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Assessing our democracy

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By KENNETH DARENG

SINCE the return to civilian rule in 1999, Nigeria’s democratic journey has been marked by disappointment and frustration. Despite the transition from military rule, the country’s democratic progress has been hindered by poor leadership, corruption, and electoral malpractices. As Nigeria commemorates 25 years of democratic rule, it is essential to reflect on the gains and challenges of the country’s democratic journey.

Nigeria’s current democratic journey began in 1999, after years of military rule. The country’s transition to democracy was marked by high hopes and expectations, with many Nigerians believing that democracy would bring about economic prosperity, political stability, and good governance. However, 25 years later, Nigeria’s democratic journey has been marked by disappointment and frustration.

One of the significant challenges facing Nigeria’s democracy is poor leadership. The country has been plagued by leaders who prioritize their interests over the needs of the people. This has led to a disconnect between the political class and the masses, with politicians focusing on enriching themselves rather than addressing the country’s economic and social challenges.

Corruption is another significant challenge facing Nigeria’s democracy. The country has been ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, with corruption permeating all levels of government and society. Corruption has undermined Nigeria’s economic development, with billions of dollars lost to corrupt practices each year.

Electoral malpractices are also a significant challenge facing Nigeria’s democracy. The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has been accused of bias and incompetence, with elections often marred by violence, fraud, and irregularities. This has led to a lack of confidence in the electoral process, with many Nigerians believing that elections are rigged in favor of the ruling party.

Despite these challenges, Nigeria has made some progress in its democratic journey. The country has held six successful elections since 1999, with power transferring peacefully from one civilian government to another. Nigeria has also made significant progress in areas such as infrastructure development, with the country’s economy growing at an average rate of 7% per year over the past decade.

However, despite these gains, Nigeria’s democratic journey is still facing significant challenges. The country’s economy is still largely dependent on oil, with the country vulnerable to fluctuations in global oil prices. Nigeria’s infrastructure is also still underdeveloped, with the country facing significant challenges in areas such as power generation, transportation, and healthcare.

To address these challenges, Nigeria needs transformative leaders who can drive economic growth and development. The country needs leaders who are committed to good governance, accountability, and transparency. Nigeria also needs to strengthen its democratic institutions, including the electoral commission and the judiciary, to ensure that they are independent and impartial.

Nigeria can learn from other countries that have achieved significant economic progress despite not being democracies. Singapore, for example, has achieved significant economic progress under an authoritarian government, with the country’s economy growing at an average rate of 10% per year over the past decade. China has also achieved significant economic progress, with the country’s economy growing at an average rate of 10% per year over the past decade.

However, Nigeria’s democratic journey is not just about economic progress. It is also about political stability, good governance, and human rights. Nigeria needs to ensure that its democratic institutions are strong and independent, with the country’s leaders committed to accountability and transparency.

Nigeria’s democratic journey has been marked by disappointment and frustration. However, the country has made some progress in areas such as infrastructure development and economic growth. To address the challenges facing its democratic journey, Nigeria needs transformative leaders who can drive economic growth and development, strengthen democratic institutions, and ensure accountability and transparency. With the right leadership and policies, Nigeria can achieve significant economic progress and become a beacon of democracy in Africa.

Arising from the above submissions, this writer suggests the following measures as a way of strengthening our democracy:

Electing transformative leaders who can drive economic growth and development; strengthening democratic institutions and ensuring the independence of the judiciary and INEC; and improving electoral management and ensuring free and fair elections.

Others include addressing corruption and ensuring accountability in government; prioritizing the needs of the masses over the interests of politicians; encouraging foreign investment and improving health, education, and social welfare services; diversifying the economy and industrializing the country; and providing a roadmap for long-term development and economic growth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 12 and Nigeria’s democracy journey

By VICTOR ALI

JUNE 12, 1993, will ever remain indelible in the minds of Nigerians and in the annals of the country’s political history. That day and date connote the historic decision of Nigerians, particularly voters, to decisively vote for leaders of their choice. Nigerians, irrespective of religion, region and tribe, overwhelmingly voted the late business mogul, philanthropist and politician, the presidential candidate of the then Social Democratic Party (SDP), Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, popularly known as M. K.O Abiola, alongside his running mate, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe.

There are lots of significance in that milestone election. Though Chief M. K. O Abiola was from the southern part of the country, the northern electorate massively voted him despite the fact that one of their own, the candidate of the National Republican Convention (NRC), Alhaji Bashir Tofa, was also in the presidential race. That was in an era where regional politics was the norm rather than the exception.

