LATEST ARTICLES

THE MUHAMMADU BUHARI MOTHER AND CHILD HOSPITAL IN MAKURDI, BENUE STATE

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In continuation of the fulfilment of his campaign promise of affordable healthcare for Nigerians, do you know that a 120-bed Mother and Child Hospital has been built by the Buhari administration in Makurdi the Benue State capital?

The well-furnished and equipped facility, which has been named as Muhammadu Buhari Mother and Child Hospital, will soon be commissioned by the President himself after which it will commence operations.

Very importantly, it is gratifying to know that this new hospital will not only restrict itself to Mothers and Children but will treat other adults with health issues that can be treated there. And it is also remarkable that the administration is building similar hospitals across all the states.

About yesterday…Friday August 2019

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By Malam Ibrahim sheme

Malam Nasiru El-Rufai has shown tremendous leadership values in his intervention in the traffic gridlock yesterday. I said exactly that to my friend who was travelling to Kaduna with me after the governor walked past my car window acknowledging cheers from victims of the gridlock, scores of whom followed him enthusiastically. Even if he did not help clear the jam (but he did!), his presence alone – as the leader of the state – was enough balm on the bruised psyche of the commuters. He boosted our morale, raised our hopes, and assured us about the future. At that material time, that’s all what matters. I immediately saw in him a presidential material, i.e. if they don’t hand it over to Tinubu on a platter of gold!

What amazed me most was the distance the big man (I insist he is not a diminutive person as some insinuate) covered on foot. The beginning of the gridlock and its end were very long, maybe 30km, and Malam covered them all on foot! And his walk was brisk, energetic, jaunty even though he wore a babbar riga, as if he was enjoying it. I wondered how healthy he was physically and emotionally as to do that. Even younger elements like us would have to think thrice before daring to trek that long. He must have been inspired by the passion to bring comfort and solace to us, the stranded citizens. And he did so, selflessly. Some other Excellency would have turned back from the beginning of the gridlock or ordered for a helicopter to come and pick him. Some would even pretend that their tooth was suddenly aching again. But Malam was there from evening to morning, offering sympathy, smilingly reassuring everyone. He must have melted the hearts of many, including those that disagree with him on the political scene.

But then it is his style to be there just when it matters. Malam has always virtually walked into trouble – I mean trouble spots. Any time there is a crisis somewhere in his state, more so the recurring communal type, he will quickly dash there and be physically involved with the effort to solve it. He wouldn’t stay back in his cozy, air-conditioned offices receiving updates from minders. Somehow this works; it helps douse the tension. And it actually did so last night as admirers kept hooting, “Sai Malam! Sai Malam!” I heard several people, in spite of the debilitating situation in which they were caught, saying loudly that after Buhari it should be El-Rufai’s turn to become president. I laughed at the Nigerian’s propensity to mix politics with hardship and still enjoy the admixture.

It is a style other leaders, especially President Buhari, would do well to emulate. I remember that as Zamfara burnt with all those terrorist killings by bandits, the issue of the President needing to be there on ground (or even to go for commiseration) was tops in many people’s analysis of the incident.

Call it populism or whatever. Malam Nasiru is THAT type of leader the people want. He wouldn’t be sipping green tea as his Rome burns!

Kudos to Malam. I doff my hat to him multiple times!
Sheme is a successful journalist and author. Publisher of Fim magazine, Director communication, National open university. Abuja

Press Briefing By South West Peoples Alliance: Don’t Just Probe Obasanjo On Power Sector Malfeasance, Prosecute Him Too

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Date: Friday, 9th August, 2019.

I warmly welcome everyone who has found it necessary to be here with us today. I most especially welcome the esteemed members of the press to this briefing.

Gentlemen of the press, I should start by stating that this conference has become necessary due to the conversation on probing the power sector started by the Young Nigerian Professionals who delivered a Press Conference on Sunday last week in the nation’s capital, Abuja, about the decision of the House of Representatives to probe the power sector spending in the country.

The group had called for unrelenting efforts by the House in that probe, while noting the necessity of accountability as a nation if we were to make any progress.

At their very auspicious conference, the YNP called on Nigerians to monitor the planned probe of all power contracts from 1999 to date, which the House of Representatives is about to kick-start, and ensure that the process is thorough and that all those culpable in the mismanagement of the funds earmarked for power in Nigeria are brought to justice.

Let me start by saying that we agree wholeheartedly with the body of young professionals on this issue. But we will like to take the discussion further by demanding for specific interrogation of key individuals in the whole power mismanagement saga.

