NIGERIA’s centenary celebrations, kicked off in Abuja on Thursday, February 27, with a conference on security. At the conference, President Goodluck Jonathan promised to hunt down the killers of about 50 school children killed in their college in Yobe State, by Boko Haram, an Islamic terrorist group, on Tuesday, February 25. Speaking on the growing spate of attacks on the North-East region, President Jonathan called for closer ties among African leaders, with a view to confronting and defeating terrorists and purveyors of hate. Jonathan, who delivered the keynote address on the occasion of the centenary conference on the theme: “Human Security, Peace and Development: Agenda for the 21st Century,” described the callous murder of the students as an “act of savagery” that was un-Nigerian and un-African.
President Jonathan who disclosed that Africa lost $18 billion annually to wars and insurgencies, therefore, proposed the establishment of an African Union Security Index, AUSI, to serve as a peer review mechanism on terrorism on the continent.
Speaking on the growing spate of attacks on the North-East region, President Jonathan called for closer ties among African leaders, with a view to confronting and defeating terrorists and purveyors of hate. The president, who delivered the keynote address on the occasion of the centenary conference on the theme, “Human Security, Peace and Development: Agenda for the 21st Century”, described the brutal murder of the students as an “act of savagery” that is un-Nigerian and un-African.
This is as the president, who said Africa loses $18 billion annually to wars and insurgencies, proposed the establishment of an African Union Security Index (AUSI) to serve as a peer review mechanism on terrorism on the continent.
Dignitaries who spoke at the occasion, drawing experiences from their different countries, were President Francois Hollande of France; Jose Manuel Barosso, president of the European Union, EU; President Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia; President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia; Mark Simmonds, representative of the prime minister of Britain; Salim Ahmed Salim, a former secretary general of the defunct Organisation of African Unity, OAU; Ethiopian; and Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, among others.
They all condemned the killing of the students by Boko Haram adherents and acts of terrorism in the country. Specifically, Britain, the EU and President Hollande pledged to assist Nigeria in its current against the Boko Haram insurgency. Hollande said it was important to help Nigeria so that democracy could thrive in the country. “Your struggle is also our struggle. We will always stand ready not only to provide our political support, but our help every time you need it because the struggle against terrorism is also the struggle for democracy,” the French president said.
The conference was almost marred when the news filtered in that Madagli and Michika local government areas in Adamawa State had been attacked several innocents people killed by the terror group. The attacks on the two local councils occurred in the early hours of Thursday, in which about 25 persons killed and many others injured. The insurgents similarly destroyed two banks, police station and property worth billions of naira.
First Lady Advocates for Girl-Child Education
PATIENCE Jonathan, the Nigerian first lady, wants a significant percentage of the country’s young people, especially ladies, to acquire university education. “Parents must pay adequate attention to the education and welfare of our children, because education is the key to human capital development and the basis for national development. This is an area that Mr. President and I are very passionate about, because we were once teachers ourselves,” the first lady said when he visited the University of Lagos recently.
She said the girl-child education was crucial because of the poor state of girl-child access to education in the country, even at the basic level. According to statistics, out of the nation’s 10.5 million out-of-school children – the highest in the world – six million are girls. Besides, 70.8 per cent of young women aged between 20 and 29 in the North-West zone are unable to read or write. Analysts say that because those ladies were deprived of education, they have remained bereft of the purchasing power necessary for adequate diet, healthcare, skills, or even recourse to support in emergencies, all of which would enable them rise above abject poverty.
Speaking further, the first lady said: “Education is the key to human capital development, hence, the quality of education will determine the type of leaders we will produce in the future. We must ensure that the girl-child acquires education, because when you educate a woman, you educate a whole nation. Education is the best we can give our nation. As you pass through the school, let the system also pass through you.”
Abiola, Fawehinmi, Anikulapo-Kuti Reject Centenary Awards
THE families of some Nigerian personalities being penned down for the nation’s centenary posthumous awards have rejected the government gesture. The families of the late Moshood Abiola, winner of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election; the late Gani Fawehinmi, SAN and human rights activist, and Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, the late Afrobeat maestro, have all rejected the posthumous centenary awards being bestowed on their patriarchs by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Kola Abiola, the eldest son of the late politician and businessman, said in an interview that the award was not appropriate. “For us, what the government is doing is laudable. But our family will only accept what is appropriate. If what they are trying to give him is a gold award for the centenary, we don’t consider that to be appropriate. With a gold centenary award, it means we have not left where we were when they tried to rename the University of Lagos after him. We said then that it was inappropriate,” Abiola said.
In a letter signed by Mohammed Fawehinmi, eldest son of the late fearless lawyer, on behalf of the family, the family said it was “morally incongruous and psychologically debilitating to stand on the same podium with General (Ibrahim) Babangida to receive awards.” Fawehinmi who died on September 5, 2009 of throat-cancer, blamed the military governments, especially that of Babangida for the infection that eventually led to his death.
On his part, Femi Kuti, the first son of the late Afrobeat king, said it was unlikely that his family would receive the award from the Nigerian government. “We have not heard such (of the award) but I can speak for myself, federal government should first apologise for the killing of our grandmother and the burning of Kalakuta,” he wrote on his Twitter account.
President Jonathan had in his national broadcast on Tuesday, February 25, that several Nigerians, both living and dead as well as foreigners, would be given awards during the centenary celebration.
NJC Recommends Two Justices for Retirement
THE National Judicial Council, NJC, has recommended the compulsory retirement of Gladys Olotu and Ufot Inyang, both justices of the federal high court, Abuja and the Abuja high court, respectively. In the recommendation sent to President Goodluck Jonathan both judicial officer were indicted for their “gross misconduct.”
The NJC also directed their immediate suspension from the bench pending the time President Jonathan would decide their case in accordance with the council’s disciplinary powers under the Constitution.
Three others who were also accused of low performance were issued warning letters by the council. The three officials include Justice Dalhatu Adamu, who acted as president of the Court of Appeal, the now retired Justice Isa Ayo Salami was suspended by President Jonathan. Others were Justice A. A. Adeleye, a high court justice in Ekiti State and Justice D. O. Amaechina of the Anambra State high court.
The NJC, in a statement issued on Thursday by Soji Oye, acting director of information, the decisions were taken at the members’ meeting held on Wednesday, February 26, under the chairmanship of Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar, chief justice of Nigeria, CJN.
— Mar. 10, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT