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Abuja

The  NNPC has reiterated its commitment to the development of a functional education that would drive the development of the petroleum sector and the country.

The Group Managing Director (GMD), Mr Austen Oniwon, stated this in Abuja, at the opening ceremony of the 9th NNPC National Quiz Competition for secondary school students.

Oniwon, who was represented by the Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Dr Levi Ajuonuma said the quiz was part of NNPC’s contribution to the development of students’ intellectual capacity

“We are convinced that allowing students to test their academic ability through a well organised and highly competitive quiz like this would stimulate the needed competition in our education system,’’ he said.

Bauchi

The Muslim community in Bauchi  converged at the Muslim graveyard to clean the surroundings in order to derive the benefits of Ramadan.

Top government officials, civil servants, businessmen, uniformed and non-uniformed voluntary organisations and other residents of the metropolis were among those who took part in the exercise.

The Emir of Bauchi, Alhaji Rilwanu Adamu, who lead the exercise expressed satisfaction with the level of turnout of the people and called on Muslims in the state to maintain the tempo.

Adamu pointed out that the cleaning of a grave was part of the practice of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, adding, “ even if not for this reason one may not like his grave to be in a dirty environment,“ he said.

Gombe

The Miyatti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Gombe chapter, has suggested the recruitment of products of the Nomadic Education Programme as teachers in their former schools.

Malam Aliyu Abare, the Secretary of the association, made the suggestion while speaking with newsmen in Gombe on Tuesday.

Abare said that such a measure would encourage other animal rearers to enrol their wards in the nomadic schools.

“Some of the products of the Nomadic Education programme were able to graduate from their primary schools, attend secondary schools and make it up to National Certificate of Education level.

“Unfortunately, they could not secure teaching job and this development has frustrated them and sent wrong signal to other rearers, who now have the impression that attending the school is a wasted effort.

Ibadan

An Islamic Scholar and University of Ilorin Lecturer, Dr Ibraheem Abikan, has disclosed that Islamic banking was first licenced in the South-West zone in 1963.

Abikan made the disclosure on Monday, in Ibadan, while delivering the 13th Ramadan Lecture entitled, “Viability of Islamic Banking in Nigeria, Issues, Challenges and Prospects”.

The event was organised by the Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria  (MULAN), Oyo State branch.

He said that the bank was then known as “Muslim Bank of West Africa“ and was licenced under the regulatory body of the financial institution of the era.

The lecturer explained that the licence was later withdrawn by the authorities of the then Western region barely after four years of operation.

Ijebu-Ode

Secondary school mathematics teachers have attributed the failure in the subject among students to the lack of concentration and laziness.

A cross-section of the teachers told newsmen  (NAN) in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun, on Tuesday that until the students braced themselves and stopped their lazy attitude, their poor performance in the subject might persist.

The teachers expressed concern over the yearly poor performance of students in the subject in the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSSCE), saying that teachers had been doing their best to encourage the students.

They appealed to parents to also encourage their children by providing the necessary textbooks needed for the subject and also supervise them to work out the subject after school hours.

Mr Akindele Ademola, a mathematics teacher at the Ijebu-Ode Grammar School, described mathematics as a dynamic subject that needed “absolute concentration”.

Jos

Brig.-Gen Muraina Raji, former Commander, 33 Artillery Brigade, Bauchi, was on Tuesday arraigned before a Special Court Martial over the escape of two detainees from the Brigade’s detention facilities.

The Tide gathered that the detainees were suspected to be members of the Boko Haram who were arrested over an onslaught on Bauchi late 2010.

Inaugurating the six-member panel in Jos, the GOC, 3 Armoured Division, Maj.-Gen Sunday Idoko, said that Raji was indicted for complicity by a military investigation report.

“It is the duty of superiors to observe, correct and instantly deal with negligence or any misconduct on the part of subordinates.

“When there is any breach, it is expected that appropriate disciplinary measures are taken by commanders to forestall future occurrence.”

Katsina

Residents of Gora and Yammama villages in the Malumfashi local government area of Katsina State have called for urgent government action to stop the erosion destroying a bridge on the Funtua-Kano road.

