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THE STATES

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Bauchi

The Commissioner for Finance, Budget and Planning
in Bauchi State, Alhaji Shehu Ningi, said the state intended to raise N1 billion as Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in 2016.
Ningi told newsmen in Abuja that the projected amount in the 2016 budget would be used to enhance socio-economic development of the state
“We are targeting more than N1 billion in 2016; our IGR is usually between N200 and 300 million annually, so it is very low compared to other states.
“It is low because of lack of industries, backwardness in commercial activities, but we are trying to get out of the problems.
“We are getting out of the problems by encouraging farming, establishing small scale industries and introducing some reforms in the Land Use Act in the state”.

Borno

The Borno State Commissioner for Finance, Budget
and Planning, Alh. Mohammed Kauji  said the state was now safe for local and foreign investors.
Kauji told newsmen in Abuja that economic activities were picking up in the state after years of battling with insurgency.
“There is improvement in the economy of the state; I am assuring investors that there is peace in the state now.
“Anybody who wants to see things for himself is free to do so.
“ Security personnel on ground are working hard to protect lives of the citizens, including investors,’’ he said.
The commissioner said the state had been facing security challenges which had impacted negatively on the economy of the state, including its Internally Generated Revenues.
FCT

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU),
has called on the Federal Government to stop private ownership of electricity in the country.
Dr Nasir Isa, President of ASUU, who made this call at a news conference, explained that private ownership of electricity sector had jeopardised economic development and national security.
“It is obvious that the power sector epitomises the massive fraud that characterised the privatisation process.
“At the onset, there were official campaigns on how committed and experienced investors were going to inject funds to turn around the comatose power sector.
“In spite of spirited efforts by patriotic Nigerians, particularly in the labour movement, the ruling class forced the bitter pill down the throat of the helpless workers and citizens.
“Three years down the line, provision of uninterrupted electricity has remained a mirage and the story of power sector has changed for the worse.
“Nigerians now pay higher bills for less hours of brightness than they did in 2012 or earlier”, he said.

Kaduna
The Medical Director, National Ear Care Centre (NECC), Kaduna, Dr Aminu Bakari, has advised parents to take their wards for routine check-up on ear and nose diseases.
Bakari gave the advice when members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Kaduna State council, visited him in Kaduna.
The medical director said a large number of children were being killed by ear, nose and throat diseases due to ignorance.
He said that most parents were ignorant of ear discharge or ear, nose and throat ailment and urged them to always take their children with ear, nose and throat problems for check up and treatment.
He noted that Nigeria has less than 200 Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialists.
“Lack of adequate man power is our major challenge in West Africa because presently Nigeria has less than 200 ENT specialists across the country.
Kano

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency
(NDLEA) in Kano State says it has launched an operation tagged ‘Operation Clean Kano of Hard Drugs Users’.
The Commandant of the agency in the State, Alhaji Hamza Umar, disclosed this to newsmen in Kano recently.
Umar said that the operation was in collaboration with some neighborhood vigilance groups in the state.
He said this was part of the command’s effort to clean the state of drug abuse.
“These vigilance groups are within the communities, therefore we think they are in the position to assist us in fishing out anyone involved in hard drug abuse ,“he said.
“Other substances intercepted include Tramadol, Codene, Rochi, Pentazoline and Diazapam,” he said.

Kogi

The Nigeria National Population  has commenced the
Enumeration Area Demarcation (EAD) in Kogi State in preparation for the 2017 population and housing census.
Alhaji Mohammed Aikoye, the state’s NPC Federal Commissioner, said at the event in Lokoja that the exercise formed the entire foundation on which the entire 2017 census would stand.
The commissioner urged traditional rulers, religious leaders and other critical stakeholders to ensure the success of the exercise.
Aikoye assured that the exercise would be professionally handled to avoid on lapping EADs, oversized enumerations areas, under sized enumeration areas and non- existent enumeration areas in 2017 census.
The commissioner said that the ongoing EAD will be the last that the NPC will conduct before a full scale census, saying that further exercise would only require updating of the EADs.

.         Kwara

Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State has urged chemists to play active roles in solving Nigeria’s challenges in the areas of healthcare, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing and agribusiness.
Ahmed made the call in Ilorin when he received the 2016 Award of the America Chemical Society and Nigeria International Chemical Societies Chapter.
Ahmed, who is a graduate of chemistry, noted that the prevailing economic challenges in the country and the quest for the diversification of the economy provide ample opportunities for chemists to play critical roles in that regard.
“At a time like this, when the country is diversifying its economic base, it is expedient that chemists increase research into areas such as agro-processing, and solid Minerals Development.
Niger
The Federal University of Technology (FUT), Minna,
would tomorrow graduate 34 first class students at its 25th convocation ceremony.
The Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Musbau Akanji, made the disclosure on Tuesday at a pre-convocation press briefing in Minna.
He said the institution would also graduate 3, 505 students in various classes for the 2014/2015 academic session.
“We shall be graduating a total of 3,505 students. Out of this, 2, 787 will be graduating with first degrees, 220 with Post Graduate Diplomas, 464 Masters and 34 Doctorate degrees.
Ogun

Ogun State House of Assembly has ordered the imme
diate probe of Mr John Mark, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Sagamu Division, over alleged extortion.
The Speaker, Mr Suraj Adekunbi, gave the order at plenary after the submission of the House Majority Leader, Mr Mafe Adeyinka.
Adeyinka had accused the DPO of large scale corruption, including demanding huge sum of money before granting bail to accused persons.

Osun

A 39-year-old man, Kazeem Ariyo has been docked at
an Osogbo Magistrates’ Court for allegedly pouring ‘strange’ water on a prophetess.
The Prosecutor, Sgt. Sunday Ajayi told the court that the accused committed the offense on Feb. 19 at about 11:00a.m, along Sabiatu Street, Osogbo.
Ajayi said that the accused was having a misunderstanding with the complainant before he poured the liquid substance on her, and caused a breach of the peace.
He said that the offence contravened section 249(d) of the Criminal Code cap34 Volume.11 laws of Osun, 2003.
Oyo

The Rector of the Polytechnic, Ibadan, Prof. Olatunde
Fawole, has  urged key players in the economy to invest more in the country’s education sector.
Fawole spoke at the inauguration of a 350-seater lecture hall donated to the institution by Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).
The rector urged professional bodies with affiliation to the education sector to come up with proposals to support tertiary education in the country, particularly with reference to provision of infrastructure.
Plateau

Mr Dickson Onuoha, Director of Procurement at the
Industrial Training Fund (ITF), has taken over as Acting Director General of the organisation.
A press statement given to newsmen in Jos  said this followed a handover ceremony which took place in Abuja.
The statement, signed by Dr Felix Otuwarikpo, Head of Public Affairs Unit of the ITF, announced the change in leadership.
According to the statement, ITF is among 26 parastatals and agencies whose chief executives were recently relieved of their appointments by the Federal Government.
“In the handing over ceremony at the ITF Corporate Office in Abuja, the outgoing Director General, Mrs Juliet Onaeko urged the Acting DG to focus on consolidating the gains and achievements recorded by the fund under her leadership.’’

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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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