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5 Killed, 7 Injured In Ondo Road Crash

17 September 2019 - 2:57am


File photo

At least five persons have been confirmed dead in an auto crash that occurred in the early hours of Tuesday on the Ore-Lagos road.

Seven other persons were wounded in the crash involving an articulated truck and a bus.

The vehicles involved were a Toyota Hiace bus with registration number, AKL 930 YY, and MAN trailer, with number plate FGB 747 XA, said an eyewitness, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

"The accident occurred this morning (Tuesday)  at the KM 46 on Ore road, Adekunle area. I suspect the passengers' vehicle was coming from Lagos.

"And while the truck driver was a high speed, it lost the control of his wheels and rammed into the bus killing like five persons in the bus and other injured.

"I saw officials of the Federal Road Safely Corps evacuating some the dead bodies while I was leaving the scene," the witness said.

Confirming the accident on the telephone to SaharaReporters, Olusegun Ogungbemide, the Head of Operations of FRSC in the state, said the crash was caused by speeding and wrongful overtaking.

Ogunbemide added that those who were involved in the fatal accident have been rushed to a hospital and advised motorists to be extra careful while driving.

He explained further, "A total of 13 passengers were involved and five persons (three males and two females) died on the spot. While seven persons (two males, three female adults, and two children) sustained various degrees of injuries in the accident.

"Our men have already moved the injured victims to Adeola Hospital in kajola and Opeyemi hospital Ore. We are advising the motoring public to be extra careful during these ember months season."

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Osun State Demanded N150 Million From Local Governments Each Month For OYES -Source

17 September 2019 - 1:02am


 

The 30 local governments in Osun state have received their full
allocation for the month of July but the Adegboyega Oyetola
administration is accused of forcing each of the councils to pay the
state N5 million.

Sources close to the matter informed SaharaReporters that they were
still being urged to credit the state account in order for the state
government to pay salaries, however.

One source alleged state officials of saying, "return it back, return
it back" referring to the allocation.

“We have started receiving autonomy,” another source told
SaharaReporters. “We were made to return so much to the state. We were
asked to return N5 million as salary for OYES. That is the Osun Youth
Empowerment Scheme Cadet.”

“In each of the local governments we don’t have the same number of
OYES cadet but we were asked to return N5 million flat (each).”

The source added that each local government was ordered to contribute
to the counterpart funding for the implementation of the federal
government-backed home-school feeding programme.

“If I am paying, you are supposed to be my responsibility. You are
supposed to be answerable to me but those things are directly under
the supervision of the state government."

A local government official said workers' salaries for August had yet
to be paid as of the time of filing this report.

Jare Adebisi, who heads the ministry in charge of local government
operations in the absence of a duly inaugurated cabinet, had in a
response to claims that the state habitually paid staff in either the
second or third week of the preceding month, told SaharaReporters that
salaries were paid on either the first or second week.

Adebisi had also denied that the state owed local government
officials, insisting that the state government was paying the salaries
of local government workers.

In August, SaharaReporters reported that the state disbursed funds to
the statutory account of each local government from the joint account
where state and local government monthly allocations are sent to, only
three times between February 2018 and June 2019.

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Nigerians More Likely To Vote Trump —Report

17 September 2019 - 12:46am


 

The United States might seem divided over President Donald Trump's
policies, but overseas, the American president is loved.

According to the data from the Pew Research Centre, Nigerians'
confidence in Trump to do the right thing regarding world affairs was
at 59 percent in 2018, higher than some points during the Obama
administration.

Also, Nigerians are in top five of those actively following Trump on
Twitter, a social media platform constantly used by the president,
Monti Datta, associate professor of political science from the
University of Richmond, claimed.

“Some of Trump's foreign policies in Nigeria might explain his
relative popularity. In February 2017, President Trump approved the
sale of jet fighters to the Nigerian government, reversing a policy
from the Obama administration.

"This aided the Nigerian government in its campaign against Boko
Haram,” Datta said.

The professor also listed South Korea and Israel as countries where
Trump’s policies seem to be enjoying the most public support.

“And data from Gallup's Korean headquarters illustrate that
favorability toward Trump among South Koreans has more than doubled,
from a paltry 9 percent in 2017 to a high of 32 percent in 2018,” he
said about South Korea.

“As in the case of Nigeria and South Korea, Trump's popularity in
Israel seems to be a reversal of his predecessor.

"Frosty personal relations plagued Obama and Netanyahu, beginning with
Obama's first major foreign policy address to the Arab world in Cairo
in 2009. This culminated in Netanyahu's visit to Congress in 2015 when
he urged Congress to oppose the Iran nuclear agreement.”

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Ethiopia Economic Growth Risk To Nigeria, Warns Expert

17 September 2019 - 12:08am


 

Winston Osuchukwu, Co-founder and Managing Partner at Trans-Sahara
Investment (TSIC), has raised the alarm over the growth rate of the
Ethiopian economy and how that might adversely affect Nigeria.

Speaking in an interview with CNBC Africa, Osuchukwu said foreign
investors would prefer to go to Ethiopia or other African countries
and not Nigeria because of the difficulty of doing business in the
country.

The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) recently said
Nigeria ranked 146 out of 190 countries on the Ease of Doing Business
globally.

Osuchukwu said the lack of a favourable business environment in
Nigeria would push investors, whose choice who have hitherto be
Nigeria, to other African countries.

He also raised concern over the Africa free trade agreement which
encourages an open border across African countries.

He said: “Free trade could also mean I don’t have to come to Nigeria
to do business with Nigeria. I can do business with Nigeria by proxy.
It (Africa Free Trade Agreement) is significant because of how
difficult it is to do business in Nigeria, you will find that some of
the investment that should have come into Nigeria can now go into
neighbouring countries and those countries can serve Nigeria.

“The second one is, the rise of Ethiopia is actually a significant
risk to Nigeria. Nigeria used to be the centre of gravity for all
sub-Saharan Africa. We are the largest economy; we are the largest
market out there.

