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Int’l Youth Day: Ooni wants Big Brother Naija show replaced


THE Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, on Wednesday celebrated the International Youth Day with some Nigerian youths in his palace at Ile Ife, Osun.

Ooni Ogunwusi, who played host to scores of Nigerian youths from all parts of the country under the aegis of the National Youth Council of Nigeria in Ile-Ife, suggested a replacement for Big Brother Naija

Among other things, the Ooni criticised the prominent Big Brother Naija reality show, which he said has been misrepresenting the goodness and integrity of the Nigerian youths.

The monarch described the youths as the country’s untapped immeasurable wealth and resources.

The royal father, who stressed the need for participation of more youths in leadership, lamented that the youths have misplaced their priorities and must redress it as a matter of urgent public importance.

“Nigerian youths are found of accusing and abusing our leaders, stop abusing them contribute your own quota. Let’s wear our thinking caps and begin to act like the real future leaders that we are.

“In the last general election, the total number of vote cast was around 27 million while over 170 million people voted during the 2019 Big Brother Naija reality show.

“This is a practical reality of who Nigerian youths are and where our priorities lie as Nigerians.

“The funny side in all of these is that we still go to bed, have a good sleep and wake up with the hope to meet a Nigeria we didn’t create. Nigerians Youths! Nigerians Youths!! Nigerians Youths!!!

“Unfortunately, every time I talk about this kind of attitude, everyone just laugh and move on. What kind of nation are we building?

“When people say this country, or what kind of country is this, they are indirectly saying these people – it is the people that make a country; so what kind of Nigerian youths are we?” Ooni asked.

Speaking further, the monarch offered a suggestion for a reality show, which will project the country’s values, cultures and traditions.

He urged leaders of the National Youth Council of Nigeria to work out plans on the show, which will be called, “The Big Nigeria Reality Show”.

“The proposed show will be structured in a way that young professionals, talented individuals, and others across several fields of endeavour will be showcased and helped to reach their peak.

“This would help the participants and also help viewers to have access to people that can be seen as role models,” Ooni added.

Earlier in his address, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, who was represented by Dr. Mariam Abdullahi, a Director in the Ministry, explained that the youths have major roles to play in the country’s development.

According to him, the digital literacy and skills acquisition, entrepreneurship, employability and leadership initiative of the Ministry are ongoing and all geared towards the development of our youths.

“As government, we will keep ensuring that we equip our youths towards prosperity,” the minister assured.

Representing Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun at the event, the state’s Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Mr. Yemi Lawal, explained that the youths have a lot to learn from the elders towards reaching their goals.

“As much as we youths are important, let us be humble enough to learn from our elders because they were once like us. Humility, persistence and patience is the key and we must be upright in our dealings,” he said.

In his address, the President of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, Mr. Sara-Igbe Sukubo, thanked the Ooni for what he described as an unthinkable warm reception for the youths.

“Your Imperial Youthfulness as you told us to address you, we are indeed happy and proud to have you as a father and mentor.

“We have heard your kind words of wisdom and I want to assure you on behalf of the teeming Nigerian youths that we will put them into action.

“Fellow Nigerian youths, as we reflect on youth engagement for global action today, let us realize that a new era of opportunities and responsibilities is now upon us.

“Today’s youths are now being called upon to rise as practical stakeholders in governance and development. Let us rise to this challenge,” Sukubo said.

Meanwhile, the youths at the occasion announced Ooni Ogunwusi as the ”Royal Father of Nigerian Youths”, in recognition and appreciation of his immeasurable commitment towards youth development in the country.

Similarly, the founder of Elizabeth Jack-Rch Aid Foundation, who is equally the matron of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, Mrs. Elizabeth Jack-Rich was given an award for her role and stance as a mentor to the Nigerian youths.

Mrs. Jack-Rich had earlier expressed the readiness of her foundation to sponsor the reality show proposed by the Ooni.

She admonished youths to ignore all forms of distraction and negative peer pressure on their way to success.


Aug. 13, 2020 | 09:20

Atalanta’s dream ends with cruel late double strike from PSG


THE UEFA Champions League knockout stages always produce great drama and the single-game format for this season’s quarter-finals has intensified the emotions.

On Wednesday, Paris St-Germain (PSG) struck twice in the final minutes to end the fairytale for debutants Atalanta.

Although the team from Bergamo, the Italian town of around 120,000, had never qualified for the Champions League before, they were moments away from glory.

They nearly humbled the financial powerhouse of PSG, backed by the oil wealth of the club’s Qatari owners.

Then PSG struck twice, with Brazilian defender Marquinhos scoring in the 90th minute before substitute Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting decided the contest in stoppage time.

Atalanta’s hopes of glory were suddenly snatched from their grasp.

The sense of destiny, of romance, which had surrounded Gian Piero Gasperini’s team, suddenly evaporated into the night air at the empty Estadio da Luz.

There was no second leg, no away goals calculation, nothing other than the finality of defeat, of history being rewritten in a matter of seconds.

It was so cruel on the Italian side, who had worked so hard and had taken the lead with a beautiful 27th minute goal from their Croatia midfielder Mario Pasalic.

But when Atalanta finally reflect on the loss they will surely acknowledge that they had been helped by some wasteful finishing by PSG.