It’s our belief that there are known actors that were responsible for overseeing the sleaze that took place in the power sector spending since 1999.

The most prominent, as every Nigerian possibly knows, is former President Olusegun Obasanjo – who is reported to have spent a whopping sum of about 16 Billion Dollars on power, with nothing worthy or credible to show for it.

We would like to commend the House of Representatives for its decision to again re-investigate the power sector spending. It is our belief that what the House is set to do represents justice for the people of Nigeria who have had to bear the burden and pain associated with the poor power situation in the country.

Until this investigation and other related efforts that ensure transparency and openness are undertaken, Nigeria cannot really move forward or record any significant progress.

The unearthing of the sleaze that took place in the power sector is key if we want to start a new footing that ensures proper accountability going forward.

While we are confident that the investigation by the House of Representatives would unmask the fraud that was committed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his cronies in the power sector; we demand that the House should, upon the completion of its investigation, endeavor to submit the name of the former President and his conspirators to the country’s anti-corruption agencies, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), for full prosecution.

The ultimate goal is not to undertake a futile ‘name and shame exercise’, rather we want to see a situation where all those involved would face punishment for their crimes against the country.

While he and his co-travelers must be made to return all stolen monies, we demand that Chief Olusegun Obasanjo live up to his avowed commitment to transparency by coming forward to explain his role in the alleged mismanagement of power funds; without directing all those who seek to hold him to account to a self-serving and delusional book whose account has not exonerated him of active involvement in the sleaze.

No doubt, only a comprehensive prosecution that is in tandem with justice will send a strong message to all those who have either managed or still managing our resources that Nigerians will no longer tolerate any corrupt act by anyone, no matter how highly placed. This is the only way we can sanitize the power sector and begin to reset the country.

Thank you.

Signed:
Oseni Owolabi Ajimomuya (Chairman)
Ismael Lanre Oguntoyinbo (Secretary)

Jonathan never won any election, even in Bayelsa — Nabena

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By chibueke obigidi 9/8/2019

The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Yekini Nabena, has said former President Goodluck Jonathan never contested and won any election even in his home state of Bayelsa.

Yekini said no amount of “falsehood and rigging” of the November 16, governorship election in Bayelsa State could stop PDP’s defeat at the poll, adding that the PDP had become very unpopular and stood rejected in the state.

Addressing a press conference yesterday in Abuja, Nabena cautioned Jonathan to be mindful of making misguided comments so as not to ridicule his personality.

Jonathan was quoted a few days ago as saying during the PDP Elders’ Advisory Council meeting at Government House, Yenagoa, that the APC was not on ground in Bayelsa and could not win the forth coming governorship election.

Jonathan added that the large number of aspirants on PDP’s platform indicated the dominance of the party as the preferred platform for election.

But the deputy image maker of the APC said, “Former President Jonathan has never contested any election and won. Even that of 2015, he contested as a sitting President, he lost woefully. The recent 2019 senatorial election in Bayelsa State, APC defeated Jonathan’s candidate in his senatorial district.

“Jonathan is attempting to rewrite history on presidential elections conducted under his watch in Bayelsa State while he was president. He never won, as votes never counted. Aided by security agents, election results were simply announced by the election body in favour of the PDP.”

