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Lagos

The Lagos State Government said it has no intention of implementing the improved Teachers Salary Structure (TSS) this year.

The statement which was disclosed to newsmen in Lagos by the Special Adviser to the Governor in Education, Elijah Odewale, came on the heels of the strike embarked by public school teachers in Lagos State.

Elijah said the government will not do anything in line with the teachers’ agitation until the 2010 budget is passed.

He said it is wrong in the first place for public school teachers to embark on strike without finishing negotiation with the state.

It would be recalled that the Lagos State Chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), and other states embarked on an indefinite strike to press for the implementation of the new Teachers’ Salary Structure (TSS).

Ogun

Chinese investors have made commitments to establish industries that will commence operations in Ogun State by the end of this year.

To this end no fewer than 57 of them have signed a pact with the state government to set up their firms at the state-owned industrial park along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

The investments are a fallout of the state Governor Otunba Gbenga Daniel recent tour to some Chinese cities, during which a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the companies and their partners were endorsed by the governor as part of the new economic focus for the state.

Some of the cities visited include Taiwan, Sumjian, Chang, Shanghai and Zhejiang.

In July, a 70-man delegation from the Province of Zhejiang visited the state and had indicated interest to invest in Ogun.

Some of the proposed firms will be involved in the production of goods and services, oil and gas and construction, and also assist in the development of roads, power, agriculture, textile and timber.

Another visit by Daniel to Hangmin Group, a village like cooperative cluster of business and industries with multi-million dollar annual turnover with interest in textile, agriculture and real estate development, has also facilitated an investment of another set of companies.

The state government also offered free land to companies that accepted to come into the state with the governor saying that the industrial park will be partnered after trade mart, which is regarded as the largest global commodities market in the world with 129,600 shops.

To prepare ground for the expected economic turn around of the state, the government has also embarked on provision of other infrastructure,  among them is the Olokola free trade zone and the cargo airport projects.

Kaduna

Three industrial unions in Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna State, have appealed to former President Olusegun Obasanjo to intervene in the ongoing dispute between Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government.

The unions are the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), The National Associationof Academic Technologists (NAAT) and the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU).

In a letter joint issued by the Chairman of SSANU, Mr Alfa Gimba, NAAT Mr Jerry Bale and NASU, Mallam Abdullahi Sham in Zaria, the union called on the former president to mediate in the ongoing dispute in the university system. “Baba, you will recall that in April 2006 your administration empowered the negotiation team headed by Deacon Gamaliel Owosode as chairman.  The union  have been negotiating for the past three years, but no result, hence the need for your quick intervention to save the university system from collapse, the letter said.

It described as contentious the 65 year retirement age and the issue of staff welfare, adding that while an agreement had been reached on salary increase, the government opted for arbitrary awards.

It will be recalled that workers in the university system have been on strike over improved working conditions.

The government has agreed to pay a 40 percent salary increase to university lecturers and 20 percent to other workers in the system but the unions have rejected the offer.

Kwara

Kwara State Commissioner For Information and Communications, Mr Ben Diutoye has commended the Governor Dr Bukola Saraki for taking the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) to greater height and introduced a breath of fresh air into the hitherto moribund forum.

Saraki is Chairman of NGF an association established to encourage fair competition and peer-review among the governors. The organisation has since the tenure of the governor adopted some refreshingly new and exciting features, including the establishment of a functional secretariat and more pro-active programmes.

“We have a better organised NGF now which is active with a visible secretariat.  The secretariat has professional hands that advise and give support to the forum.  NGF has been used to promote greater relationship between the federal and states governments.  There is therefore a better inter-governmental relationship, just as the U.S. Governors Association often give technical support to members,” Diutoye said.

On the succession plan for the governor who would complete his two terms in May 2011, Diutoye said Saraki had delivered good governance to Kwara people and wishes the people would be included to supporting some one who would continue the governor’s legacies.

Abuja

The State Security Service (SSS), has foiled an alleged plot by three university undergraduates to kidnap the Minister of Education, Dr Sam Egwu and his labour and productivity counterpart, Adetukumbo Kayode.

The suspects are said to be undergraduates at the University of Abuja, while a fourth suspect is described as dubious businessman.

Parading the suspects the SSS spokesperson, Meriline Okah said the suspects were planning to use the ongoing strike by university lecturers as an excuse to carry out the plot.

She also said, in the alleged plot the Minister of Education and his labour and productivity counterpart would have paid N300 million ransome and the Minister of Education made to sign the controversial agreement to end the ASUU strike.

Jos

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), hinted that it has concluded plans to train 154,800 emergency volunteers across the federation. Besides it   said it has approached Universities in the country to include Masters Degree on Emergency Management in their courses.

The North Central Zonal Co-ordinator spoke at a press briefing, marking the Agency’s 10th anniversary, in Jos.