The wasteful finishing was in particular from their Brazil striker Neymar, and the alert goalkeeping of Marco Sportiello.

Whatever memories Atalanta fans have of this defeat, they will not include celebrating their goal in the stands or singing to console their heroes who collapsed on the turf at the final whistle.

Due to the COVID-19 related restrictions, there were no supporters of either team inside the 64,000 capacity stadium.

So, the biggest night of Atalanta’s 112-year history was one of frustration in front of the television for their supporters.

A handful of the most passionate had, inevitably, made the trip to Lisbon anyway, choosing to at least be close to the hope-for miracle, watching in bars in the Portuguese capital.

Some made their way out to the stadium before the game to greet the players as they arrived on their bus at the gates to the stadium.

The stadium, which is the home of Benfica, provided Gasperini’s men with a reminder of who they were playing for.

“It is a strong emotion. I’ve been watching Atalanta for 40 years and I couldn’t miss this game, even if you can’t enter the stadium,” Manuel Colombo, bedecked in a black and blue striped facemask, told Reuters.

“Time moves forward. Who knows whether we will ever get a game like this again?” he added.

But throughout the long build-up to this game, the particularly strong impact of the novel coronavirus on Bergamo has been present in the thoughts of those involved with the club.

At least since the Champions League was suspended in March.

At the height of the virus outbreak, Bergamo’s hospitals were overwhelmed with infected people.

With morgues unable to keep up, convoys of Army trucks carrying away the dead became a chilling symbol of the global pandemic.

Colombo paused before reflecting on that aspect of Atalanta’s campaign and his journey to Lisbon.

“We have to think today about those people who died due to COVID before their time, those many grandparents who took their grandchildren to see Atalanta for the first time and who aren’t with us anymore.

“I am thinking about them above all,” he said.

This Atalanta team will still be remembered as heroes by Colombo and all the club’s fans, having gifted the “Bergamisan” an unimaginable season of success in a year of such pain.

But those neutrals who felt robbed of a story of football romance, can take some solace in the smile on the face of the unlikely match-winner Cameroon international Choupo-Moting.

The 31-year-old, who signed on a free transfer after suffering relegation from the English Premier League with Stoke City, was the toast of Paris.

He was originally left out of PSG’s squad for the Champions League knockout stages.

Such a pity that no fans were there to witness it.


Aug. 13, 2020 | 09:20

FG to “punish” state, local govts over double taxation in mining sector – Minister

President Muhammadu Buhari

THE Federal Executive Council (FEC), on Wednesday, authorised the finance ministry to directly deduct the federal allocation of any state or local councils found imposing illegal taxes on mining operations.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made this known when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the Council’s virtual meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, in Abuja.

The decision, according to the minister, followed a memo by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development seeking the Council’s approval to address major challenges facing the nation’s mining industry.

He said the challenges as highlighted by the minister include double taxation, insecurity in parts of the country and collusion between some stakeholders, including some traditional rulers.

He said the menace of double taxation was driving a lot of investors out of the country.

Mohammed, therefore, maintained that the Council’s decision on direct deductions from the federal allocation of any state or local council involved in double taxation, was to save the mining industry.

He said: “On the issue of double taxation, whereby mining companies are taxed by local and state governments, two decisions were taken.

“One is that the council directed the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning to deduct directly from federal accounts, allocations of states which have deprived Federal Government of Nigeria revenue due to it by position of illegal taxes and levies on mining companies in their States.

“In other words, if a particular state engages in double taxation, you are imposing illegal taxes on a duly registered mining company, and it is reported to government, the Ministry of Finance will deduct that money from your allocation.

“The intent is to ensure that we don’t scare away investors, they be local or foreign.

“This will go a long way to reassure the investors that Nigeria is a safe place to invest now.

“It was also directed that the National Economic Council should also dialogue with the Governors and let them understand that States can participate in mining as corporate bodies.

“In other words, States can register companies and participate in mining, but they cannot come there as sub-national authorities because the law is very clear.’’

He emphasized that the federal government has exclusive right to mine and manage all mineral resources.


Aug. 13, 2020 | 09:20

Insecurity: Gov. Sule reiterates commitment to supporting security agencies


GOV. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa state has reiterated his administration’s commitment to supporting the federal government and security agencies in the fight against crime and criminality in the state.

The governor stated this during the inauguration of the Police Mobile Force Training College, Endehu Hills in Nasarawa-Eggon Local Government Area on Wednesday.

Sule lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the siting of the Police Force Mobile Force Training College in Nasarawa and also  the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu for conceiving the idea of establishing the college.

He said that his administration would give the institution the needed support, as well as strengthen the collective efforts in curbing security challenges in the country.

The governor also reiterated his administration’s resolve to support  other security agencies to enable them meet their constitutional responsibilities and making the state safer.

“I assure you that Nasarawa State Government will continue to complement the efforts of the Federal Government by providing the necessary logistic support to enhance effective operation in the fight against crimes and criminality in the State,” he said.

Sule expressed confidence that the establishment of the college would serve as an avenue for prospective participants to exchange ideas and share experience on modern trends of combating insecurity in the country.

“The college will also provide the needed platform for the appraisal of the security situation of the country and proffer workable solutions that will assist in entrenching a high-tech security system that will promote sustainable peace, stability and harmonious co-existence for socio-economic development of our country,” he said.