“Ethiopia has opened up its economy. Ethiopia is a much more
compelling economy to go to. Only good news has come out of there in
terms of how they are opening up their economy. They have better
infrastructures in place.”

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2 Die As Bus Plunges Into Osun River

16 September 2019 - 11:56pm


File Photo

File Photo

 

Two persons have been reported dead after a commercial vehicle plunged
into a river in Osun State.

According to Folashade Odoro, the spokesperson for the Osun State
Police Command, the accident happened at an area known as Oke-Gada in
Ede on Monday.

One of the residents of the area said the accident happened around 7
pm. He said the driver was trying to avoid potholes near the bridge on
the river.

The occupants of the vehicle were said to have been rushed to a
private hospital in the area.

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Kwara Rejects Saraki's School Materials Donation, Says They Violate 'Basic Rule'

16 September 2019 - 11:53pm


 

Former Senate President Bukola Saraki's educational materials sent to
schools in Kwara State have been rejected by the government.

It was alleged that the books had pictures and other insignias of the
Saraki, a former governor of Kwara.

Yakub Aliagan, the press secretary at the Kwara State Ministry of
Education and Human Capital Development, said it was wrong for
students' materials to carry the image or insignia of any personality.

He said in a statement: “The appropriate thing to do is to send those
materials to the Ministry of Education, which has a statutory duty of
vetting learning materials for quality control and then approve such
for distribution. Not doing so was a violation of a basic rule, which
is key to strengthening our institutions and keeping standards.

“Besides, it is wrong for anyone to emblazon their images or personal
logos on instructional materials made with public resources for
distribution in public schools. The said materials were some sort of
constituency projects, which had been approved and funded by the
federal government of Nigeria.

“It is instructive to note that the Kwara State Ministry of Education
recently approached Governor AbdulRahmanAbdulRazaq to mass-produce
instructional materials with his picture emblazoned on them ahead of
school resumption and the governor rejected the proposal on the ground
that there should be no personalization of projects executed with
public funds,”
 

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Nigeria Important, I’m Hopeful About Country -Bill Gates

16 September 2019 - 11:35pm


 

Bill Gates, the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
(BMGF), says Nigeria is important and he is hopeful about the country
but urged the government to make good use of the nation's wealth which
will encourage Nigerians to pay taxes.

Gates said Nigeria must gain more confidence from its citizens if its
internally generated revenue would increase.

The billionaire said this during a teleconference with selected
journalists, where the goalkeepers report was unveiled.

He said: “One challenge that Nigeria has is that the amount of money
that the government raises domestically is quite small compared to
other countries.”

“A lot of countries at that level will be raising closer to 15 percent
of GDP and Nigeria is one of the lowest in the world down at about six
percent. And so, it is a huge challenge that when you want to fund
infrastructure, health, education, all those things, that over time
the tax collection, the domestic resources are going to have to go up
quite a bit.

“That’s a long-term effort and I think partly by making sure the
current resources are spent well like on primary health care, you gain
the credibility that the citizens will say, okay, we want more of
these things.

“If we don’t raise the quality, you can get into a trap where they
don’t feel like paying the taxes actually has that much impact, and so
they’re not supportive of that.”

The report gave data on educational disparity across different communities.

“Nigeria is a super-important country and one that the foundation has
an office there.  We did a lot of work in Nigeria on polio and we
learned a lot doing that. Nigeria has gone almost three years now
without having a polio case,” Gates added.

“The biggest priority we have, although making absolutely sure we’re
done with polio remains a big priority, now we’re able to focus even
more on the primary health care system.

“Nigeria is important, I’m hopeful about Nigeria.  As you see in the
report, the disparities within Nigeria are quite stark.

“So, we’re working hard. I mentioned we do videoconferences with state
governors.  If we can make the six states into exemplars, then these
practices can be extended to all 18 of the northern states.

“There are best practices down in the south as well that we can learn
from that as well. And so, you know, building on what we were able to
achieve with polio and the relationships we’ve built there and our
commitment, starting with primary health care, we think that Nigeria
can tackle its inequality."

He said the wish of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, would be
quality funding if the primary health care.

“If I had one wish for Nigeria, it would be that the quality and
funding of the primary health care system would achieve the level of
some other countries that are lower-income but have done a better job
with the primary health care system.  So, it definitely is doable.

“In Nigeria for a lot of the work we do there we’ve partnered Aliko
Dangote, who helps us understand who the good partners are and exactly
how we can reach out to groups like the traditional leaders and get
them involved in these efforts as well.

“I do a regular phone call with six of the governors in the north of
Nigeria to talk about the statistics on their primary health care
system, getting the workers there, getting the vaccine supply right,
getting the mothers to show up, so that we get antenatal care to be
better, we get vaccination rates to be better.


“And it’s really the digital tools that let us, you know, every time
we meet and talk, we have a sense of, okay, what’s gone well in the
last six months, what hasn’t, and what do we need to change.”

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Less Than 13,000 Cases Handled Out Of 116,623 In Nigeria's Federal High Court -Justice Tsoho

16 September 2019 - 11:22pm


ChannelsTV

 

The acting Chief Judge of the federal high court, Justice John Tsoho,
wants more judges to be recruited in Nigeria.

Speaking at the beginning of the 2019/2020 legal year, Justice Tsoho
decried the heavy workload of litigation handled by judges of the high
court.

Reviewing the last legal year, Tsoho said 116,623 cases were pending
at the high court, 16,144 filed in a quarter, while 12,692 were
disposed of.

He said the records were evident that judges were overburdened with
work in the last legal year.

“We, therefore, need to engage more judicial officers to help out.

“However, it does appear that there was no provision for appointment
of judges in the current budget.

“I will make efforts to discuss with relevant stakeholders to see to
the possibility of facilitating the recruitment of more judicial
officers in the course of the year,” he said.

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Nigerians Need More Than Apology From South Africa -Alliance for New Nigeria Chairman, Dania

16 September 2019 - 11:15pm


 

The National Chairman of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), Emmanuel
Dania, has asked the South African government to do more than just
apologizing to countries affected by the recent xenophobic attacks.

