Boarding schools have been shut indefinitely in Borno state, which is mostly affected by Boko Haram violence, the State government has said, in the latest blow to children’s education.
“All boarding secondary schools in the state, with the exception of those in the state capital Maiduguri and the town of Biu will close down with immediate effect until further notice,” the Borno State Government said.
Some of the Dapchi schoolgirls were brought back by their abductors in Dapchi town before proceeding to Abuja. Borno is the spiritual home of Boko Haram Islamists, whose name translates loosely from Hausa as “Western education is forbidden”.
The high-profile abductions of more than 200 schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State, in April 2014, and 110 others from Dapchi, Yobe state, in February this year also led to closures. Schools that teach a so-called secular curriculum have been repeatedly targeted during the insurgency, which since 2009 has left at least 20,000 people dead.
According to the UN children’s agency UNICEF, more than 2,296 teachers have been killed and some 1,400 schools destroyed in the wider Northeast region. Muhammad Bulama, the Borno Commissioner for Home Affairs, Information and Culture, said on Wednesday the decision was taken last week after a Boko Haram attack in Rann on March 1.
Three aid workers and eight security personnel were killed in the attack on the remote town near the border with Cameroon, which led to the withdrawal of aid agencies. Schools have previously been shut in the wake of deadly attacks in Buni Yadi, Yobe State, when more than 40 students at a boys’ boarding school were killed in a Boko Haram attack.
Bulama said “urgent and immediate measures” were being taken to improve security but the closures are the latest disruption to schooling in an area already hit by low levels of education. At the start of the new academic year in September last year, UNICEF said at least 57 percent of schools in Borno remained closed. It warned the situation threatened to create “a lost generation of children, threatening their and the country’s future”.
Also, the Federal Government has said a total of 106 abducted persons, comprising 104 Dapchi schoolgirls, one other girl and a boy were freed by insurgents in the early hours of Wednesday. Briefing journalists in Maiduguri, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said all the 106 persons were freed unconditionally, contrary to reports in a section of the media that ransom was paid and that some insurgents were swapped for the freed persons.
“It is not true that we paid ransom for the release of the Dapchi girls, neither was there a prisoner swap to secure their release.
“What happened was that the abduction of Dapchi girls was a breach of the ceasefire talks between the insurgents and the government, hence it became a moral burden on the abductors. Any report that we paid ransom or engaged in prisoner swap is false,” he said.
Meanwhile, the freed persons have been formally handed over to the Federal Government. The Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj.-Gen. Rogers Nicholas, handed over the girls and one boy to the four-member Federal Government Delegation at the Nigerian Air Force base in Maiduguri on Wednesday evening. The delegation comprised the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; the Minister of Interior, Gen. Abdulrahman Danbazau (retired); the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hajia Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim and Hon. Goni Lawan Bukar, a member of House of Representatives from Dapchi. The girls were immediately airlifted to Abuja aboard a military transport plane.
I’ll Provide Solid Representation, If Elected -Banigo
Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, has assured the people of Abua/Odual Local Government Area that she would provide undivided representation if voted into the Senate in 2023.
Banigo gave this assurance when leaders and critical stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party had a meeting with her, at the Government House in Port Harcourt to map out campaign strategies, yesterday.
The deputy governor said, she was excited that the meeting was held for the stakeholders to understand themselves, to ensure the party wins at the elections in 2023, adding that by the grace of God the local government area would be better than what it is now, if she emerges as the Rivers West senator.
In a related development, the Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, who is the Rivers West Senatorial District Candidate of the PDP in the upcoming polls, has also met with leaders of the PDP in Ahoada East Local Government Area, where she urged them to reach out to their constituents and encourage the collection of PVCs.
“We must realize that with this new Electoral Act, the votes will surly count, as this 2023 election is not going to be like the previous elections, there will be a difference, people should not be afraid to pick up their cards and vote, they should not be lackadaisical about it, they should keep their cards safe and on the day of election they should come up and cast their vote, because this time every vote will count”.
She said the campaigns would be unit based and urged them to reach out to those in their units.
“Make sure you have unit executives in each of the wards, so we can have a door to door campaign”, Banigo said.
In his remarks at the meetings, the Vice Chairman of the Rivers West Senatorial District of the PDP, Dr. Nname Robinson Ewor, said there is a need for members of the PDP to go out and establish their presence in all units’ wards and constituencies, stressing that the nature of this upcoming election would be different from previous elections.
