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Buhari, IBB, Jonathan, Daniel, others mourn Shonekan

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Tributes and condolence messages have poured in since the death of former interim government leader Ernest Shonekan was reported on Tuesday morning. 

President Muhammadu Buhari, in a statement signed by his media aide Femi Adesina, gave his deepest condolences to Mr Shonekan’s wife, Margaret, his family and loved ones, as well as the government and people of Ogun state.

The president described Mr Shonekan as a peacemaker who salvaged Nigeria from sinking.

“He left his flourishing business career to become the Head of Government, at a delicate time when the country needed someone of his calm mien and pedigree to save the ship of state from sinking,” Mr Buhari said.

“Chief Shonekan demonstrated to all that the love for country and commitment to her development, peace and unity transcend the trappings of office and the transient nature of political power,” he added.

On his part, former president Goodluck Jonathan described Mr Shonekan as “an elder statesman, well-loved for his sincerity and sense of purpose.”

“As a leader, Chief Shonekan was well respected because of the enormous goodwill he brought into governance,” Mr Jonathan said, adding that “He was a compassionate and determined administrator, a peacemaker and bridge builder who stepped in to lead the nation at a very difficult time in the history of its political evolution.”

Former vice president Atiku Abubakar said Mr Shonekan’s death came “at a time when the country would need his skills and global connections in finding solutions to many of our intractable challenges.”

“Although his reign as Head of State was interim, Chief Shonekan’s contribution to the peace and development of Nigeria in those days and latter years, remain enduring,” Mr Abubakar said.

“My condolences go to his immediate family, the people and government of Ogun state and the entire nation for the loss of a man of industry and intellect, who lived a life of service to the country and humanity. It is my prayer that God almighty receives his soul in a peaceful repose.”

Former Head of State, Ibrahim Babangida, described Mr Shonekan, in his condolence message as, “an uncommon patriot.”

“He was a man, a leader and an uncommon patriot who had a presence of mind and whose understanding of Nigeria was profound and remarkable. It is indeed a personal loss to me,” Mr Babangida said. 

Mr Babangida acknowledged Mr Shonekan’s efforts during his time as the head of the interim government, noting that his “brilliance and meticulous interrogation of situations helped in large measure to forge ahead during the period.”

In a letter addressed to Mrs Shonekan and seen by Peoples Gazette, former governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel, said he had “no doubt that Chief Shonekan lived a life of absolute fulfilment and, in all ramification, he earned a space in the book of patriots.” 

“Nigeria has lost one of its finest Corporate players, one of the earliest Captains in the Industry as Chairman of the UACN; a rare and distinguished personality as President of the country and an advocate of peace. In Ogun State, we have lost a pillar of support and an elder statesman,” Mr Daniel said. 

Mr Shonekan died at the age of 85 at the Evercare Hospital in Lekki, Lagos. 

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UN welcomes suspension of Burkina Faso from ECOWAS

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Antonio Guterres

United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has welcomed the suspension of Burkina Faso from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) over this week’s military coup.

Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson to Mr Guterres, said this while briefing correspondents on Friday at UN headquarters on the situation in the country.

Haq said Mr Guterres also welcomed the decision of ECOWAS to deploy a mission of the regional Chiefs of Defence staff to the country on Saturday, to then be followed by a ministerial delegation next week.

According to Mr Haq, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, will travel to Burkina Faso over the weekend on a good offices mission.

“Annadif will also join the Ministerial mission along with the President of the ECOWAS Commission and the Foreign Minister of Ghana.

“This will take place ahead of a planned ECOWAS Summit in Accra on Feb. 3 to further discuss the situation in the country.

“The secretary-general continues to call for calm, the release of President Roch Marc Kaboré and other officials that have been detained as well as for a return to constitutional order in Burkina Faso,” said the spokesperson.

He added that Mr Annadif took part in the special virtual summit on Burkina Faso, organised by ECOWAS, on Friday.

