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THE STATES

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Kaduna
The vice-chancellor of Kaduna State University (KASU) has decried the non-release of the N500 million take-off grant for the development of the institution’s Kafanchan campus.
The Vice-Chancellor had told the Kaduna State governor Namadi Sambo that the development had slowed down the execution of projects for the smooth take-off of the campus.
Abdulahi said the grant was included in the 2009 budget, but had not been released, and that no single work has been done at the site.
He said the dilapidated former Government Secondary School, Kafanchan and site of the campus had been taken over by weeds, while part of it had been converted to farmland by the residents of the area.

Zamfara

The Zamfara State Government has spent N35.8 million on the rehabilitation of roads across the state.
Managing Director of Zamfara Road Maintenance Agency (ZAROMA), Alhaji Tukur Rafi who disclosed in Gusua, at a lecture on “Maintenance Culture of Public Infrastructure,” organised by the National Orientation Agency (NOA) said the agency had conducted a survey on the state of the roads and discovered that they were plagued by faulty designs, inadequate drainage system and pot holes.

Ajaokuta

The Federal Government of Nigeria have been commended for its resolve to complete the Ajaokuta-Warri rail line.
National President of the Association of Steel Workers, Mr Otori Maliki who made the commendation, said that the development showed government’s commitment to developing the sector.
It will be recalled that the Federal Government, through the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had recently approved N36 billion for the rehabilitation and construction of the remaining 22km rail line and six stations along the route.
According to Maliki, the Ajaokuta-Warri rail line, constructed in 1994, needs to be repaired, following vandalism and dilapidation, which occurred over time, since the project commenced.

Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) has opposed the application filed by former Director-General, National Arts Gallery, Joe Musa, praying an Abuja high court to quash the corruption charges brought against him and four others.
Specifically, Musa and his co-accused were arraigned by the EFCC for alleged misappropriation of funds belonging to the National Arts Gallery.
But in an application argued by Musa’s counsel, Kolawole Olewookere, he submitted that the EFCC failed to establish a prima facie case against him.
Olowookere argued that “a thorough examination of the proof of evidence attached to the charge would s how that there is nothing linking the accused person to the alleged offence contained in the 12 count charge.”
In his response, counsel to the EFCC, Steve Odiase, asked the court not to grant Musa’s application, insisting that the accused had a case to answer.
Odiase argued that Musa was trying to use the court to shield himself from prosecution over the alleged fraud.
Everyone must answer for his misdeed and that is exactly what we have called the accused person to do,” he submitted.
The court will on December 10 rule on whether or not to discontinue the trial.

Kwara
The two billion naira Kwara State Advanced Diagnostics Centre (KWSADC), Ilorin, may be ready by the end of April next year, according to the state’s commissioner for health, Oladimeji Hassan.
Already, a part of the contractual agreement was sealed on Monday while parties to the pact promised the readiness of the centre “in five months” time.
The centre, when completed, would be comparable to any of its kind in the world. Services of renowned experts in diagnosis would be sought towards accurate and early detection of ailment.
Hassan spoke yesterday in Ilorin, during the opening of a seminar on emergency obstetrics care and life-saving skills for health care providers, organised by university of Ilorin Teaching Hospital.

Kogi
The Kogi State House of Assembly has put on hold the job of four local government council chairmen for two months for failure to comply with the state’s financial regulations.
Investigations have shown that the decision of the House was sequel to the adoption of a report from the office of the state’s Auditor-General for local governments.
The report which was presented by the House Committee Chairman on Finance and Appropriation, Alhaji Abdullahi Ali, accused the chairmen of failing to submit their reports from 2006 to 2008 for which they were initially queried on.

Yobe

At least, 1,200 plots recently allocated for commercial and residential purposes in Damaturu and Potiskum towns have been revoked by the Yobe State government.
The commissioner for lands and survey, Alhaji Samaila Gadaka who announced the revocation in a statement in Damaturu, said the revocation was with immediate effect.
He stated that the state governor, Ibrahim Gaidam approved the revocation, following the detection of massive irregularities in the allocation.
The statement also said that the affected plots were allocated without adherence to due process and advised those who had commenced development on them to stop work with immediate effect.

