TOP 10 NEWS MAKING THE ROUNDS IN NIGERIA TODAY, MONDAY
1. ‘Govt Is Saddened By The Ugly Situation’ – FG Reacts To Edo Train Kidnap
The federal government of Nigeria has described the Saturday attack on the Tom Ikimi Train Station in Edo State as a sad development.
The government in a statement on Sunday by the Director of Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Transportation, Mr. Henshaw Ogubike however assured that efforts are already ongoing to rescue the abducted persons.
Gunmen kidnapped a yet-to-be-identified number of people from the train station in the Igueben Local Government Area of Edo State.
The victims were waiting to board a train to Warri in Delta State when the assailants stormed the station shooting sporadically.
The report said security operatives had been deployed to bushes around the area to rescue the victims and arrest the fleeing kidnappers.
Confirming the attack in a statement, the Police Public Relations Officer in Edo, Chidi Nwabuzor, explained that the abductors, armed with AK 47, invaded the train station on Saturday evening and began shooting into the air before abducting their victims, who were intending travellers.
On Sunday, the government assured that the kidnapped passengers would be rescued by security operatives.
2. FG Shortlists 20 Candidates For Accountant General’s Replacement
Twenty candidates have been shortlisted by the Federal Government for the position of a new and substantive accountant-general of the federation (AGF).
According to TheCable, in a circular released by the Federal Government, twenty candidates were drawn from different ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
Recall that the former AGF, Ahmed Idris was arrested in Kano State after he failed to honour invitations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The anti-graft agency had invited him to answer questions over an allegation of N109 billion fraud.
Days after his arrest, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed suspended Idris.
Chukwunyere Anamekwe, who was chosen to replace Idris in an acting capacity also removed.
The Federal Government in the circular explained that the shortlist followed reports of the anti-corruption agencies on the screening of prospective candidates that applied to participate in the process for the appointment of a substantive AGF.
It said the accreditation process for the shortlisted candidates would commence on Monday, January 9.
3. Edo Train Attack: Five Victims Rescued
Five passengers allegedly abducted in the attack on a train station in the Igueben Local Government Area of Edo State have been rescued.
A retired police officer was part of the victims rescued.
Recall that gunmen at 4 pm on Saturday invaded the Igueben station and kidnapped more than 30 passengers waiting to board the train.
It was reported that the gunmen armed with AK 47 stormed the train station, shot sporadically and abducted the passengers.
A further report has it that a combined team of security personnel while combing the bush rescued the victims unhurt.
The victims that were rescued are two adults and three minors.
The Edo State Command Spokesperson, Chidi Nwanbuzor, said the rescue was made possible in collaboration with other security agents including the local vigilante and hunters.
4. 2023: Nigerians Can’t Be Stopped From Voting Peter Obi – Labour Party Declares
The spokesperson of the Labour Party (LP), Yunusa Tanko says attempts by opposition party members to dissuade Nigerians from voting for Peter Obi won’t work.
The LP spokesperson stated this while debunking reports that the Labour Party does not have enough agents for the polling units ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
According to him, the party has more than enough agents to be in charge of all polling units in the country for the 2023 election.
This is as he urged members of the public and supporters of the party to disregard reports that the party does not have agents for 90,000 polling units.
Tanko in a statement on Sunday said those behind the fake reports are opposition members already getting scared of the party’s growing popularity.
He added that Nigerians are ready to vote for Peter Obi and Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed in the February 25 presidential polls and no attempt to convince them otherwise will work.
5. Leave Atiku Alone, Focus On The Real Sick Presidential Candidate – PDP Campaign
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Council has dismissed reports that its presidential candidate, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, has fallen ill and flown abroad.
An online platform had claimed that the PDP flagbearer is sick and has been flown to London, the United Kingdom, for medical treatment.
The media platform quoted a source as saying that the Wazirin Adamawa was flown from Dubai, United Arab Emirates to the UK this weekend amid presidential campaign rally schedules.
“Atiku is not feeling fine; he is in the hospital receiving treatment,” the source who is reportedly a member of the PDP PCC was quoted as saying.
“That’s why he is not back in Nigeria for the presidential campaign. He was in Dubai but has now left Dubai for London for treatment. He has been flown to the UK for treatment. That is why he is still abroad,” he added.
But reacting in a conversation with The PUNCH, the spokesman of the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Organisation, Kola Ologbondiyan, called on those desirous of identifying sick candidates to beam their searchlights “on the right persons.”
