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US, Others Condemn Genocide In Nigeria …As SERAP Seeks UN Special Session Over Killings …Security Operatives Stop Ezekwesili’s Protest To Villa …Buhari’s Visit To Plateau Belated, Says PDP

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The United States Government has strongly condemned the attacks in Plateau State in which no fewer than 86 people were killed and several others injured.
Spokesperson for the US Department of State, Ms Heather Nauert, in a statement, yesterday, said the perpetrators of the attacks should be brought to justice.
She further said, “The United States condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the killing of civilians and destruction of property in Nigeria’s Middle Belt region over the weekend.
Similarly, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), yesterday, condemned the latest killing by suspected Fulani herdsmen in some communities in Plateau State.
It would be recalled that some suspected herdsmen killed over 86 persons during an attack on Razat, Ruku, Nyarr, Kura and Gana-Ropp villages of Gashish District in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State, over the weekend.
The National Public Relations Officer of the association, Mr Bestman Okereafor made the condemnation in a statement in Enugu.
The association condoled with the affected families and urged the Federal Government to address the issue of killings in the country.
“With great sadness, the leadership of NANS joins the world and fellow Nigerians in condemning the gruesome murder in some states of the federation, especially the most recent killings in Plateau State by suspected herdsmen.
The association, however, noted with concern that such killing had continued despite of its repeated appeals to the problem.
“NANS is appealing to Mr President to stand by his promise of protecting human rights and fighting human rights abuses,” Okoroafaor said.
Reacting, the newly registered political party, Young Progressives Party (YPP), accused the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government of incompetence, over the continued logjam recorded in its budget preparations and over the incessant killings recorded across the country.
YPP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Egbeola Wale Martins, strongly condemned the latest killings in 11 villages in Plateau State, where over 86 innocent people were confirmed killed by rampaging herdsmen, who he said had become a more worrisome security threat than the once dreaded Boko Haram sect.
According to him, this incessant killing has now become a recurring event under the watchful eyes of an APC government that rode to power on the mantra of change anchored on security, economy and anti-corruption.
He said, “It is high time the APC led government declared a National mourning and emergency while also as a matter of national expediency re-jig the entire security apparatus as we cannot continue to do things the same way and expect a different result.
“We are in desperate times that require drastic measures to be urgently taken to completely halt the incessant killings that have now become a norm in a society where sanity should prevail.”
“We advise the APC-led government to automate our budget preparation process by developing software that can aid seamless analysis and preparation of a flawless budget that can be submitted at least five months earlier to the National Assembly for consideration.”
Egbeola also condemn the just concluded APC convention, which he alleged was characterized by violence even with the presence of over 5,000 policemen and two surveillance helicopters.
“This show of shame aired on national television shows among other things how not to conduct a peaceful convention and the outcome of this shambolic charade called convention is beginning to be a cause for worry, because how can a party which cannot organize a credible convention organize or support a transparent, peaceful and credible elections come 2019,” he argued.
Also reacting, women groups in Plateau condemned the massacre of people, especially women and innocent children, in the recent attacks on its communities and cautioned opinion leaders against making inciting comments.
In separate interviews with newsmen, yesterday, in Jos, the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) said the attacks were acts of inhumanity and criminality.
The FIDA Chairperson in Plateau, Mrs Mary Izam, said government should comply with the amended provisions of section 14(2b) of the 1999 Constitution of protecting lives and property of the citizenry.
The National Coordinator, Christian Women for Excellence and Empowerment in Nigeria (CWEENS), Prof. Funmilayo Para-Mallam, also condemned the killings.
Meanwhile, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent an open letter to all the Permanent Representatives of Member and Observer States of the UN Human Rights Council, Geneva, urging their delegation to initiative and actively support the urgent holding of a special session of the Human Rights Council to address the ongoing killings of Nigerians and residents by suspected herdsmen and/or unknown persons in Nigeria, most recently in Plateau State where over 80 people were brutally murdered.
The organization urged the Human Rights Council to adopt a resolution to “condemn in the strongest possible terms the ongoing killings and revenge attacks on innocent Nigerians and residents by suspected herdsmen and/or unknown persons as well as the ongoing impunity enjoyed by suspected perpetrators and groups that have suggested these atrocities may be retaliatory killings.”
In the letter dated June 26, 2018, and signed by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Timothy Adewale, the organization said, “The proposed measures are necessary because several calls by Nigerians asking the Nigerian authorities to end the killings and attacks have largely gone unheeded for far too long. The Human Rights Council cannot ignore persistent attacks and killings of Nigerians and residents. If the Human Rights Council does not assume its responsibility and give voice to the victims, it would exacerbate the impunity of perpetrators; continue to hide their victims; and deepen the invisibility of the killings and attacks to the comity of nations.”
