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Flooding Threatens Education In Nigeria, UNICEF Laments

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The United Nations Children Fund (UNICE) has said that the current flooding in about 31 states in Nigeria was taking a toll on education as schools and learning facilities have been submerged in many communities across the country.
According to UNICEF, some 1.3million people have been displaced, over 600 are believed to have lost their lives, and about 200,000 houses damaged.
It estimated that over 1.5million children’s education and health were being jeopardised by the flooding.
A senior lecturer at the Federal University, Otuoke in Bayelsa State, Oyintonyo Michael-Olomu, described the situation as unbearable, with almost the entire state submerged by the flood.
“It is not a funny experience, most communities in Bayelsa State have been submerged and lives lost in their numbers. Children can’t go to school because educational institutions are underwater,” Michael-Olomu said.
According to her, the floods have resulted in inequality in learning across the country.
“The affected tertiary institutions can longer continue with their mapped curriculum and scheme of works because they are shut out by the flood.
“The inequality is heightened by the fact that most of these universities are just coming out of the eight-month strike embarked on by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), while those in private universities were having their lectures, and now the public universities are forced to shut down again. Without any iota of doubt, this amounts to learning inequality. The flood has jeopardised learning.”
The Ahoada West Zonal Coordinator of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) in Rivers State, Kalu Nnachi, said the flood was a big blow to education in both private and public schools.
“We are out of business now, and even after the waters have gone down, the damage cannot be overcome immediately. Academic activities are put on hold for now, and this is very disturbing considering the well-being of the children and the learning disruptions this will cause them,” he said.
Similarly, the Ahoada East Zonal Coordinator of NAPPS in Rivers State, Esor Faith, explained that the situation was horrible, with the floods disrupting the normal daily activities and property, including schools in more than 15 villages in Ahoada East.
“Over 22 schools, both public and private in Ahoada East have been submerged, and educational activities are adversely affected, putting access to education in the state and other parts of the country in a mess,” she said.
A senior lecturer in the Department of Education Management at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Shola Thomas, lamented that the affected students, especially at the primary and secondary school levels would miss a term.
He said, however, that this could be harmonised when the floods would have been over.
“It is for the time being, and the children would be made to cover up the missed schemes of work. It does not really have anything to do with out-of-school or access to education as both are two different issues,” she noted.
The moderator at African Thinkers’ College of Education, Oyigbo in Rivers State, Ijeoma Ireh, said the floods have grounded education, and jeopardised the future of many youth as there were little or no education activities going on in the affected states across the federation.
“All the schools are flooded, and the students are now in what is called ‘flood break’, even as the governments have taken some of them to settlement centres such as internally displaced centres (IDPs) for camping when situations normalise.
“No education is happening in those ad-hoc IDP centres; hence the children are missing out on their academic scheme of work. They might not even write their first-term examinations due to this development, and when they resume for the second term, it will lead to drawing back in the scheme of work. In fact, there is little or no access to education in those states, especially in the northern region,” she said.

By: John Bibor

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June 12: DSS Issues Stern Warning Against Protest

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The Department of State Services (DSS) has warned individuals and groups planning to stage protests on June 12, Democracy Day, to desist from any violent or disruptive actions.
The warning was contained in a statement signed by the Director of Public Relations and Strategic Communications, DSS, Dr Peter Afunanya, yesterday.
The Service said it has received intelligence on plans to incite violence and disrupt public order during the protests.
The security agency vowed to maintain public safety and national security and urged citizens to resist any persuasions to engage in lawless acts.
The DSS also encouraged disgruntled persons to channel their grievances through appropriate channels and procedures.
Afunanya said: “The attention of the Department of State Services (DSS) has been drawn to plans by certain individuals and groups to stage physical protests in some parts of the country on 12th June 2024. These protests are designed with sinister objectives to coincide with the Democracy Day Celebration.
“While citizens may have the rights of assembly and expression, such freedoms should not be used to undermine public safety and national security. The determination by some non-state actors to incite mass disaffection through demonstrations that may turn violent will not be tolerated.
“Citizens are, therefore, called upon to resist any persuasions to be lawless or cause disorder and anarchy in the nation. Displeased persons are rather encouraged to appropriately channel their grievances through the right channels and procedures.
“The Service, while felicitating the government and citizens on this auspicious occasion of celebrating 25 years of unbroken democracy, calls for continued patriotism, unity and commitment to building a Nigeria of our collective dream.
“The Service will sustain collaboration with all relevant stakeholders, including sister security agencies, to maintain the peace as well as protect lives and property across the nation. Law-abiding citizens are enjoined to go about their businesses without fear.”

