The President of the National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS), Comrade Sunday Asefon, yesterday, disclosed that the association planned to organize a Security and Education Summit to partner stakeholders on how to arrest the drift in the two critical sectors.
He described the 2021 budgetary provision for education under President Muhammadu Buhari, as the worst in the last one decade.
He expressed worry over the level of neglect in the education sector, which was apportioned a paltry of 5.6 per cent of the 2021 budget, saying that the high level of insecurity in the country would have guided the government to increase allocation to education as a means of lifting millions of young people out of crime and violence.
Asefon said this in Ado Ekiti, during a courtesy visit to the office of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Correspondents’ Chapel, Ekiti chapter.
He said: “I condemn totally, the Federal Government’s 2021 budgetary provision to education. It was the worst in the last 10 years. The Federal Government only apportioned 5.6 per cent to the sector out of a total of N13.6trillion budgetary provision.
“When you remove the percentage for basic education, what then becomes of the tertiary cadre? The percentage is ridiculous, low and disappointing. This is one of the challenges we are facing in the education sector”.
Asefon assured that the NANS under him would invest quality time to advocate for better funding of education sector, saying the sector has been neglected because only the children of the poor attend public universities.
On the spate of insecurity in the land, Asefon described as shocking, the kidnap of over 344 boarding students of the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State, by gunmen, saying this had attested to the utter failure of governance in the country.
“I was shocked by this incident, and I urge the Federal Government to do something urgent about this. When I was told that the Kankara students were kidnapped with motorbikes, I was not really happy.
“It shows we don’t have security around our campuses. Our students were being bullied and harassed by bandits across the North; that we won’t tolerate.
“Nigeria is richly blessed. If you look at our budget, several billions of naira were being budgeted to security sector. In spite of this, we are not secured. With the way things are today, Nigeria is sitting on a keg of gunpowder.
“I think we can borrow a leave from Singapore. Singapore had a lot of challenges like ours in the past, but it overcame with proper planning. Nigeria should take a leave from this country.
“We are worried that our education and security have deteriorated due to government lapses. They have collapsed and Nigeria needs urgent overhauling.
“NANS under my headship will organise education and security summit, where we can address the deficiencies in the two sectors”.
Asefon said his leadership of NANS would tackle the malaise of sex for marks, unlawful rustication and other forms of injustices on campuses.
He also warned the government and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), not to renege on the pact leading to the suspension of over nine months industrial action in the universities.
“The government and ASUU must honour their own side of the agreement. We are particularly worried that ASUU, whose members are supposed to be socialists are turning capitalists. They no longer put their children in the public schools and also not dedicated to duty.
“ASUU should not consider another strike. A lot of students had died; some had taken into ICT fraud, and won’t come back to schools. Were the government and ASUU not aware that 75 per cent of those that participated in #EndSARS protests were students? They constituted about 41 million population of Nigeria”.
The NANS President called for total overhauling of the education and security sectors to be able to deliver for Nigerians.
Asefon stated that the election that brought him into office was keenly contested, which he said further put a burden on him to be focused in his service to the students, by executing transformational agenda that would reform and rebrand NANS.
GoG: Nigerian, Ghanaian Navies Meet On Joint Operations
Against the backdrop of renewed piracy and hostage-taking incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria’s Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo and his Ghanaian counterpart, Rear Admiral Issah Adam Yakubu, have commenced a security engagement aimed at joint security initiatives to tackle the situation.
Speaking during the meeting held at Naval headquarters, Abuja, Vice Admiral Gambo said, “The Gulf of Guinea is currently bedevilled by the activities of criminal elements who take advantage of limited capability of the navies in the region to adequately secure the area.
“The threat posed by the activities of these criminal elements constitute a major challenge not only to the littoral states but equally undermines regional development and global trade.
“Notably, the trans-boundary and trans-national nature of maritime crime makes the security of the maritime domain a task beyond the capacity of any country acting alone.
“It is against this backdrop that this bilateral engagement was convened at the instance of the Heads of Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Republic of Ghana towards addressing the maritime security challenges within the region”.
Vice Admiral Gambo expressed belief that “the engagement would foster greater collaboration and burden sharing that is hinged on cooperative maritime security framework as envisioned in the 2013 Yaoundé Protocol to arrive at strategies that would help address the maritime insecurity for enhanced economic prosperity in the region”.
Declaring the technical session open, the CNS said, “In deliberations, please consider amongst others: maritime area of interest covering Zone E and integration of the capabilities of the countries in Zone E, emplacing a robust intelligence sharing mechanism and collaboration with international partners”.
