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Journalists Escape Lynching As Thugs Disrupt Elections In Kano

23 March 2019 - 5:29am


As the rerun electoral process continues in parts of Kano State, thugs have disrupted elections at Suntulma Gama Primary School in Nasarawa Local Government Area, chasing voters away from their polling units.

Abba Kabir-Yusuf of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had polled 1,014,477 votes, while Abdullahi Ganduje, incumbent Governor of the state and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) polled 987,810 votes in the election conducted on March 9. The margin between the candidates is 26,655 votes, while 128, 572 votes were cancelled.

However, as voting commenced on Saturday, thugs wearing T-Shirts bearing the logo of a political party invaded the LGAs, brandishing weapons and attacking people in sight. Journalists were also not spared, as they were chased out of the area by the hoodlums.

According to NAN, trouble started at the primary school when the reporters tried to interview some voters who were denied access into the classrooms where some of the polling units were stationed. During their attempts to escape, some of the journalists fell down and one of them had to take refuge in a nearby mosque.

Speaking on the development, Aminu Tijjani, a resident, said he went to the primary school to cast his vote at his polling unit, but had to return to escape the attack.

“The situation is very bad and this is not how to conduct an election where people or voters are denied the opportunity to vote,” he said.

Another voter, Sani Abdullahi, said he came to vote as early as 8am but was chased away by the thugs numbering about 10.

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With Adeleke’s Victory At The Tribunal, Any Hope For Atiku? By Fredrick Nwabufo

23 March 2019 - 4:11am


Fredrick Nwabufo

Fredrick Nwabufo

Ademola Adeleke’s victory at the Election Petition Tribunal is a locus classicus for democracy.  It jogs the cerebral cortex and revivifies cautious hope in the judiciary. But really, the victory is just one small step to the archipelago of power in Osun state for the "dancing senator".

In 2016, about 81 elections, conducted during the 2015 general election, were upturned by the courts. The highest number since the 2007 elections.

Of significance is the nullification of the Rivers state governorship election, of which Nyesom Wike was declared winner, by an election petition tribunal. The Appeal Court upheld the decision of the tribunal sacking Wike, and when it seemed doom was certain for him, the Supreme Court affirmed his election.

While the tribunal and the Appeal Court hinged their judgments on alleged malpractices; failure to use card readers, ballot-box snatching, result fabrication and voter intimidation which beleaguered the election, the Supreme Court sat its own judgment on the wrong interpretation of the electoral guidelines as regards the use of card readers by the lower courts.

According to it, the card readers, though a good innovation, do not supersede the voter register, which was (reportedly) used in the exercise.

Although the facts of the cases vary, the split judgment in favour of Adeleke is not without divergent interpretation, which opens it to contest at the higher courts.

In a majority decision held by two out of the three justices of the tribunal, the supplementary poll conducted in 17 polling units in Osun was said to be alien to the law because INEC had no authority to carry out the exercise in the first place.  Also, the returning officer, who cancelled the result in the disputed units, was said to have acted beyond the remit of his power.

Conversely, in a minority judgment, one of the justices held that when non-substantial compliance affected the outcome of the election, the tribunal, with respect to Section 140(2) of the Electoral Act, did not have the power to deduct the votes afflicted by irregularities from the scores of the candidates and declare a winner, and that the election petition court only had the power to cancel the results of the polling units affected by the malpractices and order a supplementary election.

So, it is one stream crossed, but two snaky rivers to navigate for Adeleke.

But what does the victory portend for Atiku Abubakar, who is challenging the outcome of the 2019 presidential election? Is there any glimmer of hope?

I think the victory is nothing significant but a psychological booster for the Atiku camp. Though it rases hope in the ability of the judiciary to deliver justice, the complexion of the Atiku case is markedly different from that of Adeleke.

The PDP presidential candidate claims he defeated President Muhammadu Buhari with 1.3 million votes in the election, and that votes in states that are “PDP strongholds” were suppressed.

The courts will have the last say, and hopefully justice will be served on a dispassionate, impartial, fair and balanced platter.

Fredrick is a media personality.

Twitter: @FredrickNwabufo

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Who Will Save Ibadan Public Schools Students From Educational Discomfort? By Oluwafemi Agagu

23 March 2019 - 3:33am




In every aspects of life, comfortability is a very important phenomenon that makes one enjoy the vibes around and gives more intensive enlightenments.

The rapid growth of development in the urban areas has an influence or impact on so many sectors of the environment.

This catalytical and dynamic changes also have an impact to the the local surroundings, including the comfort of school environment.

However, research has shown that, the teaching and learning comfort are very limited, especially at the secondary school level.

Findings have revealed basically that the level of comfort of the teaching and learning environment in some government-owned secondary schools in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, is very shallow.

Michael Kiener <et al.> {2004} said, "one of the basics of education is to advance learning, and therefore “comfortability” plays a big role in that process."

Comfortability in learning may be defined as the level of ease, solace and comfort, students experience with their classmates, teachers, instructors, subject materials, as well as learning process, tests, practicals and examinations conducts. It  addresses how secure students feel in the classroom.

Using Anwar-ul Islam Grammar School, Eleyele, Ibadan as a miniature, comfortability in learning was assessed during an examination period, where majority of the students had no comfortable seats to write in ease.

The structures of their classrooms equally have a very disorientated outlook. Some of the ceilings do not even look fascinating to be called a  classroom for learning.

Some of the students had to place planks on bare and very dusty floors before they could write their exams, coupled with the fact that they were putting on white coloured uniforms.

Moreover, during learning periods, six students might be sharing just two seats before they could sit down and learn in class. A government owned education outfit for that matter!

Significantly, this awkward discomfort and uneasiness continue to increase across the years for these students, which had been a major cause of failures among the students; since there have been notions that lack of conducive learning environment could be one of the major reasons students fail.

Findings further revealed that some government owned schools in Ibadan have really dwindled in ensuring there is comfortability  and conducive atmosphere of learning for their students.

'Interestingly', these students pay some amount of money which they see as being 'irrational', because they have the sole belief that their school ought to be run by public funds, hence they should pay nothing or very little.

For instance, findings revealed that these students pay Parents Teacher Association (PTA) levy, which is amounted at three thousand naira. This is being paid every session till they leave secondary school.

Also, they pay Information and Communication Technology fee at the rate of seven hundred and fifty naira, every session (which apparently they are not enjoying), as some of the students said they haven't even visited any computer lab at all.

It is funny to also know that a government owned school collects 'Government Levy' from it's students. They call this money 'Owo Ajimobi', which is amounted at three thousand every session.

Students, who are supposed to be learning also pay the sum of three thousand naira for tax levy.

Other fees they pay include, School fees, Exam fees, Test fees, among others.

Consequently, if students pay these set of monies every session, they should equally enjoy conducive learning atmosphere, just as aids of learning should adequately be in place for them as well.

But in the reality, it is such a shame that our 'white-coloured-uniformed' students sit in a classroom with dusts and sands. The students sit on planks and car tires before they can write their examination. How then do we expect our children do well academically in an unconducive, adverse and unsuitable learning environment?

Many decades ago, research had shown that there was a positive relationship between the classroom environment and performance of students, and identifying the determinant for learning environment. (Fraser, 1994)

This showed that, in fact, at the root of it, students’ performance is higher in a conducive environment, whereby they feel safe and positive.

Hence, there is a very positive and profitable relationship between students’ participation and a conducive learning environment, teachers’ support and well-organized classrooms, as well as aided teaching materials for educative culture.









PHOTONEWS: Who Will Save Ibadan Public Schools Students From Educational Discomfort?

WHAT THEN SHOULD GOVERNMENT DO?

The onus is on the government of Oyo State to seriously straighten up it's role in providing an enabling environment for teachers and learners, such as building of more and better blocks of classrooms in a quiet and serene environment that'd accommodate students, and also overhaul the dilapidated ones, which have fallen into a state of disrepair and deterioration.

