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Abuja

The  NNPC has reiterated its commitment to the development of a functional education that would drive the development of the petroleum sector and the country.

The Group Managing Director (GMD), Mr Austen Oniwon, stated this in Abuja, at the opening ceremony of the 9th NNPC National Quiz Competition for secondary school students.

Oniwon, who was represented by the Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Dr Levi Ajuonuma said the quiz was part of NNPC’s contribution to the development of students’ intellectual capacity

“We are convinced that allowing students to test their academic ability through a well organised and highly competitive quiz like this would stimulate the needed competition in our education system,’’ he said.

Bauchi

The Muslim community in Bauchi  converged at the Muslim graveyard to clean the surroundings in order to derive the benefits of Ramadan.

Top government officials, civil servants, businessmen, uniformed and non-uniformed voluntary organisations and other residents of the metropolis were among those who took part in the exercise.

The Emir of Bauchi, Alhaji Rilwanu Adamu, who lead the exercise expressed satisfaction with the level of turnout of the people and called on Muslims in the state to maintain the tempo.

Adamu pointed out that the cleaning of a grave was part of the practice of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, adding, “ even if not for this reason one may not like his grave to be in a dirty environment,“ he said.

Gombe

The Miyatti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Gombe chapter, has suggested the recruitment of products of the Nomadic Education Programme as teachers in their former schools.

Malam Aliyu Abare, the Secretary of the association, made the suggestion while speaking with newsmen in Gombe on Tuesday.

Abare said that such a measure would encourage other animal rearers to enrol their wards in the nomadic schools.

“Some of the products of the Nomadic Education programme were able to graduate from their primary schools, attend secondary schools and make it up to National Certificate of Education level.

“Unfortunately, they could not secure teaching job and this development has frustrated them and sent wrong signal to other rearers, who now have the impression that attending the school is a wasted effort.

Ibadan

An Islamic Scholar and University of Ilorin Lecturer, Dr Ibraheem Abikan, has disclosed that Islamic banking was first licenced in the South-West zone in 1963.

Abikan made the disclosure on Monday, in Ibadan, while delivering the 13th Ramadan Lecture entitled, “Viability of Islamic Banking in Nigeria, Issues, Challenges and Prospects”.

The event was organised by the Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria  (MULAN), Oyo State branch.

He said that the bank was then known as “Muslim Bank of West Africa“ and was licenced under the regulatory body of the financial institution of the era.

The lecturer explained that the licence was later withdrawn by the authorities of the then Western region barely after four years of operation.

Ijebu-Ode

Secondary school mathematics teachers have attributed the failure in the subject among students to the lack of concentration and laziness.

A cross-section of the teachers told newsmen  (NAN) in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun, on Tuesday that until the students braced themselves and stopped their lazy attitude, their poor performance in the subject might persist.

The teachers expressed concern over the yearly poor performance of students in the subject in the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSSCE), saying that teachers had been doing their best to encourage the students.

They appealed to parents to also encourage their children by providing the necessary textbooks needed for the subject and also supervise them to work out the subject after school hours.

Mr Akindele Ademola, a mathematics teacher at the Ijebu-Ode Grammar School, described mathematics as a dynamic subject that needed “absolute concentration”.

Jos

Brig.-Gen Muraina Raji, former Commander, 33 Artillery Brigade, Bauchi, was on Tuesday arraigned before a Special Court Martial over the escape of two detainees from the Brigade’s detention facilities.

The Tide gathered that the detainees were suspected to be members of the Boko Haram who were arrested over an onslaught on Bauchi late 2010.

Inaugurating the six-member panel in Jos, the GOC, 3 Armoured Division, Maj.-Gen Sunday Idoko, said that Raji was indicted for complicity by a military investigation report.

“It is the duty of superiors to observe, correct and instantly deal with negligence or any misconduct on the part of subordinates.

