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Politics of god-fatherism: The Rivers State example



From PETER TITLE, Bokkos 

Concerned by the recent security breaches in Bokkos Local Government Area of Plateau State, which resulted in the loss of the lives of students and property, Governor Caleb Mutfwang on Monday visited the Plateau State University (PLASU), Bokkos, to assess the impact of the attacks which extended into neighbouring communities.

The governor engaged the university’s management, staff, students, traditional rulers, the host community and other key stakeholders with a view to devising strategies to address the challenges, thereby reaffirming his commitment to collaborate with all parties to elevate the university nationally and internationally.

The unscheduled visit also afforded him the opportunity to announce ongoing plans to form partnerships with reputable international universities to advance the development of tertiary education and lecturers in the state.

He praised the efforts of his predecessors and the Butura community for their roles in sustaining the university’s operations amidst adversity.

The governor called for unity among all residents of Bokkos LGA, urging them to transcend tribal and religious divides in pursuit of a cohesive society.

“I extend my gratitude to everyone who has contributed to the university’s success. The challenges we face are substantial, but together, we can establish an exemplary institution recognized for excellence across Nigeria and beyond,” he stated.

The Acting Vice Chancellor, Professor Shedrack Best, outlined pressing issues such as insecurity, unauthorized grazing, fence breaches, kidnapping and insufficient hostel accommodation for students and appealed for the governor’s intervention.

The governor also undertook a tour of the state-owned Agricultural Services, Training Centre and Marketing Ltd., Butura, where he expressed interest in revitalizing the centre to enhance the state’s prosperity.

The Managing Director/CEO, Susan Bentu, lauded the governor’s plans to rejuvenate legacy projects established by the state’s founders






















We’ll deploy technology against corruption – FG


PRESIDENT Bola Ahmed Tinubu has stressed the importance of technology in combating corruption and enhancing public sector performance.

A statement by the presidential spokesman quoted the president as stating this during a meeting with Microsoft founder and philanthropist, Bill Gates, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum.

President Tinubu said that his administration was investing in technology to ensure transparency and accountability in government and accelerate public sector performance and service delivery.

He emphasized his unwavering commitment to delivering reliable technology that would support a national consumer credit system and many other critical government interventions.

President Tinubu added that resistance is often expected whenever efforts were made to strengthen systems and forestall malfeasance.

The statement, which was signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, also quoted the president as saying that technology is the enemy of fraud, corruption and irregularity.



Nigeria’s political turf is now dominated by selfish godfathers whose selfish desires have often led to conflicts of interest. This is now becoming one of the biggest challenges to the nation’s democracy.

Situations abound where political office holders become stooges and serve as conduit pipes for state resources, especially when their godfathers begin to dictate to them who gets what and how within the system.

By the time some of those demands are not met, the consequences become dire with the godfathers trying to use their influence to turn on the heat on their godsons. This more often than not results in a conflict in which only the strong may survive.

The latest showdown in Rivers State between the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Nyesom Wike, and Governor Siminalayi Fubara, is a battle for the soul of the state. This is now taking its toll on governance in the state.

The feud between the two former allies erupted again weeks ago after the peace accord brokered last year by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu appeared to have collapsed. Recall that Governor Fubara had, during the peace meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, which was brokered by President Tinubu, agreed to the terms of the resolutions reached. He was said to have personally signed the document as a personal sacrifice in the interest of peace and stability in the state.

According to the resolution of that peace accord, President Tinubu had directed that all matters instituted in the courts by the governor and his team in respect of the political crisis be withdrawn immediately.

On the other hand, all impeachment proceedings initiated against the governor by the state House of Assembly should be dropped with immediate effect. Among those who attended the signing of the peace accord were Nyesom Wike, Peter Odilli, also a former governor of the state, as well as the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu.

But shortly after his return to the state, some elders, particularly those of the Ijaw ethnic extraction, felt that as an Ijaw man and executive governor, Fubara should not have signed the peace resolution. They were angry because, by doing so, Fubara had sold his rights to Wike which may be tantamount to signs of weakness and, therefore, signing his own death warrant.

The Ijaw elders also challenged the legitimacy of President Tinubu’s proclamation of the peace resolution, arguing that it was inconsistent with constitutional principles and the rule of law. Led by a former governor of the state, Rufus Ada-George, the elders expressed concerns over the Presidents’ directives, describing them as unfavourable to the Fubara administration.

Similarly, the Rivers State Civil Society Organisations (CSO) had approached the court with a suit seeking to sack the 27 lawmakers who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC). The CSOs, led by their Chairman, Enefaa Geirgwill, challenged the legal standing of the defected lawmakers and sought to prevent Fubara from re-presenting the already passed 2024 budget to them.

However, the latest restraining order by the Rivers State High Court against the 27 lawmakers who abandoned the PDP, led by Rt. Hon. Martin Amaewhule, has further worsened the state’s political situation where. This is because it effectively barred the latest move to impeach the governor by the lawmakers over issues relating to the implementation of some policies made by the state government which went against the powers of the executive arm.

To make matters even worse, the state government quickly recognized the emergence of Hon. Victor Okoh Jumbo as a factional Speaker of the state parliament.

But the conflict took a new twist when Governor Fubara visited the current Assembly complex in an attempt to relocate the House to the Government House. Many analysts say that such an action could be yet another illegality in the offing.

Reacting to some comments from the Fubura camp, Wike was quoted by the media as having expressed regret for making it possible for Fubara to become the governor and promised to rectify the situation in due course.

Also, Rivers State elders and leaders of the PDP and APC, said to be loyal to Wike have warned Governor Fubara not to tamper with structures at the state House of Assembly quarters. They insisted that the structures were in excellent condition, fully functional and currently occupied by the law makers and members of their families.

Meanwhile, the Presidency has made its current position on these unfolding events public. According to a statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Tinubu, Ajuri Ngelale, the president would not take sides in the conflict. He declared: “Anyone with the belief that President Tinubu would take sides in the political crisis would be disappointed.”

But as things currently stand, Governor Fubara is fighting for his political life and sees the state’s legislature as his last bastion of hope, even as the state remains more polarized along ethnic and political divides. And as long as the Rivers conundrum persists, more political drama would continue to unfold daily with each of the gladiators hitting at each other and perhaps waiting for who will blink first for a political settlement to take place.

Since the advent of the return to democratic dispensation in 1999, the country has witnessed instances of political in-fighting between some godfathers and their stooges.  For example, Governor Jim Nwobodo fell apart with Chimaroke Nnamani whom he supported to become governor of Anambra State. There was also the Adedibu – Ladoja feud in Oyo State; the Kwankwaso-Ganduje falling apart in Kano State; the Saraki-Lawal struggle in Kwarra State; the Chris Uba/Chris Ngige war in Anambra State; and the face-off between Oshiomhole and Obaseki in Edo State. There are many other clear examples of how robust political relationships can turn to bitter rivalries to a point of taking such to the public domain.

Godfather-protégé crises in Nigeria have continued to dominate the political space over the years. These do not only portend great danger to the nation’s democratic journey but also serve as major distractions from providing good governance across all the tiers of government.

Unfortunately, the costs of servicing the whims and caprices of these so-called godfathers, which run into billions of naira of tax-payers’ money (which could have been channeled to other useful ventures) leave the voters more impoverished while society’s progress and development is put on hold.






































PLSG vows to provide adequate security at PLASU


THE Plateau State Government has promised to protect the state-owned university in Bokkos by providing adequate security for the lives and property of students in the institution and environs.

The Plateau State Deputy Governor, Ngo Josephine Piyo, who received the leadership of the Students’ Union Government of the institution on behalf of the state government, commiserated with the students over the loss of their colleague and others who sustained injury during the April 19 attacks in a neighbouring community of the university.

Piyo stated that government was deeply saddened by the incident but assured that the state government would continue to prioritise the safety of students, especially in the face of recurrent security challenges in the area.

She pointed out that government had put in place measures to forestall future threats to the school, adding that security agencies had been directed to ensure the deployment of additional personnel to the institution.

The deputy governor said that arrangements were in top gear to build more hostels to accommodate more students within the campus.

She called on the students to collaborate with government and remain calm and peaceful as it continued to fight against the growing insecurity in parts of the state.