Dania, in an interview with ChannelsTV, faulted the apology made by
the country’s special envoy, Mr. Jeff Radebe, on behalf of President
Cyril Ramaphosa when he visited Nigeria.

“I think the South African government needs to do more. This is not
the first time that we have seen this xenophobic attack. The
government hasn’t done anything in the past, the reason why this is
happening again.

“So I think there has to be pressure on the Nigerian government to
ensure that the South African government does beyond just giving an
apology,” he said.

Speaking further, he said, “Our lives are lost and they must be able
to guarantee the lives of Nigerians. Every life of Nigerians in South
Africa matters and they must be able to give adequate security to the
citizens."
 

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Nigeria Has 10,000 Girls Trafficked To Burkina Faso As Commercial Sex Workers -Ambassador Ramatu Ahmed

16 September 2019 - 10:42pm


Ramatu Ahmed

Ramatu Ahmed The Sun Nigeria

 

The Nigerian Ambassador to Burkina Faso, Ramatu Ahmed, says no fewer
than 10,000 Nigerian girls are forced into prostitution in Burkina
Faso.

She disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in
Ouagadougou on Monday.

According to her, the victims are mainly underage girls kept in
appalling conditions in Ouagadougou and mining camps across the West
African country.

Ahmed, who has been in Burkina Faso since August 2017, said over 200
Nigerian girls were been repatriated this year.

According to the Ambassador,  many of the girls, who were promised
jobs in the country and Europe by the human traffickers, are not
willing to return home.

“The spate of human trafficking here in Burkina Faso is a big concern
to the embassy because, at present, we have nothing less than 10,00
Nigerian girls who have been trafficked into Burkina Faso as
commercial sex workers.

“And most of these girls are underage; most left schools and are
roaming about doing commercial sex work in Burkina Faso.

“This apart from being a dent to our country is also a sort of concern
as far as their health is concerned. This is very serious to us and
most of the girls who want to go back, as a result, this voluntary
repatriation do it because they were tricked, they did not know the
condition they are going to found themselves here.

“For every Nigerian girl that escapes and wants to go back, there are
more than 10 in the bush that are willing to carry on,” she said

Ahmed condemned the activities of Nigerian syndicates operating in
Burkina Faso, vowing that the embassy will continue to track them down
and bring the perpetrators to book in collaboration with the local
authorities.

She said the embassy was partnering with the International
Organisation for Migration office in Ouagadougou to assist in the
voluntary repatriation of some of the victims of human trafficking.

“Two hundred girls have been repatriated to Nigeria by the embassy,
this is apart from the ones that run to the churches, some to other
Civil society Organisations and the International Organisations on
Migration.

In fact, the IOM is complaining to the embassy that most of its money
meant for West Africa is used to repatriate Nigerian girls back home
and they are complaining that with time, they would not be able to
cope with the number.

“So, if the embassy alone has repatriated 200 girls, you can imagine
how many girls the IOM has repatriated and the reason they are
complaining,” she said.

Ahmed appealed: “I am pleading with Nigerian parents that they should
know what their children are doing.”
 

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Nigerian Government: We'll Block 2 Million GSM Subscribers After September 25

16 September 2019 - 10:30pm


 

The federal government has given NCC up to September 25 to block 2.224
million improperly registered SIM cards from telecom networks in the
country.

The government had announced last week that there were 9.2 million
improperly registered SIM cards, posing a huge security risk to the
country.

However, on Monday, the Minister of Communications, Dr. Isa Ali
Ibrahim Pantami, said about 6.775 million of the cards had been
correctly registered.

Pantami, therefore, gave the directive to NCC to block the remaining
2.242 million cards if they are not properly registered before
September 25.

He said this in his Abuja office after inaugurating the
newly-constituted NCC board.

“I have breaking news for you: after my announcement last week of the
9.2 million SIM cards in circulation, the NCC executive vice-chairman
has just briefed me that about 6.775 million have (been) rectified.

“This means we have only 2.242 million yet to be rectified. So we want
them to be (rectified) properly on or before 25 September 2019,” the
minister said.

After the deadline, he said subscribers with SIM cards not properly
registered should be blocked from enjoying telecommunication services.

Responding, the NCC board chairman, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye,
promised to carry out the minister’s directive.

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Osinbajo: Ministers To Present Performance Reports In December

16 September 2019 - 10:18pm


 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says ministers are expected to present
their first performance reports in December but did not disclose if
the reports will be made public.

He also did not state if ministers with sub-par performance would be
asked to go.

Osinbajo stated this in Abuja on Monday while declaring open the 2019
Annual Management Conference of the Nigerian Institute of Management
themed, 'Managing the Challenges of Democracy'.

“Let me speak quickly to what will be done differently on the
implementation of government plans in this dispensation. After the
presidential policy dialogue preceding the inauguration of ministers,
the president developed a list of specific mandates for each ministry.

"Each of those mandates has clearly spelt out action points," the vice
president explained.

He, therefore, added, “Every minister has a mandate with action
points, some of the mandates have seven or eight points. The ministers
are to render their first reports on performance in December.

"So, in some sense, we are moving to a more measurable way of
determining where ministers are going and what they ought to do. Of
course, there would be challenges of funding, clarity of plans etc."

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The Sad Tale Of Nigeria’s Child Prisoners By Ameh Ejekwonyilo

16 September 2019 - 10:10pm



 

Inside the dormitory of the Minna Remand Home in Niger State, not up
to the size of a normal room, without mattresses and fans to reduce
the effect of the scorching heat in the month of March, about 30
children are held in chains for various offences.

An overpowering stench from the crowded dormitory welcomes any first
time visitor.

With their emaciated bodies in torn clothes, they hurried to their
open bathroom taking turns for ablution for the 4 pm Muslim prayers.

At mealtime, they scooped cooked rice from the little bowl on the floor.

“We are suffering here,” said Suleiman Adamu, a 12-year old boy and
pupil of Alfitra Primary School, Tunta, Minna, who was brought to the
home in March 2019 over the loss of parental control.

