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Eminent Nigerians have been urged to intervene in the face-off between the federal government and Academic Staff Union (ASUU).

The national youth leader of the Action Congress (AC), Mr Timi Frank, who canvassed a quick resolution of the crisis, sought the sack of minister of education Dr. Sam Egwu “for not doing enough to remedy the situation.

In a statement yesterday in Abuja, Frank said the federal government should give equal attention to education as the Niger Delta; adding that the ongoing strike, which has crippled the nation’s tertiary institutions is a national embarrassment and a threat to the survival of Nigeria’s nascent democracy.

The silence of the political class on the issue is unfortunate and regrettable, as they have failed to add their voices to compel government to sincerely negotiate with ASUU and other striking unions,” he said.

Frank also said it is high time that nation’s elders complemented the efforts of the committee of chancellors of Nigerian universities in resolving the dispute.

He sought the intervention of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and civil society groups in the resolution of the impasse.

Urging the youth not to lose hope in the Nigerian project, Frank reiterated that Egwu should either resign or be removed.

“I therefore, call on all Nigerian youths not to lose faith in the Nigerian project and ensure that henceforth, they will be active agents of change by ensuring, that their votes count in elections so that responsive leaders that will project their interest at all times can be elected, the statement added.

Kano

The political row between former Kano State Governor, Alhaj Abubakur Rimi and the immediate past governor, Alhaji Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, has been resolved as both leaders have vowed to unseat the ruling All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in the 2011 election.

Efforts to unite the political gladiators began at the August 15 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Congress, in the state.

Kwankwaso’s camp clinched the leadership position of the party.

This followed a meeting in Kaduna where PDP chieftains met to settle the differences between the two leaders.

The meeting which was presided over by the party’s North-West Vice-chairman, Dr Danladi Saikara, was convened at the instance of the national secretariat, Abuja.

Other PDP members at the meeting included former House of Representatives Speaker Alhaji Salisu Buhari and his successor Alhaji Ghali Umar Na’Abba.

Kaduna

The Kaduna State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board says it has processed about 4.500 visas for intending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.

The board’s executive secretary, Alhaji Muktar Abdullahi, said yesterday in Kaduna that the visa issuance would be completed before the first week of October.

It was learnt that no fewer than 8.000 pilgrims are expected to perform this year’s pilgrimage from the state.

Muktar said 14 houses had been secured for the pilgrims at Murtalu in the Holyland, while more convenient residence would be hired to ensure the comfort of the pilgrims.

He added that government had bought two additional buses and would sponsor some pilgrims as well as officials.

The 23 local government areas, according to him will sponsor no fewer than 900 pilgrims in line with Govrnor Namadi Sambo’s welfare policy.

Muktar urged that pilgrims to reciprocate the gesture by obeying laws and exhibiting high sense of patriotism during their stay in Saudi Arabia.

Oyo

Former Oyo State Governor Lam Adesina has scored president Umaru Yar’Adua low, saying he has failed to roll out polices that can lift Nigerians out of poverty.

He urged Nigerians to use the Ramadan to pray to Allah to touch the president’s heart so he can initiate policies that would raise the citizenry above poverty line.

The Action Congress (AC) chieftain spoke yesterday at a lecture marking the end of Ramadan in his Felele, Ibadan home.

Lamenting that Nigerian leaders have failed to use its resources to better the lot of the people, Adesina recalled that when he first travelled to Saudi Arabia in 1982 for Hajj, he slept in a dilapidated building in Medina but he was dumbfounded seeing that the same city had witnessed an unprecedented improvement in 2000.

Besides, Saudi Arabia had only four aircrafts Nigeria had 16.

But now while Nigeria has none; Saudi Arabia owns 200 aircraft, Adesina added.

His words: “A single government  policy can change the fortune of Nigerians. Which good policy has president Yar’ Adua introduced? I am talking as a Muslim. We should pray to Allah to touch his heart to make good policies that will help Nigerians out of poverty.

The former governor said he was saddened by a report by the United States Agency for International Department (USAID) that of the nation’s 140 million people, 138.6 million are living below poverty line.

