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Easter: Buhari urges Nigerians not to give up on insecurity, uncertainty

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday enjoined Nigerians not to give up in the face of seemingly daunting challenges of life.

He assured in his 2022 Easter message, which he personally signed that Nigeria would soon overcome its uncertainty and insecurity.

He also called on Nigerians to continue to show love to one another, rather than hate, and to also show more patriotism to the general good of society.

“Easter evokes in us the resilience of the human spirit not to give up in the face of seemingly daunting challenges of life.

“This period emboldens us to believe that the current spate of uncertainty and insecurity will soon unfold a season of triumph of good over evil; hope over despair, and light over darkness.

“I urge us to increase our love for one another rather than hate, and show more patriotism, as this is the only country we have.

“I enjoin us, therefore, to live out the eternal words of Jesus Christ on the cross where he said: ‘‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.’’

“Let us remember that the scriptural emphasis of love has so much relevance for us today as a nation more than ever before,’’ he stated.

The president, who described this year’s celebration as very unique for adherents of the two great faiths in Nigeria, noted that it culminated the 40-day season of Lent for Christians.

According to him, this is where the faithful is expected to fast, pray, assist the poor, abhor injustice and strife, give alms, penitently engage in self-examination and repentance of sins.

“Similar values apply to the Muslim faithful, currently about half-way into the holy month of Ramadan.

“For us as a nation, the message of Easter, which commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ after crucifixion and burial, reminds us of the power of divine love, faith and redemption.

“As we approach another season of electioneering, let the security and unity of the nation guide our actions and utterances.

“I wish all Nigerians a joyful and blessed Easter,’’ the president wrote.

NAN

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CBN raises interest rate to 13% from 11.5%

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THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has raised the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) to 13.5 per cent, in a bid to mop up excess liquidity ahead of the 2023 general elections. 

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, concluded its two-day meeting which was the third in the year. 

The Committee at the end of the meeting elected to hike the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) and retain other policy parameters the benchmark interest rate (MPR) which is the benchmark interest rate was raised by 150 basis points (bps) to 13.00 per cent from 11.50 per cent. 

It left the asymmetric corridor at +100/-700 bps around the MPR; retained the cash reserve ratio at 27.50per cent and the Liquidity Ratio retained at 30.00 per cent.

The decision of the committee according to the Chief Executive Officer Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise [CPPE], Dr Muda Yusuf will raise cost of funds for Small and Medium-scale Enterprises borrowers, impact their operating costs, prices of their products and profit margins.

According to him, though there would be some adverse effects on the equities market, investors in the fixed income instruments may benefit from the hike. 

Meanwhile, CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, while briefing reporters at the end of the committee’s meeting held at the apex bank’s headquarters in Abuja said the sharp rise in inflation across both the advanced and emerging market economies has generated growing concerns among central banks as the progressive rise in inflation driven by rising aggregate demands and wage growth has put sustainable pressure on price levels. 

It should be noted that this was the first time in two and a half years that the policy-setting committee of the nation’s financial regulator would increase the MPR, which measures the interest rate. 

The MPR is the baseline interest rate in an economy while every other interest rate used within such an economy is built on it. 

According to Emefiele, “Consequently, the major central banks such as the U.S. Fed, the Bank of England, European Central Bank, and Bank of Canada have provided strong guidance of a progressive shift away from monetary policy accommodation to drive market interest rate which may ultimately impact capital flows away from emerging market economies.” 

He explained that at the 285th meeting of the MPC, six out of the 11 members of the committee voted to raise the key rate. 

He advised the various banks in the country and the Federal Government to redouble efforts in supporting monetary authority. 

The change in rates suggests the apex bank has finally accepted the impact of inflation on its monetary policies. 

Before now, it has preferred a policy that forced the government to look towards addressing supply bottlenecks, while believing lower interest rates could help spur lending and thus increase economic growth. 

“While growth has continued to improve, members noted that inflation was confronted with upward pressure due to emerging risks within the domestic and external environment. The MPC, however, noted that the substantial upward push to price levels continued to be influenced by supply-side factors such as the scarcity of PMS, persisting insecurity and backlash from the Russia-Ukraine war. These require a careful and focused policy intervention to address and resolve. In this light, the MPC, urged the Bank to continue using the tools at its disposal, while increasing its collaboration with the fiscal authority to ensure that inflation is adequately reined in and growth is returned to a strong and sustainable path,” the MPC communique read in part. 

However, listing the key drivers of inflation, Yusuf noted that liquidity challenges in the forex market affected access to manufacturing and other inputs.

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Teenager kills 14 students, one teacher in US school shooting

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Fourteen students and a teacher are dead after a shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, United State of America on Tuesday, according to Governor Greg Abbott.

The 18-year-old suspect, a student at Uvalde High School, is also dead, Governor Abbott said at a press briefing.

“He shot and killed horrifically and incomprehensibly 14 students and killed a teacher,” Abbott said during an unrelated press briefing.

The suspect also allegedly shot and killed his grandmother before entering the school and again opening fire.

Abbott said the shooter – identified by law enforcement sources and the governor as Salvador Ramos – had a handgun and also possibly a rifle.

“When parents drop their kids off at school, they have every expectation to know that they’re going to be able to pick their child up when that school day ends. And there are families who are in mourning right now,” Abbott said. “The state of Texas is in mourning with them for the reality that these parents are not going to be able to pick up their children.”

Two responding police officers were among those injured, Abbott said.

They are expected to survive, he said.

Uvalde Memorial Hospital had said 15 students were being treated in the hospital’s emergency department in the wake of the incident.

Two patients were transferred to San Antonio for treatment, while a third was pending transfer, the hospital said.

A 45-year-old was also hospitalized after getting grazed by a bullet, the hospital said.

University Health in San Antonio said it had two patients from the shooting incident – a 66-year-old woman and a 10-year-old girl – both in critical condition.

Two adult victims of the shooting, both in critical condition, are also being treated at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, according to an Army official.

A number of the shooting victims are children of Customs and Border Patrol agents, law enforcement sources told ABC News.

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin did not confirm casualties, but told ABC News in a text message that “this is a very bad situation.”

He said the office is trying to contact parents before releasing any information.

Earlier, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District had said a shooter was located at Robb Elementary School and asked people to stay away from the area.

“There is an active shooter at Robb Elementary,” the school district said on Twitter. “Law enforcement is on site. Your cooperation is needed at this time by not visiting the campus. As soon as more information is gathered it will be shared.”

A school official initially told ABC News that the shooting took place off campus, and that Robb Elementary School was under lockdown.

The shooting occurred shortly after 11:30am local time, police said.

The school, which has students in the second, third and fourth grades, informed parents shortly after 2pm that students had been transported to the Sergeant Willie Deleon Civic Center, the reunification site, and could be picked up.

Parent Ryan Ramirez told San Antonio ABC affiliate KSAT he had gone to the civic center and the elementary school trying to find his fourth grade daughter in the wake of the shooting.

“(I’m) just confused and worried. I’m trying to find out where my baby’s at,” he told the station.

Uvalde, Texas, is located about 90 minutes west of San Antonio.

The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office and San Antonio Police Department are sending aid, and the FBI is responding.

The Houston Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also said it is assisting in the investigation.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has been briefed on the situation and the agency “is actively coordinating with federal, state, and local partners,” a spokesperson said.

Customs and Border Protection officials in the area also responded to the scene.

The National Counterterrorism Operations Center believes there is “no known terrorism nexus” at this time, according to a law enforcement bulletin obtained by ABC News.

Yahoo News.

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