“I was brought here by my father whom I was living with together with
my step-mother. My step-mother accused me of stealing her wrapper.
Immediately I got here, I was put in chains so that I do not run away;
you can see I’m still in chains and I don’t know who will rescue me
from this problem,”Adamu explained almost in tears as he urged the
reporter to reach out his parents who live inAbdulsalam’s Quarters in
Minna metropolis.

Most of the under-aged inmates standing criminal prosecution by the
police have not been taken to court for trial.

Harande Buba, 13, who was remanded for alleged culpable homicide based
on the orders of the Chief Magistrate Court 1 in Minna on April 12,
2017, said he had not been charged to court.

Narrating the incident that led to his incarceration, Harande said
what started as a mere child’s play soon developed into a serious
fight that led to his victim’s death.

“The boy I was fighting hit me with a stick and in retaliation, I used
a machete on him which led to his death.

“Since I came to this home in April 2017, I have not been to court.
Nobody cares to check on me. We do not feed well here, because we
don't have food. We wash our clothes without soap, and that is why our
room smells. Life is so difficult here,” Harande said.

Located in the heart of Minna capital city, the remand home brims with
children whose hopes and dreams have been dashed for alleged violation
of the law.

For Usama Haruna, a 12-year-old boy who aspires to be an engineer, the
thought of being held in shackles at the home is the worst experience
of his life.

“Though my parents are poor with mother doing menial jobs such as dish
and clothe washing in private homes and restaurants, and my father a
scavenger, it is my dream that someday I will work hard to become an
engineer, then I will take care of my parents and siblings.

“ I regret the offence that has brought me into this remand home. My
parents do not know my whereabouts. We were arrested by the police
from Suleja and brought to Minna. Please go to Suleja and inform my
mother that I’m being held here,” Usama appealed to the reporter as
tears welled up his eyes.

On visiting Suleja a satellite town of about an hour 30 minutes’ drive
from Minna, due largely to the deplorable state of the Minna-Suleja
highway, our correspondent met Usama’s mother, Fatima Huruna, in
Suleja at Saida Low-Cost Housing Estate, where the family resides in
one - room gatehouse.

“One evening in March 2019, we waited for Usama to come home because
he used to accompany his father to his scavenging work. He was nowhere
to be found, we began to ask after him. Someone told us that he might
have been arrested by the police and taken to Minna.

“ But we have no money to travel to Minna to look for him. That is why
we are praying to Allah that one day he would return home,” Usama’s
mother told the reporter.

Usama is being tried at the Magistrates’ Revenue Court 3B of Angwan
Daji in Minna for the alleged defilement of 6-year-old girl. An
offence he allegedly committed in Suleja in February 2019.


But Haranda, Suleiman and Usama are lucky as they are at a remand
home, not locked up with adult inmates in a regular prison system. Not
so for Happiness Kure, a 16-year-old girl, who is languishing at the
Suleja Medium Prison, Niger State.

The Suleja Medium Prison, which is sandwiched by residential
buildings, was built in 1914, according to prisons authorities.

Though our correspondent was not allowed into the female section of
the Suleja prison,  Happiness told our reporter that shares her prison
cell in the awaiting trial inmates’ block with eleven other adult
inmates.

“Our condition of living here is miserable. When I first got to this
prison in February last year, we were initially five in our room; I
had my own separate mattress from other women. But later, one after
the other, we are now eleven in the same room that is meant for five
of us, including my mother who is breastfeeding my kid sister.

“Our toilet and bathrooms are very dirty with broken pipes. Water is a
big problem for us. We don’t feed well. Whenever my kid sister falls
sick here in prison, there is no clinic to take care of her. Some of
the prison warders often help us to buy drugs from outside, and
whenever lawyers visit, that is when they bring some drugs and food
items for us. The situation we are facing at Suleja prison is
terrible,” Happiness lamented.

Her tortuous journey to incarceration began in February 2018 following
the alleged murder of her father by her fleeing boyfriend, the
embattled teenager told our correspondent.

Though standing trial alongside her nursing mother, Asabe Kure, at an
Abuja High Court at Gwagwalada, the police is yet to call a single
witness in the case.

"Since I came to this prison in February 2018, my education came to an
end. You can see that my mother and little sibling who is just twelve
months old are also being held here for the same alleged offences. Our
condition here is unbearable. The most painful part of our situation
at the Suleja prison is the fact that I cannot go to school. Does that
mean our lives are over?" Happiness wondered in a cracking voice.

From Minna to Suleja, Markurdi to Port Harcourt, there is not much
difference in the conditions of the children who are languishing in
prisons/borstal institutions across the country; without education in
most cases and locked up in adult prisons contrary to constitutional
provisions.

According to a Prison Census report of 2016 by the Prisoners
Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (a non-governmental organization)
with over two decades of critical interventions in prisons reforms in
Nigeria,  child prisoners make up 43.2 percent in Enugu, 25.9 percent
inKano and 30.9 percent in Lagos prisons respectively.

The Child’s Rights Act of Nigeria enacted in 2003 makes ample
provisions for children who are in conflict with the law. According to
Part Two Section 11 of the Act, “Every child is entitled to respect
for the dignity of his person and accordingly, no child shall be
subjected to torture, inhuman or degrading treating or punishment,
held in slavery or servitude, while in care of a parent, legal
guardian or school authority or any other person or authority having
the care of the child.”

Similarly, Section 15 dwells on the Right of a Child to Free,
Compulsory and Universal Primary Education. It says, “Every child has
the right to free, compulsory and universal basic education and it
shall be the duty of the government in Nigeria to provide such
education.” While Section 212 borders on Detention Pending Trial,
Sub-section (2) provides that, “While in detention, a child shall be
given care, protection and necessary assistance including social,
educational, vocational, medical and physical assistance, that he may
require having regard to his age, sex and personality.”

When asked why fetters are put on the inmates’ feet, the
Officer-in-Charge of the Children Remand Home in Minna, Hajiya Hadiza
Mohammed, explained that it is to prevent them from absconding.

