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Minister defends Johnsons’ Christmas ‘childcare bubble’ with Nimco Ali

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Minister defends Johnsons’ Christmas ‘childcare bubble’ with Nimco Ali

Carrie Johnson needed her friend in her “childcare bubble” with Boris Johnson for extra support over Christmas because of the challenges of running the country and experiencing difficult pregnancies, a cabinet minister has claimed.

It has been revealed that the Johnsons’ friend Nimco Ali, godmother to their son Wilfred, spent Christmas with the family at a time when lockdown restrictions in London prevented almost all household mixing.

On Tuesday the international trade secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, hinted that the family had needed extra support at that time. Johnson, who is now expecting her second child, revealed she had a miscarriage at the start of this year, meaning she is likely to have been pregnant over the festive period.

Wilfred was eight months old at the time and No 10 has said Ali was part of their childcare bubble, which allowed some limited mixing.

Pressed on whether a family would have needed additional childcare over Christmas, Trevelyan said: “It’s hard enough for the rest of us; when you’re having to run a country as well and have the challenges of difficult pregnancies, having a supportive friend to be there in your bubble is absolutely the right thing to do.”

The claims first emerged in a report in Harper’s magazine that said Ali “spent Christmas with the couple at No 10 despite pandemic restrictions on holiday gatherings”.

Ali, who is a prominent campaigner on tackling female genital mutilation and a government adviser on violence against women and girls, said she did “not break any rules”.

Trevelyan said Ali was a “passionate and adoring godmother to Wilf”, and all rules had been followed. “I have no doubt at all the prime minister and Mrs Johnson followed the rules and they had the kind support of Nimco to support them in what was a really tough time for them,” she said. “It was a childcare bubble and Nimco was there to help support and look after Wilf whilst the challenges of being the prime minister and his wife.”

Neither Boris Johnson’s mother – who died last month aged 79 – nor Carrie Johnson’s mother were with the family over Christmas, No 10 has confirmed. Carrie Johnson’s mother, Josephine McAffee, was reportedly part of a support bubble with her daughter, an arrangement that was allowed if one member lived alone or if a household had a child aged under one, which Wilfred was last Christmas.

Despite the circumstances, questions have been raised about whether Ali’s attendance complied with the criteria for social mixing. The government introduced a “Christmas bubble” allowing people to mix on Christmas Day, but this was not in place in areas in the highest tier of restrictions, which then included London.

The rules said it was possible for people to use a childcare bubble on 25 December, even in areas under the highest tier, “but only if reasonably necessary for the purposes of childcare and where there are no reasonable alternatives”.

It was possible for households to have both a support bubble and childcare bubble, but the latter had strict rules and had to be used only for childcare, not as a reason for people from different households to mix socially.

It is not clear whether the childcare bubble arrangement for Ali was longer-term or only in place for Christmas. Under the rules, childcare bubbles could change, but only if there was a reason connected to childcare logistics.

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Niger Govt arrests over 30 illegal miners

Oyo Govt To Clampdown

The Niger State Ministry for Minerals Resources has disclosed the arrest of over 30 illegal miners at various locations, despite the ban on illegal mining in the state.

It also debunked the alleged killing of one person at an illegal mining site in Minna during a clash between restive youth groups last Friday.

The state Commissioner for Minerals Resources, Garba Yahaya Sabo, said the arrests were made from January to date across various mining sites in the state.

He explained that the Ministry has been given the mandate to protect, arrest and stop all illegal mining activities by miners, adding that those interested in mining must register with the state government so as to create employment as well as boost revenue generation.

Sabo, who lamented the lack of adequate manpower to help monitor activities of the illegal miners at mining sites, however, said desk officers will be stationed to keep an eye on mining locations across the 25 LGAs in order to keep the Ministry abreast with every development in the sector.

“Many of these illegal miners are criminals and their activities can pose serious security threat to the people of the state.

“Whenever, we chase them out of the mining sites during the day, these illegal miners usually gather again during the night under the pretense of mining gold and during such periods, launch out to commit various crimes in the state,” he revealed.

The commissioner also denied reports that a youth was killed at Maitumbi illegal mining site along Julius Berger Quarry site.

According to him, “The incident did not actually happen at the illegal mining site, but opposite the site at night. Nobody was killed during the youth clash on Friday there.

“The report in its entirety is fake, malicious and has no link to mining activity. It was designed to just tarnish the image of the Ministry.”

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NDLEA destroys 304,436kg, 40, 042 litres of illicit drugs seized in Lagos, Ogun

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, on Tuesday 16th April 2024 destroyed a total of 304,436kg kilograms and 40,042 litres of illicit substances seized from parts of Lagos and Ogun states.

Speaking at a brief ceremony where the seized drugs were publicly destroyed in Badagry Lagos, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Agency, Brig Gen Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) said the open destruction of the seized illicit drugs followed court orders, even as he called for more public support for ongoing efforts by NDLEA and other stakeholders to curb the menace of substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in Nigeria.

“Though a routine exercise and an established process of removing dangerous substances from our society, the public destruction of confiscated illicit drugs is usually conducted at the end of their related cases in court”, the NDLEA boss stated adding that the exhibits being destroyed were of mixed types, “which include illicit drugs in solid and liquid states as well as in various classes such as cocaine, heroin, cannabis, and tramadol, among others.”

