A former Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Bala Kaoje, yesterday, called on Niger Delta Avengers to halt all acts of pipeline vandalism in the region.
Kaoje said this in Abuja at the unveiling of a Unity Task Team set up by an NGO to change the mindset of youth to embrace the unity and progress of Nigeria.
The initiative is being championed by an NGO, “Salute Nigeria Initiative”, headed by its Coordinator-General, Amb. Chielo Ojirika.
Kaoje said that it was time to begin to change the mindset of Nigerian youth in such a way as to portray the good image of the country to the outside world.
He said that changing the mindset of youth to positive issues would promote economic development, project moral behaviour and portray the country positively to the international community.
The former minister, however, called on the Federal Government to provide a pleasant environment and job opportunities for the teeming youth.
“I think basically if we come together and throw away the negative vices like armed robbery, those breaking pipelines and the likes, Nigeria will begin to progress.
“The mindset of the youth must be changed toward developing the nation’s economy. It must also be changed to all those negative issues disturbing this nation.
“Most of these vices are coming up because there are no jobs. There are too many people out there who have gone to school and have no work to do.
“So, it is the task that one must take very seriously by providing the atmosphere whereby Nigerians can be employed.
“And if the youth have something doing, then the negative thinking of Nigerians will change.
“Anybody, who is a member of an armed robbery gang, will begin to have something to do and together the country can be conducive for everyone to live in,’’ he said.
Kaoje further urged Nigerian youths to be proactive and to run away from listening to anyone calling on them to carry out criminal activities.
According to him, these criminal activities are capable of jeopardising the career of youth, while preventing them from being the future leaders of our great country.
“It is time for you to start contributing meaningfully and positively to the growth and development of our great country,’’ Kaoje said.
The Chairman, Police Service Commission, Mr Mike Okiro, said there was an urgent need to change the mindset of the youth and elders to move the country forward.
Okiro, who was represented by his Media Assistant, Mr Kayode Ibitomi, said the emergence of Boko Haram insurgency and Niger Delta Avengers was due to idleness of youth.
He said that prior to the emergence of insecurity, there was economic development in all parts of the country.
Okiro said it was high time the government began to think of how to engage the youth positively.
Also speaking,, Amb. Chielo Ojirika called on the Avengers to sheath their swords and focus on developing the economy.
“Nigeria’s peace has not been threatened like this before as it is today.
“There is agitation from every part of the country in terms of segregation and as a non-governmental organisation, we cannot continue to keep quiet.
“What we are trying to do is to see how we can sensitise the Nigerian people, especially the youth on the need for us to come together, stick together and realise the dreams of our founding fathers.
“The founding fathers of Nigeria in the likes of Nnamdi Azikiwe, Tafawa Balewa, the Awolowos, they all came together despite their different cultural and religious background.
“They were able to achieve peace and unity in Nigeria. So, why do we want Nigeria to cease to exist in our time?’’
Ojirika called on political organisations to remain undaunted and be committed to the delivery of dividends of democracy.
He also called for peace and unity in the country, adding that “ it is only when we are united that we can develop.”
Comrade Usman Danjuma was appointed as a youth ambassador on national development and peace.
Those inaugurated into the Unity Task Team are Mr Mustapha Tasu, Mr Udeme Obot, Mr Ibrahim Mohammed, Mr Norbert Anyanwu and Musa Mohammed, among others.
CAS Lauds Troops For Exceptional Performance In South-East Operation
Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar, has lauded Nigerian Air Force (NAF) troops for exceptional performance in ongoing Joint Task Force in the South-East code-named “Operation Udo Ka II”.
Abubakar said this yesterday in Enugu during his maiden visit and tour of operational and training assets and facilities within NAF Ground Training Command (GTC), Enugu.
He noted that NAF troops had done exceptionally well and recorded series of success in the joint operation meant to keep the South-East safe and secured for all.
The CAS noted that the GTC Command was highly important to NAF as it housed the ground component (non technical component) as well as a unit of air component necessary to ensure the attainment of the mandate of NAF.
He said: “Today, we are in Enugu, which is the host of the GTC Command in our maiden visit and we are here to interact with the NAF personnel, see the facilities and infrastructure on ground.
“We are also here to encourage the personnel to continue to do the good job they had been doing before now.
“The GTC Command and the Air Training Command are key to all of our activities in NAF and the two commands ensure we have the adequate and skilled manpower for all our activities and operations.
“I am also here to strengthen our activities within Operation Udo Ka II, which Enugu is the headquarters, and see how we can achieve greater successes more than what we are having now and ensure that South-East is totally secured.”
He disclosed that 750 personnel were currently undergoing training and would be graduating between December 2023 and January, 2024.
“These training are important to us in terms of our operation; and the current number is very significant amount of manpower to be injected into our operations and other activities in the country,” he said.
On the inspection in the new GTC Command Headquarters, new 553 Base Services Group (BSG) Headquarters and BSG Annex; Abubakar said that he was quite satisfied and impressed with the pace, level and quality of work done already.
