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Damaturu

Team leader of the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council, NERDC, Prof. Fred Onyeoziri, has identified two ingredients critical to the successful implementation of the new nine – years basic education curriculum of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) as designed by the council.

According to him, to ensure fun the scheme is beneficial to the pupils as envisioned, the nation must phase out grade II teachers from the nine-year basic education programme and separate junior secondary schools from the senior ones. Onyeoziri spoke recently in Damaturu at the North – East advocacy forum at the NERDC.

He said that the new curriculum for the primary six and junior secondary schools was designed by the council to ensure equal access to ‘functional and qualitative” education, with a view to developing the pupils’ educational, entrepreneurial and moral potentials for a better society. The new scheme kicked off nationwide last month.

“The new curriculum cannot be instilled in the pupils without qualified and trained teachers.

The minimum teaching requirement at the primary and junior secondary schools is the National Certificate of Education (NCE) and not Grade II Teachers certificate as obtainable in some states in the North,” Onyeoziri said.

 

Abuja

The Action Congress (AC) yesterday condemned the plan by federal legislators to surreptitiously grant themselves and their state counterparts the kind of immunity from arrest and prosecution now being enjoyed by the President, Vice President and the governors of the 36 states.

In a statement issued in Abuja last Monday by its National Publicity secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said the bill which, according to media reports, has scaled second reading in the House, could create a new set of untouchables if passed into law.

The party, therefore, asked all Nigerians to “rise against this selfish move by a few elected officials, who are now lording themselves over those who elected them into office, and who believe they should be above the laws of the land”.

It said if the ill-advised move is aimed at curbing the excesses of the security agencies, as claimed by some of its supporters, it shows that the lawmakers are nothing but a bunch of selfish people, since all they are seeking to do is to protect themselves alone, not those who elected them into office.

AC said innocent Nigerians are being illegally arrested or knocked down daily by trigger-happy security agents, but those who were supposed to be the representatives of the same people are taking to a flight of fantasy by seeking to create a new law to protect themselves only, instead of protecting those who elected them.

 

Kano

The Kano State Chapter of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) has given Governor Ibrahim Shetarau the privilege to pick his successor in the 2011 election.

The Party’s Secretary, Alhaji Rabiu Bako, Monday told reporters in Kano that the decision was taken at the stakeholders meeting held at the government House. He said as a stakeholder in the party and an incumbent, it was natural that Shekarau should be given the privilege to name his successor.

Bako added that the meeting directed all members of the party interested in the governorship ticket to suspend their campaigns forthwith.

The stakeholder’s forum, the secretary said, urged Shekarau to vie for the presidential ticket in 2011.

He said the party would soon begin to campaign for Shekarahu’s candidacy for the presidency.

The Secretary said the meeting had directed the state executive council members, headed by Alhaji Sani Itotoro, to remain in office beyond 2010 in recognition of their achievements, especially in ensuring the party’s successes in past elections.

 

Ogbomosho

The election by the Federation of Oyo State Students’ Union (FOSSU) of an executive to pilot its affairs for the next one year has turned into a farce.

At the end of polling, an ex-student was declared president.

The election held at the Ogulola Township hall Oja Igbo Ogbomoso.

Olafemi Taiwo Okunlola, an ex-student of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State, was declared president, another student, Saamon Aborisade, who has been justicated from Ladokc Akintola University Ogbomoso was also elected into the executive.

Prior to the election day, intense screening and ratifications were carried out. At the end, sensitive positions like those of President and Secretary-general had only one candidate standing. Many students who spoke to The Tide accused the state government of interfering in their affairs and imposing candidates on them.

Others who were so ‘selected” included Shuaib Alojialapa (Vice President), Ezekiel Ayansiji (Assistant Secretary-General), Idowu Okedara (Auditor), Ahmed Muili (Welfare Director), Opeyemi Amuda Opeyemi (Social Director II) and Mose bolatan Adeyemo ( Social Director I). Samson Aborisade Samson emerged the Senate President.

