Former defence minister and chief of defence staff, General Domkat Yah Bali is dead. He was 80 years old.
Bali who later became traditional ruler of his native town died Friday, with President Muhammadu Buhari mourning his transition.In a condolence message to the government and people of Plateau, Buhari described Bali as an illustrious son and highly decorated retired military officer.
The President, who spoke with the wife of the deceased, Esther on Friday, also commiserated with other family members, friends and professional associates of the former member of the Supreme Military Council and Armed Forces Ruling Council.
Bali, a member of the Langtang mafia in the Nigerian military in the 80s and 90s, rose through the ranks, with a distinguished military career, reaching the peak as Chief of Defence Staff.
President Buhari said he believes that the records of bravery and patriotism of Gen. Bali, the Ponzhi Tarok, will continue to inspire young military officers.
He also hoped that the foundation Bali laid in all the commands he headed will always be remembered.
The President has also constituted a delegation led by the Minister of Defence, Maj-Gen. Bashir Salihi Magashi (rtd) to visit the family, and condole with government and people of the state over the loss.
President Buhari prayed that the almighty God will receive the soul of the departed and comfort his family.
Bali as defence minister resigned the position in January 1990, when then military president Ibrahim Babangida moved him into another ministry.
It was an unprecedented act of courage in the military and remains so, three decades after.
Bali, who was born on 27 February in 1940 joined the army in 1961.
He had his primary education at Mban, Langtang and from 1955 to 1960, he attended the provincial secondary school at Kuru.
He entered Nigerian Military Training College in 1961 and also attended Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
In 1964, he became a lieutenant and troop commander.
He became captain a year later in 1965. In 1966, he was battery commander and during the Nigerian Civil War, he was a regimental commander.
He was made major in 1968.
Between 1970 and 1971, Bali was commander, Corps of Artillery.
He later became a colonel at the Second Infantry Division in Ibadan.
In 1973, he was posted to Akure as the commander of the 9th Infantry Brigade.
He became the adjutant general Nigerian army in 1975, commander Corps of Artillery in 1976 and in 1978, he was the GOC of the First Infantry Division, Kaduna.
Prior to becoming Defence Minister in 1984, he was Commandant of the Nigerian Armed Forces Command and Staff College from 1981 to 1983 and later director of army training and operations.
Paris Saint-Germain took a huge step towards avoiding an embarrassing early exit from the Champions League as Neymar scored twice in a 3-1 win away to Manchester United on Wednesday.
Both sides still have work to do in their final group games to reach the last 16, but it is PSG who are now in the driving seat in Group H with the French champions, United and RB Leipzig all tied on nine points.
PSG host Istanbul Basaksehir on Tuesday, while United need a point when they travel to Germany.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men were left to rue a host of huge chances early in the second half with the match poised at 1-1 after Marcus Rashford cancelled out Neymar’s early opener.
But Solskjaer’s decision not to replace Fred before he was sent off seconds after Marquinhos scored PSG’s second was a naive mistake which cost his side.
The Brazilian midfielder had twice been lucky to escape a red card before half-time.
Leipzig’s late winner in a 4-3 thrillier in Istanbul earlier on Wednesday piled the pressure on PSG to win and keep their fate in their own hands going into matchday six.
The visitors started brightly in response and went in front after just six minutes.
Neymar and Kylian Mbappe were predictably the danger men and when the latter’s deflected shot fell kindly for the Brazilian, he drilled low past David de Gea.
Fred had a first lucky escape on 24 minutes as Italian referee Daniele Orsato decided a yellow card for was sufficient for a headbutt on Leandro Paredes after reviewing the incident.
United needed just eight more minutes after that reprieve to draw level.
Anthony Martial’s initial effort forced Keylor Navas into his first save of the match, but from the rebound, Aaron Wan-Bissaka fed Rashford, who was credited with his third goal in four appearances against PSG despite his shot taking a huge deflection off Danilo to wrong-foot Navas.