According to Mr. Alhassan D. Aliyu, North Central Zonal Co-ordinator at least 200 emergency volunteers will be trained in each of the 774 local councils in the federation. Represented by the Assistant Zonal Co-ordinator, Alhaji Mohammed Abdulsalam, the zonal coordinator explained that three Universities among the number approached have accepted to introduce Disaster Management Studies.

According to him, many Universities in developed countries were running the course that attention has been focused on risk reduction.

stated that the Agency will in future extend training programmes to primary schools to teach pupils on safety measures.

He told his audience that disaster response activities were not solely the work of experts and emergency “responders”, but also government disaster management organisations, local volunteer organisations, business organisations and citizens. He emphasised that they have active roles to play in disaster management, while lamenting the poor level of disaster awareness among Nigerians.

He pointed out that the zone witnessed about 15 major disasters between January to September 2009, listing them to include those of Niger state flood and River Asa flood disaster, Kwara State, adding that 6,800 were displaced.  While two persons were killed.

Consequently, the NEMA chieftain urged stakeholders to cooperate with the Agency to reduce disasters to minimum in the country.

Zamfara

Disturbed by the shortage of buses to convey women only as required by the sharia legal system, Zamfara State government has awarded a contract worth N100m for the procurement of 200 new buses, which would be used by women as means of transportation within and outside the state.

Making this known in Gusau, while fielding questions from newsmen, the state commissioner for Religious Affairs, Malam Tukur Sani Jangebe, said the measure is aimed at preventing women from mixing with men or climbing okada to various locations in the state.

He said government is totally committed to the implementation of the sharia legal code across the state.

Jangebe said the contract was given to a local firm in order to ensure that the vehicles were delivered in good time and based on contract specification.

He said the buses reduce the hardships by women travellers and commuters who “do not feel men while on transit.”

The commissioner said when fully functional, the women-only transport system will ensure that Muslim women who violate the system are arraigned before any of the sharia court in the state.

He said the law banning women from using okada as passed by the State House Assembly has not been repealed. He therefore asked security operatives to Hsbah board in order to ensure that offenders are apprehended.

Jangebe further disclosed that the state government has also awarded contract worth N500 million for the construction of a befitting permanent headquarters of the Religious Affairs Ministry and the state Pilgrim Welfare Agency.

Adamawa

Nigerians have been advised to shun selfishness and sentiments in order to realise the “noble” objectives of the 1999 constitution, Senator Abubakar Halilu Girei has advised.

Girei, who gave the advise in Yola at the weekend, while reacting to calls for a regional constitution by a newly formed group, “change Nigeria”, headed by retired generals, said the 1999 constitution was been made to look inadequate because, the Nigerian politicians have not adopted the right attitude and spirit envisaged by the drafters of the document.

He said the perception that the 1999 constitution was deficient was actually a reflection of the indiscipline in the society, as the constitution has not been fully put to test for a reasonable period of time, for any group to term it unworkable.

Girei, who is currently Monitor General of Course 35, Nigerian Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, (NIPSS) Kuru, Plateau State, said it was condemnable for some retired generals to group themselves into an organisation, called “Change Nigeria”, stressing that the group’s statement was inciting and should be condemned.

He said the sovereign National Conference and other true federalism sloganeering was not only a sabotage, but potent danger to national security of the country, as such statements were capable of encouraging intransigent militants, who were now on the verge of negotiating a peaceful end to Niger Delta crisis with the federal government.

Girei said Nigerian political leaders should eschew the differences that were capable of drawing the country back to the era of regional and ethnic empires as most Nigerians wee resolved and marching towards being one of the 20 largest economies in the world by 2020.

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Menstrual Hygiene: HILWA, UNICEF Train 200 Principals, Teachers

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A group, the High Level Women Advocate (HILWA), in collaboration with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has begun training of 200 female principals, Head teachers and teachers in Katsina State on menstrual hygiene management.
The HILWA Chairperson, Hajiya Mariya Abdullahi, said during the opening of the three-day training on Sunday in Katsina, that the selection of the topic ‘`Menstrual Hygiene” was necessary.
She explained that the topic was purposely selected  because of its sensitivity and importance especially to the girl child.
“We selected these principals and teachers for the training, because the girls are directly under their watch.
“Therefore, it is very important to train them so that they can also teach the girl child.
“This menstrual hygiene is important for the girl child to learn right from their childhood.
“Most girls find themselves in this situation without being prepared for it.
“So, we are preparing them in the event they see anything like this happening to them, they should not take it as a surprise”, she said.
She said that though parents ought to teach their daughters about menstraution, but that if they  howver failed to do so in their homes, the girls should be taught in school.
Mariya said that the group had the Girl’s Education Project (GEP-3) benefiting schools in the state to assess the level of successes so far recorded.
Also speaking, the HILWA Secretary, Hajiya Wasila Sani-Saulawa, said the training was targeting all principals of girls secondary schools in the state.
She added that the project was funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and implemented by UNICEF in collaboration with the Federal and state governments.
According to Sani-Saulawa, the training for the principals is also funded from the GEP-3 funding in Katsina State.
Sani-Saulawa said that 100 participants were drawn from the Katsina zone, while 50 each from Funtua and Daura zones would also benefit.