Prior to the election, violence had ensued between Olafeni’s supporters and those of Tunde Saka, another presidential aspirant and student of Obafemi Awolowo university, Ile-Ife.

In the free-for-all, some students were injured. Mobile Policemen were present throughtout. Equally present was the out-going President of the body, Bashir Alade.

Meanwhile, many students have called for the cancellation of the election on the basis of the many irregularties that characterised it.

The Federation of Ogbomosho students’ Union (FOGSU), one of the five zones that makeup FOSSU, in a letter signed by Tope Olawuyi, Sarafedeen Abdulazzez and Adekunle Oluseyi, urged its member to dissociate themselves from the election which is described as “a selection and imposition of rusticated, ex-and ghost students of the state students unionism.

The letter accused  Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala of imposing his likes on students through his special Adviser on Youth, Mr. Ismail Akindele.

Students also asked that all those who purchased forms to run and were disqualified on “flimsy” excuses should be refunded their money. They accused the electoral committee of exploiting their mates by selling the forms for between N5,000 and N7,500.

The students, who accused Akindele of “excessive interference in student unionism in the state since 2007”, also called for the man’s removal as special Adviser on youth, so that he would not “impose leaders on us anymore.

They further rejected the imposition and called for a fresh, free and fair election.

 

Akure

The Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) Mr. David Adulugha, has identified lack of competitive products in the international market the bane of the non-oil export sector.

Besides, he noted that inadequate infrastructure has contributed to the cost of doing business in the country.

Speaking at a one-day workshop on Administration of Export Finance and Incentives in Nigeria, Adulugba said the preference of Nigeria’s financial instructions for funding import activities to the detriment of export further compounded the problem of an average Nigerian exporter.

The workshop organised by Akure Zonal office of NEPC was held in Ado-Ekiti where the NEPC boss disclosed that the federal government had introduced a package of incentives to encourage Nigerian exporters.

This is to increase the volume of their exports, broaden export product and market coverage as well as diversify the production base of the economy.

He said incentive schemes were also aimed at increasing foreign exchange earning capacity of non-oil export sector and address the major problems of supply; demand and price competitiveness of Nigerian products in the world market.

In his opening remark, Ekiti State Governor  Segun Oni said the workshop came at a time when the present administration is exerting effort to transform the economy of the state in the area of enterprise.

According to him, 97 select graduates are under-going a three – month intensive course in entrepreneurship to nurture future entrepreneurs who would transform the economic landscape of the state.

In a communiqué issued after the workshop, participants urged the federal government to reduce the number of security check points along the ECOWAS regional trading routes.

They also pleaded with exporters to keep record of transactions to reduce delay in processing their Export Expansion Grant (EEG) claims, while appealing to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to strengthen its monitoring mechanism to reduce incidence of non-declaration and repatriation of Actual Export Proceeds (AEP).

The Akure Zonal manager of NEPC, Mr. A.L. Ako said the programme was packaged as part of efforts to create export awareness and capacity building of exporters and members of the state committees on export promotion in Zonal office covering Ondo, Edo, Delta, Ekiti, Kwara, Kogi and Osun States.

 

Lokoja

The Kogi State government has partnered  Salem University, a private university to train 300 youths in the state.

Flagging off the entrepreneurial training at one of the lecture theatres of Salem, the governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris said apart from shouldering their tuition fees, the government would also provide credit facilities to each participant to cushion their business at the end of the training.

He said youth empowerment is one of the state’s politicies aimed at reducing unemployment.

He assured the youths that his administration would continue to accord importance to their well being.

The 300 youths were selected from the 21 local government areas of the state for the three month training.

He therefore directed all the local government chairmen to accommodate participants from their respective local government area for the duration of their training in Lokoja.

Also speaking on the occasion, the special Assistant to the Governor on Youth empowerment, Mr. Friday Abdul Sanni said the state government has spent over N50 million monthly on youths in the state.

