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Senate probes misuse of firearms, killings by Customs officials

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The Senate has berated the Nigeria Customs Service over the incessant killing and shootings of Nigerians, particularly those living in border communities.

The Senate particularly condemned the indiscriminate shooting by Customs officers in Katsina State on July 13.

The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, thereafter, set up an ad hoc committee to investigate allegations of abuse and human rights violations against the NCS.

The decision followed a motion moved by the senator representing Katsina Central, Abdulaziz Yar’Adua, calling on the Red Chambers to investigate the abuse of firearms by the Customs officers.

Yar’Adua, while presenting his motion, said some Customs officials had been found to be unprofessional in the handling of firearms, leading to needless loss of the lives of innocent citizens.

He claimed that some officers of the NCS on the Gorar Yammama highway in Katsina State shot indiscriminately at the vehicle conveying the Chief of Staff to the state Governor, Jabiru Tsauri, on July 13.

Yar’Adua added that some of the Customs officers also shot at the convoy of a former Katsina State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Umar Gwajo-Gwajo, while he was driving from Daura to Mia’Adua LGA around September 2021.

The lawmaker argued that the refusal of the authorities to check the abuse of firearms by officers of the NCS might lead to the loss of more innocent lives and possible reprisal by angered civilians.

He also requested that the Senate should urge authorities of the NCS to improve on the training of personnel in handling firearms, especially fire discipline when dealing with Nigerian citizens.

During a debate on the motion, many of the senators supported it.

Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara West), in his remarks, claimed that over 10 of the supporters of former President Muhammadu Buhari have been killed by NCS officers in Zamfara State.

Yari said, “Most of the people that voted for us in 2015, have all been killed. I asked about the cause of their deaths and about 15 of them were killed by the men of the Customs Service.”

The Senate President, therefore, condemned the indiscriminate shootings and killings of people found in possession of bags of rice by officers of the NCS.

“The Senate condemns, in totality, the killings of civilians because of carrying one bag of rice. The lives that are lost are too numerous and we cannot allow it to continue. It is a serious issue that the senate looks into it,” Akpabio said.

The Senate then urged the NCS to fish out the erring officers and investigate the incident that led the Customs operatives to open fire on unarmed civilians.

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Nnamdi Kanu seeks negotiation with FG over trial

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Nnamdi Kalu
– Nnamdi Kanu seeks negotiation with FG over ongoing trial
– Kanu’s lawyer moves two applications before the Federal High Court
– FG’s counsel says defendant should approach Attorney General for negotiation

Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has expressed willingness to negotiate with the Federal Government over his ongoing trial.

Through his counsel, Alloy Ejimakor, Kanu informed the Federal High Court in Abuja of his intention to seek negotiation under Section 17 of the Federal High Court Act.

Ejimakor had earlier moved two applications before the court, including one objecting to the jurisdiction of the court. If the applications are denied, Kanu’s lawyer plans to invoke Section 17, which promotes reconciliation and amicable settlement among parties.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government’s counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo, stated that the defendant should approach the Attorney General of the Federation for negotiation.

Justice Binta Nyako, the presiding judge, clarified that the court’s role is to hear cases, not to solicit negotiations. Kanu has been in DSS custody since June 2021, facing terrorism-related charges levelled against him by the government.

His lawyer’s latest move may signal a potential shift in the case’s trajectory.

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30,000 Students to Benefit from FG’s Interest-Free Loan Scheme

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– Over 30,000 students selected for federal government’s student loan scheme
– Scheme aims to support underprivileged students in pursuing higher education
– Loan is interest-free and does not require a “godfather”

The federal government’s student loan scheme has selected over 30,000 students to benefit from the initiative.

This was announced by Senate President Godswill Akpabio during a visit to the Nigeria Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies in Abuja.

Akpabio praised the student loan bill, signed into law by President Bola Tinubu, for enabling vulnerable Nigerian students to access higher education without financial burdens.

He expressed his personal admiration for the bill, stating it is one of the most important bills passed by the 10th National Assembly.

The Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND) has assured the public that every eligible Nigerian student will benefit from the interest-free loan program.

Thee application process will be open, fair, and transparent, without requiring a “godfather,” according to Dr. Fred Femi Akinfala, NELFUND’s Executive Director of Finance and Administration.

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