The organisation also urged “The Human Rights Council to stand ready to take additional measures according to the evolution of the situation in Plateau, Benue and several other states across Nigeria, including recommending that the UN General Assembly, in view of gross and systematic nature of the killings and attacks, and the failure of the Nigerian authorities to end the killings, considers the application of the measures foreseen in paragraph 8 of General Assembly resolution 60/251 (which authorises the suspension of the rights of membership in the council of a member of the council that commits and/or allows gross and systematic killings, attacks and other grave violations of human rights).”
The organisation expressed “serious concern that to date, no credible investigations have been carried out to determine who exactly is responsible for the killings and attacks and put an end to the atrocities.”
“SERAP urges the Human Rights Council to at the proposed special session adopt a resolution that expresses its deep concern about the ongoing killings and attacks on innocent Nigerians and residents in several states of the Federation, most recently in Plateau and Benue states of the country.
“The Human Rights Council should demand that the Nigerian authorities end these killings and attacks as a matter of critical and urgent priority, including by immediately identifying suspected perpetrators and their supporters, sponsors, and by conducting thorough, impartial and independent investigations with a view to bringing those responsible to justice and providing victims with access to justice and effective remedies, including adequate compensation, satisfaction and guarantee of non-repetition.
“The Human Rights Council should request the High Commissioner for Human Rights to urgently appoint a group of independent experts to monitor, verify and report on the ongoing killings and attacks on innocent Nigerians and residents across many states of Nigeria, most recently in Plateau and Benue states, with relevant ex­pertise in mass atrocity prevention, as well as in combating retaliatory attacks, with a view to making recommendations on preventing atrocities, combating farmers and herdsmen crisis, and improving the safety and security of all citizens and residents, as well as achieving accountability for the killings and attacks.
In another development, security operatives attached to the Presidential Villa Gate, close to the Federal Secretariat, Abuja, yesterday stopped what was described as a solo protest by former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili over the recent gruesome murder of over 86 people in Plateau State.
The former Minister was said to have been harassed and assaulted by the security operatives while attempting to march towards the Villa to demand accountability and end to the violent killings going on in the country.
Dressed in a symbolic red attire, Ezekwesili carried a banner with inscriptions such as Help!, #EndTheBloodFlow, #EndThe Killings, #WeWantJustice.
Ezekwesili who took to her twitter handle said, “I marched as far as I could to the villa to protest the ineffectual ways of Nigerian president on the terrorists/herdsmen killings.
The police, military and SSS trampled on my rights, seized my banner.” Recall that the Bring Back Our Girls group had in a statement last Monday said that the former minister would embark on the solo march on Tuesday at 11.30 am.
The group in its statement stated that the march was fully endorsed and supported by the BBOG as the issue was part of the things it had been advocating about for the past four years. However, the protest was stopped at the Presidential villa gate when the security operatives stationed around the gate manhandled her while struggling to retrieve the placards with different inscriptions from her.
It was gathered that Dr. Ezekwesili vehemently resisted any form of harassment which later turned to commotion as the Police allegedly dragged her. It was further gathered that journalists with the former minister covering the fracas were not spared, as their phones and cameras were allegedly seized by the security operatives. Speaking during the protest, Ezekwesili said: “I am addressing my message to you as the President and Commander-in-Chief of Nigeria.
I am addressing my demands to you as that one individual bestowed with the powers of centralised command and control of our security institutions and personnel to enforce the provisions of Section 14 subsection 2b of the Nigerian Constitution (As amended) which states that ‘the welfare and security of the citizens shall be the primary purpose of the government,.”
Six of the 12 demands she highlighted in her message to the President were: “Putting an end to the endless killings by herdsmen going on in the country”.
“Revealing the identity of the perpetrators of these wanton killings in Benue, Taraba, Kaduna, Zamfara, Plateau, Nasarawa and Kogi states etc”. Justice for the victims of violent killings across the country and secure the living in all parts of the country”.
“Ending the ineffectiveness of the security establishment”. “Ending your loyalty to the Service Chiefs. Stopping the blame game and confusing statements on the killings of the citizens.”
Also, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday, criticised President Muhammadu Buhari, over his afterthought visit to Plateau State over the killing of scores of people in the state, describing the visit as belated.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, who stated this in Akure, Ondo State capital, said President Buhari has failed in its constitutional responsibility of protecting lives and property.
Ologbondiyan noted that the President was more interested in his re-election bid than to provide adequate security to the people who voted him into power.