Earlier, the President of the Students’ Union Government, Comrade Gomos Timothy, called on government to deploy more security personnel in and around the university to protect and safeguard the lives and property of students.

He stated that the insecurity in the area was truncating the growth of the institution and caused setbacks for students, adding that more hostels should be provided within the school as students living off campus were most of the victims of attacks.

He also called on government to ban open grazing within and around the university premises to prevent easy access by criminals.

He, however, thanked the state government for its proactive response and assured that students would remain calm and not take laws into their hands.




















































Tin City Metro Buses: Government to the rescue


IT is one thing to lead and another to understand the needs of the led. Great leaders imbued with hindsight govern in accordance with the wishes of the people.

One can easily notice such a leader from the first steps he takes in office and how quickly he solves the problems confronting the people. This, no doubt, brings to mind the leadership qualities of Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State.

On assumption of office, he was immediately confronted by the challenges occasioned by the petroleum subsidy removal. One of the measures he put in place to cushion the effect of the subsidy removal was to ameliorate the transportation problems this caused the masses.

It would be recalled that the prices of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol, and Diesel skyrocketed. These shot up the costs of transportation and other household items and services generally.

Knowing how important the Yuletide and New Year celebrations were to his people, Governor Mutfwang, in the heat of the hardships, offered free transportation to convey citizens who wanted to travel to their respective hometowns.

The governor also eased the plight of travelers by ensuring the smooth movement of goods and other essential commodities through the resuscitation of the Plateau Express Services, popularly known as ‘Plateau Riders’.

Above all, German-made luxury buses have been procured by the state government, which will soon be commissioned, to further ease and cut down the cost of transportation within the Jos and Bukuru metropolis.

This is known as the Tin City Metro Bus Services.  With the slogan, ‘RIDE TO THE NEW HEIGHTS’, this transportation hub has the potential of boosting the socio-economic lives of citizens who have come under severe strain through the effects of the removal of fuel subsidy.

Until now, successive administrations in the state have tried to resuscitate the old Jos Tin City Bus Services without much success. That had been probably due to paucity of funds or lack of proper planning.

It would also be recalled that, in the early 80s, there existed a private transport company owned by Ambassador Yahaya Kwande known as the Kwande Bus Service. It was able to complement the transportation needs of citizens.

The company had an exceptionally organised system that kept to its take-off time and was comfortable and affordable. Its operations were well cherished and valued by passengers traveling within Plateau and present Nasarawa states.

Unfortunately, it gradually faded away and finally disappeared.

It would not be out of place to say that children born in the late 80s can only remember what Tin City buses used to be only as part of their History lesson in school.

Unfortunately, the Tin City Bus Service also went under, possibly due to either mismanagement or negligence on the part of the authorities concerned. Then came the most recent one –  Plateau Express Services Limited. It also struggled with lack of sufficient and functional buses and also became moribund.

But with the coming of Governor Mutfwang, the Plateau Express Services Limited is being given a new lease of life. Preparations are in top gear for the transport company to officially launch the new buses.

Similarly, renovation work is ongoing at the Jos Terminus market for the immediate flag-off of the new buses as bus stops have been earmarked in the Jos and Bukuru metropolis.

While inspecting the sites at the Jos Terminus market recently, the Secretary to the Government of the State, (SGS), Architect Samuel Nanchang Jatau, who is also the chairman of the committee set up by the governor to midwife the introduction of the Tin City Metro Bus Services, disclosed that the buses were purchased to cushion the effects of the hardships citizens were going through.

He said, “We have few issues we need to sort out. One of which is why we are here today. You can see how congested the Terminus area is. So, we need to clear off this place because the buses are huge and the roads are narrow. So, we need to get for them a befitting parking space.”

Also highlighting the other measures being put in place for the smooth take off of the project, the General Manager, Plateau Express Services Limited, Samuel Jok Bot, disclosed that they were assessing the extent of work so far done, describing the service as a huge milestone and thanked Governor Mutfwang for having the masses at heart.

He further explained: “Here is a digitalized transport system that is safe, affordable and reliable. We have a good customer care system where commuters can give us feedback in case of any issues with our bus services.”

“Card readers are going to be installed and adverts will be out on the routes the buses will be plying and we already have twenty thousand cards ready that can be pre-ordered and get by home delivery or through authorised vendor locations.”

He added: “Anybody can also input the amount at a minimum of ₦1,000. Each card comes with free ₦200 because each card at the moment is ₦200 for any destination you are going to, whether far or near. This is the system at the moment.

“People are hereby encouraged to stay tune to radio stations, social media handles and television stations for detail explanation by the Plateau Express Services Limited in conjunction with the Plateau State Government on information.”

The General Manager listed some of the routes as follows: Angul ‘D’ Junction to Vom; Polo Roundabout to Zawan; Terminus to Zawan; British/America Junction to JUTH; Terminus through Rayfield to Yelwa Hotel Junction; Terminus through Tudun-Wada, Domkat Bali, Solomon Lar Amusement Park, Low-cost to Wildlife Park respectively.

Others include: Terminus through Bauchi road to Farin-Gada; and British America Junction through Angwan Rukuba, Etobaba, Bauchi Junction to Farin-Gada and back. He assured that, with time, more buses would be added to cover additional routes.

The Tin City Metro Bus Service is a subsidiary of the Plateau Express Services Limited, which is a limited liability company that intends to market itself as a modern transportation outfit. Each bus has a sitting capacity for 82 passengers (42 sitting and 40 standing) as well as two spaces for wheelchairs.













































Mutfwang promises to revamp PPC


THE Plateau State Government has promised to rescue of the Plateau Publishing Corporation (PPC), publishers of THE NIGERIA STANDARD newspapers, by providing basic working tools as well as dispatch a technical team to evaluate the JD Gomwalk House for proper renovation.

The governor, who disclosed this in an interview with Government House correspondents shortly after an inspection of the organisation and the former Tati Hotel, Gada Biyu, all in Jos North Local Government Area, recently, described the JD Gomwalk House as a legacy structure that would not be allowed to waste.

According to him, PPC was dear to the government and people of Plateau State and assured of his administration’s readiness to restore the dignity of the corporation, stressing that the Gomwalk House was strategic and solidly built by a leader with foresight.

The General Manager, Chris Gyang, who took the governor round, expressed optimism that, now that the governor has seen the condition of the PPC, everything would soon be better.

While inspecting the former Tati Hotel, Jos, the Commissioner for Housing, Ubandoma Laven, informed the governor that the property was procured during the tenure of Governor Jonah Jang.

According to him, the immediate past government abandoned it, adding that his ministry made efforts to renovate it but due to paucity of funds, they could not reach completion.

Laven said that, as a result, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Borno State had since taken over some parts of the building as shelter.




















































Mutfwang meets PDP Elders Forum

AHEAD of the ward and local government congresses of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Governor Caleb Mutfwang recently held a breakfast meeting with the party’s Elders Forum.

During the meeting, which took place at the residence of the governor at the old Government House, Rayfield, the Chairman of the Elders Forum, Chief Raymond Dabo, intimated the governor that the meeting was aimed at rubbing minds and discussing the prospects of the party in the state and Nigeria as a whole.

He added that the meeting would afford them an opportunity to cross fertilize ideas on how to move and leave the state better.

Expressing happiness over the meeting, Governor Mutfwang said he was proud of the party’s elders in the state, adding that they had contributed immensely to its victory in the state.

According to him, “I believe strongly in internal democracy. On the forth coming ward and local government congresses, everyone who is qualified and has interest should be allowed to participate. That will enable the system to thrive.”

He commended the elders for their advice, stressing that they had always challenged him to spread the dividends of democracy to all the nooks and crannies of the state.

He particularly thanked Senator Jonah David Jang for always encouraging him to surpass his performance as governor of the state as well as Ambassador Yahaya Kwande for his humility.

















































Danfodio’s ghost and Middle Belt genocide


“WHEREVER a Fulani army had been, it left a depopulated desert. Greed was one of the chief characteristics of the new dynasty, tax after tax was enforced upon the people, so that at the present day there is no conceivable trade and no profession which has not had its own special tax. Every form of handicraft, the dyers, weavers, blacksmiths, etc were taxed. Even the collectors of honey in the woods paid their dole to the chiefs, and there exists, I believe, a complete system of death duties.”

