 of 295
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Nigeria’s Super Falcons qualify for 2024 Olympics at South Africa’s expense

Super Falcons of Nigeria have qualified for the women’s football event of the 2024 Olympics…

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