Ariolu, Others Welcome Ex-Deputy Guber Candidate To PDP
Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Council, Barrister George Ariolu, has led other party faithful, including Chairman of PDP, Ward 6, Kingsley Nna; Chairman of PDP, Ward 9, Collins Wobo Chukwu; and Obio/Akpor PDP Secretary, Kingman Ogbonna; to receive a bigwig and stakeholder of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from Rumuogba in Ward 6, Chief Williams Igwe, into the PDP.
Receiving the former Deputy Governorship Candidate of the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) at the Obio/Akpor PDP Secretariat, Rumueme, Ariolu expressed delight over his decampment from the APC to the PDP, describing it as an indication that the party was waxing stronger.
Ariolu, who was greeted with euphoria by the LGA PDP Chairman, Chidi Amadi, who also welcomed the former deputy governorship candidate at the secretariat, promised to work closely with Igwe to build the party ahead of the forthcoming election.
He pointed out that the foundation of the PDP was built on togetherness, stating that collectively, the party would achieve more.
Ariolu thanked Igwe for wholeheartedly accepting to come back to the party.
According to him, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has separated governance from politics following his relentless battle to promote the interest of Rivers people.
Also speaking, Chairman of the PDP in Obio/Akpor, Chidi Amadi, said the reception of Igwewas a fulfilment of an age-long dream, and a welcome development for members of the party, expressing joy over the event.
He further commended Ariolu for his strong support and leadership towards the sustenance and growth of the party.
In his remark, Chief Williams Igwe affirmed his loyalty and commitment to the PDP in its quest to oust the APC and fix the broken state of the country’s socio-economic and political fabrics.
He described the reception as a homecoming for himself and his supporters who would be formally received at a formal event which would be organised by the state party chairman, adding that PDP remains a major political party which will unite the nation.
He added that his decision to defect to the party was well-thought-out, and called on others to join hands with the Rivers State Government to rebuild the socio-economic fortunes of the state.
According to him, he believed that it was time for him to cross over to join hands with the Rivers State governor in moving the state forward.
The former Deputy Governorship Candidate was also received by PDP Chieftain, Barrister Temple Ejekwu; Obio/Akpor PDP Woman Leader,Gloria Wonodi; Barrister Kelvin Akani; and members of Obio/Akpor PDP Executive.
By: Nelson Chukwudi
NNPC Posts N674bn Profit
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd) has declared a profit after tax of N674billion for the financial year ended December 31, 2021.
The profit represented a growth of 134.84per cent when compared with N287billion profit in 2020 which was recorded under the old Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), NNPC Ltd, Malam Mele Kyari, said this at a news conference, yesterday, in Abuja.
“NNPC progressed to a new performance level, from N287billion profit in 2020 to a N674billion profit after tax in 2021 climbing higher by 134.8per cent year on year profit growth,’’ he said.
Kyari also said that it recorded an increase in total assets from N15.86trillion in 2020 to N16.27trillion in 2021.
Speaking on the group’s financial position, Kyari said the corporation’s total liabilities decreased by 8.3per cent to N13.46trillion during the review period from N14.68trillion in 2020.
The GCEO said its shareholders funds position rose N2.81trillion representing 144per cent year-on-year.
“The performance would have been greater if the operations in the year under review were free from incessant vandalism, crude oil and products theft, among others.
“Details of the performance of NNPC and the respective subsidiaries as well as that of National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) will be published on our website www.nnpcgroup.com for stakeholder’s perusal.
“We look forward to achieving greater performance to support our growth aspirations and to create more value for our stakeholders as we drive full commercial operations under NNPC Ltd.,’’ he said.
He recalled that in September 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the publication of the 2020 NNPC Group Audited Financial Statement, in which NNPC declared a profit after tax of N287billion for the first time in 44 years.
Kyari said that in spite of the challenging operating environment, it strongly believed that the corporation had the potential to sustainably deliver better value to it esteemed shareholders.
He said it sought to become a dynamic global energy company of choice to its customers, partners and over 200million shareholders comprising of all Nigerians.
Kyari noted that the corporation in 2019 rolled out deliberate policies and initiatives aimed at reducing costs and eliminating losses while adopting technology to entrench transparency, accountability and performance excellence (TAPE) across its various functions.
He said the NNPC had recorded significant improvement over the past three years, turning up the curve from losses to profits.
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