He said “for us in the PDP, we believed that President Buhari is more interested in 2019 Presidential election than governance. He does not care about what happened between now and 2019.
He goes after votes and his passionate drive is how to secure electoral victory in his ill-fated desire to returned in 2019.
Otherwise, there is a huge lost of lives in the Plateau state and we felt that it goes beyond the issue of sending Vice President to go and check.
We think that responsibly, the first place that Mr President should go to is the Plateau state, not going to commission a state project in Cross River.
We cannot say that because Cross River is a PDP state and encourage Mr President to do what is not just because we want the President to do what is sensitive to the feelings of ordinary Nigerians.
His action of going to Cross river at the expense of going to Pleasure, where a huge number of Nigerians has been killed is, to say the least, is irresponsible.
Ologbondiyan stated that the APC government and President Buhari had failed to add value to the lives of the common man in the last three years but noted that the President has been moving around commissioning white elephant projects.
He said “as a matter of fact, what singular project has Mr President commissioned on behalf of Federal Government in last 2 years? The President always move about to commission projects like bus stop or boreholes in another state, whereas the basic responsibilities of being in governance are the protection of lives and property.
“We are witnessing a situation where country and our nation is almost returned to a burial parlour.
We believed that that should be a concern to Mr President not chasing after state projects for commissioning all in the game of seeking reelection in 2019.”
Speaking on the APC position on restructuring, Ologbondiyan said it was difficult for the party and its leaders to embrace restructuring because APC is a movement.
He said “ they lied to Nigerians and because our political system is metamorphosing, Nigerian didn’t believe that group of a political elite can come together, just to lied to them and seized political power.
“ can you tell me apart from restructuring, the singular promised that APC had made and had lived up to it ? not one, so denying restructuring wouldn’t be a surprise to us in the PDP because we knew from the onset that the party did not mean well for Nigerians.
“It is not new to us in our party that APC is now claiming that restructuring is parochial or restructuring has the different meaning to different people.”

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RSG’s Medical Scholarship Producing Quality Health Professionals, Wike Affirms

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says the medical scholarship offered to Rivers students by his administration was a deliberate policy intended to produce well-trained professionals that would enhance quality healthcare delivery beyond the state.
The governor made the explanation at the 4th Matriculation ceremony of PAMO University of Medical Sciences, Elelenwo in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, last Friday.
Wike stated that in the last three years, 100 Rivers students were awarded scholarship yearly to study medicine and other related courses at PAMO University, which was creating access to education for most indigent students.
He said the state government was impressed with the Founder and Pro-Chancellor of PAMO University, Dr. Peter Odili, for the establishment of the institution that has developed within a very remarkable time to be a centre of excellence in medical education with adequate capacity to produce medical doctors, pharmacists, medical technologists, and other healthcare professionals for the state and the country.
Wike said that such initiative by Odili, and indeed, any Rivers indigene, was worthy of support from the state government.
To this end, he announced additional N500million grant to enable management of the university to put in place the necessary educational infrastructure.
“We have decided to further support the growth and development of this university with yet another grant of N500million only. As we all know; the promise of education is better life just as no healthcare system can be effective without adequate number of qualified and skillful medical doctors and other related professionals, which our state, Nigeria and the world over are in dire need of.
“This was the reason we instituted the special scholarship scheme to cater for not less than 100 indigenous students of this university yearly for five consecutive circle of admissions with effect from the very first set of students.
“This special scholarship programme has covered four admission circles and benefitted 490 Rivers State students who are pursuing various medical courses in this university from inception to date.”
Wike observed that if Odili, a former governor of Rivers State, did not establish PAMO University, all the students that matriculated, last Friday, and others who were already at different levels of their studies, would not have had the chance to pursue their educational dreams due to the admission crisis that continues to plague and frustrate the immediate transition of most youths from secondary to tertiary education.
The governor enjoined all the 490 Rivers State students, who are benefiting from the scholarship and others, to be diligent and committed to hard work in order to achieve academic success.
In his address, the Founder and Pro-Chancellor of PAMO

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17, 000 Teachers Write Qualifying

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The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr Sony Echono, has harped on the need for quality delivery in the education sector.
Echono gave the charge at the 2021 Batch ‘A’ Professional Qualifying Examination for teachers, organised by the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) in Abuja, last Saturday.
The TRCN conducted the examination for 17, 141 candidates in 43 centres across the nation.
He said that the Federal Government, in its effort to ensure an improved education system in the country, had put modalities in place to ensure quality delivery.
He said that one of the modalities was ensuring that teacher sat for the professional qualifying examination before qualifying to teach.