It can also be said that, in that same election, religion played a near-insignificant role in voters’ decision. Lest we forget, both M.K.O Abiola and Babagana Kingibe are Muslim faithful. Apparently, Nigerian voters were never concerned about the Muslim-Muslim ticket which turned out to be the first time such a combination triumphed. What happened? Simply, Nigeria was still at its innocence!

Recall that, right from the First Republic up to the several years of military interregnum, the religious balancing act had always held sway. There had always been an unwritten understanding amongst Nigerian politicians and the military usurpers that there should always be a Christian/Muslim sharing formula as far as the topmost positions are concerned.

For instance, during the First Republic when Nigeria was practicing the British-styled of parliamentary system, while Alhaji Tafawa Balewa (a Muslim) was the Prime Minister, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe (a Christian) was the president while the regions were headed by premiers.

For students of political history and military coups and counter-coups, the military apparatchik also applied that same balancing act, except for General Muhammadu Buhari (1983-1985) whose second-in-command was the late Brigadier Tunde Idiagbon.  Not only were both of them Muslims, there were also from the northern part of the country. It was therefore intriguing that the June 12, 1993 election, midwifed and supervised by the Minna-born, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) came to naught.

Despite the fact that the election was declared as one of the freest in the political history of the country by both national and international observers, the self-styled Military President heinously and devilishly annulled the election to the consternation of Nigerians. And, as if to add salt to injury, no tangible reason was given for that satanic act.

As a result of the agitations that broke out in support of the restoration of Abiola’s agenda, many activists who participated were hounded by the military dictatorship. Some of them, including the current Nigerian President, Bola Tinubu, had to flee the shores of this country abroad and formed the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) as a front to fight the military and restore democracy.

While some of the pro-democracy activists were lucky to come out alive, others were simply murdered in cold blood. The late Kudirat Abiola and Chief Alfred Rewani, amongst several others, became victims of the military high command’s unbridled lust for power. Thus, it was very obvious that the military never intended to abdicate power which, by the way, they had forcibly seized.

Nonetheless, as the local forces of democracy and the international community persistently and consistently mounted pressure on the military for a return to democratic governance, especially after the demise of the Kanuri-born dictator, General Sani Ababch, the military top brass needed no crystal ball to know that their time was up – despite all of their political chicanery.

Surprisingly, the military began a process of self-soul searching. Little wonder, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, who had taken over the mantle of leadership from the late General Sani Abacha, wasted no time in rolling out his own transition programme which culminated in the return to democracy on May 1999. It could be said with some measure of certainty that the General Abdulsalami Abubkar transition to civilian rule programme was the shortest in the nation’s political history. Nevertheless, it is to his credit that he was able to deliver.

Since then, it’s been twenty-five years of uninterrupted democratic rule in Nigeria. But even then, is there any cause for celebration? To my mind, the answer is both in the affirmative and negative.

From May 29, 1999, when Chief Olusegun Obasanjo became the biggest beneficiary of the struggle for the restoration of the June 12 mandate, to the present moment with Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu in the saddle, there is no denying the fact that there have been some hiccups here and there regarding our democratic principles, ethics and practices. Little wonder, at twenty-five, Nigerian politicians are still quick to say that ours is still a nascent democracy. They insist that we are still in the learning process.

In view of the obvious challenges the country has faced in these twenty-five years of its democratic journey, it must be said that there is no perfect democracy anywhere in the world. Not even in the United States of America (USA). But it must be pointed out that most of Nigeria’s democratic challenges are self-induced and, of course, by politicians. Lack of internal party democratic mechanisms (such as compromised party primaries and conventions), electoral fraud and judicial fraud, amongst others, have been the bane of Nigeria’s democracy these twenty-five years.

Nigerian politicians do not want to play the game according to the rules. Manipulation and imposition of candidates, rigging, thuggery, etc, have become their regular trademarks (as the legendary Fela would say). The politicians continue to deceive the electorate about giving them the dividends of democracy. As a result, Nigerians have naturally become despondent, hopeless, helpless and, most significantly, suspicious of the political class. As a result, Nigerians are beginning to ask: Is this democratic journey worth the trouble?

Through its Renewed Hope Agenda, the President Tinubu administration must be on the fast lane towards ameliorating and fixing Nigeria’s myriads of problems. The June 12 struggle (in which quite a number of innocent Nigerians lost their lives) must not be in vain. The mounting problems confronting Nigeria as it celebrates the last twenty-five years of this democratic journey may seem daunting. But, certainly, they are not insurmountable.