She explained that at the end of the training, the participants would not only step it down to their girl students, but also their children, family members and their community members.

According her, HILWA, since inception has been involved with the girl child education in Katsina state because the state is among the states with low number of girls in schools.

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Place More Value On Children, Group Urges Govt, Stakeholders

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A non profit organisation, CVG-AFrica, has urged the three tiers of government and other stakeholders in the education sector to place more value on children through qualitative education, infrastructure and development of teachers’ capacity.
Its Coordinator, Mr Moses Solanke, made the plea on Monday at a seminar organised for teachers of St Leo’s Primary School, Ibadan, with the theme: “Sustaining a Valuable Primary Education: The Teachers’ Role”.
Solanke said the group’s aim was to reach out to those in the primary schools in order to encourage them because of the challenges inhibiting teaching in schools.
“We see that many teachers are no longer committed and dedicated to their works and this rubs off on the children.
“CVG-Africa is an outreach focusing on children’s education, but that cannot be without focusing on the teachers.
“So, the seminar is to help them to rediscover their roles and boost their commitments in a hostile environment.
“Schools are not funded, the structures are bad; you expected so much from the teachers, but once in a while we need to encourage and charge them to revive their commitment to work,” he said.
The group coordinator said that there was a need to value children to develop African continent.
“You can only place value on the children through qualitative education.
“CVG-Africa is asking the government, schools and other stakeholders in the education sector to place more commitment and value on children for a better society and continent,” he said.
In a lecture on the theme of the event, the Coordinator, Students and Youths Discipleship Outreach (SAYDO), Mr Elijah Olatunji, said, “No nation can be greater than her teachers; and there is no generation that can be different from what its teachers are.”
Olatunji enjoined teachers to see their roles as a calling and pour themselves into it with dedication and commitment to make a positive impact in the lives of their students.
According to him, it is hard to imagine what the world would look like without teachers.
“Teachers at all levels are indispensable in the society; from the nursery and primary school level to tertiary level; even in the vocational apprenticeship area,” he said.
Olatunji described teachers as the most powerful influencers, saying that teachers’ roles are crucial to bring about a change and development in any society.
“Teaching profession is not just a job; it is a calling and also a passion; a calling to affect lives; a passion to mould lives, to bend and straighten lives at the prime of their years. It is a calling as a foundation layer and builder,” he said.
The outreach coordinator advocated teaching methodology that would address the peculiarities of every child and the one that discovers and enhances their potential, saying, “no child is a dullard” .

 

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ACRESAL Critical To Lifting 100m Nigerians From Poverty-FG

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The Federal Government says the Agro-Climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes (ACRESAL) project is critical to lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.
The Honourable Minister for Environment, Mr Mohammed Abdullahi, said this at the ACRESAL technical workshop in Lagos.
The Tide’s source reports that the workshop is organised for the Ministries of Environment, Agriculture and Water Resources in conjunction with the World Bank.
“The ACRESAL Project is one of the central components in President Muhammadu Buhari’s strategy of ensuring environmental sustainability.
“And improving community livelihoods toward lifting 100 million people out of poverty,” Abdullahi said.
He said that his passion for the ACRESAL project exposed him to further understand the environment portfolio and its link with the broader society.
“I am also very passionate about ACRESAL. It is the first project that heralds my assumption of duties when Mr President redeployed me to the Federal Ministry of Environment.
“I saw the political will and desire of the three ministries in ensuring that targets are meant,” Abdullahi said.
According to him, ACRESAL is all about sustainable land management.
He said the ministry was deliberate in inviting stakeholders from the National Parks Service and the Great Green Wall Agency to engage with the World Bank to ensure the success of the project.
The Minister urged the Project Management Units (PMUs) from the different states to be ‘diplomatically independent’ in their relationship with their state governors.
He added that the ACRESAL project had the mandate to ensure land restoration, wetlands cultivation for the improvement of the land to make them fit for cultivation.
He continued that the ACRESAL would strengthen Nigeria’s long-term enabling environment for an integrated climate-resilient landscape.
“I am here to motivate and energise you, and also to encourage you to deliberate on the Draft Annual Work plan prepared by the various PMUs and clears same for onward transmission to the steering committee for approval.
“This is the much-needed step that will kick start disbursement of funds by the World Bank for implementation activities to begin,” Abdullahi said.
He expressed gratitude to Dr Joy Agene and her team from the World Bank on their efforts toward the full implementation of the ACReSAL project.

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