In a Tweet, Mr Annadif said in his remarks at the summit, that he had reiterated the UN’s condemnation of unconstitutional changes of power and called for a swift and unconditional return to constitutional order in Burkina Faso.

Meanwhile, Burkina Faso’s new military leader, Paul-Henri Damiba, said the West African country would return to democratic rule when the conditions were right.

Mr Damiba spoke for the first time on national television since leading a mutiny that ousted President Kabore on Monday.

“When the conditions are right, according to the deadline that our people will define in all sovereignty, I commit to a return to a normal constitutional order,” Mr Damiba said.

The junta said on Monday after seizing power that it would propose a calendar for a return to constitutional order “within a reasonable time frame” but has not elaborated on its plans.

The officers, who call themselves the Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration (MPSR), launched a mutiny on Sunday night, and removed Mr Kabore on Monday, blaming him for failing to contain worsening violence by Islamist militants.

(NAN)

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NEMA distributes relief materials to 350 Lagosians affected by 2021 flood

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The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on Friday distributed relief materials to 350 flood victims in Ikorodu and Kosofe areas of Lagos.

Ibrahim Farinloye, South-West Zonal Coordinator, made the disclosure to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

Mr Farinloye said the relief items were distributed and monitored by NEMA and officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA).

He said that this was the first phase of the federal Glgovernment intervention to those affected by the 2021 flood in Kosofe and Ikorodu areas of Lagos.

Mr Farinloye added that the agency had close to 400 flood victims from Ikorodu and Kosofe areas that would benefit from the federal government support.

“We are visiting the flood victims in all the 67 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Local Council Development Area (LCDAs) in Lagos.

“We are distributing beverages, building materials, foodstuffs, mosquito nets and other household items to the flood victims.

“There are lots of water around Owode-Onirin and Ikorodu axis, which makes some of their property to be under water.

“In 2021, we created the Disaster Risk Reduction Management, ahead of the rainy period to reduce flood victims across the country,” Mr Farinloye said.

He said that before the introduction of the Disaster Risk Reduction Management, flood usually disturbs riverine residents between three to four months. He said it took two to three weeks for riverine residents to experience flood in 2021.

He urged Nigerians to always listen to both government and stakeholders’ engagement workshops and relocate from their environment during the rainy season.

Mr Farinloye said the agency had estimated over one million flood victims between Ikorodu and Kosofe areas in 2021.

He added that they had lesser victims due to the measures being taken on time.

Mr Farinloye said that the management of NEMA had already cautioned Nigerians to imbibe disaster risk protection to reduce flood victims on yearly basis.

He, however, advised Nigerians who reside around riverine areas to imbibe Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy to reduce the number of victims in the country.

(NAN)

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Customs intercepts 11.91kg of cocaine valued at N3.9 billion

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The Nigeria Customs Service says it has intercepted 11.931kg of cocaine valued at about N3.9 billion concealed inside a Ford Transit Bus conveying religious books.

The interception occurred during a stop and search operation by officers of the Seme Command, along Seme-Badagry expressway on Sunday morning.

Hussein Abdulahi, spokesperson for the Command, said in a statement on Friday that customs officers also intercepted 31,950 litres of petrol valued at a little above N10 million along Badagry creek.

Quoting the Customs Area Controller, Bello Jibo, he said the substance was subjected to test and verification by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

Mr Jibo said the test indicated that it was cocaine weighing 11.913kg, while its street value was estimated to be N3.9billion.

He said that one suspect was arrested in connection with the seizure, and that the command had initiated offensive patrol against smuggling of petroleum products along the creeks within the Seme and Badagry axis.

According to Mr Jibo, this renewed effort led to the interception of large quantities of petroleum products packaged in sacks on January 26.

He said the items were successfully evacuated to the Command premises where an examination was conducted and 1,065 jerrycans of 30 litres each discovered.

“The petroleum product equivalent to 31,950 litres was discovered with Duty Paid Value at N10,041,198.00,” he said.

He commended sister agencies and Seme border stakeholders for their assistance, and reiterated the commitment of his officers in supporting the government.

(NAN)

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