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Vol. 36 No. 052 N200

Thursday, April 15, 2021/ Ramadan 3, 1442 AH

2552 Days after Malam Wada Maida (1950-2020), founding Chairman, Board of the Peoples Media Limited



. . . putting the people first

The nation awaits rescue of the remaining abducted Chibok schoolgirls

2023: APC rejects zoning list, says Buhari must be involved >>PAGE 15

Obaseki lied on printed N60bn claim, says FG

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FEC okays N539,277bn for FIRS, N501,472bn for Customs, N532. 6m for varsity library

Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State (2right) presenting slip allocation of food items for Ramadan to the chairman of municipal local government, Hafizu Alfindiki (2ndleft), with Deputy Governor, Dr. Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna (right) and commissioner Local Government, Murtala Sule Garo (left), during the ceremony in Kano yesterday.

COVID-19: How Nigeria lost $2.2b in bilateral trade to France, by Minister

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Kano govt supports 1,400 Reps agree to striking Police arrest 6, HIV/AIDS: US gives secondary schools with JUSUN’s demand for recover guns during Nigeria 6bn dollar N148m judiciary’s independence cult initiation in aid -Council pAGE 2

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News CONTENTS News 2-14 Op.Ed


Politics 15-17 Stock Watch Business Metro

18 19-20 21

World Analysis 22 Africa News


World News


Education: Kano govt supports 1,400 secondary schools with N148m

From Kano




o further strengthen its newly implemented policy of free and compulsory education, the Kano state government has flagged off the disbursement of N148 million to no fewer than 1,400 public secondary schools. Recall that the state governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje had last year implemented the policy, tagged Free and Compulsory Primary and Basic Education Policy in the state. Speaking at the flagg off of the disbursement of the fund to mark the Kano Education Day ceremony, held at the government house yesterday, governor Ganduje said the Kano Senior Secondary School Management Board and Science and Technical Schools Board are among the beneficiaries. According to him, his administration has accorded utmost priority on education

sector in view of its importance to the development of any society. He explained that the priority given to the sector led to the introduction of free and compulsory education policy in the state, noting that the issue of funding is very important in the implementation of the policy. He added that his administration has introduced a lot of policies for the development of education, but without funding, the policies can not be achieved. Ganduje further explained that his government decided to disburse the fund to assist the schools run their daily activities without hitches since students had stopped paying school fees as a result of the free education policy. “But I have to commend President Muhammad Buhari for providing counterpart funding under Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC). “I want to assure you that, since we came to office in 2015, we have never failed to provide

our counterpart funding for the development of education in Kano State. “I am happy to inform you that we are so upto date, because even as of 2021, we have already paid part of it.” Ganduje said. Earlier in his remarks, the state’s Commissioner of education, Me Sanusi Kiru said that during the event, 2,662 female secondary School teachers have successfully completed their crash NCE programme to upgrade their knowledge and qualifications. According to him, the female students were presented their certificates, adding that each of them have benefited from the female teachers’ scholarship of N50 thousand annually during their study. “In addition to the payment of hundreds million naira registration and certification fees. I am quite elated to inform you that with this initiative, Kano State has no single unqualified teacher in its payroll.

“We are also gagging off the distribution of mobile tablets to 44 Local Government Educational officers to simplify data generation, analysis and management with modern technology. “Before we leave this place, we are going to flag off the distribution of 543,360.000 English, mathematics and basic text books to 840 schools, 60 to each of the 14 zones. “And also the distribution of 10,000 copies of Teen Trust weekly papers to all secondary Schools across the state.” He explained. According to him, the state government has among other success recorded, achieved the establishment of 300 capacity Computer Base Test (CBT) centre at Murtala Muhammad Library. He explained that the state government has already secured the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) accreditation for the CBT examination, therefore ready for this year’s examination.

Lawan pledges support for Surveying profession

Sports 30-31 32

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Strike: Reps agree to JUSUN’s demand Delta inaugurate on independence of judiciary ...to meet with Governors Forum for implementation boat ambulances T By Christiana Ekpa

By Nosa Akenzua,Asaba


S part of measures to bring medical services closer to the riverine communities, the Delta State Government has inaugurated and handed over two boat ambulances for use in the ‘hard to reach communities’ in the state. Commissioner for Health in the state, Dr. Mordi Ononye, handed over the Boat Ambulances to Dr. Patrick Omu, Zonal Medical Director, Central Hospital Warri yesterday at Shell yard, Ogunu, Warri in Warri South Local Government Area. Dr. Ononye listed the six beneficiary Council Areas to include; Bomadi, Burutu, Patani, Warri North, Warri South and Warri South West.

Suspected bandits shoot sporadically in Benue community

he House of Representatives yesterday agreed with the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) on the need to guarantee the independence of the judiciary to enable the courts function effectively without external interferences. The House said that the autonomy of the judiciary was cardinal to the practice and survival of democracy. The parliament spoke when its committee on Judiciary met with JUSUN officials in Abuja on Wednesday. It will be recalled that the union had on April 6, 2021 embarked on a nationwide strike to protest the nonimplementation of the financial autonomy of the nation’s judiciary. Speaking at the meeting, the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Onofiok Luke said that the House shared in the sentiments expressed by the Union. He said: “As a Committee, we share in the sentiments as expressed by JUSUN. From our colleagues, they were just proposing some of measures that we feel that we can put in place to arrive at a just conclusion. We share in what you are saying not that we don’t understand where the problem is coming from, we know where the problem is. We don’t behave like the Ostrich, at least not this House under the leadership of Femi Gbajabiamila and the same strength and

spirit that the House leadership exhibits is the same strength and courage that is passed to the respective Committees where we look at those who need to do the right thing in the face and tell them this your responsibility, you ought to carry out your responsibility. “We hold the mandate in trust for the people of Nigeria who are at the receiving end of the negative impact of this industrial action and even the negative impact of the actions taken by those ought to take a better option or ought to have implemented this programme, who ought to have obeyed the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and so we are not here to actually point out accusing fingers or putting blames at people’s doorsteps. It is not going to help us solve these. “We can speak authoritatively that the only underlying item on the agenda in this industrial action is the issue of financial autonomy which will lead to the independence of the Judiciary and the views as expressed by members of this Committee were to get some more information from you that will help us come to a position that we can come and help us know those we can actually engage to get a possible solution to this impasse. “Let me state here that this House understands the fact that

a major ingredient of democratic governance is independence of the Judiciary. The House understands that. We have been advocating for it. It has found expression in the Legislative Agenda of the 9th National Assembly and we have acted and conducted our business in line with this understanding. “So what makes for the independence of the Judiciary is the financial autonomy of the Judiciary where it will lead to a good working environment for the judicial officers and staff. It will lead to better welfare and judicial officers discharging their responsibility without any fear or favour. “To that extent, we are in solidarity with you on the agitations that you are making to make sure that we have financial autonomy that we lead to the independence of the Judiciary”. Luke however picked holes with the shutting down of all courts by the JUSUN. He argued that the problem was more with some State governments which have not complied with the constitution on the financial autonomy of the judiciary. Stressing that the federal government has followed the law in the funding and release of finances to the courts under it, Luke said that the union cannot therefore punish it alongside the erring state governments. The lawmaker therefore

appealed to the Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF to intervene in the matter to correct the anomalies, saying the House would also engage with the Forum on the same issue. “Our only point of divergence here is the totality of the industrial action even within the Federal Courts because if the Federal Government has abided by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in making sure that money meant for Federal Judiciary - statutory transfer is sent straight to the National Judicial Council for the benefits of Courts and other Judicial bodies under the Federal Government, it not fair for Staff of the Judiciary at the Federal level to embark on this industrial action. I understand your agitation but please let’s narrow our agitation to those who have not complied with this issue of financial autonomy which are the States. “We want to appeal to Governors Forum to engage with JUSUN and to make sure that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is complied with to make sure that we have financial autonomy not only for the State Legislatures but equally for the Judiciary at the State level. We are appealing to the Governors, everyone to join hands together to make sure that we resolve this industrial action.”




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From: Uche Makurdi

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From right: Gov. Abubakar Sani-Bello of Niger; Commissioner for Health, Dr Muhamnad Makusidi; and the Executive Director of Niger State Primary Health Care Development Agency (NSPHCDA), Dr Ibrahim Dangana, at the commissioning ceremony of the NSPHCDA’s new office complex in Minna on Tuesday

Ramadan: Reps minority urges peace, nationwide reawakening By Christiana Ekpa

The Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives has called on Nigerians to use the Holy month of Ramadan for spiritual introspection, and suplications to God to intervene in the many challenges facing the nation. The lawmakers also urged Nigerians to use the period “to rekindle the spirit of selflessness,

love and tolerance towards one another as enjoined by the Holy Prophet Mohammed.” The caucus, in a statement by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu (PDP Delta) on Wednesday, stressed that “Ramadan points us to a life of piety, humility , self-restrain and recognition of God as the ultimate source”.

Indeed, we must yield to the divine essence of Ramadan and exert in prayers for our nation and ourselves particularly at this critical moment in our national history. “We must use the period to pray for national healing, and rekindled the spirit of unity, love tolerance and total dependence in God for direction and solution”, Elumelu stated.

The caucus expressed optimism that with concerted prayers and determination to rebuild our society, Nigeria will surely pull through her current economic and social predicaments. The lawmakers also urged all compatriots to use the period to overcome all primordial sentiments and reach out to one another in love so that collectively the nation can reap the benefits of Ramadan.

ersons suspected to be bandits yesterday shot sporadically into the air in Ukpute community , Oju local government. Peoples Daily gathered from a source who did not disclose his identity that the bandits came to the border between Konshisha and Oju and shot into the air to scare the people but could not gain entry into the community. According to him, there were no casualties. Another source also confirmed to our correspondent that the Divisional Police Officer for Oju local government area told him that there was heavy gunshots in Ukpute community yesterday and he promised to get back to this reporter but did not. When contacted the Police Public Relations’ Officer DSP Catherine Anene said she is unaware of any incident in Ukpute. Recall that the lingering border dispute between Ukpute in Oju and Bonta community in Konshisha LGAs of Benue claimed the lives of an army officer and eleven soldiers on peace keeping patrol last week.

L-R: French Minister of Trade,Franck Reister,rep.of Chairman,NGF and Governor of Plateau state,Simon Lalong and Cross River state Governor Ben Ayade when the French Minister paid a courtesy visit to the NGF secretariat, yesterday in Abuja.Photo: Mahmud Isa

Ramadan: Osinbajo preaches love, kindness, generosity


ice President Yemi Osinbajo has urged Muslim faithful in Nigeria to devote themselves to higher virtues of kindness, love and generosity towards one another as they observe Ramadan. The vice president spoke with State House correspondents shortly after presiding over the

Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. Muslims in Nigeria on Tuesday joined their counterparts around the world to begin the 30 days Ramadan fasting. “I must express my very sincere greetings to our Muslim brothers and sisters who have

begun the Ramadan fast already. “This is not just a time for abstinence from food, drink and other worldly pleasures; it is a time of rededication to the higher virtues — love, kindness, generosity, and consideration for others regardless of faith or ethnicity. “And also for our nation,

the time, I believe to recommit ourselves to unity, brotherhood, to peace and reconciliation in various ways so that our country will achieve all of the objectives that we set for ourselves. “So, I wish our Muslim brothers and sisters a very happy period of Ramadan; Ramadan Kareem,” he said. (NAN)



By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja


he Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said that the unabating misrule of the Buhari Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) pushed Twitter to take its African Headquarters to Ghana instead of Nigeria, despite the fact that Nigeria has far more twitter traffic and more business prospects than Ghana. The party said this in a statement

Change for good or be voted out - Fintiri tells Councils Chair


Presidency, APC’s misrule pushed Twitter to locate African hq In Ghana instead of Nigeria, says PDP yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan in Abuja. The PDP pointed out that Twitter’s preference for Ghana over Nigeria was occasioned by inconsistent economic policies, obnoxious suppression of free speech, stifling of online freedom and open internet by the Buhari administration and the APC. The main opposition party added, “This is in addition to infrastructural decay, massive corruption and

manifest failure of the Buhari Presidency and the APC to address the escalated insecurity brought upon our nation by their incompetent watch”. It added, “Indeed the decision by Twitter to by-pass Nigeria to locate its African operational base in Ghana is another sad commentary of how our nation, which was hitherto a global investment hub under the PDP, has now been so degraded in global economic competitiveness under the APC.

“Nigerians were heavily despaired on Monday when the founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, announced that his company will be setting up its headquarters on the continent in Ghana despite Nigeria’s domineering twitter traffic in the sub region. “With an estimated 39.6 million twitter subscribers in Nigeria, which is bigger than the population of Ghana, Nigeria ought to be the destination, but for the anti-people policies of the APC administration.

L-R: Director of Communication and Program, African Democratic Congress (ADC), Barr. Ifenla Oligbinde, Diaspora Leader, (ADC), Stephen Adeoye; Deputy National Chairman Diaspora Engagement, Hon. Kenneth Gbandi and National Youth Leader, (ADC), Barr. Maurice Ebam, during the ADC media briefing on the Party activities positioning the party to win future elections held yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo.

From Umar Dankano,Yola


overnor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa State has challenged all the 21 Local Government Council Chairmen in the State to sit up or be voted out in the next election. Fintiri stated that he has been receiving series of complaints that the council chairmen are not doing anything to better the lots of the electorates in their local councils. The Governor who spoke at the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Stakeholders meeting at the Banquet Hall, Government House, Yola, on Wednesday said “the people of the State especially those at the grassroots are not happy with the performances of the council chairmen. “But be reminded that you better change or be voted out in the Local government elections which is just few months from now. “It is unfortunate that as elected people to represent the government at the grassroots, you are the ones attempting to undermine the administration. We will not fold our arms and see the decay in the local government administration as the few ones that are committed will be reelected”, the Governor stressed. He said his administration inherited a socially destabilized society with a disenchanted citizenry who live in constant fear of losing their lives, livelihood and properties.

“Itissadthatournationhascontinued to lose huge foreign direct investments, which would have brought in more economic opportunities, especially for our youths, just because the Buhari Presidency and the APC lack the capacity to deliver on good governance. ‘The preference by Twitter for Ghana over Nigeria has further demonstrated that the Buhari administration’s claims on ease of doing business in Nigeria are mere media hypes.

Malnutrition: 67,500 would be mothers get supplements in Kaduna From: Femi Oyelola, Kaduna


n its bid to boosts the nutrition and immune system of expecting mothers, Kaduna State Primary Health Care Development Board (PHCB) is set to provide supplements to 67, 500 would be mothers. The Executive Secretary of the Board, Dr Hamza Abubakar, disclosed this yesterday when the Civil Society Scaling up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), paid him an advocacy visit. The Executive Secretary who was represented by Dr Neyu Iliyasu, said that the intervention would also save the lives of the unborn children.

According to him, the pregnant women will be given ion and folic acid, as well as Sulphadoxine Paramitamin to prevent malaria. “The ion, folic acid and SP will also prevent anaemia among the pregnant women,’’ Abubakar said. He assured that supplementing the targeted 67,500 pregnant women within 2021 would be achieved considering the number of facilities in the state. On malnutrition, the secretary noted that it has lingered in the state due to many reasons, but assured that the government has the political will to address the situation. According to him, the intervention for nutrition has

been scaled up in Kaduna State, with the government releasing N1 million monthly to all local governments to support nutrition interventions. Abubakar also said that nine facilities in each local government were utilising the minimum packages for nutrition services. “We usually have an annual operational plan which we can’t disclose now, but the plan is also to scale up nutrition, we usually do the planning with Civil Society Organisations. “We thank the media for availing us the opportunity to be updated based on the new priorities coming up in the state. “It is an opportunity for us, if we

don’t meet the target we want in terms of capacity building, then it will be chipped into the annual operational plan. “The annual operational plan is not just a document for the state, but for partners and CSOs to use and understand where the state is heading’’, Abubakar said. He thanked the group for its advocacy and assured that the board was committed to improving the nutrition status of women and children. “We have enjoyed a lot of support from various partners especially CS-SUNN that has been in the forefront in ensuring that nutrition is supported in Kaduna state’’, he said.

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Obaseki lied on printed N60bn claim, says FG T By Egena Sunday Ode

he Federal Government has reproved the claim by Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, that it printed N60 billion in March to augmentation the monthly federal allocation to states. Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, stated this Wednesday while answering questions from newsmen at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. According to Ahmed also, despite Governor Obaseki’s alarm over the alleged spiraling debt profile which he said had put the country in ‘huge financial trouble’, the nation’s debt was still within sustainable limits. Obaseki was quoted to have said at the Edo transition committee stakeholders engagement last Saturday that, “When we got FAAC for March, the federal government printed additional N50-N60 billion to top-up for us to share. “This April, we will go to Abuja and share. By the end of this year, our total borrowings are going to be within N15-N16 trillion.” The Finance Minister, however, explained that what was distributed at the monthly Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meetings were generated revenue from government institutions available to the public at the ministry’s website. “The issue that has been raised by the Edo State Governor, for me, is very sad because it is not a fact. What we

How Nigeria lost $2.2b in bilateral trade ....FEC okays N539,277bn for FIRS, N501,472bn for to France due to COVID-19, Customs, N532. 6m for varsity library distributed at FAAC is revenue that that was seeking for Council’s approval Motors, Wada Motors, Westwood is generated and in fact distribution for the design, construction and supply Motors, Global Motors, providing by Minister revenue is a public information, we of two NC36M patrol boats, in favour different categories of vehicles that publish it. “So, it’s revenue generated by the FIRS, the Customs and the NNPC, that we distribute at FAAC. So it is not true to say we printed money to distribute at FAAC, it is not true. “On the issue of the borrowing, the Nigerian debt is still within sustainable limits. What we need to do, as I have said several times, is to improve our revenue to enhance our capacity to service, not only our debt obligations, but also to service the needs of running government on day to day basis. So, our debt, currently at about 23% to GDP, is at a very sustainable level. You can look at all the reports that you see from multilateral institutions, those facts are stated, she said. Speaking on the outcome of the FEC meeting earlier, the Finance Minister disclosed that Council, at at Wednesday’s meeting approved the award of contract in the sum of N539,277,673.75, inclusive of 7.5% VAT for the construction of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) building at the Ilupeju Medium and Small Taxpayers’ office in Lagos state. She said her Ministry presented a memo on behalf of the FIRS to that effect. Ahmed also said: “The ministry also presented, on behalf of the Nigerian Customs Service, a memo

of Messrs of Boat Plus Limited, in the sum of N5,062,530,400, inclusive of 7.5% VAT with a delivery period of 12 months and council approved our request. “We also presented a memo, again on behalf of the Nigerian Customs Service, for the approval of Council for the design, construction and supply of seven fast assault patrol boats and seven regular patrol boats, in favour of Messrs Siwa West Africa Limited, in the sum of N,501,472,471.08, inclusive of 7.5% VAT with a delivery period of eight weeks. “The purpose of the purchase of these two types of patrol boats is to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of operations of the Nigerian Customs Service in its bid to control smuggling and also ensure enhanced efficiency in all customs duty operations in the Marine Unit of the Nigerian Customs Service. “We also presented, again on behalf of the Nigeria Customs Service, a request for Council’s approval and council approved the procurement of 427 operational vehicles for the Nigerian Customs Service operations in favour of various contractors in the combined sum of N14.55 billion, inclusive of 7.5% VAT with a delivery period of four weeks and there are several contractors, including Elizade

are meant for field operations of the Nigerian Customs Service. These memos were all well received by Council and they were approved.” Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, also presented a memo to council for the award of contract for the construction and furnishing of the extension of the library of the University of Ibadan at the cost of N532 million. Lai Mohammed who spoke on behalf of the Minister, explained that “it was a memo that was very well received because of the need to actually extend the library facility in the University. For many years, the library of the University of Ibadan had needed real extension, given the surge of the students population. “The extension project will comprise two suspended floors, two online reading areas, three cubicles, one physically challenged reading area, four seminar rooms, one reprographic unit, six staff offices, one control room, general rooms, stores, four E-libraries, a coffee room, a media unit room, one galaxies exhibition room and a journal publication unit, in addition to two reading areas. “Like I said, this was awarded to UYK Nigeria Limited, at the sum of N532,609,000 and it’s to be delivered in 48 weeks.”

Edo Duke seeks reform of vigilance groups, accountability from govt By Osaigbovo Iguobaro


he Duke (Enogie) of Eyaen, His Royal Highness Osazuwa Aiwerioghene Iduriase in Uhunmwode Local Government Area has urged the State Government to properly screened persons being recruited as members of vigilante groups in the State. He also tasked the Government to fulfil her electoral promises, particularly the deplorable roads, flooding and blockage of the water channel by unauthorized land developers in the neighbouring Community as the wet season sets in. He made the submission at a courtesy call by the leadership of

Correspondents’ Chapel of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Edo State Council at his palace in the Local Government Area of the State where he tasked journalists on objective and balanced reportage. The traditional ruler said the operations of the vigilante groups as constituted is not only appalling, but falls short of public expectations arising from lack of background checks and reports of alleged extortions from property developers and other lawful residents in the State. “So, I am advising and also appealing to the state government and law enforcement agencies to watch carefully before any member can be giving the authority to go about with gun. “Not all the personnel recruited

are vigilante. Recruiting members into vigilante without appropriate screening. A member of a vigilante ought to have come with a surety or be recommended by the traditional ruler, village head, head of Community and head of street to the Divisional Police Officers or the Area Commander or Commissioner of police for appropriate documentation and recommendation”, he said. Iduriase admitted however that the vigilance groups in collaboration with security agents have helped in crime reduction, with a charge on Nigerians to support the security agencies for effective service delivery. According to him, “A group of persons who form themselves or calling themselves vigilante here

in our Community, we have seen them trying to extort money from developers in the Community, harassing them with guns. They called themselves vigilante. This has already been reported to the police station. properly screen them. “Before I could recommend a person to be recruited into vigilante I must have know about the person’s background and history. If any vigilante member happens to commit crime you will know where to trace the vigilante member to. Just bringing anybody in the name of security in the town is not safe for the people. “I want to encourage you to do more and ask our governments to do all that they promises. Let them fill all the promised made during

the electioneering campaigns as the rain season is set in. “I want to an appeal that you should focus on our government. Let them know that we all know our right. Let them know that you can remember them on their promises while they were campaigning. Now rainy season is fast approaching majority of the areas that are presently motorable within a short period from now such areas will no longer be motorable again. “You won’t be able to drive out or go into your Street because there is no erosion control. That is what some members of the Community are against what I am doing. Both the foot path and road wide enough for vehicle is the same thing during the rainy season because water must finds its way.