This is an excerpt from a report about Northern Nigeria, submitted to the British colonial government in 1902. At the time, the occupying Brits were not quite sure what to do with Northern Protectorate due to its unique system.

Heavy on rulership and state pageantry, light on trade and productivity. Heavy on conquest and violence, light on effective governance of conquered territories. Heavy on an ever-expanding class of rentier aristocrats, light on a merchant class to support said rent seeking elites. Northern Nigeria was a mess that was collapsing under the weight of its own contradictions.

In typical colonial fashion, the main concern of the British administration was not to effect any kind of root-and-branch reform of a clearly unsustainable empire-state, but merely to make sure that it became productive enough to stop requiring substantial administrative subsidies.

Their solution eventually turned out to be the ill-fated amalgamation of 1914 that saw the merger of conceptual opposites into one nation-state without their consent or input. While the economic and political fallout of that decision on Southern Nigeria are well documented, much less so is the effect it had on the vast expanse from Kaduna to Benue, now known as the Middle Belt.

In modern Nigeria, the perpetrator of one of the most diabolical massacres of the 20th century is immortalised on the national currency, and has the country’s busiest airport named after him. It is also the country where his contemporary, who took part in many of his crimes was somehow “forgiven”, and elected president by the ahistorical populace.

Five years later, he ordered soldiers to shoot them dead for the heinous crime of peaceful protest at Lekki Toll Gate. In this country, merely documenting the murders carried out by individuals is not enough to significantly shift the needle of their stubbornly positive public perception.

Few examples illustrate this as starkly as that of Shehu Uthman Danfodio, the Fulani ethnic conquistador whose violent Jihad swept through Northern Nigeria in the early 1800s, leaving tens, maybe hundreds of thousands, of rape victims and dead bodies in its wake.

While history tells a very clear story about the sort of thuggery and wanton destruction that Shehu Danfodio visited on the dozens of cities and villages in his path, he is remembered not revered – in Northern Nigeria today, as a “reformer.”

As against the bloodthirsty, incredibly violent and ruthless empire builder that he was, contemporary Nigerian orthodoxy insists on presenting him as a religious scholar and some sort of righteous crusader.

The descendants of those who once lived in what is now Nigeria’s Middle Belt, especially those in Benue, Plateau, Kogi and Southern Kaduna, remember the Shehu and his dynasty rather differently. In an excerpt taken from the book, “The Legacy of Arab-Islam in Africa: A Quest for Inter-Religious Dialogue,” by Alembillah Azumah, the content was taken from the colonial report referenced at the outset, and it points a rare flashlight at the extensive practice of slave raiding to feed the Trans-Saharan slave trade, which Danfodio’s dynasty practiced well into the 20th century.

While reading it, it is important to bear in mind that the areas described in this report are almost entirely now classified as part of the Middle Belt:

It is also in this key context that is often missed when people who are not familiar with the uniquely blood-soaked history of Northern Nigeria attempt to explain the bloodshed it is witnessing today. For the avoidance of doubt, let me state categorically and without fear of contradiction state that – these deaths were neither a series of economic, farmer-herder “clashes,” nor are they random, unconnected events.

What we are witnessing in Northern Nigeria today is in fact, an unfolding ethno religious genocide, the same one that started in 1804 under the leadership of Shehu Uthman Danfodio.

The presence of the British colonial administration, and the subsequent nominal existence of an independent Nigerian state have served to quell some of the more visible manifestations of this barbarous bloodshed.

But, let us be very clear about this: the targeted killings, displacements, mass rapes, destruction of economic resources such as farmland, and forced renaming of towns and villages in the Middle Belt is the same strategy employed by Shehu Danfodio against the very same ethnic groups in those exact areas whom he was generally unable to subdue.

This violence is not a recent phenomenon at all.

What has changed over the past decade and made it more pronounced is manifold. The toppling of Ghadaffi and the subsequent flooding of the Sahel region with cheap automatic firearms from Libya’s vast weapons stockpiles had compounded the situation, while on the other hand the proliferation of cheap Android smartphones, cheap 3G and 4G internet connectivity and social media, which have made people better able to tell their stories instantaneously and without censorship.

And, most importantly, there was the entry of Muhammadu Buhari into Aso Rock, which signaled to the Dan Fodian marauders that a kindred spirit was in power and it was their time.

And now he really proved them right!


















































NLC members stage nationwide peaceful protests

By our correspondents

The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and affiliate unions Tuesday embarked on peaceful protests in the 36 states of the country and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, to register their discontent with the harsh economic conditions bedeviling the country and the suffering of the people.

In state capitals, people came out in large numbers as the NLC led the protests, accompanied by heavy security presence to guard against hoodlums hijacking the protests for their selfish interests.

In Abuja, the NLC President, Comrade Joe Ajaero, led the multitude of protesters to the National Assembly where he presented a letter of demands to Senator Diket Plang, Chairman, Senate Committee on Labour, Employment and Productivity.

The demands included the full implementation of welfare packages, employment generation, offering immediate subsidies to farmers to enhance agricultural production and fixing the country’s four refineries.

Ajaero disclosed that the protests were driven by widespread hunger and economic difficulties, drawing parallels with the situation in Zimbabwe.

The labour leader added that negotiations for a raise in the minimum wage had begun but were yet to be concluded, noting that the protests were intended to signal to the Federal Government the urgent need to address the prevailing challenges in the country.

In Jos, the Plateau State capital, the NLC Chairman, Comrade Eugene Manji, called on the Federal Government to cushion the suffering being experienced by citizens by introducing measures that would bring down the high costs of foodstuff and transportation caused by the sudden removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government.

He lamented: “People can’t afford essential goods and services owing to dollar exchange rate which has affected [the cost of] home products and items farmed here locally.” He warned governments to take urgent steps to ameliorate the situation, “If not this might result to insecurity that both the federal and state governments might not be able to control.”

Addressing the protesters in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, the governor, who spoke through his Chief of Staff, Mr. Biam, said they completely agreed with the fact that workers and Nigerians were going through hard times. He applauded them for putting government on its toes “To bring up policies that would alleviate the suffering of the masses.”

The protesters in Kaduna made public their own grievances by marching round the state capital with placards and singing solidarity songs. Some of the inscriptions on the placards read: ‘Let the poor breathe’ and ‘FG, must we all die before you know there is hardship?’ among others.

However, in Taraba State, the NLC protesters were cautious for fear of their peaceful demonstration being hijacked by miscreants. The NLC Chairman, Peter Jediel, revealed that there were some groups “ready to hijack our protest.” However, their placards clearly sent home their messages as they marched a short distance before dispersing. But this message stood out from the rest: ‘Remove tax on drugs, our health matters!’

In Gombe, Governor Inuwa Yahaya identified with the suffering of the people. “We are not exonerated from your suffering,” he stated. While speaking through his deputy, Dr. Manasseh, he pointed out that, “As a leader, whatever your subordinates are facing is what you are facing.”















































Governor Mutfwang dedicates Supreme Court verdict to God, Plateau people

Plateau State Governor, Barr Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang, has dedicated his victory at the Supreme Court to God and the people of Plateau State, who stood by him and defended their mandate.

Governor Mutfwang said he would always be grateful to the people of Plateau State for believing in him and entrusting him with their sacred mandate to lead them at this critical time in the history of the state. He called on all citizens, irrespective of political inclination to join him in the quest of building a peaceful, United and prosperous Plateau…


























North Korea is putting its munitions industry and nuclear weapons sector on a war footing, following months of raised tensions with the U.S. and NATO-aligned countries in the region, a run of missile tests and border activity.

Pyongyang’s military and defense sectors will “further accelerate war preparations” in the face of “unprecedented anti-DPRK [North Korea] confrontation maneuvers of the U.S. and its vassal forces,” North Korea’s state media reported on Thursday.

Long-simmering tensions between North Korea and its southern neighbor South Korea, a firm U.S. ally, have been stoked throughout this year by a raft of North Korean missile tests and bellicose announcements. South Korea and Japan have expressed grave concerns about North Korea’s military activity, calling Pyongyang’s actions a severe threat to their national security and turning to the U.S. for support—something that has angered North Korea.

Earlier this month, North Korea launched a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the U.S., which Washington quickly condemned. North Korea said it launched its Hwasong-18 missile to judge its readiness for a confrontation amid hostile exchanges with the U.S.