Alhaji Sagir Sani, the Village Head of Gora, made the call on Tuesday, on behalf of both communities while inspecting the bridge along with Alhaji Lawal Dalhatu, the Acting Chairman of Malumfashi local government.

Sani said the bridge linked the two communities and it was being used by travellers from neighbouring states of Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi, as well as people from the southern part of Katsina State going to Kano State.

He said the road was vital to the socio-economic activities of the diverse people, noting that, “its total collapse will surely affect people’s lives.”

Kebbi

The Birnin Kebbi Local Government Area in Kebbi has earmarked N15 million for the feeding of the less privileged  during the Ramadan “in the spirit of brotherhood”.

The Sole Administrator, Alhaji Musa Dan-Illela, told newsmen in Birnin Kebbi that N1 million would be spent in the programme in each of the 15 electoral wards.

He said a committee had been established in each of the wards to monitor the full implementation of the programme, stressing that whoever diverted the money would be punished.

He said an estimated 3,000 people were expected to benefit from the programme as feeding would  be done  at designated points in the ward throughout the Ramadan.

Kaduna

The Kaduna State Environment Protection Agency (KEPA) has said that the provision of waste baskets is now compulsory for commercial vehicle operators in the state.

The KEPA General Manager, Alhaji Aminu Sani, told our correspondent  in Kaduna on Tuesday that the policy was to discourage commuters from throwing waste from vehicle windows.

Sani said that the baskets would also check the indiscriminate throwing of polythene bags, especially sachets used in packaging water popularly known as pure water.

He said that the agency had discovered that polythene was one of the major materials that block the drains and obstructed the free flow of water from channels.

The general manager said that the state government had already engaged a consultant that would commence the waste baskets installation programme.

Lafia

The Nasarawa State Muslim Pilgrims’ Welfare Board has announced the fares for the 2011 pilgrimage, saying the minimum is N525,000 and the maximum N626,000, for male pilgrims.

The Executive Secretary, Alhaji Abdullahi Shehu, in a statement made available to newsmen  in Lafia, said the medium hajj seat for the year would go for N559,000.

He said all female pilgrims would be required to pay an additional N1,250 as the cost for their hijabs (veils) and printing of the state emblem on the veils.

He said all intending pilgrims were expected to complete the payments of their fares before August. 29, adding that the screening of all its intending pilgrims would commence immediately after Ramadan.

Lokoja

The Kogi Government has completed 35 electrification projects and sunk 150 boreholes in some rural areas of the state.

The Director-General, Directorate of Rural Development (DRD), Dr Paul Attah, who made the announcement on Tuesday in Lokoja, said that more than 100 kilometres of roads were also opened up to ease movement to and from rural areas to the cities.

He told news men that the directorate also constructed six culverts and a bridge, adding that the projects, which cut across the 21 local government areas of the state, were executed between 2007 and 2010.

Attah said the directorate had also installed transformers in Lokoja, Kabba and Idah on the directive of the state government.

He added that many rural communities in the state had been clamouring for the attention of the directorate for the provision of facilities, but that the organisation could not meet their demands due to limited resources.

Sokoto

Alhaji Abdullahi Maigwandu, Chairman, Shagari Local Government in Sokoto State, on Tuesday, directed councillors to submit lists of projects demanded by their constituencies for immediate implementation.

Maigwandu told journalists in Sokoto that, only projects with direct bearing on the lives of the people would, however, be implemented.

He said the local administration would transform the socio-economic and political status of the area through the execution of laudable projects.

Maigwandu, who was re-elected chairman of the council, said that education, health care services, water supply, roads construction and agriculture remained one of the cardinal objectives of the administration.