On relations between both countries, Gambo said, “This good relation is equally manifest in the several interactions between the Nigerian Navy and Ghana Navy. I must not fail to mention the remarkable contributions of the Ghana Navy-CNS to manpower development during his tour of duty at the prestigious AFCSC, Jaji as a member of the Directing Staff. I have no doubt that this engagement would further strengthen the existing cordial bilateral relations between Nigeria and Ghana navies.
In his address, Chief of Naval Staff of Ghana, Rear Admiral Issah Yakubu, noted that he and his delegation were in Nigeria at the behest of President Nana Akufo Ado to engage the Nigerian Navy and come out with collective strategies to tackle insecurity which is in the ascendancy in recent times in the Gulf of Guinea.
“We hope our navies will buy into this engagement to improve security in the Gulf of Guinea. We know our big brother Nigeria has bigger capacity to chart the way forward”.
He disclosed that, “Since year 2020, the situation has bot been good in the Gulf of Guinea”, noting that “Last May, two Ghanian vessels were attacked and 10 persons were abducted with investigations still ongoing”.
Consequently, the Ghanian Navy Chief said, “We are proposing an ECOWAS naval task force and joint maritime security architecture to checkmate these threats, adding that this was done in the past successfully during ECOMOG operations without problems with inter-operability and doctrinal issues.
Furthermore, he proposed the setting up of a ‘transit corridors’ where ships from fellow West African countries can go to anchor for assistance and joint naval assets will conduct regular patrols especially for protection of commercial fishing vessels.
Wike Orders Destruction Of Criminal Hideouts In Rivers
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has ordered the destruction of all criminal hideouts in Ahoada, Elele, Eleme and Onne to prevent attempt to undermine security of the state.
The governor said criminals were already coming to terms with the reality that Rivers State was too hot for them to invade at will and detonate their foolish attacks on targeted security posts and personnel.
Wike, who made this assertion in a state broadcast, last Friday, disclosed that the state government has identified the hideouts, safe houses and secret places that provide both cover and comfort for the hoodlums to plan, execute and return to after operations.
“This was the reason we ordered the destruction of all the shanties and makeshift structures located along Elele to Ahoada expanse of the East–West Road to deny the criminals the opportunity to continue to undermine our security from these hideouts.
“We have equally decided to destroy all the shanties, illegal shops and mechanic sheds along the Eleme to Onne stretch of the East-West Road having discovered these places also as hideouts and operational bases for criminals and criminal activities in the state.
“Consequently, I hereby direct owners of such shanties and illegal structures along the Eleme – Onne axis of the East-West Road to vacate the area within two weeks from June 11, 2021, as the state government will go ahead to destroy these structures without any further notice.”
Wike said the government was not unmindful of the economic effect these measures would have or may have had on residents carrying out businesses in the affected areas.
He, however, stressed that government was merely discharging its constitutional responsibility to advance the collective security of all with no ethnic targets in mind or attachment to political sentiments.
He explained that the existing curfew in Rivers State will not last one day beyond necessary, and pleaded with all residents to endure the temporary inconveniences in the interest of the state and collective wellbeing of all.
“We will continue to take the war on criminality and insecurity to the den of the criminals and we will neither yield nor lower the tempo of our assault until they are comprehensively neutralized. As a matter of fact, they want us to prematurely terminate the state wide night time curfew in order for them to have the leeway to operate again and roll back the gains of the last few weeks.”
Wike said he has received reports about the excesses of the State Task Force on Illegal Trading and Parks, especially the alleged shooting of motorists, extortions and abuse of the human rights of citizens.
He assured that government would not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law on any member of the task force who crosses the boundaries of the law and rational behaviour.
The governor, who appealed to motorists and residents to be responsible road users by complying with the clear regulations against illegal trading, indiscriminate parking and irresponsible driving, noted that the situation where some motorists would have the effrontery to compete for traffic space with or even attempt to block his official vehicular convoy leaves much to be desired.
He has meanwhile, directed the management of the Rivers State Waste Management Authority to clear the state of filthiness within one week or be disbanded without any further notice.
Army Begins Shooting Exercises In Rivers
The Nigerian Army, 6 Division, has announced that it would commence its annual range classification exercise from yesterday to Sunday, June 27.
The division’s spokesman, Lt.-Col. Charles Ekeocha, said in a statement in Port Harcourt, that the exercise aimed at ascertaining the professional competence of troops on the use of firearms.
He said troops from the division and its affiliated formations and units would conduct the exercise at the Army Shooting Range in Igwuruta and Elele Barracks, both in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
“The shooting exercise is a routine activity in the Nigerian Army which involves the firing of various calibre live ammunitions.
“Members of the public, especially residents of Igwuruta and Elele, as well as its environs, are advised to keep away from the general shooting area,” he stated.
The Army spokesman also advised the public not to panic over the movement of troops, military hardware and sound of gunshots.
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