Fred was fortunate again moments later when he trod on Paredes, but it was the Argentine who was booked for a collision between the two.
But if PSG’s luck was out before the break, they got the let-off they needed at the start of the second period through United’s profligacy.
Martial somehow blazed over with the goal at his mercy after brilliant work from Rashford and Edinson Cavani.
Cavani is PSG’s record goalscorer after scoring 200 times in seven seasons at the Parc des Princes, but the Uruguayan was allowed to leave for free when his contract expired in June, not even hanging around as PSG reached their first ever Champions League final in August.
The 33-year-old was inches away from exacting revenge with a delicate chip over Navas that came back off the crossbar before Marquinhos’s brave block denied Martial again.
At the other end Marquinhos also hit the woodwork with a looping header.
Thomas Tuchel’s future as PSG boss would be plunged into doubt by a failure to progress from the group stage, but he made a telling contribution with a change of system to shore up his side’s susceptibility on the counter-attack as Ander Herrera and Mitchel Bakker were introduced.
De Gea produced an incredible save from Bakker low to his left, but that only delayed PSG retaking the lead by a few seconds as, from the resulting corner, the ball broke for Marquinhos to prod home from close range.
Less than a minute after the goal, United were finally down to 10 men as Fred’s luck ran out despite playing the ball before tripping Herrera.
United still came close to salvaging the point they needed to qualify as substitute Paul Pogba’s sweetly struck volley flew just over before Bruno Fernandes headed too close to Navas.
But PSG gained some measure of revenge for their stunning Champions League elimination to United in 2019 by sealing a huge win with a third in stoppage time when Neymar rolled home Rafinha’s cut-back.
By Kazeem Ugbodaga/ PM NEWS
The United States on Monday reacted to Saturday’s massacre of 43 farmers by Boko Haram at a rice farm in Borno, Northeast Nigeria.
The US condemned the brutal killing and sympathised with families of those killed.
“The United States condemns in the strongest terms the November 28 violent attack in Borno, Nigeria.
“The United States offers our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those killed or kidnapped,” a statement from the US Embassy in Nigeria said.
The statement said the US abhorred the attack and pledged to work with Nigeria to defeat terrorism.
“These abhorrent attacks are a stark reminder of why the United States stands with the Nigerian government and people as they fight to defeat terrorism and work to bring the perpetrators to justice,” it said.
Boko Haram terrorists had on Saturday slaughtered 43 farm workers near Maiduguri, Borno, Northeast Nigeria.
The assailants reportedly tied up the agricultural workers and slit their throats in the village of Koshobe.
Tottenham moved to the top of the Premier League with a 0-0 draw against title rivals Chelsea, while Edinson Cavani inspired Manchester United’s thrilling 3-2 win at Southampton on Sunday.
Jose Mourinho’s side climbed above previous leaders Liverpool on goal difference after a sterile London derby at Stamford Bridge.
Tottenham are unbeaten in nine league games and Mourinho seemed happy to frustrate his former club as they adopted a cautious approach with little attacking ambition.
Chelsea have not lost in their last 11 games in all competitions and sit in third place, two points behind Tottenham and Liverpool, who drew 1-1 at Brighton on Saturday.
Fourth-placed Leicester would go second if they beat Fulham on Monday.
Timo Werner thought he had put Chelsea ahead early in the first half with a superb finish, only for an offside flag to thwart the Germany striker.
Chelsea’s Mason Mount forced a good save from Hugo Lloris in the second half, while substitute Olivier Giroud should have done better than shoot straight at the Tottenham keeper in stoppage time.
The drab clash in west London was a stark contrast to United’s dramatic fightback from two goals down at St Mary’s.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were facing a dismal defeat after first-half goals from Jan Bednarek and James Ward-Prowse put Southampton in control.
But Uruguay striker Cavani sparked United’s escape act after coming on at the interval.
Cavani set up Bruno Fernandes to reduce the deficit and the former Paris Saint-Germain star grabbed the equaliser from his team-mate’s deflected shot.
