Below are the headlines found on The Guardian Online Newspaper for today, Friday, 9th March, 2018.

Fri, 09 Mar 2018
Calls for the immediate rescue of the 110 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram in Dapchi, Yobe State, featured prominently as Nigeria celebrated International Women’s Day yesterday.
The President’s wife, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, summed up the pleas with the charge: “Leave our daughters alone! Leave our daughters alone! Leave our daughters alone!”

She noted that “as a mother,” she shared the “sorrow and agony of the parents,” expressing her earnest desire that efforts by government for the girls’ release would yield speedy results.

At the National Centre for Women Development in Abuja, Mrs. Buhari stressed that for Nigeria, the day must reflect the nation’s pain and sorrow, following the Chibok abduction, and now Dapchi’s.

She therefore unveiled the ‘Leave Our Daughters Alone’ theme, which she described as a strong call for an end to all abductions, urging the media to spread the message, and governors’ wives to do the same in their various states.

Earlier, the wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, congratulated women as they marked the day. She, however, regretted that the celebrants in Nigeria were witnessing the worst times.

At another event to commemorate the day, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said: “Such abductions are a blow to the efforts to increase girls’ education. And especially for Dapchi, this is an attack on the efforts to ensure more women take on science courses.”

Guterres, who was represented by the Director, United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Ronald Kayanja, said the organisation was committed to zero tolerance of sexual harassment and has mapped out plans to improve reporting and accountability.

Giving credit to women who have stood out in the fight for equality, he said: “The activism and advocacy of generations of women has borne fruit. There are more girls in school than ever before; more women are doing paid work and in senior roles in the private sector, academia, politics and in international organisations, including the United Nations.”

Also, the House of Representatives yesterday reiterated its call for the prompt rescue of both the Dapchi and Chibok girls.

While adopting a motion by Mrs. Stella Ngwu, Speaker Yakubu Dogara expressed the chamber’s readiness to partner the executive arm of government to pass the Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill.

The lawmakers also resolved to boost support for women in their campaign for gender mainstreaming and parity in the country, and mandated the committee on Women Affairs and Social Development to ensure compliance.

“I am saddened that while some of the abducted Chibok girls are still in captivity, another set of school girls in Dapchi were abducted. Nigeria women have also been the worst victims of violent activities of herdsmen. Many have been killed, raped and widowed, and have lost children and property,” Ngwu said.

The Senate on its part said it would give priority attention to the issue of 35 per cent affirmative action, particularly in the appointment of women.

Former Aviation Minister, Senator Stella Oduah, who disclosed this to journalists said a revised version of the bill would be voted upon, passed and sent to State Houses of Assembly.

The bill seeks 35 per cent representation in federal ministerial appointments and 20 per cent at state level.

Last year, the proposal failed at the upper legislative chamber, as it garnered only the votes of 49 senators, instead of the 73 required to ensure the success of the bill.

Oduah, who is also the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Women Affairs, said: “The President of the Senate has made that promise and all senators are in agreement. They have concurred. It is the right thing to do, and it is way overdue.”

Fri, 09 Mar 2018
Advice on what could be done to end the incessant clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the country was again tabled before President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday.
This time, it came from the Gbong Gwom Jos, Da Jacob Gyang Buba, traditional ruler in a state that has witnessed decades of violence.

The Gbong Gwom told Buhari, who was on a two-day official visit to Plateau State, that the solution to the problem rests in the establishment of state police.

He regretted that had the initiative been implemented, scores of innocent lives would not have been wasted, notifying the president also of the country’s need to devolve power to the states.

Responding, Buhari told his host that the National Assembly was addressing the issues and that a resolution would be found shortly.

The president commissioned some roads, amid chants of ‘Sai Buhari!’ wherever he went. He also attended a town hall meeting.

Following touchdown earlier at the Yakubu Gowon Airport, Buhari was received by Governor Simon Lalong and his Nasarawa State counterpart, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, among others.

And restating his commitment to good governance, the president said his priority remains: securing the nation, boosting the economy and curbing corruption.

“From the very time we came until now, we have been able to do our best, and we remain focused on delivering on our promises,” he said yesterday, when he received a delegation from King Salman of Saudi Arabia at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Buhari disclosed that on Boko Haram, Nigerians in the affected states were in the best position to explain the positive changes they have witnessed since the inception of the administration in 2015.

He also expressed appreciation to the King Salman Aid and Relief Centre, and the Saudi Development Fund for relief items worth $10 million donated to displaced persons in the North East.

The leader of the Saudi Arabian delegation, Nasser Bin Mutlaq, described the visit and donation as evidence of the good relations both countries have had for years.

Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, however, has described Buhari’s plan to visit his state as politically motivated, alleging it is a plot to revive the fortunes of the “dead” All Progressives Congress (APC) chapter.

“I hear that the president is coming to our state. I have not been told the president is coming and why he is coming. He has the right to come to any state. Maybe the president is coming to make sure he improves the fortunes of the APC that is dead in Rivers State.

“Apart from Jesus Christ, we don’t know of anyone who has raised a dead thing. APC is a dead party in Rivers State. No matter how you fast and pray, it will never wake up,” he said.

He told people not to bother themselves about reports that Buhari is coming for security reasons. “We don’t have security challenges in the state. We have never had herdsmen killings or crisis in the state, except when some criminals tried to disrupt the peace and they were checked. We resolved that challenge,” he said.

According to the governor, if Buhari is visiting because of kidnappers and armed robbers, then the visit should be extended to all the 36 states of the federation.