But where did we get it wrong? Writing in THE NIGERIA STANDARD (June 5, 2024), Jibrin Ibrahim, a professor of Political Science and Development, noted that, “party conventions become occasions at which governors and godfathers simply impose candidates of their choice, rather than people voted for by members and delegates. Their lack of internal party democracy weakens the internal coherence of most political parties and creates a situation in which the judiciary becomes the arbiter of who the candidates are, rather than the delegates.

“If Nigerians are losing hope in democracy, they are not the only ones. In April, the findings of an internal IDEA survey revealed that voters in 19 centuries, including three of the world’s largest democracies and three African countries, believe their political choices don’t matter and so they prefer a strong, undemocratic leader. The report concludes that democratic institutions are falling short of people’s expectations.”

Today, as Nigeria and Nigerians commemorate thirty-one years of that historic June 12 election, there is need for a moment of sober reflection. We as a people must pause to ponder. Having noticed some of the teething problems in this democracy journey, what is to be done? It must be clearly pointed out that June 12 and the return to democracy are Siamese twins – the former gave birth to the latter.

No doubt, Nigeria’s democracy must be properly nurtured and cautiously sustained. Nobody is in a better position to carry out this task than the present occupant of Aso Rock, President Ahmed Bola Tinubu. His struggle for the restoration of the June 12 mandate, his fleeing into exile and activities within the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) place this responsibility on him. Good governance, respect for the rule of law and fighting that hydra-headed monster – corruption – are panacea for a better, just and prosperous society.

As we mark June 12, rechristened ‘Democracy Day’, our democracy is still work in progress as a lot still needs to be done. Nigerians look forward to a just, egalitarian and prosperous nation. With a genuine political will, these are all achievable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National troupe lights up Kano

By FWENJI GO’AR

THE National Troupe of Nigeria (NTN), led by Artistic Director and Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Kaltume Bulama Gana, in collaboration with Moving Images Limited, recently made a powerful debut in Kano City where it staged the dance drama “Akwai Mafita” (Keeping Hope Alive) at the Coronation Hall of the Kano State Government House.

The Kano State Governor showed strong support by sending his Chief of Staff to represent him and the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, who played a crucial role in securing the venue.

In a press statement, the troupe stated that “Akwai Mafita” was more than just a performance as it was also a call to action, adding that the was aimed at raising awareness about the Nigerian government’s “Renewed Hope” agenda through dramatic storytelling, inspiring optimism amidst the challenges facing Nigerians.

The statement further explained that “Drama has a unique ability to connect with audiences on an emotional level, fostering empathy and understanding of complex issues. ‘Akwai Mafita’ exemplifies this perfectly, showcasing the struggles and triumphs of characters facing adversity. The play inspires viewers to find strength and work towards a brighter future, making it a powerful tool for advocacy.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accede to labour demands – Analyst

From AMEDU JOSEPH, Lokoja

A political analyst, Dr. Salisu Usman, has called on President Bola Tinubu to accede to the demands of the organised labour on minimum wage without further delay.

Usman said this in an interview with our correspondent on the sidelines of the activities to mark Tinubu’s one year in office.

He said that one of the most effective ways to cushion the hardships facing Nigerians was to comply with the demands of labour for a minimum wage that can meet their basic needs.

Furthermore, he urged the government to ensure the quick realisation of an acceptable and sustainable living wage for Nigerian workers to reduce the hardships caused by the fuel subsidy removal.

“Once an acceptable and sustainable living wage is implemented, the people will be relieved of the current economic hardships and it will reduce poverty rate in the land.

“Tinubu should without further delay accede to the demands of the organised labour and stop the front and back movement on the minimum wage negotiation, because it is long overdue.

“Doing that will be counted for him as part of his welfare package for Nigerians and the labour force. I believe Tinubu is a strategist and he has the capacity to do that,” Usman said.

He emphasised the need to ensure the implementation of a living wage that would reduce poverty.

He disclosed that the removal of fuel subsidy was a miscalculated action that had brought untold hardships to Nigerians.

“I consider that pronouncement as an avoidable step that should have been better managed to reduce hardships on Nigerians,” he noted.

Muftwang, Obaseki, others celebrate new monarch

From VICTOR GAI, Jalingo

PLATEAU State Governor, Caleb Mutfwang, and his Edo State counterpart, Godwin Obaseki, recently joined Governor Agbu Kefas to celebrate the installation of Barrister Sofiya Gboshi as the first class chief of Takum.

