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Senate urges FG to upgrade PH to Maiduguri Rail Line to standard gauge

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On Wednesday, the Nigerian Senate adopted a motion advocating for the Federal Government to convert the Eastern Rail Line, which runs from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, from a narrow gauge to a standard gauge rail.

The Senate argued that the use of narrow gauge is outdated globally, and Nigeria should not settle for it. The motion, sponsored by Senator Victor Umeh representing Anambra Central Senatorial District and co-sponsored by 16 others, emphasized that the Eastern Rail Line is the longest and oldest among rail lines in Nigeria, serving four geographical zones.

Senator Umeh underscored the benefits of a functional rail system, stating that it would alleviate pressure on Nigerian roads. He called for increased government funding for the rail system, starting from the 2024 budget.

The Senate noted that the Eastern Rail Line is crucial as the only direct link from Maiduguri to Port Harcourt Deep Sea Port for export processing activities.

Recalling that the previous administration borrowed $6.8 billion for the standardization of certain rail lines, the Senate insisted that a similar approach should be taken for the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri rail line. The Senate expressed concern over the failure and abandonment of the $3.2 billion rehabilitation contract awarded in April 2022, resulting in overgrown weeds and vandalized tracks on the narrow gauge.

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Other senators, including co-sponsors, supported the motion, emphasizing the advantages of a functional rail transport system in Nigeria. Senate President Godswill Obot Akpabio sustained the prayers and urged the Senate Committee on Land Transport to ensure that all four geopolitical zones within the Eastern Rail Line corridor benefit from the ongoing Railways Standardization and Modernization Programme of the Federal Government.

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‘Some people have turned into monitoring spirits because of Tinubu’ – Joe Igbokwe

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Joe Igbokwe, a prominent member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State, raised concerns on Saturday about the constant monitoring of President Bola Tinubu. Igbokwe claimed that some individuals have resorted to witchcraft and “monitoring spirits” to keep an eye on Tinubu.

He explained that these individuals are observing Tinubu closely to catch any mistakes or mishaps, wherever he goes. Posting on his Facebook page, Igbokwe predicted that this scrutiny will persist for the next eight years.

He wrote: “Some people have turned to monitoring spirits. They follow PBAT anywhere he goes to see if he will make mistakes, if he will fall down, or if he will be received very well in any country he goes to. This is witchcraft and they will do this for 8 years. Mark this.”

Tinubu had a slip during the Democracy Day celebration at Eagles Square on June 12. Addressing the incident later at a Democracy Day dinner at the Presidential Villa, the President commented: “Early this morning, I had a swagger and it’s on social media. They’re confused about whether I was doing bugger or babariga.

“But it is a day to celebrate democracy. Why doing dobale on the day? I’m a traditional Yoruba boy. I did my dobale.”

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‘We’re still owed salaries in Abia State University’ – ASUU

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The Abia State University chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has claimed that many of its members did not receive their April and May salaries, and those who were paid had deductions from their salaries. ASUU Chairperson Chidi Mbah and Secretary Victor Obisike stated that despite announcements from the Abia government and social media reports indicating that salaries had been settled, only a few staff members with accounts at commercial banks received their April salaries, and even fewer received their May salaries.

The ASUU leaders highlighted that this inconsistency in salary payments and deductions has caused financial difficulties, anxiety, and uncertainty among the affected staff. They noted that staff members who did receive their April or May salaries experienced unexplained deductions ranging from N8,000 to N53,000.

This irregular payment system has made it difficult for the unions within the university to determine the status of their check-off dues, which are usually deducted at the source. Additionally, ASUU emphasized that 11 months of outstanding salary arrears remain unpaid, despite repeated assurances from the government.

ASUU expressed its support for Governor Alex Otti’s efforts to improve Abia State University but urged government officials to avoid politicizing the salary payment issue. They appealed to the state government to promptly address the concerns raised and ensure that all outstanding salaries, including the arrears, are paid in full to alleviate the financial hardships faced by the university staff.

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Sanusi: Ado Bayero was never Emir of Kano – Gov Yusuf’s spokesman

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Sanusi Bature, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Abba Yusuf of Kano State, has asserted that Aminu Ado Bayero was never the Emir of Kano. According to Bature, former Governor Abdullahi Ganduje appointed Bayero as the Emir of the eight metropolitan local governments of Kano city.

During an appearance on Arise Television, Bature explained that Ganduje’s appointment of Bayero as emir was part of a political maneuver that compromised the integrity of the historic Kano Emirate, which predates Nigeria and its constitution by over a thousand years.

Bature stated: “The governor’s action was intended to protect the emirate’s integrity as an institution. The Emirate of Kano has a history that predates Nigeria, with people living under a single Emir for over a thousand years. Ganduje’s administration politicized this history, which Yusuf promised to rectify during his campaign to restore the emirate’s lost glory.”

He further remarked, “This is not the first time an Emir has been deposed; Ganduje did it, and Sanusi left Kano for peace to prevail. Now Sanusi has returned to Kano after the law was repealed.”

Clarifying Bayero’s status, Bature said, “Aminu Ado Bayero was never the Emir of Kano. He was appointed as the Emir of the eight metropolitan local governments of Kano city. With the revision of the law under a unified Kano, the emirate Bayero served no longer exists. He was the Emir of the Kano city emirate, not the entire 44 local governments of Kano, a status created by Ganduje’s 2019 Emirate law.”

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Governor Yusuf deposed Ado Bayero and reinstated Muhammed Sanusi as the Emir of Kano. Despite this, Ado Bayero has refused to leave his Nassarawa palace and has challenged the state government’s action in court.

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