“We do this to especially new children that are brought into the home
because we are not familiar with them. We also put the chains on
stubborn and badly behaved inmates. But after a while, when we must
have observed that the inmates have improved in their behavior, let
them off the chains,” Hajiya Mohammed said.

While the child inmates in Niger State are chained, the situation is
different at the Port-Harcourt Remand Home in Rivers State as they are
allowed to move freely within the compound located at Nembe Street,
Borokiri.

The home, according to the Officer-in-Charge, Mrs. Joy Ololube, is
however overwhelmed by the daily challenge of inadequate feeding and
others.

"We are overwhelmed by the challenges of difficulty of conveying the
children to the court during the hearing of their suits. Most of these
inmates have not been to court for trial for the past two years. Also,
the Approved School which is supposed to provide education and skills
for the children has since closed down due to lack of resources to run
the school,"

She also disclosed that when inmates fall sick, there are no
healthcare facilities to deal with emergencies.

“We rush them to the nearby Naval Base hospital which is directly
opposite our home. But at a point, the Naval authorities became tired
of our problems and they began to reject our children. These are the
challenges we battle with every day,” Mrs. Olulube said.

An 18-year-old inmate, Daniel Okon, said he was remanded at the home
in 2015 for murder charges when he was 14 years old by the Juvenile
Court 2, Port-Harcourt, and since then had not been to court due to
non-availability of a vehicle that would convey him to court.

" I was a JSS 2 student of Community Secondary School, Udung-Uko in
Akwa Ibom State. But since I came to the remand home, my education has
stopped. Now, I do not know what to do. I want to appeal to both the
governors of Akwa Ibom and Rivers states to come to my aid. I need to
go back to school and complete my education," Okon pleaded.

Another inmate, Tuanwii Joseph, a 17-year-old was only 14 years old
when he found himself in the remand home in Port-Harcourt.

"I came into the Port-Harcourt Remand Home in 2016 as a result of the
murder case. The problems we are faced with here is the fact that our
trials are stalled and we don't have the opportunity to continue with
our education. I got here when I was Junior Secondary School 3. But
since I was remanded by the Juvenile Court 2, I have not been to court
and there is no school for me to attend in the remand home. Life is so
difficult for us here. You can see for yourself that this home is a
place of suffering. We need help," Joseph stated.

Asked why the Port-Harcourt remand home was left unattended to by the
Rivers State government, Mrs. InimaAguma, Commissioner for Social
Welfare, explained that arrangements were being made to reposition the
facility for better service delivery.

“ Before I was appointed commissioner, there were issues of feeding
and lack of vehicles to convey the inmates to court, I have ensured
there is proper feeding. I have also ensured that a doctor comes in
once in a while to examine the children. Also, the Rivers State
government is working assiduously to get the Approved School back on
stream for the inmates," Mrs. Inima disclosed.

The plight of inmates at the Benue Remand Home in Gboko is equally
heartrending as the children also lack access to both formal and
informal education.

With the roofs of the main building meant to house the inmates blown
away, the sixteen children are crammed into a small room where they
share one bathroom and toilet.

Mrs. Apaa Dorathy, who is the officer-in-charge of the home, noted
that the facility lacks water, electricity supply as well as a vehicle
to ferry the inmates to court for trial.

She explained that the trial of inmates had been stalled due to lack
of legal representation.

While there is a furnished classroom stocked with books for the
inmates, there are no teachers to impart the desperately needed
knowledge that the children yearn for. This situation, Mrs. Apaa said,
was caused by the precarious security situation in the state, which
has prevented the posting of members of the National Youth Service
Corps (NYSC) to the home.

"This is the only correctional centre in the state that caters for the
23 local governments. We are being confronted by a number of
challenges that require urgent intervention given the fact that these
children who have come in conflict with the law are the future of the
society, and therefore should be properly rehabilitated and
reintegrated into the society.

"However, that is not the case as our mandate is hampered by the lack
of resources like mobility to convey the inmates to court for trial.
We lack water and electricity here as you can see. Our school lacks
teachers, and therefore, it's not functioning. So, how do we cater for
the needs of transforming these inmates into better citizens," Mrs.
Appa said.

An inmate the Gboko remand home, ThankgodUnogwu (14), a JSS 2 student
of Jesus Comprehensive College, Eke-Olengbecho in Okpokwu LGA of Benue
State, was remanded at the home last October over cultism related
offences.

"Life is difficult for us here. We just stay here without going to
court, let alone going to school. Even feeding and water is a big
problem here. Only God can deliver us from what we have found
ourselves. I regret the crime I have committed, but I need a second
chance at life to become a better person," Unogwu said.

The problems were corroborated by the Benue State Chief Judge, Justice
Aondaver Kakaan, who described the conditions of the children as
"horrible".

"What the children need is reformation, but that is not the case. The
state government has not been forthcoming in that regard. It is so sad
that these inmates have to live in subhuman conditions.

"We have been making efforts to establish the family court as required
by law. However, we don't have the funds to execute the mandate. The
issue of juveniles can only be tackled through reformation," Justice
Kakaan said.

However, at the Borstal Institute in Kaduna State, the school
authorities said their inmates have facilities for both formal and
informal education.

"Our inmates have most of the facilities for formal education and
skill acquisition. Our inmates take the Senior School Certificate
Examination (SSCE). However, we have some challenges that require
government interventions such as the expansion of facilities in the
institute," a staff who pleaded anonymity told our reporter.

The staff who also declined to comment on the number of inmates being
held at the Borstal Institute, equally turned down the request by our
correspondent to go into the inmates' dormitories to speak with some
of the inmates.

