Bauchi Govt Declares June 27 Public Holiday For PVC Registration

Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed speaks at the Government House in Bauchi State.

 

The Bauchi State Government has declared Monday, June 27 as a public holiday to enable eligible voters who are yet to register for their Permanent Voters Card to participate in the ongoing registration exercise.

This is contained in a press statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Governor, Mukhtar Gidado.

READ ALSO: Orubebe Holds Private Meeting With Wike After Dumping PDP

According to Gidado, the state-wide public holiday is to “enable citizens of the state who attained the age of 18 years after the 2019 general elections or lost their permanent voters card or even changed their location to take advantage of the ongoing INEC continuous voters registration exercise and obtain their Permanent Voters Card (PVCs).”

Governor Mohammed is also worried about the low participation of eligible voters for the exercise and he is directing all political appointees and other public office holders to mobilize registrants in their respective electoral wards for the exercise.

“Governor Bala Mohammed equally expressed serious concern on the low turn-out of eligible voters and therefore directed all hon. commissioners, special advisers, senior special assistants, board chairmen, directors-general, executive secretaries, permanent secretaries, and other public office holders, to proceed to their respective electoral wards to mobilize eligible registrants to come out en-mass and register.”

EU Grants Candidate Status To Ukraine As US Ships Weapons

France’s President Emmanuel Macron (L), President of the European Council Charles Michel (C) and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen (R) attend a press conference during an European Council in Brussels on June 23, 2022. JOHN THYS / AFP

 

European Union leaders granted candidate status Thursday to Ukraine and Moldova in a strong show of support against Russia’s invasion, as the United States said it was sending Kyiv more high-precision rocket systems.

The West’s latest attempts to rally behind Ukraine came as Russia closed in on key cities in the country’s embattled east and prompted growing global concerns with restrictions in gas and grain exports.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the EU decision on his country and Moldova as “a unique and historic moment”, although the two former Soviet republics face a long path before joining the bloc and its benefits of free movement and a common market.

“Ukraine’s future is within the EU,” said Zelensky, who had been working the phones for weeks.

“We will win, rebuild, enter the EU and then will rest. Or probably we will not rest.”

French President Emmanuel Macron said that the decision by EU leaders sent a “very strong signal” to Russia that Europeans support the pro-Western aspirations of Ukraine.

President Vladimir Putin had declared Ukraine to be part of Moscow’s sphere and insisted he was acting due to attempts to bring the country into NATO, the Western alliance that comes with security guarantees.

European powers before the invasion had distanced themselves from US support for Ukraine’s NATO aspirations and EU membership is at least years away.

Ukraine and Moldova will have to go through protracted negotiations and the European Union has laid out steps that Kyiv must take even before that, including bolstering the rule of law and fighting corruption.

Weapons to fight Russian gains

The White House announced that it was sending another $450 million in fresh weapons to Ukraine including new High Mobility Artillery Rocket systems, which have been at the top of Kyiv’s wish list.

The so-called Himars system can simultaneously launch multiple precision missiles at an extended range.

An initial four units have already been delivered, with Ukrainian soldiers being trained to operate the equipment, after President Joe Biden’s administration said Kyiv had offered assurances it would not fire into Russia.

Ukraine’s needs have been increasingly urgent as Russia — which failed to take Kyiv immediately after invading on February 24 — advances in the east, tightening its grip on strategically important Severodonetsk and its twin city Lysychansk across the Donets river.

Taking the cities would give Moscow control of the whole of Lugansk, allowing Russia to press further into the Donbas region and potentially farther west.

Ukraine acknowledged Thursday that it had lost control of two areas from where it was defending the cities, with Russian forces now closer to encircling the industrial hubs.

Britain’s defence ministry said some Ukrainian units had probably been forced to withdraw “to avoid being encircled”.

“Russia’s improved performance in this sector is likely a result of recent unit reinforcement and heavy concentration of fire,” it said in its latest intelligence update.

A representative of pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine told AFP the resistance of Ukrainian forces trying to defend Lysychansk and Severodonetsk was “pointless and futile.”

“At the rate our soldiers are going, very soon the whole territory of the Lugansk People’s Republic will be liberated,” said Andrei Marochko, a spokesman for the army of Lugansk.