In furtherance, the government should provide more rural infrastructures and amenities that would facilitate learning and make education interesting such as, teaching and learning materials, including registers, computers, diaries, notebooks, desks, chairs, laboratory equipments and the likes.

More so, since financing of public schools is mainly through the government, the government should be solely responsible for constructions of all the physical structures and provision of all curricular materials in the schools.

Unfortunately, findings have revealed that over the years, this responsibility is shifting more and more to the schools, specifically to the parents, due to lack of adequate funds at the ministry of education. 

Parents already bear the burden of school fees, cost of text books, learning materials, uniforms and teaching aids; in addition to contributions towards school’s building funds. 

Although, the Old Students Association, sometimes assist these schools in their bid to provide more infrastructures.

The result, depending on the economic status of the parents, is that different schools vary greatly in the instructional resources and facilities they have. This leads to great disparity in students’ participation and performance, particularly in Mathematics and Science subjects. 

Not only is the learning of the subjects greatly affected, but students’ examination performance have really dwindled over the years.

The government should therefore endeavour to put in more fight, efforts and resources towards developing these schools.

The educational system (especially the primary and secondary level) of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, is suffering from legions of underfunding, and is therefore necessary for the government to design a workable plan towards funding education.

UNESCO recommended 26% of a nation's or state's total budget to go to the education sector but since 1991, budgetary allocation to education has never crossed 10%. 

And it is largely believed that, primary and secondary education remain the most critical aspect in an individual’s school life, which in the long run aids in the overall development of a nation.

Hence, Oyo State government should do more in revamping public schools, such as Anwar-ul Islam Grammar School, Eleyele, in Ibadan, in which some parts have really degenerated, because education is seen globally as the hope for the development of the country.

Donation of desks and chairs especially, restructuring the old decaying buildings, as well flooring the dusty and sandy classrooms, would really go a long way in making the students more comfortable in studying and imbibing lessons.

Oyo State government should endeavour to give rapid and formidable attentions to these problems in order not to kill the interests of students in education.

Thank you!
God bless Nigeria!
God bless Oyo State!

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No Further Comments On Okorocha's Certificate Of Return, Says INEC

23 March 2019 - 2:49am


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says the  commission will not make further comments on the issue of the certificate of return for Rochas Okorocha, outgoing Governor of Imo State and senator-elect of Imo West district.

Festus Okoye, the National Commissioner, Information and Voter Education, said this during an interactive session with reporters in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, on Friday.

According to the commission, it was its policy not to issue certificates of return when the results are declared under duress by the returning officer.

Okoye revealed that INEC received same reports from the National Assembly polls in Obi/Oju Federal Constituency in Benue State, as well as the house of assembly elections in Niger and Akwa Ibom states.

He said: “The commission has not given a certificate of return to anyone from Obi/Oju, the same thing with Agaye state constituency in Niger State. There is also another state constituency in Akwa Ibom. So as of today, there are four areas where declarations were made under duress and we said we will not give certificates of return to those individuals. 

“Some of them are already in court.  Since the matter is sub judice, we are not going to make any further comments relating to them until the judicial process has run its course.”
 

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We'll Keep A Safe Distance From Polling Units During Supplementary Elections, Says Army

23 March 2019 - 2:48am


The Nigerian Army says soldiers would not be present at polling units during the governorship and house of assembly supplementary elections scheduled to take place on Saturday.

According to the military, they would only be seen at areas identified as flashpoints.

Major General Hakeem Oladapo Otiki, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 8 Division, Nigerian Army, Sokoto, said this while speaking with journalists in Sokoto State.

Otiki said the military would keep a “reasonably safe distance” from the polling units during the supplementary elections that are set to hold in Kano, Sokoto, Bauchi, Benue, Plateau and Adamawa states.

He revealed that they have taken note of major flashpoints in Sokoto and would ensure there is maximum security in such places.

He said: “We have so many unknown and unseen eyes on grounds in the flashpoints. The military will not be involved directly in the polling units. We shall keep a safe distance as demanded by INEC and our headquarters.

“We are restricted to playing our constitutional role of providing the last line of defence for the security agencies after exercising their roles.

“There is no cause to worry in the rerun elections. Sokoto is a sacred land, and it must not be desecrated because of misinformation. We have instructions to go in line with the natural order and maintain vigilance. To go strictly by the rules of engagement, respect the principal organs that are enshrined with the responsibility of conducting elections.

“We have identified the flashpoints likely to cause a breakdown of law and order, but we will wait for the Police to carry out their constitutional rights.

“The Army will not be at the polling units. We will only be at a safe distance. We can only come up if the line of defence for law-abiding citizens fails, that is when we can now come out. Though, we do not pray for that.

“We have the responsibility to maintain peace before, during and after the elections. Let’s remember that national peace and security is derivable from very robust relationships between and among ourselves."
 

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You Won Kaduna In Your Dreams, El-Rufai Mocks Atiku

23 March 2019 - 2:46am


Nasir el-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, has responded to the claim that Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), won elections in Kaduna State.

According to the Governor, Atiku only won Kaduna "in his dreams" and "will lose Kaduna 10 more times because he has never won Kaduna in any presidential election”.

He said this while speaking with State House correspondents on Friday, after a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa.

He said: “Well, I heard about that. Initially, I thought it was a joke and when I checked I saw clearly that he said he won Kaduna. It must be in his dreams.

“Let me say this without any fear of contradiction, since President Buhari started contesting for the presidency since 2003, he has never lost Kaduna. So, PDP has never won elections in Kaduna from 2003, even with a sitting governor in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015. It has never happened. I don’t know what will happen that Atiku will win Kaduna in this election this time.

“He lost Kaduna; he lost very badly, even though about 100,000 votes he claimed to have got were added because elections conducted without card reader in some parts of the state. That’s how he even got up to the 400,000 that he got.

“He has lost Kaduna; he will always lose Kaduna. He will lose Kaduna 10 more times because he has never won Kaduna in any presidential election.”

On the claim that PDP have results from the server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), he added: “Well, I don’t know about INEC server, it must be Atiku’s server. I don’t know about INEC server, we don’t know how they had access to it. They will tell us during the tribunal proceedings what is this server and how they got access to it and how they got their numbers.

“You do not go to court in an election petition by quoting INEC server or any other server. Anyone can create a server, I can go and buy it, it is a piece of equipment and call it INEC server.

“But that does not mean that it amounts to anything, we are guided by the electoral act and the evidence act and other enabling legislation and he has to proof his case.

“But anyone can make claims. We live in the age of fake news and fake claims. Anyone can make claims but you have to prove it."
 

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Tinubu To Tambuwal: Don't Use My Name To Defraud Sokoto People

23 March 2019 - 2:39am


Bola Tinubu, National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has warned Aminu Tambuwal, Governor of Sokoto State, seeking reelection on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), against using his name to "defraud" the people of Sokoto State.

He stated this in response to an advertorial accusing him of manipulating elections in Sokoto.

He made his position known in a statement issued on Friday in Lagos,  while responding to an advertorial alleging that he met with the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to influence the Sokoto State governorship rerun election in favour of APC.

Referring to Tambuwal as a "drowning man", he berated the Governor for using desperate means to win the election, NAN reported.

Noting that Tambuwal was acting out of "sheer desperation", he said the Governor "fears that his political career is crumbling", adding that "if he loses this election, he has lost everything."
Read Tinubu’s full statement:

Our attention has been drawn to a partisan advertorial in the 21st March edition of Daily Trust. This advertorial, placed by a shadowy organization calling itself the Sokoto State Coalition of PDP Supporters, bears the logo of PDP National Youth League and is signed by one Engr. Haruna Usman Shagari. Titled “Inconclusive Gubernatorial Election: Sokoto People Warn Tinubu, Oshiomole, Yari, Bagudu and others”, the advert makes baseless allegations against Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomole, Chairman of APC, Senator Adamu Aliero and Zamfara Governor Abdul’Aziz Yari.

