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Wike Blasts NASS Over Rejection Of Gender Bills

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has described rejection of five gender bills by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-controlled National Assembly as a disgrace to Nigerian women
Wike spoke during the inauguration of Ahoada-Odiemerenyi-Ihugbogo-Odieke Road project in Ahoada-East Local Government Area, last Friday.
The governor said the leadership of APC and its members have denied women their desirable roles in politics.
He noted that the National Assembly voted against the five gender bills despite appeals from women, including the wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, and wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, who had approached, lobbied and secured the promise from members of the National Assembly to pass the bills in support of affirmative action.
Wike stated that it is rather baffling that the lawmakers voted to frustrate bills meant to grant women legislative rights.
“Look at what happened in the National Assembly. I watched it and I laughed when I saw our wives, and women were disgraced. It has never happened anywhere. I saw wives of the president and vice president go to plenary session of the National Assembly to lobby them, to please help them.
“They (National Assembly) promised them. The party (APC) promised them. The same party that promised them failed them.”
Wike said such thing will not be allowed to happen in progressive societies that have continues to harness the potential of women in the advancement of their countries.
He blamed the rejection of the bills on what he described as President Muhammadu Buhari’s lack of interest in allowing for affirmative action for women in political administration in the country.
“APC controls the National Assembly. If Mr. President was in support of this, there is no way they will disgrace women in the National Assembly: Such shameful thing.”
Wike said the situation in Rivers State was different because he had made women integral part of the process of political administration of the state.
He explained that there are 23 female vice chairmen of local governments in the Rivers State, and, at least, five female councillors in each local government area.
He said this is as a result of deliberate policy implemented by the Peoples Democratic Party leadership in the state.
“Look, in this state, as a matter of policy, we said we are going to do this and we agreed that if women cannot be chairman of councils, they cannot be refused the position of vice chairmen.
“Today, in this state, all 23 vice chairmen are women. Today, in this state, we said we must have five women as councillors in each local government. It is a matter of policy, and it is leadership.”
Speaking further, Wike said he has used politics and governance to better the socio-economic conditions of communities and made the people happy.
Rivers State governor said sustaining national development and providing a thriving economy for Nigerians was not difficult to attain across the country.
He said a lack of passion in leadership to improve the life of the people, and tendency of the APC to inflict pains on Nigerians, inadvertently, create the impression that governance was difficult.
Wike said what was important to him in governance is to solve societal problem and to see to it that the people were happy because of the improved social services that include development projects, delivered to them.
“There is nothing difficult in Nigeria. It is just because they want to punish the people. When people talk about Nigeria is lacking this, Nigeria is lacking that, I say it is because of the leadership.
“There is no passion for this country. They (APC) are not committed to the development of this country.”
Performing the inauguration of the 10.2km long Ahoada-Odiemerenyi-Ihugbogo-Odieke Road project, former Governor of Kaduna State, Senator Ahmed Makarfi said Rivers State has a truly difficult terrain, adding that it takes courage and love to invest in such development endeavour to better the lives of rural dwellers.
He said that it was imperative for the PDP to take over power at the national level so that Nigerians would enjoy passionate leadership that was committed to their welfare.
Makarfi, however, sued for greater unity in the PDP and undivided focus towards return to power at the national level to reverse the failure of the APC.
Providing the description of the road, the Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Hon Elloka Tasie-Amadi said the Ahoada-Odiemerenyi-Ihugbogo-Odieke Road project was 10.2km long and 7.3metre wide.
Tasie-Amadi explained that the road, which would benefit the many communities in Ahoada as it opens them up to three local government areas of the state.
“There will be improved access to local markets, health centres, educational facilities, public transportation etc.
“With the improved road access, more products will be available locally, and the number of local businesses will increase.
“The value of agricultural land will also increase significantly following the completion of this road. All these benefits put together will increase the net income of the targeted beneficiaries”, he said.

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World Bank To Fund $30bn Projects In Nigeria, Others

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The World Bank has said it is set to disburse a total of $30billion to fund existing and new projects in Nigeria and other countries as part of a global response to combat the ongoing food security crisis.
According to the bank, it is working with countries on a $12billion new projects fund for the next 15 months.
It said the projects are expected to support agriculture, social protection to cushion the effects of higher food prices, and water and irrigation projects.
It added that most of the funds would go to Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and South Asia.
The global bank disclosed this when it announced how it plans to be part of a comprehensive, global response to the ongoing food security crisis.
It stated that it intends to roll out this fund in existing and new projects in agriculture, nutrition, social protection, water, and irrigation.
It said, “This financing will include efforts to encourage food and fertiliser production, enhance food systems, facilitate greater trade, and support vulnerable households and producers.”
World Bank Group President, David Malpass, said, “Food price increases are having devastating effects on the poorest and most vulnerable.
“To inform and stabilise markets, it is critical that countries make clear statements now of future output increases in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Countries should make concerted efforts to increase the supply of energy and fertilizer, help farmers increase plantings and crop yields, and remove policies that block exports and imports, divert food to biofuel, or encourage unnecessary storage.”
The bank added that its current existing portfolio includes balances of $18.7billion in projects with direct links to food and nutrition security issues, covering agriculture and natural resources, nutrition, social protection, and other sectors.
It stated, “Altogether, this would amount to over $30billion available for implementation to address food insecurity over the next 15 months. This response will draw on the full range of Bank financing instruments and be complemented by analytical work.”