The Hard Facts! Ahmadu Bello Sardaunan Sokoto

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Complied by an unknown writer
1. Ahmadu Bello was born on June 12, 1909 in Rabbah, present day, Sokoto State.
2. He was the son of a concubine.
3. His father died when he was 6 years old.
4. He was the only surviving son of his father and mother, Mariyamu.
5. He was a great grand-son of Shehu Uthman dan Fodio, the great Fulani jihadist.
6. He got his Islamic and Arabic education as a teenager from Mallam Garba who was the Imam of Rabbah village.
7. He finished at the age of 16 top of his class.
8. He attended the Teacher’s Training College, Katsina (later Barewa College) where he was a School Prefect and Class Captain.
9. Thereafter, he graduated as a Teacher in 1931 with a credit equivalent Grade III result.
10. He was appointed by the Sultan of Sokoto to work as a teacher at the Sokoto Middle School, where he was once a student and taught from 1931-1934.
11. He was appointed a rural administrator (District Head) at the age 25 in 1934.
12. He gave birth to a daughter after his death (posthumously).
13. He became a candidate for the succession to the throne of the Sultan of Sokoto at the age of 29.
14. He made attempts to become the Sultan of Sokoto but was not successful, losing to Sir Siddiq Abubakar III who reigned for 50 years until his death in 1988.
15. The new Sultan immediately made Sir Ahmadu Bello the Sardauna (Warlord) of Sokoto, a honourary title and promoted him to the Sokoto Native Authority Council, these titles automatically made him the Chief Political Adviser to the Sultan.
16. Later, he was put in charge of the Sokoto Province to oversee 47 districts.
17. In 1943, a drama played out when he was thrown before the Sultan’s court for misappropriating jangali (cattle) tax for the Gusau region where he was the Councillor.
18. He was sentenced to 1 year in prison, but spent 3 months in jail.
19. By 1944, he was back at the Sultan’s Palace to work as the Chief Secretary of the State Native Administration.
20. In 1949, at the age of 40, he was nominated for a seat in the Regional House of Assembly.
21. He spoke impeccable English, and respected many European values.
22. Sir Ahmadu Bello keenly encouraged female education.
23. In 1954, Sir Ahmadu Bello became the first Premier of Northern Nigeria.
24. He never had material accumulation instincts, did not accumulate wealth and gave out whatever came into his possession. He was scrupulous and prudent with public finance but generous with his own money.
25. In 1955, he made his first pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
26. The ‘Work and Worship’ motto on the Northern Nigerian crest was adopted by him.
27. He chose to remain the Premier of Northern Nigeria and gave the position of Prime Minister to his hand-picked candidate, the late Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, who was then the Deputy President of the NPC.
28. Sir Ahmadu Bello never sought the leadership of Nigeria.
29. He once stated that he would rather be the Sultan of Sokoto than to be the leader of Nigeria.
30. At various times, he made inflammatory statements about the Ibos as He once referred to them as the ‘Jews of Nigeria’ whose sole purpose is to dominate wherever they find themselves.
31. In 1959, Queen Elizabeth II (b.1926) made him a Knight of the British Empire (KBE), and that explains the ‘’Sir’’ in his title.
32. In 1962, he became Pioneer Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, Zaria.
33. He founded the Bank of the North (now Unity Bank).
34. He founded the Northern Nigerian Development Company.
35. He established the 16,000-seater Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna.
36. He established the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna (the only military university in Nigeria).
37. He established the University of Northern Nigeria, which stretched from Samaru in Kaduna State to Funtua in Katsina State, on the 4th of October, 1962 now known as Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria.
38. By the beginning of 1966, it was quite clear that the Sardauna was one of the most powerful figures in the country, and many believed that he was actually the most powerful, even much more powerful than the Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa.
39. His party, Northern People Congress (NPC), held sway over 29 million out of 55 million Nigerians.
40. On his way to Umrah (the Muslim lesser pilgrimage), he received a letter with threats to kill him.
41. The letter was said to have stated: “We have arranged to kill you and the Prime Minister (Alhaji Tafawa Balewa).”
42. As a devout Muslim, the Sardauna believed that giving his life in the service of Northern Nigeria was worth the sacrifice and that death was a certain end.
43. He later said of the threat: “Don’t worry, continue to get useful information. I know what to do.”
44. On the evening of 14th January, 1966, armed soldiers, led by Major Patrick Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, arrived at his residence at Lugard House, Kaduna, with the message of death.
45. He told his family to stay away in safety but they would have none of that. They all trooped behind him as he came out of the family quarters and in a matter of seconds, he was surrounded by the soldiers led by Nzeogwu who fired at his babban riga . And immediately, blood sputtered from the point of impact through the beard on his face.
46. At that point, his first and eldest wife, Hafsatu, threw herself at him in a final embrace. They were both shot.
47. He was believed to have been killed instantly when a bullet penetrated his spinal cord.
48. Brave till the very end, he had faced the soldiers and introduced himself as the Sardauna of Sokoto and Premier of the Northern Region.
49. He once referred to Nigeria as the ‘mistake of 1914′ but he later worked for and gave his best for the new nation of Nigeria.
50. He died leaving £10 in his bank account. Equivalent of 5,000 naira in tod. May he soul continue to rest in perfect peace. Allahumma Amin Reply Forward

Wamakko Versus Maccido : Tribunal adjourns for Judgment as Counsels adopt final addresses

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The National Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal sitting in Sokoto on Thursday adjourned to an undisclosed date for Judgemnt in the Petitions filed by the defeated Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party  ( PDP), Senator Ahmed Mohammed Maccido,  against the winner of the February 23, 2019, Sokoto North Senatorial District Polls , Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko .

The Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Peter Akhimie Akhihiero,  said while adjourning the matter , ” the matter has been adjourned for Judgment.  The date will be communictated in due course .”

The Counsels for the Petitioners and the Respondents had earlier adopted all their final written addresses .