“With time, if you do not have this certification you are not a teacher. You do not have the right to practice.
“We have commenced the process of enforcing and implementing the policy that only qualified teachers would be allowed to teach in our schools across the country.
“We are starting with all the government schools then we move to private schools.
“Right now we are discussing with state governments and school proprietors to ensure this is done.
“This is because the single largest investment one can make for the future generation is ensuring that they get quality education,” he said.
He said that the introduction of technology in the sector, particularly in the writing of the teachers’ qualifying examination had ensured an improved process.
The permanent secretary stressed that, “this year there is additional innovation in terms of Information Technology (IT).
“We now have an application where even the process of verification of identity is done electronically.
“Our ultimate goal in education is to collaborate with relevant agencies.
“We have been doing this with the Ministry of Communication and other agencies that require data.
“We want a situation where from the point where a child registers in any primary school in this country up to death, you have your record.
“You can update it but you will not change your identity,” he said
He added that the database of all qualified teachers had been compiled as part of efforts to ensure only qualified teachers were allowed to teach.
According to him, there are qualified teachers that are not employed across the country, adding that no state had an excuse to keep unqualified teachers in their schools in view of that.
Echono assured teachers of the government’s commitment to ensuring better welfare for them.
He said, “One thing the Federal Government has done is to approve a new welfare package for teachers and this has been encouraging.
“People now want to return to teaching because the remuneration will be higher than the civil service scale and tenure longer than what the civil servant has.
“We have commenced the implementation of this.
“We are working closely with the Head of Service and the Salaries and Wages Commission in computing rural allowances, science allowances, hazard allowances and all of that.
“This is to ensure that teachers get their reward on earth and not in the hereafter.
“We are also working out modalities to ensure that teachers with special needs get required facilities to teach effectively.”
The Acting Director, Certification and Licencing, Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), Dr Jacinta Ametepe Ogboso, said the process was seamless across the centres nationwide.
She said that TRCN conducted the examination for 17, 141 candidates in 43 centres across the nation.
She added that of the 17,141, about 1, 300 candidates wrote the examination in Abuja.
“The examination went smoothly from all the centres, thanks to the use of technology.
“The technology is helping with accreditation online, helping with crowd control and impersonation.
“In terms of the number of registered candidates and performance, there is much improvement.
“It is a Computer Based Test (CBT) and when it was introduced there were challenges but today there is much improvement,” she said.
The acting director disclosed that the professional qualifying examination was always conducted in two or three batches, adding that the next batch would likely be in October.

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Narrative Of Unsafe N’Delta, A Conspiracy Theory, Wike Alleges

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has accused international oil companies (IOCs) of being part to a conspiracy theory that the Niger Delta was unsafe in order not to relocate their corporate headquarters to the region.
The governor observed that so long as this kind of negative narrative geared at perpetuating injustice was not addressed, the country’s corporate existence and stability would continue to be threatened.
Wike made these assertions at the official commissioning of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) corporate headquarters, sitting on 126,060 square meters of land, in Port Harcourt, the River State capital, last Wednesday.
The NLNG head office is located at Amadi-Ama, on Peter Odili Road.
Wike noted that for several years, multinational oil companies and some vested interest groups have been promoting the negative narrative that Niger Delta was not safe to legitimise their sheer refusal to relocate their corporate head office to the region.
“If Rivers State is not safe, why will NLGN be operating in Rivers State, and have its headquarters in Rivers State? So, those proponents of insecurity, please, try to have a second thought. This state is safe. If the state is not safe, you cannot construct this edifice”, the governor said.
Wike commended the NLNG management for taking a bold step towards strengthening its relationship with the people of Rivers State.
He stated that NLNG’s presence in Port Harcourt City spoke volumes of the company’s respect for Rivers State people, adding that the decision by the company to construct its head office in the state showed that Rivers State was safe for business.
“I am here because NLNG has shown a lot of commitment and support for the host communities and the state. The company has done well and has set an example for other companies to emulate.
“I am happy with what the company has done for the host communities during the construction of the building. That is what is expected. It has a very good relationship with its hosts in Bonny, and in other parts of the state, and I believe it will continue to enjoy a hitch-free business in the state,” Wike said.
The governor said it was morally offensive for oil companies to continue to exploit oil and gas in the Niger Delta and locate their headquarters elsewhere in the country.
According to him, the claim that the Niger Delta was unsafe is not tenable.
“Understand that this conspiracy theory against the Niger Delta is a temporary thing. I can assure you, one day; everybody will come back to their operating base. Nobody can change it.”
Wike challenged the multinational companies to prove if Lagos and Abuja don’t have security issues as the rest of the country, today.