It falsely alleges that Asiwaju along with the others met the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, in order to influence the Sokoto State gubernatorial rerun election in favour of APC. 

These allegations by a contrived PDP organ are desperate untruths without a basis in fact. But they are entirely in line with the delusional reactions of PDP to their devastating loss in the presidential elections.

The entire PDP hierarchy have been scared and jumping at their own shadows since the election. They have been seeing phantom conspiracies and imaginary gatherings that make us wonder whether they remain connected to reality. Most recently, they alleged that Asiwaju was physically in Kano to manipulate elections there. They backed up this fraudulent allegation with photographs of Asiwaju and the Kano Governor taken last year in Lagos. For so long and so often they cannot even get right the whereabouts of one man. That they can’t even tell the truth about the location of a single person shows that they are incompetent to manage the complex affairs of an entire state. 

It is a matter of public record that Asiwaju has always been at the forefront of the struggle for electoral reform, a struggle that culminated in the establishment of the Uwais Commission by late President Umaru Yar’adua. A prominent member of that panel, Prof. Attahiru Jega, later became the INEC Chairman and was able to implement the far-reaching reforms that have enabled us to have the free and fair elections that we witnessed in 2015 and now in 2019. If Asiwaju was such a prominent supporter of electoral reforms, why would he now be among those trying to subvert democracy? Asiwaju’s only tools for influencing elections are his moral authority, his skills as a veteran politician, and his dedication to campaigning and mobilising his own party members.

With respect to Sokoto, former Governor Wamakko is a popular figure and leader who has the respect of the people if the state. It is also clear that the APC candidate is more qualified and more committed to the welfare of the people than his PDP opponent.

By his panicked responses, Governor Tambuwal has shown his sheer desperation. He is a drowning man clinging to the limp of a tree. Having been tricked into joining the PDP only to be outsmarted by Atiku for the PDP presidential nomination, Tambuwal fears that his political career is crumbling. If he loses this election, he has lost everything. Thus there is no untruth he will not tell and no tactics too extreme in order to hold on to his seat. However, he should not use Asiwaju’s name to defraud the people or as a way to gain sympathy.

Instead, Tambuwal should face the consequences of his own actions. It is Tambuwal, not Asiwaju, who has caused his own predicament. Try how he may to blame Asiwaju, the people know that Tambuwal has sacrificed their interests to advance his own. He can try whatever propaganda and untruths he wants, but in the end, the people will render the verdict that his selfish and unproductive record deserves.
 

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Hours To Supplementary Election, Ebonyi APC Candidate Decamps To PDP

23 March 2019 - 2:36am


The Sun Nigeria

Nome Innocent, a state house of assembly aspirant under the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Ebonyi State has decamped to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Supplementary eections are set to take place in three state constitunecies in Ebonyi State.

According to NAN, Innocent, who before decamping was the candidate of the APC for Ezza North West State constituency, declared support for the candidate of the PDP, Friday Nwuhuo.

His decision was made known at a press conference, which held in Abakaliki, where Nome said this became necessary when “it became obvious that APC in the state was not serious in the election”.

The statement read: “At the borderline of the whole issues were the visible unserious disposition of the APC in the state as demonstrated in both electioneering and elections proper, where the party lost even in the guber candidate’s polling unit to the rampaging Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the presidential and National Assembly elections in the state.

“With all the issues raised above, it became obvious that APC in the state was never serious in the election and thereby made some of us in the contest typical of a man in a wild goose chase.

“In the end, we were not only made vulnerable but also politically incapacitated to win the election as desired. This was evident in the way the party leadership handled the affairs of the party as regards the funds meant for the election and other things which were supposed to enhance our performance in the election.

“After a thorough consultation with family members and political associates, I hereby resign my membership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and withdraw from the contest as well as the supplementary election slated to hold in Ezza North West state constituency on Saturday, March 23, 2019.

“This decision is entirely mine, made out of my own volition without any coercion to join hands and congratulate the governor-elect, His Excellency, Engr. David Nweze Umahi, to move Ebonyi State to a greater height."
 

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I Can't Force Nigerians To Elect Leaders They Don't Like, Says Buhari

23 March 2019 - 2:36am


President Muhammadu Buhari has dismissed the claim that he is campaigning for Nigerians to vote for leaders they don't like.

He also called on Nigerians to come out en masse and participate in the supplementary elections scheduled for 17 states on Saturday March 23, 2019.

This was contained in a statement by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media and Publicity), issued on Friday.

According to Shehu, Buhari, who thanked voters for reelecting him for a second term in office, said he would never forget their sacrifices in defying harsh weather conditions to vote for him.

The President said: "I was deeply overwhelmed by your show of incredible confidence in me, and I will never let you down. Thank you for your sincere show of support for me."

He, however, appealed to voters not to get tired of coming out to vote in the supplementary elections, adding ‘‘these elections are no less important than others before them."

The President appealed to voters to vote for the candidates they believe will deliver on promises because it is their “constitutionally guaranteed democratic rights.’’ 

He dismissed rumours and insinuations that he was forcing voters to elect candidates other than those they preferred. Describing the rumours as baseless, the President said at no time did he give instructions that the electorate should vote particular candidates.

"I believe in the will of the people, and I cannot, therefore, put pressure on voters to elect leaders they don't like," the President said emphatically.   

Buhari also called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies to ensure that the supplementary elections are conducted peacefully and in accordance with the law and constitution. 

 
The President also assured Nigerians that he is ready to work with elected representatives of the people, regardless of party platforms on which they are elected, adding that he would work in the best interest of the country and democracy.
 

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Child Prostitution, Sodomy, Forced Abortions... It’s Hell Inside Maiduguri Maximum Security Prison

23 March 2019 - 1:57am


Inside the confines that house the Maiduguri Maximum Security Prison in Borno State is a booming array of illegal activities that tether on the dangerous brink of life and death.

From child prostitution to sodomy, abortions, and even outright murder, the situation within the MMSP is a stark reality of the wildest imaginations.

A 31-page piece entitled ‘Sodomy of Children in Maiduguri Prison and The ICRC Conspiracy of Silence’, released on Friday, March 22, 2019 by Charles Okah, chronicles the experience the inmates of the prison are subjected to, sometimes with the cooperation of prison officials.

MMSP is divided into four separate compounds: Clusters 1, 2, 3 and 4. Clusters 1, 2 and 3 are to accommodate men, while another “much smaller compound, ‘Gidan Mata’, is for the female inmates.”

Charles Okah currently occupies Cell 9, Unit 1, Cluster 2 in MMSP.

For some reason, among the 71 persons on death row in MMSP is 13-year-old Suleiman Salisu, who bludgeoned his father to death as a way of saying ‘no more’ to being sexually defiled. The older Salisu had been defiling his son since he was five years old, an action he took after sniffing glue. However, according to Okah’s account, Suleiman’s maternal uncle, Usman Durkwa, who is also Deputy Governor of Borno State, had told the teenager to say during trial that he killed his father because he was unhappy with his sniffing glue.

However, Suleiman, like his peers in prison are far from safe as they have become victims of sexual molestation by older inmates.

It’s also a fight for territory between cats and rats, and within that space is an inmate identified as Yaya, who has taken to raising cats within the walls. Yaya has been on death row for 23 years.

There is also a booming farming business within the prison, as inmates take to bribing prison warders to get access to the available land within the premises to cultivate vegetables. For this, human waste comes to the rescue as manure.

And then, there is child prostitution.

