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THE STATES

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Adamawa

The Adamawa State Government said last Tuesday it had
employed more than 13,000 teachers to boost secondary school education in the state.
The state Commissioner for Education, Mr Gabriel Hamman-Adama, said in Yola that the measure was to address the problem of inadequate teachers and to enhance the quality of education at the schools.
On the issue of non payment of some of the teachers salaries for months, the commissioner blamed the delay on non compliance with due process.
“The affected teachers were employed and posted to schools without following the necessary due process of their data being captured in computer due to some unforeseen circumstances, he said.

Benue
The Benue State Commissioner for Education, Dr Elizabeth
Ugo, announced last Monday that the State Government had closed down three colleges of education for poor staffing and infrastructure.
Ugo, who made the announcement in Makurdi at a news conference on the activities of the ministry,  named the colleges as Emmanuel Ebije Ikwe College of Education, Otukpa, Ityiav-Gar College of Education, Mkar and Malamin College of Education, Gboko.
The commissioner regretted that the schools were being managed solely for commercial gain noting that the standard of the colleges had fallen below the expectations of the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE).
She said the closure of the schools was to ensure that tertiary institutions in the state complied with the minimum requirements of the NCCE.

Borno
The Public Complaints Commission (PCC) last Tuesday
said restriction of movement in some areas in Borno had hindered effective resolution of cases filed by the public.
PCC Director of Investigation in Borno, Malam Muhammad Kyauta, said in an interview in Maiduguri, that only 24 out of the 128 cases recorded in the state had been resolved so far this year, due to the situation, while 104 cases were still pending.
The director said some of the cases were on delay in payment of gratuities and wrongful termination of appointments.
Others include seizure of lands by traditional rulers and non refund of contributions to retiring civil servants by national funds such as the National Housing Funds (NHF).

FCT
The Federal Government said last Monday that it reduced
debts owed marketers on oil subsidy from N2.2 trillion in 2011 to N971 billion in 2012.
A statement issued from the office of the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in Abuja signed by the minister’s spokesman, Mr Paul Nwabuikwu, said the amount represented a reduction of over N1.2 trillion or 56 per cent of the total sum.
It said the Federal Ministry of Finance had released N46. 76 billion as latest payment to oil marketers whose claims had been verified.
The statement said that the latest payment brought the total verified claims paid to marketers so far in 2013 to N287. 35 billion.
Jigawa

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in
Jigawa State said last Monday it arrested two men for allegedly stealing building materials.
Commandant of the corps in the state, Mr Muhammad Gidado, said that the suspects were arrested in Dutse Local Government Area.
He said the suspects were arrested after the owner of the house lodged a complaint with the command that they stole the building materials in his house at Fagoji quarters.
Gidado said the materials included 20 pieces of roofing zinc, 17 bags of cement, shovel, digger and hammer.
He said the suspects confessed to committing the offence and would soon be charged to court.
Kano
The Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) in Kano State last
Tuesday called for the termination of the contract for the rehabilitation of Kano-Gwarzo road.
The rehabilitation work is being carried out by an indigenous construction firm, Muslac Techno Company limited.
FERMA Engineer in the state, Mr Michael Akuyo, who made the call in an interview in Kano said the agency found it necessary to seek for the immediate revocation of the contract because the contractor had failed to execute the work as expected.
According to him, the agency has written to the contractor early this year, threatening to terminate the contract before he moved back to site after abandoning the work.
He said the contract, which should have been completed in December 2012, had to be extended.
Kogi
Chairman, Ofu Local Government Council in Kogi State, Mr Isah
Ameh, has called on traditional rulers and faith-based organisations (FBOs) in the area, to be involved in the campaign against the spread of HIV and AIDS.
He made call lastMonday in Ugwolawo at a one-day sensitisation workshop on the control of HIV/AIDs, organised by the Local Government Action Committee for the Control of AIDS (LACA), for traditional rulers, faith based organisations and officials of the council.
Ameh, represented by the Vice Chairman of the Council , Dr Friday Alih, described HIV and AIDS as a “national problem which must be tackled with all seriousness in view of its devastating effect.’’
He assured that the council would support Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) with human and material resources and urged traditional and religious leaders, to sensitise their followers on how to curtail the spread of the disease.

Kwara
Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State last Monday in Ilorin
flagged off disbursement of N3 billion car loans to civil servants and teachers in the state.
Speaking at the presentation of cheques to some civil servants, the governor said that about 5, 000 government workers were expected to benefit from the loan scheme.
He said the number included staff members of the Teaching Service Commission, State Universal Basic Education Board and local government areas.
The governor said artisans and transport workers in the state would receive N100 million each for their members, adding that the loans would be managed by First Bank Plc.

Lagos
Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State last Monday backed
the concept of plea bargain in the nation’s justice system, saying it has helped in the speedy conclusion of cases.
At a special service marking the commencement of the 2013/2014 Legal Year of the state’s judiciary, the governor, who was represented by Mr Ade Ipaye, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, said plea bargain which should be sustained had helped to decongest the prisons.
Delivering a lecture Prof. Tajudeen Gbadamosi National Education Secretary, Ansar-Ud-Deen Society of Nigeria, advised them not to allow selfish interests to interfere in the dispensation of justice.
Earlier at a church service, the Most Revd Adedayo Akinde, the Archbishop of Lagos Province, Anglican Communion, urged judges to shun corruption.
Plateau
The Plateau State Government said it had earmarked
about N600 million, in conjunction with its local councils, for two immunisation programmes in the state.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr Fom Dakwak, announced this while addressing newsmen in Jos after the State Executive Council meeting, last Monday.
Dakwak said: “ The immunisations, which are national exercises, are very important to the people of the state. The state and local governments have put together more than N600 million for the two exercises.’’
According to him, the immunisation against measles will take place between Oct. 5 and Oct. 9 and will be for children of between the ages of one month and five years.
“We also have a very important immunisation against meningitis now that the dry season is setting in and the weather is getting hot. “It will come up from November 2 to November 11 and would be for the children of ages of one to 29 years,’’ he said.

Sokoto
The Sokoto State Government said it would spend N120
million on the renovation of structures at Army Day Secondary School, Sokoto.
The Commissioner for Education, Malam Danladi Bako, said in an interview last Monday in Sokoto that the government was embarking on the project as part of its efforts to provide environment conducive to teaching and learning in all schools across the state.
He listed the structures to be renovated in the school to include: classrooms, offices and perimeter fencing, among others.
“The renovation is in line with our efforts to provide environment conducive to working for both the teachers and students in the school,” he said.
Bako pledged that government would accord priority to education.
“The only legacy any responsible government can leave behind for the future generation is sound education,’’ he said.
Zamfara

Governor Abdulazez Yari of Zamfara State last Mon
day said gunmen had killed 160 people and abducted 10 married women in different villages of the state in the last three months.
Yari who made the disclosure when he addressed members of the House Assembly on security situation in the state in Gusau, said the situation had caused disaffection between residents of the affected villages and the state government.
The governor said the hoodlums, who continued to terrorise villages in parts of the state, stole no fewer than 6,000 cows and 4,000 sheep within the period.
The Speaker of the house, Alhaji Sanusi Rikijin, assured the governor of the assembly’s support.

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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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