A spokesperson for North Korea’s Defense Ministry said on December 17 that Washington and Seoul “are going to finish the end of the year with a preview of a nuclear war.”

The “grave political and military situation” on and around the Korean peninsula “has reached its limit,” the secretive country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, said in readouts published by Pyongyang on Thursday.

The U.S. has bolstered assets in the region, including sending its USS Missouri nuclear-powered submarine to the South Korean port of Busan in mid-December.

“Clear is the intention of the U.S. which dispatched the nuclear-powered submarine Missouri to the Korean peninsula as soon as it hatched a dangerous plot for a nuclear war in Washington,” North Korea’s Defense Ministry said. This “critical situation” was pushing Pyongyang towards “more offensive” actions, it added.

Newsweek has asked the U.S. State Department for comment by email.

The U.S., Japan, and South Korea jointly announced on December 19 that the three countries had activated a real-time data sharing mechanism to monitor North Korea’s missile activity. A joint statement by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the foreign ministers of South Korea and Japan, issued the following day, said: “The United States reiterates that its commitments to defend the ROK [South Korea] and Japan are ironclad and backed by the full range of capabilities, including nuclear.”

The U.S. and South Korea also held a joint meeting on nuclear weapons activity earlier this month, which North Korea labeled an “open declaration on nuclear confrontation to make the use of nuclear weapons against the DPRK,” referring to the country by its full title, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

In late November, North Korea launched its first military reconnaissance satellite, which the North Korean leader heralded as a “new era of space power.” The United Nations slammed the launch as using banned ballistic missile technology.

South Korea then increased surveillance along the countries’ borders and partially suspended an agreement aimed at keeping a lid on border tensions. Pyongyang in turn fully voided the agreement.

North Korean soldiers were present at numerous, previously out-of-use guard posts along the border between the two countries, Seoul’s Defense Ministry said at the time.

Source: Reuters


Governor Mutfwang condemns bribing judges accusations

Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State has condemned in strong terms, the allegations being circulated by certain individuals, accusing judges of receiving $5 million US Dollars bribe for the nullification of his victory. He described it as baseless and defamatory in nature.
In an official statement signed and made available to SUNDAY STANDARD by the Director of Press and Public Affairs to the Governor,Gyang Bere, the Governor vehemently condemned the said publication. He attributed it to the handiwork of his detractors which he added, was aimed at sowing a seed of discord between him and the esteemed judges as well as the constituted authorities.
Expressing his deep concern over the matter, according to the statement , the Executive Governor demanded for thorough investigations by the security agencies, in order to identify and apprehend those responsible for the libelous publication.
He therefore emphasized the need to ensure that the faceless individuals were fished out to face the full wrath of the law with the view to setting a precedent that discourages similar misconduct.
Governor Mutfwang, in the release unequivocally distanced himself from the false narrative, dismissing it as mere fabrications crafted by individuals who were being manipulated as pawns by the opposition party in Plateau State.
He posited that the latest move was an attempt to tarnish the image of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Government in the state, pointing out that such malicious actions would not deter his commitment and confidence in the judiciary.
While reaffirming his unwavering support for the judiciary, Governor Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang warned those disparaging the judges and respected leaders to desist from their destructive tendencies immediately or face the severe consequences of their actions.

Curbing indiscriminate parking of trucks in Jos metropolis

THE increasing numbers of erected warehouses by some business people within residential areas in some suburbs of Jos and Bukuru metropolis have become too rampant. It does not consider the problems that it causes residents, when it comes to the issue of movements of heavy duty trucks that convey goods to such locations for off-loading.

What seems to be difficult for those residents where warehouses have been erected is no other thing but the way such long-vehicles maneuver their way into the residential areas, especially when they are searching for a place to park so as to enable them off-load whatever types of goods they have with ease.

It is true that accidents sometimes occur when some of these long-vehicles are trying to find a place to park before off-loading the goods.

Other negative sides of this menace of trucks when coming into the residential areas with goods to off-load, is the issue that affects residents, who are either coming in or going out of the area. It causes serious inconvenience to the people. In fact, the worse things in this regard is the fact that the long-vehicles sometimes close-up the main road that leads into the residential areas for hours before it is opened for the residents.

What has equally been observed with the rampant case of erections of warehouses in the residential areas is that even those with small cars that come to the warehouses to buy whatever type of goods are not left out when it comes to the issue of creating unnecessary congestion for the residents who ordinarily are not supposed to have been part of such unbearable experience.

However, other issue that are very disturbing and cannot be forgotten is that some of the roads that connect with the warehouses within the residential areas have either become an eye-sore or are dead-traps. These types of bad roads have become dilapidated as a result of the movements of heavy duty trucks that convey goods to such locations.

It therefore, behooves on government to as a matter of urgent public importance, come up with laws that would put a stop to erection of warehouses within residential areas in order to avoid any form of challenges that may cause problems to  residents.

Speaking with METRO FOCUS in Jos, some residents who barred their minds on the issue of erecting warehouses in the residential areas described such buildings as illegal structures, looking at the inconveniences that they cause to the residents when it comes to the movements of the heavy duty trucks. They stressed the need for the Plateau State House of Assembly to enact laws that would stop people from erecting warehouses in residential areas.

They expressed concern about indiscriminate parking of long-vehicles, both on the main roads side and also within the residential places, viewing it as very unpleasant as far as the issue of blocking roads into residential areas is concerned.

The residents were also of the opinions that government on its part, should find a place in the outskirts of the town, and build it for big trucks saying that doing so would go a long way in addressing or reducing the rate of accidents caused by the long-vehicles within the town.

They also called on the Plateau State government to as a matter of ensuring safety of lives of the people living in the heart of Jos and Bukuru metropolis  make a law that would ban the movements of all long-vehicles that convey  goods during the day.

The residents advised government not to allow petroleum marketers to build fuel stations close to residential areas because of the danger it may pose on the residents once there is any incident of fire outbreak.

They maintained that some fuel stations have gutted fire in the course of off-loading fuel, saying that such unfortunate incidents have resulted to loss of lives and properties in some parts of the country.

They also called on Plateau State government to enact a law that would ban tankers from moving with the said products during day time into Jos and Bukuru metropolis, saying that doing so would help in saving the lives of citizens.












































Ag GM PPC warns against indiscipline



Acting General Manager of Plateau Publishing Corporation(PPC), publishers of THE NIGERIA STANDARD and SUNDAY STANDARD, Mr.Paul Jatau has warned staff of the corporation to take their work seriously.

Jatau made this disclosure while addressing staff at the Paste-up Hall of the corporation recently.

He stated that it has come to the notice of the management that staff have developed the habit of indiscipline and nonchalance towards their duty and as a result, don’t report to duty on time.

He said that time book would be provided in all the Directorates of the corporation in order to monitor the movement and reporting time of staff.

He added that it would not be business as usual as visitors visiting the corporation should ensure that they have business with the corporation or its staff. Unauthorize persons within the premises of the corporation would no longer be entertained.

Jatau in his submission during the address maintained that the corporation has recently witnessed cases of stolen property and also an attempt to steal one of the air condition compartment belonging to Express City line Machine of the corporation.

He warned that any staff that would be caught in any act of stealing or be found in connection or found spearheading any criminal act of stealing property of the organization would be made to face the full wrath of the law and if found wanting, dismissed according to civil service rules.

He urged staff to be diligent in their work and also be vigilant in safeguarding properties of the organization from theft.

Earlier in a speech by the Director of Admin and Personnel(DAP), Mrs.Victoria Arin, she reiterated that staff are to adhere to the ethics, rules and regulations guiding the the Civil Service Sheme.

She stressed that staff must be disciplined in discharging his or her duty accordingly. And that any staff found wanting would be punished according to the rules and regulations guiding the establishment.

Arin advised staff to ensure that they are always at their duty post , for staff roaming about would not be tolerated anymore.” We must give value to our work and to sustain the legacy the corporation was known for.”