Okah narrates: The first I saw a frightened child same age range as mine locked up inside cages; it had such a profound and a heart-rending effect on me. But of a particular poignancy was the day a pimp approached me to prostitute the boys.

“The pimp, a notorious armed robber serving a fourteen-year jail sentence, a life sentence, and a death sentence, has been on a death row since 2013, but still retained his villainous features. His large red protuberant eyes can be compared to that of a fly; a tsetse fly to be precise. I can imagine that together with a gun, those eyes must have frightened his victims to total submission. He asked me in halting English if I liked little boys and I replied that ‘of course, I do’. And I went on and on, without him prompting, to tell him I have a nine-year-old boy myself, who I saw last when he was one, and how much I miss him… blah, blah, blah.

“At a point, while I droned on, he began shaking his large head, broad across his temples slowly from side to side. What I was telling him was literally entering into one ear and coming out unfiltered through the other ear that had been deformed by bullet wound. He then proceeded to demonstrate what he actually meant by joining the index finger and thumb tips of his left hand to form a circle, and then with his index finger of his right hand, he poked in and out of the circle.

“As the pimp was poking a dirty finger into the circle, those big eyes bore into me like a laser beam, as if trying to read my thoughts and gauge my seriousness. As he did that, his thick black lips looking like roasted animal hide, curled into certain slyness. I nodded my head to indicate that I understood, but I was in shock. Instead of showing disgust, I decided to play along, maintaining that face many would wear at the visa section of the American embassy when lying to the interviewer as the only way out when candor fails.

“Convinced I was game, he gave me the rates with which to have anal sex or fellatio with a little boy of my choice. The younger the boy, the higher the price, while the mentally challenged or imbeciles as he referred to them, are the costliest because of their fetish/ritual values based on a fallacy that one’s problems or trying circumstances can be transferred to them through intercourse. The cheapest goes for fellatio offered by the children and known as ‘quick relief’.

“Out of curiosity, I opted for an ‘imbecile’ and was taken the next day to cell number 16 in unit 3 of cluster 2 where I met Goni Ali Shettima for the first time, huddled up in a corner with resignation and confusion in those angelic eyes of a child.

“After I expressed disinterest in Goni Ali, I was sworn to secrecy, that night I annulled the oath with solemn vow to spill the beans and do everything within my limits to save the children by telling their story to the world, even at the risk of my life.”

Sexual exploitation within MMSP is not limited to child prostitution among inmates, but to warders who “take undue advantage of female prisoners and detainees under their custody”.

“The trafficking of female inmates for sex with senior prison officers is done through the staff canteen situated inside the bungalow administration building in MMSP. The canteen serves two purposes. On the surface, it looks like any other staff canteen where food and drinks are prepared and served. But beneath the surface, under the supervision of a large imposing female wardress with the rank of senior inspector of prison (SIP), the MMSP staff canteen, like a chameleon, can transform itself in a jiffy into a brothel where the female inmates, used as waitresses and cooks are arranged for quick sex in exchange for cash.”

There is the account of Hauwa ‘Shuwa’ Mohammed, who became pregnant and had to endure a forceful termination of her pregnancy right inside the prison. She came close to losing her life during the incident.

And then there’s the allegation bordering on the conspiracy of the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC).

“On Thursday, the 12th of April 2018, led by one Zainab, several ICRC officials visited cluster 2 to see things for themselves. They even entered unit 3 and peeped into cell number 16, holding their breath to see Goni Ali like visitors in a zoo. They spoke to all three boys incarcerated in the death row cells.

“Jotting down notes and pretending to look shocked, the ICRC team, relieved to be out in the fresh air, promised the victims to take up their matter at the ‘highest level’ of government. Nothing was heard from them. Again on September 10th, 2018, Zainab, a regular visitor to the prison who acts superciliously around prisoners, visited MMSP in the company of two female ICRC officials and stopped by cluster 2. When asked why nothing had been done about the plight of abused children and prostituted women, they came up with a lame excuse that, ‘the ICRC is not a human rights body, and would not meddle into sexual abuse or human right issues.’”

Okah’s account, particularly refers to the trio of Goni Ali Shettima, Abba Musa, and Salisu Usman, the three children locked inside death row cells in MMSP. He appealed to Femi Falana, human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), “to bring a fundamental human rights lawsuit against the federal government of Nigeria, naming the Minister of Interior and the Controller General of Prison among others as defendants”.

“The plaintiffs are asking for one billion naira each as damages. They also want the court to declare their continued detention as null, void the court and cruel. They look forward to plunge again into that whirlpool of life, get an education and lead a normal existence as bona fide Nigeria citizens.

“Modibo Musa, whose entire family was arrested along with his late father also wish to bring a similar fundamental human rights law suit against the federal government of Nigeria, naming the Minister of Interior and the Controller-General of Prisons among others, as defendants.

“Modibo and the other plaintiffs made up of his six siblings — Hauwa, Aisha, Halima, Maryam, Usman and Mohammed — are demanding five hundred million naira each as damages. They want the court to declare their continued incarceration null and void and cruel. The ten children wish to find out if the ICRC is culpable and be taken to the International criminal court. They plead to be represented pro bono.”

Okah extended his regards to his family members and a few friends who have not deserted him, as well as comrades and well-wishers who have not heard from him since his transfer from Kuje Prison to MMSP on March 13, 2018.

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LIVE: Supplementary Governorship Elections In Five States

23 March 2019 - 1:17am


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Injustice In Ivory Tower: The Abandoned Project Called Tai Solarin College Of Education (III)

22 March 2019 - 12:14pm


Main entrance of Tai Solarin College of Education.


The School of Education


The college’s medical centre is an annex of the Degree Complex.


Dr Lukman Adeola Kiadese, provost of Tai Solarin College of Education. Credit: Facebook/Adeola Kiadese

Main entrance of Tai Solarin College of Education. The ICIR.

THE Nigerian government customarily situates institutions of higher learning in rural communities in order that they may serve as catalysts for development. Tai Solarin College of Education, TASCE, is no exception. Established in 1978, the Ogun State College of Education is located in Omu-Ijebu, 10 kilometres southwest from Ijebu-Ode.

The college was separated from the Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun, in October 2008, and was relocated to a new campus. Since the move, Omu-Ijebu, a somewhat remote community, has started developing, though slowly. But, the same cannot be said of the college itself.

The Act establishing Tai Solarin College of Education provides for the inauguration of Governing Council, but since its disarticulation over a decade ago, this provision has not been upheld by the state governor, who is empowered to appoint the chairman and most members of the council.

The council is meant to be the supreme administrative authority, relate the interests of the staff to the state government, and be responsible for the general management of the college’s affairs and control of its finances and properties.

It is also the Council’s function to determine college fees, appoint staff, and “regulate the salaries and determine the conditions of service of all staff of the College”.

Though Amosun has only three months left to complete his second tenure, he has not paid any visits to the campus.

The government has not provided the school with facilities, buildings, and general infrastructure needed to ensure its smooth running. The school has a total of 17 buildings.

The administration of former governor Gbenga Daniel built two of them: the college hall, lecture rooms, a mini hall, and offices.

Other structures have been put in place either through support from philanthropists or the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).

The college library, for example, was funded using a 2015/2016 merged maintenance intervention fund from the federal agency. The structure housing the School of Education was built using merged normal intervention funds for 2011 to 2013. Also, a 250-seater auditorium is presently under construction and is paid for using merged intervention funds for the years between 2014 and 2016.

“Since Senator Ibikunle Amosun became governor, he has never done any project here,” says Daniel Aborisade, chairman of the Coalition of TASCE Staff Unions.

“He has never come to our aid in any form,” he adds.

“We need more offices. We need more lecture rooms, we need more laboratories, and other things. So we want him to really act as our proprietor and do something on this campus.”

