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Bornu

Participants at a workshop on Sunday in Maidiuguri, called on media owners to expose journalists to training on conflict reporting.

A communique issued at the end of a workshop in Maiduguri on Reporting Conflict, also called on media owners to provide capacity building and exposure particularly in the area of conflict and violence reporting.

They also called on journalists to strive hard to ensure that they discharge their duties in professional manner.

The participants called on regulatory agencies, like the Nigeria Press Council (NPC) and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), to be more proactive to ensure adherence to best practices.

They called for the immediate passage of the Freedom of Information Bill by the National Assembly.

“The National Assembly should expedite action in the review of the NPC and the enhancement of Journalism Practice Bills.

“We also call on employers to ensure that only professionals are employed in media related agencies and departments,” the participants said.

They urged the NUJ to be more proactive in the defence and protection of its members.

“Journalists should be in the vanguard for the promotion of peace.

“Women should be encouraged to develop more interest in the practice of journalism,” the participants added.

They also advised journalists to give more prominence to issues related to women and children in their stories.

They commended the Justice Development and Peace Commission Ibadan, the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation Abuja for organising the event.

Ekiti

Governor Segun Oni of Ekiti on Sunday donated N1.5 million to some farmers who engaged in FADAMA farming at the Hausa settlement along Ado-IjesaIsu road, Ado-Ekiti.

The 30 farmers received the sum of N50,000 each.

Oni, who was impressed by their farming methods, said the donation was aimed to help them boost their business.

“The state government has approved the disbursement of the sum of N50,000 each to all the 30 farmers in this settlement.

“The amount is to be disbursed immediately by the commissioner of Agriculture.

“Please do not use it for frivolities but make sure it is used to boost your financial base,” the governor charged them.

He assured them of adequate government support and protection at all times.

“If anybody is disturbing your farming activities make sure you inform the government on time for us to take appropriate actions”, Oni stated.

The desire of government, Oni said, was to ensure that the settlement served as a centre where fresh farm produce could be bought all year round.

Responding, the Leader of the farmers, Malam Ahmed Adamu, who said that they have been farming in the area for the past 17 years, promised proper utilisation of the money.

Adamu while commending the governor for the gesture, assured that the farmers would always cooperate with the state government in all its policies and programmes.

Jigawa

The Federal Government is to begin discussions with its development partners in the Education sector, for financial assistance.

Education Minister Ruqayyatu Rufai told  newsmen in Dutse on Sunday that this became necessary because the government could not depend solely on what was budgeted for the sector alone.

The issue of funding for the education sector, she said was a major challenge confronting the sector.

Rufai, however, said that the problem would be addressed through collaboration and partnership.

She also said that the ministry would embark on the recruitment of more qualified teachers and training of some others within the next few months.

“A good teacher can teach even under a tree and student will comprehend. But if we provide infrastructure and instructional materials alone without training, we have not changed anything.

“In this regards, improvement of technical education would also receive government’s attention to address problem of unemployment,” she said.

Kaduna

The Nigeria Union of journalists (NUJ), Kaduna State Council, has set up a contact committee in Zaria axis to sanitise the profession.

The Tide’s source reports that the committee was set up to promote ethical conduct among members as well as protect and promote the interest and welfare of members.

The committee has Alhaji Aminu Ishaq-Abbas of Nigeria Television Authority as chairman while Bello Habib of Leadership Newspapers is Secretary.

Other members are Mohammed Lawal of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) and Abubakar Danyaro of KSMC.

Speaking at a meeting in Zaria, the state’s NUJ Chairman, Alhaji Yusuf Idris, said the committee would liaise with the state council.

“The committee will remain the eyes of the state council to bridge the communication gap,” he said.

While appealing to members to be just and transparent, he advised journalists to be diligent, disciplined and humble in discharging their responsibilities.

In his acceptance speech, Ishaq-Abbass promised to carry the members along by seeking their advice.

Katsina

The Katsina state command of the National  Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), has prosecuted 63 persons, including a married woman, for various drug-related offences in five months.

The NDLEA commander in Katsina, Alhaji Ahmadu Garba disclosed this in an interview with  newsmen in Katsina on Sunday.

He said that the 63 persons have since been convicted and sentenced by the Federal High Court Katsina.

Garba said that among those convicted by the court, was a married woman, Abu Sale, who was arrested in possession of Indian hemp in Katsina metropolis and was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.

He disclosed that the command had during the period, arrested 154 suspects including the convicts for possession of various illicit drugs.

According to him, the command had seized a total of 63.1 kilograms of assorted illicit drugs such as Indian hemp and other psychotropic substances from the suspects.

He also said under the Drug Demand Reduction (DDR) activities, a total of 124 clients were counseled and rehabilitated, while aggressive campaigns against drug abuse were conducted during the period.

Kebbi

The Emir of Yauri in Kebbi, Prof. Muhammad Zayyanu, has called on Governor Saidu Dakingari to provide amenities in Yauri Emirate.

Zayyanu, who led a delegation of title holders and top government functionaries from the area on a visit to the governor on Friday in Birnin Kebbi, said his domain lacked roads and a comprehensive water supply system.

He called for an immediate rehabilitation of the only dam in considering the relevance of water to human beings and animals.

The Emir lamented that in spite of the passage of the River Niger through his domain, water had not been adequately provided for the people.

Zayyanu prayed for the repose of the soul of late President Umaru Yar’Adua, who was father-In-law to the governor, who also lost a senior brother recently.

The governor assured the people of the emirate that amenities would be provided, stressing that he would personally monitor and ensure that the area got the amenities on time.

He commended the role played by traditional rulers in the protection of lives and property in the state.

According to him, the role played by the emirate in ensuring security in the area is worthy of emulation.

Lagos

The Aholu of Kweme Kingdom in Badagry, Sejiro James, said on Friday that the rate of unemployment in Nigeria was responsible for the involvement of youths of the area in smuggling.

James, who was speaking on his third anniversary, told newsmen that there was the need for the Federal Government to empower youths, especially in Badagry and other border areas.

“We are not known to be smugglers in my kingdom, but unemployment has forced my people into the business.

“But if the government gives our people job opportunities and a sense of belonging, they will not go into this vice and they would be contributing more meaningfully to the national project,” he said.

James called on banks, corporate bodies and licensed agents within the kingdom to employ indigenes as part of their social responsibility.

The monarch pledged the support and corporation of his people to the Federal Government.

Osun

The Obafemi Awolowo University Muslim Graduates Association (UNIFEMGA) has awarded scholarships to 26 students of the institution.

Alhaji Ahmed Popoola, National President of the association said this at a public lecture and presentation of scholarships at the University of  Ile-Ife on Sunday.

The association released N1.4 million to the beneficiaries.

The award is under the UNIFEMGA Scholarship and Indigent Endowment Fund instituted in 2009.

Popoola said 10 of the awards were based purely on merit while 16 others were for those in need of financial support.

He said that the association had given 35 scholarships awards in the last two years as well as paid the tuition fees of five students in the 2008/09 academic session.

According to him, this brings the total sum spent by the association to date to over N1. 8 million.

According to him, the objective of the association is to raise the fund to at least N20 million.

Alhaji Femi Abass, a veteran journalist, who delivered a lecture on “Nigeria at 50: Confronting the Realities”, called on Muslims to embrace western education to complement Islamic knowledge.

He urged governments in the country to place emphasis on education to boost mass literacy and the economy.

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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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