Tag Archives: government

World Bank grant FG’s $500,000 through MDTF

The federal government has secured a $500,000 (N180 million) grant from the World Bank via the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) managed by the global financial institution.

The grant, routed through the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) is to firmly support the implementation of the Beneficial Ownership Register in 2020.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Mrs. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed who made the disclosure in Abuja on Thursday at a roundtable on Beneficial Ownership Register in Nigeria, explained that the grant was in total recognition of the work already done by the CAC and relevant partners in the implementation of the dictates of the beneficial ownership register.

According to her, Nigeria was among countries that has taken sufficient steps towards using the public beneficial ownership registers as a critical policy-making tool in the fight against corruption and deepening transparency. She said: “With the establishment of an open beneficial ownership register, we are moving one step closer towards ensuring that as policy-makers, we have credible and reliable data with which to address corruption,”.

The roundtable was organized by the Media Initiative for Transparency in Extractive Industries (MITEI) in partnership with the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) to sensitize and educate Nigerians ahead of the country’s plan to launch its maiden Beneficial Ownership Register in the extractive industries on December 12, 2019.

The Executive Secretary of NEITI Mr. Waziri Adio in his remarks at the event pointed out that the register, which would be launched next week, would be limited to real owners of entities covered in the NEITI audits.

He added that oil and gas industry regulator, the Department of Petroleum Resources and mining regulator, the Mining Cadastre Office (MCO) would come up with more comprehensive register.

Adio noted that having the register of beneficial or real owners of assets in the extractives industry was good but not enough to fight corruption, tax evasion and money laundering.

#Newsworthy…

Just in – Court forfeits kalu’s properties.

…orders houses and assets forfeited to FG

Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court Lagos has ordered ex-governor, Orji Uzor Kalu’s company, Slok Nigeria Limited, be wounded up and all its assets forfeited to the Federal government.

The order came as part of the 12 years imprisonment handed over to the ex-governor for N7.65 billion fraud he perpetrated while he was governor of Abia state. He was found guilty of using his company to launder money from the state coffers.

#Newsworthy…

Ganduje demands for account details for compensations over N250m demolished properties.

…ask ganduje to send the N4.5m details.

Kano State Government has asked Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II, to send his account details to receive a compensation of N4.5m compensation over his N250m property which was demolished to pave way for the ongoing flyover and underpass being constructed at the Dangi Roundabout area.

Kano State Bureau for Land Management spokesperson, Murtala Shehu Umar who made the appeal in a statement released on Wednesday December 4, said the state’s Government has since released money to settle the compensation for all affected structures in the area. According to him, only the Emir is yet to submit his bank details.

Umar said the government did not seize “any land belonging to the Monarch. Although as the general public is aware that the present administration of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje is constructing a gigantic Underpass, first of its kind in the country at Dangi on Zaria road, and due to the nature of design and size of the underpass some structures within the area were affected and needed to be removed from the area.

“Among the structures affected are 2 wall fenced lands belonging to the Emir, one at Ibrahim Dabo Road, and the other at Dr. Borodo Road and another big dilapidated room attached to the walls, these structures were removed with the consent of His Royal Highness as it was not the whole plot that was affected as some Media reported.

“Any person is free to visit the area to assess and see for himself to avoid doubt and report to the general public what he/she has seen instead of carrying news from the people who don’t want peace in the State.

“Based on this development Kano State Bureau for Land Management is appealing to His Royal Highness the Emir of Kano Malan Muhammadu Sanusi II to send his account details for the payment of his compensation, since the Government has released the money to the Bureau to settle all the compensation of the affected structures, and only the Emir is yet to submit his bank details as at this time”

It was further gathered that officials of the Ministry of Lands have confirmed that Emir Sanusi purchased the 1.2-hectare land in 2010 at a cost of N200 Million and that it was recently valued for N250 Million at a commercial rate.

#Newsworthy…

How issue of insecurity can be a thing of the past – Mbamalu

…says south west needs to curb insecurity

…called federal and state governments to grant security vote for traditional rulers

His Royal Highness, Igwe Gerald Obunadike Mbamalu, has called on the federal and state governments to grant security vote for traditional rulers to enable them secure their domain.

He speaks on various issues in this interview.

In the last interview you granted this paper, you called for security vote for traditional rulers to enable them mobilize the locals to compliment government’s effort in the fight against insecurity; is it similar to the new security arrangement in the South West?

Recently, the South West governors, leaders and traditional rulers met and fashioned out a new security arrangement which involve the locals, vigilant groups and the hunters popularly refered to as the Egbekoyas just to compliment the efforts of security agents on how to end kidnapping, banditry and armed robbery. This could not have happened if the governors and leaders from the zone did not pool their intellect and resources together and also engage the traditional rulers. The new security arrangement on how to protect Yoruba land has also received the support of the Federal Government. So, I want to once again call on the five South-East governors, leaders and technocrats to emulate the South West region in order to protect our people in Igbo land. Security is a collective responsibility of all and should not be left for the three tiers alone. As custodian of the tradition and culture of our people, one of the primary responsibility of traditional rulers is to provide security for their subjects. This was the norm during the pre-colonial era hence, we had well secured communities then, but today we rely completely on modern method of security alone. So, at any occasion that warrants me to put forward the suggestion, I will voice it out. We, the South-East traditional rulers have been mooting this idea to the three tiers of government in the South-East to grant security vote for traditional rulers.

What do you think is the reason the federal and state governments are silent over this noble idea especially, now that the nation is faced with security challenges?

I don’t know why most people in government use the security challenge facing the nation to find favour. They are trying to be holier than the Pope. So, some of them for fear not to offend the government, have refused to say the truth.

Now that South West is doing something about insecurity in the region, what do you think South-East governors, leaders and traditional rulers should do to end killing of innocent people in the region?

I’m against reprisal attack against any one or group suspected to have killed our people in any part of Igbo land because hoodlums could disguise as herdsmen and attack our people in their farms. These miscreants are not happy with those who are engaged in legitimate means of livelihood and trying to revenge; you may end up attacking legitimate people with identity.

Traditional rulers have not done enough to imbibe core values and virtues of the cultural and traditions in the young ones, what is your view?

The traditional institution is up and doing, hence I disagree with the view that we have not done enough to instill in the young generation our core values. I blame politicians for misleading the youth because during campaigns, most of these youths are employed by politicians and immediately the elections are over, whether the politician is successful or not, he will abandon them. They don’t have programme to reintegrate the youth into the society after electioneering. So, after elections, politicians won’t engage these young people they recruited as thugs until next four years when there is another election. What do you think these youths will be doing for the three and half years they were out of job?