The governor, however, admitted that the state still faced several security challenges including kidnapping, armed robbery among others.

“In recent times, Nasarawa state has been battling with the activities of the Islamic sect “Darul-Salam and Hakika” in Toto and Awe Local Government Areas of the State.

“More worrisome, is the kidnapping activities which have pervaded the rural areas and resulted to the killing of a Traditional Ruler of Odu community in Nasarawa Local Government Area,” he said.

He then said to mitigate the security challenges and ensure sustainable peace, the state government inaugurated the Community Volunteer Guard (Vigilante), chaired by the Commissioner of Police, Bola Longe, in line with the initiative of the IGP on Community Policing.

“I need to state that this Volunteer Guard is not a security outfit, but it has continued to serve as a veritable tool towards community policing and complements the role of our conventional security agencies in the state,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Alhaji Muhammad Dingyadi, Minister of Police Affairs inaugurated the college  on behalf of President Muhammadu Bihari.

The I-G, Senators Abdullahi Adamu (APC-Nasarawa  West), Umaru Al-Makura (APC-Nasarawa South), Godiya Akwashiki (APC- Nasarawa North), some traditional rulers, heads of security agencies were among the dignitries  present at the occasion .


Aug. 13, 2020 | 09:20

CMD Lafia Specialist Hospital tasks NUJ on Health Insurance


HASSAN Ikrama, Chief Medical Director (CDM) of Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital Lafia (DASH), has advised the Nasarawa State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), to enroll its members in the state’s Health Insurance Scheme (HIS).

The CMD made the call on Wednesday in Lafia during a courtesy visit by the State Executive Council (SEC) members of NUJ to introduce the newly elected officials of the union.

According to Ikrama, the health insurance scheme would improve access to healthcare services to journalists in the state thereby guaranteeing their well-being.

He explained that the scheme was the best way to go toward ensuring better access and reducing burden on the people.

“HIS would automatically address the challenges where one must have money before he or she goes to the hospital even if the person is seriously sick.

“It would also address the situation where the hospital would treat a patient and the patient do not have money to pay, because little amount would be deducted monthly,” the CMD added.

Ikrama explained that already, federal civil servants were benefiting from a health insurance scheme and the Nasarawa State Government had introduced it recently, while urging NUJ to take advantage of the opportunity by enrolling their members.

The CMD also assured journalists that the management of the hospital was working hard to  improve efficiency of staff in  quality service delivery to patients.


“By the grace of God, we will ensure that journalists and of course, members of the public get quality  services in the hospital without necessarily knowing anybody,” he said.

Ikrama also said that the management of the hospital had in the last two years,  been able to improve infrastructure and equipment in the facility, adding that it would consolidate on enhancing efficiency.

He said that for services that people were hitherto, referred to bigger urban cities like Kano, Abuja Kaduna and other states, were now available in DASH and at cheaper rate.

The CMD also expressed gratitude to journalists for publicising the activities of the hospital and promised to support the union where necessary.

Earlier, Salihu Mohammed-Alkali, NUJ Chairman commended the Ikrama-led management  for turning around facilities in the hospital in just two years.

The NUJ Chairman, also assured the management of the union’s determination to partner with  the hospital toward ensuring better service delivery.


Aug. 13, 2020 | 09:20

Full List: Obiano suspends 12 traditional rulers


Ecobank launches business banking Omni Lite App


THE Ecobank Nigeria has launched an application for businesses. Known as Omni Lite App, it is targeted at enhancing the banking experience of its large pool of Commercial Banking customers.

The Ecobank Omni Lite App is a highly secure, world-class and integrated electronic banking platform designed to help Clients manage their Business accounts online in a secure, flexible, efficient and convenient manner.

It is a fully integrated multi-geography, multi-lingual and multi-currency online, web-based cash management platform. The App is being launched by the Ecobank Group across 33 countries in Africa where the Bank operates.

Speaking in Lagos,  Carol Oyedeji, executive director, Commercial Banking, Ecobank Nigeria, said the new App is in line with Ecobank’s policy direction to meet and surpass customers’ expectations, noting that it will bring flexibility, safer and convenient banking to the users. She disclosed that it is available to existing Omni Lite users, urging them to download it from the Apple Store, IOS, or the Play Store (Android).

“With the new Omni Lite App, users can view their accounts and transactions in one place, make payments and pay bills with ease, set up multiple users with different access launch, make and manage loan payment, book time deposits and view exchange rates. This electronic portal also allows customers manage all their online business, banking transactions and information 24/7.  With easier navigation and experience that is perfectly suited to smartphones, clients can enjoy features similar to the desktop version.” She stated

The  Ecobank Omni Lite App enables faster processing of instructions with loading option or file import for mass payments. It also features a customizable environment with choice of language, time zone and comprehensive user-friendly navigation menu. It’s state-of-the-art architecture meets international safety standards and it is designed to enhance productivity and manage cash flow. These largely enhance the cash management capabilities of Businesses which include account services, payments, collections, liquidity management, detailed and customisable reports, amongst others.

Aug. 13, 2020 | 08:30


Prof. Soyombo appointed acting vice chancellor of University of Lagos

PROFESSOR Theophilus Omololu Soyombo


Int’l Youth Day: Enugu Commissioner cautions youth against involvement in social vices

Manfred Nzekwe

MANFRED Nzekwe, the Enugu State Commissioner for Youths and Sports has called on the youths to stay away from activities that will ruin their future.