Fri, 09 Mar 2018
Mr. Adebayo Shittu, minister of Communications, has stated that plans are underway by the Federal Government to set up an ICT Development Bank that will provide funding for the industry inoder to promote and encourage young entrepreneurs in Information Communication Technology, ICT.
The minister disclosed this in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, during the launch of the Bayelsa Ecosystem and Ignition Week, organised by the Young Innovators of Nigeria in collaboration with the Bayelsa State Government.

Represented by Mr. Peter Jack, former director general, National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, the minister noted that the ICT Bank will among other services, reduced the dependence on commercial banks for funding and also offer lower interest rates and grow the ICT industry.

He hinted that in pursuant of the ministry’s mandate of leveraging ICT in its entire ramifications and in order to promote local manpower of ICT sector, the ministry was implementing as part of the 2017 budget, incubation hubs across the six geopolitical zones in the country so as to boost empowerment and growth in the sector.

He said: “The ministry is also thinking of promoting the establishment of the ICT development bank just like the Bank of Agriculture and Bank of Industry so as to promote and assist the immediate funding of the ICT industry instead of depending on commercial banks which have high interest rates.

“The current administration at the federal level has been conscious of the role of ICT and has, therefore, been committed over the last three years to ensuring that ICT facilities and services are expanded rapidly across the country.

We are working round the clock to ensure that very soon the broadband penetration in the country would have risen above 20 percent. Let me also state here that the achievement of 30 percent growth in broadband by the end of 2018 is sacrosanct.”

Fri, 09 Mar 2018
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has failed to inaugurate the board of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) within the time-frame set by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, had issued a circular penultimate week directing all the ministers to inaugurate boards of agencies and parastatals of government.

The minister, who opted to inaugurate the boards of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), which he chairs, that of the National Productivity Centre and Michael Imoudu National Institute of Labour Studies (MINILS) in Abuja today, insisted that the board of NSITF would not be inaugurated until a nine-man panel of enquiry he instituted on February 15, 2018 submits its report.

Ngige had, while inaugurating the panel, also announced a 30-day suspension of some of the general managers of the Fund to pave way for investigation.

Meanwhile, the disregard to the directive of the President has not gone down well with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said in Abuja yesterday that the action of the minister is a clear disregard to the directive of the President that the boards of all the parastatals must be inaugurated on or before Friday, March 9, 2018.

He said: “Well, I know that the President has given a directive that the boards of all government parastatals must be inaugurated on or before Friday this week. The NLC secretariat has not got any letter to the effect that the board of the NSITF would be inaugurated on Friday. Such a step would be disobeying the directive of the President.”

However, in a memo with reference number ML.AC/52/1 addressed to some of the invited guests to the occasion obtained by The Guardian in Abuja, the board to be inaugurated at the conference room of the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation slated for today (Friday) were not clearly stated.

Also, none of the board members of NSITF had been contacted or sent letters to be in Abuja for the ceremony.

On the board are a former General Secretary of NUPENG, Frank Kokori who is Chairman of the board; Deputy President of the NLC, Peters Adeyemi; Treasure of Congress, Khaleel Ibrahim; representative of Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), representative of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the managing director and three executive directors of NSITF and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Employment who represents the ministry on the board.

Fri, 09 Mar 2018
President Muhammadu Buhari has commiserated with the family of the late Ted Mukoro.
Mukoro, who was the first actor to play the role of Village Headmaster, died on Wednesday at the age of 89.

His Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina disclosed this in a statement.

Buhari also sent his condolences to the entire Nollywood family and the advertising community over the loss of the renowned thespian, advertiser and voice talent.

He said the late advertising guru, spent all his life promoting effective communication, good entertainment and healthy community relations. 

Fri, 09 Mar 2018
Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, has appointed Bolaji Tunji as Special Adviser, Communication and Strategy. Tunji, a former Executive Director of the Sun Newspapers, is taking over from Yomi Layinka, who has been redeployed as Special Adviser, Ibadan Media City Project. A statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Olalekan Alli, disclosed this. Until [] 

Fri, 09 Mar 2018
The Chief Judge of Delta State, Marshal Umukoro, has disclosed that the ongoing criminal justice reform in the state would aid speedy trial. Justice Umukoro disclosed this yesterday in Asaba,at a stakeholders' meeting on criminal justice reform. He said the reform was in response to the calls for qualitative justice delivery, efficient prosecution of crimes [] 

Fri, 09 Mar 2018
Two factions of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kaduna State have commenced the sale of forms for the upcoming local council poll. The two factions are the Shaibu Idris-led group, to which Governor Nasir El-Rufai belongs, and the Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi faction. Acting Secretary of the Idris group, Yahaya Baba Pate, told journalists at [] 

Fri, 09 Mar 2018
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has failed to inaugurate the board of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) within the time-frame set by President Muhammadu Buhari. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, had issued a circular penultimate week directing all the ministers to inaugurate boards [] 

Fri, 09 Mar 2018
A Nigerian-based non-governmental organisation, Connected Development (CODE), has written a petition to the National Assembly (NASS) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA) for withholding public information on 2017 capital projects across several communities. CODE, which also alerted the Independent Corrupt Practices [] 

Fri, 09 Mar 2018
Former Governor of Kaduna State and erstwhile Chairman of the People's Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, has cautioned public office holders under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari against excessive use of political power against opponents and other Nigerians. He said they might be called upon to account for their misdeeds in the [] 

Fri, 09 Mar 2018
Father, daughter caught having sex in their backyard in the U.S. A father and his daughter were arrested last Tuesday in Florida, United States of America after allegedly being caught having sex in their backyard, according to reports by the Northwest Florida Daily News. Justin Bunn, 39, and his 19-year-old daughter, Taylor Bunn, were taken [] 
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