The Russian army also said Thursday that its bombings in the southern city of Mykolaiv had destroyed 49 fuel storage tanks and three tank repair depots, after strikes killed several Ukrainian troops Wednesday.

‘Only grannies left’

The northeastern city of Kharkiv near the Russian border was nearly empty on Wednesday, AFP reporters said, a day after shelling by Moscow’s forces killed five people there.

“Last night the building next to mine collapsed from the bombardment while I was sleeping,” said Leyla Shoydhry, a young woman in a park near the opera house.

Roman Pohuliay, a 19-year-old in a pink sweatshirt, said most residents had fled the city.

“Only the grannies are left,” he said.

In the central city of Zaporizhzhia, women were training to use Kalashnikov assault rifles in urban combat as Russian forces edged nearer.

“When you can do something, it’s not so scary to take a machine gun in your hands,” said Ulyana Kiyashko, 29, after moving through an improvised combat zone in a basement.

‘Weaponising’ grain and gas

Western officials have also accused Russia of weaponising its key exports of gas as well as grain from Ukraine, contributing to global inflation and rising hunger in the world.

“We are very clear that this grain crisis is urgent, that it needs to be solved within the next month,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on a visit to Turkey.

“Otherwise we could see devastating consequences,” she said.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged African nations to pressure Russia for a safe route for grain.

“African capitals matter and they do influence Russia’s position,” he told African journalists.

A US official warned of new retaliatory measures against Russia at the Group of Seven summit being attended by Biden in Germany starting Sunday.

Germany ratcheted up an emergency gas plan to its second alert level, just one short of the maximum that could require rationing in Europe’s largest economy, after Russia slashed its supplies.

“Gas is now a scarce commodity,” Economy Minister Robert Habeck told reporters, urging households to cut back on use. Demand for gas is lower in the summer but shortages could cause heating shortages in the winter.

France is aiming to have its gas storage reserves at full capacity by early autumn, and will build a new floating methane terminal to get more energy supplies by sea, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said.

A Kremlin spokesman reiterated its claim that the supply cuts were due to maintenance and that necessary equipment from abroad had not arrived.

AFP

Bandits, residents reach peace pact in Niger State

Some communities in Niger State have entered a peace pact with bandits that have been terrorising their communities. The community leader of Kusherki, in Rafi Local Government Area, Garba Kusherki, who made this revelation on Thursday, said a delegation has commenced talks with the bandits. He said the bandits had earlier called for an agreement

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Buhari holds bilateral meeting with Jamaica PM

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), met with the Jamaican Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, on Thursday, in Kigali, Rwanda, on the sidelines of the 26th edition of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Buhari, lauding the relations between both countries, said,  “Our relationship dates back in time, to generations ago. Thank you for strengthening

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Wike receives Orubebe, PDP senators in Rivers

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Bandits Kill Zamfara Polytechnic Lecturer After Payment Of N5m Ransom

Sanusi Halilu has been killed, five weeks after beeing abducted by bandits in Zamfara State.

 

The abducted Abdu Gusau Polytechnic Lecturer in Zamfara State who doubles as the Student Affairs Officer of the school, Sanusi Halilu, has been killed by his abductors after payment of five million naira ransom for his release.

Sanusi Halilu was killed after five weeks in captivity.

A close source told Channels Television that a five million Naira ransom was paid to the bandits on Tuesday in a bush near some villages along Kaduna – Zaria road, in Kaduna State.

The bandits confirmed his death less than 24 hours after the payment of the ransom, an indication that he was killed long ago even when negotiations for his release were on.

READ ALSO: Banditry: IGP Deploys Additional Policemen To Kaduna-Abuja Highway

Sanusi was kidnapped alongside others on his way to Abuja for NYSC Mobilisation of the polytechnic students.

Meanwhile, the 29 wedding guests earlier abducted in the state have regained their freedom.

The Secretary of an association to which the victims belonged in Zamfara State, Ashiru Zurmi said that the victims are currently on their way to Gusau, the state capital.

“Our members have regained their freedom today, I can confirm to you. They are currently on their way to Gusau,” he said.