“When there is any breach, it is expected that appropriate disciplinary measures are taken by commanders to forestall future occurrence.”

Katsina

Residents of Gora and Yammama villages in the Malumfashi local government area of Katsina State have called for urgent government action to stop the erosion destroying a bridge on the Funtua-Kano road.

Alhaji Sagir Sani, the Village Head of Gora, made the call on Tuesday, on behalf of both communities while inspecting the bridge along with Alhaji Lawal Dalhatu, the Acting Chairman of Malumfashi local government.

Sani said the bridge linked the two communities and it was being used by travellers from neighbouring states of Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi, as well as people from the southern part of Katsina State going to Kano State.

He said the road was vital to the socio-economic activities of the diverse people, noting that, “its total collapse will surely affect people’s lives.”

Kebbi

The Birnin Kebbi Local Government Area in Kebbi has earmarked N15 million for the feeding of the less privileged  during the Ramadan “in the spirit of brotherhood”.

The Sole Administrator, Alhaji Musa Dan-Illela, told newsmen in Birnin Kebbi that N1 million would be spent in the programme in each of the 15 electoral wards.

He said a committee had been established in each of the wards to monitor the full implementation of the programme, stressing that whoever diverted the money would be punished.

He said an estimated 3,000 people were expected to benefit from the programme as feeding would  be done  at designated points in the ward throughout the Ramadan.

Kaduna

The Kaduna State Environment Protection Agency (KEPA) has said that the provision of waste baskets is now compulsory for commercial vehicle operators in the state.

The KEPA General Manager, Alhaji Aminu Sani, told our correspondent  in Kaduna on Tuesday that the policy was to discourage commuters from throwing waste from vehicle windows.

Sani said that the baskets would also check the indiscriminate throwing of polythene bags, especially sachets used in packaging water popularly known as pure water.

He said that the agency had discovered that polythene was one of the major materials that block the drains and obstructed the free flow of water from channels.

The general manager said that the state government had already engaged a consultant that would commence the waste baskets installation programme.

Lafia

The Nasarawa State Muslim Pilgrims’ Welfare Board has announced the fares for the 2011 pilgrimage, saying the minimum is N525,000 and the maximum N626,000, for male pilgrims.

The Executive Secretary, Alhaji Abdullahi Shehu, in a statement made available to newsmen  in Lafia, said the medium hajj seat for the year would go for N559,000.

He said all female pilgrims would be required to pay an additional N1,250 as the cost for their hijabs (veils) and printing of the state emblem on the veils.

He said all intending pilgrims were expected to complete the payments of their fares before August. 29, adding that the screening of all its intending pilgrims would commence immediately after Ramadan.

Lokoja

The Kogi Government has completed 35 electrification projects and sunk 150 boreholes in some rural areas of the state.

The Director-General, Directorate of Rural Development (DRD), Dr Paul Attah, who made the announcement on Tuesday in Lokoja, said that more than 100 kilometres of roads were also opened up to ease movement to and from rural areas to the cities.

He told news men that the directorate also constructed six culverts and a bridge, adding that the projects, which cut across the 21 local government areas of the state, were executed between 2007 and 2010.

Attah said the directorate had also installed transformers in Lokoja, Kabba and Idah on the directive of the state government.

He added that many rural communities in the state had been clamouring for the attention of the directorate for the provision of facilities, but that the organisation could not meet their demands due to limited resources.

Sokoto

Alhaji Abdullahi Maigwandu, Chairman, Shagari Local Government in Sokoto State, on Tuesday, directed councillors to submit lists of projects demanded by their constituencies for immediate implementation.

Maigwandu told journalists in Sokoto that, only projects with direct bearing on the lives of the people would, however, be implemented.

He said the local administration would transform the socio-economic and political status of the area through the execution of laudable projects.

Maigwandu, who was re-elected chairman of the council, said that education, health care services, water supply, roads construction and agriculture remained one of the cardinal objectives of the administration.

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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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