This claim is substantiated by Bankole Oluwasegun, another senior college lecturer. “All the buildings you are seeing here are being funded by TETFund,” he says.

The School of Education

These are not the only problems arising from inadequate resources and neglect from government. Convocation ceremonies have also not been held in the past 10 years; students are simply graduated and certified yearly without any rite of passage.

Aborisade laments that previous proposals written to the state governor for assistance with graduation ceremonies were not approved.

Similar requests made for help in getting accredited by the National Commission for Colleges of Education and in establishing an affiliation programme with the Olabisi Onabanjo University, OOU, were also not granted.

The college’s medical centre, like other institutions, has equally suffered great inattention. Funds are not regularly provided by the management for its upkeep and it has taken the resilience of clinic workers to keep it running for basic drug administration.

The clinic occupies a three-room bungalow initially meant to serve as a kitchen for a student hostel. None of the rooms, as a result, have cross-ventilation.

“If you go there now to see the beds, we have only six or seven beds in the whole school,” reveals Mutolib Abdullah, a doctor working as one of the college’s healthcare providers.

The Ogun State government ranks very low in terms of transparency and public access to information. It is among 17 states in the country ranked least on the Public and Private Development Centre’s 2018 Open State Government Ranking—performing poorly on indices about citizens’ access to budget and contract information and having failed to sign up for the Open Government Partnership.

Its 2013 budget proposal, however, shows that N556 million was proposed for TASCE for recurrent expenditures and N140 million for capital expenditures. It is not clear what percentage of the monies were eventually approved and released to the college.

The college’s medical centre is an annex of the Degree Complex.

What happened to the college’s IGR?

In the face of declining financial assistance from the top two tiers of government, Nigeria’s tertiary institutions have had to increasingly fall back on options for generating revenue internally. Those in Ogun State make use of their IGR not just to fund capital projects but in complementing government subventions for recurrent expenses such as payment of salaries. For OOU, this was confirmed to our reporter by the registrar, Femi Ogunwomoju.

Kola Abiola, chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP) at Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY), Abeokuta, said the polytechnic, like TASCE, has not been generating sufficient IGR to pay staff’s salaries.

“At the end of this February, the government will be owing staff four months’ salary, 17 months of pension that has been deducted but not been remitted, about 15 or 16 months’ union dues that have not been remitted. I cannot say we are different from Tai Solarin College of Education,” he adds.

“I don’t know where you want the institution to generate IGR. Can the IGR pay the salaries of all the staff? Even the stipend the government is meant to pay, they don’t give it to them. So what do you want to augment with it?”

However, because it started on a fresh slate after its renewed independence and relocation to a new campus in 2008, the situation at TASCE is much worse.

It was estimated that the college generated only N150 million in 2013, compared to OOU’s N2.6 billion, Tai Solarin University of Education’s N1.5 billion, and Moshood Abiola Polytechnic’s N1.3 billion.

“Others are not shouting the way we are shouting because they have many students that can bring IGR, and they use the IGR to augment their salaries,”  Aborisade discloses.

“So tactically, most higher institutions in Ogun State are glorified private institutions. OOU, TASUED, MAPOLY are admitting many students into certificate, diploma, higher diploma and other degrees. The universities have postgraduate programmes and they charge something substantial; so it is this money they gather.”

The union chairman observes that other schools in the state charge exorbitant fees as acceptance fees and tuition levies and, because of their large student population, they are able to use this for salary payment.

OOU has an estimated population of 30,000 and gets revenue also from annual dues from alumni, public donations, agricultural products, hostels, commercial ventures, laboratory services and so on. For the 2018/2019 academic session, the acceptance fee required by the school was N60,000, while its school fees ranged between N72,000 and N179,000. TASUED has close to 20,000 students, and MAPOLY has roughly 25,000.

As a way of pushing up the college’s IGR, a degree programme was started in May 2018, in affiliation with Olabisi Onabanjo University. A structure on campus meant for use as a student hostel has been converted for the purpose, and through the programme, a lot more students have been admitted and higher revenue is made from student levies.

Dr Lukman Adeola Kiadese, provost of Tai Solarin College of Education. Credit: Facebook/Adeola Kiadese

Allegations of mismanagement, ‘reckless spending’

In September 2016, when Lukman Adeola Kiadese was set to assume office as the new provost of Tai Solarin College of Education, workers of the college resisted, insisting on the payment of at least two-thirds of the arrears owed. Kiadese, at a general congress held with them, appealed for cooperation and promised to resume the payment of full salaries within six months. But this is yet to happen.

Meanwhile, the provost has been severally accused of mismanaging funds belonging to the college, particularly in connivance with the acting bursar, Gbenga Olusanya. Though IGR is expected to have naturally increased over the years, staff members complain that they have not seen improvements in developments on campus or in staff welfare.

While the former administration of Abiodun Ojo paid up to seven months of net salary arrears, Kiadese has only paid arrears for one month.

“And we know he is having more money than the other administration had,” says Aborisade.

“How has he spent that money? What has he been using the money for, we want to know. Those are the questions we are asking. Like I told you the other time that other institutions are using IGR to augment their salary. Why is he not doing that?”

He adds: “Of recent, we stumbled on documents that show us that he is just wasting our money on unofficial things, on things that do not even concern the college… money they are supposed to pack together and pay one or two backlogs or use to augment what the government is paying, but he is not interested in that.”

Copies of these documents, payment vouchers from the college’s bursary, were obtained by our reporter.  The vouchers are stamped and signed by the school’s internal auditor and head, Salary and Wages Department. According to two of such vouchers, on January 9, 2019, the sum of N315,000 was approved for release to Akinola Ademola and Adedayo Temidayo, from the provost’s office and Centre for Degree Programme, for an official trip to the University of Ilorin two days earlier.

According to another voucher dated December 28, 2018, the sum of N67,500 was released to Amuludun Tosin of the bursary department for the “additional purchase of rice and turkey for the members of the House of Assembly for end of the year gift”.

Also between December and January, N50,000 was approved for the payment of security officials regarding “ongoing staff agitation and restiveness within college community”, N100,000 was approved “for National COEASU [College of Education Academic Staff Union] Executive visit to the college”, and N40,000 was approved for the transportation of Akinola “from Ijebu-Ode to Abeokuta” — a distance of 74 kilometres.








Payment vouchers

In a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission dated January 30, 2019, the college’s union also alleges that Kiadese has lately released the sums of N350,000, N300,000 and N320,000 respectively to Tosin Amuludun, ‘Mrs. Banjo’ and ‘Mrs. Adebambo (Ipaye)’, all workers at bursary department, for their personal use.

The provost is also accused of making illegal payments to college’s former provost and registrar, and failing to remit staff’s pension deductions.

“Adeola Kiadese and Mr. Gbenga Olusanya connived to pay the sum of N600,000 each to Dr. Abiodun Ojo and Mr. Tunji Kanimodo, former Provost and former Registrar of the college respectively, monthly for close to one and a half years, claiming it is meant for sabbatical that was not observed,” the petition claims.

“The Provost and Ag. Bursar failed to remit pension deduction as and when due to staff retirement savings accounts. They also did not remit the government quota of our pension to our accounts in contravention of Pension Reform Act of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004 (as amended).”

In 2017, the petition continues, there was a TETFund-sponsored trip to the United Arab Emirates and the provost and acting bursar allegedly took out the names of certain college lecturers who were originally scheduled to travel. The names were replaced with those of Modupe Mujota, former Commissioner for Education Science and Technology of Ogun State; Olakunle Oluomo, Deputy Speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly; the Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Education Science and Technology; among others from the ministry and state legislature.

“They were all sponsored illegally from TETFund’s account, paid some amounts ranging from N300,000 to N500,000 each and few college staff members who went with them and were paid the same amount were compelled to pay the money into Mr. Temidayo Adedayo’s FCMB account for no reason,” the letter adds.