The 33-year-old netted again in the final moments as his third goal since signing as a free agent in October extended United’s winning to four games in all competitions.
“Great impact of course. He is a number nine who wants to be in between the posts, he is always on the move. I’m very pleased with him,” Solskjaer said.
“On the training pitch, in the dressing room and during meal times, how meticulous he is. He knows what he wants to eat, how much he wants to recover — everything!
“It was top movement and his timing is fantastic. His hunger to get on the end of things is the key for a centre-forward.
“Sometimes it hurts and sometimes it doesn’t but to score you have to be in there.”
It was exactly the kind of influential display Solskjaer was hoping for from Cavani when he moved for him after United’s failed pursuit of Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho.
Written off as a panic buy in some quarters, Cavani proved his age should be no barrier to making an impact in the Premier League.
He is only the second player to be directly involved in three goals in a Premier League game after coming on as a substitute for United since Solskjaer scored four against Nottingham Forest in 1999.
United climbed to seventh place, two points adrift of the Champions League places, after setting a club record of eight successive away Premier League wins.
“It is a trait of Manchester United to never give in. Every single one of them, there was absolutely no chance they were going to give up. That’s a big thing for a Manchester United player,” Solskjaer said.
“I was quite calm at half-time. We must have had five or six clear-cut chances, so it was about taking them when we got the chance.”
United goalkeeper David de Gea came off at half-time with a knee injury and Solskjaer said: “Hopefully he can be okay for Wednesday but I’m not sure.”
Boko Haram terrorists have slaughtered 43 farm workers near Maiduguri, Borno, Northeast Nigeria.
The assailants reportedly tied up the agricultural workers and slit their throats in the village of Koshobe.
Leader of Anti-jihadist militias told Babakura Kolo AFP on Saturday that the group has recovered 43 bodies, all of them slaughtered, with six others injured.
“It is no doubt the handiwork of Boko Haram who operate in the area and frequently attack farmers,” he said.
Also, Reuters, citing a village leader, a local fighter with the Zamarmari group and a police source, also reported the attack, putting the death toll to at least 40 people.
A search by the authorities for the attackers has been launched, it added.
The victims were labourers from Sokoto State in northwest Nigeria, roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) away, who had travelled to the northeast to find work, said another militiaman Ibrahim Liman who gave the same toll.
“There were 60 farmers who were contracted to harvest paddy in the rice fields. Forty-three were slaughtered, with six injured,” Liman told AFP.
Eight others were missing, presumed to have been kidnapped by the jihadists, he said.
The bodies were taken to Zabarmari village, two kilometres away, where they would be kept ahead of burial on Sunday, said resident Mala Bunu who took part in the search and rescue operation.
WITH tears streaming down his cheeks, 20 years old Samuel Shekwo, son of the assassinated APC Chairman in Nasarawa State, could not fathom why unknown gunmen would cut short his joy by sending his father into early grave.
The late Philip Shekwo was abducted by some gunmen last Saturday at his Lafia residence opposite Peace House on Kurikyo Road, Bukan Sidi in Lafia before his lifeless body was found the next day a few metres away from his house.
Narrating his father’s ordeal in an interview with our correspondent, Samuel recalled that the late politician was captured by his killers in the toilet after searching extensively for him in the house.
He said: “On Saturday night, we were all at home. My father went to play golf and came back in around 8 pm, and I went to the parlour to greet him. He had just finished eating and was telling us how the game went when I went into my room and left him in the parlour with others as they were watching the news on television.
“A few minutes before 10 pm, one of my course mates at Nasarawa State University called me and we were discussing the whole strike issue. Then from nowhere, I started hearing gunshots all over the house.
“I dropped my phone without even ending the call and rushed out of my room. I went into my parents’ room first to see whether they were fine, and I saw my father coming out from his room. I started switching off the lights because I noticed that we were under attack, so that they (attackers) would not be able to see through the house.