In the same vein, some traditional rulers are partisan; you see politicians being endorsed by traditional rulers during campaigns thereby compromising their position as father of all; what do you make of this?

Traditional rulers are human beings like the governors and President, some are incompetent. We have incompetent people in all institutions in this country and that does not mean that all of us are incompetent. Yes, politicians do come to us for royal blessing and we have no option but to give them our blessing. Remember, traditional rulers are not supposed to be involved in politics because we are father to all irrespective of political affiliation.

What is your take on the crowning of people outside Igbo land popularly called Eze Ndigbo in Diaspora?

That is one of the problems of Igbo when they said “Igbo enwe Eze”, meaning Igbo has no king. You cannot go anywhere outside Yoruba land and hear, Oba of Ife, Owerri or Kano. Also, you cannot hear Emir of Hausa Onitsha or Ibadan. You will never hear Oba of Benin in Iyanu Oba or Shomolu. It is only in Igbo land you hear this kind of humiliating behavior and funny names. Nobody in my community, Ojoto will indulge in such act or anywhere the person reside in the world because it is an abomination. You can’t answer such names if you come back home. So, it depends on the community the person hails from in Igbo land. Are you saying that if the so-called Eze Ndigbo in Diaspora comes back, the traditional ruler in his community will give way for him to preside as the monarch? That cannot happen anywhere in Igbo land because every community has one traditional ruler and not two.

What efforts have you and your colleagues made to stop the Eze Ndigbo trend?

We are not bothered because like I said earlier, if they come back to their respective communities, there is a traditional ruler there. It is worthy to note that most of them are not sons of the soil, majority of them are people of questionable character who are looking for undue recognition outside Igbo land. They buy the position with money and they struggle for it unlike the true Igbo traditional stool which is not contested; you are chosen by the gods and the people of the community. You must be transparent, with undoubted pedigree and you must merit it before you will be selected to rule them. So, it is an abomination to crown one king outside Igbo land, it is against Igbo tradition.

#Newsworthy…

Abia: CJ Onuoha expresses worries.

..over dilapidated court infrastructure

Chief Judge of Abia, Justice Onuoha Ogwe, has expressed concern over the poor state of infrastructure in various courts in the state.

Ogwe made the observation in Umuahia, on yesterday, when members of the Abia House of Assembly Committee on Judiciary and Justice visited him.

He decried the level of dilapidation in the courts, saying, “the court halls are in a mess.”

According to him, there are no good court halls in the state and some roofs of the buildings have either caved in or have no functional facilities. The chief judge alleged that the contractor building a court complex in Umuahia was currently being owed by the state government.

The CJ, who said that the state judiciary was confronted with “a generic of problems”, also said that the paucity of funds was threatening its smooth operstions.

He alleged that the judiciary was under funded, adding that it got only two months’ subventions in 2017.

He also said that many months of its subventions in 2019 had yet to be released by the government.

Ogwe said: “Our financial situation is precarious. “Our requests are never funded.

“We can’t even hold sessions for dead or retired members because we don’t have the fund. The only little money we get, we use it well,” he said.

He said that he was impressed with the house for honouring the judiciary with their visit and interaction and pleaded for more synergy with the legislature to make Abia better.

Earlier, the Chairman of the committee, Mr Emeka Okoroafor, commended the CJ for his efforts and pledged the commitment of the 7th Assembly to collaborate with the judiciary.

He said that the visit was in futherance of the committee’s constitutional duties to examine the challenges faced by the judiciary, if any, and see how it could exercise its power to address them.

Okoroafor, who represents Isuikwuato constituency, said that it is the responsibility of the house to find why monies appropriated for the judiciary were not being utilised.

#Newsworthy…

Lagos governor vows to focus of technology for security.

…Young people at the centre of state’s security strategy

Lagos State Governor Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Tuesday reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to focus on technology to combat crime in the state.

Sanwo-Olu disclosed this at the 13th Annual Town Hall Meeting on security, which was organised by the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF), with the theme ‘Transformational Security’.

The town hall event is organised as a feedback mechanism where residents and other stakeholders in the security system meet to obtain a first-hand report on the state of security in Lagos, serving also as a forum for fundraising towards improving state security.

The Governor commended the efforts of the LSSTF in revitalising security coverage in the state through its consistent donations and innovative strategies employed to tackle security challenges.

He added that the state would continue to intensify efforts to check the menace of traffic robbery, cultism and other crimes in trouble spots across the state.

Sanwo-Olu noted that the LSSTF had provided integrated end-to-end security solutions to violent crimes through its innovative technology and digital connectivity.

He mentioned however that despite the introduction of new security strategies to combat crime, the system has a lot to improve on, calling for stronger connections between infrastructure and the state’s security apparatus.

The Governor revealed the plan of his administration to build a one-stop technology hub where data will be collated for efficiency in the handling of security matters.

“The Trust Fund will be taking a higher responsibility and new initiatives will take place. We are going to build a smart city project. We will use technology to ensure that the State remains safe. We will build data rooms and install lots of security cameras across the State,” he stated.

“Other security apparatus will be complementing the work of the police. Lagos State is working with other neighbouring states.

“In partnership with all the States in South Western region, a regional security outfit code-named ‘Amotekun’ has been established to combat banditry and kidnapping. This group will work interstate and all modern gadgets and facilities will be provided. It will make it impossible for anyone to abscond to the neighboring state after an offense in one State.

“We are revamping our Command and Control Centre. We are doing a complete overhaul of this centre.”

The Governor said that focus has been placed on the youth of the state to ensure that they are placed in a position where they will voluntarily shun cultism.

“Very importantly, we are fully aware of the nexus between young people and security, and therefore very much focused on putting young people at the centre of our security strategy,” he said.

“To this end, we are engaging youths and educational institutions, right from primary school level, in order to empower them to shun cultism and criminality, and to help them build skills to be active and responsible citizens.”

He called for the support for law enforcement agents while they discharge their duties of safeguarding the state.

Sanwo-Olu promised to work with the LSSTF to upgrade infrastructure across the state, which he said would be achieved in the next few months with significant improvements on security.

“There is a need to redesign the security architecture of the state, using smart security devices to analyse crime,” he stated.

The government, he said, would build a rapid response security team, relying on new data and installed security cameras, with the various agencies trained to work together using advanced communication tools to curb crime.