However, the acting General Manager in response to staff comments,questions and contributions,assured staff of the management’s readiness and commitment to address the situation in no time.









































Government ready to revamp media organisations -Ashoms

As part of the Government to strengthen the Ministry for Information and Communication of the State. The Commissioner for Information and Communication Plateau State, Hon.Musa Ibrahim Ashoms has assured Government readiness to prevent the media organizations of the state

Ashoms stated this during a  familiarisation tour at the Headquarters of the Plateau Publishing Corporation (PPC), publishers of THE NIGERIA STANDARD and SUNDAY STANDARD last Thursday.
He said that the lead Government of Barr. Caleb Mutfwang has the political will to turn around the situation of the Corporation for the better.
He added that THE NIGERIA STANDARD Newspaper is a legal project that would not be allowed to die during our time. The Plateau story must be first heard from us, and not by other people telling our stories.
Ashoms maintained that we have to sustain the vision of Late J.D.Gomwalk dreams, through our efforts in ensuring that we publish our news daily.
He assured the staff of the corporation that the Executive Governor was ready to bring significant change to the corporation.
According to him,” he believes that by the end of the tenure of office of this present government The Plateau citizens would remember us in the development change of the state and the vision of Late J.D.Gomwalk, who has put Plateau State on the greater map of states in the world.
Earlier in a welcome speech by the Acting General Manager of the Corporation. Mr.Paul Jatau, appreciated the commissioner for his visit, believing  that good things would come for the turnaround of the organization
Jatau said that THE NIGERIA STANDARD was not only the flagship of the Middle- Belt, but the entire Nigeria and the world at large.
He prayed that the commissioner’s visit would mitigate to bring the newspaper to life.
However, the Commissioner and his entourage went around to inspect various Directorates of the organization, including the City line expresses Machine.
In an interactive section with the staff of the corporation during the visit, the commissioner assured the Government would do the needful to provide a conducive working environment and he urged staff to take their work seriously.
He added that the Government is going to employ more hands, but when it is time, we would first consider the casual staff before others.





























PLSG approves take – off of FMC, Orthopedic hospital

The Plateau State Executive Council recently approved the immediate take – off of the Federal Medical Centre,Wase and the National Orthopaedic Hospital,Jos .

Briefing journalists after the meeting held at the New Government House, Little Rayfield,Jos ,the State Commissioners for Information and Communication and that of Health , Hon. Musa Ashoms and Dr . Cletus Sukuk said Federal Medical Centre,Wase would use as a temporary site, the General Hospital Wase before relocating to the Legacy Project , permanent site located in the area when completed.

The National Orthopaedic Hospital Jos,the commissioners explained would use as a temporary site, the Old Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) , before relocating to the permanent site at Mararaban Jama’a, in Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State.

On the issue of those people that have defied government’s order by refusing to leave the Old JUTH despite warnings, the Commissioner for Information and Communication said a team has been set up by government to ensure that that order was executed.

Hon.Ashoms appealed to Plateau citizens to accord the government maximum cooperation so that there would be no hitches in the take- off of the projects.



















































Nobody would be victimised – Gov Mutfwang assures Plateau workers



Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State on Friday assured residents of the state that nobody would be victimised following the constitution of the committee to review the recent appointment exercise into the state civil service.

THE NIGERIA STANDARD recalls that recently, Governor Mutfwang suspended all those employed since October last year by the immediate past administration of Simon Lalong in the civil service in the State, citing lopsidedness in the exercise.

Similarly, the governor had set up a 15-member committee to look into the employment exercise.

Mutfwang gave the assurance while swearing-in his Chief of Staff, Deputy Chief of Staff, four Special Advisers and members of the Plateau State House of Assembly Service Commission.

He said, “Let me say this quickly; those who have been appointed to serve in the committee to review the issue of appointment, we do not intend to witch-hunt anyone.

“As a matter of fact, the information that we based our action on came from citizens and we thought it would be irresponsible not to investigate such complaints.

“We will continue to do all we can to ensure that the process is seamless, fair and just.

“We won’t treat anyone in isolation, and I can assure you that no one will be victimised”, he assured.

He urged the people to continue to pray for the government, as it unfolds policies that are beneficial to the citizenry.

The governor admonished those who have been appointed to see their appointment as a “responsibility and trust” bestowed on them by Plateau citizens.

While responding on behalf of the appointees, the Special Adviser on Political Affairs, Hon. Latep Dabang, appreciated the governor for choosing them to serve in their respective capacities.

Latep assured that the appointees would bring to bear their wealth of experience to add value to the administration with a view to ensuring the requisite development the citizens are yearning for.




















































































 Foundation, CAVSI provide free eye surgery

The TY Danjuma Foundation in collaboration with the Care Vision Support Initiative (CAVSI) is to provide free and comprehensive eye surgery to people with cataracts, glaucoma and other humanitarian services in Plateau State.

The health care intervention which has commenced at the Pankshin General Hospital is to last for the next five years, according to the Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation, Gima Forge. Forge who disclosed this while on courtesy visit on Governor Simon Lalong at Government House, Rayfied, Jos, Wednesday, said the intervention was aimed at dealing with preventable blindness.

Forge said aside from these, the Foundation had delved into issues around maternal and child health, neglected tropical diseases and other humanitarian services such as improving quality teaching in the state.

According to the Chief Executive Officer, the Foundation was established in 2009 by General Theophelus Danjuma borne out of the need to deal with preventable blindness which was dear to the heart of the founder. He added that they have been partnering with the Care Vision Support Initiative, an NGO based in the state for 12 years providing eye care services across the country.

The Foundation, he said provides grant for the screening of eye, health workers, medication and salaries for staff.

Governor Simon Lalong who spoke through his deputy, Professor Sonni Tyoden, described the intervention as a welcome development, noting that the state had longed to be part of the beneficiaries at inception of the Foundation until now and thanked CAVSI for collaborative efforts.

On its part, Lalong said government will do all that was possible to facilitate smooth operations of the Foundation within the five year period to enable them go round the state.

The areas of intervention which include health care, education and skills acquisition would be of immense benefit to the people of the state. He promised to encourage the Association of Local Government of Nigeria, ALGON in the state to do the needful by providing the necessary facilities for effective services.



























































Gunmen killings cause apprehension in the country

The activities of unknown gunmen who have terrorized Some States in Nigeria claiming innocent lives and rendering hundreds of families helpless have caused a lot of concerns for Nigerians as even the security agencies are yet to unravel those behind such mayhem and bring the perpetrators to book. The killings by gunmen have caused apprehension in the country. JWANTU MATHEW writes.

WILLIAM E. Gladstone was famous across the globe for his quotable quote. “Justice delayed,” according to the Liberalist who died on May 19, 1809, “is justice denied.” This dictum seems to have found a comfortable accommodation in the Nigerian system where Justice seems to be an alien.

In the North-west, most killings are attributed to bandits; in the north-east to Boko Haram; in the North-central and South-west, to killer herdsmen; and in the South-east, to unknown gunmen.

While some Nigerians believe the killer armed bandits are milking the citizenry by either killing some of their victims or collecting huge sum of money as ransoms to enrich themselves, the unknown gunmen who carry out assassinations may have been birthed out of cultism and cultists doing the bidding of their pay masters.

In 2021, four prominent Nigerians were murdered by unknown gunmen. First, former special adviser on politics to President Goodluck Jonathan, Ahmed Gulak, was shot dead by unknown gunmen in Owerri, Imo state while on his way to Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport.

Also, the former judge of the Enugu state high court, Justice Stanley Nnaji, was dragged out of his car by unknown gunmen and shot three times. Similarly, a businessman, popularly known as Linus Owuamanam was killed by unknown gunmen along Premier Hotel-Sango Road in Ibadan, Oyo state. Chief provost of the Nigerian Immigration Service in Imo, Okiemute Mrere was killed along Owerri-Port Harcourt Road in Owerri, and his remains discovered in a bush.

In March 2021, the Niger state Command Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Wasiu Abiodun confirmed the assassination of former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman of Tafa local government area in Niger state, Sule Ishaya who was murdered by unknown gunmen, adding that the Police is still investigating the matter.

Also, a middle-aged businessman, Salau Taiwo Hussein was said to have been whisked away from his resident around Brighter Road in Minna, the Niger state capital by unknown gunmen who stormed the area in their numbers heavily armed, as they were said to engage the local vigilantes in the area in a sporadic gun shots to achieve their aim.

Our reporter gathered that the security operatives comprising the police, local vigilantes, and operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) were already assessing the situation and are still trailing the unknown gunmen.