“I went to the parlour and was looking at them from the window. They were shooting from outside the fence. Then one of them jumped the fence into the house and used the butt of his gun to heat the gate’s padlock. He then rolled the gate to the end and the rest members of the gang started trooping in.
“They surrounded the entire house and were shooting from different directions. While four of them were trying to gain entry into the house through the front door, another four were at the backdoor trying to gain access into the house.
“When my father rushed to the palour, I followed him. I told him, ‘Daddy, you are not supposed to be here. These people are looking for you,’ He now told me that he was looking for his phone, and his phone was just by the side stool where he used to sit in the parlour.
“I took the phone and gave it to him, and I escorted him back to his room. He started making calls to security agencies but nobody responded.
“I was also making contacts to see if help could come. I called a friend, Mr Dominic Bako’s son, who is actually a close friend to my father and I am friends with his son too. So, I called him and he told his father that we were under attack.
“When I called him the second time, I could hear his father making contacts, saying that the Chairman was under attack.
“My cousins who were staying with us were also terrified. I told them to go back to their room, lie down and stay calm. But they were worried, so I took them to my room and asked them to lie on the floor while I went back to see what was happening.
“Throughout this period, my father was in his bedroom. But when I noticed that the pressure was much, I thought that they were armed robbers. So I went back to my room and started picking certain valid items and documents to hide. I also took my car key and laptop and hid them.
“Later on when I started hearing their voice, I locked my door and lay down together with my cousin sisters and we were just praying. Later on, I heard two gunshots in the direction of my parents’ room. I thought they had gained access into my parents’ room and I started crying and praying.
“That was when I started hearing voices inside the house. I also noticed that one of them was opening the back door, and I started hearing more voices inside the house. I couldn’t come out at that time because I had locked my door already.
“They were searching round the house but they could not find my father, so they went out through the back door and were lamenting. They appeared frustrated that they could not find my father. That was when they got our security guard who normally sits at the back of the house before moving to the security post at the gate.
“When they got the security guard, they started beating him. We were hearing them from the room as they were asking him where is Oga. He told them that Oga had travelled but they said it is a lie, that Oga was around. They were actually beating him with their machetes because even from the sound, we could hear it.
“Later on, they asked what about the children. We heard he has a son. They were speaking in Hausa. From their ascent, you would know that they were Fulani, and they were not covering their faces.
“When they came to my room and noticed that it was luocked, they pushed the door and forced their way in. They saw us lying down together with my cousin sisters, because my blood sisters were not around.
“They now asked us to stand up. They asked the security guard, ‘Is this Oga’s son?’ He reluctantly nodded his head in the affirmative. Their leader now held me by my shirt and dragged me up. The other one now said since they couldn’t find my father, they should just go with me.
“They asked me to stand up and follow them; that my father must give them the money he was enjoying from the government. As they were about going out with me, one of them with a gun noticed that one of the rooms was locked, so their attention shifted to the place.
“They now detailed one of them to keep an eye on me and the security guard, that if I moved, he should shoot.
“They broke the door and entered but they did not see anybody. On their way out of the room, they decided to check the toilet and noticed that it was locked. That was when they forced their way into the toilet. There they saw him and my mum.
“Even when they had broken the toilet door, they still were not able to enter because my father was pushing from the back and they could not push their way in. Their leader now said since the door was not opening, they should shoot. One of them was about to shoot when my father released the toilet’s door and they got him.
“One thing that baffles me is that they did not manhandle him. They were not even sure if he was the one. They were calling him Moses. They assured us that they were not going to harm him; that it was just money they wanted. He was pleading with them, begging them. My mum too was begging and pleading with them, but they said there was no need begging, it was just money they wanted.
“They left with him and we were at home throughout that night, praying and hoping that they were going to call since they said it was money they wanted, only for us to get the sad news on Sunday afternoon that they had found his body.”
Samuel added: “Aside my mum, I think I was the closest person to my dad, so it is even affecting me more than my sisters. I’m not grieving today because my dad died; I am grieving because someone killed him.