Sanwo-Olu highlighted some of the projects his government has embarked on, including equipping security personnel, completing a police station at Ibeche equipped with first-class and modern facilities.

He explained his plan to collaborate with other southwest States to address cross border crime. The borders, he said, would be effectively patrolled.

Highlighting the life and death risks faced by security operatives everyday in the line of duty, the Governor gave the following accounts:

“Five days ago, a security personnel was involved in an accident and his legs were amputated.

“A sad incident also happened on Monday that claimed the life of LASTMA official, who was stoned with a heavy stone, this should be addressed. There would be stiffer punishment for offenders,” he noted.

On his part, LSSTF Executive Secretary Dr Abdurrazaq Balogun said the initiative has helped in no small measure to address the state’s peculiar security situation through the prompt provision of necessary professional and logistical support for the various security agencies in the state to operate seamlessly.

Being the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria and West Africa, Lagos has its peculiar security challenges, with its sheer human density driven by a rising population due and economic-driven migration, making the state naturally vulnerable to criminal activity.

”But the coming of the LSSTF really assisted in swiftly addressing some of the state’s most critical security concerns,” Balogun assured.

The Lagos State Government had established the LSSTF on September 3, 2007 as a public-private partnership framework for mobilising and providing equipment and resources for effective operations of security agencies in the state.

Balogun said the LSSTF was a practical response to the reality of the operational deficiency of the various security agencies within the state, particularly with regard to funding and provision of modern equipment.

“With the realisation that the huge demands of security can no longer be met by government alone, the LSSTF is primarily conceived to institutionalise an enduring public/private approach to security challenges in the state,” he explained.

“The law setting up the Trust Fund provides for the structure, funding, decision making and accountability procedures for the Trust Fund.

“The main goal of the Trust Fund is to provide money for the acquisition and deployment of security equipment and such human, material and financial resources as shall be found necessary for the effective functioning of all Federal, State, Local Government and other security agencies operating in the State and part of the Fund shall be reserved for the training and retraining of security personnel.”

With regular provision of training and critical security equipment such as surveillance helicopters, operational vehicles, motorbikes, arms and ammunition, patrol boats, Armoured Personnel Carriers among others crucial operational needs to relevant security agencies in the state, crime rate in the state been on the progressive decline in the last 12 years, Balogun said. He noted that a number of the more notorious areas in the state have become safer for citizens to carry out their lawful daily activities without fear.

The Chairman, LSSTF Board of Trustees, Mr Our Hassan-Odukale, noted that crime fighting is mandatory and the Fund will not stop promoting the fight against crime.

He said: ”The theme of today’s event is, “Transformational Security” which means that at the Fund we are reviewing our response to security challenges in furtherance of our goal.

“After 12 years, our Trust Fund is still very relevant as we continue to provide critical support for the police and other security agencies. This is because our esteemed donors have continued to contribute to the Fund. This continuous support is not only a vote of confidence in the LSSTF, but a recognition that our collective resolve to continue the fight against crime is an absolute necessity.”

#Newsworthy…

Mr. Peter Obi Tasks Churches.

..says they should fight against corruption

Vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Peter Obi, has advised the church to be more critical in the fight against corruption.

He spoke, yesterday, on the theme: “The Church and Good Governance” at the All Soul Church, Lekki as guest lecturer at the centenary anniversary of the Diocese of Lagos Anglican Communion.

Obi who traced the problem of Nigeria to cumulative years of bad leadership, said all institutions, including the church, contributed to that failure either through commission or omission.

“By blessing poor people who suddenly make money in government and come to church for thanksgiving rather than calling police for them, the church is not showing right example.”

He emphasised the need for the church to be conscious of being the conscience of the world.

To reduce corruption, Obi said government must make deliberate efforts to reduce so many toll gates by changing her procurement processes to ensure money moved directly to institutions they were meant for.

Using his time as governor of Anambra State for example, Obi said money meant for schools were given to them directly and that it was one of the reasons Anambra achieved so much in education, moving from 27 to number one.

Obi also spoke of exceptionally high cost of governance and proffered solution flowing from his practical experience.

“As governor of Anambra, I reduced the cost of governance through eliminating many unnecessary things our people make part of government such as long convoys, maintaining multiple guests houses, travelling with retinue of aides, among others. By the time you know it, I had excess money to meet our obligations including clearing arrears of pension to the tune of about N35 billion and saving over N75 billion for the state as at the day I left office,” Obi said.

Other speakers includingt Prof. Itse Sagay and Justice Osat Obaseki-Osaghae reminded the church that it was expected to be the moral compass of world.

Describing corruption as a complex phenomenon affecting all the countries of the world, Chairman of the occasion, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, said Nigeria’s own peculiar complexity laid in the fact that when other countries caught corrupt people they went to jail, while in Nigeria, they went to the senate and start making laws for the country.

Echoing Obi, he said if rich Nigerians and those in government did not, due to corruption, take care of the poor, one day, the poor would not allow them to sleep.

#Newsworthy…

Presidency launches security map for road.

…Reiterates commitment to improve education, health, security

President Muhamamdu Buhari on Wednesday launched the National Security Strategy 2019, reiterating his administration’s commitment to improve on education, health and security in his second term.

The plan was launched at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa witnessed by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege, who represented the Senate President, Speaker of the House Femi Gbajabiamila, service chiefs and other heads of security agencies.

He said the numerous security challenges confronting the country made it necessary to come up with a comprehensive and coordinated response that involves all segments of society and all elements of national power.

Buhari expressed happiness that the National Security Strategy 2019 is a product of painstaking and rigorous deliberations by relevant stakeholders committed to the task of safeguarding Nigeria from internal and external threats.

According to him the Strategy represents “a thoughtful, strategic and practical expression of our resolve to make Nigeria safe for development, investment, growth and prosperity for everybody.

“As we continue to work towards completely ending insurgency in the North East and laying the foundation of sustainable peace and development in the region, we are also addressing conflicts between farmers and herders, banditry and various forms of security challenges. In addition to security, economic diversification and fighting corruption, our administration’s priorities for the second term include pursuing improvements in education, healthcare and agriculture.

“These priorities reflect our commitment to enhancing the social security of Nigerians as a means of improving their physical security.

“I’m happy to observe that the National Security Strategy reflects this thinking with emphasis on overall human security. I’m pleased also to know that the strategy emerged after a long term consultative and participatory process that elicited contributions primarily from our security, intelligence, law enforcement agencies and the armed forces. Other stakeholders such as ministries, department and agencies and the civil society were also contributory to this strategy.