“We urge you to thoroughly investigate the legality of the trip and the financial transactions that followed. Also we pray that you investigate whether it is proper for the Provost and the Ag. Bursar to compel staff of the college that could not attend TETFund sponsored conferences to pay back the fund collected to a special account not known to TETFund.”

Mujota, in a phone interview with The ICIR, however described the accusation as absolutely false, “in my estimation”, adding that she has never been to the UAE.

“I don’t know why anyone would suggest that he took me to the UAE. I am well-travelled, seasonally so. I travel very frequently and I have travelled to most of the continents of the world. But I have never had the pleasure to go the United Arab Emirates, so I don’t know why anybody would suggest as much,” she tells our reporter.

But two of the lecturers who were part of the trip, under the condition of anonymity, insisted otherwise and confirmed they were instructed to refund money given to them by the management.

Provost avoids interviews

When our reporter called for his reaction to the allegations, Kiadese repeatedly said he is not willing to comment “for now”. He also said The ICIR should not bother sending him a text.

“I will let you know. I will save your number,” he replies to the question of when he should be contacted again.

At a later time, he asked our reporter to travel to meet him in Ogun State. But when this instruction was followed and he was informed, he ended the call and did not answer subsequent calls to his phone. His phone was switched off the following day.

The college’s bursar also declined to comment on the allegations.

“I don’t have any comment because I am not aware of all what you are saying,” he responds after the reporter shared with him some of the workers’ allegation. He instead ended the call abruptly.

Calls placed to the state governor were not answered at the time of filing this report. The Secretary to the State Government, who was involved in a road accident on Friday, February 22, said he regrets he could not attend to official requests as he was out of town. He directed our reporter to “please speak to people in the Ministry of Information” but calls placed to Adedayo Adeneye, the state’s commissioner for information, were not answered. He also did not reply a text message sent to him.

Olaniyi Oladunni of Gboyinde Chambers, the lawyer who assisted in drafting the letter and is offering professional help to the coalition, confirms that the petition was also submitted to the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC). He is expecting a positive outcome from the commissions’ independent investigations, and if the presented facts are found to be true, he adds, “they are very strong grounds for prosecution if need be”.

Time ticks on a new promise

Following the National Labour Congress’s planned but shelved protest in Abeokuta, the state governor promised to make amends respecting workers’ welfare, including those at TASCE.

“The governor has magnanimously asked that the sacked NLC chairman be reinstated and all other issues, including payment of outstanding gratuity, contributory pension scheme and Tai Solarin College of Education subventions have been amicably resolved,” said the NLC president, Ayuba Wabba.

Amosun himself told the union members and journalists he would clear all backlogs before he hands over to the next governor.

“I will not owe any worker any of their entitlement before I leave office,” he assured.

Come May 29, it will be clear if the governor’s statement on March 4 is another hollow promise or not.

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Dilapidated Nation And Its Decrepit Education System By Erasmus Ikhide

22 March 2019 - 12:13pm


The axiom designating readers as leaders can't be more sacrosanct in the face of dubious governmentality in Nigeria. It further explains why supersonic nations that have made education basic, compulsory and criminalized illiteracy are zooming into the moon and making heaven on earth for themselves and the unborn generations why backward-looking nations like ours are receding into the caves and caverns. 

Little seven years old Miss Success's literally eviscerating video/story in Sapele, Delta State that has been tweaking globally is the actual Nigerian state and story. The decadent state of the Primary school where pupils sit on bare floor in open roof and dilapidated structures with teachers bringing their own chairs from home, typifies the rot in Nigeria's educational system. It certainly amplifies the truism that no nation can be greater than the sum total of it teachers. 

My spirit sank in January when I visited my alma mater, Holy Trinity Grammar School, in Owan West Local  Government Area of Edo Sate on the auspices of my Old Boys Association. Shockingly, the government of the state has only four teachers in the senior secondary school and five teachers in the junior secondary school. Painfully, neither of the two sections of the school has Maths or English teacher on the payroll of the Edo State government! 

Tragically, the School Management of Holy Trinity Grammar hinted that it is one of the best schools in Edo State, regardless of the obvious decrepit and convulsing state of the school. Shamefully, the school has been left in the hands of Old Boys/Girls Associations to provide important subject teachers like maths and English, chairs and tables, bolehole and white boards and markers for writing. 

The virtual collapse of Holy Trinity Grammar School and its boarding system is not different from the Holy Aruosa Primary school at the heart of Benin City and many others in videos posted by one Mr. Pharez Okpere where children between the ages of 6 and 14 years were spotted sitting under the rain on the bare floor in open roof class rooms. The scene in Pharez's video wreaks of a broken government and a society intent upon breeding terrorists and butchers in a cannibalized atmosphere for political survival. 

Ironically, this is Delta State that has been swimming in oil wealth - the Devil's excrement that has become more of a curse than blessing to the region and the nation - as the political elites ferry away their kids and loved ones to be educated overseas with the people's patrimony! 

Strictly speaking, successive PDP governors and governments since 1999 in Delta State should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity. The governors of that state and the principal actors in the education sector should be fastened to the stake and shot for the virtual rape of the state and its people. If the late Prof Folorusho Ambrose Ali could make education basic and compulsory in the then MidWestern State, then the present government in Delta State and all the others in Nigeria who deadened their conscience against the global outcry that nations and governments should dedicate 26% of yearly budgetary allocations to educational development do not deserve to live.

Available records have shown that Delta State Government has collected N30 trillion from the federation account since 1999, yet several hundreds and thousands schools are worst than places where pigs are kept; without teachers and the available teachers have never been trained in the last twenty years and most of them have never seen what a piece or set of computer looks like!

In 2013, UNESCO reported that 13.2 million Nigerians between the ages of 6 and 11 years are out of school. They declared that Nigeria held the "world record" for the number of children who are out of school and declared it "world illiteracy capital". At the time, the government was run by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan's People's Democratic Party PDP.

Ever since, more alarming number of children of school age are out of school, courtesy of the self-decieving All Progressives Congress APC that has now abandoned the vague and empty sloganeering gambit of "CHANGE" that creates more jobless illiterates and dynasties of the poor.

Aren't you surprised that Buhari is the Nigerian President, yet more than 95% of the number of Nigerian kids who are hawking and begging on the streets are from the same geopolitical zone as himself? Are you surprised that ASUU went on strike for three months over unpaid N61 billion legitimate demands and were left unattended to, at the same time President Buhari hurriedly approved N91 billion for the establishment of cattle colonies where Fulani Herdsmen will forcefully take over other people's farm lands? What are the Fulani Herdsmen doing in our forests with AK47 guns when the 21st Century economy demands that they're in school? Have you asked yourself?

President Muhammadu Buhari and those bootlicking around him are yet to come off the deception. One of the reasons Mr. Buhari has refused to tackle the rot in the education system is because he, himself, is an illiterate like the national chairman of his party, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole. 

Till date, the President has not come forward with his WEAC certificate and has been doing everything within his power to truncate the suit challenging his eligibility for the office of President. 

The national chairman of his party, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole who claimed to have attended primary school that was not established at the time he attended it, was the Governor of Edo State when the Ministry of Education was set ablaze to obliterate the record, while the perjury case was preferred against Oshiomhole.

At the twilight of 2018, Nigeria was declared the "World Poverty Headquarters"! I hope you have not forgotten the correlation between illiteracy and poverty. Next time you're told about "Next Level" ask if it includes free education and poverty reduction. 


ikhideerasmus@gmail.com 
Follow me on Twitter @ikhide_erasmus1

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Kenyan President Kenyatta Deactivates Social Media Accounts After Suspicious Anti-Corruption Tweet

22 March 2019 - 11:40am


Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has deactivated his social media accounts.

