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Bridge Rich, Poor Gap, A’Court President Tells Govts

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The President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem has lamented the widening gap between the wealthy and the downtrodden in the country.

Justice Dongban-Mensem urged governments at all levels to initiate deliberate policies aimed at bridging this widening gap to enable more people feel the impact of government.

She said: “If there is a deliberate and conscious attempt to ensure that there is equity, balance in the distribution of wealth, such that the not so wealthy or totally downtrodden are given an opportunity to participate in the economic development of the nation, I think a lot of our problems would be solved.”

The PCA spoke in Abuja while playing host to delegation from the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, (FCCPC), led by its Executive Vice Chairman, Babatunde Irukera at the Court of Appeal headquarters, yesterday.

Justice Dongban-Mensem expressed worry over the influx of substandard products into Nigerian markets, noting that Nigeria has become a dumping ground for all manners of substandard products as against the case in Europe and other developed societies where standards are strictly upheld.

She charged regulatory agencies, including the FCCPC to work on ways of ensuring strict enforcement of existing laws to ensure that products brought into the country are of good standards.

“When you look at products coming into Nigeria, you will realize that Nigeria is being taken very much for granted. I know that some people prefer to buy products made for use in Europe than the ones made for Nigeria.

“Unfortunately, some of our businessmen go out and ask that the minimum standard should be made and brought for us. So, once you buy, you are on your own.

“Sometimes, some of the products that come into this country we buy them as new, but in reality, they are not even second-hand, maybe they are tenth-hand or they were deliberately fabricated not to work at all.

“So, we end up with a lot of junks in our nation and we have no means of cleaning up our environment, we are like a dumping ground.”

Another Justice of the court, Justice Peter Ige, suggested that the clamour for restructuring should be directed at making the various provisions of chapter two of the justiceable so that the people can feel the essence and benefit of governance.

Justice Ige said, “You do know that Chapter 2 of the Constitution is non-justiceable provision.

“When people talk about restructuring and all the rest, one would have thought that everybody will concentrate on Chapter 2 of the Constitution and make our National Assembly to make them enforceable.

“This is so that everybody will know that all these rights or provisions, which is the purpose of government that are provided for in Chapter 2, we can enforce them and everybody can enjoy the benefits of governance, whether politically, socially, economically, commercially or otherwise”.

Irukera said the visit was to intimate the court about operations of his commission, particularly its newly enacted Establishment Act, and seek ways they could cooperate for the benefit of the Nigerian consumers.

He added: “The FCCPC is keenly interested and looks forward to the Court of Appeal’s kind indulgence in collaborating with the agency.

“One of our more urgent and crucial objectives is a knowledge sharing opportunity where we present more in-depth analysis of the FCCPA through knowledgeable faculty working with and through the National Judicial Council (NJC), and learning from this senior bench too, what the judicial considerations are in dispute resolution, as well as how best to present questions of law for the fairest and most meaningful outcomes and disposition.”

 

 

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NUT Tasks NASS On Teachers’ 65 Years Retirement Age Bill Passage

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The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), has urged the national assembly to expedite action on passage of the Harmonised Retirement Age for Teachers in Nigeria Bill 2021.
The Secretary-General of NUT, Dr Mike Ike-Ene, made the appeal in an interview with The Tide yesterday in Abuja.
He said the passage of the bill and its eventual signing into law by the President would go a long way in giving teachers the hope that their profession was being given the needed attention.
Ike-Ene said the hope of passage of the bill on June 30, having been mentioned on the Order Paper, was dashed because of the controversy that followed the debate on the Petroleum Industry Bill, now an Act.
“We are expecting that as the national assembly has resumed, the bill will be one of the first few bills to be passed.
“We expected the bill to be passed on June 30 concurrently by the two houses having been mentioned on the Order Paper but the debate of the Petroleum Industry Act and debate of the Electoral Reform Bill took the day.’’
The Secretary-General commended the National Assembly for its commitment to ensuring conclusion of work on the bill.
He expressed optimism that when passed, President Buhari would not hesitate in signing it into law.
He thanked the President for the effort to reposition the teaching profession, saying the union had been in the forefront in the struggle for elongation of tenure for teachers, among other things.
According to him, we have actually been fighting for some of the things the President promised to do for teachers, for instance, the elongation of years.
“We have been agitating for 65 years retirement age or 40 years by service and one of the reasons for the agitation is that we discovered that about 26 states did not recruit a single teacher for over 20 years.
“Yet teachers were retiring in their dozens, in hundreds and more deaths were being recorded as a result of the growing insecurity, particularly in schools.
“Some died naturally, others were resigning, yet teachers were not being employed.”
He further said, “We have also been agitating for Teachers Special Salary Structure (TSS) but hazard allowance was granted instead.
“The hazard allowance accumulated to 27.5 per cent of the basic of teachers’ salaries which were not what we were agitating for.
“We thank God that the Buhari’s administration has promised to implement the TSS and since that pronouncement, NUT, government and other stakeholders have been working to ensure implementation.’’
Ike-Ene disclosed that the promise made to teachers by the president would be implemented at different levels, stressing that while some would be passed into law, others would be implemented as policies.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in June, transmitted a letter on a Bill to increase the retirement age for teachers from 60 years to 65 years.
The Bill also seeks to extend the years of service for teachers from 35years to 40 years.
Meanwhile, the president at the commemoration of the World Teachers Day on October 5, 2020, approved a special salary scale for teachers and special pension scheme.
He also said the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) will begin to fund teaching practice in universities and colleges of education.
He further promised to ensure provisions for rural posting allowance, science teachers allowance and peculiar allowance.
The president also promised sponsorship of at least one refresher training, construction of low-cost housing for teachers in rural areas and reintroduction of bursary award.
Other promises are, expansion of the annual Presidential Teachers and Schools Awards and payment of stipends to Bachelor of Education students and automatic employment after graduation.