A section of the houses burnt by attackers in Nyuwar community, Balanga Local Government Area of Gombe State on Tuesday

HIV/AIDS: US provides $6 bn dollars to Nigeria since 2003, says Consul


he U.S Consul-General in Nigeria, Claire Pierangelo, on Tuesday, announced that the US government had provided over $6 billion since 2003, as assistance for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS in the country. Pierangelo revealed this when she led a delegation on a courtesy visit to Gov Seyi Makinde of Oyo state, at the Government House, Agodi, Ibadan. She stated that 1.2 million Nigerians were currently under HIV/ AIDS treatment for life, explaining

that the delegation was in Ibadan for the launch of the HIV/AIDS Treatment Surge programme, that would be held on Wednesday. The Consul General, who said the launch of the programme in Oyo state, would create additional opportunity for many people to be put under treatment, added that the programme had already been launched in seven states of the federation. “Additionally, we are looking for other ways of cooperation; whether

in training or cooperation on child immunisation.” She said. In her response, the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Olubamiwo Adeosun, who received the delegation, on behalf of Gov Makinde, thanked the ConsulGeneral and her team for the visit. Adeosun said the state government team had held useful discussions with the delegation on areas of cooperation between the Oyo state government and the consulate.

.“With those discussions, we know that they will be keying very much into the pillars of this government; especially in training, which has to do with education. “As well as the whole HIV surge programme and other public health programmes we will be doing, which tie directly to our health policy”, she stated. Adeosun promised that actions would follow immediately, after the launch of the programme in the state on Wednesday.

By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja


he French Minister in charge of Foreign Trade and Attractiveness, Mr. Franck Riester revealed Tuesday that Nigeria has lost a whopping $2.2 billion in bilateral trade with France as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic. Mr. Riester made the revelation after a meeting with Nigeria governors on Tuesday in Abuja. The Minister disclosed that the bilateral trade amounted to a total of $4.5 billion in 2019, but shrank to $2.3 billion in 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. According to him, “France is a major financial partner for Nigeria, being the second bilateral creditor of Nigeria after China. Thanks to the involvement of French Development Agency (AFD). “AFD engaged more than €2 billion in the last 10 years in over 35 development projects. “France will also dedicate financing and capacity building in the health sector in some Nigerian states,” the minister stated. France, he added, is also one of the major partners of the COVAX initiative, noting that last February, French President, Emmanuel Macron warned that the failure to share vaccines would entrench global inequality. According to Riester, the President proposed sending part of the coronavirus vaccine supplies owned by European countries, the United States, China and Russia to developing countries. The minister explained that there are about 100 French companies presently in Nigeria investing in the health, energy, environment logistics and other secrors, and with over 10,000 employees. He pointed out that a €3.5 billion “Choose Africa” conference on President Emmanuel Macron initiative will be opened in Lagos, to support start-ups and SMEs in Africa, which Nigerian entrepreneurs have already benefited from. The Minister, who is on a twoday visit to Nigeria, explained that the visit followed on the priorities set by French President Macron during his official visit to Nigeria in July 2018 and his willingness to change the narrative of the relations between Africa and France. The French Minister will have several official meetings in Abuja and Lagos, to stress the importance of the bilateral economic relation. The Plateau State governor, Mr Simon Lalong, who represented the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said the meeting was fruitful,. Lalong added that the Minister would meet with business community and other stakeholders today.




Traditional President Buhari approved key ruler urges appointments in Education sector Nigerians P to take COVID-19 vaccine Maryam Abeeb, Abuja

resident Muhammadu Buhari, has approved the appointments of persons into key establishments in the education sector. This was made known in a statement by the Director of Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Education, Ben Goong in Abuja. The appointments are:

Prof. John Okpako Enaohwo Chairman, Governing Board, National Commission for Colleges of Education, (NCCE), Abuja. Prof. Abdullahi A. Abba, Pro- Chancellor/ Chairman, Governing Council, Federal University of Health Sciences, Otukpo, Benue State. Prof. Idris Muhammad Bugaje - Executive Secretary, National

Board for Technical Education, (NBTE), Kaduna. Dr. Benjamin Ogbole Abakpa -Executive Secretary, National Senior Secondary Education Commission, (NSSEC), Abuja Prof. Paulinus Chijikoke Okwelle - Executive Secretary, National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) Abuja Prof. Ibrahim Muhammad

- Director/CEO, Nigerian Arabic Language Village, Ngala, Borno state. Also, Mrs. Hajo Sani (OON) - Ambassador / Permanent delegate of Nigeria to United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization(UNESCO). According to the statement, the appointments are with effect from the 16th March, 2021.




promotes Police arrest 6 suspects during FRSC 10 Senior officers, cult initiation, recover guns 26 others T T he Police Command in Anambra says it has arrested six youths aged between the ages of 17 and 25 years suspected to be cult members. DSP Toochukwu Ikenga, the Police Public Relations Officer of the command disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday. He said that the suspects were rounded up around Amikwo village in Awka, the state capital. Ikenga said that the suspects were arrested during a ceremony

where some youths were being initiated into a cult group. He said that two locally made pistols and eight live cartridges were recovered from the suspects. The PPRO said that the suspects had confessed to being members of Black Axe Confraternity and had participated in the shooting incident of April 12, which resulted to the death of an unidentified man in Ukwuoji area of Awka. He gave the names of the suspects as Ejinaka Chukwujekwu

(17) Emeka Nwanna (18) Michael Ozuah (20) Chukwuma Obu (22) Onyemaechi Chijoke (25) and Ifeanyi Ebeze (25). According to him, following credible intelligence at about 12 pm, police operatives attached to Anti-Cult unit of the command busted the Den of Cultists and Armed robbery gang in Amiwko Village, Awka and arrested six suspects “Exhibits recovered include two locally made pistols and eight live

cartridges. “Preliminary investigations reveal that the suspects are actively involved in the recent shooting incident at about 8:am, April 12, that resulted to the death of one yet unidentified young man at Ukwuoji, Awka. “They equally confessed to be members of Black Axe Confraternity and will be charged to court on conclusion of the investigations,” he stated. (NAN)


ze Samuel Ohiri, former chairman of Imo Council of Traditional Rulers, on Wednesday urged Nigerians not to entertain fears about safety of the COVID-19 vaccine. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, have recommended that America suspended the Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, after six cases of a “rare and severe” type of blood clot was reported. The cases were reported among women between the ages of 18 and 48 years, and the symptoms occurred six to 13 days after vaccination. Ohiri, a medical laboratory graduate and also chairman of HI-TECHDIAGNOSTICS LIMITED, manufacturers of Diagnostic Test Kits, however, told NAN in Abuja, that both Johnson & Johnson and the Astrazeneca vaccines were safe for humans. “The U.S. Government has taken this action just out of an abundance of caution. It is prudence to make sure that the risk, if any, is not significant. “Again, looking at the data, only six cases of this blood clot, out of about six million people who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the United States, to me is very insignificant. “I believe that both Johnson & Johnson and the Astrazeneca vaccine being used in Nigeria, are Safe,” he said. The royal father, who reiterated confidence in the vaccination process, said it was the roadmap to genuinely containing the virus, as well as achieving national immunity. He strongly advocated for universal immunisation for global wellness, aimed at restoring prosperity both in health and wealth. Ohiri, however, advised the public to disregard insinuations that could undermine the reality of the dangers COVID-19 and its emerging strains, posed to health. (NAN)

From right: Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Judiciary Look Onoffiok, Deputy chairman of the committee Barr. Haruna Isa Dederi, members of the committee Ibrahim Kunle Olarewaju and Shaba Ibrahim, during a meeting with the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria over their industrial action on the financial autonomy, at the National Assembly, in, yesterday in Abuja Photo: Mahmud Isa

HIV/AIDS prevalence rate drops in Benue, NACA reveals

From: Makurdi




he National Agency for the Control of AIDS has revealed that the prevalence rate for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, HIV, which causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, AIDS has dropped from 12.9 to 4.7 percent in Benue State. Zonal Coordinator, North Central Zone of the Agency, Mr

Lawrence Kwaghgba made the disclosure yesterday during a courtesy call on Governor Samuel Ortom at the Government House, Makurdi. Kwaghgba who acknowledged the support of the Benue State government in the fight against the spread of the scourge, noted that the desire of NACA and the world in general is to end the spread of HIV-AIDS by 2030. He pledged sustained

and increased funding from government at all levels, even as he stressed that there was need for increased budgetary allocation to the state and zonal offices of NACA to be able to achieve set goals. The Zonal Coordinator further solicited revival of local offices of the agency for improved service delivery, pointing out that government support in terms of funding at this point is imperative.

Responding, Governor Samuel Ortom expressed delight over the sharp drop in the prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS and pledged his administration’s support to the agency to achieve its set objectives. The Governor pledged improved funding to the agency in the state, even as he acknowledged the support of donor agencies and development partners to the fight against the spread of the deadly scourge.

36 civil servants graduate from Digital Literacy Skills From:Femi Kaduna



hirty-six civil servants of the Kaduna State Resident Registration Agency (KADSRRA) have graduated in Digital Literacy Skills Assessment and Training (DLAT) programme, courtesy of the United States Agency

for International Development (USAID). The training lasted for sixweek in two phases: Basic training on digital literacy and Advance training on data analysis. Speaking at the closing ceremony in Kaduna yesterday, the Executive Secretary of KADSRRA, Zayyad Tsiga said digital knowledge in a

digital world is of paramount importance. He urged the participants to make judicious use of the knowledge acquired. The ES said the training, which is hundred percent funded by USAID, was basically aimed at providing digital skills for public servants in the State.

Earlier, the team lead of Ihifix technology limited, Mr Emmanuel Odeh Adikpe said the digital literacy assessment and training is a project under the Nigeria Early Response Initiative (NERI) meant to provide remote skills assessment and in-person computer literacy, digital skills, and data analysis for the participants.

L-R: The Managing Director of Kaduna Electric, Engr. Garba Haruna, presenting souvenirs to the Commander of Nigerian Air Force Base, Kaduna, Air Commodore, A. Iyamu when the Commander paid a courtesy call on the MD yesterday.

Kaduna Electric MD commends NAF for prompt settlement of Electricity Bills From: Femi Oyelola, Kaduna


he Nigeria Air Force Base Kaduna has been commended for prompt settlement of its electricity bills. The Managing Director/ CEO of Kaduna Electric, Engr Garba Haruna, made this commendation when he received the Commander, NAF Base Kaduna, Air Commodore A Iyamu, in his office. According to the MD/CEO “ We are quite happy to be working with the Nigeria Air

Force, I think it is the best among the whole MDAs not only in military but in all the MDAs in terms of response to payment”, he stated. He said Kaduna Electric will strive to maintain the existing good relationship with the NAF Base, adding that: “Since we have a very good relationship with you especially in terms of payment of bills I think we should be able to provide you with the type of services you want”. Earlier in his address, the Commander, NAF Base Kaduna, Air Commodore A

Iyamu, commended Kaduna Electric for improvement in power supply to the Base “ The light has improved tremendously around that axis.” He also solicited the support of Kaduna Electric in sponsoring some of its activities, “as part of your Corporate Social Responsibility, we have a golf course and we are inviting you to come and sponsor a tournament even if it’s a one day tournament. I think we are one of your most stable customers in Kaduna, we are not asking much otherwise we have had a very wonderful relationship.”

Police arrest two suspected armed robbers in Jigawa From Mika’il Tsoho, Dutse


he Jigawa state police command have arrested two suspected Armed robbers in Masama village Gumel local government Jigawa state. This was confirmed by the police spokesman in the command ASP Zubairu Aminuddeen Ismail in a statement signed and issued to news men in Dutse the state capital.

He explained that On 10/04/2021 at about 0600hrs one Haruna Mohammed M aged 60yrs of masama village came to Gumel police station and reported that on the same date at about 0330hrs unknown Armed Robbers criminally conspired. The statement maintained that the suspects broke into his house, attacked and shot his son one Ado Dankawu M Aged 35yrs with a dane gun and also cut him with a

cutlass. He said, as a result he sustained different degree of injuries and also took his money the sum of one million seven thousand naira N1,007,000.00k. According to the statement, The police on receiving the information rushed to the scene, victim was taken to Gumel General Hospital for medical treatment. It said, One Musa Ado M aged

30yrs and Abdullahi Ado M aged 25yrs all of masama village were identified and arrested in connection with the offence. Effort is on to arrest one Amadu Yau M now at large who was also identified by the said victim. The statement said the Case is still under investigation, urging good people of Jigawa state to continue to cooperate with police for a better peaceful Jigawa state.

he Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) has approved the promotion of an Assistant Corps Marshal (ACM) to the rank of Deputy Corps Marshal (DCM) and nine Corps Commanders (CC) to the rank of Assistant Corps Marshal (ACM). The Corps Public Education Officer (CPEO), ACM Bisi Kazeem, who disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, added that 26 Deputy Corps Commanders (DCC) were also promoted to the rank of Corps Commander (CC). Kazeem said that the approval came at the end of the meeting of the Commission on 12 April, 2021 which ratified the resolution of the Establishment Committee. He disclosed that the promotion took effect from 12 April, 2021. “ACM Victor Nwokolo becomes DCM, to represent the South Eastern Zone, following the retirement of DCM Kenneth Nwaegbe. “Three other ACMs, who were also promoted with the mandate to proceed on terminal leave with immediate effect are ACM Kehinde Adeleye in charge of Policy, Research and Statistics Department at the national headquarters, “ACM Godwin O. Ogagaoghene, the Zonal Commanding Officer in charge of Benin Zonal Command, as well as ACM Edward A. Zamber, the Zonal Commanding Officer in charge of Yola Zonal Command, ” he said. Kazeem also gave the names of the nine CC promoted to ACM as CC Kumapayi Ayodele who currently is the Sector Commander in Anambra, CC Wobin Gora, Sector Commander FCT and CC Chidi Nkwonta, Sector Commander, Bayelsa. “CC Adetunji Adegoke, the Deputy Corps Secretary at the National Headquarters, Abuja, and CC Godwin Omiko, Deputy Commandant, FRSC Command and Staff College, Enugu. “Others are the Head, Policy Advisory Unit in the Office of the Corps Marshal, CC Emmanuel Nnanna Obot, CC Yerima Musa Ramalan in the Department of Policy, Research and Statistics at the national headquarters. “CC Rindon Kunven in charge of the Corps Safety Engineering Office, CC Sunday Iyamah, in charge of the Corps Budget Office at the national headquarters, ” he said. Kazeem said that six other CCs were also promoted to ACM with the mandate to hand over to the most senior officers in their department/ command and proceed on their statutory three months terminal leave with effect from 12 April, 2021. “The six officers are CC K.C. Alao, CC K.O. Akinusoye, CC O.A. Daniel, CC A.A. Hammed, CC S.O. Aborchi, and CC S.O. Oke. “While the newly promoted CC are DCC JO Asaolu of the Corps Budget Office and DCC Ann Odeleye in charge of National Road Safety Advisory Council. “DCC Lasun Bamigbayan, in charge of Quality Management System at the national headquarters and DCC P.I. Ugwu of FRSC Academy Udi, Enugu State. “Others include the Head, FRSC Signage, Gwagwalada, DCC Dapel, DCC U.A. Ibrahim, DCC A.M. Hassan, DCC P.C. Okoyeocha and 18 others, ” he said. The Board Chairman, Bukhari Bello, expressed delight at the transparency and objectivity that characterized the whole process. (NAN)




Over 1.2 million children yet to be immunised in Nigeria – UNICEF T

he United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says no fewer than 1.2 million children in Nigeria are yet to be immunised. The figure accounts for about six per cent of 20 million children globally who are yet to be vaccinated. Mrs Folashade Adebayo, UNICEF’s Communication Officer, made the disclosure in Yola on Wednesday, at an ongoing “Media Dialogue On Routine Immunisation, Post Polio Certification and COVID-19 Vaccination”. The meeting was organised by The Child Rights Information

Bureau (CRIB) of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in collaboration with the UNICEF. According to science.org. au, immunisation is described as “the process whereby people are protected against illness caused by infection with microorganisms, formally called pathogens. The term vaccine refers to the material used for immunisation, while vaccination refers to the act of giving a vaccine to a person.” Adebayo said that over 20 million children in the world are not immunised, adding that, about six per cent of them are in

Nigeria are basically missing out on vital vaccines. According to her, there is a need to report more stories on poor immunisation rates in Nigeria to wake parents up to do the right thing for their children. Adebayo said that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had also disclosed that Nigeria is the country with the highest number of under five-deaths in the world. She said that this position really called for serious attention on the part of the parents to take the issue of immunisation of their children serious at this point time. “Improving survival and

well-being of our children matters most here, the direct or underlying cause of 45 per cent of all deaths of under five children is immunisation. “Nigeria has the second highest burden of stunted children in the world, 2.7 million other children are wasted. “Also the COVID-19 pandemic and measures to contain it are worsening,” she said. She, however, called for change in the narrative on the part of the parents, adding that, governments and other relevant agencies must also play their key role to achieve better results. (NAN)

ice President Yemi Osinbajo answering questions from State House Correspondents after the virtual Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by him at the State House in Abuja on Wednesday. With him is the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

Ibori loot: 180 party chairmen threaten court action By Nosa Akenzua,Asaba


o fewer than 108 chairmen of political parties in the SouthSouth geopolitical zone have vowed to drag the Federal Government to court, should it refuse to refund the repatriated Ibori funds to Delta State. The United Kingdom (UK) and Nigeria has signed an agreement for the return of the funds which amounted to N2.4 billion at the official exchange rate, a

development which triggered controversy over the rightful source of the money. In his argument, the AttorneyGeneral of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami claimed that “the major consideration relating to who is entitled to a fraction or perhaps the money in its entirety is a function of law and international diplomacy”. But in a communiqué issued by the South-South Political Parties Coalition (SSPPC) at the end of its meeting on April

9, 2021, the group accused the Federal Government of being overtly desperate to claim the funds which belonged to Delta State Government. The statement jointly signed by the National Chairman, Prince Favour and nine others, said, “it has never been heard in history that recoveries of this manner are generally shared, other than refunding and reimbursing the source of the loot”. “SSPPC frowns at the desperation of the Federal

Government in their attempt-torob-Peter-to-pay-Paul attitude in the clear circumstances that the funds returned is rightly and solely a Delta State Government and her people’s money. “Therefore SSPPC, the voice of the Niger Delta people, has resolved to back and support the Delta State Government and her people in the pursuit for the refund of their money, and we will not hesitate to challenge the actions of the Federal Government in a competent law court”. the group said.

Nigeria’s membership of IEC will facilitate FDI — Minister


he Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, has expressed optimism that Nigeria’s membership of the International Energy Charter (IEC), would facilitate Foreign Direct Investment in the energy sector. The Minister said this on Tuesday in Abuja when he declared open a two-day National Energy Summit organised by Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) in collaboration with the IEC, Brussels. The News Agency of Nigeria NAN reports that the membership of the body was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016. Onu said that the IEC and ECN had conducted studies on Energy Investment Risk Assessment (EIRA) of the Nigerian energy sector, which would be presented by the IEC secretariat during the summit. According to him, the summit seeks to highlight how Nigeria’s membership of the International Energy Charter will deepen growth and development in Nigeria’s energy sector for sustainable national development. He noted that the energy sector was undergoing many transformations and that reforms within the sector were ongoing. “Nigeria is preparing for a post crude oil era, national gas utilisation is receiving a lot of attention. “Our methanol utilisation policy is aimed at increasing the use of natural gas in the production of both fuel and electricity generation. “This will help stop gas flaring in the country, protect and preserve our environment as well as diversify the energy sector of our economy and we are also investing in both research and renewable energy,’’ he said. The Minister called for both foreign and local investment to help build the necessary infrastructure for efficient exploitation of the huge energy resources available in the country. He also said that government had provided incentives to encourage this investment, adding that the return on investment was very favourable. In his welcome address, Prof. Eli Bala, Director-General of Energy Commission of Nigeria, said the objectives of the summit was to bring to limelight how membership of the IEC would facilitate energy sufficiency. He said that energy sufficiency and sustainable economic growth in Nigeria could only be driven on an active participation of the private sector as articulated in the National Energy Policy. “Thus, the Energy Investment Risk Assessment(EIRA) reports, which highlights the investment risks in the Nigeria energy sector also reveals the flip-side that would minimise or eliminate the risks,’’ he said. He further said that in order to transit from an observer State of the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) into a full signatory three country study reports were imperative.