He maintained that the idea of flying in oil workers from Lagos to work in the Niger Delta, and then, fly them back, was detrimental to the nation’s economic wellbeing.
The governor commended NLNG for showing the right example by relocating its corporate headquarters to Rivers State, which is its operational base, and assured the management that the state government would continue to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
Wike further thanked the company for funding the 40kilometers Bonny-Bodo Road project of which the Federal Government was expected to provide counterpart funding.
He said that it was unfair for the Federal Executive Council to approve over N780billion for the Abuja-Kano Highway, but refuse to provide counterpart funding of just N60billion for the Bonny-Bodo Road project.
“There is so much injustice in the country, and if you don’t correct it, there will continue to be problems. Injustice brings insecurity, whether you like it or not. When a people feel they are not part of the sharing of our national cake, what do you want them to do?”, Wike asked.
In his remarks, the Managing Director of NLNG, Tony Attah, said the iconic edifice was intended to convey the company’s bold presence in Port Harcourt and the Niger Delta region.
According to Attah, the building and commissioning of the corporate head office, was in line with its vision of being a global LNG company, helping to build a better Nigeria.
He stated further that the corporate head office has made the company more visible, adding that the office was an unequivocal statement that NLNG remains a committed partner to the people of Rivers State in the sustainable development of the state.
“Nigeria LNG’s resolve to relocate its corporate head office from Lagos, where it was established from inception of its operation was a well thought-out decision that, among other things, demonstrates our strong bond of friendship with Port Harcourt and Rivers State, even as we reinforce our commitment to stand tall as a Nigerian brand in the global marketplace.
By this action, we also attest that Rivers State is not just the ‘Treasure Base of the Nation’ but the home of uncommon hospitality, which we have come to enjoy and reciprocate at every opportunity.
“Beyond building a head office for our business, the beautification of this once remote locality was also in our hearts when we started this project. Earlier in August, 2018, we had opened a part of this complex – an ultra-modern Transit Lounge – to enable a smooth and comfortable sail between our operating base on Bonny Island and the state capital.
“The construction of the facility was actually our first major step at transforming the shoreline, and since then, we have intensified our usual efforts at making the creek a viable waterway for meaningful human activities. Today, we can pride ourselves, even if modestly, as a beacon of modernity in this axis of Port Harcourt. But equally important, we hope that our presence will trigger positive developments in real estate and ancillary businesses in the area.
“The commissioning of this complex is coming at such an auspicious time in the life of Nigeria LNG, a time when we have astutely proven our self as an excellent and reliable player in the global LNG market, with 20 years record and still counting. Our doggedness towards achieving even more success in both the international market and the domestic energy sector has prompted the commencement of our Train 7 project, which has been avidly socialized among all critical stakeholders,” he said.
He stated that one of the signs of the company’s commitment to the people of Rivers State in the sustainable development of the state is the N120billion Bonny-Bodo Road, which NLNG was partly funding.
Attah added that some progress has been achieved in one of the most significant CSR initiatives by any single entity in the country, and that the 40-kilometre road would boost economic activities and ultimately better the lives of thousands of Nigerians in Rivers State.
He expressed delight that the company was driving Nigeria’s gas revolution and investing huge resources in human capacity development in its host communities.
Also speaking, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva; thanked the NLNG for playing a very crucial role in the country’s gas expansion project.
According to him, for decades, the NLNG has demonstrated commitment to the country’s aspiration to be a leading gas producer in the world.
Former managing director of NLNG, Chima Ibeneche, said he initiated the move to relocate the NLNG corporate headquarters from Lagos to Port Harcourt because it was just the right thing to do.
As part of the commissioning, the governor was led on a tour immediately after the ribbon-cutting by the Chairman of NLNG’s Board of Directors, Dr Edmund Daukoru; together with the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Engr. Tony Attah; Deputy Managing Director, Engr. Sadeeq Mai-Bornu; and other members of the company’s Senior Management Team.
The head office is a four-storey complex with cluster buildings occupying 76,000 square metres of land, and equipped with one board room, 121 office spaces, 51 meeting and huddle rooms, smart and ergonomic workstations, a library, a press centre and a crèche.
Other features of the office include a transit lounge for the company’s jetty, warehouse, a dedicated fire station, gym, two banking halls, an ATM gallery, and ample green area.
The governor had in 2015 flagged-off the construction of the building at its ground-breaking ceremony.
NLNG is owned by four shareholders; namely, the Federal Government of Nigeria, represented by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (49%); Shell Gas B.V. (25.6%); Total Gaz Electricite Holdings France (15%); and Eni International N.A. N. V. S.àr. l (10.4%).

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