Jude Johnson with Agency report
President Muhammadu Buhari commenced the week under review, with a call on Nigerians to get more interested in working with security agencies to tackle myriad challenges facing the country.
In an address at the opening ceremony of Alumni Association of the National Defence College (AANDEC), in Abuja on March 1, the president extolled the courage and bravery displayed by security agencies and service chiefs in promoting peace and order.
He, however, noted that more could be achieved in bringing law and order to various parts of the country with full cooperation of citizens.
The president also approved $8.5 million for immediate evacuation of about 5,000 Nigerians caught in Russia/Ukraine war, during the week.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that majority of the affected Nigerian citizens are currently taking refuge in Poland, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia.
The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, Alhaji Zubairu Dada, alongside the Humanitarian Minister, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouk, made this known to State House correspondents at the end of the virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
The meeting was presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.
According to the president, his administration will continue to defend the interest of Nigerians wherever they may be as the nation begins the evacuation of citizens stranded following Russia/Ukraine war.
The Nigerian leader made this assertion on Thursday in Nairobi, Kenya, at a Townhall Meeting with a group of Nigerians resident in the country.
The president, who was in Kenya to participate in the Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP@50), said:
“On our part as a Government, we shall continue to defend the interests of all Nigerians wherever they may be.
”We have demonstrated this over time, as we have had cause to evacuate our citizens in harm’s way abroad.
”We did it in Libya, South Africa and we have just commenced doing the same in Ukraine, where thousands of our citizens, especially students, are trapped by the on-going war between Russia and Ukraine.”
The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), on Saturday confirmed that 1,112 Nigerians had so far been evacuated by the Federal Government following the ongoing war in Ukraine.
NiDCOM stated also that the returnees were excited to be home after the uncertainty of fleeing from the war.
They applauded the speedy response of the Federal Government to their plight, NiDCOM added.
Reports say many Nigerians and other nationals have fled Ukraine into nearby countries since Russia launched a full-scale war on its neighbour on Feb. 24.
The president had earlier on March 1, met with Governors elected under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The governors, led by the Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, who is also the Kebbi State Governor, Sen. Atiku Bagudu, commended the president for signing the Electoral Bill Amendment Act 2022 into law.
According to Bagudu, all the 22 APC governors are strongly united and ready for the party’s national convention slated for March 26.
He, therefore, dismissed the assertion that the governors were yet to resolve their differences over the forthcoming March 26 convention.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, also updated the president on the progress report over the on-going negotiation between Federal Government and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
NAN reports that ASUU has embarked on one month warning strike on Feb. 14, to press home their demands about N1.2 trillion.
The union also want the federal government to adopt the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) payment platform.
Ngige, who spoke to State House correspondents at the end of the meeting with the president on March 1, said the federal government had so far paid over N92 billion as earned allowances and revitalisation fee to federal owned universities across the country.
He said this was part of the implementation of the 2020 December agreement reached with the ASUU.
The president, who returned to Abuja on Friday after participating in the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP@50) in Nairobi, Kenya, joined Muslim faithful to observe the Friday Jumma’at prayer at Aso Villa Mosque.
While in Kenya, Buhari participated in the Special Session to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the United Nation’s body.
Buhari said: “As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of UNEP’s existence, we laud the efforts of UNEP and encourage broader action to overcome climate change, biodiversity, rising levels of pollution and waste being three major crises threatening our planet.”
The president also met with Mr Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in Nairobi.
During the meeting, Buhari directed collaboration between the Ministries of Environment, Water Resources, Agriculture and Rural Development and Power to combat desertification.
Credit | NAN