Page 9

Cross River’s LG chairmen storm PDP hqts, want erring party members sanctioned By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja


he Peoples Democratic Party-elected Chairmen of all the eighteen local government areas of Cross River State have called for the sanctioning of erring members of the PDP in the state without any delay. The Council chairmen have similarly tasked the national leadership of the PDP to set the necessary machinery in motion for the conduct the party’s state congress in Cross River. The Chairmen, who stormed the ‘Wadata House’ national secretariat of the party in Abuja, yesterday, with their demands, were received on behalf of the PDP’s National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus by the Deputy National Secretary, Dr Emmanuel Agbo. Speaking through their leader

.....Insist Ayade is party’s leader and Chairman of Akpabuyo local government, Hon. Emmanuel Effiong Bassey, the council bosses equivocally described Governor Ben Ayade as the undisputed leader of the PDP in the State, pointing out that any other person, claiming to be such, is merely wasting his time. A former Governor of the State, Senator Liyel Imhoke and Ayade are known to have been struggling for the control of the structure of the PDP in the state. The local government chairmen insisted yesterday that Prof Ayade is the undisputed leader of the PDP in the state, stressing that anywhere he (the governor) goes, they will follow him. Hon. Bassey, after presenting their demands/requests to the

PDP national leadership, told journalists that any organisation or body without rules, may not succeed. The leader and spokesperson of the council chairmen said, “We came for the purpose of our state, the state of affair of the party in our state, we met him (representative of the PDP national chairman) and we presented to him what we came with and he has honourably taken care of it. “He has assured us that he is going to make sure that what we presented, what we came with, will be given immediate and urgent urgent attention. “You must have known that in Cross River, the state Congress has not been held, and we did ask that that be done urgently. And he has assured us that that will be

considered urgently. “Apart from the state’s congress, you actually know that any organization that is without rules, may not succeed. And we have noticed, as local government Chairmen, executive chairmen, that there are some of our members that have erred and we are asking that disciplinary measures should be taken so as to put the party in a proper shape. “Let me state here, categorically, that we are the pillars of the party in Cross River State, and these pillars were erected by Senator Prof. Ben Ayade. “Let me state here categorically that we are the pillars of the party in Cross River State, and these pillars were erected by Senator Prof. Ben Ayade”, he said.

Another strike looms in Kaduna Tertiary Institutions over 12-year unsettle issues From:Femi Oyelola, Kaduna


he Joint Unions of Tertiary Institutions of Kaduna State (JUTIKS) yesterday threatened industrial action over about 12-year unsettled issues with the Kaduna State Government. The Joint Chairman of the unions, Noah Danlami announced the threat in a statement made available to the media in kaduna yesterday. Danlami identified one of the issues to include: nonimplementation of appropriate salary structures for academic and nonacademic staff of tertiary institutions that came into effect in January 2010.

Ramadan: Pray for Allah’s intervention against sacking of workers - NLC

From: Femi Oyelola, Kaduna

Minister of Defence, retired Maj.- Gen. Bashir Magashi (3rd L); Commandant, Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, AVM Ebenezer Alade (2nd, L) and some management team of the College during their visit to the Minister at Ship House, in Abuja on Wednesday

Jema’a LG chair lauds KEDC for restoring electricity to Kafanchan


he Chairman, Jema’a Local Government Council of Kaduna state, Mr Peter Averik, on Wednesday commended the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company (KEDC) for restoring electricity to Kafanchan. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that power supply was restored in Kafanchan on Tuesday after a three-month blackout. The commendation is contained in a statement signed by the council’s Information Officer, Simeon Dauda. Averik said stable power supply is central to economic development and increased social wellbeing of the people as businesses rely on power

to thrive. He advised residents to always explore legal means in seeking redress instead of resorting to violent protests, which, he said, was often hijacked by people with dubious intentions. “We must thank the management of KEDC for yielding to good reason to restore power supply in Kafanchan after about three months of complete power outage. “There is the need for customers and management of KEDC to sustain their commitment to ensure uninterrupted power supply for the benefit of all. “I want to also caution the

people, especially the youths against resorting to violent protest to drive home grievances at every slightest occasion of misunderstanding. “That kind of habit is counter productive to the collective struggle for peace and sustainable development,” he added The council boss implored KEDC to improve on its human relations, describing it as effective tool in resolving industrial issues arising from misunderstanding. He reiterated his council’s commitment to ensuring the security of lives and property in the area. He thanked concerned individuals and groups for the role

they played in bringing about the restoration of electricity supply in the area. The New Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Kafanchan town, had been in total darkness since Jan. 18, when the KEDC shut down its operations after a violent protest by residents. The residents had protested over “outrageous bills” and poor power supply, and security personnel had to fire into the air to disperse the violent protesters who were set on burning the KEDC office. Thereafter, KEDCO shut down its operations in the area indefinitely, over what it called the safety of its personnel. (NAN)


igeria Labour Congress (NLC), Kaduna State Council has appealed to Muslims faithful in the state especially workers to use the holy month of Ramadan to pray for Allah’s intervention against incessant sacking of workers and insecurity in the state. This was contained in a press release signed by the Chairperson of the council, Comrade Ayuba Magaji Suleiman and made available to newsmen in Kaduna, yesterday. The statement urged people to also pray pray for the sacked workers for Allah’s protection and provision, a total end to terrorism, armed banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling and other crimes bedevilling the state in particular and the nation in general. Comrade Suleiman appealed to workers to give their best for the development of Kaduna State and the country in general.




Minister decries 20 years poor indices of maternal health, under 5 mortality in Nigeria By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


inister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has decried the country’s poor indices of maternal health, under-five mortality and maternal deaths. Ehanire made this known yesterday while speaking at the 2021 First Quarter Meeting of the Nigeria Reproductive, Maternal, mortality Child, Adolescent and Elderly Health plus Nutrition (RMNCAEH+N) Multi-

Stakeholder Coordination Platform; Media Parley and Dissemination of RMNCAEH+N 2021 Operation Plan. He lamented that the poor indices recorded over the past twenty years in the country was unfortunate. Speaking further, the Health Minister said the country rewrite the bad history and change the poor indices which he said portray the country in bad light. He specifically said that the the unfortunate stagnant situation

could be a thing is the past if the opportunity that abounds in the mass media is harnessed to educate Nigerians towards achieving mass behavioural change. He quoted the 2018 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS), saying that the various poor indices captured by the survey calls for collaborative efforts by all stakeholders to address the challenges. “In recognition of the role of the media in improving health outcomes in the country, the ministry among other strategies,

will begin a regular media interactive session every two weeks, and a maiden media engagement strategy for health promotion has been developed”, he said. Peoples Daily recalls that Ehanire established the Nigeria Reproductive, Maternal, Child, Adolescent and Elderly Health plus Nutrition (RMNCAEH+N) Multi-Stakeholder Coordination Platform to specifically improve the health and wellbeing of mothers, children, adolescents and the elderly.

Minister of Defence, retired Maj.- Gen. Bashir Magashi (3rd L); Commandant, Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, AVM Ebenezer Alade (2nd, L) and some management team of the College during their visit to the Minister at Ship House, in Abuja on Wednesday

Ramadan: Use precious time to pray for Nigeria, leaders, Waya urges supporters From Kano




Kano-based rising politician, Inuwa Waya has called on his teeming supporters in Kano and beyond to use the Ramadan fasting period to pray hard for the state, Nigeria and leaders at all levels. In a Ramadan message passed to his teeming supporters and general public yesterday, Waya, who is supposedly gunning for Kano state governorship urged his supporters and political opponents to put all political bickering aside and turn to God. According to him, during Ramadan period, Muslims are

enjoined to devote more time to supplications, advising them to pray more and seek Almighty God’s mercy and forgiveness. “Let me end by reminding us that the month of Ramadan is around the corner. It is a sacred month. We should therefore put aside all political bickering and focus more on our religious calling. “We expected to devote more time to supplications. We must pray more, we must seek for Allah’s mercy and forgiveness. We must help the poor and the needy. We must forgive one another, we must come closer to the Holy Quran, we must recite Quran and listen to tafsir and commentaries. “ We must pray for our dear state and our Country. We must

pray for our leaders at all levels; and in the last ten days, we must put extra energy to take advantage of the opportunities given in the night of QADAR. We must continue to praise and thank Allah as always if we are lucky to be alive to observe this Ramadan from beginning to the end,” he said. The promising politician however asked his supporters to shelve production of his campaign posters, banners and other materials until in the next 15 months, advising them to save their money for more meaningful things. He also appealed to them to exercise patience, tolerance and restraint in responding to provocation of any kind. “My dear supporters and

well wishers. In my first message to you, I promised to communicate with you from time to time and when the need arises. “ Recall also that in the said message, I enjoined you to exercise patience, tolerance and restraint in responding to provocation of any kind. Please note that Posters, banners and other campaign materials will only be needed in the next 15 months and therefore should not be printed anymore. “ I advice you to channel your hard earnings to more meaningful things. You should save your money to improve your living conditions and that of your loved ones. You are my supporters and I must tell you the truth,” Waya said.

COVID-19 vaccination: UNICEF urges leaders to play key roles


eaders in strategic positions of life have been charged to take lead roles in the drive to encourage Nigerians to take the COVID-19 vaccine. The leaders outlined at an ongoing media dialogue workshop in Yola Adamawa, included governors, lawmakers, traditional rulers, religious leaders, market leaders, health workers and others. The workshop was organised by the Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB) of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in collaboration with UNICEF. Speaking at the workshop, Mrs Elizabeth Onitolo, Communication for Development (C4D) Specialist, UNICEF, noted that leaders must play their role if the required results to prevent and stop COVID-19 are to be achieved. “We need COVID-19 vaccine to stop this pandemic; vaccines work with the immune system and that is why we need to be vaccinated. “Widespread use of vaccine can reduce spread in the community and chances of a new variant coming up. It will also, peharps, reduce the chances of lockdown. “For us to get out of this pandemic, all hands must be on deck. We must all work together; everyone must be on the same page,” she stressed. According to the C4D Specialist, leaders and influencers should commit resources and time to ensure COVID-19 vaccination achieves the desired result. According to her, community engagement, social mobilisation and advocacy are needed to make the exercise a success. She disclosed that there were over 200 vaccines presently undergoing trials all over the world, adding that, three prospective vaccines from Nigeria were also on the trials list. The C4D Specialist also called on community and market leaders to be well -informed in order to give correct information on COVID-19 to members of their community. According to her, building partnerships and alliances at every every point of engagement will also go a long way to ensure that Nigerians know the benefits of taking the full doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. (NAN)



Letter to the editor


Nigeria’s security and good neighbourliness

Buhari’s clearest order yet


resident Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday flew out to the United Kingdom for his regular medical checkup. Before he did, he held a meeting with his security chiefs. The emergency meeting followed the one the President had with governors in the Northeast and North central zones as well as the Chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum, Kayode Fayemi. Buhari wanted to keep the military chiefs on their toes while he was away. He ordered the nation’s security chiefs to take out leaders of bandits and kidnappers in order to “restore confidence” in areas where they held sway. He said he would not accept a situation where “criminal elements are the ones dictating the pace and setting the tone instead of the other way round.” Security forces, he lamented, were on the back foot instead of taking the fight to the enemy. He ordered them to “bring down the criminals with all the ruthlessness” required of them.

would be no adjustment in whatever the National Security Council had already laid out until normalcy was restored. He said President Buhari had directed him to issue a warning to “all those who are working to undermine national security, sponsors of criminal activities and the likes” that they would have themselves to blame sooner than later. “I’m also to send out a warning to those people who think they can continue to behave in a manner that undermines national security. Those people engaging in all kinds of underhand, unscrupulous, mischievous and deceitful practices, people who are working with those that are in government in particular, critical agencies of government, we have been able to identify certain areas that are weak and these areas have to be strengthened so that these characters who are engaging in acts that you can describe as outright acts of brigandage, people who are behaving in a manner that portends a lot of danger to innocent lives, have to be fished out.

National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (Rtd) who spoke for the President after the meeting said Buhari made a commitment to “provide everything” that the military would require to enable them “pull down these undesirable elements.” He said, “On the issue The security forces of kidnapping and banditry, this menace still persists, especially have made some in the Northwest and the Northmodest gains Central zones. Mr. President has been very emphatic; he against the criminal has stated very clearly that this bands. But analysts problem must be brought to an end, but using the traditional believe that a multimethods that the armed forces pronged approach have been trained to deploy.

is required to end

“I’m to send a warning to those people who think they’re in close proximity with those who have the instruments to make the space easy for criminals, those people who think they have some kind of authority, who are engaging in all kinds of Hocus Pocus in all kinds of skullduggery, those people will be brought down to their knees. The new service chiefs, as well as the intelligence community, and the constabulary forces have been given clear directives by the President to target those people who are the ones leading in creating chaos, disunity, and disharmony.”

“Mr. President has made it the insecurity very clear to both the intelligence and operational elements that the first assignment will be This is the most comprehensive order to identify the leaders of these bandits, kidnappers and take them out in order to yet from the President who recently asked restore confidence in those areas” (where troops to “shoot on sight” any unauthorized they operate). Mr. President said that persons seen with AK47 assault rifles. These he would no longer tolerate a situation are the weapons bandits and kidnappers where bandits and kidnappers are the ones carry. It is also an unequivocal instruction dictating the pace and setting the tone, from a commander-in-chief to his field neither would he condone a situation in commanders. The President said something which our own operations are reactive rather that is very disturbing. Military operations than proactive. He indicated his willingness had until now been reactive, not proactive as to provide all the resources required by expected. “Criminals are the ones dictating our own troops in order to put down these the pace and setting the tone instead of the criminals. They must be brought down with other way round,” he lamented. That was all the ruthlessness that is required and what happened in all the school kidnappings whoever is working in collaboration with that happened in Borno, Yobe, Katsina and Niger States. The presidential order to them will be brought to book.” troops to be ruthless will not yield much if Monguno said President Buhari the problem pointed out by Mr President is expressed his satisfaction with the not tackled. Why are troops not taking the performance of the new service chiefs , fight to the enemy? Is it inadequate training saying that there’s now a willingness on the or a lack of weapons and equipment? It will part of all the operational elements to work be foolhardy for a soldier to confront an together with the intelligence organisations. enemy with superior fire power. Arm him He quoted Buhari as having said that there first, then send him to the front line.



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n international relations, a nation’s foreign policy is usually the aggregate of its national interests, especially in the strategic sociopolitical, economic and security/military domains, often considered an extension of its domestic policy architecture. Nigeria, given its size and endowment with human and natural resources, has always held the potential for greatness and continental leadership. It is no secret that since independence from Britain in 1960, successive administrations in Nigeria have pursued an Afro-centrism and good neighbourliness foreign policy. This was informed by the unacceptable devastation of colonialism and racial discrimination suffered by Africans at the time of Nigeria’s independence in 1960 and its admission to the United Nations as the 99th member. At that time, anti-apartheid struggle was ineffective; most Western countries supported the apartheid regime in South Africa, while colonialism and discrimination against Blacks were largely unchallenged. Africa badly needed a strong voice, a rallying point and leadership, and Nigeria was a good fit. The country wasted no time to mobilize and deploy its resources, particularly oil wealth and international clout, into robust efforts for the decolonization and liberation of Africa, including the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa. This stance was primarily driven by an altruistic, if not thankless, and for a large part, unreciprocated Africa-centred foreign policy engagements. Under this policy, Nigeria breathed new life into the struggle for independence of many African countries such as Angola (1975), Zimbabwe (1980), Namibia (1990) and South Africa in 1994. As a result of its principled stance, Nigeria was co-opted into the “Frontline States,” of mainly Southern African nations, for the prosecution of the fight against apartheid in South Africa. According to the South African Institute of International Affairs, between 1960 and 1995, Nigeria alone spent over US$61 billion to support the end of the obnoxious system, more than any other country in the world. A number of high-profile Southern African black personalities were offered asylum in Nigeria, including former presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, while some personnel of the now-ruling African National Congress (ANC) also received military training and other material, financial and diplomatic support from Nigeria. Nigeria was also instrumental in the setting up of the UN Special Committee against Apartheid and chaired the body for three decades, in addition to making huge financial contributions to the UN Educational and Training Programme for Southern Africa, a voluntary trust fund for the education of the black South African elite. Nigeria’s positive influence was felt across the continent and beyond. In West Africa, between the late 1980s and early 21st Century, Nigeria is on record to have spent more than US$6 billion in peace keeping operations in Liberia and Sierra Leone under the leadership of the Nigeria-based Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which the country was instrumental in founding in 1975. On the global level, Nigeria in 1987 established a Technical Aid Corps (TAC) scheme as a ‘practical demonstration of South-South Cooperation.’ This is a voluntary international service scheme under which highly skilled Nigerians, particularly young people, volunteer to serve in developing countries for two years, to among other things, share Nigeria’s brimming human resources with other African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, toward promoting understanding between Nigeria and the recipient countries. These are but a few examples of Nigeria’s sacrifices under its Afro-centrism and good neighbourliness foreign policy. The beneficiary countries might not have reciprocated the “Big brother” benevolent gesture. Still, it has remained a deliberate state policy, pursued with a commitment by successive Nigerian governments and defended by many of the country’s foreign relations experts. There might have been some minor shifts in focus under different Foreign Affairs Ministers, such as the Concentric Circle policy of Prof Ibrahim Gambari (current Presidential Chief of Staff); Economic Diplomacy of the Major-Gen. Ike Nwachukwu’s era, Reciprocity, the Prof Bolaji Akinyemi Doctrine, and the Citizen-centric Diplomacy under Chief Ojo Maduekwe, among others. But in principle, there has not been much change in the content and spirit of Nigeria’s

foreign policy. Indeed, in defending Afro-centrism and good neighbourliness as a dual strategic concept, Nigeria’s first President, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, talked about the “manifest destiny” of Africans, which the country’s pioneer Foreign Affairs Minister Jaja Wachukwu, extrapolated to the “Charity begins at home” mantra. Also, in tandem with the pan-Africanist ideals of Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, then Gold Coast, which gained independence in 1957, Nigeria’s Prime Minister Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa stated in 1964 that “Nigeria hopes to work with other African states for the progress of Africa and assist in bringing all African territories to a state of responsible independence.” But what has changed and why? In 2019, Nigeria unilaterally closed its land borders, citing threats to its national security and economy. Dangerous weapons were being smuggled indiscriminately into the country, while Boko Haram and other terrorist groups had a thoroughfare across the frontiers. Nigerian officials also complained that the country lost huge amounts in unearned duties from the smuggling of goods across the borders. The border closure was supposedly intended to nudge neighbouring governments into action, but they, on the other hand, complained that the Nigerian measure hurt their economies. After one year, the borders were reopened, but not before generating mutual suspicion and stoking apparent reprisal attacks on Nigerian traders in Ghana. At home, the plan by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to build an oil refinery in neighbouring Niger and also construct a rail line to link Nigeria and Niger has been criticised by government opponents. Of course, overlooked that in this criticism is the Afro-centric policy the country has implemented since independence, and which as outlined earlier greatly bolstered Nigeria’s stature on the continent. Many scholars have defended Nigeria’s Afrocentrism and good neighbourliness concept, which is anchored on the four concentric circles of national interest, namely contiguous neighbours, notably Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin; relations with West African neighbours; the broad engagements with Africa, and then a commitment to ties with organizations, institutions and state actors outside the continent of Africa. This is, of course, based on the assumption and purpose of leveraging the policy as a softpower tool to earn respect, support, and to cultivate and enjoy the cooperation of the beneficiary countries. If this policy is effective in normal times, it is therefore a compelling option in a season of unprecedented insecurity such as Nigeria and other parts of the ECOWAS and the Sahel region are now facing. In the same vein, if domestic policies require effective articulation, advocacy, communication/ publicity, buy-in and ownership by the citizens, foreign policies are even more so. On this score, the presentation of Nigeria’s cultivation or support to Niger, as one of its strategic neighbours, if that were the case, at best, is incoherent and lacks effective explanation. Any government policy couched in ambiguity or left to speculations is a recipe for controversy, no matter how well intended. To achieve the desired outcome, a nation’s foreign policy must be coherent, strategic, consistent and coterminous with its national interests. It must also enjoy the support of the majority of the citizens. This has to be cultivated. The nation’s security is as strong as that of its neighbours. This has been underscored by the persistent Boko Haram insurgency, rampages of the so-called foreign bandits, and other sundry cross border criminals. The effect of the Joint Task Force made up of Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon in curbing the threat posed by Boko Haram, at least for a while, showed why Nigeria needs good neighbours round it. The question is not, therefore, whether this is desirable, but the inability of government to articulate this policy and explain it further to Nigerians. There is wisdom in using a soft-power approach to enable Nigeria to exercise the desired influence for mutually beneficial, bilateral/ multilateral partnerships with other nations, near or far. The country has a rich repository of diplomatic and foreign affairs experts that can deliver pro-Nigeria cutting-edge and resultsoriented foreign policy goals. Paul Ejime, a Journalist, Author and former Diplomatic/War Correspondent, is a Consultant on Communications, Media, Elections and International Affairs




