President Muhammadu Buhari has approved N164.7 million for the payment of second semester school fess of the freed 106 Chibok girls at the American University of Nigeria (AUN), Yola, Adamawa State.
The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, made this known in a statement issued in Abuja, yesterday.
The presidential aide said that the President had expressed satisfaction over the progress so far made in the rehabilitation of the freed Chibok schoolgirls.
According to him, Buhari expressed his feelings while reviewing progress report on the affected girls.
He said that the report was submitted to the President in line with his commitment to personally monitor the rehabilitation and reintegration into society of the freed Chibok girls.
Shehu said the President also assured that the Federal Government would continue to provide full support for their education.
“The President has approved payment of the sum of N164,763,759 million for the second semester school fees of the 106 Chibok girls at the American University of Nigeria (AUN), Yola.
“According to the progress report received by the President, the decision to pursue avenues in addition to military action to free the abducted girls is in the resolve to protect the lives of all Nigerians.
“To end the insurgency in the northeast of the country, and to fulfill one of the campaign promises of the president.
“In line with this, the Federal Government entered into negotiations with the Boko Haram terrorist group for the release of the Chibok girls who were kidnapped from their school dormitory on the night of April 14, 2014.
“So far, two batches of 21 and 82 girls have been freed as a result of those negotiations.
“Three additional girls were rescued by the gallant efforts of our armed forces, bringing the total number of freed Chibok girls so far to 106.’’
Shehu noted that as a result of their experiences while in captivity, the freed girls were severely traumatised and afflicted by various ailments and injuries.
He stated that the girls were taken to secured medical centres for attention.
“They also went through debriefing and de-radicalisation by security operatives, after which the girls were handed over to the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.
“The Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development was assigned the main role in supervising the rehabilitation and reintegration of the girls back into society.
“Long before the girls were released, the Federal Government had established the ‘Chibok Girls Desk’ in the ministry, responsible for acting on matters relating to the abducted Chibok schoolgirls, and serving as a channel of communication between relevant agencies and the parents and relatives of the abducted girls.’’
The media aide said that the ministry of women affairs, in collaboration with the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), UN Women, and other donour agencies, embarked on programmes earmarked to facilitate the rehabilitation and reintegration of the Chibok girls with a nine-month time frame.
According to Shehu, a hostel in the National Centre for Women Development was converted into a suitable shelter, where the girls were kept for the nine-month period.
“The programme, which began in Jan., ended in Sept. 2017. During the period, the 106 girls were given lessons in English, Mathematics, Biology, Agriculture, and Civic Education. In addition, they were trained on ICT and vocational skills.
“Professionals were engaged to provide them with psychosocial therapy and one-on-one counselling to help them overcome post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).’’
Shehu revealed that the girls were also provided with religious instruction and comprehensive care by two in-house doctors and two nurses.
He said that periodic visits from the girls’ parents to stimulate family support and reunion were sponsored and organised by the ministry.
“Having successfully achieved the desired goals of the rehabilitation and reintegration programme, with recorded significant improvement in the academic performance of the girls, in September, a final send-off party was organised for the 106 Chibok girls.
“They were subsequently moved to the American University of Nigeria (AUN) in Yola for their foundation studies and continuation of their education.’’
He disclosed that the AUN had successfully established a foundation school for 14 out of the 57 Chibok girls who earlier escaped when the rest of their classmates were taken to the Sambisa forest by Boko Haram in 2014.
FG Sets Up To Recover Illegally Refined Crude Oil
In a bid to block revenue leakages, the Federal Government, yesterday, inaugurated an Inter-Ministerial Committee to tackle illegal refining of crude oil in the Niger Delta region of the country.
Members of the committee, who took their oath at the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, were drawn from the Ministry of Defence, the Nigerian Army, the Navy, Defence Headquarters, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), as well as from the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Environment, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA).
The Solicitor-General of the Federation (SGF), and Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr Umar Mohammed, who represented the AGF at the event, said the major mandate of the committee, was “the recovery of illegally refined petroleum products (crude oil) in the dug-up pits found around the creeks of the Niger Delta”.