He said, “why can’t they focus on those who are sick? Are they not seeing a candidate who is often teleguided on what to say each time he appears before the public? They always whisper to him what to say.
“We’ve seen a candidate who receives support from both sides to be able to stand on a podium to speak. Why are they leaving a sick candidate to be spinning lies about a healthy candidate? This is shocking. If they want to write about sick candidates, they should focus on the right persons.”
6. CBN Clarifies Fresh Directive To Banks, Says There Is Enough New Naira Notes To Meet Demand
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has clarified that it did not ban Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) from paying customers the new notes over the counter.
The CBN in a memo had directed the banks to load their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) with only new notes to ensure that the currency circulates across the nation ahead of the January 31 deadline.
Clarifying reports that it stopped over the counter withdrawal, the CBN’s Director of Corporate Communication, Osita Nwanisobi, disclosed that the directive to the banks to dispense new notes via ATMs was to complement over-the-counter transactions and increase the circulation of the redesigned notes.
He stated that DMBs have enough new notes to circulate across the nation ahead of the January 31 deadline when old notes will cease to be a legal tender.
He told ThisDay that adequate plans have been made to heighten the circulation of the new notes, adding that speculations that the banks do not have enough new notes for circulation were false.
Whole urging the general public to continue to use the old notes as they remain legal tender, Nwasinobi explained that the old notes are more prominent in the banking halls because they are still in circulation and remain legal tender.
7. Anambra: Hoodlums Burn Police Station
The Umuchu Police Station, along the Umuchu-Achina road, Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State has been burnt by some hoodlums.
Hoodlums invaded the police station on Sunday at about 3 am and set the facility on fire.
A further report has it that the police facility was recently renovated by members of the Umuchu Improvement Union as it was destroyed during the #EndSARS protest in 2020.
A source that spoke with Punch said the community leaders had renovated the station and its adjourning infrastructure and upgraded it to fit the status of a divisional police station.
The community leaders thereafter donated it to the Nigeria Police Force to help in the fight against insecurity in the area.
No casualty was recorded in the attack as security operatives had vacated the station to another location after it was destroyed during the #EndSARS protest and were yet to return.
There was no police officer on duty at the time of the attack as the station had been vacated.
8. Terrorism: FG To Resume Trial Of Boko Haram Suspects – Jedy-Agba
President Muhammadu Buhari-led government is set to commence the prosecution of Boko Haram suspects.
The suspects are being held in a military facility in Kainji, Niger state by March 2023.
The Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Beatrice Jedy-Agba disclosed this at the weekend.
According to Jedy-Agba, extensive plans and preparations have been put in place for the resumption of the prosecution of the suspected Boko Haram suspects.
Jedy-Agba claimed that the Buhari administration is committed to dispensing justice, assuaging the feelings of victims/survivors as well as decongesting the holding facility firm and irreversible.
She said the delay in the trial of the accused persons might be traceable to extenuating factors relating to diligent investigation and most importantly the need to put in place adequate infrastructure and measures necessary for proper and fair trials to meet minimum global standards.
9. Edo Train Station Attack: NRC Shuts Ekehen Station Indefinitely
The Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) has announced an indefinite shutdown of Ekehen Station in Edo State following unknown gunmen attack during the weekend.
Some gunmen stormed the station on Saturday evening and abducted scores of passengers waiting to travel to Delta State.
The incident has attracted reactions from concerned bodies and Nigerians across the board as it happened barely one year after the March 28, 2022, attack by terrorists on the Abuja-Kaduna train, resulting in the death of about 14 passengers while 65 others were abducted.
In a statement, however, delivered to newsmen on Sunday, the NRC posted affirmed the shutting down of the train station, saying the order was with immediate effect and will remain closed till further notice.
10. Top Northern Governor Reveals Only Thing That Can Stop Tinubu From Winning 2023 Presidency
Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule says the northern Governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are solidly behind the ambition of the party’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu.
This is as he boasted that Tinubu is fully on course to win the 2023 presidential election and succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to him, only God can stop the APC candidate from winning the February polls.
The Governor made the assertion in Kokona Local Government Area of his state while speaking during the flag-off of the party’s campaign for its senatorial candidate in Nasarawa West.
Sule said the Governors would commit every necessary resource to ensure Tinubu’s victory at the forthcoming election.
Talking specifically about Nasarawa State, Sule said the goal of the APC in the state is to ensure victory for Tinubu, win the governorship seat as well as the three senatorial seats, five houses of representatives, and 24 state assembly slots.