Do bandits, kidnappers and other criminals count the cost of killing others? By Isaac Asabor


r. X nearly died of frustration and suffering before he managed to complete his primary education. His parents seemingly begged him to undergo an apprenticeship in carpentry but he bluntly refused. What spurred his parents’ decision then was not farfetched since they were living below the existing poverty level. With an absolute determination and burning ambition he left for the city where he did all imaginable odd jobs, and studied for his GCE through extra mural classes. With his GCE certificate, he secured a job as a Clerk in a prominent company. While in service he saved enough money to finance his university education and eventually became a responsible man and was able to scale the benchmark of the existing living standard in the society. Sadly, like a meteor, he shone so brightly before his life was cut short by armed robbers. Contrariwise, Mr. Y. was born into a rich family and was the heir apparent by his right to primogeniture to his father’s flourishing business empire and estates. He was sent to University of Toronto in Canada for a fouryear degree programme. He neither played truancy nor wasted his father’s money. He humbled himself; socialized and burnt the midnight oil with indigent students without showing-off his father’s wealth and fame. He finally settled down to reap the fruits of his labour but he was brutally murdered by armed gangs. He died with his hopes and dreams like Mr. X. The tortuous paths of life which Mr. X and Mr. Y went through before actualizing their dreams and aspirations coupled with the bestial manner they were killed by armed gangs could be imaginary. But there are many Nigerians who shared a near or similar experience. Moreover, any of the two graphic pictures painted above may be a comparable experience to other unlucky ones in the future. For instance, not few Nigerians were utterly flabbergasted when Prince Eloniyo Dennis Abuda, who was based in Atlanta, Georgia, United States was kidnapped near Agbanikaka , Edo State. with some of his family members including a woman who was

travelling with him to Lagos to catch a flight back to the United States. Four days after he was kidnapped on Saturday, January 30, 2021, his decomposing body was found on Tuesday near the small town of Agbanikaka, Ovia North East Local Government Area of the state. In a similar vein, almost six years ago, in 2015, the police in Benin, Edo State disclosed that Dr. Paul Erie, an Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension of the Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, who was kidnapped from his country home in Igbanke town in Orhionmwon local government area, on 16 June, 2015, was killed by his abductors. The loss to his immediate family and by extension the entire community, is no doubt, unforgettable and irreparable. The sad memory of his demise still lingers as he was one of the erudite indigenes this writer looked up to as his source of inspiration, particularly when he was an undergraduate in the then College of Education, Abraka in Delta State. Without any iota of exaggeration, virtually every community across the six geopolitical zone has similar sad narrative to share. With the unchecked spate of crime in the country, we should not be surprised when the cumulative population of widows, widowers and orphans escalates at geometrical progression. In a society where tradition is highly regarded, strictly observed, accepted and implemented, the widows, no doubt, will unavoidably become underdogs, while the orphans become house helps to their uncles, aunties and other close relations. God forbid! There is no denying the fact that virtually all kidnapped victims are personalities that can be categorized to be in the class of “wellto-do”. After all, kidnappers have no business with poor people. From observations, their targets are those that are considered to be reckoned with in the society, particularly in their indigenous communities. Some were seemingly the voice, ears, eyes and hands of their various communities. To some extent, some of them were able during their life time to provide some community projects by using their societal status and connections

in presenting the developmental challenges of their communities to the appropriate level of government. Again, many of them made their communities to be known, popular and worthy of mention. They were the yardsticks which their kinsmen used in measuring achievement and discipline and in turn using these standards in correcting those, especially the youths, who were treading the ignoble paths carved by the devil. But does it mean that killers like kidnappers are not conscience smitten? They may also not have conscience since they are widely believed to be living by the influence of drugs. This accounts for their being “high”, “stoned” and bestial whenever they are perpetrating their ungodly acts. Given the foregoing, it is glaring that those who enjoy snuffing lives out of others are collectively living a chaotic life. They should begin to pray and ask God if there is any reason for them to be in this world. This prayer is necessary because God did not create any person to be killing others. It would be counter-productive for God’s purpose in creating the earth as a planet. They should let the Psalmist’s prayer to God be answered in their lives. The prayer says “Oh send out thy light and thy truth; let them lead me, let them bring me to thy holy hill and to thy dwelling. See Psalm 43:3. Despite the fact that not all Nigerians are bound or destined to be killed in cold blood by those who are into the bloody business of killing others without blinking their eyelids or showing any sense of remorse, the question that would be on any reasonable person’s lip is, Who is the next victim? Only God knows. God is the only one that knows the future. This goes to show that many a law abiding Nigerian or foreigner has been facing dilemma. Should he flee from his house or continue to sleep with the eyes open each passing night while daily carrying out his social and economic activities with his heart in his mouth? Succinctly put, each passing day brings with it an increasing fear of the unknown for every Nigerian. How long are we going to be living in fear? It is not uncommon today to see drivers obsessively and assiduously scrutinizing occupants of

Nigeria and the paradox called federalism By Jerome-Mario Utomi


oing by available information at Wikipedia, the world’s information power house, Nigeria is among the roughly/about 25 countries in the world where the federal system of government is practiced today. Interestingly also, these countries when put together represent 40 percent of the world’s population. These countries includes but not limited to; namely, India, the United States of America (USA), Brazil, Germany and Mexico, among others Typically, the federal system of government tends to have so much passion for constitutional governance based on a mixed or compound mode of government that combines a general government with regional governments in a single political system. While many political commentators accept as true that its greatest strength as a system of government is that in a country where there are many diversities and the establishment of a unitary government is not possible, a political organization can be established through this form of Government. In this type of government, local self-government, regional autonomy and national unity are possible, others argue that with the division of powers, the burden of work on the centre is lessened and the centre has not to bother about the problems of a purely local nature. It can devote its full attention to the problems of national importance. Because of provincial

or regional autonomy, the administration of these areas becomes very efficient. To the rest, in a federal government the provinces, regions or the states enjoy separate rights and they have separate cabinets and legislatures. Local governments have also separate rights and the councils elected by the people to run the local administration. Despite these virtues, recent conversations about this system of government across the globe manifest signs that it enjoys appreciable burdens and in some cases act as pathways to discord. Take as an illustration, in India, the system presents a conflicting scenario. It is a quasi-federal system containing features of both a federation and a union that allows power to be divided between the central government and the states. Article 1 of the Indian Constitution suggests that the territory of India shall be classified into three categories; the Union Government (also known as the Central Government), representing the Union of India, the State governments and the Panchayats/ Municipalities. Basically, it implies an inculcation of a strong sense of love and respect for one’s region, ethnicity, language, and culture. It is this love which makes regions fight for greater autonomy within the nation and directly puts the authenticity of Indian federalism in danger. Another area of concern is that the most important power of the Governor sometimes comes in conflict

with the federal structure of the country. To illustrate this claim, the power vested upon him by Article 154 of the Indian Constitution states that all the executive powers of the state are held by the Governor. This provision going by analysis implies that the Governor can appoint the Chief Minister and the Advocate General of the State, and State Election Commissioners. The most paramount and in my views troubling executive power at his disposal is that he can recommend the imposition of constitutional emergency in a state. In Brazil, the burden of challenge is not different. More specifically, the problems facing the federal system and constitutional governance in the country involves several issues. First and most importantly, Brazil is a federation characterized by regional and social inequality. Although the 1988 Constitution and those preceding it have provided several political and fiscal mechanisms for offsetting regional inequality and tackling poverty, these mechanisms have not been able to overcome the historical differences among regions and social classes. Governments of the three orders have not been able to reduce poverty and regional inequality. Their ability to act is limited by a number of factors, not the least of which is the fiscal requirements of international leaders and federal financial institutions and regulations. Another factor says a report; adversely

any car or “Okada” trailing them behind through the rear view mirror in a manner that is reminiscent of investigative police officers. Don’t blame them! Everybody now lives in fear. Apart from wasting the precious lives of others together with their hopes, dreams and aspirations and on the other hand depriving others of their breadwinners, crime in the form of killing can cause direct costs like personal losses, such as cars, cash and jewelry that approach billions of naira in a year. Is it not true that when they kill they also rob, maim and even rape? Coupled with these are the costs related to law enforcement, courts and prisons. Some see public outcry over the issue of increasing crime rate as over-flogged. Others see writers and social commentators as being sensational and emotional whenever the issue is being discussed. The major point is that high crime rate repels foreign investments. As it is today in the country, it will be difficult for both local and foreign investors to begin to think of investing in any part of the country. The spiraling rate of kidnapping in the country is of utmost concern to any patriotic Nigerian, and sympathizers across the world. What beats me hollow is that many killers involved in terminating other people’s lives, physically or spiritually, have failed to realize that they must one day render account to God. Dust you are and dust you will return. For instance, the Bible cites many cases of criminals who gave account to God through various punishments. Cain became a fugitive in the Garden of Eden for murdering his brother Abel over good, well-presented and accepted sacrifice. Hophni and Phinehas, sons of Eli, paid with death on the same day for engaging in sacrilegious conducts. Be that as it may, in answering the question “Do Bandits, Kidnappers and Other Criminals Count the Cost of Killing Others?” Which is invariably the title of this piece, it is expedient to task any killer that is reading the piece to always endeavor to count the cost of killing others as there will be a day for everyone to give account to his creator. Isaac Asabor is a Public Policy Analyst.

affecting states is the opening up of Brazil’s economy. This tends to make intergovernmental relations more complex, as it increases the differences between developed and less developed states. This also contributes to the current trend towards reversing previous, although timid, initiatives favouring economic decentralization. An added issue is that in Brazil there are few mechanisms to provide for coordination between the three orders of government. This has become more important because municipal governments have had their financial standing upgraded within the federation vis-à-vis the states and have also been given responsibility for important social policies. The prospect of transforming constitutional principles into policies for regional development is not currently on the agenda for Brazil. While the world sympathizes with Brazilians on whose shoulders lay this awkward situation, federal system in Germany, says 75 years old Rain-Olaf Schultze, and author of the book; the Politics of Constitutional Reforms in Northern America, is at a crossroad and dramatizes worrying concerns. Schultze noted that the new weaknesses have emerged in the success story of postwar German federal system. The highly successful West German federal system, which for 40 years brought economic and social prosperity to Germany’s “second” democracy, has fallen




The relationship issue in Nigeria’s public governance By Rees Chikwendu


elationship is one of the basic sources of challenge that confronts people everywhere. This can either be relationship with God, employees, bosses, family, friends, citizens, etc. And to understand the dimensions of this source of challenge to people can be a way forward to improve public governance in troubled states such as Nigeria. This is because relationship and the value orientation people place on it determine their responses when faced with moral dilemma. With the view to corporate culture, Trompernaars & Hampden-Turner (2015), identified five dimensions of relationship in doing business and management, and these include: rules versus relationship, individual versus the group, the degree of expressing feelings, the degree of involvement, and how status is accorded. Although, these were applied to business management, in this essay, I have decided to discursively stretch it to public governance, with Nigeria as an example. The kind of judgment one brings into a relationship is crucial

to its health and survival. How do you judge the other party with whom you are in a relationship? Have you agreed to particular rules or standards to live in the relationship? For example: Do not lie? Do not cheat? Trust each other? Love her the same way you love yourself? Have deep respect for him? These become obligations if both parties agreed to these rules and standards. But, what if one party encounters a particular obligation or circumstance where s/he decides to break the agreed rules? Well, it is possible that the woman may encounter a former ex – still hot and with six packs – and decides to bend or break the rule, maybe just for once. “I still feel something for him” or “we were once in love,” she excused herself, cognitively. The man, too, can encounter a particular obligation where he decides to break the rule. “If I don’t do this it will show I am not a real man and not in charge in this relationship,” he beats his chest. By the time these trends start to multiply, the rule is shifting (or has shifted) from that which was agreed upon to something else. There is no longer equality. No longer trust. The

rules no longer apply. And the more you continue to make exceptions for these ‘illegal conducts,’ the relationship collapses. This is also true in public governance – that is, the system will collapse when the rules are broken. In business management, of course, there might not be fixed rules. Cultures could determine the rules. Sometimes, corporate organizations may want to push for standard policy across cultures, but they must always be aware of when to jettison universal (generally agreed) obligations for particular (exceptional) obligations. However, public governance is not exactly like corporate governance, but there is something that can be learned from this aspect of business culture and management, in order to improve relationships within nation-states – especially in multicultural and multi-ethnic state like Nigeria. I am of the opinion that generally public governance in plural societies should be tilted towards universal rules system. This is opposite to corporate governance where culture and circumstance is used to determine obligations. This does not mean that a universal rule cannot be jettisoned sometimes

for particular obligations in some public governance situations. In a situation where it does, it should be applied with humane and moral judgments. However, Nigeria’s public governance system is still fundamentally lacking in what should be called agreed or universal rules. That is to say, the relationship has not even (yet) been defined in the relational sense of one ethnic group to another. What is still obtained in Nigeria’s public governance is a primarily particularist obligations and judgments based on the ethnic group of who the president of the country is. If we take the current Nigerian regime as an example, the question of what is good for all citizens rarely comes into national decision-making of the president. It is a nepotism-ridden government, with skewed appointments favoring those from the president’s Hausa/ Fulani ethnicity in Nigeria. The question of who is an indigene and who is not is always asked in national decision-making, which has marred public policies. Therefore, Nigeria’s public governance becomes a matter of who should have my love versus who should have my hate. The lives of people (including

cows) from the northern part of the country are protected while the lives of those from the southern part are discounted. This happens mainly because there are no agreed rules, therefore there is no question like, what does the rule say? Pointing to the constitution as agreed rules here does not make sense to me. Obviously Nigeria’s constitution is a sham. It is a constitution produced in the same way the British colonialists decided the fate of Nigeria in far away Buckingham Palace without involving those that live in that territory. The current Nigerian constitution was a military dictator’s work, in the same manner of the British divide-and-rule strategy, favoring northern dominance. There is nothing democratic about it. No Nigerian ethnic nationality was consulted before it was drafted. Under this situation, citizens from the various ethnic nations in Nigeria do not trust one another. They look at one another with suspicion. And effective public governance cannot be achieved in such environment of mistrusts. Consider this: Where there are agreed rules by the various ethnic nationalities, when a citizen

The reality of the National Youth Service Corps By Uguru Uchechukwu Okannagba


ational Youth Service Corps (NYSC) is the brainchild of General Yakubu Gowon (Rtd) after the Nigerian Civil War that ended in 1970. The NYSC Scheme began in 1973 by Decree No. 24 of 22nd May, 1973, although the National Youth Service Corps Act that established the Scheme commenced or became operational on the 16th day of June, 1993. It is indubitable and crystal clear that the major aim of the Scheme is to promote national unity and peaceful integration after the defunct Biafran War, having admitted to remain one indivisible and indissoluble entity. For the avoidance of doubt of the above assertion, it is material to take a voyage to the Act that established the NYSC. Section 1 (2) of the NYSC Act provides: The service corps shall with a view to the proper encouragement and development of common ties among the Nigerian youths; The service corps shall with a view to the promotion of National unity; and The development of Nigerian youth and Nigeria into a great and dynamic economy. Subsection 3 paragraphs (g) and (h) of the above section further provides: (g) The objectives of the service corps shall be to remove prejudices, eliminate ignorance and confirm at first hand the many similarities among Nigerians of all ethnic groups; and (h) Develop a sense of corporate existence and common destiny of the people of Nigeria. The painstaking swot of the Act mentioned supra is to ensure that the opinion contained in this article is not made without basis or foundation. Thus, having laid an indisputable foundation, the question now is: Has any of the above mentioned objectives been achieved or accomplished since the establishment of the NYSC in 1973 till date or we are just deceiving ourselves in the name of NYSC? The above question shall be answered in the negative and affirmative respectively. This is because, a comprehensive reading of the Act that established the Scheme will leave us without any iota of doubt that the Scheme is built purely on good motive which later culminated to deceit and its aims and

objectives have been defeated long time ago. I am not oblivious of the fact that those who depend on the NYSC Scheme for their feeding or as a means of livelihood will not hesitate to disagree with this axiomatic truth, but the good thing is that, truth is built on a convincing facts which support what one says. If I had all the time and space I would have taken the all the objectives of the Scheme seriatim and analyse them critically, but let me take the pain and deal with a few of them and leave the rest for some other time. Promoting National Unity and Integration: Beginning from 1973 till date, the NYSC Scheme has done little or nothing in terms of promoting our unity as a country devoid of the fact that the country keeps on deluding or beguiling its citizens that the NYSC has achieved a lot in promoting national unity and integration. It is unarguable that Nigeria as a country is heterogeneous and the names we bear as individuals automatically depict where one comes from insofar as he is a Nigerian. Apart from that, greater percentage of the Corps members prefers to serve within their geographical zones. Peradventure, if he or she is not posted to the area of his or her interest, the next option available is to re-deploy to that same area of interest by giving sympathetic and unsubstantiated reasons. This is prevalent and common to the people of South-west, who prefer to serve in their locality without considering the essence of the Scheme, while those that undertake the pain to serve with dedication irrespective of where he or she was posted are being humiliated, defrauded, discriminated against and ill-treated by their host communities as if they are foreigners in their own country or fatherland simply because they are on a compulsory national assignment. Experience, they say, is the best teacher. If not because I am writing this article as an ex-Corps member, I wouldn’t have believed it myself. As a Corps member, I had nasty and unpleasant experiences of which space will not permit me to recount here. Shall we believe that it has promoted national unity while many Corps members don’t always go back to their various places

alive not because of natural occurrence but rather decimated by their host communities, taking undue advantage of them being ignorant of their environment or place in which they found themselves. If the country should honestly take the statistics of Corps members who have been unlawfully murdered or lynched, one will certainly sympathize with the innocent youths on what they pass through in strange lands all in the name of NYSC. The public can only become aware of it when it is covered by the press like that of River State re-run election which was widely publicized. What about the ritual killings, duping and raping of Corps members in the remotest villages where they are posted to serve? The earlier Nigeria as a country discovers its heterogeneous nature and admits the fact that it is a country made up of many nations but which out of the pecuniary interest of the Great Britain, was amalgamated or unholy married together. If this is discovered by those at the citadel of power, they can be able to proffer a lasting solution to the unity and integration of Nigeria as a corporate entity and not to keep wasting the blood and time of innocent Nigerians in the name of promoting national unity which has been defeated over decades ago. Development of Nigerian Youth and Nigeria into Great and Dynamic Economy Without any sense of equivocation or prejudice, are the Nigerian youths and the country itself more developed and dynamic economy-wise now than before the inception of the NYSC Scheme? I believe that as a citizen of this country, one should not allow emotion to overcloud one’s sense of reasoning. With soundness of mind, it is indubitable that the youths of the olden days are more developed, better placed and self-reliant than the youths of nowadays, even though there was no NYSC Scheme then as it is now. My assertion is predicated upon the fact that there was good quality of education with adequate facilities for learning. More so, prior to this era, the welfare of the undergraduates were given utmost attention by the government unlike now that sentiments have taken over, thereby denying the Nigerian youths in many areas, the opportunity of having western education.

How then do we blame the Nigerian youths for not being creative and skillful while the opportunity to be so has been deliberately denied them as a result of poor governance, poor policies, corruption and ethnic bigotry which have eaten deep into the fabric of our country, Nigeria. NYSC as a Scheme came up with the idea of Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneur Development (SAED) to make the Nigerian youths acquire various skills while in camp, but I finally discovered that it is a calculated strategy to exploit Corps members the little token they receive as monthly allowance (popularly called “allowee”) from the federal government, knowing full well that the money is too meager to even take care of a Corps member. If the government has undertaken to develop the Nigerian youths through the NYSC Scheme, why not make SAED compulsory and finance it both in and outside the camp? In all, the cons of NYSC outweighs its probative values and only panacea is for its to be abolished or restructured to avert its vainglory. If I begin to itemize what Ojukwu, Nzeogu, Professor Chika Obi, Soyinka and others were doing in the days of their youths without the knowledge of NYSC you will be consternated. Welfare of Corps Members In line with the NYSC Act, section 6 (1) provides for the establishment of a governing board for the NYSC Scheme in all the States of the federation. Subsection 2 further provides that the governing board shall be responsible for; arranging and providing accommodation, boarding, transportation, and providing other facilities which are essential for the welfare of members of the service corps and success of the Scheme in the state, and many more too numerous to mention. In view of the responsibilities envisaged by the Act, the fact remains that such only obtains in theory and not in practice. It is obvious that the primary need of any corps member is where he or she would lay his or her head (i.e. accommodation), having been posted to a strange land without being conversant with the environment or what obtains therein. But in reality, not of such is made available for the corps members, even though it is the responsibility of the governing



HAJJ: Kebbi assures pilgrims of COVID-19 vaccination

From Ahmed Idris, Birnin Kebbi


ebbi State Government has assured all 2021 intending pilgrims that COVID-19 vaccine will be administered to every intending pilgrim from the State. Speaking to our correspondent yesterday in the office, the Secretary to the Pilgrim welfare Agency, Alhaji Garba Hamisu said 3 days had been embarked for the exercises while another extension of 4 days have been given in collaboration with the Primary Healthcare Agency. “We have completed the three days exercise while another four days had been completed in order to meet up with the Federal Government directive, while the exercise is for the year 2021 Hajj exercise in Saudi Arabia”, he added.

ASUP members of Bida Poly accuse Chairman of corruption, incompetence From Yakubu Minna



ome members of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) in the Federal Polytechnic Bida have accused their Chapter Chairman, Abubakar Ndaasebe of corruption and incompetence. This was contained in a letter made available to newsmen jointly signed by a Director in the institution and former Chairman of the Union, Dr. Victor Okolobah and a Deputy Director, Mallam Alhassan Kawu who accused him of lack of good initiative that drive a well -organized union. It listed the offences of the chapter Chairman to include lack of adherence to the provisions of the Union, spending of funds without appropriation by the Congress, and disobedience to the constituted authorities. “All they are doing in this union contravene the aims and objectives of the union and the earlier he is stopped from doing these things, the better.”


Plateau: Protesting student falls off vehicle, dies A

100 Level student of Plateau State University (PLASU), Bokkos, who reportedly fell off a vehicle during students protest, dies of injuries. The deceased, Isreal Emmanuel, the class Rep of the Mathematics Department of the university, died in the evening from the head injuries sustained when he fell off the car. The Vice Chancellor of the

institution, Prof. Yohana Izam, confirmed Emmanuel’s death in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday. The vice chancellor however described the death of the student as “very sad” and “unfortunate”. “To us as an institution, Emmanuel’s death is shocking and a great loss to us considering the cause of his death.

“We have been cautioning the students against demonstration and protests, which are not jamborees, yet they keep doing it. “Our pain and regret is that the Monday protest has robbed us of a precious soul and forced us into mourning,” Izam lamented. Also speaking, the SUG President, Mr Luepai Ezekiel, confirmed the death of Emmanuel and expressed

sadness over the sudden death. “Emmanuel fell off from one of the vehicles during our protest against the insecurity in the institution and landed with his head on the tarred road. “We rushed him to the Bokkos Cottage Hospital but unfortunately he couldn’t make it as he died later in the evening of Monday,” Ezekiel explained. ( NAN)

From left: Representative of Oyo State Commissioner for Health, Mrs Kehinde Oyebode; Zonal Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), RS 11, Emmanuel Abe; Chief Medical Director, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Prof. Abiodun Otegbayo; and Oyo State Sector Commander of FRSC, Uche Chukwurah, at the commissioning of RS 11.3, FRSC, Oyo State Command Staff Clinic Laboratory, facilitated by Chukwurah in Ibadan on Wednesday

Ramadan: Jigawa Senator, Sankara disburses N36m to constituents

From Mika’il Tsoho, Dutse


s Ramadan largesse to his constituants the Senator representing Jigawa NorthWest Federal Constituency, Dr. Abdullahi Danladi Sankara has donated the sum of N36M in twelve local government areas of his senatorial district. The largesse is coming on the heels of the Ramadan fasting

being observed by all Muslims as one of the obligatory aspect of the religioun. Senator Danladi Sankara who gave the donation yesterday also appealed to members of his constituents to use the Ramadan period to pray for the country and the state to prosper in wealth and guard the youths against evil tendencies. He said the gesture is part of

the annual support he usually renders to his supporters and well-wishers to ease the hardship of daily activities during the holy month of Ramadan. The N36 milliion Naira is expected to be shared among Babura ,Garki ,Gagarawa, Gumel, Gwiwa, Kazaure, Maigatari, Ringim, Roni, Sule Tankarkar, Taura and Yankwashi Local Government areas

respectively. He said each council area was given the sum of N3 million Naira of which the executives will share N1.5 million amongst themselves while other members will share the remaining balance of N1.5 million. Some beneficiaries of the senators largesse prayed for Allah to continue to give him the strength to have the will of supporting the people especially during Ramadan

Transparency: NEITI reiterates commitment in partnering media


r Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, Executive Secretary, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) says NEITI will continue to strengthen its partnership with the media for effective reportage of the extractive Industries in the country. Orji made this known at a capacity building for newsmen on Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and NEITI’s operations in Nasarawa, on Wednesday. He said that the media have a major role to play in ensuring that government got value from revenue generated from the extractives industry in the country.

