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Cleric Blames Crime On Poor Upbringing



Religious leaders in the country have attributed the commission of crimes to poor upbringing and training of children by parents in the face of rampant kidnapping, armed robbery and other crimes. The Senior Regional (North Central) Overseer of Mountain of Fire and Miracles Church, Jos, Pastor A. O. Philips stated that if the society must change and remain crime-free, it must start from proper training of the children. His sermon to over 2,000 parents and children last Sunday in Jos marked the end of the church’s children’s week. According to the cleric, the more hooligans and armed robbers among other criminals the society harbours or has, the more unsafe the society. Meanwhile, the pastor of Family Restoration Gospel Assembly, Jos, Mr. Michael Akintunde has told the Judicial Commission of Inquiry probing the November 28, 2008 mayhem in Jos, that children below 15 years unleashed terror on innocent Christian Community.The cleric, witness number 123 at the commission, while presenting his memorandum No JCI/J/189/2009, lamented that the action of the under-aged militants was predicted on the indoctrination they received from the parents/their religion. Consequently, he stressed that “it is the duty of all of us to train our children”. He told his audience that parents were expected to be “stewards” to their children, just as he emphasised that the campaign against corruption in the country must start from proper training of the children. In addition, he advised parents not to hesitate in correcting other people’s children when they go wrong, saying that, it remains a way and means of making the society safe. The clergy lamented that stealing by children usually starts when they bring home items parents know they did not buy for them.

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ESP: We’ll Lift 20m People Out Of Poverty In Next Two Yrs –Osinbajo



The Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, said with the successful activation of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), Cash Transfer scheme, the government vision of lifting about 20 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next two years was within reach.

The ESP Cash Transfer scheme is aimed at delivering financial support to, at least, one million urban-based households using technology.

Osinbajo stated this while flagging-off, virtually, the cash transfer scheme to be facilitated through a wholly technology-based approach called the Rapid Response Register (RRR).

A statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, in Abuja, explained that RRR was the means by which urban poor and vulnerable population can be speedily identified using geographic satellite technology and other related means for the purposes of delivering cash to households affected by the fallouts of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

Akande, in the statement quoted the Vice President as saying that, “the groundbreaking success of the RRR, now emboldens us to achieve our aspiration of a social security programme for a minimum of twenty million Nigerians in the next two years. This will be the largest of its kind on the continent. This (aspiration) is, at least from the perspective of this tested approach, now well within our reach.

“The only constraint, of course, is the funding which we must look for because this country deserves a social security scheme that will not merely alleviate poverty but also create wealth for the millions of those who are waiting for this opportunity.

“Our government launched the National Social Protection Policy (NSPP) in 2017 to provide the framework for institutionalizing the work we started since 2016 on reducing extreme poverty in Nigeria, based on our administration’s vision to create a comprehensive social security programme for the poor and vulnerable and thereafter the pledge to lift 100 million Nigerian’s out of poverty in ten years.”

According to Osinbajo, the launch of the RRR social protection method of targeting, which he said was the first strategy to be developed and tested in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, would enable Nigeria tackle poverty in a more systematic manner, leveraging technology to expand the scope of the interventions.

He said, “As of 31st December, 2020, we have identified and registered about 24.3million poor and vulnerable individuals into the National Social Register; equivalent to about 5.7million households. Through this project, we are currently injecting about N10billion directly into the hands of about 2 million poor and vulnerable people every month.

“This is about the largest evidence-based effort by any administration on poverty reduction and its impact on the lives of the poor is huge; by way of improving the livelihoods of the beneficiaries through enhanced household purchasing power; smoothening consumption; increasing savings and acquisition of household assets; and improving the local economy. There are many more ramifications.”

Earlier in her remarks, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, said the initiative would provide a gateway to other important government programmes, adding that Nigeria now has a database for impact tracking and the expansion of social interventions and related programmes, in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision of extending financial support to more Nigerians.