Hours before the deactivation, he had tweeted a warning on corruption, stating that his allies found culpable in allegations of corruption would not be spared.

"If you are corrupt we will fight you. You can be my brother or my sister or my closest political ally, but if you are corrupt we will fight you,” Kenyatta had tweeted.

According to Daily Nation, William Ruto, Kenyatta’s deputy, had claimed that the ongoing war on corruption was targeted at him and his ambition to become President in 2022. As such, there were speculations that the administrator of the social media accounts may have tweeted the said message to pitch Kenyatta against Ruto.

Kenyatta's Twitter and Facebook accounts were taken down. He had 3.62 million followers on Twitter, with 12,300 tweets.

After speculations that Twitter was taking action against the President following his tweet on corruption, Nzioka Waita, his Chief Of Staff, confirmed that the accounts had been deactivated.

Confirming the deactivation, Waita said: “On account of unauthorised access to the official social media handles of H.E the President of the Republic of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, all official social media handles for the President have been temporarily suspended to allow for the necessary remedial measures to be undertaken.”

In July 2018, the social media accounts of the President, State House and office were taken down.

During that incident, Waita had said: “In this regard and with immediate effect, the only official digital media channels that will convey information for and on behalf of the President, Her Excellency the First Lady and State House are as detailed below: Twitter: @StateHouseKenya, @UKenyatta, @FirstLadyKenya @KanzeDena; Facebook: State House Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, @Office of the First Lady Kenya.”

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Domesticate Kampala Convention On IDPs To Curb Abuse, Norwegian Refugee Council Tells Nigerian Govt

22 March 2019 - 11:30am


Aisa Kache, 35, holding her infant son inside the GSSS camp in Bama, in Nigeria's Borno State, on August 15, 2018. Photo: NITIN GEORGE/MSF

Aisa Kache, 35, holding her infant son inside the GSSS camp in Bama, in Nigeria's Borno State, on August 15, 2018. Photo: NITIN GEORGE/MSF

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in conjunction with civil society groups from Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, have urged the Nigerian government to urgently domesticate the Kampala Convention on Internally Displaced Persons (IDP).

At a conference in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, on Thursday, facilitated by NRC, critical stakeholders identified escalating sexual exploitation, rape and other forms of violations of the rights of the IDPs as drivers for the urgent call.

Kampala Convention, among other things, seeks to promote the dignity of IDPs irrespective of their status. The convention clearly stipulates that displaced persons are entitled to normal lives that enables them to access education, human development, medical facilities, social amenities, among other social services.

The convention, which Nigeria is one of its key signatories, enshrines that an IDP has a right to employment and choice of when to return to their original homes.

Mala Abdulaziz, Dr. Tina Olayemi and other CSO leaders, who jointly addressed the press after the conference, decried the rising abuse of the rights of IDPs, especially sexual offences.

Human trafficking issues involving IDPs was also discussed, and the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) was charged to rise to the challenge.

"NAPTIP and institutions protecting against sexual assault and referral centres must be strengthened. Massive awareness to make the public and IDPs alike become aware of such institutions and relevant laws by all stakeholders, should be carried out,” a statement on the resolutions at the conference read.

Another key issue of concern as stressed by the CSOs is the growing IDP population without corresponding resources to cater to their needs.

"There is a need to focus proactively on local integration of IDPs. At the same time, resources and capacity of local host communities are overstretched; economic and commercial activities cannot sustain the current influx of people. This might lead to more crime and insecurity.”

The stakeholders also deliberated on how supply of aid is drastically waning for IDPs in Adamawa State in particular.

"Although camps have closed officially in Adamawa State, we still have IDPs in Malkohi, Fufore and even here at the main camp, and supply has virtually stopped,” Mala said, adding that there are large scale needs in many LGAs across the three Northeastern States (Borno, Yobe and Adamawa) affecting both IDPs in camps and IDPs living in host communities.”

The CSOs urged the Nigerian government to urgently find ways to domesticate the Kampala Convention.

"Domestication of Kampala Convention is critical and urgent in order to encourage authorities to be responsible in situations where the rights of IDPs are deprived,” the statement added.

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'This Verdict Cannot Stand' — APC Vows To Appeal PDP's Osun Tribunal Victory

22 March 2019 - 11:18am


The All Progressives Congress (APC) says it will appeal the tribunal judgment that declared Senator Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winner of the September 2018 rerun governorship election in Osun State.

Disclosing the party's next move, Kunle Oyatomi, Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy for the APC, said the verdict would not stand superior legal scrutiny.

“The verdict cannot stand superior legal scrutiny. Therefore, we will appeal against it,” he told journalists on Friday.

The Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, had on Friday declared Adeleke winner of the 2018 governorship election in the state.

At its sitting, the tribunal voided the cancellation of elections in seven polling units in the state, therefore holding that Gboyega Oyetola, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) did not win the election.

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Keyamo: Anyone Who Thinks I Bribed Charly Boy Should Have His Head Examined

22 March 2019 - 11:03am


Festus Keyamo, spokesman of the President Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation, has denied the claim that he paid an amount running into “nine figures” to Charles Oputa, popularly known as Charly Boy.

Charly Boy made the allegation in a video interview, after an earlier claim by Deji Adeyanju, Convener of Concerned Nigerians, that he collected money from Keyamo.

In an attempt to clarify the supposed circumstances under which he collected the money, Charly Boy had alleged that Keyamo paid the said amount to him for a song he composed against Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

However, taking to Twitter on Friday evening, Keyamo debunked Charly Boy’s claim, stating that anyone who believed he paid a penny for any song by the latter needs to have their heads examined.

In a series of tweets, Keyamo wrote: "1. I’ve been having some good laugh. Whoever thinks that I would pay a penny for a song by @Areafada1 that disses both the APC and PDP must have his/her head examined. If the quarreling parties want to hurt their egos by bandying phantom figures, they should leave me out of it.

"2. As we’ve said before, some of us ran the PMB campaign on zero budget as volunteers whilst the opposition was paying $90,000 monthly to an American lobbyist (N400 million per year). It’s therefore preposterous to suggest that a 9-figure amount or any at all was paid for a song!

"3. In the world of entertainment, it’s the culture of most (not all) entertainers to raise their stock in the public by bandying phantom figures for their engagements & some others display phantom acquisitions on social media to attract attention and raise their worth for clients.

"4. I’ve always encouraged @Areafada1 & @adeyanjudeji, who are my long-time friends & clients to continue on the path they chose for themselves. I will hate to see them fall apart. Therefore it behoves us all to work together to put things right. I always enjoy vibrant opposition!"

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Climate Change And The Future Of Food Security In Nigeria By Churchill Okonkwo

22 March 2019 - 10:22am


 

Expert value judgment about potential risks of drought due to climate change/variability and what should be done is not the role of scientists, but policymakers. Yet, it is the scientists that will lay out the elements of risk to help policymakers evaluate what ‘critical’ drought that could result from climate change entails. This piece, to mark the 2019 World Water Day, will focus on the future of food security in Nigeria in the face of climate change. 

The theme of the 2019 World Water Day, marked on 22nd of March is ‘Leaving no one behind’.  This theme was adapted from the central promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that as sustainable development progresses, everyone must benefit. As we make progress in the agricultural sector, the question on my mind is whether these agro-farming improvements are sustainable in the face of climate change. Will the peasant farmers that produce over 80% of Nigeria’s agricultural output be left behind in the climate change era? 

Per the estimate by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FOA) of the United Nations, Nigeria has a very low level of irrigation development (less than 2 percent of cropped land). Thus, there is a high reliance on rainfed agriculture. In the absence of irrigation, rained lands, especially those in the semiarid and Savannah agro-ecological zones of Nigeria will remain fragile, threatened and unsuitable for sustainable food production. What will be the impact of climate change on the more than “7 million” Nigerians that are currently actively employed in agriculture?