He said that Nigeria remained member country of the Global EITI and must be transparent in what happened in the sector. According to him, the EITI has been changing on it focus and have moved from focusing on oil and gas, Extractives revenue to Environmental, gender equity and other areas. This, he said, the media must be abreast of as those that help in forming the opinion of the public. “The EITI is evolving and will continue to change, it has moved from oil and gas, to environment, to gender and even to beneficial ownership “It is looking at why the extractive industry

is dominated by male and also at equity distribution in the industry. It has also expanded to energy transition. “In all of these, how will the media report, interpret and form opinion of people in some emerging economies. “That is part of why we are here, we need to be knowledgeable enough to be able to effectively report these areas and NEITI will continue to partner the media especially in area of capacity building,’’ he said. He further urged the Media to continue to be responsible in reporting and ensuring that government revenues were properly remitted to help grow the economy.(NAN)



2023 Presidential aspirants must be medically certified, corrupt free - CNPP By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


he All Progressives Congress (APC) has distanced itself from a 2023 zoning list in circulation for the various national and party positions, saying that President Muhammadu Buhari, the APC Governors Forum and other stakeholders must be involved before such a decision could be arrived at. Responding when he was engaged by journalists to confirm the authenticity of the list which surfaced yesterday across the various social media platforms, the National Secretary of the APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), John Akpanudoedehe, said such critical decision could not be taken by the party caretaker committee alone. He reiterated that at no time did the party at its 9th meeting held at its Secretariat discussed such matter, adding “People who are interested in running for one office or the other can speculate. As far as I am concerned, the last Caretaker Committee meeting we had, we did not discuss that. “That is not what we are concerned with now. What we are concerned with is data collection. How to collect data without making mistakes. We are not going to be pressurized by sentiment and we don’t want to do the wrong thing. “Let me say that zoning is not for the Caretaker Committee alone. It has to do with the President, it has to do with other major stakeholders, it has to do with a lot of people. “I want to mute the speculation. The list is not from us (Caretaker Committee). The President is not in town. There is no way such a decision will be taken without consulting with the President, consulting with the governors and other major stakeholders. People should disregard the list. We are focused on delivering our mandate and we are to do it rightly.” Meanwhile, the list that surfaced yesterday had claimed that the party had zoned the various national and party positions as follows: President – (South), Vice President – (North), Senate President – (South), Deputy Senate President – (North), House of Reps Speaker – (North), House of Reps Deputy Speaker – (South). Others are: APC National Working Committee Zoning: (a) National Chairman – (North), (b) National Secretary – (South), (c) National Treasurer – (South), (d) Financial Secretary – (North), (e) Legal Officer – (North), (f) Welfare Officer – (South), (g) Auditor – (North), (h) National Youth Leader – (South), (i) National Woman Leader – (South), (j) Publicity Secretary – (South) and (k) Persons With Disability PWD Leader – (South).

Vote of confidence on Buhari: APC shameless, endorses mediocrity – NNPP By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


he New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) has slammed the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) over its recent endorsement and vote of confidence passed on President Muhammadu Buhari, saying the ruling party endorses mediocrity. A chieftain of the party, Olusegun Bamgbose, who criticised Buhari and APC, described the party’s action as unfortunate, disturbing, insensitive and a show of shame, going by the economic and security situation in the country at the moment. According to the senior lawyer, “it was unthinkable, most

unfortunate and very disturbing, that at a time when there is high level of insecurity, unemployment, poverty and hardship in the country, the ruling party could be so insensitive to pass a vote of confidence on Buhari.” The APC Caretaker/ Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) led by Mai Mala Buni, had at the 9th meeting at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja at the weekend, passed a vote of confidence on Buhari. Reacting to this, Bamgbose said that “this has gone to show that APC is a big scam”. Continuing he said, “The vote of confidence does not have any

reflection, as to the realities on ground. APC has indeed endorsed mediocrity. “This is a complete show of shame. It has gone to clearly show that the APC government is highly insensitive to the plight of the citizens. “How on earth can one commend failure! This is unthinkable and unacceptable. This presupposes that APC government is a colossal failure. “How then do you expect President Buhari to improve? The vote of confidence is synonymous to celebration of failure. It’s really shameful. “When citizens live in fear. High rate of insecurity. Hardship,

hunger and hopelessness persist, yet they have the gut to pass a vote of confidence on Buhari. It’s so sad. “Just last week there was jail break and about 2000 inmates were set free, about three other police stations were attacked, 11 soldiers killed in Benue, army got provoked and they went on rampage, with all these, APC still thought it wise to pass a vote of confidence on Buhari, this is so sad. “APC is no doubt insulting our sensibilities. Let me however assure them that their days are numbered. Things can’t continue this way. God in His mercy will soon deliver us. We are in a serious mess.”

L-R: Member APC Caretaker/ Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) Ismaeel Ahmed, CECPC National Secretary Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, CECPC National Chairman Mai Mala Buni, Prof. Tahir Mamman, and former Senate President Senator Ken Nnamani, during a condolence visit to the to Yobe state Governor CECPC National Chairman over the death of his grandmother Hajiya Fatima Mallum Yuram, yesterday in Abuja Photo: Mahmud Isa

EbubeAgu: Don’t be deceived by South East Governors’ jamboree - SERG tells Igbos By Christiana Ekpa


pan-Igbo socio-political pressure group, the South East Revival Group (SERG), has described the setting up of security outfit codenamed ‘EbubeAgu’ by South East Governors as “yet another Jamboree” and a “convenient political outing aimed at pleasing the federal establishment rather than the people.” The SERG, in a statement signed by its President/National Coordinator, Willy Ezugwu, said the group aligns itself to the position of Sam Amadi, a lawyer and lecturer based in Abuja to the extent that “the federal government’s antiinsurgency policy has continued to fail in tackling the security challenges in the country. “If federal government’s anticrime and counter terrorism policies were working, there would have been no need for the deafening call for a special security arrangement

for the South East people in the first place. “So, for the South East Governors to declared, and we quote: “that the five South East states are on the same page with the federal government on the issue of security challenges in the country. To this end, the meeting makes it absolutely clear that the South east will stand resolutely with the federal government to fight terrorists and bandits to a finish”, the Governors said. “So, the SERG sees the latest move as yet another Jamboree and a convenient political outing aimed at pleasing the federal establishment rather than the people of the region. “We practically pleaded with them since the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown to set of a central South East security outfit but it didn’t go down well with them until the first Ebonyi State herdsmen attack on their host communities. “After the last statement issued by the South East Revival Group,

urging the people to hold the governors responsible for security issues and attendant loss of lives and property, the Governors hurriedly embarked on another security Jamboree to please the federal government that have in the last six years failed to provide adequate security nationwide. “It was laughable to read that the governors ordered security agencies to implement ban on opening grazing in the region. Is there any law establishing the EbubeAgu security outfit that has a clause banning open grazing in the South East region? “We therefore call on all well meaning Igbo sons and daughters, both at home and in the diaspora, to prevail on the South East Governors to individually enact laws banning open grazing and establishing the security outfit in their respective states or they should consult the South West Governors to understudy how they birthed their Amotekun regional

security outfit. “Better still, our governors should visit Benue State where there is an anti-open gazing law with a commission established by law to supervise its enforcement. “For us, it is about time the South East governors proved the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) wrong on setting up their own security network and declaring to the people that they are their messiah. “Our people are enterprising and should not be deceived by their governors’ jamboree called ‘EbubeAgu’. We deserve a better legal security arrangement than what the South East Governors are offering at the moment. “We are aware that most of our governors are either positioning to emerge Presidential candidate or a vice presidential running mate in 2023. But must they now sacrifice the well-being of citizens on the alter of politics? We are watching!”, SERG said.




Pray for peace, security – Gov Makinde tells Muslims at ramadan By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


L-R: Director Planning, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) Mr. Wale Fasanya, Director General SMEDAN,Dr, Dikko Umaru Radda, Director, Industrial Development,Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, Mr. Adewale Bakare and the Senior Special Assistant Technical, Nigeria Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, Mr. Chris Mamuda during the public presentation of the newly Approved Revised National Policy on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), yesterday in Abuja.. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo.

South West PDP Congress: No victor, no vanquished - Oyo PDP says O By Ikechukwu Okaforadi

yo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the emergence of Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja as the Vice Chairman of the party in the South West as victory for all, saying that it is a win win for the party. Recall that Arapaja had yesterday emerged as South West Chairman of the party at a Zonal congress of the party held in Osogbo. Oyo PDP in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Engineer Akeem Olatunji, noted that Arapaja’s emergence would also improve internal democracy within the party in the country. Olatunji, in the statement made available to journalists on Tuesday maintained that the outcome of the party’s congress is a “win win” for both Arapaja and Olafeso. He stressed that there is no loser

in the end of the exercise as Arapaja’s victory remains a win for PDP as a party. He commended Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State for the deployment of his exceptional political skills to ensure the victory of the former deputy governor of Oyo state as the new PDP Chairman, South West zone. “We want to use this opportunity to congratulate Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja on his well deserved victory at the just concluded PDP South West Zonal Congress which held in Osogbo, Osun state capital. “Efforts of our very own ‘GSM’ Governor Seyi Makinde as the leader of PDP in Oyo state and the south west zone in ensuring that Oyo state candidate at the just concluded South West Zonal congress, Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja who is also a former deputy governor of Oyo state and former Nigeria’s ambassador to the

republic of Jordan, is immeasurable and will go down history lane as another landmark achievements. “It is noteworthy to emphasize that despite the differences between the two revered leaders and contenders at the south west zonal congress, our detractors and opponents in other political parties expected a rancorous outcome which in their imaginations would polarize our great party along interests line but with such display of exceptional leadership by both Governor Makinde and former governor Ayo Fayose in a genuine brotherly embrace at the congress. “Both Amb Arapaja and Olafeso are not new in the politics of Nigeria having held several positions both in politics and government at various times in the past therefore, reaffirming our faith and trust in their vast experiences to genuinely reconcile all aggrieved members within the party across the south

west zone in order to forge a more united and stronger front which will properly position PDP to take over reins of power from the ruling APC come 2023. “As the ruling party in Oyo state under the able leadership of our ‘Mr Talk and Do’ governor, Engr Seyi Makinde, we are not unmindful of the fact that as members of one large family, there are some of our brothers and sisters with grievances but with such loud statement made by our leaders, Ayo Fayose and GSM at the congress in Osogbo, we are undoubtedly on the path of genuine reconciliation and rebuilding. “We therefore, urge our party members who may be aggrieved for whatever reasons to sheath their sword and join hands with Governor Makinde and Amb Arapaja to rebuild and reposition our great party for greater electoral success in future,” he said.

Senate passes bill establishing National Food Reserve Agency By Musa Baba Adamu


he Senate, on Wednesday, passed a bill seeking to establish the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) after considering report of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development on the subject. In his presentation, Chairman of the Committee, Senator Abdullahi Adamu (APC, Nasarawa West), said the National Food Reserve Agency Bill seeks to develop the agricultural sector by ensuring national food security and income through marketing and storage services, as well as address emergency food crisis. “The time is apt to put machine ties in place for the development of the agricultural sector. The

National Food Reserve Agency Bill is one of the tools to make this possible, especially in a period of flood, famine and other emergency situations. “The bill recognizes the need to fill the apparent gap in Agricultural Development and coordination of programmes and projects in the country with the collaboration of National and International Agencies.” The Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta Central), while lending his voice in support of the consideration and passage of the bill said: “In addition to situations where there’s inconsistencies or conflict with the provisions of laws made by the Houses of Assembly, if the National Assembly were to move

first, as is being done here now by the Committee, then the Houses of Assembly, even though they have the power provided here under the concurrent provision of the constitution, then that field is already covered. “[And] there’s a pre-emption already, meaning they can no longer make any law with respect to this subject matter.” A member of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Sam Egwu (PDP, Ebonyi North), on his part asked that the bill to be stepped down pending when further clarifications are made regarding the interference in the powers of the state assemblies with regards to the bill. Another lawmaker, Opeyemi

Bamidele, appealed that the matter be stepped down for another legislative day to allow the Committees on Agriculture and Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to meet on the bill. However, the Senate President while delivering his ruling said, “Distinguished Colleagues, I have listened to all the interventions and, honestly, my understanding is we can legislate. Lawan added: “I am convinced that we should rather legislate to protect the country by way of ensuring that there is food reserve at any time, than allow it just open like this for anybody to just legislate at the state level, which I’m sure will be looking up to the federal government for some kind of support and assistance.”

overnor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has appealed to Muslims across the country to use the period of Ramadan fast to pray for the country to overcome the current security challenges. Makinde gave this charge while congratulating Muslims as they commence Ramadan fast. He urged Muslim faithful to pray relentlessly for the peace and development of the country during the fasting period. Makinde in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa, admonished Muslims across the world to embrace piety as demanded of them during the Ramadan fast. He also urged them to beseech Almighty Allah (SWT) to put an end to insurgency and insecurity ravaging the whole country in recent years. “Muslims should use this fasting period to pray fervently for the security of this country. “I enjoin our brothers and sisters in Islam to please use the opportunity of this month of blessings to seek Almighty Allah’s (SWT) mercies to make insecurity a thing of the past in our country.




AD chief attacks Makinde for transferring Water Corp staff demanding payment of allowances

By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


chieftain of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) in Oyo State, Engineer Oyedele Hakeem Alao, yesterday said that Water Corporation in Oyo State needs total overhauling, even as it slammed the Governor for transferring the staff of the State Water Corporation for demanding payment of their allowances. Alao, who contested the 2019 gubernatorial election on the platform of AD said this in a statement made available to journalists by his Media Aide, Omotayo Iyanda on Tuesday in Ibadan. Recall that staff of the corporation had in January protested the nonpayment of their allowances, however, some of them had been transferred to other ministries and agencies after the protest.

But Alao, while reacting to this, insisted that transferring the workers because of protest demanding for their allowances is not the solution to the problems confronting the corporation. Alao urged Makinde to find ways of providing portable water to the people of the State through the complete overhauling of the corporation. Alao while speaking further on the Ramadan fast by Muslim faithful, said the basic teachings of Ramadan, according to Prophet Muhammad (SAW), was to be compassionate, feel what others were feeling and put oneself in their shoes, “and this is why we have to be open and fair in all our endeavours before, during and after each Ramadan.” He stated that both the governed and their leaders in particular must always assess themselves to ascertain

whether they were fair in their dealings with their fellow countrymen, apparently referring to the transferred staff of the water corporation. Alao charged Makinde to put in more action in the developmental activities of his government for the people of the state, especially in the area of security and sincere resuscitation of the moribund Water Corporation of Oyo State (WCOS). He said “Truly, Governor Makinde took some steps in the last few weeks to address the problems being encountered by the staff of the corporation in their personal lives and career as civil servants. Truth be told, the Oyo State Government under Engr Seyi Makinde has never done or taken any outstanding action to put water corporation back to its former glory. “Pipe borne water is not being distributed across Oyo State at the

moment, except in few places like Aremo, Oje and Beere whose supply is even very erratic and epileptic. “Water Corporation of Oyo State needs complete overhauling and we have to be committed and serious about it, not paying only lip service and allowing the use of the corporation as a conduit pipe for political office holders and their cohorts. “Transferring the staff of the corporation to other MDAs has not and would not solve the humongous issues and problems with the oldest government department in the state. “How on earth will somebody think that deployment of staff to other MDAs will reduce the wage bill of the government? Is it not the same Oyo State Government that will pay the bill of the staff transferred to other ministries? This is like scratching the wall with mere fingers.”

RSIEC drops APC from council polls

By Musa Baba Adamu


oalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) has cautioned over the ongoing probe of the one billion dollars arm deal by the House of Representatives, saying that the immediate past service chiefs served the nation in their best capacities. Comrade Mustapha Tijani, who is the Convener of the group, while briefing journalists in Abuja, said “While we consider any call for probe as the right of citizens and constitutional duty of the lawmakers, particularly when financial impropriety has been noticed to be committed. “It however amount to wicked distractions, outright disservice and deliberate falsehood when certain individuals who are not bold enough to demand prove are hiding behind to stoke flames of propaganda, raising false alarm and deliberately on a mission to malign the hard earned integrity of the immediate past service chiefs who have committed service to the nation. “Right from the time the trio of the immediate past service chiefs were in office, we are aware that several individuals were after them to bring their names into national disrepute, first it was phantom allegations of extra judicial killing at the war front, even hyped by some international organisations, promoted by certain political parties all in the bid to create national security crisis and demoralise the patriotic men fighting at the war front.

Saraki tasks new PDP South-West Zonal Chairman on repositioning party in zone


he Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC) has removed the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the list of political parties that are participating in the April 17 Local Government elections. This was made open as RSIEC displayed the list of 17 political​ parties​that will contest the council Elections​in the State. The list of the parties was displayed at the Commission’s office along Aba road in Port Harcourt. The political parties cleared for the polls are: African Action Congress, Action Democratic party Accord Party, Social Democratic Party, National Rescue movement,​ Action Alliance, People Democratic Party,​Labour party, Zenith Labour Party, Young Progressive Party, Allied Peoples Movement,​ All Progressives Grand Alliance, African Democratic Congress, New Nigeria Peoples Party, Boot Party, Peoples Redemption Party​and the Action Peoples party.​ RSIEC Chairman, Justice George Omereji (rtd), had said APC will not participate in the election but their logo may be on the ballot which had been printed. Recall that the Caretaker Chairman of the APC in the State, Isaac Ogbogbula, had written to RSIEC informing them of the party’s decision not to take part in the election but followers of Aenator Magnus Abe had insisted on contesting the election.

Group cautions over $1bn arms deal probe by House of Representatives

The Director General, Hon Usman Muritala (Yamarayi) Campaign organisation, Alh Yusuf Adams, addressing Journalist after the collection of expression of interest form from the party by Hon. Muritala to run for Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) Chairmanship election in 2022 on the platform of APC, held yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-,owo

Lawan pledges support for Surveying profession By Musa Baba Adamu


resident of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan was on Wednesday conferred with the Honourary Fellowship Award of the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors after which he pledged his support for the growth of the profession. Lawan trained in Land Surveying at the Ahmadu Bello University and in Remote Sensing and GIS at Cranfield University in United Kingdom. Speaking at the 2021 Fellow Investiture which held in Abuja, Lawan gave an assurance to do his best for the institution to reposition itself. “Once you enter into the world of politics, it is all engaging.

Maybe very all consuming. You sometimes forget what other callings you have had. But this particular Award of Fellowship has brought me back to track. “I feel that this is a very genuine Award because from today on, I will be thinking more and more like a Surveyor. And I want to assure you that I will represent this institution with the respect, dignity and all those traits that our Institution of Surveyors is known for. “You have a worthy representative in the National Assembly. I may not be the only Surveyor in the National Assembly but I want to assure you that I will do my best for this institution to reposition itself. “Surveyors play very

important, critical and crucial roles in national development but in most cases, they are hardly given the prominence that they deserve. I think we have to change that narrative. “So we should take advantage of having some of us in the Legislature. Where this institution feels it requires or it needs some legislations to enhance it’s performance, you have, no doubt, there is a destination. “That destination will be those of us who are Surveyors and our very Distinguished colleagues who are our friends who will always be there to support this kind of very worthy course for national development,” Lawan said.

The Senate President seized the opportunity to assure the people that the government is working round the clock to address the current security challenges in the country. “We experience a lot of insecurity but Government is not resting. Government is not sleeping. Government is working hard and all agencies of government are working hard. “Every country at one point of its evolution or development or another experiences some challenges. But the difference is countries that want to achieve greatness always try to conquer. We are going to surmount our challenges by the Grace of God,” Lawan said.

By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


ormer Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has congratulated Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja on his emergence as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) South-West Zonal Chairman, urging him to work towards repositioning the party in the zone. Reacting, Saraki, in a tweet via his Twitter handle on Tuesday, wished Arapaja and all the new zonal executives all the best. Saraki’s tweet read, “I congratulate the leaders and stakeholders of our great party, @OfficialPDPNig, for the successful conclusion of the @ OfficialPDPNig South-West Zonal Congresses yesterday. “I also congratulate Amb. Taofeek Arapaja, who was returned as the South-West Zonal Chairman of the @ OfficialPDPNig, and all the new zonal executives of our party in the region. “As you all prepare to embark on your respective assignments in the zonal EXCO, I wish you all the best. It is my hope that you will all continue to work towards the ongoing reformation and repositioning of our great party.”



