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Ikenga Imo-Ugochinyere emerges NYCN President

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The crisis that have rocked the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), was at the weekend made a thing of the past as the organ set aside it’s differences to elect a new President.

Ikenga Imo-Ugochinyere is the new president.

At a keen contest held in Abuja  at the weekend, Ugochinyere defeated other contenders with a total of 209 of the 280 accredited delegates for the election.

Others who emerged included Kelani Yusuf (vice president) and Abubakar Salami ( general secretary) .

Ugochinyere who has been sworn into office promised to unite Nigerian youths as well as ensure that the interest of the Nigerian youth is paramount in all activities of government.

He called on all youths in the country to not only shun violence but to also bury their differences and come together to uplift the youth council in the country as according to him, NYCN’s  differences  of the past have adversely affected the fortunes of the youths in the country, noting that this is the dawn of a new era, one that must take into cognisance the fact that the nation’s youth hold the key to unlocking the nation’s prosperity.

At a media interactive session immediately after being sworn in, the NYCN president promised to build a befitting secretariat for the NYCN, just as he would ensure that synergy would be formed with President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to alleviate unemployment and sufferings of the Nigerian  youth.

“In the few weeks to come, I shall set up various committees to look into various aspects needed to transform the NYCN as well as provide a definite frame work on how the NYCN can aid the government and the military to tackle the Boko Haram menace as a larger number of our youths have plunged into.

“ It is also time for youths in the country to assume the driver’s seat in the governance of the country.

This has become not only pertinent but indeed requisite for sustaining a virile and healthy Nigerian state – one that factors the enormous resourcefulness and prospects of the Nigerian youth,” Ugochinyere stated.

He said the NYCN under his leadership will put together a bill for the enforcement of social welfare package as well as educational rights of the Nigerian youth before the National Assembly.

NYCN, the umbrella organ of youth groups in the country recently had its national convention in Abuja which heralded the election of new executives. Before now the organ had been enmeshed in crisis leading to abortion of several congresses.

A former youth leader of a political party, Ugochinyere, a lawyer, was before now one of the former special assistants to former governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State.

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Finland and Sweden submit applications to join NATO

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NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says that Finland and Sweden have officially applied to join the world’s biggest military alliance, a move driven by security concerns over Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“I warmly welcome the requests by Finland and Sweden to join NATO. You are our closest partners,” Stoltenberg told reporters on Wednesday after receiving their application letters from the two Nordic countries’ ambassadors.

“This is a historic moment, which we must seize,” Stoltenberg said at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

Neutral throughout the Cold War, the two countries’ decision to join the alliance is one of the most significant changes in Europe’s security architecture in decades.

The applications must now be weighed by the 30 member countries. That process is expected to take about two weeks, although Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed reservations about Finland and Sweden joining.

If his objections are overcome, and accession talks go as well as expected, the two could become members within a few months. The process usually takes eight to 12 months, but NATO wants to move quickly given the threat from Russia hanging over the Nordic countries’ heads.

Canada, for example, says that it expects to ratify their accession protocol in just a few days.

Several NATO allies, most notably the United Kingdom, have offered security assurances to Finland and Sweden during the application period before they are covered by the alliance’s mutual defence pact.

Finland and Sweden submit applications to join NATO

“Over the past few days, we have seen numerous statements by allies committing to Finland and Sweden’s security. NATO is already vigilant in the Baltic Sea region and NATO and allies’ forces will continue to adapt as necessary,” Stoltenberg said.

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 Nigerian government puts Facebook under watch over IPOB

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Facebook and other social media platforms have been cautioned against yielding their platforms to the members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to incite violence and instigate ethnic hatred in Nigeria.

The Federal Government gave the instruction through Information, Culture & Tourism Minister Lai Mohammed at a meeting with a team from Facebook.

In a statement signed by his media aide, Mr. Segun Adeyemi, the minister said since IPOB had been proscribed and classified as a terrorist organisation, Facebook has no justification to continue allowing its platform to be used by the organisation to further its campaign of hate and destabilisation of the country.

Mohammed was quoted as saying: “I have called this meeting to enable us to discuss the increasing use of Facebook by separatists and anarchists, especially those of them based outside the country, to instigate violence and ethnic hatred in Nigeria.

“For whatever reason, they seem to have now chosen Facebook as their platform of choice. And their tools include disinformation, incendiary statements and hate speech.

“They use Facebook broadcasts to reach their followers, who are in thousands. They tag those opposed to their violent ways as ‘saboteurs’ who must be attacked, maimed and killed. They use both English and their local language as it suits them.”

He said the actions of the outlawed group have real-life implications, adding: “By purveying hate and inciting violence, people are getting killed while private and public property are being attacked and destroyed. Security agencies and other symbols of government are their choice targets.”

The minister said that despite the numerous complaints to Facebook on the activities of IPOB, nothing has been done by the company to curtail the group’s excesses on the social media platform.

He said: “Our social media people have been monitoring these separatists, anarchists and purveyors of hate, and have been reporting their atrocious actions to Facebook, but all they get are default responses that their complaints have been received and are being looked into.

“Most often than not, nothing has been done about such complaints… The truth is that whatever Facebook is doing to check these people is mere tokenism and is totally ineffective.”

Mohammed said the government would be monitoring Facebook and other platforms closely in the days ahead to ensure compliance with the demand, as it steps up the campaign for the responsible use of social media.

He said: “We have always advocated a responsible use of social media, and consistently called on all stakeholders to join us in achieving this. Some have tagged our efforts as an attempt to stifle social media.

“They are wrong, because we have no intention of preventing Nigerians from using social media responsibly. All we have been advocating is a responsible use of social media,” the minister said.

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Kano Explosion: Death toll rises to nine

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The death toll in the gas explosion which occurred at Aba by Court road in Sabon Gari, Fagge Local Government Area of Kano State on Tuesday morning, has increased to nine.

The Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs announced this in a tweet.

Nine dead bodies have been recovered so far from the rubble of a collapsed building beside a primary school following an explosion from a gas cylinder at Aba Road in Sabon Gari area of Kano State,” the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs said in the tweet.

“Persons injured by the explosion were taken for treatment at Airforce Hospital, Kano,” it added.

Kano Commissioner of Police, Sama’ila Shu’aibu Dikko, had earlier confirmed the death of four persons.

“As of now, one female and three males have been killed. All the security agencies are here. The Civil Defence, Brigade commander, Air force, myself and the director, DSS, are all on ground.”

“We will extend our investigation and at the end of the day we will come out with exactly what happened,” he had said.

The incident sparked tension in the community as parents rushed to schools to withdraw their children.

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