An independent study launched into the activities of dissident groups in parts of the country especially the Southeast region of Nigeria, particularly between 2021 and 2022, revealed that about 83 civilians and 36 security personnel were sent to their early graves by non-State Armed Groups, labeled as “unknown gunmen” and are yet to be brought to book.

In the independent study, data gleaned from Nextier SPD Violent Conflict Database also revealed that at least three civilians and one security personnel die weekly due to the activities of unknown gunmen in the Southeast region.

This was as some whistleblowers were subjected to threats of life, harassment and victimization by their employers and colleagues for daring to expose corrupt practices.

It should be noted that over six years after the Nigerian government introduced the whistleblower policy to help combat corruption in the country, Nigerians are now reluctant to report incidences of corruption following cases of threats and killings by unknown gunmen and lack of protection on the whistleblowers.

In 2021, the Executive Secretary, Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption PACAC, Prof. Sadiq Isah Raddah, stated at the public presentation of the report of a survey on five years of whistle-blowing policy in Nigeria which was undertaken by the African Centre for Media and Information Literacy, (AFRICMIL) in Abuja that an overwhelming majority (98.2%) of Nigerians perceived corruption as a serious problem and menace in the country.

He said “although, majority of Nigerians are aware of the whistleblowing policy, one quarter of the respondents are unwilling to report any form of corrupt practices while 3 of every 4 respondents have stopped reporting cases of looted funds for fear of being killed”.

Since 2018, killers of a young man identified as Kingsley Ekene Iwuoha who was attacked and shot dead by suspected gunmen in Owerri, Imo State capital are yet to be identified and arrested.

Families and friends have wept bitterly since Kingsley, popularly known as Don King was murdered and are seeking for justice.

While some of his friends claimed he must have been assassinated by those who envied his success growth, his relatives claimed he was murdered for being a whistleblower.

Kingsley’s sister, Helena Iwuoha while lamenting that after four years the Police is yet to make any arrest claimed that, before he was murdered, there were death threats because he (Kingsley) tried to expose corruption. “Kingsley’s death is not unconnected with his being a whistleblower”.

Accordingly, she said “Kingsley was a whistleblower and he was killed by suspected cultists working on the perceived orders of highly placed individuals for exposing corruption in the oil sector.

“I know about this because prior to his killing, Kingsley had complained to me concerning death threats he was getting. My brother had to leave Lagos State and ran to Imo state where he was eventually traced and killed.”

Reports have it that Kingsley was murdered on the 10th of September 2018 in Owerri after he moved from Lagos a few months earlier because of continuous death threats he was getting from cultists.

One of his friends, Ajuonuma Wilson who spoke to our Correspondent in Minna, lamented the delay in apprehending killers of innocent Nigerians by the security agencies in the country.

According to him “Kingsley was my best friend. He was a very promising young man who was murdered by unknown gunmen. The matter was since reported and till date no arrests have been made by the Police.

“He told me then that his life was in danger for exposing corruption. He left Lagos for Imo State and was murdered. Obviously, the protection of our lives cannot be guaranteed by security agencies”.

Reports have it that, beyond the death recorded, hundreds of people were said to have been kidnapped in the Southeast within the same period under review thereby creating more apprehension amongst residents.

It should be noted that the policy in theory states that whistleblowers’ “confidentiality will be maintained to the fullest extent possible within the limitations of the law.”

The policy offers protection for any whistleblower “who has made a genuine disclosure” in good faith, and promises that “restitution shall be made to the whistle-blower for any loss suffered” as a result of harassment, intimidation or victimization. But the case of Kingsley was not so, as over four years, his killers are yet to be apprehended.

No doubt, our security forces are trying to save the day, but the truth be told, the security situation in the country has overwhelmed them.




























































Nigeria: What hope for education at 62?

Nigeria has recently celebrated yet another independence anniversary as a sovereign nation which was granted to it on October 1, 1960, the day the British colonial flag was joyfully and in a historic mood replaced on the pole with the Nigerian flag signifying the departure from the colonial rule and from that day, every 1st October was set aside for celebration to mark the nation liberation CHINDAPBA NGOP, writes.

RECALLING how the independence celebration used to be, every Nigerian was eager to see and participate; school children, students, the military police, cultural troupes, masquerades and the display of ethnic groups dances to thrill and add colours to the celebration. The National anthem was  sang with great sense of total commitment to our great nation and to crown it all, Nigeria was the envy of many African countries.

Watching this year’s activities of the independence celebration, Nigerians are no longer celebrating the anniversary of our nationhood enthusiastically. The spirit and avidity with which they used to celebrate it has faded away. This is because the foundation that was laid by our founding fathers have not been sustained and improved upon despite Nigerian’s wealth in petroleum and natural resources and its huge agricultural potential. Nigeria which was and still considered as one of the largest economies in Africa has suffered a serious gasp in all aspects of life after 62 years of its freedom. The dreams and aspirations for greater future of Nigeria appears to be dark and gloomy for an average Nigerian today.

However, the driving force of any great nation is education, therefore our productive capacity solely depends on the quality of education we put in place today. It was in this regards that our founding fathers established the Nigeria’s first five early generation and regionised Universities; Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) 1962, University of Ibadan (UI) 1948, University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) 1962, Obafemi Awolowe University (OAU) 1962 and University of Lagos (UNILAG) 1962.

To keep pace with time and the ever-fast-growing population, between 1975-1980, the Federal government in its third National Development plan established seven additional Universities namely; University of Jos, Ilorin, Maiduguri, Port-Harcourt, Calabar, Sokoto, Ado Bayero University, Kano as the second-generation Universities.

Today, number of primary and secondary schools in the country have also increased considerably and their enrollment have been made universal. The proliferation and privatization policy of government have made individuals and corporate bodies to establish more schools. Now Nigeria currently has over 180 public and private Universities.

There is no denying the fact that in the last 62 years, Nigeria has made some progress in series of reforms that have also taken place in the education sector but the quality of education leaves much to be desired as the sector is at a crossroad. The explosion of higher institutions without commensurate number of qualified teachers has exacerbated the already battered educational system. Therefore, no progress has been made beyond the increase in the number of educational institutions across the country. Even with the increase, politicians are still clamoring for more Universities to be established in the country.

Admittedly, the transformation in the education sector has not yielded any positive development to unlock our enclosed    potentials as a nation nor has it equipped us to get out of the extreme poverty.

Educationally we are still not where we ought to be notably in terms of the industrial revolution that is driven by the emerging technological advancements and skills acquisition. Technology remains one of the greatest components for change in the digital age. Nevertheless, how can Nigeria measure up with the emerging digital technology which is the sure way of creating wealth for the nation with the epileptic relationship between Federal government and the industrial unions in the public tertiary institutions over the years?

The over 8 months strike embarked by the unions in the Nigerian public Universities have no doubt made education boring for both students and parents and the frequent strikes in the past have repeatedly convinced many Nigerians that the quality of education is steadily dwindling thereby making them to lose confidence in Nigerias educational system.

It is most subversive and unpatriotic for the elites and the political class who most of them enjoyed better scholarships, tree meals, better and free accommodations etc. In the 70s and late 80s have become so insensitive watching the destruction of the very sector that had offered them the opportunities to become who they are today. They are not making education their priority to allocate more resources into education sector to enable the country accomplish its vision because most of our political leaders in government are now educating their children and wards in foreign countries and private institutions. More disturbing, even when our public universities are under lock and key, students are roaming in the streets as a result of the prolonged strike by ASUU, our leaders are proudly and shamelessly posting and celebrating the graduations of their children and wards from most of the prestigious universities in Europe and United States on social media. It is so sad that those who are vested with the responsibility of running our system do not believe in it and the bill to stop public officers from sending their children to school abroad has summarily been rejected. Lack of political will is really one of the factors that has ruined our educational system.

Our politics do not accommodate innovative leaders and intellectual capital who will break new grounds to transform our dreams into reality.

Another factor that has held the education sector down has been heighten and intractable insecurity caused by Boko Haram, ‘bandits, kidnapping and insurgency which have over the years threatened most parts of the country thereby forcing schools to close down for a long period of time. The frequency at which schools are closed as a result of insecurity and strikes by Academic Staff Union of Universities, (ASUU) has not only complicated the already bad security situation in the country but it has forced students and unemployed youths into the business of cyber-crimes, cultism, act of hooliganism, banditry, terrorism etc.