The Lead Counsel of the 1st Respondent,  Dr Hassan Liman, SAN, said ,” in accordance with the Rules of the Court and the Electoral Act, the 1st Respondent has filed his written addresses dated 17/7/2019 and filed on the same date .

” We have also filed a reply to the Petitioners’  written address on 1/8/2019 . We hereby adopt the said two addresses as our final argument in this Petition .

” We are urging the Court to dismiss and strike out the Petition for being Statute -Barred as it was filed out of time, as well as lacking in merit. “

Lead Counsel for the 2nd Respondent,  Chief Jacob Ochidi , also stated that , the 2nd Respondent has filed his final written address on 2/7/2019.

Ochidi explained, ” I herebey adopt the written address as the argument of the 2nd Respondent in this Petition.

” I am also urging the Tribunal to strike out the petition for being Statute – Barred , resolving all the issues of the 2nd Respondent.

” To dismiss same petition for lacking in merit and award substantial cost in favour of the 2nd Respondent, against the Petitioners. “

Similarly, Lead Counsel for the 3rd Respondent,  Barrister Henry Eni-Otu, told the Court that,his Client has filed his final written address on 18/7/2019.

He averred ,” I want to adopt it as the argument of the 3rd and urge the Court to strike out the petition for being Statute-Barred .

” I am also praying the Court to dismiss the Petition in its entirety  for being unmeritorious and speculative ..”

The Lead Counsel of the Petitioners,  Dr Ibrahim Abdullahi said the Petitioners have filed their written address on 25/7/2019.

” We respectively adopt the same written address, making particular reliance on legal arguments.

” I am also urging the Court to resolve all the issues against the Respondents, to hold that , the Petition is not Statute-Barred and to grant the reliefs of the Petitioners. “

Responding, Dr Hassan Liman , SAN, commended the Chairman and menbers of the Tribunal for being diligent and working assiduously to ensure smooth proceedings.

WTO chief warns world edging into ‘global recession’

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World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director-General anf former Nigeria’s Foreign and Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala speaks during the press conference of the G20 High Level Independent Panel (HLIP) during the G20 finance ministers and central bankers meeting in Venice on July 9, 2021. (Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP)

The World Trade Organization’s chief said Tuesday she believes the world is heading towards a global recession due to multiple colliding crises and called for radical policies to revive growth.

WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said Russia’s war in Ukraine, the climate crisis, food price and energy shocks plus the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic were creating the conditions for a world recession.

“Now we have to weather what looks like an oncoming recession,” she told the opening of the global trade body’s annual public forum in Geneva.

“I think a global recession. That’s what I think we are edging into. But at the same time, we have to start thinking of recovery. We have to restore growth.”

She noted that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund had both downgraded global growth forecasts, while indicators on trade numbers were “not looking too good”.

Okonjo-Iweala added: “We have security shocks, we have climate shocks, we have energy shocks, we have food price shocks, and all of this is hitting countries at the same time, so we cannot afford to do business as usual.”

The former Nigerian finance and foreign minister said central banks were in a tight spot, with little choice over the course ahead.

“Central banks don’t really have too much of a choice but to tighten and increase interest rates — but the repercussions on emerging markets and developing countries is quite severe because they too are tightening an increase in interest rates,” she said.

“But what happens in the developed countries affects their debt burdens, affects what they have to pay to service debt, affects the flight of capital from their economies back into the developed countries.

“But right now, I think there’s not much choice but for central banks to act because inflation really hits at the poor very badly.”

She stressed the need for central banks to determine whether inflation was being caused by strong demand or whether the rise in prices was linked to structural problems on the supply side.

Okonjo-Iweala said her top concern was how to ensure food security, followed by access to energy.

“The spectre of not having enough food is one that worries me,” she said.

NDLEA sets ablaze 1.8 tons of cocaine

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Tougher times await drug barons and cartels operating in Nigeria if they fail to back out of their criminal trade and embrace legitimate ventures. Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Rtd) gave the assurance on Tuesday, September 27, 2022, while leading stakeholders to witness the crushing and setting ablaze 1.8 tons of cocaine recovered by the Agency from a warehouse in the Ikorodu area of Lagos last week.

The NDLEA had in a well-coordinated and intelligence-led operation that lasted two days last week stormed a hidden warehouse at 6 Olukunola street, Solebo estate Ikorodu where 1.8 tons of cocaine were recovered and five suspects including a Jamaican were arrested. Following the historical seizure, which is the largest in the Agency’s history, an order of the Federal High Court in Lagos was obtained for the public destruction of the consignment.