Nzekwe made this known in Enugu on Wednesday in a day summit in commemoration of the 2020 International Youth Day, themed; Youth Engagement for Global Action.

The summit was organised by Enugu State Ministry of Youths and Sports in partnership with Police Campaign against Cultism and Other Social Vices (POCACOV).

Addressing the Youths, Nzekwe said that 2020 international Youth Day seeks to put the spotlight on youth’s engagement at the local, community, national and global levels,” he said.

He said that the state had rolled out programmes to enhance youth’s employment in the state.

”The present administration is committed towards engagement of youths of the state in driving social innovation, change and participating fully in governance.

“Today, Enugu State is unvelling a giant stride in youth engagement tagged,” Enugu Youth Rescue Project, captured in our action and implementation plan for 2020 till 2023.

Mr Patrick Okoh, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Youth Leader in the state said that the youths needed to make themselves available to the government.

”Our full participation in politics is needed and it has to come through planning.

”We the youths must stop discrimination among ourselves as it’s being observed between youth organisations and come together for common goal.

”Unless we have synergy between the different youths organizations, we cannot achieve anything in governance as youths,” he said.

In his remarks, CSP Ebere Amaraizu, the POCACOV National Coordinator urged the youths to stay away from hard drugs which enhanced the zeal to social vices.

Amaraizu, who was former Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Enugu State Command, noted that drugs abuse brought challenges to global economy, health and causes sexual and gender violence.

He noted that drug abuse also caused thuggery, involvement in cultism and other vices that hindered youths future.

Mr Arinze Offia, the Special Adviser, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the state advised the youths to be creative and not depending on the government employment provision.

“Everybody cannot be in government appointment, civil service jobs at the same time so you can take the advantage of the state SMEs programmes.

He noted that the present administration appointed at least 80 per cent Youths and advised the youths to always visit SMEs office for more information on entrepreneurial programmes.

Mr. Emmanuel Etukudo, a Youth Consultant, Enugu said that the blamed the youth for their failure to make themselves available to government programmmes.

Etukudo posited that the future of any nation laid in the youths hand and urged them to give it the maximum attention with discipline.

The secretary General of Enugu Youth Entrepreneurship Network (EYEN), Mr. Okoro Ikemba presented a Solar Panel Automated Hand Washing Machine he invented.

EYEN gave out a cheque of N100,000 to Mr. Odemena Chukwu from Emene for his first position at the Youth Entterprise Challenge in the state.


Aug. 12, 2020 | 18:50


Gbajabiamila advocates more youth participation in politics


THE Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, says political leaders and governments must commit to opening the political space to allow for greater participation by the nation’s youth.

He said this while delivering a keynote address at a webinar for the commemoration of this year’s International Youth Day, organised by the Office of the Speaker and the Nigerian Youth Parliament.

A statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja by Lanre Lasisi, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, said the speaker added that Nigerian youths need to show greater interest in government and governance.

Gbajabiamila said relegating the Nigerian youth to the background by the governments was harmful to the national development of the country, the youth being the most critical segment of any society.

According to the speaker, one of the most effective means of participating in government by the youths is to constantly engage their representatives in the legislature at all levels.

“In his lifetime, President Nelson Mandela of South Africa, asked of citizens and policymakers thus:

“We must recognize the contributions young people make to our society. We must build upon the imagination, energy, vibrancy and talents of these our precious national assets.

“This is an obvious imperative, more so in a country like ours with a massive and ever-growing youth bulge,” he said.

The Speaker added that the country would not reach its full potential until government at all levels learn to engage with the changing values, needs, and expectations of youths.

“All our dreams of prosperity hinge on our ability to provide the physical infrastructure, the legal framework, the cultural and social support required to unleash the innovative potential of our young people.

“To achieve this sort of profound transformation of our governance, all of us in government and politics must commit to opening the political space to allow for greater participation by our nation’s youth.

“Political leaders must act now and consistently to dismantle those practices and systems that serve only to exclude young people from political participation, or that limit them to operating on the fringes as foot soldiers in the battle for spoils,” he said.

Gov. Hope Uzodinma of Imo, a former governor of Bauchi State, Mohammed Abubakar, Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, as well as the Minister of Sport and Youth Development, Sunday Dare, who all participated in the webinar also urged the youths to show more interest in national development.

Uzodinma said the Nigerian youths, being the hope of the country must not miss their steps towards nation-building because doing so would spell doom for the country.

Tallen said that it was incumbent on the youths to take up the issue of gender-based violence as a national question.

The minister, who was represented by her Special Assistant (Technical), Joan Idonije urged Nigerian youths in communities and schools to establish advocacy groups against rape and other gender-based violence.

In another webinar organised by the youth wing of the Nasrul-Lahi-L-Fatih Society (NASFAT) as part of their programme for the International Youth Day, Gbajabiamila, who had earlier sent a video message to Nigerian youths, charged them to get more involved in politics.

He said the legislative arm of government had done its own part by passing the Not-Too -Young- to-Run Bill, urging them to take advantage of it.

The speaker said youths should not sit back, fold their arms and expect things to just fall in place.

“Let the youth be more proactive and be more engaged.

