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Adamawa

The Adamawa Vocational Technical Training Centre (VTTC), Mubi, has trained 140 motor mechanics in the last six months, as part of effort to provide employment to the youth.

Some 300 youths are currently undergoing a three-year intensive auto-mechanic and electrical training programmes at the centre.

The Senior Technical Instructor, Sama’ila Yerima, told newsmen in Mubi yesterday that the graduates were exposed to modern technical skills to enhance their operations.

Yerima said the graduates were selected from among the semi-skilled road-side mechanics in Mubi-North and South Local Government Areas of the state.

“The trainees received training on various aspects of auto-mechanic.

“The programme is designed to impart relevant knowledge and skills as well as to promote specialisation among road-side mechanics,” he said

Yerima explained that the training was provided free to the beneficiaries.

“More than 300 students are currently undergoing Ordinary National Diploma (OND) technical courses at the centre.

“All the workshops and laboratories have met the standard set by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE),” he said.

Yerima, stated that the centre was also paying N5,000 as monthly allowance to each of the 300 students.

According to him, the measure is to encourage more youths to enrol into its programme.

He urged state governments in the North-East zone to take advantage of the programme and enrol their youths into the centre.

FCT

Congress of Progressive Change (CPC) Chieftain Muhammadu Buhari (CPC) has promised Nigerians better leadership if voted into government as the country‘s president in 2011.

Buhari made the promise in Abuja while collecting the party‘s expression of interest and presidential nomination forms.

In a statement signed by Mr Dennis Aghanya, the National Publicity Secretary Buhari said that he would offer desired leadership if he emerged winner at both the party’s primaries and the general elections.

He thanked Nigerians for their solidarity and support, which, he said, he had enjoyed over the years and assured the party members that victory was “definitely theirs’’.

He stressed the need for them to protect their votes to ensure that their dream of enthroning good leadership in the country was transformed into reality.

He charged the party‘s members to come together to ensure victory at all levels in the general elections.

Sen. Rufai Hanga, the party‘s National Chairman, however, assured Buhari of the party’s preparedness “ to go into the 2011 general elections with all eyes wide open’’.

Kaduna

Governor Patrick Yakowa of Kaduna State has challenged stakeholders in the education industry in the northern part of the country to intensify efforts toward educational development in the area.

The governor gave the challenge at the 18th Annual General Meeting of  Zazzau Emirate Development Association (ZEDA), held at Kongo Conference Hotel, Zaria .

He said: “The problem of education in this part of the country has for long been fundamental and requires the attention of well-meaning individuals and organisations such as ZEDA.

“This will complement government’s efforts at moving the sector forward.

“We have to adopt to changing situations of the time, particularly with regard to information communication transformation technology.

“We must realise that we live in a rapidly changing world and change is a weapon of advancement.

“We cannot compete favourably and be part of a better tomorrow if we insist only on using yesterday’s methods as we are living in an age of transformation.”

In his speech, the Cairman, ZEDA Central Working Committee, Dr Alimi Bello said the association was established to complement government’s efforts in educational development.

He noted that the association solely depended on donations from individuals for all its programmes.

Katsina

Governor Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State has called on politicians to avoid politics of violence, bitterness and rancour in their campaign.

Shema made the call at the weekend in Katsina at the inauguration of 52 campaign vehicles donated by his political associates to facilitate the governor’s second term bid in the 2011 election.

He told hundreds of PDP members to shun violence and concentrate on issues that would bring about positive changes in the state.

“I don’t believe in politics of bitterness or defamation of character, therefore nobody amongst you should insult anybody in the name of politics.

“For the past three and a half years, I have never insulted anybody because I believe that God gives power to whom He had chosen,’’ Shema said.

Shema commended the donors of the buses and motorcycles and reiterated his determination to continue with the developmental projects in the state.

Earlier, Hajiya Mairo Yar’Adua, the elder sister of late President Umaru Yar’Adua, declared the support of the Yar’Adua family to the candidature of Gov. Shema.

Kebbi

The Arewa Gabas Development Area Council in Kebbi State has spent N43.6 million on the provision of amenities and youth empowerment.

The Sole Administrator, Alhaji Abubakar Noma, told newsmen in Birnin Kebbi at the weekend that boreholes and cement wells were provided to communities.

According to him, abattoirs were also provided in Yeldu and Jar-Kukah while a mosque was rehabilitated and cemetery fenced

He said four vulcanising machines, 22 tonnes of cement, 30 Zinc roofing sheets, 175 mats, 500 kettles and five generators were provided as empowerment to the unemployed.

“The provision of such equipment is to enable people to be self-employed as well as to cushion the hardship they faced ” he explained.

Lagos

Mr Chibikem Okpara, a Lagos-based lawyer, yesterday called for the promotion of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as a vital component of the justice delivery system.

Okpara, who made the call in an interview with newsmen in Lagos, said that ADR had helped in resolving many disputes outside the courtroom.

He said that the idea for ADR arose following the delays and frustration faced by many people in courts, adding that it was used to solve the problem of succession when the immediate past Sultan of Sokoto, died in a place crash.

“However, ADR should not be seen as an alternative in the sense that it complements litigation,’’ Okpara said.

He explained that in ADR, “an expert on the issue under dispute is appointed by the parties to adjudicate over the matter to the satisfaction of all concerned’’.

Ondo

The Ondo State Government has called on unemployed youths to align with one of the numerous skills acquisition programmes in the state.

The Commissioner for Youth Development and Sports, Alhaji Yekini Olanipekun, made the appeal in an interview with  newsmen in Okitipupa in Ondo State.

Olanipekun described as unfortunate a situation where youths now preferred riding commercial motorcycles (Okada) to acquiring skills from any of the centres provided by the state government.

“Youths are no longer going to the skill acquisition centres that we have in all the 18 local government areas of the state.

“We have observed that they instead prefer riding Okada to going to study and acquire skills that will be useful to them and others,” he said.

Olanipekun said that the state government in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency recently held a session aimed at sensitising the youths on windows of opportunities for wealth creation.

He said that the government was planning to empower those youths, who took their training seriously before the end of December.

“What we are going to do before the end of the year is that those that have attended these skill acquisition centres will be empowered.

“We are going to give them sewing machines, welding machines and so on; they should go and learn something from these skill acquisition centers,” the commissioner said.

Olanipekun said that the government was working out modalities to create jobs for youths with requisite skills, adding, “this explains the essence of the skills acquisition centres”.

Plateau

Former Sports Minister Damishi Sango, who is seeking to unseat Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau in 2011, says he will support the incumbent if he picks the PDP ticket.

“We are more interested in the democratic process; if Jang defeats the eight of us who are challenging him in a free and fair process, we shall support him,’’ Sango told newsmen in a telephone interview.

Jang’s eight rivals are working together and have collectively promised to eventually agree on one person to wrestle the ticket from the retired airforce officer.

The aspirants, known as the G-8, featured in each others’ declarations and would normally tell their supporters that their game plan for picking the ticket was up their sleeves.

Sango, who spoke in Jos on Sunday, declared that the eight aspirants, which also include Deputy Governor Paulen Tallen and business magnet Chris Giwa, were politicians who “know what we are doing’’.

He said that they could agree on who to step down for “a day before the convention and quickly communicate same to their supporters’’.

Sango, however ruled out the possibility of a committee to adopt a consensus candidate as recently done by the Northern Political Leaders’ Front that threw up Atiku Abubakar, who floored three others, including former Military President Ibrahim Babangida.

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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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