Insecurity has come to stay in Nigeria as long as universities and polytechnics continue to churn out graduates, and half-baked graduates in most cases without jobs, we will continue to witness greater security challenges. It is indisputable that education their priority to secured job before graduation from school was common but today, the population density of Nigerian graduates has made unemployment on the increase.

Brain drain is at its highest now in our public institutions because of poor economy and more so we are in money-driven society. Most of the educated and talented young men and women are leaving the Country for greener pastures. It is estimated by experts that Nigeria has lost over 500 consultants this year alone and a total of 9,000 doctors left Nigeria for Canada, United States and United Kingdom, in April this year according to the Nigeria Medical Association. The exodus, of the skilled and best brain in our Tertiary institutions is becoming worrisome it should be an issue of concern to government if we most build a great nation.

Sadly, again, the quality of education has continued to witness a sharp drop because of inadequate structures in our universities. Lack of facilities have made the learning environment not conducive for students, the few available structures are always overstretched.

Children in most of the primary and secondary schools in the rural areas study under trees, while those lucky to have roof over them sit on bare floor. The science laboratories in secondary schools are shadows of what they used to be. The libraries are filled with obsolete books if at all the Librans, still exist in most of the secondary schools.

Poverty has also prevented the children of the poor to migrate to foreign Countries to obtain quality education like their colleagues from the wealthy families therefore most of them cannot attend private schools that are available in the country as most parents cannot afford to pay the outrageous fees charged by the private and corporate bodies. Children from the low-income earners have abandoned schools due to harsh economic challenges.

For government to build talented and home grown scientific and technical expertise that could compete with other African Countries such as Rwanda, Ivory Coast, United Arab Emirates and even China, government must provide a purposeful leadership and commitment in funding our institutions right from primary to tertiary levels. Teachers must also be trained to bring to life technologies that can transform the Country from a consuming nation to an exporting nation, turning our huge population into blessings rather than a cause. The Bank of industry, should live up to its expectation by empowering our local industries to expand and diversify methods of production using our domestic resources and raw materials to finished products, it will boost job creation. This will no doubt remove the army of unemployed youths from the streets.

Change is also possible if government can find the existing universities and stop the proliferation of more universities.

Happily, Federal Government has recently announced a bursary of N75,000 per semester for under graduates studying education in public universities and N50,000 per semester for those in colleges of education, these will go a long way in encouraging students take up teaching profession.



























































Eze-Igbo expresses gratitude to NSSG

THE Eze-Igbo of Keffi in KeffiLlocal Government Area of Nasarawa State Igwe Celestine Mba has expressed his gratitude to both the Nasarawa State’s government, Keffi local government Council for the allocation of Shops to the Igbo traders in the recently commissioned Multi-billion Naira neighbourhood market in Keffi.

The Igbo leader also expressed his gratitude for the great role played by the Emir of Keffi.

Speaking with newsmen in Keffi after the swearing in ceremony of the Council’s Secretary, the Eze Igbo described the gesture as very commendable and gratifying especially that it would enable them to contribute to the socio-economic activities of the area, the state and the country and their osocio-economic activities too.

“We are highly grateful with what we were given already because as it is, half a loaf is better than no bread but just as  Oliver twist who always asks for more, we are looking forward to have more if possible” he pleaded.

HRH Mba who described the gesture as a clear demonstration of carrying them along as important stakeholders, assured that they would not rest 0n their Oars in giving their contributions and support towards the general development of the area.

He then tasked members of his community to continue to live in peace and harmony and support constituted authority with a view to reap the fruits of democracy especially that the state government under the leadership of Engineer Abdullahi Sule has been carrying them along through appointments and other forms of patronage.

On the performance of the Keffi local government Chairman Hon. Muhammad Baba Shehu, the Eze-Igbo described him as a true and committed leader that has the great passion and desire to take the Council and its people to the next level.

While assuring him of their support and co-operation of all the Igbo community in the area in a bid to bring meaningful peace and development, the Igbo-leader however urged the Council chairman to continue to carry them along in the scheme of things so as to give them a sense of belonging.




























































NAN applauds PPC for resilience

MANGEMENT and staff of Plateau publishing Corporation (PPC), publisher of THE NIGERIA STANDARD and SUNDAY STANDARD newspapers Jos have been applauded for keeping the newspaper alive.

Zonal Manager News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) North Central Mr. Kayode Olaitan gave the commendation when he led the delegation of his management team on a courtesy visit to the General Manager PPC, Dr Boniface Gwotbit in his office in Jos, on Tuesday.

Mr. Olaitan expressed happiness with the warm reception accorded them during the visit. He said that the purpose of the visit was for the two organizations to see how they can benefit from each other through partnership in the area of information discrimination as partners in progress.

The Zonal Manager explained that the other reason for their visit was to further build on the existing relationship that has been on ground long before now. He stated that, NAN has


benefited a lot from the existing relationship with THE NIGERIA STANDARD.

Mr. Olaitan maintained that NAN stories are always reliable, adding that the organization is the most credible as it also remains as the giant of Africa, since its news is everywhere and are equally supplied to different medium.

Resounding, the General Manager, PPC, Dr, Boniface G w o t b i t w h o w a s represented by the Editor daily of THE NIGERIA

STANDARD, Mr. Paul Jatau thanked Zonal manager, NAN, North Central and his Management team for the visit which he described as a good one to the corporation.

Dr. Gwotbit said that, PPC has been with NAN for a very long time and assured them of the corporation’s readiness to continue with the existing partnership. He added that the organization would also take advantage of some of the agency’s newly introduced products as partners in progress.


























































Jos Main Market: Group calls to halt proposed reconstruction

THE coalition of Plateau Indigenous groups and other related organisations, have called for the suspension of the proposed work at the Jos main market (terminus).

The group gave their stance after holding a meeting Monday at Government House Jos, convened by the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Plateau, Rev. Fr. Polycarp Lubo.

The CAN Chairman during a press briefing, at the end of the meeting between the groups and executives of the Plateau state  Government told news men that the stakeholders are calling for a suspension of the proposed work due to ambiguity in the contract, and non-clarity of some grey areas.

The NIGERIA STANDARD NEWSPAPERS had reported earlier that Plateau State Executive Council had approved the reconstruction of the Jos Main market, rated as one of the largest closed door market in West Africa, which was gutted by fire in March 2022, through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) with Jaiz bank at an estimated total cost of N9.4 billion Naira in three phases.

Lubo disclosed during the briefing that he had convened the meeting following tensions in the state, and information circulating on social media, that the state government had mortgaged the lives and properties of its youths for 40 years through its ambiguous agreement with Jaiz bank.

Fr. Lubo said the groups were aggrieved and were showing their displeasure with government for not consulting critical stakeholders before getting into such an agreement on the market reconstruction, saying it is crucial to them because it concerns their future.

He said the groups after the meeting made a resolution suggesting that the reconstruction should be put on hold until proper consultation is done with them and other critical stakeholders.

According to the CAN Chairman, “After our meeting, we came to a conclusion that government should go and redress this situation and look into our concerns until our fears are being addressed”.

“We (The groups) call on Plateau people to be kind enough to give us the benefit of doubt, that we have their interest at heart and will not allow anything to happen to them”.

Chairman CAN Youth Wing, Mr Markus Audu Kanda, said their consultations with government was very important because indeed, there had been gaps and trust deficits between the government and the people regarding the contract.

He however said the meeting had availed the groups the opportunity to listen to government and have an insight into the Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) between the State Government and JAIZ Bank, while the youths also gave their position to the government on their thoughts and concerns.

“We believe that the 40 years we are talking about is the time period of the youth of today, and if such decisions are taken with no inputs from the youths, then we believe it is not fair and good to us”

“Therefore we have suggested that what government is planning concerning the market reconstruction should be suspended until we are able to engage and educate people properly so that we can be on the same page, and agree holistically as people of Plateau state on the way forward” said the Youth Leader.

Plateau State Attorney General Chrysanthus Ahmadu, a Government representative and spokesman at the forum expressed concern that Plateau people have been misinformed on the reconstruction contract.

