Punch Newspaper Review

Punch Newspaper Headlines (Saturday, 13 March, 2021 Edition)

The National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd)

Good Morning Nigeria! Hope you all are doing your part to help stop the spread of COVID-19!

Here’s our picks on today’s top buzzy stories on Punch Newspaper. We prepare it as a quick-read for our visitors who also enjoys Punch News.

Controversy: NSA claims arms funds missing, recants under pressure

Controversy ensued on Friday after the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd.), alleged that $1bn funds meant to purchase arms to tackle insurgency during the ex-service chiefs’ tenure got missing.

This comes over a month after the ex-service chiefs’ resignation and replacement by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd). The ex-service chiefs are the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin (retd.); Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai (retd.); Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas (retd.); and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar (retd.).

However, Monguno, in an interview with the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation early Friday, alleged that neither the funds nor the weapons the ex-service chiefs were meant to buy could be traced. However, in a statement by his office later on Friday, the NSA recanted his earlier allegations, saying he was quoted out of context. While he admitted granting the BBC interview under reference, he denied saying funds meant for the purchase of arms had gone missing.

Akpabio wouldn’t lose senatorial poll if he did well as gov –Wike

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has cautioned the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, against taking on Rivers State.

His comment followed Akpabio’s reaction to the criticism by South-South governors over the way the Federal Government was handling the Niger Delta Development Commission. The South-South Governors’ Forum led by its Chairman and Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, after a recent meeting in Port Harcourt, said they were not happy with the continued running of the NDDC by an interim administrator, as they called for a substantive board to be constituted for the commission.

But Akpabio, while in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, said the governors could not give directives to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on inaugurating a substantive board for NDDC.

N42bn debt: Telcos begin disconnection of banks’ USSD services Monday

The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria has said telcos will disconnect Financial Service Providers from Unstructured Supplementary Service Data services from March 15 until they pay their over N42bn debt.

The association announced this in a statement titled ‘Withdrawal of USSD services to financial service providers due to huge indebtedness to telecom network operators’.

The statement was signed by ALTON and Chairman, Gbenga Adebayo, and Head of Operations, Gbolahan Awonuga. ALTON explained that the service withdrawal had become necessary due to the lack of agreement on a payment structure with the banks that did not involve the end-user being asked to pay.

Defection: Former speaker Bankole meets APC govs

There are strong indications that former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Oladimeji Bankole, is set to dump the Action Democratic Party, to join the All Progressives Congress.

This was a sequel to a meeting between the former Speaker, the Chairman of the APC Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee who is also the Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, and his Jigawa State counterpart, Abubakar Badaru, in Abuja, on Friday.

It was gathered that the three leaders met at the private residence of the Yobe State governor for a little over an hour behind closed doors.

Parents lament as Kaduna confirms abduction of 39 students

Parents of the kidnapped students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka in the Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State, on Friday, lamented the abduction of their children, even as the state government confirmed that the number of pupils unaccounted for was 39.

The state government had earlier confirmed that bandits on Thursday night abducted no fewer than 30 students from the school, located opposite the Nigerian Defence Academy on Airport Road.

But on Friday night, the state Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr Samuel Aruwan, said in a statement that checks by the government later found that 39 persons, comprising 23 females and 16 males, were still missing. He, however, gave an assurance that security agents were working hard to rescue the students.

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