“As such, this strategy will inform government wide and society wide measures designed to promote the public safety and the national security.”

The President described security as as a bottom to top operation, where failure at any level will lead to serious lapses in overall security.

He called on all stakeholders from heads of ministries, departments and agencies to see themselves as partners in the onerous task of securing “our people and to demonstrate unity of purpose in implementing this strategy.”

The President commended the National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Baba Gana Mungonu, and his team for delivering on the document.

“The task that now lies before us is the execution of the strategy and the achievement of a safer and more secure nation. It is a task to which this administration remains fully and unreservedly committed,” he said.

Prior to the launch, Monguno gave highlights of the new strategy, an update of the first one five years earlier in 2014.

“The focus of today’s strategy is multi-dimensional and it is to guarantee the safety of human lives,” he stated.

“The approach is comprehensive and looks at how agencies will collaborate to guarantee security for our country.”

#Newsworthy…

High court orders FG to reverse pensions given to Saraki, Akpabio, others.

…Asks AGF to challenge states’ pension laws

Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo of the Federal High Court, Lagos has ordered the Federal Government to recover pensions collected by former governors who later serving as ministers and members of the National Assembly.

Justice Oguntoyinbo also asked the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN to challenge the legality of states’ pension laws permitting former governors and other ex-public officials to collect such pensions.

It would be recalled that the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP)
had in July 2017 requested AGF to urgently institute appropriate legal action to challenge the legality of states’ laws permitting former governors, who are now senators and ministers to enjoy governors’ emoluments while drawing normal salaries and allowances in their new political offices and to seek full recovery of public funds from those involved.

However, due to failure of AGF to act on the letter, SERAP instituted a suit, sought for an order of mandamus to compel AGF.
In the suit, SERAP sought for an order of mandamus to compel the AGF to file action to challenge States’ pension laws for former governors and recover public funds collected by them in the public interest, since the Attorney General has failed/neglected to institute such action.

In it opposition to the suit, AGF argued that the States’ laws duly passed could not be challenged. The minister also argued that SERAP has not shown any injury it has suffered any injury as a result of the salaries and allowances being given to former governors who are now senators.

In order to rule on the application, Justice Oguntoyinbo raised following questions: “who should approach the Court where a particular law is not in the best interest of Nigeria as a country or National interest? Who should approach the Court where a particular law is detrimental to the interest of the country? Who should institute actions in court for the purpose of recovering public funds collected?
And in it judgment, the court held :”In my humble view, the Attorney General should be interested in the legality or validity of any law in Nigeria and how such laws affect or will affect Nigerians, being the Chief Law Officer of the Federation.

” I have considered SERAP’s arguments that it is concerned about the attendant consequences that are manifesting on the public workers and pensioners of the states who have been refused salaries and pensions running into several months on the excuse of non-availability of state resources to pay them. SERAP has also argued that there is need to recover such public funds collected by former governors.

“It is clear from the facts of this case that SERAP had written the Attorney General to institute appropriate legal actions to challenge the legality of States’ laws permitting former governors, who are now senators and ministers to enjoy governors’ emoluments while drawing normal salaries and allowances in their new political offices and to seek full recovery of funds from those involved.

“SERAP has stated that since the receipt of the said letter, the Attorney General has failed, refused and/or neglected to institute appropriate legal actions to that effect. In my view, the principle of ‘demand and refusal’ has been satisfied by SERAP. I have also considered the fact that in action to protect a public right or enforce the performance of a public duty, it is the Attorney General that ought to sue.

“Having considered all the facts presented by SERAP on the need for the suit and the counter-affidavit against same, I find no reason why the order of mandamus should not be granted. I am of the view that SERAP’s suit has merit.

“I resolve this issue against the Attorney General, in favour of SERAP. I hold that the Motion of Notice for Mandamus dated 6th February 2018 and filed on 7th February 2018 has merit. It is therefore granted in the terms sought.

“In other words, the Attorney General is hereby directed to urgently institute appropriate legal actions to challenge the legality of states’ laws permitting former governors, who are now senators and ministers to enjoy governors’ emoluments while drawing normal salaries and allowances in their new political offices and to identify those involved and seek full recovery of public funds from the former governors.

“I take judicial notice of the essence of the creation of SERAP. I believe that SERAP has the locus standi to bring this suit. More so, this is a constitutional matter. In constitutional matters, the requirement of locus standi becomes unnecessary to a great extent as it may merely impede judicial function. This issue is therefore resolved against the Attorney General, in favour of SERAP.”

Justice Oguntoyinbo has adjourned the suit to February 3, 2020 for hearing on report of compliance with the court orders/judgment by the Federal Government.

Commenting on the judgment, SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare said: “This ground-breaking judgment is a victory for Nigerian workers and pensioners who have not been paid by state governors for several months and struggle to make ends meet whilst former governors now serving as ministers and senators continue to collect double emoluments and enjoy opulent lifestyles.”

“Justice Oguntoyinbo’s judgment shows the urgent need for state governors in Nigeria to follow the Zamfara example by immediately abolishing the obnoxious pension laws in their states. We commend Justice Oguntoyinbo for her courage and wisdom, and urge President Muhammadu Buhari and Mr Malami to immediately obey the court orders.”

“This judgment should catalyse further action from the Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Ekiti State governor Dr Kayode Fayemi to use this judgment to abolish pension law in his own state and make a clear public commitment that the Governors’ Forum under his watch will push all governors and ex-governors to abolish life pensions and return public funds collected by them before being compelled to do so.”

Femi Falana, SAN said on the judgment: “SERAP deserves the commendation of all well-meaning people that have agonised over the legalization of obscene pension package for former governors. This is one of the most patriotic public interest litigation ever undertaken in Nigeria. We call on state governors to use the judgment as the basis for formally repealing life pension laws and all other retrogressive laws without any further ado.”

At least 22 states starting from Lagos State have passed life pensions laws for former governors and other ex-public officials.

Other states include Akwa Ibom; Edo; Delta; Kano; Gombe; Yobe; Borno; Bauchi; Abia; Imo; Bayelsa; Oyo; Osun; Kwara; Ondo; Ebonyi; Rivers; Niger; Kogi; and Katsina.