“Already, he has prepared me for it. He told me so many things, though I feel with my age and everything, I’m not ready to take responsibilities. But I learnt courage and wisdom through my dad. I don’t need anybody to tell me about him.
“I know my dad so well. He used to tell me so many things. We travelled together most times and he took me to political activities because I actually told him I wanted to be a politician and he said he was going to support me in whatever I want to do. But he said I must make a difference if I want to be a politician.
“‘You must be a politician with a difference,’ those were his words to me. So I miss him more than anybody. But I learnt to stop crying because I know my dad is in heaven. He was a righteous man and someone that was close to God. I am praying to take over from him politically by God grace.”
A widow in agony
Seated in the parlour and surrounded by sympathisers at the residence of her late husband, Mrs Larai Shekwo gazed into the ceiling, murmuring some inaudible words as the reporter approached her.
Her eyes glistened wit imminent tears as she told the reporter that she spend 35 years in marriage with the late APC Chairman before his untimely death at the age of 62.
She said their marriage is blessed with five children, noting that her husband gave her a life that can best be describe as a fairly tale, and that she has no regrets whatsoever marrying him.
She said: “On that fateful night, around 10:30 pm, I left him in the parlour as he was watching the news and went into the bedroom to sleep. Shortly after, I started hearing gunshots. He ran and met me in the bedroom, saying armed robbers. But from the sound of the gun, I told him they were hired killers
“We started praying and he was making calls to the police for help. We went round the house and were running helter-skelter within the house, looking for where to hide for ourselves.
“They broke into our bedroom but they couldn’t find us. They later found us in the toilet and we were pleading with them. They went away with him. I wanted to go with him but they flung my hand.
“They were asking him whether he was Moses, and he said he was not Moses. They asked him are you the Chairman of the party, he said yes. So they went with him. We thought it was a normal kidnapping, so we were waiting for them to say what they needed.
“While they were going with him, they assured us that they were not going to harm him; that it was only money they wanted. We were thinking that by daybreak, we would hear from them. Unfortunately, we only found his dead body.
“I will miss him. I will not stop missing him till the end of the world.”
She said her husband’s untimely death is only a temporary separation as she hopes to see him again in the bosom of the Lord.
She said late Shekwo was a wonderful husband and father.
“He was my best friend. My marriage was a honeymoon cut short,” she added.
The Interpol has revealed that the three Nigerians busted last week for cyber crime belong to an organised global crime group, operating in 150 countries.
One of the suspects is Onwuka Emmanuel Chidiebere a.k.a Ceeceeboss TMT. The 32 year-old lives in Lekki, Lagos State. He is a native of Aro-Ikpa in Abia State.
The second suspect is Ikechukwu Ohanedozie a.k.a Dozzy. He is 34 years old.
Onuegwu Ifeanyi a.k.a SSGToolz is the third suspect nabbed in a joint operation by the Nigeria Police Cybercrime Unit, INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB), Abuja.
Onuegwu is 35years old and lives at Prof’s Avenue, Umudagu, Mbieri, Mba-itolu LGA, Imo State.
According to Interpol, the Nigerians are believed to be members of a wider organized crime group, known as TMT, responsible for distributing malware, carrying out phishing campaigns and extensive Business Email Compromise scams.
Here is how Interpol describes their mode of operation:
“The suspects are alleged to have developed phishing links, domains, and mass mailing campaigns in which they impersonated representatives of organizations.
“They then used these campaigns to disseminate 26 malware programmes, spyware and remote access tools, including AgentTesla, Loki, Azorult, Spartan and the nanocore and Remcos Remote Access Trojans.
“These programmes were used to infiltrate and monitor the systems of victim organizations and individuals, before launching scams and syphoning funds.
According to the cyber security Group-IB, based in Singapore, the prolific gang is believed to have compromised government and private sector companies in more than 150 countries since 2017.
“Group-IB was also able to establish that the gang is divided into subgroups with a number of individuals still at large. While investigations are still ongoing, some 50,000 targeted victims have been identified so far.