Minna

The chairman, Global 2000 and former Head of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd) has declared Nigeria free from the guinea worm disease scourge.
The former head of state who disclosed this in Minna, Niger State during a courtesy call on Governor Babangida Aliyu, said the country had been rid of the disease through the combined efforts of the Federal, State and local governments, as well as those of Global 2000.
Gowon recalled that that former president of the United States (US), Jimmy Carter invited him in 1987 to join in the fight against the scourge of the disease, through is non-Governmental Organisation, Global 2000.
He stated “the number of people afflicted by the disease stood at 650,000 for a long time, which did not go up or down, showing its seriousness on the health of our people in 21 states.”
The Global 200 chairman further stated that the situation was very pathetic, as the disease afflicted both the old, the productive group and the children, reducing their capacities to engage in productive venture.
He said Global 2000, through the various state governments in the affected states, began massive public enlightenment and provisions of good drinking water to the endemic areas.
Gowon, noting that boreholes, local drugs and filtration clothes were provided, posited that the efforts yielded fruits, as the country had been rid of the disease.

Taraba

The wife of the president, Hajiya Turai Yar’Adua has urged policy makers to bring to bare issues that would reduce child and maternal mortality rate in the country.
The First Lady who made the call during her one-day advocacy visit to Taraba State, also recalled that statistics have shown that Nigeria has a very high child and maternal health problems in the world.
Turai pointed out that the North-East zone where Taraba state falls into, has the highest maternal mortality rate when compared with other geo-political regions in the country.
She said the advocacy visit is to sensitise policy makers, women folk and the public of the need to ensure that pregnancy and delivery do not pose threat to lives of mothers and the new born.
According to her, the visit was also to encourage children to develop full potential to contribute to the nation’s socio-economic development, and called on policy makers, royal fathers, religious leaders and parliamentarians in the country to support policies and laws that could promote good health for women and children in the country.
The first lady, who commended the effort of the federal government in the implementation of the Integrated Maternal new born and child health strategy, said it is a key government initiative towards ensuring universal coverage of maternal newborn and child health intervention in the country.
She also commended the debt relief funded maternal and child health progress and the midwifery service scheme launched recently in Abuja.

Borno
The cholera outbreaks in Biu and Gwoza, Borno State, have spread to Maiduguri, the state capital and the neigbouring Jeve Local Council killing six people, including two children.
Also, three persons have been confirmed dead and several others hospitalised as a result of cholera outbreak in Karim-Lamido Local Council of Taraba State.
The spread of the water borne disease, according to Director of Disease Control in the Borno State Ministry of Health, Dr. Abubakar Sadik, was caused by drinking of contaminated water and poor personal hygiene.
The fresh outbreak brought to a total 78 those who have lost their lives, as 72 cholera patients last month died in Gwoza, Dikwa and Madube, a border community with Adamawa State.
Confirming the fresh outbreak, health commissioner, Zubairu Maina, told The Tide that in Biu alone, about 65 people were killed at the cholera treatment centre.

Oyo

The peace deal brokered among People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chieftains in Oyo State by the Senator Ike Nwachukwu-led committee may have collapsed followed renewed disagreements over alleged dissolution of the state party executive.
Although the Nwachukwu committee was silent on the status of the controversial party executives allegedly handpicked by the late Oyo PDP chieftain, Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu, it however set up a 19-member harmonisation committee to oversee the affairs of the party along with a newly constituted elders council.
But while the duo of Senator Lekan Balogun and Senator leader Teslim Folarin maintained that the state party executive council stands dissolved, former Governor Kolapo Ishola and the state secretary of PDP, Bashiru Akanbi, said the executive remained intact.
Balogun argued that since there was no party executive in place in the first instance, there was nothing to dissolve by the peace panel.
His words: “first, there was an injunction restraining the conduct of the congress that purportedly gave birth to this illegal executive, an injunction that the powers that be at that time ignored which rendered whatever they did at the so-called congress a nullity and was reechoed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) letter of July 23, 2008 confirming this illegal status.