The vice-chancellor of the university, Prof. Paul Omojo Omaji, said the participants would get certificates at the end of the training.

Omaji, who pointed out that no amount of money spent by any government on youths is too much, said empowering youths in any society would reduce social vices such as thuggery, robbery, kidnapping, among other crimes.

He assured the state government that the university would train the youths and make them global leaders.

 

Jos

Plateau State Governor Jonah Jang has said that the government would establish a cancer-screening centre in each of the three senatorial districts.

He said this became necessary to check the disease, especially in women.

Jang spoke at the Government House, Jos, while hosting a medical team from the African Centre for Cancer Care, a non-government organisation (NGO) based in Houston, United States.

A statement by the Director of Press and Public Affairs to the Governor, James Monnok, said Jang promised that the government would begin retraining of surgeons to deal with cancer cases.

The statement added that the government had accepted to pay the medical bills of parents with the disease and send serious cases for advanced treatments aboard.

The team leader, Dr. Eucharia Iwuanyanwu, said the organisation was set up in 2005 to provide basic health education and other statutory responsibilities to cancer patients.

He, however, noted that when the organisation discovered that cancer related cases, especially cervical cancer in women were rampant, the organisation decided to proffer solution through awareness, screening and treatment.

About 700 patients had been screened in the state and those with the disease would soon be treated.

 

IIorin

Traditional and religious leaders in Kaima local government Area of Kwara State have been urged to support government’s effort to eradicate polio.

Governor Bukola Saraki spoke on Tuesday at Kaima General Hospital.

He stressed that the vaccine being administered against polio did not have any negative effect on children.

The governor noted that Kaima Local Government Area is prone to wild polio virus (WPV) invasion from neighbouring states.

He said; “This facility provides routine immunization services to children from 0 to 5 years of age.

“All nursing mothers are urged to avail themselves of this opportunity to ensure that all children under 5 are immunised.

“This is in addition to the adhoc immunisation; that is periodically conducted by the state government with the assistance of the federal ministry of health, national and international partners.

“Therefore, the importance attached to health care services is portrayed in many strategies adopted to improve the health care indices of the state.

“Such stategiees include primary healthcare, disease control, immunisation, provision of essential drugs, HIV/AIDS control, capacity building, upgrading of infrastructure in many primary, secondary and tertiary health centres.

These hospitals are supplied with modern medical and accessibility to health care service by the rural dwellers is being strengthened by the scale up of community health insurance scheme which is now fully functional in Kwara North and Kwara Central, respectively.

The governor said it costs government a huge amount of money to upgrade the Kaima General Hospital.

He stated that the government spent N78 million to procure medical equipement, furniture, ambulance, fencing and civil works of the hospital.

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Increasing SSBs Tax ‘ll Encourage Healthy Lifestyle -Experts

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The Executive Secretary, Rivers State Contributory Health Protection Programme, Dr Vetty Agala, has said that an increase in Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSBs) tax will encourage heathy lifestyle, thereby reducing the 30 percent death rates associated with the consumption of SSBs.

 

Agala stated this at a two-day training programme organised to create awareness on the negative effect of excessive consumption of SSBs, organised by Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) in Port Harcourt.

 

She said it was necessary for the people to prioritize their health.

 

“Increase in SSBs tax will reduce the intake of SSBs consumption that is currently the cause of 30 per cent of deaths.

 

“The desire of the Rivers State Government is to protect her citizens by bringing up policies and various interventions and programmes such as innovative financing that help protect the health of communities,’ she added.

 

Also speaking, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Dr Adaeze Oreh, noted that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) including diabetes and cardiovascular diseases have become a public health concern globally and across the nation.

 

Dr Oreh, who was represented by the State Epidemiologist, Rivers State Ministry of Health, Dr Ifeoma Nwadiutor, revealed that the staggering rate of 41 million people are lost to NCDs annually, and that NCDs in Nigeria account for 30% of deaths.