Adesina hoped that the 2011 elections will bring the desired change.

At the lecture were politician and prominent businessmen and women.

Lagos

The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) has urged Yar’Adua to resolve the strike before nation’s 49th Independence Day celebration on October 1.

Speaking in Lagos yesterday the state chairman of the CLO, Mr. Eneruvie Enakoko, urged the president to ensure that the agreement between the federal government and ASUU was signed before October 1.

He said it would be bad for Nigeria to mark the event while its universities are shut.

Enakoko said honouring the agreement with ASUU will boost the people’s confidence in the policies of the Yar’Adua Administration.

He said education must be taken more seriously, “If Nigeria is to meet the Millennium Development Goals or realise the vision 2020 programmes of the federal government”.

ASUU embarked on a nation-wide strike on June 24 in protest against the government refusal to endorse an agreement which they reached in 2006.

The agreement stipulates the allocation of 26 per cent annual budget to education among other issues.

The Non Academic Staff Union  (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Universities (SSANU) joined the strike, demanding a new salary structure too.

Ekiti

Despite the denial of the Attorney-General and the Minister of Justice, Mr Michael Aondoaka (SAN), of an alleged move to remove the chairman of the Ekiti State Election Petitions Tribunal, Justice Hamma Barka, more criticisms of the “plot” are on.

The Ekiti Democratic Coalition Alliance (EDCA), which described Aondoaka’s denial as “feeble and unconvincing”, vowed that the people of Ekiti State would not condone any attempt to deny them justice after the last re-run election.

A socio-political pressure group, the Positive Force (PF), warned that any attempt to interfere with the work of the tribunal “will lead to anarchy and chaos.”

In a statement yesterday by EDCA National Co-ordinator, Mr. Morakinyo Ogele, the group wondered why some “powerful interest groups” are uncomfortable with the proceedings at the tribunal to the extent of plotting the sack of the chairman.

EDCA said the tribunal had been fair to all in its conduct.

It warned against any attempt to circumvent the rule of law and arm-twist the judges in  the performance of their constitutional duties, stressing that it has no reason to doubt the authenticity of the report, which was first carried by an online news agency.

It urged all parities in the rerun dispute to present their facts before the tribunal and not resort to any unconstitutional act that could impede the wheel of justice.

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Of 1,561 Candidates, 880 Graduate From Law School-DG

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The Nigerian Law School says out of the 1, 561 candidates who sat for the December examination, 880 passed.
The Director-General of the School, Prof. Isa Ciroma, SAN, made this known yesterday in Abuja, while presenting the new wigs to the Body of Benchers at the 2020 Call to the Bar ceremony.
“Four others were from previous Bar examination,’’ he said, adding that the new wigs had met all the required and set conditions by the Council of Legal Education.
“I am happy to affirm that they all have exhibited good manners and decorum during their training.
“They have also been groomed in the best ethics and ethos of our noble profession.
“The screening committee of our distinguished body carefully perused the records of each of the aspirants and found them worthy to be presented for the Call to the Nigerian Bar.’’
Ciroma said that the school had begun a special remedial course for students from the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN).
“The programme began on June 28, at the Nigerian Law School Headquarters, Bwari, Abuja. We thank all distinguished members of the Body of Benchers, for their support,’’ he said.
The Chairman, Body of Benchers, Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, congratulated the new wigs and charged them to adhere to the provision of rules regarding the profession at all times.
“As a lawyer, you are an officer of the court and accordingly, you are not to do any act or conduct yourselves in a manner that will obstruct or adversely affect the course of justice.
“The practice of Law is not a right but a privilege. It is a privilege that can be lost should you fail to live up to the requisite professional standards imposed upon you by virtue of your entry into the community of lawyers.
“You must, therefore, strictly adhere to the provisions of the Rules of the Professional Conduct and maintain best practices at all times.’’
He stressed that the Body of Benchers Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee was always determined to discipline any lawyer found wanting or breaching set rules of the profession.
Rhodes-Vivour said that the committee had been carrying out its mandate “in a just and fair manner’’ without giving any room for compromise or ill-will.
He said that between January and July, the committee disbarred six lawyers and suspended some for between two and four years, while one lawyer was admonished during the period.
Rhodes-Vivour advised the graduates to continue to update their knowledge on both statute and case law in order to attain more understanding on especially, international jurisdictions.
In 2020, the Council of Legal Education said that out of a total of 2,515 students who participated in the examinations, 1,864 passed the Bar Final Examinations conducted in January.
The director-general who described the performance as outstanding, said that among the 1, 864 students who were successful, only five made First Class while 632 others failed the examinations.
“Candidates graded in First Class are five, Second Class Upper 77, Second Class Lower are 633, those who got pass marks are 1,067 and those with Conditional Pass are 82.
“632 candidates failed the examination, 17 were absent and 2 results are withheld.”
Chiroma further explained that only 0.2 per cent made First Class, 3.06 per cent made Second Class Upper, 25.17 per cent made Second Class Lower and 42.42 per cent passed.
He said other performances include a 3.26 per cent for those with conditional pass, 25.12 per cent failed the examinations, 0.7 per cent were absent and 0.8 per cent results are being withheld.