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NHRC Seeks Prioritisation Of Children’s Rights In National, State Budgets

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The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Mr Tony Ojukwu, has called for the prioritisation of child rights issues in both the national and state budgets.
Ojukwu, represented by Abdulrahman Yakubu,  director, political and civil education rights in the commission made the call in Abuja at an event organised by the commission to commemorate the 2021 International Day for the African Child  (DAC), celebrated every June 16.
He also called for alignment of national implementation plans of the Child’s Rights Act with international action plans like the Agenda 2040 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda to ensure a more holistic and measurable implementation outcome
“While progress has been made on the implementation of the Child’s Rights Act and Laws across the   states that have adopted it, challenges bordering on non-prioritisation of child rights in the budget, poverty.
“Harmful traditional practices, inadequate access to educational and health services, armed conflicts and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic have continued to slow down process across all sectors.
“I call on all concerned Ministry , Departments and Agencies and child-focused organisations to explore  new tools and innovations like technology and social media to accelerate the implementation of child-based laws and policies in the country,” he said.
He also called for the adoption and implementation of measures to ensure universal health coverage, access to quality health-care services for all while closing all gender and vulnerability gaps.
Ojukwu also called for equal access to compulsory and quality education to all children, including children in rural communities, the girl child, children living with disabilities, children in conflict and humanity settings.
“We must address the root cause of conflict and engage early warning mechanisms to eliminate the impact of armed conflicts on children” he said.
The executive secretary said the DAC serves as a strong advocacy and sensitization tool for implementation of children’s rights.
“Beyond honouring the memory of the fallen heroes, the DAC celebration calls for introspection and self-assessment by the AU member states on the level of child rights implementation in respective countries.
The theme for the 2021 DAC celebration as selected by the African committee of Experts on the Rights and welfare of the child, he said, 30 years after the adoption of the charter: accelerate the implementation of the Agenda 2040 for an Africa fit for children.
In a goodwill message, the Country Representative of UN  Women Nigeria, Ms Comfort Lamptey called for education-in-emergencies in Borno,  Yobe and Adamawa.
The country representative, represented by Patience Ekeoba,  National Programme Officer,  UN Women Nigeria,  Lamptey said that children of these three conflict affected states need education -in-emergencies.
“ In the north east of Nigeria, 2. 8 million children need education -in-emergencies support. No fewer than 802 schools remained closed and 497 classrooms are listed as destroyed with another 1, 392 damaged but repairable in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.
“In addition to this,  the COVID-19,  insecurity and humanitarian crisis and other prevailing challenges have presented new and additional challenges,” she said
“A lot of countries in Africa have robust legal frameworks policies,  conventions and other frameworks that guarantee the rights of the child,” she added.

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Court Rejects EFCC’s Request To Amend Charge In Ex-NNPC GMD’s Trial

