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Bandits release 287 abducted Kaduna schoolchildren after 16 days

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Bandits release 287 abducted Kaduna schoolchildren after 16 days

The government of Kaduna State on Saturday, announced the release of the 287 schoolchildren kidnapped from Kuriga, Chikun Local Government Area, Kaduna State.

Senator Uba Sani, the state governor who made the disclosure on Sunday in a statement he signed and released to newsmen, commended President Bola Tinubu, and the Nigerian Army for their roles in ensuring the return of the abducted Kuriga schoolchildren.

He did not indicate whether or not ransom was paid for their release.

“I wish to announce that our Kuriga school children have been released,” he said.

“Our special appreciation goes to our dear President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for prioritising the safety and security of Nigerians and particularly ensuring that the abducted Kuriga school children are released unharmed. While the schoolchildren were in captivity, I spoke with Mr. President several times. He shared our pains, comforted us, and worked round the clock with us to ensure the safe return of the children.”

The governor hailed the Nigerian Army officers’ bravery in ensuring the schoolchildren’s successful release.

“The Nigerian Army also deserves special commendation for showing that with courage, determination and commitment, criminal elements can be degraded and security restored in our communities,” he said.

“We also thank all Nigerians who prayed fervently for the safe return of the school children. This is indeed a day of joy. We give Almighty Allah all the glory.”

The students from Kuriga’s Government Secondary School and LEA Primary School were kidnapped on March 7, 2024, and taken into the forest by thugs.

The kidnappers set a deadline of March 27, 2024, for the ransom payment and demanded N1 billion in exchange for their release.

Gov Otti charges agency heads on strategies to improve IGR

Dr. Alex Otti, OFR, Abia State Governor, has charged heads of the various ministries, departments and agencies (MDA) of government on the need to come up with workable and enduring strategies that would lead to the improvement of the State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

Governor Otti gave the charge at Government House, Umuahia, on Saturday, during a follow-up retreat where the MDA heads led their teams to present strategies to shore up their revenue profiles and make the state fiscally viable.

He said he expected a situation where the State’s IGR would go up to such a level that the state would no longer resort to loans to finance its 2024 budget.

According to the Governor, “If we do what we should do and we do them right, then there is no reason why the over N400 billion that is supposed to be raised as loans (to finance the 2024 budget) should not reduce to the barest minimum. So, we expect a situation and a scenario where Internally Generated Revenue would spike up and take over our provisions for loans. So, in simple English, what I am saying is that we believe that by the end of the year, we will not borrow as much money than we had put in the budget.”

The Governor said elsewhere, governments generate income to undertake expenditure, describing as a misnomer, a situation where states go to the Federal Government cap-in-hand for allocation. He expressed hope that if the right thing is done, by the end of the year, the State would not have borrowed as much as it put in the budget.

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Governor Otti also used the occasion to clarify the repealing of the pension law for ex-Governors and their Deputies in the State, referring to the action as part of government’s effort to cut the cost of governance and not a political witch-hunt targeted at any individual.

“So, when you saw that we put through our resolve to cut cost of governance by stopping frivolous payments to people who have left government (former Governors and their Deputies), it is because we just believe that the right thing should be done. Very soon we will also be former Governor, so the policy is not targeted at anyone, it’s targeted at good governance, it’s targeted at reduction in the cost of governance. And quite frankly, we believe it is the right thing to do.

“We don’t believe that politics is a business. We believe that people should have things they are doing before coming to serve, and if you have offered yourself to serve, then you should be willing to make the required sacrifices.

“If you find yourself in this place, you should count yourself lucky that people believe in you, gave you their support and their votes. It is a privilege, and the least that is expected of you is to make sacrifices for the betterment of the State. So, the days of sharing money are over, the days of blood tonic politics are also over. This is the time to make sacrifices for the interest of the State,” the Governor buttressed.

In his speech, the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Mike Akpara, said there was need to change the narrative, adding that government must do things differently through the generation of enormous IGR.

While explaining that the government would not tax people unduly, he said that all taxes would be based on things government promised the people and called for all hands to be on deck to generate enough revenue for the state.

“If we want to reduce our debt burden, we must do something differently. We will not continue to do what we’ve been doing before and expect a different result. And what are we going to do? We are going to generate quantum of Internally Generated Revenue, and that is the way to go to make our job a little bit easier and we will be in a position to deliver the dividends of democracy, which we promised the people,” Akpara said.

 

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