"You know we don't allow outsiders into the dormitories or interact
with the inmates," the warden said.
Upon arriving at the heavily guarded facility, located at Barnawa in
Kaduna, the huge buildings and spacious premises give an impression of
a fully functional home for children. However, a couple whose child
was being held at the institution, was seen with a sack of food items
like garri and provisions, among others.
When asked why they were at the home, the mother of the inmate who
pleaded anonymity, said: “My husband and I come regularly to donate
food items to the institution as a way of supporting them for better
service delivery, because the children are too many and, as a result,
they do not feed well. We can only appeal to the government to help us
take good care of the children in the home by providing a suitable
environment for their education.”

Constitutional prohibition against denial of basic education

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, presided by Justice John
Tsoho in February 2017 held that children have the right to free,
compulsory basic education.
Although the right to free education in Section 18(3)(a) of the
Constitution was ordinarily not enforceable like all other rights
provided for in the Chapter 2 of the Constitution, the Compulsory,
Free Universal Basic Education Act of 2004 enacted by the National
Assembly has elevated the right to an enforceable status.

This provision was the basis for the judgement of Justice John Tsoho
of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.

In his verdict, the judge held that both the federal and state
governments were constitutionally required to provide adequate funding
for the free education scheme.

The judgment followed a suit filed by a group, the Legal Defence and
Assistance Project (LEDAP).

Justice Tsoho held that the failure of any government at the state and
federal levels to fund the scheme would constitute a breach of the
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Expert views on the issue

The Executive Director of PRAWA, Dr. Uju Agomoh decried the conditions
in which under-aged children are being held.

"The current conditions of these homes are deplorable as they are
consistently deteriorating. An urgent and sustainable intervention
must be made by both the government and private individuals to
reposition these homes for better service delivery. Anything short of
that the society will pay for it dearly. The children must be
rehabilitated in all ramifications," Agomoh said.

Existing Borstal homes in Nigeria include: Borstal Training
Institution in Barnawa, Kaduna State, Borstal Training Institute
Ganmo, Kwara State and the Borstal Training Institute Abeokuta, Ogun
State.

The Borstal Institutions and Remand Centres Act 1962 mandates the
remand of offenders between the ages of 16-21.

During a recent visit to the Nigeria Prisons Akwa in Anambra State,
the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), disclosed that about 523
children were being held at the facility.

During the commemoration of the 2019 African Pre-trial Day themed:
"Decriminalisation of Petty and Minor Offences," the Anambra State
Coordinator of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Mrs.
NkechiUgwuanyi, decried the high number of underage inmates at the
prison.



Illegal trial of the inmates

According to the trial magistrate at the Rivers State Juvenile Court,
Mrs. Ibiere Foby, the current circumstance where underage inmates are
tried using the Child's Rights Act with a properly constituted family
court as prescribed by the law, constitutes a gross violation of the
rights of the defendants to fair hearing.

She explained that an ideal family court should have a magistrate and
two assessors to hear and determine suits concerning children who come
in conflict with the law. But that is not the case.

“ You can see I am the only magistrate sitting in the Juvenile Court here."

When asked on the legal implications, Foby said, "If matters tried by
the Juvenile Court go on appeal, they will be dismissed on the grounds
that the trial court is not properly constituted as required by the
Child Rights Act. Here in Rivers we have the Young Persons Law, which
is an archaic piece of legislation."

Similarly, an official of the Rivers State Ministry for Social
Welfare, who did not want his name in print said: "The remand home is
basically for children whose parents have lost parental control over
them, and children who are convicted of minor offences to be held for
not more than six months. While the borstal home is a juvenile prison.

"So, what we are doing in terms of children who are in conflict with
the law, is unconstitutional. But due to the non-availability of
resources to do the proper things, we have to make do with what we
have."


Composition of the Family Court

Section 153 (3) of the Child’s Rights Act provides that, “The court at
the Magistrate Level shall be duly constituted if it consists of – a
Magistrate, two assessors, one of whom shall be a woman and the other
person who has attributes of dealing with children and matters
relating to children, preferably the area of child psychology
education.”

The Child’s Rights Act of Nigeria enacted in 2003 makes ample
provisions for children who are in conflict with the law. According to
Part Two Section 11 of the Act, “Every child is entitled to respect
for the dignity of his person and accordingly, no child shall be
subjected to torture, inhuman or degrading treating or punishment,
held in slavery or servitude, while in care of a parent, legal
guardian or school authority or any other person or authority having
the care of the child.”

Similarly, Section 15 dwells on the Right of a Child to Free,
Compulsory and Universal Primary Education. It says, “Every child has
the right to free, compulsory and universal basic education and it
shall be the duty of the government in Nigeria to provide such
education.” While Section 212 borders on Detention Pending Trial.
Sub-section (2) provides that, “While in detention, a child shall be
given care, protection and necessary assistance including social,
educational, vocational, medical and physical assistance, that he may
require having regard to his age, sex and personality.”

FIDA Nigeria’s Reaction to the Issue
The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria described
the plight of underage inmate in the country “disturbing.”

FIDA Nigeria’s President, Rhoda Prevail Tyoden, while reacting to our
findings, said the country’s Child’s Rights Act which is meant to help
children who come in conflict with the law, is not being implemented.

“We have the Child’s Rights Act that is meant to tackle the issue, but
it is not being implemented. If the Act is fully implemented you won’t
have a situation whereby children are locked up in prisons with adult.

“The Child’s Right Act and the Young Persons Law spell out how this
group of people should be treated. But we have a system where these
laws are not well implemented. The Act says we need to have Family
Courts; comprising of Magistrates and assessors. The Family Court
should be functional to address these issues, but it is unfortunate
the courts are not working.

“Secondly, we should have borstal homes across all the states of the
federation, but only three or four states have such facilities; when
we have children in conflict with the law in all the states of the
country.”

“FIDA Abuja which I belong as a branch; we go to Suleja Prison and we
see teenagers there, and we try to get them out if it is a bailable
offence. Sadly, these children are locked up together with adult
prisoners. We often say the youth are the fulcrum of every national
development, but when children are locked up in prisons, then where is
the future of the country,?” Tyoden queried.

“Children who are in conflict with the law should not be dealt with as
criminals, because they are supposed to be in a place where they would
realise their mistakes and you take them through the process of
rehabilitation.