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has rejected an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to amend its charge in the $9.8million, £74,000 fraud trial of an ex-Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed, in a ruling, yesterday, held that granting the application by the EFCC would amount to varying a subsisting judgment given by the Court of Appeal, Abuja on April 24, 2020, where it, among others, ordered Yakubu to enter defence in relation to counts three and four of the six counts originally contained in the charge on which he was arraigned.
Justice Mohammed was emphatic that allowing the prosecution (the EFCC) to amend the charge was tantamount to disobeying the subsisting order made by the Court of Appeal in its judgment of April 24, 2020.
The EFCC claimed that its operatives, acting on a tip-off, raided Yakubu’s house located on Chikun Road, Sabon Tasha area of Kaduna South Local Government Area of Kaduna State on February 3, 2017, and recovered the $9,772,800 and £74,000 cash kept in a fire proof safe.
It arraigned Yakubu on March 16, 2017, on a six-count charge relating to money laundering offences.
He was among others, accused of failing to make full disclosure of assets, receiving cash without going through a financial institution, which borders on money laundering and intent to avoid a lawful transaction under law, transported at various times to Kaduna, the aggregate sum of $9,772,800 and £74,000.
The prosecution closed its case on October 17, 2018, after calling seven witnesses.
The seventh prosecution witness, an operative of the EFCC, Suleiman Mohammed, spoke about how his team recovered the $9,772,000 and £74,000 cash in Yabubu’s house in Kaduna, which was later deposited in CBN in Kano.
At the closure of the prosecution’s case, Yakubu made a no-case submission, which Justice Mohammed, in a ruling on May 16, 2019, partially upheld by striking out two of the six counts contained in the charge and ordered Yakubu to enter defence in relation to the remaining four counts.
The judge was of the view that the prosecution failed to prove counts five and six of the charge, which related to allegation of unlawful transportation of the money.
“Even though I am tempted to discharge the defendant on counts one to four, I am, however, constrained to ask the defendant to explain how he came about the monies recovered from his house.
“Fortified with my position, the defendant is hereby ordered to enter his defence in respect of counts one to four,” Justice Mohammed said in the May 16, 2019, ruling.
Dissatisfied, Yakubu challenged the decision at the Court of Appeal, Abuja, which, in a ruling on April 24, 2020, upheld Justice Mohammed’s ruling and proceeded to strike out two more counts – one and two – in the charge.
The Court of Appeal, then, ordered Yakubu to enter his defence in respect of the remaining two counts – three and four.
Proceedings later resumed at the Federal High Court, with the defendant commencing his defence as ordered by the Court of Appeal.
But, on March 10 this year, the prosecution applied for leave to amend its charge, arguing among others, that the law allows the prosecution to amend charge at any stage of the proceedings before judgment.
The defence countered, arguing that the Court of Appeal, in its judgment of April 24, 2020, made an order to guide further proceedings in the trial.
It noted that the Court of Appeal ordered that the defendant was only to enter defence in relation to counts three and four in respect of which a prima facie case was established.
The defence urged the court to refuse the prosecution’s application for amendment and allow the defendant to continue with his defence, a prayer Justice Mohammed granted in his ruling, yesterday.
When the judge ended the ruling, yesterday, the defence indicated its intention to proceed with its case, but the court elected to adjourn till June 30 following plea by the prosecution for an adjournment on the grounds that the lead prosecuting lawyer was not immediately available.

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Economist Challenges W’Bank’s Prediction On Nigeria’s Inflation Rate

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An economist, Prof. Akpan Ekpo, has queried World Bank’s prediction that Nigeria’s inflation rate is expected to rise to fifth highest in Sub-Saharan Africa by the end of 2021.
Ekpo, a professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, questioned the prediction in an interview with The Tide source yesterday in Lagos.
Recall the bank’s Lead Economist for Nigeria, Macro Hernandez while presenting its six-monthly update on development in Nigeria on Tuesday, said Nigeria was lagging the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, with food inflation.
Hernandez included heightened insecurity and stalled reforms as slowing growth and increasing poverty.
The professor said: “First of all, we need to examine the methodology the World Bank used to arrive at the conclusion because we know that inflation has declined slightly.”
Ekpo, also Chairman, Foundation for Economic Research and Training in Lagos, said, however, that if government could solve the insecurity problems limiting economic growth and increase Agricultural production, the prediction might not hold.
According to him, there are countries with double digits inflation and still doing well.
“This means you can have inflation and yet your GDP is growing, so, it’s when you have what we call run-away or hyper inflation that is when you get worried.
“Run-away inflation means that prices are increasing everyday or every month without control,” he said.
On predictions that the inflation would push seven million more Nigerians into poverty due to falling purchasing power, Ekpo gave a suggestion to the federal government to stem it.
He urged the Federal Government to seriously implement the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy Programme and the Economic Sustainability Plan documents.
“I cannot fault them on this one because already, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said about 85 million Nigerians are living in poverty.
“So, World Bank just saying that confirms what our own NBS has already said.
“Now, if the government implements the National Poverty Reduction initiative document as well as the Economic Sustainability plan seriously, then we can begin to reduce the poverty rate.

“Then the economy must grow double digits, that is, 10 per cent and above for us to see reduction in poverty and more jobs creation as well, because poverty is linked to unemployment,” he added.

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