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Commemorating NEPU’s 70th anniversary – Tanko Yakasai

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Tanko Yakasai

Today the 8th of August, 2020 marks the 70th anniversary of the formation of the Northern Elements Peoples Union (NEPU), the first and only political party in the history of Nigeria, formed solely not only to fight oppression and exploitation of the common man the Talakawa by the ruling class in Northern Nigeria, but also for the unity, freedom and independence of our motherland, Nigeria.

It is in the cause of championing that commitment to liberate the oppressed and promote unity of the people of Nigeria that NEPU entered into alliance with National Council of Nigeria and Camerouns (NCNC), led by the doyen of Nigerian nationalism and first president of Nigeria, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe GCON during colonial era and the First Republic political activism in the history of our country.

The ultimate objective of the NEPU/NCNC alliance was for the two parties to eventually merge into a formidable party that will belong to all Nigerians regardless of their ethnic, sectional or religious background just as the VISION and MISSION of the founders of the National Party of Nigeria, NPN, during the Second Republic.

It was the fear of that eventuality that made the British colonial rulers of Nigeria at that time to incite traditional institutions and reactionary elements in northern Nigeria to subject NEPU and its members to unprecedented harassment, wide spread intimidation of arrests, imprisonment and persecution with the sole aim of scaring the educated elements in northern Nigeria to distance themselves from coming out to support the struggle of the party during colonial era and the politics of the First Republic.

That situation led to the paucity of intellectuals among the leading cadres of the party in large numbers.

The situation also led to the stagnation of progress of the NEPU in its struggle for the emancipation of the downtrodden in the North thereby hampering the efforts of forging national unity and success of progressive politics in our national development efforts.

The outcome was the perpetuation of ignorance and lack of enlightenment in the area which constitutes serious drawback of Nigeria’s march to progress and national development.

Liberation of the Talakawa

But in spite of that, all hopes were not lost as the emergence of NEPU engineered the sprouting of many opposition parties in the north at that time resulting in the emergence of political parties opposed to colonial rule such as Borno Youth Movement (BYM), Ibira Progressive Union (IPU), Middle Belt Peoples Party (MBPP), Ilorin Talaka Parapo (ITP), Katagum People’s Party (KPP) Habe Tribal Union (HTU) and many others during the period under reference  – the formation of which resulted in widening the scope of revolt against colonial and feudal domination in northern Nigeria and enhanced the resilience of the peoples’ resolve to liberate themselves from domination and exploitation.

Another achievement associated with the emergence of NEPU was the political awareness among the downtrodden masses of northern Nigeria otherwise known as the talakawa.

All the subsequent political developments in northern Nigeria such as the emergence of United Middle Belt Congress (UMBC), Great Nigerian People’s Party (GNPP) People’s Redemption Party (PRP) and others, were born out of the sacrifices the militants in the NEPU promoted and endured.

As one of the remaining leaders of the NEPU still alive I salute the uncommon courage and fortitude displayed by the political activists in Northern Nigeria in fighting the combined forces of British colonialism and imperialism in collaboration with   indigenous reactionary forces in the region in particular and the country in general both fallen and those still alive.

All the political progress made in promoting national unity in Nigeria drew inspiration from the example of collaborative efforts of the NEPU/NCNC alliance and other patriots.

May the souls of the departed comrades of the struggle for the emancipation of the talakawas who paved the way for the political awareness and national liberation in the Nigeria’s political development rest in peace.

I also wish those of us who are still alive to rededicate our resolve to safeguard the unity, freedom and wellbeing of the Nigerian nation and its people.

Long live the struggle for the emancipation of the common man in Nigeria and for our National unity, peace and prosperity.

Tanko Yakasai OFR is a former National Publicity Secretary of NEPU.

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Kano High Court acquits 2 suspected armed robbers detained for 13 years

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Kano High Court

Nasiru Yusuf

A Kano State High Court has disçharged and acquitted two suspected armed robbers accused of killing their victim, Bako Zangina, an offense punishable by death.

Kano Focus reports that Justice Suleman Namalam held that though the court has no doubt that the accused are criminals having been convicted previously, the prosecution has failed to estabilish the ingredient of the offence beyond reasonable doubt in the instant case.

The accused Isyaku Umar otherwise known as ‘Small’ and Ibrahim Suleiman were arraigned in court on three counts charges of conspiracy,attempted armed robbery and culpable homicide punishable by death.

The two accused have been in custody since October 2007 for the alleged killing of Bako Zangina.

The court held that while the prosecution established the death of the victim, it failed to establish three ingredients of offense linking the identity of the accused to the crime thereby creating doubt.

The trial judge held that failure of the prosecution to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt left the court with no option than to discharge and acquitt the two accused.

The two accused persons have been in detention for over 13 years and have previously been tried and convicted for armed robbery.

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Kano wins national award in the fight against TB, leprosy

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Nasiru Yusuf

Kano State Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Program has won the twin National Tuberculosis and Leprosy awards for the year 2020.

Kano Focus reports that, the awards were announced by the Nigeria National TB, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer Control program during the Annual Review meeting held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State Capital.

Kano get the award as the state with highest consistent quarterly TB case notification for 2020 and the highest TB testing laboratory using GeneXpert Machine.

This is the first time the state have won such National TB and Leprosy Awards.

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FG signs US$1.959bn Kano-Maradi railway project

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Nasiru Yusuf

The federal government has on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Mota-Engil Group for the construction of US$1.959 billion Kano-Maradi Standard gauge railway line.

Kano Focus reports that the Minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi signed on behalf of the federal government while the Managing Director, Mota- Engil, Antonio Gvoea signed on behalf of the contracting firm.

The new railway corridor which is to be located in northern Nigeria will run through Kano, Jigawa and Katsina states and through Niger Republic territory as far as Maradi.

Other cities to benefit directly from the passage of the rail route are Danbatta, Kazaure, Daura, Mashi, Katsina and Jibiya.

A statement signed by Eric Ojiekwe, Director, Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Transportation noted that the 283.750-kilometre rail line besides developing freight and passenger transport, “will be integrated with road transport to make a great contribution to the local economy as well as an important development in the social sector.”

The project duration is for 36 months and the contract type is Engineering, Procurement and Construction.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Magdalene Ajani; Director, Legal Services, Pius Oteh; Managing Director, Mota-Engil Group, Antonio Gvoea; Head of Legal, Mota- Engil Group, Cameron Beverley; Magajin Garin Kano, Muhammad Wada; Director, Mota-Engil Group, Kola Abdulkarim; Vice President, Mota-Engil Group, Mohammed Abdul-Razaq; Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, Yusuf Tuggar; Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala-Usman among other personalities.

Mota-Engil is a Portuguese conglomerate with diverse interest in construction, transportation, public works, port operations, waste, water and logistics with presence in 23 countries spread across Africa, Europe and Latin America.

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