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NBA Chieftain Tasks Lawyers On Fairness, Social Justice

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As the world celebrated the World Day of Social Justice yesterday, the Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Remuneration Committee, Mr Afam Osigwe (SAN), has urged lawyers to ensure justice at all times.
Osigwe added that Nigerian lawyers must reflect on their call as ministers of justice, and protect the same at a cost.
The World Day of Social Justice is celebrated annually on February 20.
Its observance aims to do justice and to remind us each year of the need to build fairer and more equitable societies.
In a statement yesterday, Osigwe harped on the need for lawyers to uphold the principles of justice, equality, and fairness within their society.
“Social justice is not just a concept; it is a call to action that requires our unwavering commitment to safeguarding the rights and well-being of all individuals, irrespective of their background or circumstances.
“As aspiring leaders and contributors to the legal landscape, we have a unique opportunity to effect positive change.
“Let us strive to bridge gaps, break down barriers, and create an inclusive legal environment that resonates with the principles of social justice.
“Our actions, both individually and collectively, have the power to shape a more equitable future for all.
“As we mark the World Day of Social Justice, we must, therefore, reflect on our collective responsibility as legal professionals to uphold the principles of justice, equality, and fairness within our society,” he said
Osigwe noted that the legal profession plays a pivotal role in shaping the legal landscape, adoing that as the bar embarks on this journey, it must stand united in our commitment to promoting fairness, equity, and the rule of law.
“Through continued education, advocacy, and engagement with our communities, we can contribute meaningfully to the advancement of social justice principles in Nigeria,” he said

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Abia Govt Flays Butchers’ Protest Over Alleged Eviction Rumour

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The Abia State Government has formally reacted to the street protest by the Umuahia Butchers Association over an unfounded speculation that it plans to relocate the abattoir to another area.
The government described the protest as ill-conceived, saying that there was no truth in the speculation.
The butchers took to the streets of the state capital last Thursday over an alleged plot by the government “to forcefully evict them” from the abattoir located at Mgbarakuma Community, near Umuahia.
They alleged that the plot was being hatched by the community and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, Navy Capt. Macdonald Uba.
The protesters, who marched through the major streets of Umuahia, ended up at the Government House in Umuahia, displaying placards with different inscriptions.
Some of the inscriptions read: “Save us, our governor”, “Ministry of Lands, Garki land is not for sale, please leave us”, “Abia people, slaughter Garki is not for sale”, amongst others.
In an interview with newsmen, the President of the association, Chief Ngozi Williams, said that the abattoir had existed at Mgbarakuma since 1994.
According to Williams, the host community had, in the last two years, made several attempts to force them out of the abattoir.
He said: “The community had gone as far as selling some parcels of land that make up the abbatoir to different individuals.
“We were relocated from the old Garki in Umuahia Town to this place in 1994 during the military administration of Col. Ike Nwosu (rtd.) and the abattoir was inaugurated by the then Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Adamu Chiroma.
“But the Mgbarakuma indigenes came up about two years ago and asked us to leave the place.
“They claimed that government had revoked the land.
“Ever before that time, about six hectares of the land were sold to unknown individuals by the community,” Williams said.
He also said that about a month ago, the governor’s aide started fencing the abattoir, claiming that the place had been sold to him by the government.
“About two to three weeks ago, he brought armed operatives of the Operation Crush to manhandle and chase us out.
“Most of our property were damaged.
“We have written to several agencies of the government to register our complaints,” Williams further said.
He said that the development had affected their businesses and appealed to the government to come to their aid.
“If the government doesn’t want us to continue doing our business in the present location, it should relocate us to another place within Umuahia.

“This is because it is only the government that has the right toa relocate us and not individuals,” Williams said.
But reacting to the protest and allegations by the association, the Traditional Ruler of the community, Eze Ebere Ubani, said that the butchers were not asked to leave the abattoir.
Ubani also said that the association was seeking for ways to divert people’s attention from the actual issue on ground.
“We have never asked them to leave, all we are saying is perform your corporate social responsibility to us as the host community,” he said.
Also, the security adviser to the governor described the allegations made by the butchers as “spurious”.
Uba said that the construction works taking place in the market were meant to improve the state of the abattoir and not to evict the butchers.
He said: “We have commenced the fencing of the cattle market in Lokpanta and extended the same to the Abattoir in Mgbarakuma.
“We at no time told them to relocate or to leave the place or plan for the place to be used for any other purpose than what it is currently being used for.
“The thing is that whatever be their reasons for resisting any further improvements in the market is a figment of their imagination.
“And I think I should say their resistance is based on their selfish interest.”
The Chief Security Officer to the Governor, Mr Ken Nwosu, who received the protesters at the Government House, appealed to them to be peaceful and law-abiding.
Nwosu said that protecting the interest of the people remains paramount in the government’s agenda.
He said: “The letter you have brought to us will definitely be delivered to the governor.
“I know that issues concerning abattoir and cemetery are under the Local Government’s jurisdiction.
“So, your letter will also be delivered to the Transition Committee Chairman of Umuahia South Local Government Area, where the abattoir is situated.”