“The young ones have so much to contribute ‎to the development of this country. We must all get involved in politics. We play politics everywhere. So, everybody should get involved.

“The youth must put some action into it. There should not be a nonchalant attitude on the part of the youth.

“Let the young ones take charge. Let us take those little steps that will take us to the Eldorado.”

Responding to a question on Diaspora voting, Gbajabiamila said it was a great idea to have Nigerians living in other countries vote during an election, but cautioned that the country must get her elections back home right before thinking of Diaspora voting.

On the call to have a limited age for those that run for political offices as obtained in the civil service, Gbajabiamila said it was a good idea but that it had to be in line with the constitution.

He said Nigerians should be more concerned about merit so as not to discriminate against any segment of the society.


Aug. 12, 2020 | 18:50


Group trains 6,000 youths from Edo, Delta, others on entrepreneurship.


A Group known as Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), says it has trained over 6000 youths from Edo, Delta, Rivers, and Bayelsa on entrepreneurship.

The Executive Director, ERA/FoEN, Godwin Ojo, made this known during the 3rd Youth Environmental Camp Meeting held on Wednesday in Benin.

Ojo said the organisation had since 2018 trained over 6000 youths and was targeting 10,000 youths within the next four years.

According to him, over 300 secondary school teachers had also been trained on entrepreneurship, including renewable energy skills for them to pass the knowledge to their students.

He said manuals had been produced and deployed for training in the over 60 renewable energy school clubs set up across the four states.

“The training will help them in developing their business model, especially in renewable energy entrepreneurship, repairs and installation of solar gadgets as well as fabrication of energy saving cooking stoves.

“The focus is on how to move from the present carbonised to a decarbonised economy.

“There is the need to get the youths prepared for energy transition which government and politicians are currently grappling with and are unable to resolve.

“Youths must stand in the gap and see climate change as an opportunity to channel their efforts towards renewable energy,” he said.

In his remarks, the Director-General, National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN), Mr. Ahmed Nagode, said NAPTIN was partnering ERA/FoEN to train youths in the Niger Delta.

According to Nagode, in 2019, about 32 youths were trained on solar installations and 20 other youths were expected to be trained this year.

The theme of the programme was “From Extraction to Education.”


Aug. 12, 2020 | 18:50


Progressive Governors Forum DG sets 5 reconciliation, peace building agenda for APC


SALIHU Lukman, the Director-General, Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), has called on the APC Caretaker Committee led by Gov. Mai Mala Buni of Yobe, to implement a five-reconciliation and peace building agenda.

Lukman made the call in a letter entitled: “Appeal for Reconciliation and Peace building in APC” addressed to the party Caretaker Committee Chairman, in Abuja on Wednesday.

He said that the agenda were imperative to the party’s activities in order to bring about new atmosphere of peace.

According to him, this submission is being made against the background with the appeal to the APC Caretaker/Convention Working Committee to take every necessary step in order to achieve reconciliation and peace building in the party.

The PGF director-general listed some of the steps to include: “Encouraging internal debate without intimidating members who hold divergent/dissenting views from those held by leaders.

“Leaders should be accommodating to criticism; convening a dedicated session of the National Caucus to review 2019 General Election, including Kogi, Bayelsa elections and now preparations for Edo and Ondo Governorship elections.

“Convening a NEC meeting to consider and approve proposed activities of the Caretaker/Convention Working Committee up to the Extra Ordinary National Convention.

“Commencing processes of Membership Recruitment/Verification, leading to Reformation of Leadership of the party from Wards, Local Government, States to the Extra Ordinary National Convention.

“Setting up Constitutional Review/Amendment Committee, which should be able to submit proposals for review/amendment of the APC constitution.”

According to him, these are very important steps that will assist to reposition the party, so that everything is not reduced to just about electing new leadership.

“In the unfortunate event that everything is reduced to just electing new leadership, there will be the high probability that the party will gradually snowball into another round of leadership crisis, especially as we move toward 2023.

“It is in the light of these issues that a strong appeal is hereby presented to the Caretaker/Convention Working Committee to take every step required to achieve reconciliation and peace building in APC,” Lukman said.

According to him, this should be done through initiatives that will strengthen the powers of the Caretaker/Convention Working Committee to bring about new atmosphere of peace in the party.

“In the end, the Extra Ordinary National Convention of the APC should produce strong understanding among our leaders on required actions needed to institute new frameworks for stronger internal democracy within the APC.

“This will be necessary to make leadership reconciliation in the party a permanent feature in the activities of the party.

“APC needs to put its house in order internally to sustain the support it has enjoyed from the electorate since 2013,” he said.


Aug. 12, 2020 | 18:50


Kaduna Govt, AGRA, CSOs partners to strengthen agriculture budget for 2021

Kaduna State
Kaduna State

KADUNA State Government in collaboration with Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Civil Society Organizations and the private sector had begun engagements to strengthen the state’s 2021 budget for the agricultural sector.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that at the meeting were officials of Fertilizers Producers and Suppliers Association Of Nigeria and Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS).

Also at the meeting was Synergos, a non-profit organization working to reduce global poverty through partnerships with government, businesses, civil society and local communities, among others.

The stakeholders meeting held in Kaduna on Wednesday was a quarterly event aimed at adopting a multi-stakeholder approach to the open governance policy of Kaduna State Government.