“The year-long investigation, dubbed ‘Operation Falcon, saw INTERPOL’s Cybercrime and Financial Crime units work closely with Group-IB to identify and locate threats, and ultimately, assist the Nigerian Police Force, via the INTERPOL National Central Bureau in Abuja, in taking swift action.
“Group-IB’s participation in the operation came under Project Gateway, a framework which enables INTERPOL to cooperate with private partners and receive threat data directly.
Craig Jones, INTERPOL’s Cybercrime Director highlighted the outstanding cooperation between all those involved in the investigation and underlined the importance of public-private relationships in disrupting virtual crimes.
“This group was running a well-established criminal business model. From infiltration to cashing in, they used a multitude of tools and techniques to generate maximum profits. We look forward to seeing additional results from this operation,” he said.
When the suspects were picked last week, the Nigeria Police shared part of their findings on the gang’s modus operandi.
“Onuegwu Ifeanyi a.k.a SSGToolz specializes in creating, designing, selling of phishing links and hosting malwares on website used by the gang for phishing and hacking purposes.
“He collects charges running into several millions of naira from other fraudsters he mentors and improves their phishing capabilities.
“Onwuka Emmanuel Chidiebere a.k.a Ceeceeboss TMT, a graduate of Business Administration from Imo State University specialises in business email compromise and hacking.
“A comprehensive forensic analysis reveals that he had in his laptop-computer over 50,000 email accounts and websites including passwords of various individuals and corporate entities across the world.
“He recruited the third suspect Ikechukwu Ohanedozie a.k.a Dozzy, a medical student of Imo State University, into the gang. Ikechukwu Ohanedozie sorts and profiles e-mail accounts to determine financial strengths of prospective victims and passes on information obtained therefrom to Onwuka Emmanuel Chidiebere “.
The men are scheduled to be arraigned in Nigeria.
Parents of the kidnapped students of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, Kaduna State, have said they paid between N500,000 to N4 million to get each of their children released.
According to them, while some handed over the ransom to members of the syndicate in Kaduna, the rest of them, who were contacted separately and made to take the ransom to the kidnappers’ enclave on the Kaduna-Abuja highway.
They said the kidnappers also demanded that they bring maltina and milk with the cash.
“They called me yesterday (Saturday) and said if I am unable to pay N1 million, they would kill the girls, marry them or use them as sex slaves.
“On arriving Kaduna, we were told that security personnel were monitoring the bandits in the bush but, surprisingly, the bandits called us to come and wait at Abuja junction.
“They sent us a telephone number to call. We called the number and the person came to take us to a car. Unknown to me, the car owner was also a parent; his daughter was among those abducted.
“We drove on the Kaduna/Abuja road about 11pm to deliver the ransom and other things they demanded for,” one of them said.
According to him, the bandits also asked for crates of maltina drink and cartons of milk from each parent.
“When we got to Dutse, we stopped at a junction leading to the bush. We met soldiers there. They noticed all of us were carrying bags and we told them we were taking money to pay ransom for students who were kidnapped. The soldiers wished us safe journey to the bush and we parked the car at the junction.
“The bandits are very clever, they planned everything very well. We came back and picked the vehicle where we parked by the main road and returned with the girls to Kaduna around 1am on Sunday.”
Another parent said: “Some parents paid N1 million, some paid over N1 million, some paid N2 million, some paid over N500,000, depending on how each parent bargains with the hoodlums because they spoke separately with us.
“Some parents were asked to drop their money at a particular place at Abuja junction and leave the place then somebody picks the money, count it and notify those people in the bush. Four of us went to deliver the money but we didn’t know that we were all victims.
“After series of bargaining, they said I should pay N1 million, but I told them that I could not raise that amount. I told them I have over N500,000 and they told me to bring it.
“I sold my goats, pigs and other belongings to raise the money.”
Ayorinde Oluokun, Abuja/ PM NEWS
The Nasarawa State chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Philip Shekwo, has been found dead.