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FG Postpones FAAC Meeting Over AGF’s N80bn Probe

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The Federal Government has announced the postponement of May, 2022 Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting.
The sudden postponement may not be unconnected with the ongoing investigation of the suspended Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, over alleged fraud to the tune of N80billion.
The FAAC meeting is a monthly meeting where the federation allocates monthly revenue among the three tiers of government.
The meeting had earlier been scheduled to hold virtually between May 18 and 19, 2022.
The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, said this in a letter signed by Director, Home Finance,Stephen Okon.
The ministry said the meeting was postponed due to “certain circumstances.
“I am directed to inform you that the Federation Account/Allocation Committee (FAAC) meetings earlier scheduled to hold/virtually on the 18th and 19th May, 2022 have been postponed due to/certain circumstances,” the circular reads.
“In view of the foregoing, I am to further inform you that the new date for the meetings will be forwarded to you in due course.
“While we regret the inconveniences this change might cause you, please accept the assurances of the Minister’s warm regards,” the letter read in part.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on Monday arrested and detained Idris over an alleged N80billion fraud.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, announced indefinite suspension of Idris, last Wednesday.
Ahmed said the suspension “without pay” was to allow for “proper and unhindered investigation” in line with public service rules.

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Nigerian Out-Of-School Children Hit 18.5m

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Nigeria has 18.5million out-of-school children (OSC), the highest number in the world, and out of the figure, 10million are girls, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has said.
The Chief of UNICEF Field Office in Kano, Rahama Farah, stated this at a media dialogue on ‘Girls’ Education under the Girls’ Education Project 3, GEP 3’, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), and implemented by UNICEF.
“For those lucky to be in school, their condition is also not enviable given the situation of public schools in the country. Only recently, the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), said 50per cent of schools in Nigeria lack basic furniture”Farah said.
The Executive Secretary of the commission, Hamid Bobboyi, said this in Abuja at a one-day civil society organisations’ CSO-Legislative Roundtable Meeting where some National and State Houses of Assembly members were present.
According to him, emerging constraints in basic education delivery in the country may necessitate an increase in the consolidated revenue funds from the current two per cent to four per cent.
He buttressed his position for an increase in funding on the security challenges bedevilling the country, insisting that rising student population also poses urgent need for teaching facilities.
Also speaking, the Chairman of Senate Committee on Basic Education, represented by Senator Frank Ibezim, decried the failure of State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs), to sustain some UBEC-initiated projects such as classrooms and libraries earlier introduced by the commission in all constituencies in the country.
While commending UBEC over the construction of classrooms in schools across the country, he lamented the poor maintenance culture, noting that there is no school in the country that does not have a dilapidated block.
A representative of MacArthur Foundation, Mr Dayo Olaoye, called on stakeholders to review the impact of the country’s annual budget on education, stressing that it was not enough that the country is increasing its budget to the sector.
“As we think about reforms, let us think beyond buildings that have been delivered, let us start thinking about how many children have been brought to school,” he said.
“If classrooms are dilapidated, and there are not enough furniture, what about teachers and the quality of the ones available? The Registrar, Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, said there are over 300,000 unqualified teachers in the system.
“Education is very important to be left in the hands of quacks and that is why at TRCN, we are stepping up efforts at ridding the system of unqualified hands. We implore teachers and their employers to take advantage of the various windows TRCN is providing to improve the quality of teachers in the country so as to get better results from our education system,” he said.
For the General Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Dr Mike Ene, there is need for better funding of the education sector.
He noted that in many states, teachers are overwhelmed by the number of pupils and students they handle.
“In so many states, there is inadequacy of teachers. Some states have not recruited teachers in the last 10 years and yearly, teachers are leaving the system through retirement, resignation or even death. Worse hit by poor staffing are schools in the rural areas. Such schools are called hard-to-staff schools.”
It is in that regard that the welfare packages announced by the Federal Government are very much necessary,” he said.
Also speaking on the issue, the National President of the National Association of Parent-Teacher Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN), Alhaji Haruna Danjuma, decried the manner some state governments are implementing the Basic Education Policy of the government whereby pupils and students in primary and junior secondary schools are to enjoy free education and are given textbooks in some core subjects.
“Some states are not doing well in that respect. They have abandoned the programme. They are not funding education as it ought to be funded. Even counterpart funds that some states should put down to complement the funds from UBEC are not provided. Some states have even misused UBEC funds and are suspended from getting further grants.
“We are talking now about our tertiary institutions that are grounded by workers’ strikes, the basic education level, which is the foundation, is not faring better too. Something urgent must be done to redress the situation before the sector collapses finally,” he noted.

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