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Adamawa

Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Dr.Ahmed Modibbo Mohammed has said that there had been an increase in enrolement of students    into public schools, as a result of mass mobilisation, publicity and advocacy drives embarked upon by the commission.

Mohammed disclosed this at the ground breaking ceremony for Korea International Corporation Agency (KOICA)’s support, with the construction of elementary schools in Adamawa /Gombe State.

He said the collaboration with partners such as KOICA was one of the activities undertaken by the commission to develop child –friendly learning environment and create new value for Nigerian’s educational system.

Benue

Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswam had said that the governor’s forum had no hand in the removal of the former National Chairman of the People Democratic Part ( PDP), Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo.

Suswan said contrary to insinuations, Nwodo was consumed by the crisis between him and his state governor, Sullivan Chime.

Though Suswan told reporters in Makurdi, Benue State, that governors played no role in the fall of Nwodo, he however, noted that many party men and women were not happy that Nwodo attempted to disobey the Enugu State court order.

Suswan said “ I don’t think there was any plot by governors against the former national chairman.  He was involved in a crisis with his home governor and efforts were made to resolve it.  Few of us intervened on different occasions and wanted to reconcile them but that was not to be and what happened happened”.

Borno

The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Hafiz Ringim had described the Boko Haram crisis in Borno and Bauchi States as posing a serious challenge to the police and other security agencies.

Ringim, who stated this Wednesday while addressing senior police officers at a conference in Maiduguri pledged that the police would not leave any stone unturned in tackling the crisis and  ensuring that it was ended.

While urging the police officers to stay away from the political/social crisis in the areas, he stressed the need for them to brace up and find solution to this and other crisis in the country.

Ringim assured that normalcy would soon return to the troubled states, revealing that the conference was called to brainstorm on the security situation affecting the states.

FCT

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Administration has appointed Frontier Tek Solutions to coordinate and automate the collection of revenue for some of its agencies.

The vice chairman of the firm, Babajide Oluwasanmi, said the ICT firm was developing Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment (EBPP) where both government agencies and banks will be integrated to provide real time information on accounts and balances.

Oluwasanmi said that two weeks from now, customers of AGIS, AEPB and other similar agencies in the FCT can walk into the hall of its banking partners such as First Bank, GT Bank and Unity Bank where such banks can pull the customer’s bill and process payment.

Niger

The Federal Government has concluded plans for extension of classes to hold in private and public schools to make up for the two week’s closure of schools for the on-going nationwide voter registration.

The Minister of State for Education, Mr Kenneth Gbagi announced this Tuesday in Minna shortly after his visit to the National Examinations Council (NECO) office.

Gbagi blamed the mass failure recorded in the past decade in the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (SSCE) on the laxity of school teachers in discharging their primary responsibility of teaching and preparing students for examinations.

He stated that the criticisms against the government over the mass failure was a mistake maintaining that teachers were the main cause of the failure.

Kaduna

All is now set for the 32nd Kaduna International Trade Fair scheduled to hold between February 25 and March 6, as companies from eight countries across the world have indicated their interest to participate.

The companies are China, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia, Thailand, India and Niger.

The first Deputy President of the Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KADCCIMA), Hon. Abdullahi Sani made the disclosure during an interactive session with journalists in Kaduna.

Sani, who doubles as the chairman of the main organising committee of the event said the theme of this year’s trade fair is ‘National Energy: Road Map for Nigeria’s Growth and Development’, adding that it was chosen because of the crucial nature of energy to the economy.

Kano

To assist  the physically challenged, the United States Government through its agency for International Development (USAID), has rehabilitated and handed over seven buildings which cost over 100,000 US Dollar (N15 million) to  the management of Tundun Maliki Special Education School in Kano.

The agency also donated N5,000 worth of books to its pupils.

Unveiling the facilities in Kano recently,  the Kano State Governor, Ibrahim Shekarau said the donation were made following the special interest the state had on the school.

Represented by the Commissioner for Education, Alhaji Musa Salihu, Shekarau commended  the US government for the gesture and urged the students to make good use of the books in order to be better informed in their academic pursuits.

Lagos

The Lagos State House of Assembly has threatened to close down all the satellite campuses being run by state-owned tertiary institutions in the state if they fail to meet the required standard.

Deputy Speaker, Bola Badmus-Olujobi issued the threat yesterday when the seven man ad-hoc committee set up by the House to look into why some courses at the Lagos State University (LASU) and other institution were disaccreditated.

Ondo

Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko had warned Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) in the State to desist from executing projects which have no direct impact on the masses.

Mimiko gave the warning Wednesday at the opening ceremony of a workshop on the 2011 budget implementation organised by the Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget for members of the state executive council and top MDA officials of the Nigeria Institute for Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA) in Ondo.

Mimiko stressed the need for strict adherence and speedy implementation of capital projects in the state pointing out that, that would serve as an express means of gaining the people’s trust in governance.

He said “we cannot but maintain transparency in our dealings to ensure that programmes and projects for which money is appropriated and released are properly executed.

Osun

As part of its six-point agenda, the Osun State Government has began the process of recruiting 20,000 youths under the State Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES).

The training of trainers of the trainers expected to be engaged in the programme commenced yesterday with 31 lead trainers and 93 supporting officers.

No fewer than 170,000 unemployed youths have applied for the scheme.

The Assistant Director (Community), Bureau of Communication and Strategy, Office of the Governor,  Mr Olatunbosun Oyintiloye, said merit would be the criterion used to select those to be employed.

Flagging off the progrmame, Oyintiloye stated that state officials have been visiting farm settlements located in various locations within the state pointing out that the visitation would aid them get first hand information and collate other data to form imput into the job creation agricultural scheme.

Oyo

Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO) Limited has donated a multi-million naira Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Centre to Government College, Ibadan (GCI)

The oil giant which is a  concessionarie to the Nigerian (NNPC) on oil mining and oil prospecting licences, delivered the modern ICT centre to the principal, teachers and pupils of the famous school in Ibadan last Friday.

At the handover ceremony, the company’s  Business Relations Manager, Mr Chidi Chukwueke, said the centre was an NNPC and SNEPCO’s support for initiatives to improve the education  sector in Oyo State.

Plateau

The Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) yesterday condemned calls for a state of emergency in Plateau State following the spate of violence.

CNPP warned against the use of any wrong approach in resolving the crisis.

The coalition maintained that calls for the resignation of Governor Jonah Jang were not the solution, adding that imposing a state of emergency would only compound the problem in the state capital.

The party’s Secretary-General, Chief Willy Ezugwu said new approaches to end the carnage in Jos should be explored such as probing the activities of security operative.

Zamfara

A Federal High Court Tuesday, in Gusau adjoined hearing of the All Nigeria s Peoples Party (ANPP) case against 22 members of Zamfara House of Assembly, who defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) till February 21.

The lawmakers, who were elected on the platform of the ANPP in July 2010, defected to PDP to support Governor Mahmud Shinkafi, who had earlier defected to the ruling party.

The ANPP was challenging their action in a suit requesting the court to declare the 22 seats vacant and order the INEC to conduct a fresh election.

Justice Zainab Abubakar had earlier fixed February 1 for ruling on the ANPP application but later adjourned the case to February 21, for the counsel to clarify some issues about the substantive suit.

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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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