The capacity strengthening projects is an avenue for creating an opportunity for the private sector and civil society organisations to present their proposals for inclusion in the 2021 appropriation.

The Kaduna State Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry, Hajiya Halima Lawal, while delivering her remarks, said the key programme components for the 2021 agriclture budget included improvement of agricultural land and water management.

“Others include improved management of other shared
resources, improved agricultural production and productivity, poverty reduction, food security,
nutrition and youth and women participation in agriculture,” she said.

She enjoined the participants to make useful contributions in those areas and other activities that have a direct linkage to supporting farmers in the crops, livestock and value addition activities.

“This collaboration will contribute significantly to the efforts of our able leader, Malam Nasir el-Rufa’i in leading the State to the attainment of food security and economic
diversification”, she said.

Also speaking, the Country Director of Synergos, Mr Victor Adejoh, said the meeting was part of their support to the Kaduna State Ministry of Agriculture in strengthening capacity to implement projects funded by Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

He added that the meeting was to enable the ministry to get updates from key players in the Agric sector and ensure participatory approach towards the 2021 budget preparations.

“We are helping in facilitating this programme to ensure that key priorities and plans of the State Government is achieved.”

He noted the involvement of the State Ministry of Local Government and Chieftancy Affairs was to reflect the voices and interests of farmers at the grassroots.

“AGRA support in the programme is also to ensure the Ministry increases the income and improve the livelihood of small holder farmers in the State”, Adejoh said.


Aug. 12, 2020 | 18:50


Plateau Assembly urges funds release to health insurance agency

Abok Ayuba

THE Plateau House of Assembly has called on the State Government to direct the state Ministry of Finance to release funds to the Plateau State Contributory Healthcare Management Agency (PLASCHEMA) to enable it to enroll people into its programmes.

The resolution was reached on Wednesday during plenary presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Abok Ayuba.

Mr. Nanbol Daniel, (PDP, Langtang North Central) who moved the motion, said that funds had not been released to PLASCHEMA since its establishment.

Daniel, who is the House Committee Chairman on Health, stated that PLASCHEMA, a cooperate body, was established by the State Government in June 2019.

He said that the agency was saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that all people had access to needed promotive, preventive, curative, and rehabilitative health care services.

“The services will be offered at sufficient quality while ensuring that people do not suffer financial hardships when paying for services.

“Following the oversight conducted by the House Committee on Health to the agency, the committee observed that funds have not been released to the agency to enable it to enroll residents.

“And it is only when different segments of the society are enrolled that they will benefit from the various programmes of the agency.

“If our constituents are enrolled in these important healthcare programmes, it will help the government to effectively channel healthcare spending.

“The spending would be channeled down to the individual with clearly measurable outcomes and future economic impact on Plateau and Nigeria.

“I call on this House to resolve to call on the Plateau Government to direct the Ministry of Finance to release two percent of the State consolidated revenue and two percent of local governments consolidated revenue to PLASCHEMA.

“The funds will help the agency to enroll children under five years of age, pregnant women, elderly, physically and mentally challenged and all public sector employees (state and local governments),” the chairman said.

He listed other sectors to be enrolled in the agency’s programmes to include organised private sectors, organised community development associations, individuals, pupils, and students.

Mr Philip Dasun (APC, Pankshin North), in his contribution, wondered how the agency had been operating without funds.

Dasun, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Information, said that the motion apart from urging government to release funds to the agency, was also to ensure that government honoured laws passed by the Assembly.

Mr Timothy Dantong (PDP, Riyom) said that the agency needed to sensitise the people to its programmes on how the people could contribute and benefit from the services


Aug. 12, 2020 | 18:50


Youth day: Anambra govt empowers 700 youths in 2 years – Commissioner


THE Anambra Government says it has trained and empowered no fewer than 700 youths in two years.

Prof Theresa Obiekezie, State Commissioner for Youth Entrepreneurship and Creative Economy, said this at a pre-World Youth Day celebration media briefing in Awka on Wednesday.

Obiekezie explained that the youths were trained under the state’s “One Youth, One Skill” programme from November 2018 to date.

She said that Gov. Willie Obiano had demonstrated that it was the most youth-friendly government with a high number of youths in his administration with policies designed to empower youths.

She said the youths were trained in various skills including, confectioneries, event management, computer management/software application, tilling, screeding, interlocking, cosmetology, and solar installation.

Obiekezie said that the training was part of efforts by the administration to ensure that youths were equipped with skills and knowledge toward self-reliance as well as the socio-economic development of the state.

“I want to reassure all, that Anambra government is unflinchingly committed to making sure that youths of Anambra are gainfully engaged in the political and socio-economic development of the state.

“Gov. Obiano since the inception of his office has been a youth-friendly governor and has involved youths of Anambra in the politics of the state,” she said.

Obiekezie called on youths to shun cultism, fraudulent activities, and political thuggery and channel their lives to positive ventures.

She said the theme for the 2020 celebration, “Youth Engagement for Global Action” was apt as it meant that the world had recognised youths as catalysts for change.

“This year’s celebration is unique because of the grievous impact COVID-19 has had on jobs and education sector.

“The flexibility of youths and adaptability brought about changes in the way of living even in the education sector,” the commissioner stressed.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that there would be an interactive forum between Anambra government and youths on Thursday,  while a symposium including lecture series, comedy would hold on Aug. 14 to end the event.


Aug. 12, 2020 | 18:50


COVID-19:Plateau Assembly urges government to provide bailout to private schools


THE Plateau House of Assembly (PLHA) has urged the Plateau Government to provide bailout funds to proprietors of private schools to augment payment of their staff salaries which could not be paid due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The house presided over by its Speaker, Mr Abok Ayuba, arrived at the resolution after a motion of notice by Mr Philip Dasun (APC Pankshin North).

Dasun said that the COVID-19 pandemic had adversely affected schools nationwide, making it difficult for them to function properly, not to talk of paying teachers’ salaries.

“Teachers in private schools have not been paid salaries for about five to six months now, making some families go through untold hardship.

“The state government should strive to provide bailout, grants or any form of intervention to help proprietors of private schools to pay salaries of their teaching and non-teaching staff,” he said.

Mr Musa Agah (APC Rukuba/Irigwe), described the situation as sad, adding that proprietors and teachers could barely fend for their families.

Agah stated that as representatives of the people, the lawmakers felt their pains.

He urged government to consider its fundamental constitutional responsibility which was to take care of the security and welfare of the people.

Mrs Esther Dusu (PDP Jos North West), described the motion as compassionate, saying that the providers of education must be appreciated.

“According to details, about 29,000 teachers and 900 non-teaching staff in Plateau have been without salaries for some months now.

“You can imagine the sufferings of the families of those affected,” she said.

The lawmaker called on government to as a matter of urgency, come to their aid in whatever way possible.

Mr Nanbol Daniel in his contribution, suggested that only registered schools that were paying tax to government should be considered.

Daniel also suggested that schools be categorised based on their data with government for them to benefit.

The speaker directed the committees on finance, appropriation and health to find out why some private school proprietors in the state had not been paying teachers despite the fact that some parents still paid school fees even as schools were not in session.

The committees were to conclude their report and submit to the house within three days.


Aug. 12, 2020 | 18:50


NFF mourns U15 Boys’ Coach, Danladi Nasidi


THE Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, has consoled the family of the Head Coach of the U15 Boys’ National Team (Future Eagles), Mr Danladi Nasidi who died in the early hours of Wednesday, August 12, 2020, and was buried the same day.

Chairman of the NFF Technical and Development Committee, Alhaji Yusuf Ahmed ‘Fresh’ paid glowing tributes to the one-time assistant coach of the Super Falcons, saying “Nasidi gave his all for the nation and served passionately, diligently and creditably in every role he found himself.

“It is a very sad day for Nigeria football because Nasidi has been playing a huge role in grassroots development programmes for our football. He was very passionate about the youth football and has moulded our U15 boys into a solid and formidable unit over the years. We will surely miss him.

“He was someone who evinced a passion for youth and development every time and everywhere you met him. I am crestfallen. When I started my journey into football administration, Nasidi was one of the coaches who spurred me into investing in grassroots development. His passion was infective.”

Nasidi, who was born on 1st January 1952, hailed from Niger State and was among the elite corp of coaches in the country who had the CAF ‘A’ Licence. In 1994, he rescued Lagos darling team, Stationery Stores from certain relegation, and was Head Coach of the National Team of Gabon in 1986. He coached Minna darling club, Niger Tornadoes for several years.

He led the U15 boys to silver medal finish at the African Games in Algiers two years ago. He was First Assistant to Head Coach Ismailia Mabo as the Super Falcons reached the quarter-finals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in USA in 1999.

“I never regretted our relationship and my foray into grassroots development. Late Danladi Nasidi was a good man inwardly and outwardly and while we loved him, God loved him more. On behalf of the Nigeria Football Federation and the Nigeria football family, I pray to God to grant late Nasidi eternal rest and also grant all those he has left behind the fortitude to bear the big loss,” said ‘Fresh’, who is also the Chairman of the Niger State Football Association.

Aug. 12, 2020 | 18:50


Antipiracy War: Nigeria secures premier conviction under SPOMO ACT


THE Federal High Court in Port Harcourt has convicted three persons accused of involvement in the hijack of an Equatorial Guinean flagged vessel named, MV ELOBEY VI, off Equatorial Guinea’s coast on March 21.

Delivering judgment, Justice Mohammed Sani summarily convicted Binaebi Johnson, Daniel Lemmar and Ghane Gordon on Counts 1 and 2 and they were ordered to pay a fine of N20 million each under the new Antipiracy Act 2019.

The Nigerian Navy had arrested nine persons, namely, Binaebi Johnson, Daniel Lemmar, Ghane Gordon, Hassan Hakeem, Gregory Smith, Ofem Uket, John Mark, Chidi Amadi and Eze Amadi, who were suspected to be members of the kidnapping syndicate. They were said to have demanded a $2 million ransom out of which $200,000 was eventually paid.

During the proceedings in the court on August 10, Binaebi Johnson, Daniel Lemmar and Ghane Gordon pleaded guilty to counts 1 and 2 and not guilty to counts 3 – 5, while the remaining 6 accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh, described the conviction as a signal that Nigeria is in the right path in the war against piracy and other crimes on the nation’s waterways.

Jamoh said NIMASA as an interested party would continue to work closely with other agencies of government, the international community and other stakeholders to achieve improved security in the Gulf of Guinea.