Mr Bola Longe, Commissioner of Police in the state, confirmed the death of the APC chieftain to reporters on Sunday in Lafia.
According to him, the body of Shekwo was found in an area near his house in Lafia on Sunday.
The Police Commissioner said the corpse has been evacuated to the Dalhatu Araf specialist Hospital.
No suspect has yet been arrested over the kidnapping or murder.
Longe had earlier confirmed that the APC chairman was abducted from his residence in Bukan-Sidi, Lafia around 11 p.m. on Saturday.
Popular Nollywood actress, Regina Daniels, has reacted to reports linking her billionaire husband, Ned Nwoko to another woman identified as Sara.
Sara was reported to have taken the role of Regina Daniels as the latest wife in Ned’s house after the actress posted her (Sara) finger and captioned it ‘wifey’.
However, Regina in a recent post clarified that the lady is her friend who came to visit.
Regina further described the widespread reports as fake news.
Her post read: “The news about Sara being my husband’s wife is completely false. She is my friend who came visiting!!!”
Ned Nwoko married Nigerian Nollywood actress Regina Daniels in 2019 making her the 6th in his fleet of wives.
They both welcomed a baby boy named Munir in June 2020.
By Funmilayo Adeyemi/ PM NEWS
Three pupils from Anambra, Imo and Ogun states were the brightest and smartest, according to the results of the National Common Entrance Examination (NCEE) released today.
He scored 199 out of 200 marks.
Onwuamanan Udochukwu from Imo came second with a score of 198.
Aderemilekun Salaam from Ogun was third with a score of 197.
Adamu said 24,416 candidates, out of the 93, 929 registered, passed the examination, scoring a minimum of 66 marks.
But 16,714 candidates did not take part at all.
Adamu said the ministry has boosted the 26,625 capacity of the 110 unity colleges with 720 additional slots.
“As has been the tradition for decades, the admission criteria include 60 per cent on merit, 30 per cent based on states’ representation in the unity colleges and the remaining 10 per cent covers other sundry considerations.
“Consequently, in this year’s admission, the 60 per cent merit-based admission will come first, followed by the 30 per cent equality of states and 10 per cent discretion.
“I have, therefore, directed that within 72 hours of the receipt of the results, all principals are to complete both the merit based (60 per cent) and the 30 per cent of equity of states’ admission.
“ The selection meeting to be held at a designated date and venue will deal with the shopping and swapping of candidates to meet the 30 per cent states representation as much as possible,’’ Adamu said.
The national merit score is 142, but candidates who score 66 can be admitted ahead of candidates who scored 141 or between 100 and 140.
The Federal Government on Friday in Abuja inaugurated Federal Steering Committee and Federal Technical Committee of the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery for Economic Stimulus (N-CARES).
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, while inaugurating the committees, urged members to ensure that post-COVID-19 was not injurious to Nigerians and the economy.
Ahmed said that diverse and severe impacts of the pandemic were being felt across the world with significant consequences on informal businesses, households and farmers who depended on their farm produce to survive.
“As part of windows of opportunity to mitigate the effect of Covid-19, the Federal Government is in the process of accessing a World Bank loan of 750 million dollars on behalf of the states to stimulate the local economy and support vulnerable household’s consumption.
“Federal Government has created several windows of interventions as captured in the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari on March 30.
“This is to among other things respond robustly and appropriately to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, identify fiscal measures to enhance oil and non-oil government revenues and reduce non-essential spending,” she said.
Ahmed said that the implementation of the N-CARES was in line with the Federal Government priorities as outlined in the ESP.
The Federal Steering Committee is made up of ministers, permanent secretaries, while the technical committee comprised directors of key MDAs.
She said that members of the committees were selected in line with the role their MDAs played in the recovery of the Nigerian economy as well as the fulfilment of lifting 100 million people out of poverty.
According to Ahmed, the major role of the steering committee was to provide overall policy direction for the implementation of the programme and advise the president appropriately.