She said, “By design, this register links to other databases such as banking information of respondents and national identity numbers. It is also a process that is advanced in unifying national databank towards the delivery of social development in Nigeria. There is no doubt that in future, as has been demonstrated in the previous presentation, we would be reverting to the process used here and the register itself, to aid emergency assistance”.

Also speaking, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Mr Subham Chaudhuri, commended the Federal Government for the initiative, noting it as a critical component in the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

While pledging the support of the World Bank for the project, Chaudhuri emphasized the need for stakeholders to remain transparent in the selection and disbursement of the funds to the beneficiaries.

Akande, in the statement said that, “About 3,115 households received alerts of payments instantly at the flag-off of the project by the Vice President. A total of 1 million households would be impacted directly under the scheme in the next 6 months.

“The Cash Transfer scheme which is part of the ESP is designed to build a shock responsive framework for capturing and registering the urban poor and vulnerable populations across Nigeria. The RRR focuses mainly on the urban poor wards selected using scientifically validated methods of satellite remote sensing technology, machine learning algorithm and big data analysis.”

Also present at the event include the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige; the representative of the European Union (EU) mission in Nigeria, Mr Ketil Karlsen, among others.






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Lack Of Scanners At Ports Compromising Nigeria’s Security, Reps Lament



The House of Representatives, yesterday, said that lack of scanners at the various ports was compromising the nation’s security.

The House said the ill development has exposed the country to possible importation of illegal arms and ammunition into the country.

The Chairman, House Technical Committee on Customs and Excise, Hon. Leke Abejide, made the observations when he led other members of the committee on the oversight of Customs formations in Zone C of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) with headquarters in Port Harcourt, yesterday.

He said that the absence of functional scanners at Customs formations nationwide with its concomitants of illicit arms activities had led financial resources.

The lawmaker also decried the abandonment of scanners purchased for the Customs over the years after removing them from the companies that installed and given them to another company, which according to him, lacked the technical capacity to handle the equipment.

He gave the assurance of a comprehensive investigation into the matter by the House.

The committee expressed which expressed disappointment hock over the long years of abandonment of the multi-million dollars scanners, and insisted that even though there was the need to provide more scanners for the Customs, there was also the need to out-source the service.

The members wondered why the scanners were taken away from the company that installed them and give to another company without the capacity to handle them.

Abejide also underscored the need to declare an emergency on the roads leading to the ports in the zone to avoid degeneration.

The lawmaker, however, said that the committee will work with Customs Service to rid the system of those he identified as quack agents operating in the nation’s port.

According to him, many of the agents had no identifiable office.

In his remarks, the Comptroller of the Onne Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Auwal Mohamed, told the delegation that the zone generated about $136million from export within the zone between 2019 and 2020.

He said the poor access roads to the port and lack of containers were a big challenge to export activities, adding that the volume of export from the zone will increase with good access roads and rail line linking the port as well as an increase in revenue collection.


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Buhari Recommits To African Unity, Progress



President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, re-emphasised the need for neighbouring countries to always protect one another’s interests, saying their mutual survival depends on one another.

Buhari stated this while playing host to President Patrice Talon of Republic of Benin, who was on an official visit at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The President in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina, said, “good neighbourliness is very important in our lives. The survival of your neighbour is also your own, and we will continue to work with our neighbours in the light of this understanding.”

He recalled that on assumption of office for first term in 2015, one of the very first steps he took was to visit neighbouring countries of Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Benin – all towards forging a common understanding on crucial issues, including security, trade and development.

According to him, “And those are issues we must continue to engage on, for the good of our countries and the people. Whatever irritations that come up must be removed.”

Speaking earlier, the President, Republic of Benin, Patrice Talon, said he was in Nigeria to show gratitude to Buhari for the robust leadership he displays in Nigeria and Africa.

Noting that the challenges of 2020 were huge, he stressed that the same challenges may remain in 2021, “and our relationship as neighbours must, therefore, remain cordial.”

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