SERAP’s letter to AGF on need to stop the act read in part: “According to our information, those who reportedly receive double emoluments and large severance benefits from their states include: Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (Kano); Kabiru Gaya (Kano); Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom); Theodore Orji (Abia); Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa); Sam Egwu (Ebonyi); Shaaba Lafiagi (Kwara); Joshua Dariye (Plateau), and Jonah Jang (Plateau).”

“Others include: Ahmed Sani Yarima (Zamfara); Danjuma Goje (Gombe); Bukar Abba Ibrahim (Yobe); Adamu Aliero (Kebbi); George Akume (Benue); and Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers).”

The judgment is coming on the heels of the invalidated pension law for former governors and other ex-public officers in Zamfara State, which provided for the upkeep of ex-governors to the tune of N700 million annually. The state has produced three former governors since 1999.

#Newsworthy…

ICPC couldn’t get Lai Mohammad despite witness. – DSO

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), failed to produce the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed in court, to testify as a prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of the Director-General of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Ishaq Kawu Modibbo, Pinnacle Communications Ltd, and two others.

On October 21, the last adjourned date, the trial Judge, Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo- Giwa had threatened to close the case of ICPC against the defendants if it fails to produce Mr Mohammed and a subpoenaed bureau de change operator in court as a witness on December 3.

Despite the failure of the ICPC to produce the Information Minister to testify in court, a statement he made to the agency, tendered in court, indicated that he gave the approval for the release of N2.5 billion to the National Broadcasting Corporation as seed grant for the Digital Switch Over project of the Federal Government.

Prosecution counsel, Mr Henry Emoreh informed the court that though the case was for continuation of trial, he intends to close the case of the prosecution as he is not calling any more witnesses.

Reacting to the sudden decision of the prosecution to close its case, counsel to Mr Modibbo, Mr Akeem Mustapha said he would not be calling any witnesses.

Mr Mustapha said pursuant to section 303 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, he would be asking for the maximum 14 days to file the first defendant’s no-case-submission.

Similarly, Mr Alex Iziyon who is the counsel to the second and third defendants said he would not be calling any witness and therefore requested for the maximum 14 days period allowed by ACJ act to file a no-case-submission.

Reacting, the prosecution counsel told the court that he needed 21 days to reply to all the proposed applications for no-case-submissions of the defendants.

In a short ruling, Justice Ogunbanjo- Giwa noted that it would take 42 days for counsel to file and exchange processes in respect of the application for no-case-submissions.

Consequently, the court adjourned the matter to January 30, 2020, for adoption.

#Newsworthy…

I inherited an unhealthy economy.

…I make sure I cleared my N40bn debt – Al-Makura

Nassarawa Governor, Abdullahi Sule, has raised the alarm that the huge debt he inherited from previous administration was affecting the smooth running of his government.

He explained that tough times awaited the people next year as revenue accruing to the state kept dwindling. He regretted that huge sums of money taken by previous administrations were being deducted at source, monthly, by the Federal Government as bailout, budget support facility and infrastructure loan.

Governor Sule stated this at the retreat for new commissioners when he hosted speakers of legislative councils in the 13 LGAs at the government house, Lafia.

Daily Sun gathered that the immediate past government under Umaru Tanko Al-Makura received N8.9 billion bailout in September 2015. The same government also took another loan of about N800 million to pay salaries and N10 billion loan from excess crude account to develop infrastructures in the state.

But two months to handover, Al-Makura had said he was not leaving behind any debt for his successor.

Al-Makura, now a senator representing Nasarawa South had said he inherited N40 billion debt on assumption of office in 2011 but had cleared all the debt he inherited from past administration.

“The Sule administration will take off on a clean slate as all the debts owed by the state have been cleared. All the loans I took to execute capital projects have been paid off in addition to clearing N40 billion debt inherited,” Al-Makura had said

#Newsworthy…

Lagos government arrest 2 suspected killers of LASTMA officer.

The Lagos state government today Tuesday December 3rd, arraigned before the Magistrate Court in Yaba, two suspects alleged to have killed a Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) officer, Ola Oyeshina, in Apapa on Saturday November 30th.

The suspects, Abdullahi Akere, 31, and Nurudeen Ogungbe, 41, were arraigned on a two-count charge of attack and murder of a law enforcement officer.

The charge sheet read: “That abdullahi Akere, Nurudeen Ogungbe and others now, at large, on 29th day of November, 2019, at about 1800hrs at Ijora-Badia, Lagos State in the Lagos Magistrate District, did conspire among yourself to commit felony to wit: murder; an offence punishable under section 233 of the criminal law of Lagos State.

“That Abdullahi Akere, Nurudeen Ogungbe and others now at large, on the same date, time and place in the aforementioned magistrate district, did kill one Ola Oyeshina, age – 40 years, by hitting him with stone on his head and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 222 and punishable under section 223 of the criminal law of Lagos State.”

The Prosecutor, DSP Adegoke, read the charge to the two accused. They pleaded not guilty.

The presiding magistrate, Mrs. Ayeye ordered the remand of both suspects in custody as she adjourned the matter till 28th of January, 2020.

The state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Tuesday December 2nd, paid a condolence visit to the family of the slain LASTMA officer where he vowed to ensure the killers of the slain LASTMA official must be brought to book.

“In the last 48 hours, we have had heavy brutality on men of LASTMA who were doing their work. We have had people whose legs were amputated in the last 48 hours while on the assignment that was given to them to bring about enforcement of our laws and order.

“I think this is the level at which we need to make this very stern warning that we will not stop at ensuring that we implement and enforce our laws, not minding which force is involved” he said

#Newsworthy…

In – ASUU news NUTAS as FG alternative to IPPIS.

Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) chapter, has again appealed to the Federal Government to shun its planned move to include university lecturers on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS). According to the union, the Federal Government should consider the alternative offer from the university lecturers, known as Nigerian Universities Transparency and Accountability System (NUTAS). In a statement issued and signed by the branch Chairman of ASUU in FUTA, Dr. Olayinka Awopetu maintained that NUTAS would also adequately take care of all the claims of the Federal Government on lPPlS, the Universities Autonomy Laws as well as the peculiarities of the university’s academic environment.

Awopetu, who expressed the body’s disdain for corruption while the union embraced transparency and accountability in all sector of the nation but stressed the need for the Federal Government not to truncate the autonomy of the university system or reduce universities to local communities or arms of Federal Ministries.

Awopetu said: “While ASUU is not averse to transparency and accountability to the nation, including the university system, we believe this can be achieved in a way that will not truncate the autonomy of the university system or reduce our universities to local communities or arms of Federal Ministries.

