The Federal Government will initiate legislation to forestall further theft of the country’s antiquities and other heritage property and enthrone their better management.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed disclosed this in a statement issued in Abuja yesterday to mark the 2021 International Museum Day.
The international museum day is celebrated on May 18 every year to bring knowledge and information about museums to the people and to introduce museums to the communities.
The theme for this year’s international museum day is: “The Future of Museums: Recover and Imagine”.
The minister said the Bill would be placed before the National Assembly.
He expressed optimism that the lawmakers would give the bill every support and ensure its expeditious passage.
The minister renewed his call for the repatriation of all looted Nigerian artifact and commended those countries that had heeded the call by returning such antiquities.
He said the campaign for the repatriation of looted artifacts, which was launched by the Federal Government in October 2019 had yielded fruits with the spate of return of stolen Nigerian antiquities from around the world.
Mohammed specifically appreciated the German government and German museums, both of which, he said were in the forefront of repatriating Nigerian antiquities.
Mohammed said Nigeria had caused a claim to be instituted before the UNESCO’s mediation body and the Intergovernmental Committee for the Promotion of Return of Cultural Property (ICPRCP).
He said they requested for the return of an Ife bronze object to Nigeria, marking the first time ever that the country would institute a claim before this international panel.
“The Ife bronze head, which was stolen from the National Museum in Jos in 1987, was acquired by an art gallery owner in Belgium, who is now demanding money from Nigeria before releasing it.
“In January 2020, I met the Secretary of State for Culture of the United Kingdom to press Nigeria’s demand for the release of the said Ife bronze head, which is now being kept in the British Museum,’’ he said.
The minister expressed hope that the matter would soon be resolved in favour of Nigeria.
“Also, after a vigorous pursuit, the U.S. has approved Nigeria’s request under the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act (CPIA).
“The import of this approval is that any cultural property that is 250 years or older can never enter the United States of America from Nigeria, unless with the official imprimatur of Nigeria.
“Such antiquities will be returned to Nigeria from the U.S. border without the need for expensive litigation or diplomatic shuttles,’’ he said,
Mohammed appealed to Nigerians, especially the elite to join the ongoing campaign to repatriate all looted Nigerian artifact.
He thanked the individual Nigerians who had established private museums as well as those who supported the various public museums with their hard-earned resources.
Mohammed also called on the elite to offer support by adopting museums in their neighbourhoods.
Kebbi Doctors Give 2,500 Patients Free Medical Care
Two thousand, five hundred persons benefitted from the medical outreach conducted by the Kebbi chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in Gwadangwaji Community in Birnin-Kebbi Council Area of the state in August.
The outreach covered dental and gynaecological cases and awareness campaign on cancer, particularly cervical cancer.
NMA Chairman in Kebbi, Dr Murtala Muhammad-Dandare, told The Tide’s source in Birnin-Kebbi on Wednesday that the outreach was conducted after its 2023 Annual General Meeting.
He said the NMA in Kebbi organised the outreach in collaboration with the Kebbi State Contributory Healthcare Management Agency (KECHEMA) to provide free and quality healthcare service.
“We organise the outreach in collaboration with KECHEMA annually as part of programmes for our annual general meetings.
“We conducted outreaches in other council areas in the past, but a bigger outreach is being organised to cover free surgeries.
“In the August outreach, beneficiaries requiring surgeries were noted for the oncoming outreach”, Muhammad-Dandare he said.
The Chapter Chairman also told the source that the outreaches were usually funded through members’ monthly contributions and donations by individuals and organisations.
“We rely solely on our members’ monthly contributions and sometimes donations by philanthropists and organisations.
“We appreciate KECHEMA and thank the organisation for its efforts and assistance in the procurement of drugs and the provision of logistics,”, he said.
Muhammad-Dandare called on the State Government to assist the association to expand the outreaches to remote communities of Kebbi.