“I have taken out time to inspect the projects and asked questions about the projects and I tell you that I am satisfied with what are on ground and all our assets and facilities are well maintained and protected,” he said.
The NAF boss commended NAF officers, airmen and airwomen in GTC Command for “doing a good job and keeping the flag flying high” as well as extolled their sacrifices and commitment to duties as well.
“I am very happy for their performance. We at the NAF headquarters, we are doing all we can to make sure they have all the necessary support and equipment as well as welfare and accommodation to carry out their jobs effectively,” he said.
He assured NAF personnel of doing more by providing all necessary infrastructures to ensure the maximum working of the GTC Command.
The CAS also inaugurated a renovated airmen’s club and new Mrs Rakiya Abubakar Children’s Park as well as inspected the water treatment and reticulation system and the hospital within NAF Base, Abakpa in Enugu.
UNIBADAN Lecturer Wins Best Thesis Dollar Prize
The Institute of African and Diaspora Studies (IADS), University of Lagos, has announced Dr Muhammad Ribadu as winner of this year’s Rahamon Bello Best Ph.D thesis in African Studies award.
The Director of the institute, Prof. Muyiwa Falaiye, made the announcement in a statement issued to newsmen yesterday in Lagos.
Ribadu, of the University of Ibadan, will be rewarded with a total of 1000 dollars, a plaque and a certificate.
Falaiye said a total of 18 entries for the 4th edition of competition were received from various universities in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa
He gave the title of the winning thesis as: The Social Context of Gentrification in Lagos State; Ph.D (Jan. 2023) Department of Sociology, University of Ibadan.
“The first runner up for this competition was Oluwaseyi Popogbe, currently a lecturer at the Department of Economics, Crawford University in Ogun.
“The title of his thesis is: Social Exclusion and Poverty in Selected Coastal Slum Areas in Lagos State; Ph.D (Dec. 2022) Department of Economics University of Lagos.
“The second runner up position went to Dr Charles Akwen, currently a lecturer at the Department of English, University of Lagos.
“Akwen’s thesis is titled: Notions of Identity in the Literary Creativity of Odia Ofeimun and Yang Mu; Ph.D (Dec. 2022) English Literature, University of Lagos,” the director stated.
He said that both the first and second runners up would be awarded plaques and certificates in recognition of their contributions and hard work.
Falaiye noted that the competition was in honour of Prof. Rahamon Bello, who was the 10th Vice Chancellor of the university, at the time the institute was inaugurated.
The prize money is usually donated every year for the award by friends of Prof. Bello.
Falaiye said that Dec, 6, had been fixed for the presentation of the awards.
The Tide source reports that the award was first presented in 2020.
States, LGs Lack Infrastructure To Manage Ecological Fund, Shun Queries – Perm Sec
The 36 states of the federation and the 774 local government councils have no structure in place to manage Ecological Fund.
The declaration was made in Abuja, yesterday, by the Permanent Secretary, Ecological Project Office, Malam Shehu Ibrahim.
Ibrahim made the declaration at an interactive session with the House Representatives Committee on Ecological Fund.
He said since states and local governments began to share the fund with the Federal Government they had not been able to put structures in place to manage their share.
The Ecological Fund is an intervention fund by the Federal Government to address the multifarious ecological challenges in various communities in the country.
Ibrahim told the house committee that the sharing of the fund among the three tiers of government followed a court decision.
He said governors and local council chairmen never welcomed queries about how they deployed the ecological funds.
“It is a `no-go’ area,’’ he quipped.
“They don’t want to see officials of the Ecological Project Office near them; so we cannot ask them how they spend the money,’’ he added.
Ibrahim said also that all motions by the National Assembly regarding intervention on ecological project matters had been treated.
“The Ecological Project Office acts expeditiously on documents sent to it to solve problems; it looks at some of the gaps within the motion and tries to fill the gaps, and we have had more than five of such motions.
“ The Ecological Project Office does not handle funds; it only appraises projects and makes recommendations to the president,’’ he said.
The permanent secretary explained that it is the Ministry of Finance that manages the fund and the projects.
He stressed that it was a misconception that the Ecological Project Office is in charge of funds and at liberty to decide on where projects would be sited with the money in its coffers.
He said whenever there were interventions; the Ecological Project Office informed affected communities and went with the contractor to hand over the projects to the community.
This is to enable the community to take ownership of the intervention and communicate their observations to the project office.
Responding, Rep. Sani Jaji (APC-Kaura Namoda/ Birnin Magaji), chairman of the committee, said there should always be stakeholders engagement before embarking on ecological fund intervention projects.
He noted that the projects were stakeholders’ projects and failure to include the stakeholders would always lead to security breach.
“So many things happened with UNICEF’s polio vaccine rejection; but when it included stakeholders, people began to accept the vaccine.
“It is critical to involve stakeholders and ensure equity. Security cannot be the reason why you won’t execute projects in certain parts of the country.
“The perception about your office is that there is money out there; so you need to change that perception and let people know that you have limitations about the execution of projects,’’ he said.
Jaji challenged the Ecological Fund Project Office to provide the needed advice to the president to enable him to take the correct steps.
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