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Niger Delta

Private Schools Threaten Sept 11 Resumption Boycott In Edo

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Private school owners in Edo State under the Coalition of Private Schools on Monday, threatened to boycott the September 11 resumption date, over alleged State Government’s harsh policies.
The coalition at a news conference in Benin, said the step became necessary as all efforts to reach Governor Godwin Obaseki over their plights proved abortive.
The body comprised the Association for Formidable Educational Development (AFED), Association of Private Schools Owners of Nigeria (APSON), and the National Association of Proprietors Of Private Schools (NAPPS).
The State Chairman of NAPPS, Dr Lemmy Russel, who spoke on behalf of the group, said its members were being overburdened with Corporate Tax by the Federal Inland Revenue as well as Personal Income Tax and annual renewal by the state government.
He said besides these, the private school owners faced different challenges as different officials would come around to collect one fee or the other in the name of being government agents.
He said the recent facility check survey by the Directorate of Quality Assurance in the state for instance, was impromptu and hasty.
According to him, the associations’ leaders could have been carried along as agreed in the previous stakeholders’ meeting in order to mobilise members.
Russel described the decision of the government to seal off default schools in the current economic realities as tantamount to increasing the number of out-of-school children and unemployment in the country already plagued with poverty.
He, however, appealed that no private school be closed; rather there should be a regulatory control with regard to school site, landmass and classroom population.
“We, therefore, appeal for a stakeholders’ meeting of the three association leaders to have a dialogue in order to address the many plights of private schools in Edo State.
“Scrap the huge annual renewal fee or have one consolidated fee/Tax payable by private schools as against the numerous bills charged.
“Fund/Loan be made available to private schools at a very low interest rate with a period of at least five years to pay back.
“This will help drive the implementation of disarticulation policies of schools and improve the learning environment in schools.
“A committee composed of association leaders, ministry of education representatives and other critical stakeholders in education be set up to meet and review the policy checklist and deliberate on its implementations”, he said.
In case the appeals had no result, he said members would stage peaceful protests to ensure necessary actions are taken.
He, however, commended the education reform of the state including the establishment of directorate of quality assurance, disassociating itself from the viral video maligning some officials of the state.

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Niger Delta

Eno Sacks Commissioner For Special Duties

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Akwa Ibom State Governor, Umo Eno has relieved the Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr Bassey Okon, of his appointment with immediate effect.
Secretary to the State Government, Mr Enobong Uwah, disclosed this in a statement in Uyo on Monday.
Uwah, who did not give reasons for the commissioner’s sack, directed him to hand over all state government properties in his possession to the Permanent Secretary.
He thanked the former commissioner for the period he served the state, and wished him well in his future endeavours.

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Niger Delta

Check Oil Pollution In N’Delta, Stakeholders Urge Oil Firms

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Stakeholders in host communities have demanded that oil companies be compelled to address adverse health impact of oil exploration in the Niger-Delta.
They made their position known on Monday during a public presentation of the research report on the impact of oil extraction on women’s health in Otuabagi community in Bayelsa.
The Tide’s source reports that Dr Emem Okon, Director, Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre, an NGO, championed the event.
The source also reports that Otuabagi Community within the Oloibiri District in present Ogbia Local Government Area is where crude oil was discovered in commercial quantity in Nigeria in 1956.
Okon said the report highlighted the adverse consequences of oil extraction which had profound negative impact on health and livelihood of women in Otuabagi community.
She said research revealed that several of the participants had hydrocarbons in their blood sample more than World Health Organisation (WHO) threshold and therefore demanded for compensation from oil companies and government.
“There is, therefore, a need to demand for compensation and restoration of polluted sites as well as health actions to keep us alive and to resist death, poverty and injustice”, she said.
She stated that the findings and data would serve as a tool for policy makers, community leaders and all those who strove for a more equitable and sustainable future.
Meanwhile, Dr Bieye Briggs, a public health physician and head of the research team, said from the findings of the report, it was revealed that there was very high and unacceptable level of exposure of the people to hydrocarbons.
Briggs advocated for the Federal Government to carry out health audit in Otuabagi community and other oil producing areas in the Niger-Delta region.
He explained that such audit was with a view to instituting intervention program to halt and reverse the impact of oil exploration.
Similarly, Chief Daniel Amangi, the traditional ruler of Otuabagi community, commended Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre for undertaking the project and urged the Federal Government to focus on developing the community.
Amangi also called for the immediate implementation of the recommendations of the research findings for the overall benefit of the people.
In the same vein, Alagoa Morris, a stakeholder, lamented that life expectancy was lower in the Niger-Delta region than in other parts of the country due to the hazards caused by oil exploration.
He called for compensation to be paid to host communities to ameliorate the health impact of oil extraction in the region.
The ceremony also featured a drama presentation by Otuabagi women and panel discussion on the findings of the report.

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Niger Delta

Court Orders AAU Graduate’s Car, iPhone’s Forfeiture To FG

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A Benin High Court on Monday ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to sell a Toyota Venza 2012 model, recovered from a graduate of Biochemistry from Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma, Osadolor Edomwonyi.
The EFCC charged Edomwonyi with internet fraud.
Delivering judgment, Justice Efe Ikponmwonba, sentenced Edomwonyi to three years imprisonment.
The judge also ordered the forfeiture of an iPhone 13 Promax, recovered from the convict .
He also ordered that balances in his Opay account, Kids Bank account and Access Bank with which he was charged and convicted to the Federal Government through EFCC and the accounts be parmanently closed.
The convict prayed the court for a plea bargain agreement.
Ikponmwonba, however, gave him an option of fine in the sum of N100,000.
Earlier, the EFCC counsel, Mr I K Agwaisaid, said the convict committed an offence contrary to the provisions of Sections 6 and 8 (b) of the advance free fraud and other fraud-related offences Act 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.
The prosecutor said in a plea bargain agreement, Edomwonyi pleaded guilty to the one-count charge of possession of fraudulent documents.

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