“Also, the federal technical committee would be responsible for the programme oversight, overall guidance, support, coordination, strategic direction, review and approval of the annual work programme as well as budget for the Federal CARES Support Unit (FCSU).”
The Minister of State, Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mr Clement Agba, said that the N-CARES programme was a multi-sectoral programme designed to provide emergency relief to the vulnerable and poor Nigerians.
These according to Agba, including smallholder farmers and SMEs that were adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic using a World Bank loan of N750 million over a period of two years (2021 – 2022).
Agba said that the economy was currently faced with challenges in the economic downturn in its history.
He said that government intervention had become crucial as most of the sectors had been adversely affected.
In his remarks, an Executive Director with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Dr Lateef Shittu, said that N-CARES Programme was to bring succour to the citizenry at this difficult period.
Shittu said that as key stakeholders in the Nigeria agenda, the NGF and all state governors applauded the programme.
“This is evident in the support already given by the NGF secretariat which is a policy hub and resource centre that serves as the technical and administrative arm of the NGF. “
Shittu said that the forum would support peer learning and experience sharing in a bid to distil best practises across the 36 states of the federation in the implementation of the programme.
Dr Abdulkarim Obaje, National Coordinator, Community and Social Development Project (CSDP), an initiative of the Federal Government, said N-CARES programme was aimed at mitigating the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on citizens, infrastructure and the economy.
Obaje also assured that the CSDP was technically prepared to provide all that was needed to drive the programme.
He said that the Federal Government has shown high commitment towards lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty over the next 10 years.
Ghana’s former president Jerry Rawlings, a member of the radical and charismatic generation of figures who emerged in West Africa in the 1980s, died on Thursday aged 73, the presidency said.
The former air force flight lieutenant led two coups in 1979 and 1981, railing against corruption and stamping his authority on the nation before ushering in democracy.
Under his uncompromising command, several former heads of state and army bigwigs were executed, but to many of Ghana’s poor, Rawlings was their champion.
The son of a Scottish father and Ghanaian mother, the larger-than-life figure became a national icon as he headed Ghana for 20 years until 2001, being voted in as president at the ballot box in 1992 and re-elected in 1996.
Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo said in a statement that Rawlings had died “after a short illness” on Thursday morning at a hospital in Accra.
“A great tree has fallen, and Ghana is poorer for this loss,” the president said.
Akufo-Addo ordered flags around the country to be lowered to half-mast for seven days of national mourning from Friday and said he was suspending campaigning for the upcoming election in December.
“May his soul Rest In Peace,” Mahama, also a former president of Ghana, said.
African Union Commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat, said “Africa has lost a stalwart of Pan-Africanism and a charismatic continental statesman”.
“My sincere condolences to his family, the people and the government of Ghana,” he wrote on Twitter.
Rawlings got the first taste of power in 1979 when he banded together with other junior officers frustrated over widespread corruption to take control.
He quickly handed the reins to an elected president but was soon back at the top following another coup on 31 December 1981.
Starting out as a populist inspired by the left-wing policies of the Soviet Union and Cuba, he eventually turned to free-market economics to boost Ghana’s suffering economy.
He was a contemporary and later a friend of Thomas Sankara — “Africa’s Che Guevara,” the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary who came to power in Burkina Faso in 1983 at the age of 33.
But Rawlings also heeded the calls for multi-party democracy that swept Africa in the early 1990s, and in 1992 held the first elections in his homeland since 1979.
With all the levers of power at his disposal, he beat out the opposition and then claimed re-election four years later in 1996.
He finally left office for good in 2001 after seeing the NDC lose its grip on power as his vice-president lost at the polls.
The first Civilian Governor of old Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, is dead.
His death was confirmed Wednesday morning by a leading member of his People’s Redemption Party (PRP), Senator Shehu Sani.
Musa, a left-wing politician, was elected Governor of Kaduna during the Second Republic.
He held office from October 1979 until he was impeached on 23 June, 1981.