#Newsworthy…

SAA – Worker’s strike has damaged reputation – Minister.

…As insurers shun troubled airline

South Africa’s Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has stated that the strike action initiated by the country’s aviation unions over pay has caused immense damage to the reputation, operations and finances of South African Airways (SAA).

Reuters reports that the Minister said the airline group will now go through a radical restructuring process which will ensure its financial and operational sustainability as there is no other way forward.

SA’s Department of Public Enterprise says over the past few days there has been intense discussions with lenders to secure the necessary funds to cover the operational and structural transition over the next few months.

To worsen the airline’s situation, two big travel insurance companies in South Africa have stopped covering tickets issued by SAA against insolvency as doubts grow about whether the struggling state-owned airline can survive.

Reuters reports that while the move is unlikely to push SAA into liquidation by itself, it will hurt ticket sales and exacerbate a cash crunch that has left the airline unable to pay salaries on time this month, analysts say.

SAA has not made a profit since 2011 and has been struggling with an unprofitable network, inefficient planes and a bloated workforce, despite bailouts of more than 20 billion rand ($1.4 billion) over the past three years.

Its financial position worsened dramatically after November 15, when two of its largest unions began an eight-day strike over pay that forced SAA to cancel hundreds of flights.

Banks want additional guarantees from the state before they lend SAA more money, but Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has refused, leaving the airline’s finances on a knife’s edge.

Gordhan still wants to save SAA, which says it needs more than 2 billion rand ($136 million) quickly to stay afloat.

Santam’s (SNTJ.J) Travel Insurance Consultants (TIC) said this week it had stopped its travel supplier insolvency benefit for SAA flights as Australian agency Flight Centre Travel Group (FLT.AX) said it would stop selling SAA tickets.

The company that administers Hollard Travel Insurance told Reuters that it had also excluded SAA from its travel supplier insolvency coverage, citing the airline’s finances.

In a letter to clients dated November 28, Flight Centre said its preferred travel insurance provider is no longer willing to cover SAA due to doubts about its long-term viability.

TIC said its reinsurers had instructed it to exclude SAA from its insolvency coverage. It did not disclose the names of its reinsurers.

Cyril Ramaphosa’s government has taken a harder line on SAA recently, saying repeated bailouts must come to an end. He is trying to preserve the country’s last investment-grade credit rating and revive growth in Africa’s second-biggest economy.

South Africa’s sovereign debt is rated “junk” by S&P Global and Fitch Ratings, but Moody’s still ranks it as investment grade, helping to prevent a spike in borrowing costs typically sparked by a downgrade from all three rating agencies.

Leitch said SAA’s liabilities exceeded its assets by a huge amount and the recent loss of confidence in the airline would force the government to decide whether to rescue it.

#Newsworthy…

I thank God for those security men who chased me from the school into the bush – Godswill Akpabio.

Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Sen Godswill Akpabio has sensationally revealed that he was an illegally pupil who used to sneak into a nearby school without being admitted but chased into the bush by security men due to non-payment of fees.

Addressing the inaugural convocation of Ritman University, Ikot Ekpene of which he is the chancellor, Akpabio however said that experience of being chased into the bush in which he injured himself, has moulded his life to the commitment of making sure every child is chased from the bush into school.

“I thank God for those security men who chased me from the school into the bush. They meant it for evil but God turned it to good. Ever since that harrowing experience, it has been my avowed duty and life-long commitment to chase children from the bush to the school.

´That bush race ignited a fire in me which neither the effluxion of time nor the limitations of resources can quench. As a Governor, that race for my life through the bush was the inspiration behind the free and compulsory education programme established by us.”Akpabio said.

He congratulated the proprietor of the university, Sen Emmanuel Ibokessien on reviving the pride of Ikot Ekpene which he said was the cradle of Akwa Ibom unity and the crucible of Akwa Ibom greatness, having been the first place where local government administration was experimented in West Africa as well as the birthplace of the famous Ibibio Welfare Union, which knit a historic quilt of ethnic unity and brotherhood.

The vice chancellor of the university, Prof Celestine Ntuen, said history had been made in the education system in Nigeria as Ritman University completed her wisdom cycle by graduating her first batch of students in exactly four years after commencement.

Ntuen said the institution which commenced its academic work on November 23, 2015, had kept the promise of producing education leaders and scholars capable of solving societal problems by turning challenges into opportunities and making a difference in their chosen fields.

He presented a list of 23 graduating students out of which, two bagged first honours in computer science and biology respectively, while the former governor Kano State, Sen Ibrahim Shekerau and a businessman in Akwa Ibom state, Chief Effiong Afiakurue, were conferred with honorary doctorates in science and business administration, respectively.

The proprietor of the school, Sen Ibokessien said Ritman University was a fulfillment of his childhood dream of seeing a school occupy the their forest in their community.

“Ritman University commenced academic activities for its premier undergraduate students on November 23, 2015., in three faculties with 14 as approved by the departments as approved by the NUC,” the proprietor said.

#Newsworthy…

Ibadan: Oyo Government Gives Motorists 3 Days To Vacate Ojoo.

Commercial motorists parking to load and offload passengers along the Ojoo Interchange at Akinyele Local Government Area in Ibadan have been given three days to vacate the place and use the designated Akinyele trailer park.

The three-day ultimatum given to commercial transporters was to ease the traffic situation along the Interchange towards UI road as well as the road leading to Lagos-Ibadan expressway from Ojoo.

The directive has indicated a ban on the activities of motorists along these routes which would attract stiff penalties if caught.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Mr. Ademola Ajibola

during a meeting with security and road management personnel on Friday said the governor, Seyi Makinde frowned at the way commercial cars and buses park at the roadside of the Ojo Interchange.

Ajibola noted further that for the safety of lives and beautification of the city, traders at the Interchange must move to Abatakan where stalls would be built for them while trailer operators at Abatakan would relocate to

Akinyele Trailer park.

“The governor has indicated his aversion to the continued use of the Ojoo Interchange, which was conceived and constructed to ease traffic congestion and stop accidents had claimed lives and properties due to trading and parking by motorists to load and offload passengers.

“He has approved a ban on trading and activities of motorists at this interchange in order to maintain the purpose for which it was built and any violation starting from Tuesday, 3rd of December will be dealt with by security and road transport management as dictated by the State’s environmental and transport laws,” Ajibola said.