The Director-General stated, “This will serve as a deterrent to other criminal elements, who are still engaged in the nefarious activities on our waterways. On our part as an agency, we will not relent on our efforts to ensure a safe and secure maritime domain in line with our mandate.

“The suppression of piracy and other Maritime Crimes, SPOMO, Act 2019 has come to stay and it is victory for Nigeria as a whole as we are determined more than ever before to take our rightful place in the comity of maritime nations.”

The prosecution counsel, Labaran Magaji, who spoke to newsmen outside the court, said the judgment was a landmark victory for the antipiracy law.

“They were charged under Section 16 (4) of the antipiracy law and once the charge was read to them, they pleaded guilty and the prosecution actually applied to the court to summarily convict them to pay a fine of N20 million each and only three of the defendants were actually sentenced,” Magaji said.

The conviction is the first since the signing into law of the SPOMO Act in June last year by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Aug. 12, 2020 | 18:50

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Drug Abuse: NGO to rehabilitate 40,000 youths nationwide

Hope Abraham Speaking at the event on Wednesday in Abuja

THE Vanguard Against Drug Abuse (VGADA) has launched a project to rehabilitate 40,000 youths involved in drug abuse across the country.

Speaking at the launch on Wednesday in Abuja, President of the organisation, Dr. Hope Abraham said that the project would commence in Abuja very soon.

He said that the project is expected to be carried out in at least 20 centres across the six geo-political zones of the country.

The president said that it is targeted at Youths with the objectives of treating at least 40,000 youths with Drug Use Disorder, skills acquisition, and vocational training.

He said that startups and setting up of self–help groups would be provided during and after the formal treatment.

“VGADA is a nonprofit public benefit organization. In ensuring a Drug-Free Nigeria, our activities in the last two years spanned across sensitization, awareness, policy advocacy, drug demand reduction, and treatment.

“Our work is supported solely by the generous donations of individuals and corporations enabling us to provide our programs across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria.

“In Nigeria, the past year prevalence of any drug use is estimated at 14.4 percent or 14.3million people aged between 15 and 64 years with the largest proportion of this being youths.

“The best programmes for drug addiction treatment have been found to be a combination of therapy and other services such as, counseling and treatment, skills acquisition that meet the needs of the individual.

“Drug addiction treatments have been found to reduce drug use by 40-60 percent, reduce crime by 40 – 60 percent and increases employment prospects by 40 percent,” he said.

Abraham said that the expected outcomes of the project were a reduction in the population of individuals who abuse drugs in Nigeria.

He added it would also help to boost the overall Nigerian economy as a result of the establishment of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs).

“This project is also inextricably linked to the achievement of multiple targets of Sustainable Development Goals, Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse including drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol,“ he said.

Abraham commended the effort of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and other Enforcement agencies that had helped in curbing the menace of drugs in the country.

The Chairman, NDLEA, Col. Muhammad Abdallah (rtd) appreciated the NGO for the effort so far in ensuring that drug-related issues were curbed to the barest minimum in Nigeria.

He was represented by the Head, partnership, and special projects, Mr. Ameh Inalegwu.

Abdallah said that the consumption of prohibited substances had become a serious challenge to the growth and development of society.

“This programme today is not just public enlightenment projecting education and awareness but also creating a platform for drug abusers to get out of drugs and be a better person.

“Part of our mandate is to ensure that demand and supply of drugs are reduced to the barest minimum.

“It is a good thing to know that the organisation has been working towards a drug-free society by sensitising youths on drugs and its adverse effects,” he said.

Abdallah who promised to assist the organisation, reiterated the agency`s commitment to ensure that the programme was successful. (NAN)

– Aug. 12, 2020 @ 18.45 GMT |

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FCTA demolishes 25 illegal structures


THE Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) Department of Development Control on Wednesday demolished 25 houses in Kyami District, within the capital city.

The Director of the Department, Malam Muktar Galadima, who led the demolition, told newsmen that the FCTA would not condone land racketeering and grabbing.

He said that the administration was determined to ensure the correction of all infractions and abuses of the Abuja Master Plan.

“The FCTA  has already made it clear that the actions and activities of land racketeers cannot and will never be condoned.

” That is why we are removing all those illegal developments.

“About 25 solid structures were removed and this is not limited to that estate (Destiny Estate) alone, it’s a continuous exercise and we will remove all illegal structures across the territory.

“So, what you see here is a continuation of the exercise in tackling the issue of land racketeers and land grabbers in Abuja,” he said.

Galadima advised the public to always ensure compliance and obey the rules and regulations guiding developments in the nation’s capital.

He said that Abuja was a planned city and people could not just wake up, cut a chunk of land for themselves.

Similarly, the director ordered the occupants of an illegal building materials market on the N16 road corridor in Karsana district, near Gwarinpa district, to vacate within 14 days.

”The government is desirous to begin construction of the road. We went out to sensitise traders on ways to find a peaceful way to remove the market.

“Because of the magnanimity of this administration, we first sat with them, talk, and gave them room to also make contributions regarding the intended exercise.

“We told them we will return in a week’s time, but they pleaded for more time. They asked for one month to take out their materials and valuables, but that one month is too long a time, so we agreed on two weeks,” he added.  (NAN)

– Aug. 12, 2020 @ 14.25 GMT |

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