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Stock Watch: Wednesday, April 14, 2021 Low

OPEN Volume Close High

2.80 3.15 0 1.94 3.94 0 0.27 0.27 0 0.64 0.64 0 4.60 8.60 0 37.00 68.30 0 3.79 4.21 0 9.65 10.05 0 31.50 34.00 0 1.90 1.92 0 18.45 18.45 0 1.72 1.84 0 23.25 23.25 0 0.20 0.20 0 0.20 0.20 0 6.10 6.10 0 1.75 1.75 0 186.00 186.00 0 6.00 6.65 0 14.60 14.55 0 1.80 2.00 0 3.37 3.37 0 4.30 4.70 0 14.00 14.00 0 7.35 7.80 0 1.62 1.65 0 1.91 1.96 0 4.95 4.95 99 0.33 0.33 0 21.85 21.85 0 29.60 30.70 0 0.20 0.20 0 12.20 13.05 0 32.60 32.95 0 72.00 72.00 0 1.18 1.18 0 1.53 1.53 0 31.50 31.50 0 0.51 0.54 0 0.20 0.20 0 23.25 23.25 0 0.44 0.44 0 0.30 0.30 0 1.36 1.36 0 0.72 0.72 0 0.52 0.49 0 1.83 1.83 0 2.45 2.45 0

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5.80 6.00 ACCESS -0.35 3.94 3.94 AFRIPRUD 0.00 0.27 0.27 AGLEVENT 0.00 0.64 0.64 AIICO 0.00 8.60 8.60 BERGER 0.00 67.00 67.00 BETAGLAS -1.30 3.79 3.79 BOCGAS -0.42 9.65 10.05 CADBURY -0.40 31.50 31.50 CAP -2.50 1.90 1.90 CAVERTON -0.02 18.45 18.45 CCNN 0.00 1.72 1.72 CHAMPION -0.12 23.25 23.25 CONOIL 0.00 0.20 0.20 CORNERST 0.00 0.20 0.20 COURTVILLE 0.00 6.10 6.10 CUSTODIAN 0.00 1.75 1.75 CUTIX 0.00 186.00 186.00 DANGCEM 0.00 6.00 6.25 DANGFLOUR -0.65 14.60 14.60 DANGSUGAR 0.05 1.80 2.00 DIAMONDBNK -0.20 3.37 3.37 EKOCORP 0.00 4.30 4.30 ETERNA -0.40 14.00 14.00 ETI 0.00 7.45 7.60 FBNH -0.35 1.62 1.67 FCMB -0.03 1.92 1.98 FIDELITYBK -0.04 4.95 4.95 FIDSON 0.00 0.33 0.33 FIRSTALUM 0.00 21.85 21.85 FLOURMILL 0.00 29.60 29.60 FO -1.10 0.20 0.20 FTNCOCOA 0.00 12.20 12.20 GLAXOSMITH -0.85 33.50 33.50 GUARANTY 0.55 72.00 72.00 GUINNESS 0.00 1.18 1.18 HONYFLOUR 0.00 1.53 1.53 IKEJAHOTEL 0.00 31.50 31.50 INTBREW 0.00 0.53 0.53 JAIZBANK -0.01 0.20 0.21 JAPAULOIL 0.00 23.25 23.25 JBERGER 0.00 0.44 0.44 JOHNHOLT 0.00 0.30 0.30 LASACO 0.00 1.36 1.36 LEARNAFRCA 0.00 0.72 0.72 LINKASSURE 0.00 0.52 0.52 LIVESTOCK 0.03 1.83 1.83 MANSARD 0.00 2.45 2.45 MAYBAKER 0.00

Stock Close Gain UPL 1.14 0.13 LIVESTOCK 0.52 0.01 SOVRENINS 0.21 0.03 OKOMUOIL 60.00 1.80 GUARANTY 23.50 0.55

Low 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

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0.11 0.21 0 0.21 0.21 MBENEFIT 0.00 0 0.43 0.43 0 0.43 0.43 MCNICHOLS 0.00 0 1.05 2.05 261 2.05 2.05 MEDVIEWAIR 0.00 0 124.80 184.80 0 184.80 184.80 MOBIL 0.00 0 0.20 0.20 970 0.20 0.20 MULTIVERSE 0.00 0 3.50 3.50 0 3.50 3.50 NAHCO 0.00 0 18.00 18.00 0 18.00 18.00 NASCON 0.00 0 78.50 78.70 0 79.50 79.50 NB 0.80 0 0.78 0.78 0 0.78 0.78 NEIMETH 0.00 0 2.60 2.60 0 2.60 2.60 NEM 0.00 0 552.20 552.20 150 552.20 552.20 NESF 0.00 0 1,475.00 1,475.00 0 1,475.00 1,475.00 NESTLE 0.00 0 1.60 1.65 0 1.60 1.60 NPFMCRFBK -0.05 0 4.60 4.80 0 4.60 4.75 OANDO -0.20 0 80.00 76.20 0 80.00 80.00 OKOMUOIL 3.80 0 64.00 64.00 0 64.00 64.00 PRESCO 0.00 0 0.50 0.50 0 0.50 0.50 PRESTIGE 0.00 0 12.30 12.30 0 12.30 12.30 PZ 0.00 0 4.20 4.20 0 4.20 4.20 REDSTAREX 0.00 0 0.20 0.21 0 0.20 0.21 REGALINS -0.01 0 0.50 0.50 0 0.50 0.50 RESORTSAL 0.00 0 0.21 0.23 0 0.21 0.22 ROYALEX -0.02 0 640.00 640.00 405 640.00 640.00 SEPLAT 0.00 0 0.20 0.20 0 0.21 0.21 SOVRENINS 0.01 0 46.50 46.00 0 46.50 46.50 STANBIC 0.50 0 102.00 102.00 122 102.00 102.00 STANBICETF30 0.00 0 1.97 1.96 0 1.97 1.97 STERLNBANK 0.01 0 203.00 203.00 0 203.00 203.00 TOTAL 0.00 0 6.10 6.10 632 6.10 6.10 TRANSCOHOT 0.00 0 1.15 1.21 0 1.16 1.18 TRANSCORP -0.05 0 9.60 9.60 0 9.60 9.60 UACN 0.00 0 1.74 1.92 0 1.74 1.74 UAC-PROP -0.18 0 7.60 7.80 0 7.90 7.95 UBA 0.10 0 6.00 6.05 0 6.00 6.05 UBN -0.05 0 2.89 2.94 0 2.89 2.91 UCAP -0.05 0 36.30 37.00 0 36.30 36.30 UNILEVER -0.70 0 0.27 0.27 0 0.27 0.27 UNIONDAC 0.00 0 1.00 0.99 0 1.00 1.00 UNITYBNK 0.01 0 2.04 1.97 0 2.14 2.14 UPL 0.17 0 0.23 0.23 0 0.23 0.23 VERITASKAP 0.00 0 4.50 4.99 0 4.50 4.50 VITAFOAM -0.49 0 11.30 11.50 0 11.30 11.65 WAPCO -0.20 0 0.40 0.40 0 0.40 0.40 WAPIC 0.00 0 0.59 0.61 0 0.59 0.61 WEMABANK -0.02 0 21.20 22.70 0 21.70 22.50 ZENITHBANK -1.00 0 Copyright © 2019 NgTradeOnline

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Stock Close Loss DIAMONDBNK 1.30 -0.10 BOCGAS 2.59 -0.22 VITAFOAM 3.50 -0.39 DANGFLOUR 6.00 -0.45 UAC-PROP 1.74 -0.18

AGF Idris advocates Proficient management of govt funds By Etuka Sunday


s the world battles with economic downturn occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed idris FCNA has advocated an efficient management of government funds. He noted that at present, there was increasing pressure on government funds, a situation he said makes it imperative for managers of government funds to evolve strategies and promote useful knowledge that will guarantee efficient cash management. The Director, Information, Press and Public Relations, OAGF, Henshaw Ogubike in a statement said, Idris stated this in a keynote address at the 2021 retreat for members of the technical subcommittee on cash management held at Gora, Nasarawa State. The technical sub-committee on cash management, inaugurated in April 2016, is the professional arm of the Federal Cash Management Committee. Among other functions, the technical subcommittee obtains stakeholders’ inputs, deliberates on them and makes proposals to the Federal Cash Management Committee for approval regarding the payment of personnel costs, pension/gratuities as well as statutory transfers. The Accountant General of the Federation, noted that the theme of the retreat, “Advancing the operational efficiency for effective liquidity and cash management in Nigeria: beyond rhetoric”, was a clear message for all entrusted with the management of government funds to be up and doing and go beyond rhetoric in cash management practice as ‘the traditional rule of the thumb and/ or cash rationing approach cannot drive the nation’s economy”. He stressed that, “managing

funds should not just be about expending the available funds; we must constantly keep ourselves abreast with strategies for knowing how to ensure inflows, when to expend and when not to and as well be able to forecast into the unforeseeable future, the cash needs of the government and possible challenges.” Idris, who was represented

by the Director of Inspectorate Department in the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Anamekwe Chukwunyere, commended the initiative of the organizers and expressed optimism that the threeday retreat will discuss critical issues posing great challenges to public financial management practices and evolve feasible,

sustainable solutions for them. Furthermore, in his welcome remarks, the Director of Fund, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) Sabo Mohammed said the office of the Accountant General is positioned to drive the policy and have been able to deliver on their mandates, despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Stressing that the Sub-Committee

functions are very critical to Treasury Management because it obtains stakeholders input, deliberate on them and make proposals for approval for the payment of personal costs. It also deliberates on pension and gratuities as well as statutory transfer to the Federal Cash Management.

L-R: President Dangote Group of Company Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Abubakar Sa’ad III, Chairman National Peace Committee Gen. Abubakar Abdulsalam (rtd), NPC Secretary/ Bishop of Sokoto Diocese Matthew Hassan Kukah and Prof. Ameze Guobadia, during the National Peace meeting, yesterday in Abuja Photo: Mahmud Isa

SEC holds First CMC Meeting in Year 2021 By Etuka Sunday


he Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced that the first Capital Market Committee (CMC) meeting in 2021 will hold from Thursday April 15 to Friday April 16, 2021. The meeting is scheduled to hold virtually through Zoom with key stakeholders in the capital market meeting on April 15, while the usual interface with the press, on the outcome of the CMC meeting, will take place on Friday April 16. According to the SEC, “Attendance to both events is strictly by invitation. Invited

participants will be sent unique links with which to join the meeting”. The CMC was primarily established to serve as a medium for exchange of ideas among market stakeholders as well as an avenue for providing feedback to the SEC on how to continuously address challenges, improve market operations and enhance the regulatory framework. It is an industry-wide committee comprising members of the SEC, representatives of capital market operators and trade groups and other stakeholders. The CMC meets every quarter. During the meeting, issues bordering on implementation

of the Ten Year Capital Market Master Plan, implementation of the Fintech Roadmap as well as other salient matters relating to the capital market and the economy would be discussed. Recall that the Commission had unveiled the ten-year Capital Market Master Plan (CMMP) in November 2014 and has continued to implement the initiatives, which are designed to reposition the Nigerian Capital Market as an attractive investment destination and a critical facilitator of capital formation for the accelerated growth and development of the Nigerian economy. Some of the CMMP initiatives that have been implemented

include; Direct Cash Settlement, regularisation of multiple subscriptions, dematerialization of share certificates, and the introduction of the e-Dividend Management System. The CMMP initiatives have helped in promoting transparency, protecting investors and enhancing market confidence. The objectives of the CMMP are also in consonance with the Federal Government’s economic strategy, focused on encouraging a private sector-led economy to drive inclusive growth. Expected participants at the CMC meeting include Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of all registered capital market firms

(i.e. Broker/Dealers, Investment Advisers, Custodians, Fund/ Portfolio Managers, Receiving Banks, Issuing Houses, Rating Agencies, Registrars, Reporting Accountants, Trustees, and Capital Market Consultants, etc.); Chief Executive Officers of: Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX), National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD); FMDQ Group Plc; Africa Exchange Holdings (AFEX); Nigeria Commodity Exchange (NCX); Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS); as well as representatives of relevant financial sector regulatory agencies, among others.





Page 21

Food security: FCTA sensitises farmers on climate smart agriculture By Stanley Onyekwere


he Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has commenced intensive sensitisation of farmers in the Territory, targeted at boosting food production, through adaption and building of “Resilient Agricultural and Food Security Systems’’. To this end, the FCTA launched an awareness campaign on Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) yesterday, at the Palace of the Sa’peyi of Garki, Abuja. Speaking at the event, Acting Secretary, FCTA Agriculture and Rural Develoment Secretariat, Mr Ibe Chukwuemeka, said the resilient agricultural and food security systems would mitigate effects of climate change and reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions from agricultural activities. Ibe explained that the issue of climate change had become a global phenomenon which was exacerbated by poor agricultural practices – burning of fossil fuels and cutting down forests among others. He noted that those practices add enormous amounts of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. According to him, the concept of the climate smart agriculture which the FCT administration was promoting aimed at enhancing the integration of agricultural development and climate responsiveness toward increasing food production. “It is on this regard that the FCT administration directed that this sensitsation and awareness campaign be taken to all the 17 Chiefdoms of the FCT.

“This will enable the administration to educate the farmers and the general public on the adaptation and building of Resilient Agricultural and Food Security Systems, as well as the reduction of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions from Agricultural activities”, the ARDS boss stated. Furthermore, Ibe disclosed

that the Department of Forestry had produced a multilingual handbook on Climate Change Adaption and Mitigation Measures in Agriculture. Earlier, the Director, Forestry, Mrs Caroline Opara, said that it was imperative that farmers in the territory be equipped and updated with modern farming methods aimed at environmental

sustainability in order to increase output. Opara revealed that in 2020, five persons were arrested and prosecuted for forestry encroachment in some Areas Councils in the FCT, while two others were arrested in 2021. On his part, Sa’peyi of Garki, Alhaji Usman Nga’kupi traditional ruler advised the department

of forestry to be proactive in addressing forestry encroachment. Nga’kupi also urged the FCT agriculture Secretariat to establish “Forestry Guard’’ to curtail encroachment in the Territory. He however cautioned his subject against practices that could impact negatively on the environment and farming.

Speaker, House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, Governor Babajide Sanwoolu and the President of the Senate, Sen. Ahmad Lawan during a meeting between the governor and the National Assembly Presiding officers at the National Assembly, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Councils’ poll: Alhassan Gwagwa picks APC nomination form for AMAC, pledges consolidation of Candido’s achievements By Stanley Onyekwere


s the forthcoming FCT Area Councils’ elections draws closer,One of the All Progressives Congress, APC, aspirants for Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), in the forthcoming FCT Area Council elections, Hon. Suleiman Alhassan Gwagwa has promised to consolidate on the achievements already in place, if elected as the chairman.

Gwagwa made this assertion yesterday, shortly after picking his nomination form at the FCT APC Secretariat. The AMAC chairmanship aspirant who was accompanied by large number of supporters, said his key areas of interest will be infrastructure development, education and health. “I will consolidate on the past achievement put in place by Hon. Abdullahi Adamu Candido’s led administration, as

the council chairman. “I am aspiring to be the chairman to continue with the good work the present Chairman, Candido has done. He has done well, so if elected in the forthcoming election we will consolidate on the structures he had put in place” Gwagwa said. According to him, what AMAC residents need had been put in place but will only be expanded so that the residents

would enjoy the dividends of democracy. He noted that his decision to contest was to work for AMAC people, bring about more peace and unity across the whole wards. He explained that, “Whoever emerge as the party’s candidate should carry everybody along, politics is a game, not door- die affair. My message for my people is, we should move in peace especially during the campaign”.


Page 22

world news


Daunte Wright shooting: Officer Kim Potter to be charged over killing A

white police officer who shot dead a black motorist in Minnesota is to be charged with second-degree manslaughter, prosecutors say. Officer Kim Potter says she shot Daunte Wright accidentally, having mistakenly drawn her gun instead of her Taser. Responding to the charges, the Wright family’s lawyer Ben Crump said the killing was an “intentional, deliberate, and unlawful use of force”. Both Mrs Potter and Chief Tim Gannon have quit the Brooklyn Center force. The killing has sparked three nights of clashes between police and protesters. It happened in a suburb of Minneapolis, a city already on edge amid the trial of a white ex-police officer accused of murdering African American George Floyd. In a statement, Mr Crump said the Wright family appreciated that the district attorney was charging Mrs Potter but “no conviction can give the Wright family their loved one back”. “A 26-year veteran of the force knows the difference between a taser and a firearm. Kim Potter executed Daunte for what amounts to no more than a minor traffic infraction and a misdemeanour warrant,” he said. Daunte Wright was shot after being stopped by police for a traffic violation On Tuesday night, bottles and other projectiles were thrown at the Brooklyn Center police headquarters and officers

Kim Potter quit the police force on Tuesday responded by firing tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets. Earlier on Tuesday the families of Mr

Wright and Mr Floyd came together to demand an end to the killing of unarmed black Americans by police.

“The world is traumatised watching another African-American man being slain,” Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd said. On Monday, Police Chief Gannon said the shooting of Mr Wright - who had a oneyear-old son - appeared to be an “accidental discharge” after Mrs Potter mistook her service pistol for a stun gun. But the families have rejected the explanation that Mr Wright’s death was an accident. Mr Wright’s aunt Naisha said: “I watched that video like everybody else watched that video. That woman held that gun in front of her a long damn time.” Mrs Potter’s bodycam footage shows her shouting “Taser” before firing her gun. Mr Wright’s mother Katie told reporters her son had called her after he was pulled over by police, and that she had offered to give insurance details to police over the phone. She said she heard police order him to get out of the vehicle. There was a scuffling sound and an officer told him to hang up the phone. When she was eventually able to call back, his girlfriend answered and told her he had been shot. “She pointed the phone toward the driver’s seat and my son was laying there, unresponsive,” she said in tears. “That was the last time that I’ve seen my son.” Source: BBC

China endeavors to create more comfortable living environment for people by expediting urban renewal By Zhao Zhanhui, People’s Daily


rban development in China will shift from the old approach of expansion in scale and inefficient growth to a new one that leads to improvement in the quality of development, which conforms to the law of urban development as well as people’s growing needs for a better life, said an official with China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD). “After decades of rapid development, Chinese cities have already grown in size as possibly as they can and the old urban development and construction model featuring large-scale construction and massive consumption and emission can hardly be sustained,” said Wang Ke, deputy head of the division of building energy efficiency and science and technology of MOHURD. In its latest Outline of the 14th FiveYear Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035, China stated that it will accelerate the transformation of the urban development model, make overall plans for urban planning, development, and management, implement an action plan for urban renewal, and optimize urban spatial structure and improve the quality of urban living space. Implementing the action plan for urban

renewal is believed to be an inevitable requirement for adapting to the new situation of urban development and boosting high-quality urban development. China saw the percentage of permanent urban residents rise to 60.6 percent of the population in 2019, which indicates that the country has already entered the middle and later stage of rapid urbanization. As urban development comes to the important stage of urban renewal, China decides to shift from the model of largescale quantity-oriented development to one that attaches equal importance to quality improvement and transformation of existing projects for urban development and structural adjustment to new ones. The country’s action plan for urban renewal covers various aspects and is expected to exert far-reaching influence on improving the quality of urban living environment and the lives of urban residents. According to Fang Ming, head of Chinese Institute of Urban Scientific Planning and Design, urban renewal can speed up the development of new economy. New business forms based on the Internet, including live-streaming, distance learning, telecommuting, and e-commerce, are flourishing in China. These new business forms may no longer need very large plants or development zones, but require a working and living environment that can stimulate people’s creativity.

By transforming and renewing idle or inefficient spatial resources, cities can provide new industries and business forms with more suitable space for development, Fang noted. Fang believes that urban renewal helps restructure and develop new urban functions. For example, by upgrading and adding facilities and public services, China has guaranteed that cities can perform integrated functions; through updating and densifying urban traffic network, it has also improved transportation efficiency. Such urban renewal measures can heighten urban vitality while better satisfying residents’ living and leisure needs, Fang noted. Urban renewal can create new conditions for preserving art treasures in urban space, according to Fang, who considers urban renewal a great opportunity for inheriting historical and cultural heritage in cities, as it not only means protecting excellent traditional buildings and blocks, but signifies preserving the historical and cultural heritage hidden behind them. Fang pointed out that urban renewal can facilitate the development of new scientific and technological achievements in urban construction. By quickening construction and transformation of new urban infrastructure facilities featuring digitalization, network, and intelligence, China can comprehensively improve the level of urban construction and operational

efficiency in cities. Urban renewal should benefit the overall interests of cities through overall planning, and advance step by step according to the urgency of people’s needs, Wang said. He believes that urban renewal is not the transformation and renewal of a single project, but a systematic program that involves redistribution of urban space. For example, the transformation of an old neighborhood should not be an independent task, but needs to be integrated to the renovation of the surrounding environment, Wang said. China should give play to the roles of all sectors of society in promoting urban renewal, according to Xu Leiqing, professor of the College of Architecture and Urban Planning of Tongji University. So far, many cities have kicked off urban renewal projects and made progress with practices featuring participation of multiple players and multi-channel fundraising, Xu said. “For instance, the funds for rebuilding old residential areas in Laoshansancun neighborhood in Pudong New Area of east China’s Shanghai were from sources including residents and public benefit crowdfunding activities. Residents and volunteers have also taken part in the reconstruction of the neighborhood, and all sectors of society have been involved in the process,” Xu added.