FG Conducts 2nd Phase Computer-Based Exams For Public Servants
The Federal Government on Wednesday conducted the second phase of computer-based Confirmatory Promotional Examination (COMPRO II) for junior cadre officers in public service across the nation.
The examination conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), had a total of 9, 618 candidates from paramilitary and junior officers from the core Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), who participated in the exams nationwide.
Speaking after touring Abuja centres, the Permanent Secretary, Career Management Office, office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HOCSF), Dr Marcus Ogunbiyi, commended JAMB management for proper conduct of the exams.
“As you can see, the exam has been well organised and this is the first time we are holding a CBT for junior COMPRO candidates. Last year was for the senior cadre officers and I commend the level of their comportment.
“The way they have handled the system for now is encouraging and I believe by the time we come back next year for the same exercise, things will be better”, he said.
Ogunbiyi, however, identified some areas of lapses to include accreditation of officers which he said would be addressed before the next conduct of such exercise.
He said the reason behind the initiative by the Federal Government was part of its vision to reform the public service by going digital and to improve civil servants in the course of their work.
“In the first instance, the COMPRO is to test the ability and how well the public officers know the public service and to test the level of their potential to handle the assignments given to them as public servants.
“What we are doing now by going digital is part of reforms of the nation’s public service”, he said.
He said over the years, the service had been handling bulk questions papers and a lot of human interface in assessing officers.
“But going digital, we are now reducing the human contacts, it is done seamlessly. So it is what you put there, that is what you get back”, he explained.
Also, Mr Ateboh Ademu, Director, Learning and Development, office of the HOCSF, said Head of service office was satisfied with the level of performance of the exercise.
“As the Director of learning and development, the assessment so far as we have witnessed by all indication is excellent, is even beyond expectations, the attitude.
“The conducts of candidates and handling of the whole exercise have been done excellently”, he said.
Ademu gave assurance of non compromise of the system to sustain the needed standards.
According to him, having examined some of the problems encountered during the first conduct of the exam, the office of the HOCSF in collaboration with JAMB have put some measures on ground to address all observable challenges.
In the same vein, Mrs Blessing Garuba, one of the candidates from Nigeria Immigration Service, commended the innovative of computer-based examination for public servants in Nigeria.
Garuba added that it had improved her horizon as she could confidently operate computer on her own.
“When I heard about the exam I was panicking but going into the exam hall, I found out that it is all what I know. Besides, I have learnt a lot resulting from using computer”, she said.
The Tide’s source reports that the Federal Government had in 2022, introduced the computer-based examination for the senior cadre officers across all MDAs to fulfill its agenda of improving public service to a global standards.
EEDC Strengthens Partnership With Police Against Vandalism, Energy Theft
The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) says it is strengthening existing partnership with the Nigeria Police to curb vandalism and energy theft with its network franchise area covering the South-East.
Head of Security in EEDC, Mr Frank Ejiofor, said this during a courtesy visit to the new Commissioner of Police in Enugu State, CP Kanayo Uzuegbu, in his office in Enugu on Wednesday.
Ejiofor also noted that the visit was part of EEDC’s strategy to collaborate with its critical stakeholders.
“The EEDC is using this opportunity to solicit for continued support of the Nigeria Police Force against the various activities that impact negatively on our company’s operations.
“Some of these activities include vandalism of electricity infrastructure, energy theft and assault on our officials among others”, he said.
He also lauded the commissioner on his efforts to curtail the security challenges in the state.
Responding, CP Uzuegbu, assured EEDC of the Police Command’s willingness not only to support its operations but also its readiness to attend to any call on them for assistance.
The commissioner commended EEDC for its socio-economic impact and development in the country especially in the area of job creation for the teeming youths in the state.
Accompanying Ejiofor to the courtesy visit were EEDC’s Head, Corporate Communications, Mr Emeka Ezeh; Head, Customer Service, Mrs Ijeoma Ogudebe; District Business Manager, Ogui District, Mr Chimezie Chukwu, and the Chief Security Officer, Ogui District, Mr. Jonathan Arum.
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