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NIGERIA TO TAKE ANTI-TERROR CRUSADE TO NEIGHBOURS

By NBF News
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Seven injured in Kaduna bomb blast
Jonathan assigns portfolios to new ministers
ALL the 31 ministers cleared by the Senate have been assigned their portfolios by President Goodluck Jonathan after taking their Oaths of office and Allegiance.

In a statement by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Anyim Pius Anyim in Abuja yesterday listed the ministers and their portfolios as Emeka Wogu (Labour), Hajia Zainab Maina (Women Affairs) Prof. Ita Okon Bassey Ewa (Science and Technology), Mrs. Stella Oduah-Ogiemwonyi, for Aviation, Senator Bala Mohammed, (FCT) and Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, (Petroleum).

Others are Abba Mor (Interior) Hajia Zainab Ibrahim Kuchi  Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Alhaji Bukar Tijani, (Agriculture and Natural Resources) Godsday Orubebe, (Niger Delta Affairs) Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, (Health) Mike Onolememen, (Works), and Navy Capt. Caleb Olubolade (rtd), Police Affairs.

The President assigned the Ministry of Power to Prof. Bart Nnaji, Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman, (Sports) Prof. Viola Onwuliri, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Prof (Mrs) Ruqayyatu Rufai , (Education) Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, (National Planning), Mohammed Musa Sada, Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Bello H. Mohammed, (Defence), Mohammed Adoke, (Justice) Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, (Youth Development), Mr. Olusegun O. Aganga, (Trade and Investment) Mr. Labaran Maku for Information and Communications, Dr. Samuel Ioraer Ortom Minister of State, Trade and Investment Olugbenga Ashiru  (Foreign Affairs), Olusola Obada Minister of State for Defence.

Mrs. Olajumoke Akinjide, Minister of State for FCT, Senator Idris A.Umar, (Transport), Dr. Yerima Lawal Ngama, Minister of State for Finance and Bashir Yugudu Minister of State for Works.

Some of the ministers assumed duty yesterday with pledges to work diligently towards the realisation of the transformation agenda of the Federal Government.

Among those who reported for work in Abuja were Ashiru; Onolememen; Nnaji; Ewa and Tijani.

Just like he did during his screening by the Senate, Ashiru said the government needs a responsive foreign policy to grow Nigeria's economy.

And as the government intensifies its crackdown on the Boko Haram sect over bomb explosions, Ashiru said Nigeria would engage all its neighbouring countries to tackle the menace and enhance national security.

Onolememen said President Goodluck Jonathan wants the ministry to drive his transformational agenda, which he promised Nigerians during his campaigns.

Nnaji pledged to work with electricity workers in the reform of the power sector.

He restated his resolve to continue with the reform agenda in the power sector and appealed to the workers and officials of the ministry to enable him succeed.

He said the government had paid all the outstanding monetised benefits to electricity workers, adding that there would be training and retraining for them to ensure that they fit into the new dispensation. Reacting to questions on the issue of tariff, Nnaji said it was blown out of proportion, stressing that the new tariff was in place since 2008 as part of plan to meet inflationary trend.

He explained that the real increment in electricity cost would only come to be when stead power supply is assured.

He said: 'I am not here to see to job losses.  I am here to deliver electricity to Nigerians. You need not fear. We shall be working together to achieve success. It is not my show. It is a task for all of us. With the kind of smart people that we have here, we can go far. I hope that we all can work together. Let me reiterate that President Goodluck Jonathan sent me not just to deliver reliable and efficient electricity, but because he has made a promise and is passionate about fulfilling it. We need to work together to implement the electricity plan.'

Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah- Ogienwonyi yesterday set up a six-man committee to look into the scarcity and high cost of aviation fuel.

After a stakeholders' meeting at the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) headquarters annex in Lagos, she said the government was concerned about the high cost of the commodity, which sells for between N180 and N190 per litre.

Tijani, a former National Coordinator of the National Programme for Food Security, said he would ensure that Nigerian teeming unemployed youths are gainfully employed.

He said the new jobs would come mainly from agriculture.

He said: 'I' m a good team player. I am here to make a change in the agriculture sector because I have always been part of you and I can say that I know some of the major problems facing the ministry.'

While wooing other stakeholders in the sector, the minister said the government would engage 78 per cent of youth in agriculture.

Also Ewa, a nuclear scientist, promised to promote science and technology by developing policies that suit the nation's need in the sector.

He said the new National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, would help Nigeria cover lost grounds and catch up with the leading world economies in the area of science and development.

Obviously conscious of the fact that the policy would be the major issue before him, Ewa told directors and officials of the ministry that he would study it and other strategic plans developed by the ministry and do his best to implement them.

He said: 'We must all work as a team to deliver solutions that Mr. President desires. The common man should also be able to feel the impact of science and technology.'

Nnaji urged the workers to disregard the opposition against his appointment and urged them not to be afraid. He described his appointment as an honour, noting that he was not coming to the ministry to sack people but to ensure that the adequate and reliable power is supplied to Nigerians.

Ambassador Ashiru told officials of the ministry that the nation's foreign machinery must now grind on the twin wheels of 'positive change and hard work.'

As Ashiru spoke on the role of his ministry in the fight against terrorism, seven people were confirmed injured from a bomb explosion by members of Boko Haram in Kaduna metropolis on Sunday night.

The incident occurred at 10:30 p.m. near a night club on Maiduguri Road.

A resident of the area said the bomb was kept in a refuse bin near the relaxation point.

'It was around 10:30 p.m. when everybody in the joint was just getting ready to go back home because of the 11. 00 p.m. curfew when the bomb exploded from a refuse bin' he said.

The explosion caused serious confusion in the neighbourhood and other adjourning streets.

A team of armed soldiers arrived in the scene of the incident before the police came 20 minutes later.

Sources at the Magajin-Gari Police Station in the area, confirmed the incident and said the command was investigating the blast.

A combined team of armed soldiers and police were seen on major roads and highways yesterday conducting stop-and-search on motorists in Kaduna.

The victims of the blast yesterday gave account on how the  incident happened.

According to one of them, who simply gave her name as Chika: 'The bomb exploded a few minutes past 10 p.m. And I was standing with my friend in front of their house. She too was injured. But we did not see the people when they dropped the bomb.'

Another victim, Mohammed Aminu said: 'The bomb exploded at 10.30 p.m. The sound was deafening as the bomb blasted, and when I heard it I was terrified, I was shocked, so I fell down, and when I stood up I started to run, and I discovered that there was blood on my body.

'My friend rushed me to the hospital where I was treated.  Also, about seven of my friends who were at the place when the bomb blasted were injured, but they were treated in the hospital and discharged.

'The police came to the hospital and took our statements. I have been living along Forcados Street for the past four years and there has never been a problem like this.'

Meanwhile, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Ma- Gen. Sariki Yaki Bello wants Nigerians to be security conscious.

He made the call in Calabar yesterday when he graced the ongoing 82 Division Inter-Brigade competition.

Represented by the Chief of Staff of the Division, Brig-Gen. Ibrahim Agbabs, Bello said: 'I want to also draw your attention to the general security situation in our country and areas of your responsibility. You are to maintain a high state of alertness at all times.'

Welcoming all the contingents of soldiers from different units and formations to Calabar, the Commander of 13 Brigade, Brig- Gen. Shehu Yusuf, charged them to address their minds towards the need to securing the nation against unscrupulous elements bent on causing chaos in the country.