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Defiant Egypt seizes ship that blocked Suez Canal Zuma over $900m compensation claim dismisses E court deadline as ‘a sham’


outh Africa’s ex-President Jacob Zuma has rejected as “a sham” a request by the country’s top court to suggest what punishment he should face if found guilty of contempt of court. He faces possible sanctions for failing to appear in February before the Zondo Commission, a judicial inquiry into corruption during his presidency. Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng had given Mr Zuma until Wednesday to file an affidavit, no longer than 15 pages, to the Constitutional Court. But in a 21-page letter to the chief justice, the former president said that he had come to the conclusion that there was an “inexplicable judicial antipathy” towards him. Mr Zuma, who resigned as president under pressure in 2018 facing numerous allegations of corruption, has repeatedly cast himself as a victim of conspiracy. The BBC’s Pumza Fihlani in Johannesburg says it might have seemed a bizarre request from Justice Mogoeng - to make of a person accused of breaking the law suggest his own punishment - but by bending over backwards and extending him every possible courtesy, he may have hoped to pre-empt Mr Zuma’s complaints that he has been treated unfairly. However, if that was the plan, it backfired as Mr Zuma reiterated at length that he had no faith in the judiciary. “My decision not to participate in the contempt of court proceedings was based on my belief that my participation would not change the atmosphere of judicial hostility and humiliation reflected in its judgment against me,” he said. The courts had joined the political narrative in which he was “routinely a subject of political ridicule and commentary”, the 79-year-old antiapartheid veteran said. The Zondo Commission was controlled by his “political foes”, he added. The former president said he had a constitutional right “to be presumed innocent, to remain silent and not to testify in proceedings”. “I do not accept that I committed contempt of court when I decided not to participate in the commission proceedings in circumstances where my rights would be violated.” In his letter, he argued that the Zondo Commission, which he set up, had not been established correctly. “What the Zondo Commission has done is inexcusable and I will live to see my vindication when - after squandering billions of much needed public revenue, an independent court reviews and set aside the findings of the commission on the basis that it was not established in accordance with our constitution.” Source: BBC

gypt will impound the giant container ship that blocked the Suez Canal last month until its Japanese owner pays $900m (£652m) in compensation. One of the Ever Given’s insurers, UK Club, said the Suez Canal Authority had rejected its offer to settle the claim. It described the claim, which includes $300m for a salvage bonus and $300m for loss of reputation, as “extraordinarily large” and “largely unsupported”. The Ever Given is anchored in the Great Bitter Lake, the canal’s midway point. The 400m-long (1,312ft), 220,000-tonne ship became wedged diagonally across the waterway on 23 March after running aground amid high winds and a sandstorm that affected visibility. It was freed six days later, after a salvage operation involving a flotilla of powerful tug boats and dredging vessels that shifted an estimated 30,000 cubic metres (1.1m cubic ft) of mud and sand. More than 400 vessels had to wait to pass through the 193km (120-mile) canal, which connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea and provides the shortest sea link between Asia and Europe. The chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), Osama Rabie, said on Tuesday that the Ever Given had been “seized due to its failure to pay $900m”

The Ever Given has been anchored in the Great Bitter Lake since it was refloated

in compensation, Egyptian state media reported. The figure was based on the “the losses incurred by the grounded vessel as well as the flotation and maintenance costs”, he added. UK Club - which insured the ship’s owner Shoei Kisen Kaisha for third-party liabilities, including damage caused to infrastructure or claims for obstruction - said in a statement that it had been negotiating in good faith with the SCA “despite the magnitude of the claim”. “On [Monday], a carefully considered and generous offer was made to the SCA

to settle their claim,” it added. “We are disappointed by the SCA’s subsequent decision to arrest the vessel.” “We are also disappointed at comments by the SCA that the ship will be held in Egypt until compensation is paid, and that her crew will be unable to leave the vessel during this time.” This satellite photograph shows how the Ever Given was wedged across the canal UK Club said the SCA had not provided a detailed justification for its claim, noting that the grounding resulted in no pollution and no reported injuries.

Niger school blaze: Trapped children die in Niamey


t least 20 children have died after they became trapped in a fire at a school in Niger’s capital, Niamey. It started late on Tuesday afternoon when the children were in lessons, many in straw-hut classrooms. The flames blocked the school gate, so most pupils had to escape over a wall, said a teacher’s union official quoted by Reuters. Most of those who did not manage to escape were attending the school’s nursery, officials say. The government-run junior and pre-school in the Pays Bas district of the city had a mixture of brick and straw-hut classrooms, BBC Hausa’s Tchima Illa Issoufou reports from Niamey. In total 28 straw classrooms were completely destroyed and some of the school’s 30 permanent classrooms were also damaged, she says. Straw-hut classrooms are often built as overflow areas for lessons in schools when there are not enough brick ones, our reporter says. A man who lost his six-year-old son in the fire urged the government to construct safe schools for children. “Let’s not put everything in the hands of God, let’s not put everything in the hands of the state,” he told the BBC.

The remains of desks are all that is left from the straw-hut classrooms

“We have lost 20 children in a fraction of a second - we must call on the state to say that hut classes should no longer exist anywhere in the country.” Fire service commander Sidi Mohamed told public television that firefighters attended the scene quickly, but “the power of the fire was enormous”, the AFP news agency reports. Parents were waiting at the Pays Bas Primary School on Wednesday morning to find out about arrangements for

burying their children, our reporter says. Muslim burials usually take place within 24 hours of a death. Teachers’ union official Mounkaila Halidou said there were about 800 students attending the school. “Those who died were mostly in the pre-school,” he said. It is not yet clear what caused the fire. Niger is the world’s poorest nation, according to the UN’s development rankings for 189 countries.



N e w s F r o m A SI A China turns “Water Cube” into curling venue for Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics By Fan Jiayuan, Li Yanfei, People’s Daily


hina’s National Aquatics Center, also known as the “Water Cube,” showcased its powerful technology of temperature control during an ice sports testing program titled “Experience Beijing” launched from April 1 to 10. As the world’s first sports venue that is able to turn its swimming pool into an ice rink, the “Water Cube” will be transformed into an “Ice Cube” during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, serving as the venue for curling events and wheelchair curling events. The “Water Cube” is the largest Olympic natatorium and the largest membrane structure building in the world, as well as the world’s first polyhedron steel structure. Now, it is crowned with new titles such as the world’s first Olympic and Paralympic venue that establishes curling lanes above a swimming pool, and the world’s first sports venue that can run ice and aquatic events simultaneously. To turn the “Water Cube” into an “Ice Cube” is not as easy as making ice on the ground. The transition takes five procedures, including pumping the water, setting up steel frames and mounting plates, paving the insulating layer and waterproof layer, installing a removable ice making system and glaciating the water

Constructors work to turn the National Aquatics Center into the curling venue for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, Nov. 20, 2020. (Photo from the official website of the National Aquatics Center) with refrigerating medium, said Hou Bencai, vice general manager of China Construction First Group Construction and Development Co., Ltd. Precision control is the most difficult part of the process, he introduced. Curling events have a very high requirement on the flatness

of the ice. The deformation of the support structure shall be less than 1 millimeter under a pressure of 150kg per square meter. Besides, it is also hard to realize the complicated temperature and humidity stratification. Aquatic events are held in an environment with high temperature and

humidity, while it is the other way around for ice sports. Curling events have even stricter requirements on environment, during which the temperature must be kept in three different zones. The temperature of the ice rink must be controlled at -8.5 degrees Celsius, and the air 1.5 meters above the ice rink shall always be kept at 10 degrees Celsius. Besides, the spectator zone shall maintain a temperature between 16 to 18 degrees Celsius to offer a pleasant environment for the spectators. It is learned that the temperature in the venue is controlled by a smart system consisting of over 4,000 sensors. This “smart brain” is able to monitor and control the temperature, humidity and PM2.5 concentration in the “Water Cube.” When temperature varies in different places of the venue, the system would make adjustment through the ventilation tubes. Under the bleacher, there is a blue tube with a diameter of one meter circling the venue. It is a dehumidification and ventilation system. Ventilation devices can also be found under each seat. The athlete and spectator zones have separate ventilation systems, and they can be controlled independently, said Yang Qiyong, head of the logistics department of the “Water Cube.”

China lifts 770 million rural people out of poverty: white paper By Chang Qin, People’s Daily


ore than 770 million of China’s rural population living below the current poverty line have been raised from poverty, accounting for more than 70 percent of the global total over the same period according to the World Bank’s international poverty standard, says a white paper recently released by the State Council Information Office of China. Through China’s poverty eradication practices, the country has embarked on a path of poverty alleviation and designed an approach with Chinese characteristics, which offers enlightenment to the international community in its battle to reduce poverty, said Xu Lin, deputy head

of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and minister of the State Council Information Office of China at a press conference to mark the launch of the white paper titled “Poverty Alleviation: China’s Experience and Contribution.” China’s fight against poverty entered a critical stage after the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012. At the end of 2020, through eight years of hard work, China achieved the goal of eliminating extreme poverty – a key goal for the new era of building socialism with Chinese characteristics. The 98.99 million people in rural areas who were living below the current poverty threshold all shook off poverty; all the 128,000 impoverished villages and 832 designated poor counties got rid

of poverty. China has eliminated poverty over entire regions in 14 contiguous poor areas across the country. The incomes of the impoverished are increasing. The per capita disposable income of the rural poor increased from 6,079 yuan ($928) in 2013 to 12,588 yuan in 2020, up by 11.6% per annum on average. China’s poverty-stricken areas have got rid of backwardness. The lack of access to transport, electricity, drinking water and communications, which hindered the development of these areas for years, has been put to an end for good. Targeted measures are a golden key to winning the fight against poverty, as well as the most symbolic innovation in this round of poverty alleviation efforts, said

Xia Gengsheng, deputy head of the national administration for rural vitalization. China started creating a national database of impoverished households in 2014, and reviewed it between Aug. 2015 and June 2016, during which it removed those unqualified from the database and added those who newly became eligible. Since 2017, the database has been renewed annually for more targeted poverty alleviation. China’s standards for deregistering those who have emerged from poverty are comprehensive, including income, and the extent to which they are assured the rights to subsistence and development. In general, these standards are higher than those defined in the World Bank extreme poverty line, as well as those in

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development released by the United Nations in 2015. According to statistics, the per capita net income of China’s registered poor residents reached 10,740 yuan at the end of the last year, which was much more than the international extreme poverty line. Following the victory in the final battle against extreme poverty, China will continue to consolidate the results of poverty elimination, and dovetail new measures with rural revitalization, the white paper says. Next, China will work to ensure food security, said Tang Renjian, director of the Office of the Central Leading Group for Rural Affairs and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

China improves education to alleviate poverty, helps residents embrace brighter future By Zhang Shuo, Ding Yasong, People’s Daily


s of the end of 2020, the number of dropouts during the nine-year compulsory education stage in China fell to 682 from over 600,000 in 2019, said data from the country’s Ministry of Education (MOE). Meanwhile, the number of dropouts from registered impoverished families had been reduced to zero, down from more than 200,000, according to the data. The Chinese government considers education a fundamental task and has always given top priority to improving education. Since 2012, China’s government budgetary spending on education has maintained a proportion of over 4 percent in the country’s GDP, and has increasingly leaned

toward rural areas, border areas, areas with large ethnic minority populations, old revolutionary base areas, and outlying and poverty-stricken regions. “I like the big screen in our classroom. The teachers who give classes to us via the screen sing very well. Many students in urban areas take online classes together with us,” said Long Xinyu, a primary school student in Huayuan county, Xiangxi Tujia and Miao autonomous prefecture, central China’s Hunan province, who is excited about Internetbased online courses. So far, all primary and high schools in China have access to the Internet, while in 2012 only a quarter of them used the Internet. The proportion of schools with multimedia classrooms in China has risen to 95.3 percent from 48 percent in 2012.

“I didn’t want to come here at first, and now I don’t want to leave,” said Li Hui, a college graduate who became a teacher at a primary school in Wangtuan township, Lixin county, east China’s Anhui province. Li feels more content with her job as China has enhanced efforts to attract talents to rural areas. With the support of local government, the school has built new teaching buildings, and teachers at the school have enjoyed higher salaries and better benefits, according to Li, who disclosed that they are also provided with dormitories. In recent years, China has gradually nurtured a team of high-caliber village teachers that dedicate themselves to education in rural areas. The country has recruited a total of 950,000 teachers for

the compulsory education in rural areas, trained nearly 17 million teachers and principals for rural schools in the central and western regions under a national-level training program, provided subsidies for 1.27 million teachers from over 80,000 schools in contiguous poverty-stricken areas, and sent 190,000 volunteer teachers to schools in outlying and poverty-stricken regions, border areas, areas with large ethnic minority populations, and old revolutionary base areas. Latest data show that the overall quality of village teachers in China has significantly improved, as 51.6 percent of them have at least completed undergraduate education, and 44.7 percent have been awarded mid-level professional titles and above. China has provided institutional guarantee for the

realization of its goal that “no child is denied schooling due to financial difficulties”. The country has built a student aid system with Chinese characteristics for students in stages from pre-school to postgraduate education. Under the system, it has provided financial support for students from impoverished families for 641 million times, basically ensuring aid for all students in need. To help increase the income of residents in impoverished areas, universities and colleges in China have given full play to their characteristic and comprehensive resources, and brought advanced ideas, talents, technologies and experience to poor counties based on accurate grasp of their practical needs, achieving noticeable achievements.



Cross River, EU signs MOU on Wildlife Conservation By Mashe Umaru Gwamna


he Cross River State Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the European Union Wildlife Conservation Society (EU-WCS) on forests management and conservation. The State Commissioner for International Development Cooperation, Dr Inyang Asibong, made this known when the EU team visited her recently in Calabar, the state capital. She said that the partnership would also promote a healthy climate for both wildlife and other endangered species in the state forests.

Asibong said that the Cross River rainforest was an asset not only to the state and the country, but the West African sub-region at large. She noted that, under the Gov. Ben Ayade ledadministration, the wildlife and Green Canopy provided by the Cross River rainforest had enabled Nigeria to be a member of the Global Climate Change Cooperation. According to her, the cooperation is the highest body that Nigeria is a signatory to the protocol. The commissioner enjoined the EU-Wildlife Conservation Society to protect the forest communities, just as the state

government had been doing over the years. According to the United Nations Environmental Programme, the Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity released in May 2019, states that are in danger of losing one million species to extinction, including migratory species if actions to curb the trend are not stepped up. “Cross River Government takes the report seriously and has stepped up action to conserve species, protect ecosystems and make meaningful progress toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),’’ Asibong said. Earlier in his remarks, the

Director of the European Union Wildlife Conservation Society, Andrew Dunn, said their work in the state would focus on National Park, Afi and Nde Mountains. Dunn proposed to provide the state with technical support with request to have a political buy-in through the signing of an MoU with the state government to provide a framework and their terms of operations in the state. “We will continue to set the bar for science, conservation and education that has driven our successes in protecting wildlife for over a century. “We hold ourselves to the highest standards, adhering

to core values of respect, accountability and transparency, innovation, diversity and inclusion, collaboration and integrity,” he added. According to him, Cross River and Bauchi states remain choice places in Nigeria where they have worked for more than 15 years, having signed an MoU with the Federal Government to work in the two states. Cross River houses more than 50 per cent of the Nigeria rainforest located at Afi and Nde Mountains in Ikom Local Government Area (LGA). It also houses the state National Park in Akamkpa, Boki and Obanliku LGAs of the state.

Group demands remediation of pollution at Shell’s facility in Bayelsa


nvironmentalists have urged Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to remediate areas polluted by oil leak from its facility in Yenagoa and Ogbia Local Government Areas in Bayelsa State. Mr. Osagie Okunbor, Managing Director, The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) and Country Chair of Shell Companies in Nigeria The environmentalists under the auspices of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) SPDC said that the leak discharged crude into the Ekole River, a tributary of Nun River. ERA/FoEN position was made known in its field report signed by Alagoa Morris, the Head of Field Operations at the Bayelsa office of the non-governmental organisation on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. It called on the SPDC to embark on a comprehensive remediation of the river and the devastated flora and fauna, while preventing fire outbreak at the spill site. The incident occurred on March 31, from the SPDC Manifold at Otuokpoti and impacted communities in the Ogbia and Yenagoa Local Government Areas of the state residing near the bank of Ekole River. The SPDC and the affected communities were still in disagreement over the cause of the spill. These communities being predominantly fishing and farming communities also dismissed claims by the oil firm that it swiftly mobilised a response team to the impacted site to prevent the spread of crude. Morris maintained that the people of the areas had the right to a general satisfactory environment favourable to their development as enshrined

under Article 24 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. He further advised that the Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) to be conducted on the incident should be devoid of the usual industry politics of predetermined results to be forced into the JIV. “Shell should carry out proper clean-up of all impacted environment along the Ekole River and around the spill site promptly, no matter the cause of spill. All stakeholders, including community representatives in the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) should be given a copy of the signed JIV Report at the site in line with industry practice.

Nigeria, UNDP host stakeholders to validate draft GHG Mitigation Assessment


he Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Ministry of Environment, with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has commenced a three-day highlevel stakeholders discussion on the need to fine-tune the draft copy of a report on the country’s Green House Gas (GHG) profile and the planned revision of its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) on climate change. A group discussion session during the Stakeholders’ Validation Meeting With representation from

across the entire sectors of the economic, the parley, holding in Lagos, dissected the draft report and made several modifications for integration. Some participants also questioned why the proponents did not consult with leading data management agencies in the country like the National Bureau of Statistics and Population Census, among others, before arriving at some of the recommendations, which they claimed was not representative and broad enough to capture the reality on ground. Tagged “Stakeholders’ Validation Meeting Draft

Report of the Green House Gas (GHG) Mitigation Assessment for the Nationally Determined Contributed Revision Process,” the organisers, led by the two International Consultants who prepared the draft, Chris Malley and Jessica Slater, defended the report vehemently, citing the integrity of the sources relied upon. The outcome of the parley is to push for the adoption of the recommendations in the draft for onward presentation to the Federal Executive Council Meeting and passage of same as part of working documents for the country’s Nationally Determined

Contribution on Climate Change. In his remarks, Mr. Huzi Mshelia, the National Coordinator for NDC Support Programme, said the parley was key to helping the country achieve policy clarity in its ambitious goal to prevent climate calamity in the country. Acting Director, Department of Climate Change (DCC) in the Federal Ministry of Environment, Mrs Halima Bawa, said the dispassionate look of the stakeholders on the document would further cement its credibility when it is eventually passed. Source : By Bankole Shakirudeen Adeshina





India Covid-19 migrants: ‘Lockdown will make us beg for food again’ “Will a lockdown happen again?” ver a grainy video call last week from a grotty little room in the western Indian city of Mumbai, the Sethi brothers repeatedly asked me this question, their voices trembling in nervousness. More than a decade ago, Santosh and Tunna Sethi left their families and homes in the eastern state of Orissa, also called Odisha, in search of work. They arrived in Mumbai, more than 1,600km (994 miles) away. Here, the brothers toiled in the shadows of the city’s imposing skyscrapers that migrant workers build for the affluent. Ferrying cement, sand, bricks and stones, they earned 450 rupees ($6; £4.35) every day for eight hours of work. They lived, ate and slept in unfinished buildings, and sent most of their savings home to support their families. Of India’s more than 450 million migrants, 60 million are inter-state “labour” migrants, according to Chinmay Tumbe, the author of India Moving: A History of Migration. These workers are the backbone of the booming informal economies of India’s cities. Despite contributing 10% to India’s GDP, they are “socially and politically vulnerable”, says Prof Tumbe. Back in Mumbai, fear had gripped the Sethi brothers again. “Will we have to return home? Do you have any information?” they asked. With more than three million reported Covid-19 infections, the state of Maharashtra, which has Mumbai as its capital, is the stubborn epicentre of India’s second wave of infections. The government has been warning of a full lockdown unless cases begin to fall. On Tuesday it imposed stringent new restrictions to curb the virus spread, with only essential travel and services allowed until the end of April. Also, construction activity will be allowed where workers - like the Sethis - live on the site. India’s sweeping and badlyplanned lockdown last year had forced more than 10 million migrant workers to flee the big cities they worked in. The bedraggled men and women had left on foot, on cycles, on supply trucks and later in trains. More than 900 of them died on their way home, including 96 who died in trains. The exodus was reminiscent of the flight of millions of refugees during India’s bloody partition in 1947. Harsh Mander, a human rights activist, called it “probably the greatest humanitarian crisis” that many Indians had seen in their lifetime. Now Mumbai was being ravaged by the virus again, and the brothers


Santosh and Tunna Sethi left their families in eastern India to work in Mumbai a decade ago

The brothers live in construction sites where they work

Mumbai’s construction workers help build some of the world’s most expensive real estate

were on the edge. Memories of the lockdown last year were haunting them. The suspension of work and transport had left them stranded in the city for two months last year, and they had ended up begging for food. “It was a really bad experience. A strange time it was,” Santosh Sethi, 43, said. The two were part of a group of 17 workers who lived at a construction site in Mumbai. When the lockdown was announced on 24 March last year, they found themselves stuck without much food and money. Their contractor gave them just 1,000 rupees, but it was not enough to sustain their food needs for more than a week. Stepping outside was risky because the police were beating up people on the roads for breaking lockdown rules. On video calls from their worried families, they broke down. Hunger was the “biggest problem”. “We would be hungry a lot of the time. We ate once a day. The battle for food was intense,” said Tunna Sethi, 40. Scrounging for food, the brothers met people involved with a non-profit group providing meals to the migrants and homeless. Eventually Khaana Chahiye (Food Wanted) served 600,000 migrant workers like the Sethis, and supplied more than 4.5 million meals to the needy in Mumbai during last year’s lockdown. “They were coming and telling us they would die in the city and never see their families again. The Sethis came to us looking for food and wanting to return home,” said Sujata Sawant, a social worker, who met the brothers when they were desperate last year. Ms Sawant and her fellow workers prepared kits for the workers which contained rice, lentils, oil, soap, spices, sugar, tea and salt to help them return to their abandoned work sites, have proper baths and cook food on their kerosene stoves. Across the city, Ms Sawant said, employers and their contractors had switched off their phones and abandoned the workers. One worker turned up looking for soap, saying he had been bathing for 20 days without using one. Another said he was not able to access a public toilet for three days because he did not have the money to access a paid facility in his slum. Social workers say they found local politicians putting their images on food packets supplied by nonprofits, pilfering rations to sell on the black market and often refusing to distribute in areas where they believed people did not vote for them. Source: BBC






THURSDAY, APRIL 15, 2021 By Amaechi Agbo


etermined to help fight climate change and create a healthy environment for all, the Nigeria Teqball Federation NIGTEQ Tuesday embarked on tree planting The exercise which took place at the River Park, Business District, Abuja was coordinated by the President of NIGTEQ, Egnr Habu Gumel. Engr. Gumel who personally planed one if the step tress during the exercise said that the move was part of NIGTEQ’s in her fourday training programme and initiatives to help in securing the environment and beautifying it. He called on the general public particularly Nigerians to see the need to plant a tree as a national and personal assignment. “We all know the importance of trees around us. They provide fresh air, add beauty to our surrounding and most importantly, help protect us from climatic change. “We will continue to do this annually because as a federation, we believe that for us to do well in sports, our environment must be healthy and protected.” On his part, the General Secretary of NIGTEQ, Mr Ndudi Edede noted that tree planting as well as general sanitation were part of the federation’s Corporate. Social Responsibility, CRS. He noted that the federation would continue to do her best in preserving the environment and



sports@peoplesdailyng.com, SMS- 08142929046

Nigeria Teqball Federation embarks on tree planting in Abuja

ensuing that Nigerians and indeed the global community imbibes the general message as importance of tree planting. Chairman of Federal Capital Territory Teqball Association, Mr Ibrahim Galadima also participated in the tree planting. The tree planting was part of the 4-day capacity programme organised by the NIGTEQ in collaboration with International Federation of Teqball FITEQ. Similarly, the President, Nigeria Teqball Federation, NIGTEQ, Engr Habu Gumel has charged the coaches and Referees of the beautiful game on professionalism. Engr. Gumel who gave the charge in Abuja while addressing the coaches and referees who underwent a four-day capacity training workshop commended the Coaches and Referees for turning up for the programme. Describing them as the pioneers of teqball in Nigeria, the President encouraged them to put in their best and be good ambassadors of the curved game. “We all know that our own Olympic, the sports festival is going on in in Edo state but I decided to cut short my programme there to

NIGTEQ President, Engr Habu Gumel planting a tree in Abuja Monday be here with you. “This obviously is because if the importance we all attached to this great training programme. I therefore encourage you that as you finish this training to

be professional in your duties. Whether as a coach or referee, you should be able to understand your professional duties and be able to uphold them always. “You are the pioneers of the

teqball in Nigeria and much is expected of you. You should be good ambassadors of the game. The training which commenced on Saturday, April 10 was rounded up on Tuesday, April 13, 2021.