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CJN Calls For Justice, Equity From West African Leaders In Building Region

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The Chief Justice of Nigeria, (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola has called on West African leaders to use justice and equity to build a prosperous region for the coming generations.
Ariwoola made the call in Abuja on Tuesday while declaring open the Statutory ECOWAS Judicial Council meeting holding in Abuja.
The CJN presided over the meeting being attended by Chief Justices of West African Countries.
He said that the call has become necessary in view of the economic, political and leadership challenges engulfing the region at the moment.
He challenged West African leaders to reaffirm commitment to the ideals of justice, equity and solidarity and work together to build a just region for the people.
“The ECOWAS Judicial Council (EJC), though not widely known like other bodies, has been playing crucial roles in maintaining the rules of law and justice within the region.
“The Council which comprised eminent jurists from West African States has also been serving as the guardian of the rule of law and the protector of human rights within the region.
“In addition, the ECOWAS Judicial Council plays a crucial role in the resolution of disputes among member states, ensuring that conflicts are resolved peacefully and in accordance with the rule of law”.
He added that, the Western Region characterised by diverse legal systems and traditions, the harmonization of laws and legal practices is essential for promoting regional integration and cooperation.
“While the ECOWAS Judicial Council has made significant strides in promoting justice and rule of law in West Africa, the Council is faced with the challenges of inadequate funding, capacity constraints and the need to bolster cooperation among others.
“However, these challenges also present opportunities for innovation and collaboration, as we work together to overcome shared obstacles and build a brighter future for our region.
“The council stands as a beacon of hope and progress in the quest for justice and regional integration within West Africa”.
He assured that, the council, under his leadership will continue to pay attention to addressing situations that threaten the judiciary system in West Africa and organisation of the Community Court of Justice.
“By so doing, the court contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability in the region.
“The various national judicial systems in member States are also expected to play these critical roles of nation and regional building”, he said.
He, therefore, called for support to the council to be able to play the role of ensuring an integrated West Africa.
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) also charged the ECOWAS Court of Justice to pay attention to the peculiarities of member States and refrain from issuing orders and judgments that are practically incapable of enforcement.
“There is a dire need to promote and deepen alternative dispute resolution measures within West African region.
“The ECOWAS Court must adopt strategies that would strengthen its jurisdiction, whilst appreciating the jurisdictional boundaries of the court and limiting unnecessary conflict with domestic laws of member States.

“The extensive jurisdiction conferred on the ECOWAS Court calls for recruitment of jurists with extensive experience, expertise, high moral character and discipline”.
He stressed the need for the Community Court of Justice to undergo necessary reforms to bring it in tandem with the current emergencies and manage the challenges associated with justice delivery in the region.
The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Omar Touray, in his speech said, the Judiciary remains crucial in the efforts to curb instability, insecurity in West African Sub-region.
“In this era where instability and insecurity are overwhelming our
community, the role of the justice sector is crucial in conflict prevention, through the promotion and defence of the rule of law and human rights.
“Over the years, the community court has been a reference point for ECOWAS Institutions, as well as individuals, entities, and governments in search of advice, arbitration, and adjudication.
“The regular session of the Statutory Meeting of the ECOWAS Judicial Council is important to address issues affecting the effective operation of the Community Court and to ensure excellence, high standards of conduct.
“The enforcement of the judgments of the Community Court has remained a major issue in the effective delivery of the mandate and responsibility of the judicial institution to the community citizens”, he said.

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