He, however, did not disclose whether the union or families of the victims paid any ransom for their release.

“I can only tell you now that they have been released,” the source added.

Police Kill Bandit, Recover Arms In Kaduna LGA

A graphical illustration of gunmen.

 

Police operatives in Kaduna have neutralized a bandit during an encounter with the criminal elements in the Giwa Local Government Area of the state.

The operatives also recovered an AK-49 rifle and a locally fabricated long-range revolver with 12 cartridges as well as a motorcycle used by the bandits for the nefarious activities.

According to the Spokesman of the Kaduna State Police Command,  DSP Mohammed Jalige,  the tactical operation received a distress call in the early hours of Thursday that some armed bandits were sighted along Galadimawa Kidandan road in Giwa LGA.

READ ALSO: Abducted Zamfara Wedding Guests Regain Freedom

He said that the Command in a bid to truncate the heinous mission of the bandits immediately ordered for deployment of a strong nearby force to the location for a possible engagement and restoration of safety.

The operatives, he said, engaged the hoodlums with clinical precision and succeeded in countering their mission as they were compelled to retreat into the forest with some sustaining bullet injuries while one bandit was gunned down.

Also recovered from the bandits were an operational motorcycle and a locally fabricated long-range revolver with 12 polymer cased cartridges.

The command, however, assured residents of the state that efforts are geared towards restoring public confidence with rigorous patrol and surveillance of the area in order to prevent any further attack on communities or commuters.

This is even as the Commissioner of Police, Yekini Ayoku, tasked the operatives to sustain the recent gains since victory is near where criminality will be a thing of the past.

Vienna Returns As World’s ‘Most Liveable City’

A homeless man takes a nap at a bus stop in Vienna, Austria on June 23, 2022.
JOE KLAMAR / AFP

 

The Austrian capital Vienna has made a comeback as the world’s most liveable city, according to an annual report from the Economist published Thursday.

The Ukrainian capital Kyiv was not included this year after Russia invaded the country in late February, while Russian cities Moscow and St Petersburg fell in the rankings over “censorship” and the impact of Western sanctions.

Vienna snatched the top spot from Auckland, which tumbled down to 34th place due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions, according to the report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

READ ALSO: France Seeks Full Gas Reserves As Russia Cuts Supplies

“Vienna, which slipped to 12th place in our rankings in early 2021 as its museums and restaurants were closed, has since rebounded to first place, the position it held in 2018 and 2019,” it said.

“Stability and good infrastructure are the city’s main charms for its inhabitants, supported by good healthcare and plenty of opportunities for culture and entertainment.”

Europe boasted six out of the top ten cities.

The Austrian capital was followed by the Danish capital Copenhagen and Switzerland’s Zurich. Fellow Swiss city Geneva came sixth, Germany’s Frankfurt seventh, and the Netherlands’ Amsterdam ninth.

Canada also did well.

Calgary came in joint third position, followed by Vancouver in fifth place and Toronto in eighth.

Japan’s Osaka and Australia’s Melbourne shared the tenth place.

France’s capital Paris came 19th, 23 places up from last year.

The Belgian capital Brussels was 24th, just behind Canada’s Montreal.

The United Kingdom’s capital London was the world’s 33rd most liveable city, while Spain’s Barcelona and Madrid came 35th and 43rd respectively.

Italy’s Milan ranked number 49, the US city of New York 51, and China’s Beijing came 71st.

Lebanon’s capital Beirut, which was ravaged by a 2020 port explosion and is battling a crippling financial crisis, was not included in the ranking of business destinations.

Neither was the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, after the Russian invasion on February 24 forced the the EIU to abort its survey of the city.

Russia’s capital Moscow saw its liveability ranking fall by 15 places, while St Petersburg slipped by 13 places.

“Increased censorship accompanies the ongoing conflict,” the report noted.

“Russian cities are additionally seeing restrictions on culture and environment as a result of Western economic sanctions.”

Other cities in eastern Europe cities were considered less stable following “raised diplomatic tensions” due to the war in Ukraine.

The capital of war-torn Syria, Damascus, retained its place as least liveable city on the planet.

 

AFP