Speaking at the venue of the public destruction in the Badagry area of Lagos Tuesday, Gen. Marwa who was represented by the Agency’s Director, Prosecution and Legal Services, Deputy Commander General of Narcotics, DCGN Sunday Joseph, said the sheer volume of the drug haul, with street value put at two hundred and seventy-eight million, two hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($278, 250,000), equivalent to one hundred and ninety-four billion, seven hundred and seventy-five million (N194, 775,000,000) naira, speaks volume about the extent of the nefarious activities of the drug underworld. He said this has made it imperative for Nigerians to continue to support NDLEA in the renewed war against illicit drugs.

He said out of the 1.8-ton seizure, 1, 828 blocks of the cocaine will be crushed and set ablaze while the remnant will be secured for purpose of prosecution of the suspects who were brought to witness the procedure and sign the certificate of destruction. According to the NDLEA boss, “the Agency is proceeding with the prosecution of those arrested in connection with this consignment. On this, the public can rest assured that NDLEA shall pursue the trial to a logical conclusion. Since January 25, 2021, when we commenced our offensive action against drug traffickers, the Agency has secured record convictions. Presently, 2, 904 drug offenders are serving various jail terms, while other cases are ongoing in court, which we are confident will end in positive results too.”

To the drug underworld, he said “the bust of the syndicate responsible for the cocaine warehoused in Ikorodu is a message to drug cartels that their investments in the illicit drug trade will go up in flames as you are about to witness while they also risk losing their freedom because the present NDLEA is committed to arresting, prosecuting and ensuring the conviction of those involved in illicit drugs. That is not all, we now also go after their assets acquired with the proceeds of the criminal trade.”

Marwa said the fact that the Ikorodu operation was conducted clinically without any skirmish or bloodshed is further testimony to the evolution of the NDLEA and its new capabilities and a pointer to the fact that the game has changed in the war against illicit drugs.

He expressed appreciation to the Agency’s international partners, especially the American Drug Enforcement Administration (US-DEA) which supported the cocaine syndicate bust and the Nigerian military that provided additional firepower during the operation, as well as other law enforcement agencies that have been supporting efforts to rid Nigeria of illicit drugs.

While soliciting more support for the Agency’s work, Marwa said “the safety of our society is the responsibility of every one of us and every citizen shall be fulfilling his or her civic duty by assisting the Agency to clean up our communities and cities by joining our War Against Drug Abuse (WADA)”, adding that “together, we can make this country secure.

FG makes U-turn, withdraws order to reopen varsities

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• ASUU: We’re not returning to classrooms
• Lecturers, group kick against resumption order
• Say varsities are not run like parastatals

In a new twist, the Federal Government, yesterday, withdrew its circular, which ordered Vice-Chancellors, Pro-Chancellors and Governing Councils to re-open federal universities.

The National Universities Commission (NUC) had earlier issued a circular tagged NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/135, addressed to all VCs; Pro-Chancellors and Chairmen of Governing Councils of federal universities, ordering them to re-open universities.

But surprisingly, hours later, in another circular tagged NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/136, which was also signed by the Director, Finance and Account of NUC, Sam Onazi, the Commission withdrew the order, though it did not explain why.

The letter tagged, “withdrawal of circular NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/135” partly reads: “I have been directed to withdraw the NUC Circular Ref: NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/135 and dated September 23 on the above subject.

“Consequently, the said circular stands withdrawn. All Pro-Chancellors and Chairmen of Governing Councils, as well as Vice-Chancellors of Federal Universities, are to please note. Further development and information would be communicated to all relevant stakeholders. Please accept the assurances of the Executive Secretary, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed’s warmest regards.”

Before the directive was withdrawn, Vice-Chancellors of public universities were reluctant to carry out the order, saying they were studying the letter issued by Federal Government through NUC, ordering them to reopen schools and allow students to resume lectures.

Secretary-General of the Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, Prof. Yakubu Aboki Ochefu, said to ensure the strike did not continue after reopening the institutions, the VCs were studying the letter so as not to reopen the schools and still discover that members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are still on strike.

Reacting to the earlier directive, the National President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, said FG was not talking to his members.

He said: “We are not holding the keys to the campuses. We did not shut down any university. Those who shut down the universities are the ones who can decide to open them or not.

“As for us going back to work, the government is not talking to us. We did not institute the case at the Industrial Court, some people took us there and we have done the needful of exercising our right to appeal,” he added.

On when the appellate court would hear the matter, Osodeke said no date has been fixed yet.