According to the SGF, “In line with the policy of the current administration on security and economy, as well as the preservation of the environment from negative hazards.
“The office of the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, in collaboration with all stakeholders, have put in place a mechanism for effective and efficient management of illegally refined products recovered from dug-up pits found around the creeks of the Niger Delta.
“This mechanism was agreed by the relevant stakeholders and submitted to the Attorney-General of the Federation, who considered and approved the establishment of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for the purpose of implementing the Mechanism known as Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) For the Recovery of Illegally Refined Petroleum Products (Crude Oil) in the Dug-Up Pit found around the creeks of the Niger Delta”.
The SGF said the Federal Ministry of Justice would coordinate the process and the Secretariat of the Inter-Ministerial Committee.
“The responsibility of the Inter-Ministerial Committee is to detect, report, evacuate, assess and ensure transparent disposal of the product with due consideration to the environment.
“The Inter-Ministerial Committee shall be guided by the SOP, developed for the project.
“The content of the SOP is drawn from the provision of the Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations 2019.
“It is my hope that the proceeds from this exercise will be a source of additional revenue for the country”, the SGF added.
FRSC Threatens Sanction Against Fleet Operators Over Speed Limit
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) says it will sanction any fleet operator found sabotaging the implementation of the Speed Limit Device.
Corps Marshal Boboye Oyeyemi said this during the 2021 annual safety managers retreat yesterday in Abuja.
The retreat aimed at sensitising safety managers on the implementation of the Road Transport Safety Standardisation Scheme to attain best practices in fleet operations.
The theme of the retreat is: “Assessment of Speed Limit Device Implementation in Nigeria: Prospects and Challenges”.
Oyeyemi, represented by Deputy Corps Marshal, Motor Vehicle operations, Mr Hyginus Foumsuk, said that the corps would also sanction Speed Limit Device vendors identified for complicity.
The corps marshal expressed concern on the spate of road accidents and needless loss of lives, especially involving fleet operators.
“These, according to many experts investigations, could have been avoided if the concerned safety managers had been responsive in their duties,” he said.
Oyeyemi said that recent findings by the corps have also revealed a low level of compliance on the installation of Speed Limit Device and associated sharp practices among some fleet operators.
He noted that these practices included tampering with Speed Limit Device and connivance with vendors to deceive enforcement operatives.
This, he said, was with compliance certificates without actual installation of the device, calibration above the approved speed limits and others.
According to him, these shall no longer be tolerated as the corps will not hesitate to sanction violators henceforth.
Oyeyemi urged relevant stakeholders to address the decline on the proper vehicle maintenance as well as implementation of the passenger manifest by fleet operators and the drivers’ recruitment policy.
“We all know the essence of the passenger manifest and the significance of its proper implementation. You are therefore urged to take these issues seriously in the interest of safety.
“Passenger manifest is considered pivotal, thus its enforcement should continue along other traffic offences to compel the needed compliance. It is therefore pertinent that strict adherence to the existing policies be sustained,” he said.
“There is need for fleet operators to introduce improved practices to ensure the safety and comfort of their passengers in compliance with traffic regulations.
The Director-General, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, Mr Babatunde Irukera, commended the efforts of the corps on road safety.
Irukera noted that injury and fatality on the road were caused by speed, describing speed as a catalyst, aggravator and mitigator.
He urged motorists to take cognisance look into installing Speed Limit Device to avoid road traffic crashes and save lives and property.
He, however, assured FRSC of the commission’s support to punish violators, saying that excessive speed attracts a penalty.
Sokoto Assembly Approves 2021 Virement Request Of N155m
The Sokoto State House of Assembly yesterday approved Governor Aminu Tambuwal’s request of N155 million virement warrant on some capital projects in 2021 approved budget.
This approval followed the consideration of a letter by the state governor presented at the plenary by the Speaker, Alhaji Aminu Achida.
Alhaji Bello Ambarura, the All Progressives Congress (APC) leader in the assembly, had moved a motion asking the lawmakers to consider the request at its plenary session.
Ambarura said that the request was necessitated by the present administration’s commitment to addressing a number of developmental projects.
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