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Saraki, Tambuwal Demand Service Chiefs’ Sack …Ekweremadu To Sponsor State Police Bill …Buhari’s Govt Pampering Killers -ASUU

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Following the increasing spate of killings across the country, Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and Sokoto State Governor, Hon Aminu Tambuwal have called for the immediate removal of security chiefs to allow for fresh and innovative ideas on how to protect the nation and its citizens.
Tambuwal spoke while declaring open the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), holding in Sokoto.
The governor noted that there was no need retaining security heads that could not find solution to perennial security challenges in the country.
He also charged media managers and professionals to rise against increasing rate of disseminating fake news items that had been fuelling ethnic and religious violence in the country.
On his part, Saraki said the killings in the country were abnormal because they involve loss of human lives.
Saraki, who fielded questions from journalists in Ilorin, Kwara State capital, last Saturday, particularly blamed security chiefs for working at cross purposes and for their refusal to partner with the National Assembly, insisting that incompetent hands among them must be ready to give way in order to end the current security challenges in the affected areas.
He added that the National Assembly would not shy away from its responsibility, saying that incessant killings must stop.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described as diversionary the allegation by the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) that it sponsored the latest killings in Plateau State.
The party said that rather than shielding the President, BMO should tell its principal to live up to the responsibility of his office by stopping the bloodletting in various parts of the country.
The party was reacting to a statement by the BMO that it was behind the Plateau killings.
In a statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, last Saturday, the PDP said Buhari media handlers were chasing shadows with their “baseless” allegation which, it noted, was borne out of frustration.
Also reacting, the Plateau Initiative for Development and Advancement (PIDAN), in collaboration with Conference of autochthonous Ethnic Community Development Association (CONAEDA), faulted the death toll in the Plateau killings pegged at over 100, saying the toll was above 219 and many more were still missing.
PIDAN, the umbrella body for ethnic nationalities in the state, expressed concern over the Federal Government’s exclusion of the North-Central from the attention given to the North-East, noting that people in their thousands were temporarily camped in 11 different places across three local government areas of Plateau.
Another group, ‘Women for Women and He for She’, called for the overhaul of the security system in the country, saying reports from various quarters indicated that the system had been compromised.
In separate press briefings in Jos, the President of PIDAN, Dr. Aboi Madaki, and the state Coordinator of Women for Women and He for She, Dr. Jophia Gupar, lamented the untold hardship Plateau citizens were going through, saying “enough is enough.”
Meanwhile, the Deputy Senate President, Chief Ike Ekweremadu, yesterday, said that he has concluded arrangements to sponsor a bill that would decentralise nation’s policing system.
Ekweremadu has however slammed the current system as “dysfunctional and unsuitable for a federal system”.
Responding to the rising insecurity and killings in Nigeria, the Deputy Senate President said that the killings had continued mainly because the federating states were not constitutionally allowed to recruit, train, and equip enough manpower for the security of lives and property of citizens in their states.
In a statement by his Special Adviser, Media, Uche Anichukwu, Ekweremadu spoke during an interactive session with Fulbright Scholars, Exchange Scholars, and Graduate Students at the International Centre for Information and Nelson Mandela Institute of Research in his maiden lectures as a Professor and Senior Mentoring Scholar, E-Governance and Strategic Government Studies, Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy and Social Sciences, Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA.
Ekweremadu said, “Unlike here in the United States where the component states, counties, big institutions set up police service to address their local needs, the Nigerian constitution vests the security of a very vast, multifarious, and highly populated country in hands of the Federal Government.
“The internal security of Nigeria depends on one man or woman, who sits in Abuja as the Inspector-General of Police. The governor of a state, though designated as the chief security officer of the state by the constitution, cannot direct the police commissioner of his state on security matters.
“The commissioner will have to clear with the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, who will clear with a Deputy Inspector-General of Police, who will also clear with the Inspector-General of Police, who may in turn need to clear with the President, who is the Commander-in Chief of the Armed Forces. By the time the clearance comes, if it ever does, it would have been late.
“Nigeria is the only federal system I know, which operates a unitary or centralised policing. Ironically, it was not the case in the beginning. The founding fathers agreed on a federal constitution, which allowed the component units to set up local police organisations. But it was overturned by the military and successive civilian regimes have continued to play the ostrich.”
On the way forward, he said: “As far as I am concerned, whatever we are doing now is certainly not working and we cannot continue to do the same thing and expect a different result.
“The real tragedy of the Plateau massacre is that we risk more attacks and loss of lives unless we decentralise our policing and allow every state at least to take their fates in their own hands.
“So, despite the failure of previous attempts to decentralise the police during constitution amendments, I will introduce a bill that will bring about state police or decentrliased policing once I return to Nigeria.”
On the chances of the bill, Ekweremadu said events in recent years had proved beyond reasonable doubt that the current centralised security system would never help the government to leave up to its primary responsibility, which he explained the welfare of the people and the protection of their lives and property.
He said,”I think people are now facing the stack reality. I have been getting calls from serving and former governors and key players and interests, who were opposed to the idea of state police. They confess they have seen what some of us have been shouting from the rooftops over the years. They want the bill introduced.
“The Governors Forum is also favourably disposed to the idea now. In fact, their chairman, the governor of Zamfara State, one of the epicentres of the incessant killings, recently, ‘resigned’ his position as the chief security officer of his state as the current constitutional arrangement denies him the powers, manpower, and resources to stem the killings in his state.
“The bill will also address the fears of Nigerians opposed to state police. Just like the judiciary, the bill will provide for a central police service commission and also structure the state police services in ways that immune them from abuse by any governor or state. It is also a bill we can conclude in record time.”
Similarly, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has lambasted the Buhari government for “pampering” killers of innocent Nigerians.
The body also stated that the Federal Government has lost the capacity to enforce laws and protect Nigeria and Nigerians.
ASUU Chairman, University of Ibadan Chapter, Dr. Deji Omole. who made this known while speaking with journalists at the weekend in Ibadan, said the body language of the President and the police have shown incapacity to arrest, and prosecute the perpetrators of killings nationwide.
While declaring that 80 per cent of cows in the country are owned by the ruling class who have over the years exploited and impoverished the masses, Omole asserted that the move to use public fund to establish private ranches for the business of those in government and their cronies should be rejected by Nigerians.
He said public funds must be deployed for the provision of public goods such as quality education, health, water, power and road for the majority which he said the Buhari government has failed to provide.
Omole while speaking further said it was unthinkable that the Federal Government and their followers were more interested in 2019 elections, saying that the security of lives and properties of Nigerians are more vital as most people now live in fear.
He said that the killing of over 200 Nigerians in Plateau without security response revealed that Nigerians are now living in a state of nature where live is short, nasty and brutish.
Omole said, “What Nigerians demand from this government is to provide a safe and secure environment for them and their families.
“Nowhere is safe in Nigeria. The Federal Government is showing by the attitudes and behaviours of the president to killings that those killing should be pampered while those being killed should tolerate the killings. We demand to see that the rustlers and killer herdsmen are brought to face the wrath of the law.
“If killings continue, it may be difficult to have 2019 elections, which is why the lives of Nigerians are more important than any political ambition of any person. Buhari is breaching the social contract by failing to secure the lives of Nigerians and ensuring the enforcement of laws. Are there no laws against tress-pass?
“What does the law say about murder? Does the law allow private citizens to carry arms without license? Does the law talk about pampering killers and consoling the victims? Injustices will deepen hatred and distrust among Nigerians against Nigerians and against government”.

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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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