Also, ASUU chairman of the University of Ibadan (UI), Prof. Ayoola Akinwole, said the Federal Government owned the universities and can decide when to close and open them. However, ASUU members will not be in classes but will continue to do their research and community services.

He said: “We remain committed to our resolve to prosecute the strike and our members have resolved not to be caged by tyrannical orders. As you know, we have appealed the Industrial Court ruling. Our members will have nothing to do with teaching, supervision nor attend statutory meetings until our demands are met and the strike is suspended by the leadership of the union,” he said.

Mixed reactions, yesterday, trailed FG’s directive to university teachers to resume as lecturers kicked against it, saying the order is a clear demonstration of a lack of respect for intellectualism.

But others called on the striking lecturers to consider the plight of students who have been forced to stay home for almost eight months and return to the classroom.

Director of the Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ibadan, Prof Tajudeen Akanji, said the order was a clear violation of section 2(a)(a) of the Universities Miscellaneous Act, which states that universities shall be run by councils and issues or circulars from the ministries that run counter to this law shall not affect the university.

Akanji, while faulting the resumption order, said universities are not parastatals, so, the government cannot direct them on how to do things.

He said: “Universities are not just meant for teaching, there is research and community service. It is unheard of that somebody would just wake up and direct vice-chancellors to reopen universities; it shows a lack of respect for intellectualism.

“ASUU did not shut schools to start with, universities were shut by the VCs, so, they should reopen them. That is not how to settle industrial disputes, when you settle such cases through win or lose, you stand to fight again. People can be on strike and still be going to work, strike does not mean when you don’t go to work; you can still be on strike and work. Virtually, every Nigerian worker is on strike, because they go to work but are not doing anything productive or meaningful.”

He reminded that ASUU is just a union of workers in an organisation owned by the government and has no authority or control over budgets.

“People are treating ASUU as if it’s a power bloc, when money is released for what the union is fighting for, such monies are not coming to ASUU, the union does not have an account to which government will pay. ASUU is not going to run universities; lecturers are just a group of people who are asking the government to do the right thing, so, directing to resume is wrong.”

On his part, a professor of history at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof Ayodeji Olukoju, said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has a commanding mentality, which cannot work in a democratic setting.

Olukoju wondered how a government with graduates and educated people would just issue a decree that universities should be reopened.

“The human touch is completely lost, assuming it was a cordial decision to open the universities, they still need some time to upgrade the infrastructure, lecture rooms and hostels. This directive is typical of the way Nigerian government operates, very distant from the people and completely cut off from reality,” Olukoju said.

According to him, the idea of getting lecturers back to the classroom will not work because “the school can be opened, students will come back and lectures will still not take place.”

He said: “I don’t think there is a need for a harmer to kill a housefly. It could work under General Yakubu Gowon, but it certainly will not work under a civilian government in 2022.

“The non-teaching staff have resumed since August, till now, they have not been paid, they haven’t been paid for about six months, I don’t understand what the government is getting at. This is a case of insensitivity, unwillingness to learn from history and disconnect from reality. It’s unfortunate that this same government-supported ASUU when it was in opposition,” Olukoju said.

Similarly, the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) faulted the government’s order and called on ASUU to take its case to the Nigerian public by organising town hall meetings, peaceful protest rallies and demonstrations across the country.

National Coordinator, Hassan Taiwo Soweto, said this is necessary to enable the lecturers to communicate directly with Nigerians, especially parents and students, and explain to them why the government’s decision to employ force and intimidation to break the strike without meeting their demands would not work.

Soweto called on the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to save the situation and intervene.

Former Minister of Education, Chinwe Obaji, said while she would not take any side, it is unfair for lecturers to keep students at home for over seven months.

“I am not an advocate of strike and have never supported strike action even as a lecturer, but it is unfair that when lecturers and government fight, it is the students that bear the brunt.

“They could be talking about their agreement with the government but the schools also had an agreement with these children during their admission. Let them find a way to resolve their issues so that students can return to school,” Obaji said.

Some parents, however, backed the government in its decision, saying keeping students at home for over seven months is a serious concern. They appealed to ASUU to return to the classroom and allow room for negotiation in the interest of teeming Nigerian students.

CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee Raises Interest Rate To 15.5%

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The Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has unanimously raised the interest rate by 150 basis points to 15.5%.

The raise is the third time that the apex bank will increase rates in the last six months bringing the total raise to 400 basis points.

The Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele who disclosed the position of the MPC noted that the raise was to reign in inflation in the country.

The MPC also increase Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) to a minimum of 32.5 per cent minimum and the Liquidity ratio was pegged at 30 per cent.