Extensive studies on rainfall variability show that regional climate change and associated climate variability is likely to affect the availability of water from the year 2032 across West Africa, especially the Sahel. This climate information on future drought is the foundation that should guide our current investment in agro-business.

During a severe and prolonged drought in a new climate era, will there be sufficient water/moisture to support the current investment in the agricultural sector on a long-term basis? Will the agricultural sector in Nigeria have the capacity to respond? 

During drought, some surface water will dry up, groundwater will be depleted, threatening food production in across the Sahel and Savannah regions, the present food basket of Nigeria. This will result in the collapse of the current agro-based economy. It is only this understanding that can precipitate informed discussion, then, informed policy directives that will empower relevant authorities to take meaningful action. 

The failure of the farming programs, such as the Operation Feed the Nation (OFN) and the “Green Revolution” initiated under Olusegun Obasanjo and Shehu Shagari should be a reminder that a well-intended agrarian revolution can go wrong. A holistic framework and strategy for sustainable water governance systems for an agro-based economy are thus essential. 

With only about 40% of the 84 million hectares of arable land in Nigeria cultivated, the challenge for the government is, therefore, not how to improve on this per se, but doing so in such a way to withstand prolonged severe drought.  The key to this readiness is the maximization of the use of ground and surface water for irrigation purposes where applicable. 

Chinua Achebe wrote that "A man who lives on the banks of the Niger (river) should not wash his hands in spittle." The good people of Nigeria that live on the banks of Rivers Niger, Benue, Imo, Cross River, Gongola, Hadejia, Kaduna, Katsina-Ala, Ogun, Osun, Owena, Sokoto, Yobe, and Zamfara Rivers etc. should not face food scarcity under any climate change scenario. 

The development and execution of a master plan that will involve the efficient use of perennial water resources across Nigeria is a shortcut to ensuring food security. In the face of increasing population and uncertainties from climate change, these enormous water resources potential should be fully utilized by the state and federal governments. 

All we need to do is take advantage of technological innovations to tap these untapped water resources at our backyards. Think of the capacity (cubic liters) of irrigation water we can easily harness from these untapped resources. The promotion of large-scale water management schemes to provide water resources for agriculture can thus guarantee enough water for year-round farming under present and future climate change scenarios. 

The lesson from the glitch in the production of tomatoes in Nigeria in 2016 that resulted in an astronomical increase in prizes with untold hardship is that any prolonged drought in the Savanah belt northwards will be catastrophic. Therefore, in addition to developing the agricultural sector in the northern parts of Nigeria that are more prone to severe drought, the federal and state governments should also invest heavily in the food baskets in the south.

The antiquated mindset focused on developing agriculture in a drought-prone region without adequate irrigation facilities should be modernized. The Nigerian government should push for, develop and harness the irrigation potentials of our water resources. They should provide policy guidelines aimed at strengthening all River Basin Authorities for integrated water resources management at the sub-regional and watershed scale.

In the face of climate change, managing surface and groundwater through small-scale irrigation will be essential in sustaining food production in rainfed areas. This irrigation programs should be tailored to the local and ecological peculiarities of watersheds. Water availability for agriculture during severer drought will give farmers the security they need to risk investing in other productivity-boosting technologies, such as fertilizers and improved seed.  This is how to put the nation on the road to food security.

Finally, per the Food and Agricultural Organization (FOA) of the United Nations, “Food security exists when all people, always, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food for a healthy and active life.” For Nigeria to have access to sufficient food, always, we need a new paradigm in food security. 

Such a paradigm should be aimed at guaranteeing food security by creating an agricultural sector that is equipped with irrigation facilities to withstand years of drought. It’s only after we have done this, that we can guarantee food security for all Nigerians in the climate change era. 

Churchill Okonkwo, Ph.D. African Center for Climate Change Science and Policy Research, Washington D.C. follow him on Twitter @churchillnnobi

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JUST IN: Bauchi Commissioner For Finance Resigns Just Before Supplementary Election

22 March 2019 - 10:21am


Honourable Garbi Mohammed Akuyam, Commissioner for Finance and Economic Development in Bauchi State, has resigned.

In his letter of resignation released on Friday evening, Akuyam said he was compelled to “resign in view of recent developments and political realities of present day Bauchi State".

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had said the supplementary governorship election earlier scheduled to hold in Bauchi and Adamawa states would still hold, even though the issue has become a subject of litigation.

The litigation on the Bauchi governorship election, INEC said, was initiated by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Mohammed Abubakar.

Garbi was the Director-General of the campaign team of Mohammed Abubakar, Governor of Bauchi State, in 2015.

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NBC Issues New Non-Negotiable Working Conditions For GOtv

22 March 2019 - 9:44am


The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has issued new conditions for GOtv to continue its operations in Nigeria.

The commission cleared the air on the reports that it had issued an ultimatum to Details Nigeria Limited over the operations of GOtv in Nigeria.

Addressing a press conference on Friday, Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, the NBC Director-General, affirmed that the Digital Terrestrial Licence issued to Details Nigeria Limited is scheduled to expire in a few days and a notice had been issued in January 2018.

According to Kawu, the claim that NBC had plans to close down GOtv was never the commission’s intention, as several meetings are ongoing between both parties.

He said a “definitive meeting” held on Thursday, and it was resolved that the licence would be renewed for three years. Present at the meeting was General Babagana Monguno, the National Security Adviser.

“Yesterday night, we were able to use the good offices of the National Security Adviser (NSA), to break the logjam in respect of the renewal of the Digital Terrestrial Licence issued to Details Nigeria Limited for the operations of GOTV. Most of you might be aware that in January 2018, we had issued a notice that the said licence was not going to be renewed at expiration.

"That licence is actually expected to expire in a couple of days on. We took the decision not to renew the licence, because the new architecture of Nigerian Broadcasting in the digital era separates the roles of the content provider from that of the signal distributors. This is according to the government White Paper on the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting.

“Against the backdrop of the notice that we issued in January 2018, there was a lot of misinformation put out in the public space that NBC had taken a decision to close down GOTV. But that had never been our intention. We realise the place of Details Nigeria as a critical stakeholder in the Nigerian Broadcasting industry, the huge amount of investment they have made in the industry and the jobs that they have created directly and indirectly.

"But the NBC is irrevocably committed to the Digital Switchover (DSO), and the policy guideline in respect of the separation of Content Provider and Signal Distributor. That is the reason for letter to Details Nigeria Limited. But over the past couple of months, we have held several meetings with representatives of Details Nigeria Limited on the appropriate way to keep them in business in Nigeria, while we also enforce the position of government in respect of the White Paper on DSO. Finally, yesterday, we held the definitive meeting under the auspices of the National Security Adviser, General Babagana Monguno, during which we were able to resolve the main obstacles.

“Yesterday’s meeting resolved that GOTV would have its licence renewed for a period of three years, but with certain provisos. The separation of Content Provider from Signal Distributor is non-negotiable! That means that GOTV, going forward, in the near future, will no longer combine the two functions. So in the three-year period of licensing that we are issuing, they would be expected to begin discussions with any of the two licensed Signal Distributors, Integrated Television Services (ITS) and Pinnacle Communications Limited, on the preferred platform to carry their content. These resolutions came on the back of often, difficult days of negotiations, that involved several stakeholders. As I said earlier, we want to thank the National Security Adviser for the role that he played in helping us resolve the impasse. The resolution of the issue recognized the role of investors in the broadcasting and other sectors of the Nigerian economy. And in resolving the issue, we realize the importance of investor confidence in the Nigerian economy, as well as the efforts to take Nigeria to the next level, by President Muhammadu Buhari.”

NBC also issued strict warning to broadcast media organisations in the country on covering elections, stating that anyone that flouts the regulations would face strict sanctions.

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