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NGO Trains 300 Returning Migrants On Business Development

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Web of Heart Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation, says it has trained and empowered more than 300 returning migrants, youths and internally displaced persons on job creation.
Its Executive Director, Mrs Bose Aggrey, made the declaration yesterday in Lagos at the graduation of its “Create and Start Module’’ trainees.
The graduating trainees were awarded certificates and given grants facilitated by some investors and soft loans from banks after six months of training to identify and analyse business ideas and opportunities.
“We taught them how to articulate their business ideas into plans; introduced them to investors and equally assisted them to get bank loans.
“It is an opportunity for the participants to put themselves together either to get employed or to become employers,’’ she said.
“We introduced investors to the participants when they were pitching and some of them are already getting grants.
“We are working with two banks so they can provide soft loans at low interest rates for the participants,’’ she added.
In his remarks, Mr Peik Bruhns, Team Leader of the firm of consultants that conducted the training, said the company had reached out to train 5,000 Nigerians on Micro, Small and Medium scale Enterprises in six months
He said this was done in collaboration with nine organisations, including Web of Heart Foundation.
“I will like to stress the importance of working with returnee migrants because Web of Heart Foundation focuses on assisting them to reintegrate into society.

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Zamfara Police Refute Kidnap Of 60 Passengers Rumour

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The Zamfara State Police Command has refuted a story that 60 passengers travelling along Sokoto – Gusau road on Sunday, July 25, were kidnapped by bandits.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mohammed Shehu, in a statement, yesterday, said the story was inaccurate and a calculated attempt by some mischief makers to create fear and apprehension into the minds of the general public, especially the commuters.
“The attention of Zamfara State Police Command has been drawn to a story trending on social and conventional media that armed bandits blocked Sokoto – Gusau Road, and abducted 60 people travelling from Sokoto to Abuja.”
The statement said, “For the avoidance of doubt and purpose of clarity, the command was informed that a large number of armed bandits blocked a Toyota bus vehicle, belonging to the Sokoto State Mass Transit and abducted 11 passengers who were travelling from Sokoto – Abuja along Sokoto – the accurate report of the incident. On Sunday, July 25, 2021, Gusau Road in Bakura LGA.”
According to the statement, the Police Tactical operatives attached to Operation Restore Peace were alerted, and they quickly mobilized to the location and dislodged the hoodlums who blocked many vehicles for abduction, adding that the road was instantly cleared for motorists and other road users and reinforced more police operatives to improve the security and safety of the commuters.
The statement noted that in the course of mopping up the scene, a Toyota bus vehicle belonging to Sokoto State Mass Transit was sighted empty and it was revealed that 11 passengers, including the driver were abducted and taken to the bush before the arrival of the police.
It said the operatives further embarked on search and rescue operation in the surrounding bush with a view to rescuing the kidnapped victims, stressing that two persons who were left far behind with other hoodlums were abandoned by their captors for fear of being neutralised by the Police operatives, the remaining nine victims were taken to the forest.

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