He said the 40 years term indicated in the contract is the sub-lease for the buyers, to help them recoup from buying the shops.  Ahmadu said the agreement is that the allotees will be granted a 40 years sub lease by the Jos Main Market Authority at the end of 40 years after which the property reverts back to the market authority.  “So if you are buying a shop know that you are buying for 40 years , it is not Jaiz bank to be given 40 years”.

“Jaiz bank is just a financier, it is putting money for the contractor to do the job , and at the end of it, they will sell 60 per cent while government will sell 40 per cent“, he stated.

While assuring Plateau people of fairness and equity in the sale of the shops, he added that the people should be rest assured and put their mind at ease because even the 60 percent to be sold by Jaiz bank would be adequately supervised by government to guarantee fairness.

He disclosed that government was still discussing with the bank and no conclusion had been made, however an understanding had been reached on how the market reconstruction contract wouldst be reached.

The Government spokesman however added that the Governor Simon Bako Lalong led government is proactive and has listened to the concerns raised by the stakeholders promising to table the issues being raised by the Coalition for further discussions.

The General Manager of Plateau Investment and Property Development Company (PIPC, Mr. Chris  Yilzak who also described the meeting as a very positive consultation also disclosed to newsmen that the MOU between Government and JAIZ Bank had not yet been signed.

He however said the concerns of the people are genuine assuring that the interest of Plateau People had been at the forefront of the contract to make them benefit economically from the deal.





























































Bauchi records Monkeypox outbreak, no cause for alarm –Rilwanu

The Executive Chairman Bauchi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Rilwanu Mohammed, has announced the outbreak of monkeypox in the state.

Dr. Rilwanu made the disclosure while speaking with Journalists recently in Anguwan Galadima, Tirwun shortly after flagging off OBR for the month of July.

“Yes, there is an outbreak of monkeypox in Bauchi, one person has been diagnosed with the disease while 2 others are still under close observation, as suspects of the disease for now”

“The victim is not from Bauchi State, he came from Adamawa State, he is presently receiving medical management at one of the facilities. We will not allow him to go until we are satisfied with his condition”.

“Unlike Cholera where you have to wait for about 15 cases before you declare an outbreak, with just one confirmed case, you can declare an outbreak of monkeypox” Rilwanu explained.

He assured that his Agency in collaboration with other stakeholders in healthcare delivery services are working round the clock to ensure that the disease did not spread beyond what it is at present.

“Our surveillance has been reinvigorated to ensure that suspected cases are immediately dealt with. Bauchi State is a gateway to the North-East subregion, we are therefore at alert to ensure that no suspected case of monkeypox goes unnoticed” He added

The Chairman of the agency appealed to the people to immediately report to the nearest health facility any symptoms of the disease for effective medical management which he said the disease requires for now.

He explained that symptoms of monkeypox, includes Fever; Headache;

Muscle aches and backache; Swollen lymph nodes; Chills and Exhaustion.

Adding that respiratory symptoms such as sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough are some of the symptoms while rashes,pimples or blisters that appear on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.



























































NGO caution youths against electoral violence, intolerance

Community Initiatives to Promote Peace (CIPP), a Non- Governmental Organisation (NGO), has cautioned youths against electoral violence and intolerance to maintain peace in communities during the 2023 general elections.

Mrs Bola Nelson, Coordinator of CIPP, gave the advice at a one-day workshop organised in conjunction with USAID, Mercy Corps and Youths Critical Discussion, parents and youths from Adankolo community and religious leaders in Lokoja.

Nelson said parents, community and religious leaders played vital roles in moulding the hearts and attitudes of our teaming youths for a peaceful society.

“Electoral violence is one of the major catalysts of crises and destruction of lives and property in our communities. And we felt we should start tackling it with seriousness now that we are in the season of elections.

“We expect the participants of our programme to be good ambassadors, who will stand for peace and speak peace to their wards, families, neighbours, communities and organisations.

“We expect them to go and educate our youths not to allow themselves to be used by bad elements or politicians to disrupt the peace of our communities before, during and after elections,” she said.

Nelson also called on parents and religious leaders as ambassadors, to caution youths against hate speeches, rumour mongering, fake news and temperament.

“Discipline is key towards maintaining peaceful communities for the desired economic growth and development,” she said.

A resource person, Mrs Esther Perter-Sanda, said that the role of parents in the upbringing of children could not be over emphasised, given its importance to a peaceful society.

Perter-Sanda said that in a family, there were differences just as in politics, especially in choice of political parties or candidates.

She said once there was respect and tolerance, peace would reign supreme in that home and community.





















PLHA happy with pace of work at British-America

THE Plateau State House of Assembly (PLHA) has expressed satisfaction with the pace and level of construction work at the fly-over bridge along British America junction.

Chairman of the House Committee on Works and Transportation who is also the member representing Bokkos constituency, Hon. Amurudu Usaini made the disclosure recently as he led other members on an oversight visit to the site.

Speaking on his general assessment of what he saw on ground, Amurudu on behalf of the state assembly said he was impressed with the level of work which he described as about fifty percent completion.

He was however, quick to warn the construction company handling the project to keep to the agreed stipulated time of completion which is by the end of December, 2022.

According to him, tax payers monies have been committed towards the actualisation of this project by the state government and it was only wise for Plateau people to enjoy the benefits of their money.

Earlier, the Project Manager and Director Civil Engineering in the state Ministry of Works, Engr. Beedee Bot while taking the committee round the construction site explained the various scope of work and the current stage which he said is at the super structure.

He disclosed that the other scope of works remaining were the retaining walls on both sides, concrete works, hard work, pavement and surfacing etc while the casting of the main bridge was ongoing, adding that in the next ten days work would commence on the drainages and the other side of the fly over.

Also speaking, the Project Manager Cranebury Construction, the company handling the work, Engr. Dani Mansour assured that all work would be completed and handed to the state government by the end of December this year.

On challenges faced, especially regarding making funds available which might hinder the completion of work on time, he disclosed that there was none except for the rains which of course cannot be handled but promised to  find ways of working around it.

Other committee members present included Hon. Timothy Dantong, Hon. Pirfa Tyem, Hon. Ezra Dakup, Hon. Gwottson Dalyop and Hon. Mohammed Ballo who made certain observations which were noted.






Plateau, South African company to invest in agribusiness

Plateau State Government and a South African company Wellington and White have agreed to invest in agribusiness in the state.

This was disclosed when the State Governor Simon BakoLalong receive the Managing Director Mr. Ian White and his team Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at Government House, Rayfield, Jos.

White said Plateau has alot of agric potentials and a fertile soil where anything can grow that is why his organisation took the opportunities partner with the state and explore its agribusiness potentials.

He said his company, based in South Africa has worked in Kenya and other countries adding that they are identifying the produce crops in the country to get them to commercial levels and remove the middle man to enable the growers gain more from their farm produce.

“The purpose of our visit is to identify what facilities are available, and the number of crops to start with. We will start with flowers, tomatoes and pepper, produce enough, train a management team to expand to other projects, make a name and brand including export opportunities”.

“We can do this job and take away lots of imports from Nigeria like tomato paste”, saying most of the tomato paste consumed in the country comes from China”.

Ian also said the project will engage extension services, right soil, right fertilisers, agronomists, extension workers, and will create many opportunities and it will be built over a span of 10 years which can attract international investors to the state.

Responding, Governor Lalong expressed great interest in the team and their proposed investment plan in his state.

He promised to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive with infrastructures like the dry inland port, and through enhancing a peaceful environment.

He also assured the visiting team that through the Plateau Investment and Property Company (PIPC), the body championing the project, his administration will facilitate and guarantee their investment in Plateau.

Speaking earlier, Managing Director PIPC, Mr Chris Yilzak who led the team to government house said the two Companies are working to enhance and turn around the numerous and huge agricultural and vegetable potentials of the state into viable economic ventures.

The PIPC Boss assured that with the profile of the SA Company that has been into agribusiness for over 30 years in South Africa, the project will create job opportunities, and a viable economic industry in Plateau State.

Plateau State Governor, Rt Hon. Simon BakoLalong, Mr. White from Wellington and White, South Africa, Managing Director, PIPC, Mr. ChryYilzak, Government officials and others in a group photograph after their visit yesterday at the new Government House Rayfield, Jos


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