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Traffic Congestion: FG Builds Three Flyovers, Interchange

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The Federal Government is collaborating with Ogun State Government to secure the Right of Way (RoW) for the construction of three bridges and an interchange on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, said this during an inspection of the highway last Wednesday.
Fashola, who was joined by Gov. Dapo Abiodun at the Lotto Bridge under construction, said the highway accommodated over 40,000 vehicles daily, hence the urgent need for additional flyovers and interchanges for decongestion.
The bridges are under construction at Makun, MFM and Lotto (Mowe) areas on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.
“We are trying to execute an interchange that will separate the main carriageway and give commuters choice, especially those going to religious places to worship, those going to universities and so on and so forth.
“So that what used to cause the congestion is limited to the barest minimum if not totally eradicated when the road is finished.
“So, we now require additional land to build the interchange, that is why I called the governor (Dapo Abiodun),” he said.
He said that the Buhari administration inherited several stalled projects which he was committed to completing by adequately funding the projects
Fashola expressed satisfaction with progress of work on the ongoing reconstruction/rehabilitation of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
On his part, Gov. Abiodun assured that the state government would give all the land and support needed.
Earlier, the Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Mr Olukayode Popoola, gave the measurements and dimensions needed for the bridges and interchange.
Popoola also gave details on the number of buildings and services on the Right of Way of the bridges which, without paying compensations, would stall the project.
He said that section one of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway project, which spans from Ojota in Lagos to Sagamu Interchange, “has achieved 56 per cent completion”.
Also, during inspection of section two of the project, which spans from the Sagamu Interchange to Ojoo in Ibadan, the Federal Controller of Works in Ogun, Mr Umar Bakare, said that the section was 63 per cent completed.

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NEDC Flags Off Construction Of 500 Housing Units In Bauchi

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North-East Development Commission (NEDC) in collaboration with the Bauchi State Government has commenced the construction of 500 mass housing units in Bauchi, to address housing deficit in the state.
NEDC’s Managing Director, Alhaji Mohammed Goni-Alkali, stated this at the ground breaking ceremony of the project yesterday in Bauchi.
Goni-Alkali said that 300 houses would be built in Bauchi metropolis while 200 others would be spread across the 20 local government areas of the state.
According to him, the project is to ease the accommodation problems as well as fast track the rapid social and economic development of the state, to mitigate the devastation caused by the insurgency.
Goni-Alkali said that the commission had so far constructed 1,000 housing units in Marte LGA of Borno, adding that the houses had been handed over to the state government.
He said that the commission would also construct one primary school in each of the senatorial districts across the six states in the region, to promote educational development.
The managing director said that the commission had presented food and non-food items to the Bauchi State Government for distribution to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
He listed the items to include 10,000 bags of rice; 2,000 bags of sugar; 10,000 gallons of palm oil; 3,000 cartons of pasta; 2,000 blankets; 2,000 plastic mats and 1,000 mosquito nets.
In his remarks, Gov. Bala Mohammed, lauded the impact of the commission in the North-East with regard to the construction of schools and roads.
Mohammed also commended NEDC for the provision of other essential services since inception in 2019.
He said that the commission had constructed one block of six classrooms each across the 20 local government areas of the state.
“We have recieved the intervention of the commission in health and agriculture,” he said.
Mohammed promised to distribute the donated items judiciously to the deserving families.
The Goni-Alkali and other officials of the commission would inspect road projects in Alkaleri and Kirfi, and  Visco Vaginal Fistula (VVF) Centre in Ningi

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