 

“With this data, it is, therefore, paramount to address the root causes of these preventable illnesses”, she said.

 

The commissioner maintained that NCDs are known to result from long-term effects of unhealthy lifestyle and diets, leading to disability adjusted lifestyle years (DALYs).

 

“Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) or carbonated drinks also known as soft drinks, are non-alcoholic beverages that contain excessive amount of sugar.

 

“The sugar in these drinks is absorbed by the blood stream, thereby causing a spike in the blood sugar level, which is a risk factor for numerous health problems including obesity and other NCDs.

 

“Obesity is a predisposing factor for diabetes, hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases. It often results from taking in more calories than are burned by exercise and normal daily activities,” Dr Oreh added.

 

On his part, a public health scientist, Dr Francis Fagbule, advised parents to give their children balanced diet, adding that excessive intake of SSBs add no value to the health of their children.

 

Fagbule stressed that parents who can not avoid to give their children SSBs can give, but not in excess, adding that excessive consumption of SSBs makes children obsessed and fatigued.

 

“You are not adding anything useful to your children when you give them SSBs. You can only help your children to have balance diet. Give SSBs if you cannot avoid it completely, but don’t let it be in excess because excessive consumption of them makes children obsessed and fatigued”, he said.

 

Earlier, the Executive Director, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), Akinbode Oluwafemi, had stated that the training programme was aimed at equipping journalists with the necessary information to create awareness and drive the campaign against excessive consumption of SSBs.

 

Oluwafemi noted that the training would provide a comprehensive overview of SSB consumption patterns, their profound health implications, fiscal considerations and policy recommendations to address the growing health and economic challenges stemming from SSB consumption in the country.

 

He expressed worry that sugar sweetened beverages have gained prominence in Nigeria and have become a significant public health concern in the country, stressing that excessive consumption of SSBs leads to obesity, diabetes and other health challenges.

 

“The high rates of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and other cardiovascular diseases highlight a health crisis in Nigeria, with over 11 million Nigerians currently living with diabetes.

 

“Nigeria’s status as the fourth-largest of soft drinks globally is concerning and is a looming health epidemic if not addressed promptly. The adverse effects of these preventable diseases on productivity, revenue loss, and human lives underscore the urgency for effective policy solutions,” Oluwafemi said.

 

The Tide reports that CAPPA is a pan-African non-governmental organisation that works to advance human rights, challenges corporate abuse of natural resources and builds community power for inclusive development and participatory governance.

 

Susan Serekara-Nwikhana

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95% Of Small Businesses Should Be Off Tax – Oyedele