CJN, NJI To Train Judges In Road Accident Victims’ Cases

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The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola has announced his intention to organize training for judicial officers on road safety cases from the magistrate to the highest level.

Justice Ariwoola stated this at the opening ceremony of the 11th Edition of the Kwapda’as Samson Rangna’an Dongban (KRSD) Foundation Annual Road Safety Press Conference in Abuja.

The foundation was set up by the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem in honour of her first son who was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Jos, Plateau State.

The CJN said the training would be organized in synergy with the National Judicial Institute (NJI) where judicial offices would be properly trained and with support to victims of accidents on our roads.

“I plead with the generality of the public to be up and doing in providing assistance to victims of road accidents,” he said.

“Many at times if the needed assistance is provided many victims may not die.”

Speaking, Justice Dongban-Mensem bemoaned the socio-economic impact of road crashes and related injuries in Africa, especially in Nigeria with 6,000 deaths annually, and two deaths every four hours, caused mainly by bad road infrastructure.

She pleaded for more partnerships with NGOs, and private and corporate organsations towards achieving the goal of reducing road safety deaths and serious injuries is very important.

Former Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Osita Chidoka, pointed out the need for Nigeria to adhere to the 10 percent of the country’s budget for road safety designs as the international standard.

Presidency: No State Authorised To Buy Automatic Weapons

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The Presidency has said there is no state that has been authorised to procure automatic weapons for their security outfits.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said this in a statement issued on Tuesday.

He said the President had repeatedly made it clear that nobody is allowed to illegally carry AK-47 or any other automatic weapons and that they must surrender them.

“Where they fail to do so, the law enforcement agencies have been given clear directives to deal with any such outlaws,” he added.

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State had on September 22 criticised the federal government’s opposition to the proposed use of arms by the Western Nigeria Security Network (Amotekun Corps) while allowing its equivalent in Katsina state to bear weapons.

On Monday, the governor expressed his commitment to equipping Amotekun for the effective operation of the corps in securing the lives and property of the people of the region.

He said the denial of the right of Amotekun to bear arms to protect the people of the state violated the tenets of federalism.

But in a swift reaction on Tuesday, the Presidency said under the existing regulations, only the Office of the National Security Adviser could issue such authorization, upon proper clearance by the President and Commander-in-Chief, adding that “as it is at this moment, no such approvals have been issued to any state government.”

The presidential spokesman said: “In the specific Katsina State often cited, the Governor, Aminu Bello Masari wrote to explain that the administration invited the Provost of the Civil Defence Training College in Katsina to train their Vigilantes for a five-day period ‘in the handling and operations of Pump Action Rifles,’ emphasizing that ‘the Vigilantes were not trained to take over the responsibilities of the security agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria but to assist them.’

The Presidency appreciates the active involvement of states with security matters.

“As they continue to expand their capabilities as well as their active collaboration with law enforcement agencies of the federation, the joint efforts continue to yield good results, thwarting attempts of terrorists to wreak havoc and destruction on communities.

“The President in particular has expressed happiness that in the last couple of years, security outfits mandated by state governments have been associated with several important initiatives, and reports have reached him of acts of utmost bravery and professionalism.

“He thanks them for their alertness that is helping to defeat nefarious plots against targets at grassroots levels.

He, however, cautions against the politicization of security.

“Government at the centre with a national mandate cannot afford to alienate Ondo State or any other state for that matter on the important issue of security and urges leaders at various levels to exercise restraint in their speech, even as we are in a political season.”

THE ONGOING DUALIZATION OF THE YENAGOA – KOLO – OTUOKE – BAYELSA PALM ROAD IN BAYELSA STATE

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Do you know that the Buhari administration is currently dualizing the Yenagoa – Kolo – Otuoke – Bayelsa Palm road in Bayelsa State, and that the project is even near completion?

The contract was awarded by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing in 2020, and is partly being funded by the SUKUK Fund to the tune of N2bn. Apart from aiding comfortable travels when completed, this project has currently provided hundreds of jobs for residents of the area.

Yes, Nigeria is on track!

ROKOTA VILLAGE IN NIGER STATE HAS BEEN LIGHTED UP WITH SOLAR ELECTRICITY

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Do you know that the Buhari administration has installed a 64KWP Solar Mini-Grid power plant in Rokota community in Niger State, thereby giving them a new lease of meaningful life?

Executed under the administration’s Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP), the community has now joined the league of areas enjoying clean, renewable energy as espoused by the United Nations, which is intended to safeguard the environment from the harsh effects of fossil sources of energy.