#Newsworthy…

Update: FG begins lagos-ibadan free train transport

The Federal Government on Saturday announced the commencement of free train rides on the over $1.5bn new Lagos-Ibadan railway service.

It said the free rides would last for four months and urged commuters to use the train service during the festive season.

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who announced this via his official Twitter handle, noted that the standard gauge rail line was ready for use.

According to him, the free train ride would commence on Saturday (today), November 30, 2019, till the end of the first quarter of 2020.

The minister explained that the take-off point is the Iju train station in Lagos, while the free rides would help reduce the transportation cost incurred by commuters on the Lagos-Ibadan route.

Amaechi said, “Our free rides on the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line will begin today (Saturday) and run through March 2020.

“Commuters on that route can take advantage of it and save transportation during the festive period and beyond. Let’s ride on the #NextLevel. Take-off point is Iju.”

The minister’s tweet was greeted with several reactions, as some of his followers lauded the move, while others criticised the development.

Femi Otunba tweeted, “The lion of the Niger Delta, the Knight and the crusader of next level, thank you very much for not disappointing Nigeria and the peoples President, PMB.”

But Adedayo Adeyemo did not see any sense in the arrangement, as he stated that “there will be overcrowding, no one to hold accountable for poor service as it is free.

“Facility will be damaged due to overcrowded coaches and given that the train was procured through loan, how does free service help repay the loan?”

#Newsworthy…

My Ex Class Mate, Your Daughter Should Have Contested Against Me And Not You – Lalong Mocks Useni.

Governor Simon Lalong has taken a swipe at the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Governorship candidate, Lt. General Jeremiah Useni who lost out at the tribunal and the appeal court after challenging his victory at the 2019 Governorship election in Plateau state.

Lalong who recalled praying for his victory at the poll which according to him was the wish of the people of the state, stated the 76-year-old PDP Governorship candidate should have allowed his daughter who was his classmate contest against him.

He also averred that the validation of his reelection by the appellate court on Friday November 29, is “very sweet”.

“As far as I am concerned, the main election was more important for me. I did the election, I did a run off, we went to the tribunal the first time, we went again for the second time. Well I don’t know whether he is going for the third time,” he said.

“One thing I am very sure and with the confidence I have in Plateau people I know that this victory they are very happy about it. They have prayed about it and the victory is very sweet.

“I will say it again here, his (Useni) daughter was my classmate, I have told him several times, his first daughter was my classmate. So at this stage I would have been expecting his daughter to contest for governor and not him.

“His daughter was my classmate, we went to school together and so why should we be fighting? Fighting him is like fighting a father, it’s unfortunate but for me, I say my focus is Plateau state. We have done that in the first election, he was defeated, he said no, they will go back for a re-run, I said let’s go back for rerun.

“We went back for rerun I defeated him, he said no he was going for the tribunal. We went to the first tribunal, he said he is a general he doesn’t fight and retire, he will go to the Supreme Court. That I think is to make me lose focus but I have not lost any focus in Plateau State. As he is moving, I am becoming more determined because just before the judgment I think he will say go to Plateau state.”

Retired General Jeremiah Timbut Useni was responsible for the administration of Federal Capital Territory Abuja under the military junta of Sani Abacha. He was also the military governor of the old Bendel State from 1984 to 1985 and has also been a minister of transport.

#Newsworthy…

Pay attention to poverty in the nation and not hate speech or social media – CAN slam Nation Assembly.

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has waded into the controversy ignited by the social media and hate speech bills sponsored by some lawmakers in the national assembly.

In a statement released by Samuel Kwamkur the national director of legal and public affairs of the Christian association, CAN President Samson Ayokunle stated that the bill which has generated fear in different parts of the country will be of no good to Nigerians.

Ayokunle who insisted that the existing laws are strong enough to deal with cases of hate speech added that the bills appear to separately seek to gag Nigeria’s citizens from speaking out freely.

“These two bills have generated so much misgivings and criticisms that they have led to uncommon tension and fears among Nigeria’s Citizens. This is doing no good to the fears and apprehension of the citizens already on ground as a result of insecurity, deplorable infrastructural amenities and the general welfare of the people,” he said.

“Having looked at all sides to the debate, CAN is calling on the National Assembly, particularly the President of the Senate and all distinguished Senators to discountenance the two bills and put off completely any contemplation to pass them into Acts of the National Assembly as sincere lovers of the nation.

“The bills, in the general view of majority of Nigerians, and in ours too, appear to separately seek to gag Nigeria’s citizens from speaking out freely, but responsibly on matters that affect their lives in all spheres. This, to us, is an ill wind that will blow nobody any good

“The Penal Code, Criminal Code, Cyber Crime Act and other legal provisions on crimes that deal with hate speeches, defamation, libel and similar offences are clear and strong enough,” Ayokunle added.

“In this wise, we desire that governments at all levels and indeed members of the National Assembly pay greater attention to the issues of insecurity, economic hardship, poverty, bad roads, poor education and the dearth of infrastructure.

“We, therefore, call on our governments to respect the sanctity of the Nigerian Constitution and other extant laws and provide for all Nigerians a better nation to live in.”

#Newsworthy…

Just in – Ogun state government cancels monthly environmental sanitation and restrictions of movement.

The Ogun State Government has canceled the monthly environmental sanitation exercise in the state and also lifted the restriction of movement order.

This, the State Government said would enable secondary school students across the state to take part in the on-going National Examination Council (NECO) examinations. This was contained in a statement on Friday by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Dapo Abiodun, Kunle Somorin.

Abiodun, while giving the approval, said the decision was arrived at after reviewing the challenges that the restriction of movement order would have on the Mathematics paper in the NECO exams schedule for Saturday and which coincides with the timing of the monthly sanitation exercise.

“It has become expedient that the interest of the students be considered. Mathematics is a general subject and we need to facilitate hitch-free preparation and movement of students, teachers and NECO officials and examiners to various centres where the exams would hold within and outside the state,” the statement said.

Governor Abiodun, however, implored all citizens to ensure that the cleaning exercise is observed at their various houses, irrespective of the non-restriction of movement during the period of the exercise.

He further noted that it was imperative that all drainage channels be kept free of silts and refuse to avoid flooding of homes that could lead to the destruction of lives and properties.

“Cleaning should not be one-month affair. We need to take care of our personal hygiene and clean our environment regularly and on a daily basis to avoid outbreak of cholera and other preventable and communicable diseases that could lead to epidemics,” the statement further said.