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The Federal Government is working on a system that will provide tax relief to 95 per cent of the informal sector of the economy in the country.
Mr Taiwo Oyedele, Chairman of the Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms Committee, said this at the closing session of the committee on Sunday in Abuja.
He said this would be achieved through the exemption of businesses earning N25 million a year or less from the various taxes hindering their progress over time.
‘’So, we think that 95 per cent of the informal sector should be legally exempted from all taxes; withholding tax, company income tax, even payee on their staff.
‘’We’re using data to inform our decisions. Currently, if you earn N25 million a year or less, you don’t have to pay company income tax, you don’t have to worry about VAT.
‘’We think that the informal sector are people who are trying to earn legitimate living, we should allow them be and support them to grow to a point where they can then have the ability to pay taxes,” he said.
Oyedele said the new reforms being proposed would focus on the top 5 per cent of that sector, the middle class and the elite for taxes.
He said the committee was drafting the laws to effect the necessary changes in the fiscal policy and tax reform ecosystem of the country.
According to the chairman, the new laws will ensure that reviews become sustained by all governments coming in, adding that: “we don’t want this whole effort to go down the drain, after one or two years.”
On compliance, he urged all stakeholders to fully cooperate with the government in implementing a new fiscal and tax policy that would be used for the general good of the citizens.
‘’We think that the days of being above the law in paying taxes are over. The same thing we’re saying to our leaders, whether they are elected or appointed.
‘’We think they have to lead by example by showing that they have paid the taxes, not only on time, but correctly to the lawful authorities as contained in the various laws,” he said.
He said explained that some of the taxes complained about by Nigerians were those already in the constitution, which the committee had looked at and called for their review.
Oyedele said the committee report would be made to pass through the normal process of legislation in order to give it the full legal backing.
‘’So, our expectation is, as we progress now from ideation, proposal to implementation, you’ll see less and less of those issues and then you’ll see harmony in the direction of the fiscal system.
‘’Not only in the number of taxes we collect, you will also see an improvement in how those monies are being spent.
‘’In terms of priority of spending, in terms of the efficiency of spending and in terms of focusing on what impacts on the lives of majority of our population that live in multi-dimensional poverty,” he said.
Oyedele added that the committee had been working with the sub-nationals and the local government councils in its task of harmonising the taxes into a single digit in the country.
‘’So, we’re convinced, and that’s what the data tells us, that the right path we need to follow, is the path where we repeal many of these taxes, harmonise whatever is left.
‘’We think we can keep that within single digit across local government, state and federal government combined, and then improve the efficiency of collecting those taxes.
‘’We are also very convinced that we need to increase the threshold of exemption for small businesses, for low income earners because if you can’t make ends meet, the last thing you want is someone asking you to pay tax.
‘’We think in fact, when our nation gets to the level we need to be, we should be able to even add money to those who have very little or nothing,” said Oyedele.
At the ceremony, Vice-President Kashim Shettima restated President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to revitalise revenue generation in the country.
“Our aim remains the revitalisation of revenue generation in Nigeria, while sustaining an investment-friendly and globally competitive business environment.
“Contrary to speculations in some quarters, we are not here to frustrate any sector of our economy but to create an administrative system that ensures the benefits of a thriving tax system for all our citizens,” he said.
He said the dynamics of the nation’s fiscal landscape prompted the Tinubu administration to pause and reconsider the direction it was going.
“I am confident that both the Federal and State Governments stand ready to ensure the effective implementation of your reform proposals.
“We shall provide the institutional framework to guarantee the adoption of the consensus of this committee, aligning them with our economic agenda,”said Shettima.

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138.9m Nigerians Need Interventions Against Tropical Diseases -WHO

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Data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that 138.9 million Nigerians require interventions against Neglected Tropical Diseases.
This is according to the latest epidemiological and programmatic data for 2022, which were gathered, compiled, and analysed in 2023, and obtained from the WHO on Saturday.
The body also said NTDs are endemic in Nigeria as it ranks first in the African region and second globally after India.
WHO defined NTDs as a diverse group of conditions of parasitic, bacterial, viral, fungal, and non-communicable origin, noting that there are more than 15 NTDs in Nigeria.
The report stated, “They prevent children from going to school and adults from going to work, trapping communities in cycles of poverty and inequity. People affected by disabilities and impairments caused by NTDs often experience stigma within their communities, hindering their access to needed care and leading to social isolation.
“Nigeria is endemic for several NTDs. The only disease eliminated was dracunculiasis (Guinea-worm disease) in 2013. The population requiring interventions against NTDs was approximately 138.9 million in 2022, ranking first in the African region and second globally after India.
“This includes 138.9 million requiring treatment for lymphatic filariasis through mass drug administration; 48.7 million requiring treatment for soil-transmitted helminthiases through mass drug administration; and 43.5 million requiring treatment for onchocerciasis through mass drug administration.”
Meanwhile, the Federal Government had in 2023 said it would eradicate NTDs in the country by 2027.
The Director of the WHO Global Neglected Tropical Diseases Programme, Dr Ibrahima Fall, said, “With a renewed focus on strategic priorities addressing advocacy for action, partnership, costing and accelerated implementation, technical gaps including research and development and leadership.
“We must intensify our collective action to address the deep-rooted inequalities that fuel the transmission of NTDs in the populations where they persist.”

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