Zamfara PDP Re-run: Dauda Lawal’s Imprints on the Sand Of Time

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By Muhammad Isah Habu

I happened to be among the entourage of Dauda Lawal when his convoy was delayed for over three hours in Tsafe LGA last Sunday, on our way back to Abuja after the rerun of the PDP governorship primaries In Zamfara State. It wasn’t a campaign rally or a planned political outing, just a convoy moving – ‘the people can leave whatever they are doing to hail Dauda,’ I was told.

I observed the joyful faces of teeming youths, petty traders, women, and the elderly, putting aside their routine activities to wave hands and chant ‘Sai Dauda, ’ meaning no (one is eligible) except Dauda (alone). What I witnessed was beyond mere political optics; it was a movement sweeping every nook and cranny of Zamfara State; of course, the Dauda Lawal phenomena.

Alexander the Great opined that ‘an army of sheep led by a lion is better than an army of lions led by a sheep.’ This adaptation implies that a lot depends on the person at the front, the leader. Zamfara state has been deplorable due to bad leadership. We all know the sorry situation of the state. It has been on the brink. The entire 14 Local Government Areas, including Gusau, the state capital, were not safe.

The good people of Zamfara State were fed up with the status quo and leadership style of the incumbent, who accidentally clinched power through a court ruling, no thanks to the immediate past governor of the state, whose melancholic ego led to a transition out of the frying pan into the fire.

What I witnessed during the just concluded Zamfara PDP governorship rerun is an open expression of love and trust from the people. They want a messiah who would restore sanity to Zamfara. A leader who would toil day and night to restore the dignity of a state overwhelmed by banditry and destitution.

On Friday, the day of the guber rerun, aside from party members in the PDP headquarters, the area was occupied by supporters and well-wishers chanting ‘Sai Dauda.’ Every other thing had to pause for a while; all you saw were people paying glowing tribute to the Gamji of Gusau.

The few people I interviewed described Dauda as a dogged fighter who, despite attempts by political hawks’ propagandists to shade and disdain his victory, has remained bloody bold and resolute. No time to bicker over a court judgment, Dauda settled for a rerun knowing that he would undoubtedly win if PDP were to conduct the state Gubernatorial primary elections a thousand times.

As a charismatic and exemplary leader of the first serious opposition in Zamfara, Dauda Lawal leaves imprints for others to learn from in their pursuit to confront an arrogant and clueless leader. To better understand these imprints, one must gather firsthand information from the people across the state. I have seen and heard from the horse’s mouth; It is a game over for Matawalle.

The aggrieved aspirants that filed a lawsuit that nullified the Zamfara governorship primary have clearly understood the truism in the assertion that power belongs to Allah, He gives it to whomever He pleases. It implies that despite politicking, horse trading, political permutating, and maneuvering, God ultimately decides where the pendulum swings. Instead of creating a setback to Dauda’s blooming popularity and fan base, the negative court judgment has become a blessing in disguise.

The seamless guber rerun conducted by the PDP in Zamfara has raised the hope of the people of Zamfara state. Dauda has, by that transparent and credible process, affirmed that he is a true democrat and an indefatigable politician who would never abandon his troops while fighting injustice.

Lawal’s triumph as the PDP governorship candidate in the rerun has closed an epic story of what is possible when a man lives a life of dedicated service to humanity. Pundits, especially the ruling APC, had underestimated Lawal’s political clout and pedigree until the rerun was concluded.

Perhaps, the best attribute of Dauda that would change the status quo is his negotiating skills. He is a deal cutter and a diplomat. Dauda typifies a real man that smiles when he is beset with troubles. Where others lament, he looks out for solutions. He gathers strength by distress and bravery by reflection.

Not just for the 422 votes he got from the governorship rerun, Lawal is PDP’s bestseller in Zamfara. With his candidature, campaigning has become very easy and evidence-based. All that is needed is for all members of the PDP in the state to rally support for him ahead of the 2023 election. Above all, in his speech immediately after the rerun, he implored all party members, especially fellow contenders, to join hands and ensure that PDP wins the 2023 election to rescue and rebuild Zamfara state.

Habu a media strategist writes from Abuja

THE FEDERAL MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS’ DATA CENTRE IN KANO HAS BEEN COMPLETED

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As a step towards strengthening Nigeria’s foothold in the global Information Technology industry, do you know that the Buhari administration’s Data Centre in Kano has been completed, and will soon be officially commissioned?

In preparation for the commissioning, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami recently inspected the facility to ascertain its readiness. The infrastructure also houses Galaxy Backbone’s Northwest Regional Network Operating Centre, which will all provide several jobs for IT professionals in Kano.