The Governor mentioned that the Ministry of Environment and the Ogun State Environmental Protection Agency (OGEPA) have been mandated to go round and collect refuse generated during period of the exercise, while Environmental Health Officers have also been directed to ensure compliance with Public health regulations and bring offenders to book.

#Newsworthy…

Federal Government Orders Dismissal Of Unqualified Teachers Before Dec. 31st.

The Federal Government has reportedly ordered the sack of unqualified teachers before December 31 as confirmed by Prof. Segun Ajiboye, Registrar of the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) on Friday November 29.

Prof Ajiboye who disclosed this at the induction of over 200 education graduates of the University of Ibadan, said it is expected the sacked unqualified teachers will be replaced with qualified and certified education graduates.

The TRCN Registrar stated that Nigerian teachers now have a separate and unique career path with the recent approval of teachers’ career path by the National Council on Education. He however added that teachers found wanting in the code of practice will be sanctioned.

“It is worthy to stress the importance of today’s induction ceremony in line with government directives. The Federal Government has directed that by 31st of December 2019 all unqualified people practicing the profession of teaching would be swept from the classroom and their place would be occupied by young and vibrant professional teachers like you.

“We need to appreciate the fact that education unlocks the door to modernisation but the teacher holds the key to that door. Teachers are the hub of any educational system and the major determinant of its quality. This is so because teachers are saddled with the responsibilities of translating educational policies into practice and programmes into actions. Therefore, my dear inductees you have a big role to play in changing the pendulum of affairs in your places of service” he said.

#Newsworthy…

State governments should give priority to basic education by making funds available – Osinbajo.

Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo has called on state governments to give priority to basic education by making funds available.

He said the federal government will be working with states to enable them to access the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) funds that will enable them (states) to build schools and equip them appropriately.

Osinbajo said the federal government had made arrangements to support the states by budgeting N112.47 billion for UBEC.

He spoke in Abuja during the 2019 Nigeria Annual Education Conference with the theme: “Education for sustainable livelihoods: A systems approach to strengthening the sector for productivity and global competitiveness.”

The conference was organised by the Federal Ministry of Education in collaboration with the British Council and other development partners.

Prof. Osinbajo noted that the role of the Federal Government in the first nine years of a child’s life was minimal as this was the constitutional role and responsibility of both states and local governments.

The vice president said: “States simply have to prioritize basic education by making more funding available. Every person must have basic education at the very least. It is an existential issue. It is about the future of the citizens of every state.

“However, the Federal Government considers that it has crucial roles to play, especially to guide, inspire, coordinate, co-fund and complement the basic education strategy. And this must be so as this is important in the human capital development outcomes of the country.

“Fortunately, we already have arrangements to support state governments in this area through the funds made available to UBEC as a first line charge in the budget. The budgeted amount for UBEC in 2019 was N112.47 billion.

“As the Hon minister (of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu) has said, we will be working closely with states to enable them to access UBEC funds so as to build schools and equip them appropriately. Improving access and amount of funding by reviewing the process and conditionalities for accessing UBE Intervention Funds by states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) with the aim of increasing accountability is certain to generate a near term impact.

“Some of the states of the federation that have shown full or near-full access to UBE-Intervention Funds have shown progress in infrastructure, teacher development and teaching materials.”

He said that the federal government must find creative ways of dealing with the huge problem of out-of-school children.

According to the 2018 National Personnel Audit for primary school, Nigeria has 10,193,918 out-of-school kids.

He said the rise in school enrolment across the 33 states where the Home Grown School Feeding Programme of the federal government is being implemented, means that the government must find the resources to build additional classrooms across the country so that children can learn in optimal conditions.

“We must continue to find creative ways of dealing with the huge problem of out-of-school children. We have seen an almost 40% rise in school enrollment in schools across the 33 States where the Federal Governments Home Grown School Feeding Programme is being implemented, has led to over-crowding of classrooms which creates another set of problems with regard to school infrastructure and the ability of children to learn in such conditions.

“What our latest figures show is that we have 22.4m children in 406,000 classrooms in public primary schools in Nigeria. This is about 55 children in a class room which almost double the accepted standard of 30 children per class. This means that we will just have to find the resources to build additional classrooms across the country so that children (can learn in optimal conditions.

“It is evident that even with the best of effort, given resource constraints and our population growth rate of 2.6%, we will just have to think out of the box especially using technology and digital means to reach a growing number of children.

“This will also place a huge demand on resources both at the national level of ensuring wider broadband coverage and also at the school level in terms of the availability of computers,” he said.

Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu in his remark, said the Federal Government was concerned about the number of kids not in school, saying the current administration was committed to eradicating the menace in line with the Education 2030 Agenda.

Adamu who was represented by the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, said there was need to come up with better strategies to increase teachers’ capacity towards achieving sustainable development goals by 2030.

On his part, Mr Yao Ydo, Regional Director, UNESCO, said it was high time stakeholders began acting on the enablers of quality education for sustainable development, livelihood, productivity and global competitiveness.

Ydo said that policy decisions must be evidence-based and reflect a long strategic and holistic approach to education through the promotion of inclusive, equitable and lifelong learning opportunity for all.

He said that the UN system in Nigeria was totally committed to solving education challenges facing Nigeria.

Ydo said that UN system in Nigeria had validated a document called the UN Sustainable Development Partnership Framework 2018 to 2022 signed by the UN and the Nigerian government, a copy of which he presented to the vice president.

#Newsworthy…

Bauchi ban funeral funding introduced by past administration.

The Bauchi Government has announced the sack of heads of administration of the twenty local government areas in the state alongside a ban on financing of funeral service introduced by the previous administration.

Bauchi state’s Commissioner of Information and Communication, Dr. Ladan Salihu said the heads of administration were sacked to allow the smooth conduct of workers’ BVN verification exercise in the respective local government and also to block all financial leakages.

The state’s government also said it suspended the funding of burial services to stop the looting of public funds in the name of humanitarian services as over two billion naira has already been spent by the immediate past administration on the project.

“The suspension of the funding of burial services by the state government is to stop the looting of public funds in the name of humanitarian services. Over two billion naira was claimed to have been spent on the funding of such services by the immediate past administration.

“Instead of using public funds for such services, the state government has decided to sponsor the monthly provision of woods being used in graveyards across the state capital while members of the state cabinet will take charge of the provision of woods in their respective local government.

“We will designate our little resources and channel them to critical areas of needs such as infrastructure, health, education, and others,” Salihu said.

#Newsworthy..