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Court’s CTC Validates Our Position On Amaewhule, Others -Rivers AG …Advises Media Against Misinterpretation Of Judgements

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The Rivers State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Dagogo Israel Iboroma, SAN, has said that the State High Court neither declared nor affirmed Martin Amaewhule as Speaker of the House of Assembly, stressing that the certified true copy (CTC) of court judgment validates the government’s position.
Mr Iboroma also urged media practitioners to desist from giving interpretations to court judgments by fiat, emotional or other shades of persuasions.
Rather, he advised that they should first obtain the judgement in order to read it thoroughly to gain proper understanding or at best, seek competent legal advice before going to press.
Mr Iboroma gave the advice yesterday night while briefing newsmen after obtaining the certified true copy (CTC) of the Monday court judgment in Port Harcourt.
The briefing was to restate his earlier position that there was no court ruling that ever declared or affirmed Martin Amaewhule and 26 others as members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Rivers State House of Assembly.
Iboroma said: “Yesterday (Monday), I briefed the press and made the point that there is a misrepresentation of the judgment of the High Court of Rivers State in Suit No. DHC/20/CS/2024 in social, print, and electronic media.
“My position has been confirmed and vindicated by the Certified True Copy of the court order in Suit No. DHC/20/CS/2024.”
Mr Iboroma stated that a court order embodied the enforceable decisions of a court, adding that in this case in focus, the enforceable orders of the court will necessarily entail the specific pronouncements of the court.
He listed the three orders of the court in the judgment to include: “That this Suit be and is hereby dismissed/struck out for want of jurisdiction.
“That the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) be and is hereby joined as 4th defendant.
“That the claimants’ case be and is hereby dismissed for lacking in merit.”
Mr Iboroma further said: “Contrary to the false claims and misrepresentation in social, print and electronic media, the court did not make a declaration that Martin Amaewhule is the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, neither did it make a declaration that Martin Amaewhule and 26 others are members of the Rivers State House of Assembly and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“If it were so, it would have been embodied in the court orders which have been circulated to you all and displayed by me here for the purpose of clarity.”
Mr Iboroma regretted that by the deliberate misrepresentation of yesterday (Monday), the court was painted in bad light and the public misled with such misinformation.
He said: “Whatever finding of fact that is not included in the court order is an Obiter Dictum, which has no binding force.
“Once again, I respectively urge the media to desist from giving any interpretation to any judgement without first reading the content of the judgement and seeking legal advice,” the attorney-general added.

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Sexual Harassment: Minister Drags Perm Sec Before Head Of Service

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The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar, has formally lodged a complaint with the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation regarding allegations of sexual harassment levelled against the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Ibrahim Lamuwa.
In a letter addressed to the HOCSF dated May 27, 2024, Tuggar expressed his concern over the serious nature of the allegation levelled against the permanent secretary by Mrs Simisola Ajayi.
He emphasised the importance of addressing the matter urgently and thoroughly.
The letter was titled, “Re: Official Complaint Regarding Sexual Harassment Of Mrs Simisola Fajemirokun Ajayi By Ambassador Ibrahim Adamu Lamuwa (Permanent Secretary Ministry Of Foreign Affairs.
It read, “I am compelled to write to inform you of a formal complaint against the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Ibrahim Adamu Lamuwa, on allegations of sexual harassment.
“Bearing in mind the gravity of the matter, I feel it necessary to draw your attention to it and ask that you handle it accordingly,”
The letter included an attachment of the complaint received via email, and Tuggar assured the HOCSF his full cooperation in the investigation.
“May I also assure you that I remain available to provide you with any assistance required in discharging your responsibilities,” he added.
Ajayi, had a petition dated May 29, 2024, addressed to Tuggar, accused the permanent secretary of serial sexual harrasment.
Ajayi, through her lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), called for a thorough investigation into the actions of Amb. Lamuwa.
The petition, signed by Adebayo A. Oniyelu LP of Falana & Falana’s, was titled “Request For An Investigation Of Amb. Ibrahim Lamuwa’s Conducts Of Sexual Harassment At The Place Of Work, Abuse Of Office, Official Intimidation And Discrimination.”
According to the petition, Ajayi narrated multiple instances of harassment allegedly by Lamuwa, which have created an unsafe and uncomfortable working environment.
She claimed for instance that during a policy retreat on October 7, 2023, Lamuwa allegedly made inappropriate advances towards her, suggesting she joined him in his hotel room.
He reportedly continued with inappropriate remarks throughout the retreat.
She also cited an incident on November 10, 2023, where Lamuwa allegedly invited Ajayi to travel to Hong Kong, promising significant personal benefits from the trip.

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