“We have enough laws that can cover every kind of offence in Nigeria
but the issue we have is the implementation of the law, the government
has simply refused to implement this law.And that is why we are now
advocating for the adoption of the VAPP Act. We now have ten states
that have adopted it.”

The association recommended the sensitisation of Nigerians on the
prevalence of social ills in the society as a way of helping to guide
children away from crime.

“It is not enough to have the laws; we should rather go round
sensitizing people through awareness programmes on the societal ills
that our laws have failed to effectively tackle, because we have the
laws but the laws are not effective.

“The political will to get the child right act implemented is not
there. The law covers everything; the dignity of the child, everything
should be done in the best interest of the child,” the FIDA President
said.


This investigation was supported by the Institute for War and Peace
Reporting, IWPR, and the International Centre for Investigative
Reporting, ICIR

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Nigeria Agency Lists 13 States To Experience More Flooding

16 September 2019 - 10:07pm


Flood

Flood File Photo

 

The Director-General of the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency
(NIHSA), Clement Nze, on Monday said 13 states would witness more
floods following the rise in the water levels of River Niger and River
Benue.

Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, he listed Kebbi, Niger,
Kwara, Nasarawa, Kogi, Edo, Anambra, Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa, Adamawa,
Taraba and Benue as being among states to experience flooding because
of the steady rise of the River Benue owing to the local rainfall with
attendant heavy inflows from the tributaries of the river.

He said water from six of the nine countries that make up the Niger
Basin Authority was pouring into the country and could lead to severe
flooding in those states.

He said Nigeria was on flood red alert and the flood sighted in the
Niger Republic was expected to arrive the Nigerian border through
Kebbi State yesterday.
 

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Saudi Attack: Research Firm Predicts There Will Be No Windfall For Nigeria

16 September 2019 - 3:51pm


This image provided by the US government and DigitalGlobe shows damage to the infrastructure at Saudi Aramco’s Abqaiq oil processing facility in Buqyaq.

This image provided by the US government and DigitalGlobe shows damage to the infrastructure at Saudi Aramco’s Abqaiq oil processing facility in Buqyaq. maldonci/AP

 

An analysis on the impact of the attack on two oil processing plants in Saudi Arabia, which took out five per cent of the world’s daily petroleum supply, concludes that there will be no windfall for Nigeria.

In a report released on Monday, SBM intelligence said the plan by the United States to open up its strategic oil reserves, was behind the closure of that possibility.

The firm said that even if such a window was open, the state of insecurity in the country will limit the extent to which it could stretch its production to meet part of the supply shortfall.

The report said, “Given that the US has said it would release oil from its strategic reserves in order to balance supply, there will be no windfall for Nigeria.

“Internal instability and insecurity mean that Nigeria's ability to take advantage of any major conflict in the Middle East is very limited.”

It however noted that if the rise in prices holds up, some short term benefit would come to the country.

This attack also gives Nigeria an opportunity to continue its longstanding disobedience of the petroleum output quota it reached with its signing of the Declaration of Cooperation in December 2018.

The DoC was an agreement between the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and a Russian alliance.

SBM expects OPEC not to enforce output restrictions in the light of present happenings.

The report added, “Given what has happened in Saudi Arabia, OPEC is unlikely to enforce the production cuts until the Saudis are back in the market.

“SBM believes that it is unlikely that Nigeria will get the type of revenue rain it did during the Gulf War of 1990-1991.” 

 

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Ondo Police Commissioner Orders Investigation Into Violence At Birthday Party

16 September 2019 - 3:36pm


 

Commissioner of Police in Ondo State, Undie Adie, has ordered an investigation into a brawl that ensued between a police officer, Taiwo Orisade, and some boys at a birthday party in the capital, Akure, last weekend.

Orisade, who was alleged to have been drunk, was said to have stabbed nine persons after being provoked by some of the boys, who forcefully asked him to buy them drinks.

But reacting to the incident on Monday during a chat with SaharaReporters, Adie stressed that anybody found culpable in the case will be dealt with.

He said, “I have ordered an investigation into the case. Anyone found culpable will face the music.

“I always advise my men including the rank and file not to go against the law because I don't condole indiscipline in whatever guise.

“So, on this case, we would do our proper investigations on it.”

Also commenting on the issue, spokesperson for the police in the state, Femi Joseph, said that the police officer acted in self-defence after being pushed by the boys at the party.

He said, “The officer had to fight back which resulted in injuries to the three of them.

“The three of them involved in the incident including the policeman were taken to the hospital, treated and discharged.”


 

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Minimum Wage: Labour Considering Industrial Action After Failing To Reach Deal With Government

16 September 2019 - 3:29pm


 

Talks between the Nigerian Government and the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council over relativity and consequential adjustment for the implementation of the new minimum wage ended in a deadlock again as both representatives failed to reach an agreement.

Recall that the new minimum wage bill was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on April 18, 2019.

However, deliberations continued as the issue of relativity/consequential adjustment of salaries still persisted.

The government had on May 14 inaugurated the relativity/consequential adjustment committee which in turn set up a technical sub-committee to work out the template for the adjustment of salaries of public service employees.

A representative of the trade union at the meeting between the JNPSNC and government said the organised labour will decide on the next line of action towards the issue of the minimum wage.

A labour official said, “The meeting is deadlocked, we found out that government officials were not serious about it at all, we are suspecting foul play or a hidden agenda somewhere.

“We have decided to report the development to our principals, including the labour unions, Nigerians will be adequately briefed on our next line of action very shortly.”

 

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Rivers APC Cancels Ward, Local Government And State Congresses

16 September 2019 - 3:22pm


 

The All Progressives Congress in Rivers State has cancelled the ward, local government and state congresses slated for September 17, 21 and 28 respectively, according to a report by PUNCH.

This is coming days after a Rivers State High Court ordered the party to refrain from conducting the exercise pending the hearing and determination of a suit marked PHC/3098/19 and filed by Ibrahim Umah and 22 others.