Ahemd Musa rejoins Kano Pillars on short deal By Amaechi Agbo


fter 6 months without a club, Super Eagles captain, Ahmed Musa, has returned to Kano Pillars FC for the remainder of the 2020/21 Nigeria Professional Football League season (NPFL), the club Confirmed Musa previously played for the Pride of Kano in 2009 were he ended the season as the top scorer in the NPFL with 18 goals before moving to VVV-Venlo in the Netherlands. In a statement from the office of the chairman of the club, Alhaji Surajo Shuaibu Jambul and signed by the media officer, Rilwanu Malikawa revealed that the Sai Masu Gida have agreed to signed Musa until the end of the

2020/21 football season. According to Malikawa, the club have agreed to the deal after due consultations with the player and the League Management Company of Nigeria (LMC) whom stood as a mediator to the deal. Malikawa further stated that the club have received a letter from the LMC that was signed by the Chief Operating Officer, Malam Salihu Abubakar, that Kano Pillars will sign Ahmed Musa as an Elite player of the league to the end of the season. The seasoned journalist said Kano Pillars FC family are happy to welcome back one of their own and have wished him Allah’s guidance. “Ahmad Musa is our own and Pillars FC will continue to support

him anytime and anywhere he found himself,” Malikawa said. Amongst the contractual agreement reached and would be documented between Musa and Kano Pillars is……, anytime the player got an offer, he would be released by the club. Malikawa concluded that after completing all the necessary documentations, Ahmed Musa would be unveil by His Excellency, the executive Governor of Kano state, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje before the commencement of the second stanza of the league. The four-time NPFL Champions are joint leaders of the log alongside Kwara Utd with 36 points each from 19 matches though Pillars are second due to lesser goal difference.

Women’s Ballon d’Or holder makes plea to Messi, Ronaldo

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U-15 La Liga/ NPFL Tournament: Enugu Sports Commissioners Assures of readiness




Rangers players embark on one-week break




eymar enjoyed playing with Kylian Mbappe at Paris Saint-Germain, but he knows that the World Cup winner is still a long way from being as good as Lionel Messi. The Frenchman has impressed in the Champions League this season, most notably at the Camp Nou where he effectively knocked Barcelona out of the competition. “There’s no comparison,” Neymar said when asked to compare the two. “They have two very different styles of play. “Messi is the best player I’ve seen, and Kylian is on his way to becoming one of the best.”




Neymar: There’s no comparison between Messi, Mbappe Neymar, admitting he wishes he was as fast as Mbappe, had a lot of praise for his teammate. The Brazilian was asked for his thoughts on Mbappe having said that he can be hard to play with because of the speed at which he thinks.

“It’s the same for all high-level players,” Neymar said. “If you’re not careful, you risk losing them in a fraction of a second. “Kylian is very fast, so I have to be focused and attentive to him all the time. But it was the same with [Andres] Iniesta,

Messi or [Luis] Suarez. “I owe a lot of my happiness at PSG to Mbappe. He’s helped me to learn about the French way of life, he has explained the French mentality to me. I owe a lot of my adaptation to him.”

Tuchel admits he wants Real Madrid over Liverpool in UCL semis


nugu State Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Hon. Manfred Nzekwe has assured Nigeria Football Federation/ League Management Company delegation in Enugu State of California the readiness of the State to host a hitch- free under 15 LaLiga NPFL , football tournament in Enugu State. Speaking while receiving officials of NFF/LMC with Enugu State Football Association Officials and the Local Organizing Committee members, in his office, Tuesday, Commissioner Manfred Nzekwe , commended the NFF for deeming Enugu State capable of hosting such important football tournament. He assured that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, by accepting to host the tournament, the state government will put everything in place to guarantee the success of the tournament adding that the tournament will be the best organized tournament in Nigeria. He further assured that every relevant stakeholder will be brought on board to ensure a successful tournament. In his speech, the leader of the delegation and General Coordinator Youth League, of the Nigeria Football Federation/ League Management Company, Dr Johnson Obaseki, informed the Commissioner that Under 15 LaLiga/ Nigeria Football Federation tournament will commence from Monday 12 the April, as arrival date, while kick- off will commence on Thursday15th April, with the final coming up on May 2nd 2021. He requested for accommodation of visiting teams and vehicle for the visiting Local Organizing Committee members, adding that the team will work in synergy with other stakeholders to ensure the success of the Championship. In his statement, the Chairman Enugu State Football Association Barr.Tony Ugwu, assured that all the necessary logistics required for the Championship will be provided by the state Football Association and the organizing committee.


T Rangers players celebrating


anagement of Rangers International F.C, the ‘Flying Antelopes’, ably led by Prince Davidson Owumi has approved a one-week break for players of the club with effect from Tuesday, April 13, 2021. Addressing the players at the club’ ultramodern players’ camp, Nkponkiti road, Independence Layout, Enugu, Tuesday, G.M/ CEO of the side, Prince Owumi Davidson, charged the players to be professional in all their conducts during the break stressing that the period was for each player to relax, refresh and refocus their minds for the task ahead in the second round of the 2020/21 NPFL season.

“This break is coming at the instance of the technical crew led by coach Salisu Yusuf as we now have a date for the start of the second round and I charge you all to be true professionals in this break period. I believe it is a period for you to take your mind off anything football. Just relax, refresh and refocus your minds on what you will do for us to achieve our set target in the second round of the league,” stated the astute football management guru while addressing the players. Also speaking, technical adviser, Coach Salisu Yusuf advised the players to maintain the level of fitness they have attained while on break warning that there will be penalties for any player that acts unprofessionally during

the period. “I know the level we are leaving you people and I expect to see it on your return in a week’s time. Please, be professional in all your conducts as there will be penalties for any reported unprofessional conduct during the break,” stated the vastly experienced gaffer. The players are expected back in Enugu on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 with training sessions commencing Wednesday, April 21, 2021. The ‘Flying Antelopes’ are currently placed 4th on the twenty-team log with 30 points from 18 matches played as the rescheduled match day 19 fixture with oriental neighbours, Enyimba International F.C is yet to get a date from organizers of the league, L.M.C.

Akure to host NLO division 3


he Nigeria Nationwide League One, NLO has confirmed that Ondo State Sports Complex, Akure will be one of the centres for the division three of its matches. The Chairman of the NLO, who also doubles as a board member of the NFF, Alhaji Mohammed Alkali stated this at the inauguration of standing committees by the Ondo State Football Association “My colleagues sent me to welcome him back as the Chairman back after his election. Am assuring the people of Ondo state that right from today, you will see changes. “The entire Congress of the NFF are happy with the election of Otunba Dele Ajayi. In the next edition of our NLO division 3, a big centre will be awarded to Ondo State. Inaugurating the committee, Board member of the Nigeria Football Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Yusuf Fresh said,the constitution of the standing-committees, was in tune with the statutes of the NFF. Fresh said he was happy that the State FA Chairman,Otunba Dele Ajayi, had brought everyone on board from the last election and would be successful, saying,” A divided house will not last “ Fresh urged the members of Sports Writers in the state to also, always put the FA in the state in the right direction whenever they were astray. Earlier, the Chairman of the Ondo FA, Otunba Dele Ajayi said the state

homas Tuchel admits he would prefer to face Real Madrid rather than Liverpool in the Champions League semi-finals after Chelsea reached the last four for the first time since 2014. Chelsea were beaten by Porto on the night in the home leg of their quarter-final in Seville, Mehdi Taremi’s scoring a stunning injury time overhead kick for Sergio Conceicao’s side. But Tuchel’s men had done the hard work in the first leg, winning 2-0 in the away game

which was also staged in Seville to render Porto’s late goal irrelevant. Tuchel said: ‘In general I like not to play against teams from your same league in the Champions League as it gives more of a feeling of a European competition but that is the only thing. The game is far from over but I will watch it for sure. ‘Everything is possible. Liverpool are very strong at home so we take what we get. It is a good situation for us.’

would be full of football activities with the committees in place. Ajayi said Ondo State FA has the solution to the problem of Sunshine Stars and Sunshine Queens, urging the state government to carry the association along. “We are ready to collaborate with people with ideas and personnel from people that can make Ondo state enviable heights. “We thank the governor of the state, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, for the huge amount he has released for the state owned

teams so far. “We know what to help both teams. It is too bad to owe for seven months for the male team and 13 months for the female team,” he said. Ajayi later thanked both Board members Alhaji Ahmed Yusuf Fresh and Alhaji Mohammed Alkali for gracing the occasion. Alkali, who is the Chairman of the Nassarawa FA, said the whole of NFF were happy with the election of Dele Ajayi as the chairman of the FA in the state.

performance to not let your opponent perform. ‘Today (Tuesday)was the day to hang in and show all the effort, all the intensity, all the team spirit, that’s needed if you don’t have the experience, if you have a young team, it’s the moment to be together. ‘We talked about what we needed to do if you feel nervous and that is to use your body, work hard and make yourself sweat. This is what we did.’

Women’s Ballon d’Or holder makes plea to Messi, Ronaldo


merican female and world superstar Megan Rapinoe wants the world’s greatest male footballers to lead a stronger fight against the world’s sickening ills. Megan believes explained that the power of football as a leader and influence in Europe, can be the determining triumph over social issues like racism and homophobia - and Lionel Messi as well as Cristiano Ronaldo are key voices. “Football is the most popular sport in Europe; all eyes are on the players, they are among the best athletes,” she told RMC Sport, as shared by Soccer Laduma. Megan added a key distinction between American superstar sportsmen and football’s icons regarding the fight against discrimination. “When you see the commitment of

certain athletes, like Serena Williams or LeBron James here in the United States, it is important that people like (Marcus) Rashford, Messi, (Antoine) Griezmann or Ronaldo get involved too as people will listen to them, as they are global role models. “It is not just black players who have to talk about racism, not only gay players who have to talk about homophobia, not only women who have to talk about pay inequality. “We are all responsible, we must use our own voice to stop discrimination, to stop discrimination we face. “It really isn’t up to the people who are already oppressed to make sure they shut down a system they are going through, this is not how there will be real social change; everyone must collaborate, like in the USA,” Megan concluded.

Man United named most valuable team in England NLO players in action

Hailing Chelsea’s progress, Tuchel said: ‘The semi-finals is a big achievement. It’s a big step to be in the semi-final. ‘We’re not used to being there but once you are there you play for the final.’ While Tuchel admitted the game was not a spectacle, Chelsea produced a professional display to keep Porto at arms’ length until it was too late for them to mount a comeback that took the game to extra time. Tuchel said: ‘It is also part of the

The latest Forbes list has put Manchester United as the most valuable team in England. United’s dip in form overall has not affected their position on the money list with the Red Devils leading a contingent of six Premier League clubs who occupy Forbes’ top 10 list. United are currently valued at $4.2bn with their close challengers being Liverpool who are valued at $4.1bn. However, the Merseysiders have had an 88% rise in the last two years thanks to their on-field success. United has experienced a 10% change in their value with only Atletico Madrid having a lower variation amongst the top 15 teams

on the list. The Red Devils were third on the list last year but have now been overtaken by Bayern Munich. Barcelona tops the list while Real Madrid comes in at a close second. United has also come fourth in revenue earned, with an impressive $643m. Apart from United and Liverpool, the other most valuable teams in the top ten from England include Manchester City ($4bn) in the sixth spot, Chelsea ($3.2bn) in the seventh spot, Arsenal ($2.8bn) in ninth and Tottenham Hotspur ($2.3bn) in tenth. The likes of Everton ($658m), West Ham United ($508m), and Leicester ($455) complete the list of English clubs in the top 20.


SPORTS latest

Thiago Silva to extend Chelsea contract

Chelsea defender Thiago Silva has revealed his intention to sign a contract extension at Stamford Bridge after the club advanced to the Champions League semi-finals. Silva joined Chelsea on a free transfer from Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain and has helped the club’s youngsters at the back. The Brazilian played 90 minutes in Chelsea’s 1-0 loss to FC Porto but his side advanced on away goal rule. Despite struggling in his few first months with injuries, Silva seems to be enjoying his time since Thomas Tuchel took over. “I hope to continue like this,” the 36-year-old told Sky Sport Italia. “I want to continue to play at this level and get to the World Cup in 2022. Thomas Tuchel is doing an amazing job here at Chelsea.” The Blues have an option to automatically trigger a one-year extension to his contract.

Wolves’ Nuno To Replace Mourinho at Tottenham


ottenham Hotspur will go for Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo if they are to part ways with Jose Mourinho. Mourinho is under intense pressure at Spurs following a spate of poor performances with reports rife that the club might show him the door if they fail to qualify for Europe. Report claims that Levy is a major fan of Santo, who led the club out of the Championship three years ago and has taken them to the Europa League quarter-finals and two seventhplaced Premier League finishes. Spurs are currently lying six points outside the Champions League places and three away from the Europa League qualification slots with Mourinho saying over the weekend that it would be difficult for them to finish among the best six teams Taye and Oduamadi in the Taiwo division.

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As I ‘Step aside’ Preamble y first experience, in 1988 with Column-writing was almost contemporaneous with my baptismal as a reporter with just a Degree in English from the University of Sokoto and a spell on the Benue State NYSC ‘Orientation Broadcasting Service’. But what I had better than those was the naïve conviction that Sokoto had cooked in me the ideal literary averter, and that in fact I was already a keg of literary gunpowder waiting to explode. Only ‘time’, ‘space’ and ‘chance’ stood in the way of my readiness to begin to disarrange the dictionary by doing with ‘pen on paper’ what Picasso did with ‘brush on canvass’. As the British novelist Bulwer Lytton said “Beneath the rule of men entirely great, the pen is mightier than the sword”. Or as his Irish counterpart Seamus Heaney advised, a good writer’s pen must rest ‘between his finger and his thumb’, and “snug as a gun”. But it was not by chance that I did my Project on one the Works of William Shakespeare; a choice as suicidal as what Shakespeare himself describes as “taking a serpent by the tongue”. –especially considering the implication of almost having to digest most of the playwright’s 37 comedies, tragedies, tragic-comedies, history plays and 7 impregnable poems, of which the ‘Sonnets’, ‘Venus And Adonis’ and ‘Rape Of Lucrece’ are a Gordian knot. But thanks to my Indian Supervisor, Dr. Sanyal, I escaped with a ‘B’ even though I narrowly missed the ‘A’ that I needed to make an ‘Upper’. The motivation to brave Shakespeare was itself from an adage in his ‘First Part of King Henry the Fourth’ where he says “The blood more stirs to rouse a lion than to start a hare”. Meaning, to achieve the highest delirium or to get the best kick, you need the most mind-bending substance or the most daring adventure. As Thesaurus-inspired writers would say: ‘why settle for less when you have in the ‘dictionary’ the Lord’s plenty?’ And although to Geoffrey Chaucer -author of ‘The Canterbury Tales’- belong the fatherhood of English literature, Shakespeare’s poetics had given me the greatest inspiration, to deliver words by weight, not by numbers. Shakespeare’s style gave the world of poetry a touch of the realistic humor that is need to survive the mechanistic tedium of raw poetry, even as he has put a touch of ‘existential surrealism’ to the weird cubism of Picasso on the rainbow of life. Let’s say I had the greatest undergrad fun indeed swimming in the yummy entrails of his Folios grasping the tapestries of ‘English


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Thursday Column

with Mohammed Adamu dankande2@gmail.com literature’. In their book ‘Three Keys to Language’, Robert Estrick and Hans Sperber say that “Language is the armory of the human mind, and at once contains the trophies of its past and the weapons of its future conquests”. My daring University adventure to hug the blue flame rather than settle for the luminous literary limelight, was informed by the high, even if infantile, hope that someday, if I would not deliver my words by the tonnage of a Shakespeare’s, at least I should, like the famed English poet-peer of the British Parliament, Lord Byron shape up to be ‘incapable of writing a dull sentence’ –a feat that Byron achieved because he would not “hunt down a tried metaphor”. And even after decades of journalism experience, I make no pretence to attaining the station of Byron; far be it from that, every time I return even to my most magnum of previous literary opuses, I see that I am still ‘very CAPABLE’ of ‘writing dull sentences’. But so too did some of the great literati of old. They had battled to avoid the malady of ‘dull metre and verse’. Walter Pater, the English essayist whose hedonistic brand of literature was said to have inspired the Irish-born writer Oscar Wilde, was so plain insipid sometimes, he was accused of having the “English language ‘lie in state’”. To pen well, said the U.S. poet A.R. Ammons, “One must write and rewrite till one writes it right”. And the French poet Nicolas Despreaux, narrating his experience, admits “Of every four words I write, I strike out three”. This has always been the path even of the masters. As the weapon of war requires regularly to be improved, so does the “armory of the human mind”, language, -to be regularly polished. There is no middle ground said the English poet John Sheffield, between writing and not writing well: “Learn to write well or not to write at all”. In 1988 just after my Youth Service, I had still naively felt I was already a proud, Lord Byron in the making, freshly-toothed with some of the wisest molars of the greatest imaginable literary masters, from poets to playwrights, essayists to dramatists. I believed that I was already an upstart crow beautified

by the rich colorful feathers of the Shakespeares and the Soyinkas, and of the Eliots and the Wathiongos. I was eager –pen at hand- to rock William Safire’s literary world of contrapuntal turnarounds; -yes that media world of exhilarating phraseology which hitherto I had only impatiently gleaned with bated breath, from my Sokoto Ivory Tower, as that famous quartet of Newswatch Magazine’s Dele Giwa (whose sister, Abibat, ironically was my study mate), Yakubu Mohammed, Dan Agbese and Ray Ekpu, had, with eclectic aplomb and with élan and with éclat, rocked the tabloids with some of the most inspiring metre and in verse. This was all the world that I had craved. This was the world I was determined to have. And so I was hardly surprised, in 1988, when the then GM of Niger State’s Bi-Weekly Newsline Newspaper, the amiable Hassan Kolos of blessed memory and his work-personifying News Editor Solomon Nyaze –only minutes after I had dropped my first letter of application and was about to leave the premises- invited me in and rather mockingly said that the bombastic, self-extolling magniloquence that they had just read in my letter of application, had left them with no choice but to request that I take a seat at the newsroom’s intimidating round table, there and then to prove my rodomontade. And although I got my first job the very day that I submitted my first letter of application, sitting at that round table on a challenge to put my pen where my mouth was, was an excruciating mental and psychological ordeal I will never forget. I held my pen over some off cuts and for a very long time I starred at the paper as I mentally racked what to write about! And for the first time in my life I realized that I could do even with ‘dullest sentences’ –if Cadmus, the Greek god of writing would be kind enough to inspire them in me. It was the first time I would wonder why even ‘dull metre’ and ‘dry verse’ should not constitute another genre of literary endeavor; so that writers too may create a form of psycho-medical literature couched in the dullest sentences as therapeutic tranquilization

maybe for insomniacs and for those with sleep-defying maladies. And it had to take another ten years before I would realize that such literature does in fact exist –‘boring literature’. There are in fact, ‘boring books’ deliberately written to battle insomnia. In any case, my ordeal ended that day after I wrote –at a sittinga piece titled ‘Of Heroes And Heroworship’. And it would not only earn me my first job as a journalist, it got me my first Column to –‘The Countryside’; first in trust for Ambassador Udegwe who was proceeding on leave and thereafter mine to keep. It was why I said at the beginning that my first experience with Column-writing was almost contemporaneous with my baptismal as a reporter. And since then, in all the subsequent years of my journalism career –rising from a Correspondent to Editor in Concord Press of Nigeria, CPN and a Bureau Chief in its sister African Concord Magazine- my journalism practice had never been without a column or two to manage: from Newsline’s ‘Countryside’ to Concord’s ‘On The Beat’; from Sunday Concord’s ‘From The Presidential Villa’ to Peoples Daily’s ‘My Take’; from Sunday Vanguard’s ‘The Spectrum’ and now to the current ‘Mohammed Adamu On Thursday’ syndicated first by Peoples Daily, Vanguard and The Daily Times, and now by Peoples Daily, The Nation and The Daily Times newspapers. It is this Column that I am resting today as I am about to go see if I can put a Wig on a Law Degree (LLB) which I had obtained some five years ago; even as I need some time also to quickly complete an academic Project for a Masters Degree in Law (LLM) which I must round up before the Law School commences in a few weeks from today. See you when I see you.


We gave COVID-19 palliatives to all govs, Minister tells Reps -News

Why were they hiding them?

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