He said the drugs were seized by NDLEA operatives across different formations of the Agency in Lagos and Ogun states from January 2022 till date especially at the Lagos seaports, airports, and land borders.

“To be destroyed here today on the order of the court are solid drugs, weighing 304,436.055kg and 40, 042. 621 litres of liquid drugs. The sheer volume of the drug haul speaks volumes about the extent of the nefarious activities of the drug underworld.”

He expressed appreciation to traditional rulers, heads of security agencies, the clergy, members of NGOs and CSOs as well as other stakeholders who witnessed the ceremony.

“The destruction of these seizures complies with the NDLEA Act, which mandates the Agency to destroy all drug exhibits after prosecution. We want to say that your presence here is a testament to this important occasion. To this end, we appreciate all stakeholders and members of the public for witnessing this exercise”, he added.

He seized the opportunity to acknowledge the support of the Agency’s local and international partners, “especially the American Drug Enforcement Administration (US-DEA); United Kingdom NCA, Border Force; the Germans, the French; Indian NCB, among others who had worked with us on a number of busts. Similarly, we appreciate the Nigerian military and other law enforcement agencies such as the Customs; Immigration; Police; Civil Defence; FRSC; NFIU,NAFDAC and others that have been supporting our efforts to rid Nigeria of illicit drugs.”
While assuring that NDLEA will not relent in its effort to end the drug scourge in the country, Marwa called for more public support for the activities of the Agency. “The safety of our society is the responsibility of every one of us. Every citizen shall be fulfilling his or her civic duty by assisting the Agency’s War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) campaign to clean up our communities and cities. Together, we can make this country secure”, he added.

Lagos state governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu represented by Chairman, Badagry West Local Government, Mr. Olusegun Onilude expressed satisfaction with the efforts of NDLEA to tackle the scourge of illicit drugs in the country.

“Almost all crimes and criminalities are fueled by illicit drugs, so the Lagos state government appreciates NDLEA and its leadership in their resolute fight against illicit drugs.

“The volume of illicit drugs being destroyed here today speak volume and every right-thinking person should be worried”, he stated.

He also thanked the Agency for taking the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) social advocacy campaign to schools and communities across Lagos State. “No doubt, NDLEA is working, and the state will continue to collaborate with the Agency and its leadership”, he assured.

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NSA receives 22 abducted students, staff of Zamfara varsity

The National Security Adviser, NSA, Nuhu Ribadu, on Monday, April 15, 2024, received 22 abducted students and staff of Federal University, Gusau in Zamfara, who were rescued after 207 days in captivity.

The victims, comprising 15 students and seven workers of the university, were abducted from the university in September 2023.

According to the NSA, the rescue operation was coordinated by the National Counter-Terrorism Centre, NCTC, on Sunday

Mr Ribadu who received the rescued victims on Monday in Abuja, urged them not to allow their experience to break them, but should rather make them stronger.

The NSA also thanked the parents of the rescued victims for their patience and understanding during the period and commended security agencies for their tireless work and sacrifices.

“On behalf of the President, I thank all those involved in the successful rescue of the victims without losing anyone of them or paying any ransom,” he said.

“This is yet again a success story in our efforts to free all those being unlawfully held in captivity.

“We have so far released over a thousand of such victims without noise and with complete respect to their privacy and safety.

“This occasion marks a final juncture in a series of rescues we have undertaken in the last few months, to free victims of recent cases of mass abductions.

“Going forward, we are strengthening law enforcement and security measures to prevent these abductions, and strengthen physical security across vulnerable communities,” he said.

Earlier, the National Coordinator, NCTC, Maj.-Gen. Adamu Laka recalled that those rescued were abducted from the school on Sept. 22, 2023, at about 0230hrs

Mr Laka said bandits armed with various weapons attacked three off-campus students’ hostels at Sabon Gida in Gusau and kidnapped a number of female students alongside some male artisans

Others, he said, were a private security guard and a protocol officer of the university.

He added that the bandits ransacked the hostels, and carted away foodstuffs, mobile phones, laptops, ATM cards, cash and other valuables.

According to him, the abductees were subsequently herded on motorcycles and foot to a location through a town in the Tsafe local government area of Zamfara.

“Search and rescue was conducted by a combined team of law enforcement agencies and the abductees were subsequently released in three batches, after 207 days in captivity,” he said.

“The first batch was rescued on March 15 while the second batch was rescued on April 12 and the last batch was rescued on April 14.

“All the abductees were profiled at NCTC while the ONSA Medical Team examined them and administered minor treatments on the bruises sustained by 3 of the abductees.

“Four of them were diagnosed with malaria and are being treated. None of the females was molested and all the females tested negative for pregnancy test,” he added.

One of the rescued victims, Hafsat Ibrahim, thanked God and the government for ensuring their safe return after 207 days in captivity.

Representative of the Zamfara government, Ibrahim Anka, commended the efforts of the NSA in coordinating the military and security operations that ensured the safe rescue of the victims.

Anka also commended the Federal Government for the efforts and recent positive improvement in security in the state.

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