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Agbami Scholarships Excite Rivers Indigenes



Stakeholders in Rivers State have applauded the Agbami Medical and Engineering Professionals Scholarship Awards which were presented to 183 beneficiaries from the state early in the week at the auditorium of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

The scholarship was established by Agbami partners: Star Deepwater Petroleum Limited (a Chevron Company); Famfa Oil, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Statoil Nigeria Limited and Petroleo Brasileiro Nigeria Limtied (Petrobras).

Dr Elechi Amadi, the Chairman Rivers State Scholarship Board who represented the State government commended Chevron and the Agbami partners for offering the scholarships to the students stating that the Education sector in the State had a back ground of  inadequacy and near desperation especially before the coming of the present administration.

The Chairman, who urged other corporate bodies to emulate Chevron because they draw their workforce from the products of the educational system, noted that the paramount role of education in the life of any nation could not be over-emphasised. “All other government programmes will ultimately collapse if education is not accorded the priority it deserves,” he stated.

In his own remarks, Rt Hon. Tonye Harry, the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly commended the efforts of Chevron and its partners to address the issue of educational development for which he said the state has been disadvantaged. The speaker who was represented by Hon Hope Ikiriko, the Deputy House Leader noted that the gesture would greatly contribute to the efforts of the present State government to resuscitate the educational sector on which it has declared a state of emergency.

The Speaker, who called for the increase in the number of awardees in the next round of awards, congratulated the present recipients and the Scholarship Board confirming that the selection process was merit-based. He implored them to see the award as an opportunity to prove their mettle in their chosed professions and to come out to contribute to the development of the society. “beyond the scholarships and your educational attainment, you all should know that the essence of knowledge is not for you to depend on government for jobs, but to help create jobs by yourselves,” he stated.

Also expressing her excitement about the Agbami scholarships, Hon Maureen Tamuno, the Chairman, Rivers State House of Assembly Committee on Education described the gesture as a visible commitment to assisting the state in educational development.

Encouraging the awardees not to misuse the opprounity offered by the scholarships, she called on other Companies in the State to emulate Chevron and its Agbami partners.

Earlier in his remarks, Andrew Fawthrop, the Chairman/Managing Director, Chevron Nigeria Limited noted that the Agbami deepwater partners have demonstrated commitment to conducting their business in Nigeria in a socially responsible way; lending hands to add value to the lives of the people and contributing positively to the socio-economic development of the country.

The Managing Dierctor, who was represented by Steven Shryock, the Deepwater Asset Manager, Stated that the Agbami partners were committing significant resource to Corporate Social Responsibility programs including the scholarship scheme for which N118 million has been earmarked for 860 beneficiaries during the first session. He therefore challenged the benefiaries to make the best use of the opportunity.

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Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity



Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.

The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).

Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.

It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.

Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.

Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.

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Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments



President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.

The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.

According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.

He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.

Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.

The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.

He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.

On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.

He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.

“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.

“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.

“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.

”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.

“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.

“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.

On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.

On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.

According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.

The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”

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Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari



Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.

The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.

Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.

He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.

He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.

“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.

“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.

“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”

He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.

This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.

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