Publicity Secretary of the APC in the state, Chris Finebone, said the congresses were put on hold as a result of the court order.

He said, “The congress for tomorrow will not hold. For whatever it is worth, you cannot defy the court order.

“For the fact that you are compelled not to hold the first one, you cannot contemplate holding the second one because the second congress is dependent on the outcome of the first.

“The court has issued an ex-parte injunction, which many of us have not even seen the prayers because we have not sighted the processes.

“But whatever it is, it will be addressed by our lawyers. Our lawyers will be in court and they will address the issue.”

 

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Nigeria: Restructure Or Rupture By Austin Emaduku

16 September 2019 - 1:08pm


 

Nigeria is standing on the edge of a dangerous cliff. It is just a matter of time before it tips over. Rather than the current emotional and politically driven call for a “revolution”, we all really need to calmly analyse and situate the cause(s) of our problems. In any case, a revolution without a vanguard is a recipe for anarchy. Besides, we are too fatally fractured as a people to achieve a broad-based revolution acceptable to all. The best we can achieve in such a situation will be strife, anarchy and uncontrolled fragmentation. With the perennial mutual mistrust and prevalent hatred spread on social media, the resultant crises will take forever to settle. Libya will be a child's play.

We can shout as much as we can. We can argue from here till eternity. We can blame; we can abuse and accuse. We can change leaders all we want but the truth is that we cannot build something on nothing. Apart from its name, Nigeria has no foundation to stand on. There is no generally accepted totem to inspire unity. The words of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, are abiding to describe Nigeria. Nigeria is not a nation but a "mere geographical expression", an amalgamation of different and mutually antagonistic people forced to live together as a "nation".

Nigeria stands on a faulty structure and it is the structure that is holding it down. Address it and many other things will fall into place, gradually but progressively. The current federal structure that is defined by the concept of sharing does not only breed indolence but is also the major cause of our divisiveness. Most of the bitterness you see expressed comes from “them never share reach me”. Everybody wants a share of the free oil money euphemistically called national cake without contributing to it. Nigeria belongs to all but belongs to nobody. It is just there to be raped by any group of our parasitic elite that manages to manipulate itself into power.

We are a deeply different people with different worldviews. We are not necessarily antagonistic. However, those benefitting from these differences for personal gains have turned these differences to enmity by appealing to our emotions and playing the people against one another instead of instituting a system that will harness the strength and advantages of our differences.

Until Nigeria restructures and frees itself from the burden of the military imposed unitary system called federalism, it will never develop. We must recognise and acknowledge our differences and make provision for their expression for the nation to grow.

What the nation needs is a return to a true federal structure with minimum federal might. That's the only way to convert the fundamental differences which, over the years, have been built into bitter rivalry between regions, states and ethnic groups into competition.

When this happens, we will realise soon enough, that we actually need each other more than we have thought. Hate will turn to strategic alliance in the competition for comparative advantage and bitterness converted into positive energy. 

The South-East with the industriousness and ingenuity of its indigenes, for example, if allowed a degree of autonomy to develop its own system of self-governance under a loose federal system, can transform into a Dubai in less than two decades. So are the other regions, who will be challenged to look inwards for their area of comparative advantage. Some will survive on tourism, some in commerce, others in manufacturing and industry, oil, agriculture or a combination of a few. We have become too fused together to be able to survive without one another.

The Nigerian problem needs deeper strategic analysis than all the pro and against propaganda that we bandy about on social media as superior knowledge or understanding of the situation.

Nigeria needs a different type of revolution and not this idea of brats guiling rational men into “revolution”. The world has grown past these type of rabble rousing. It is disturbing that despite our education, we are still bent on using outdated methods to solve our problems.

Yes! We need a revolution but not a revolution for a mere change of government. Not to replace a set of leaders with another. Not even a generational change in leadership. The problem of Nigeria is not caused by the incompetence of our rulers. It is caused by the faulty structure of the nation. We must therefore begin now to channel our displeasure towards correcting this structure instead of spreading hatred and division between fellow suffering citizens. 

When we occupy, therefore, let's occupy for the most fundamental of reasons: to force government to commence the process of restructuring. Let's begin to pressure and hold our representatives at the national and state assemblies accountable for this. This is the type of revolution we need. But most importantly, we must eschew hate and bitterness in the struggle to free Nigeria.

No ethnic group or region has held Nigeria hostage but a few greedy elite from all regions and ethnic groups, who have played on our differences to perpetuate themselves in power. We need the masses of every ethnic group to drive this type of revolution. That is why education and talking with rather than talking down on any region is crucial to the revolution. The revolution to be meaningful cannot be exclusionary. The masses from every part of this country are victims of the current structure.

To use the titles of Chido Onumah’s books as a metaphor, Nigeria is Negotiable and the Time to Reclaim Nigeria is now before it is too late.

Nigeria will descend into anarchy soon unless reason prevails. And the situation will be worse than whatever we have ever experienced.  Let those baying for blood note this.

Emaduku, a public affairs analyst, writes from Warri, Delta State. He can be reached through: canoways@gmail.com 

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Buhari Condemns Attack On Saudi Arabia Oil Facilities

16 September 2019 - 12:46pm


 

President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned drone attacks on two major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia.

The pre-dawn strikes, which happened on Saturday, knocked out more than half of crude output from the world's top exporter – five per cent of the global oil supply – and cut output by 5.7 million barrels per day.

Reacting to the development, President Buhari said Nigeria stands in solidarity with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Buhari’s reaction was contained in a statement on Monday in Abuja by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

He said, “We in Nigeria once experienced attacks on our own oil facilities.

“Those who sought by doing so to undermine governments of the day did not succeed then – nor at any time.

“The identities of those who sent the drones to attack the Saudi refineries and from where may not yet be known.

“Still, these attacks similarly represent economic warfare aimed at damaging a government but in reality, always and only damaging innocent citizens’ livelihoods: those with no place, nor cause to be harmed.

“The attackers of Saudi Arabia will win no friends in the international community for their actions – whoever they may be and however certain they may be in their cause.” 

 

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