The occasion took place in Takum, the headquarters of Takum Local Government Area, to herald the restoration of the stool which was last occupied 28 years ago.

Obaseki, who was the Special Guest of Honour, praised the beauty of Taraba State, its vast land and rivers and described the state as a “paradise.”

According to him, now that the chieftaincy matter had been resolved “I have no doubt that there would be progress.”

Governor Mutfwang said a prayer for the land 

 In his remarks, former Taraba State governor, Rev. Jolly Nyame, said that Taraba people could be so “notorious” in asking for a king and appealed to the governor to consider the other ethnic groups yearning for kings.

In the same vein, former governor of Plateau State, Senator Jonah Jang, reiterated the need for peace in the Middle Belt which, according to him, could only be possible if there is unity among the various peoples of the region.

According to him, when the people are united, they would be able to “protect the land.”

He appealed to the governors in the Middle Belt to take steps towards the realization of state police.

Elder statesman and former Minister of Defence, Gen. T. Y. Danjuma (rtd.) saluted Governor Kefas for “breaking the jinx that was cast in Takum for nearly 30 years.”

While tasking Takum people to help “us to develop our town by going to school”, he promised to open vocational schools in the state in collaboration with German partners and urged the people to take advantage of the institutions.

In his speech, Governor Agbu Kefas, while quoting from Ecclesiastes chapter 3, declared that there was a season for everything.

He assured that his commitment to fairness would bring a spirit of unity and peace in Takum and acknowledged the rights of other ruling houses to the chieftaincy stool.

The governor announced the launching of an endowment fund for the development of Takum and other areas affected by crises and urged individuals and groups to contribute.

The Chief of Takum, Barrister Sofiya Gboshi, in a goodwill message called on his subjects to join hands and “build our homes.”

While noting that disunity does not bring development, he stated that his main goal was to enhance the security of his chiefdom.

 

 

Tin City metro buses begin operations

By PETER TITLE

The long awaited Tin City Urban Transportation Metro Buses purchased by the Plateau State Government was commissioned yesterday to begin transporting people within the Jos-Bukuru metropolis which was witnessed by well wishers from all walks of life.

Performing the function at the premises of the Chapel of Grace, Government House, Rayfield, Governor Mutfwang explained that the initiative was the product of the unwavering commitment to improving the lives of the people.

According to him, the state government procured 15 state-of-the-art MAN Diesel buses, a move aimed at mitigating the costs of intra-city travel as well as providing a respite from the daily transportation challenges facing commuters.

“These buses are not mere vehicles, they are mobile hubs of innovation, equipped with latest amenities such as Near Field Communication(NFC) and Secure Card Payment System. We are ushering in an era of digitized travel, aligning with global shift towards cashless transactions for the convenience of our passengers,” Mutfwang stated.

He disclosed that the Tin City Metro Urban Transportation Project Initiative was not only a transportation project but a catalyst for community development, assuring that the it was expected to generate between 500 to 1000 job opportunities that would fuel economic growth and foster development across the state.

The Plateau State Commissioner for Transport, Davou Gyang Jatau, commended the governor for providing the buses, noting that it would lessen the hardships being faced by the generality of the populace in the area of transportation.

He revealed that soon, railway services would commence transporting goods and services to complimented the bus services, adding that the state government had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) in that regard.

On his own part, the General Manager, Plateau Express Services Limited (PES), Mr. Samuel Gwot lauded the efforts of the governor as he had brought back the transportation system that had long been forgotten.

He assured that the buses would be adequately maitianed so that they would last long and whoever was found wanting in the discharge of their duties would not be spared.

Good-will messages came from the former governor of the state, Senator Jonah David Jang, Chief Judge of the state, Justice David Mann, Speaker, House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Gabriel Dewan, and the Gbong Gwom Jos, Da Jacob Gyang Buba.

Governor Mutfwang later took a ride in one of the buses from Rayfield to the Terminus terminal and back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mutfwang unveils e-governance platform

By PETER TITLE

PLATEAU State Governor, Caleb Mutfwang, has unveiled the Plateau State e-Governance Platform, aimed at fostering transparent, efficient and accountable governance.

In a message during the inauguration of the platform on Monday, the governor emphasized its role in promoting citizen-government interaction, saying that the gesture was courtesy Mr. Hephzibah Integrated Technologies Ltd.

According to Mutfwang, the platform, which is accessible via the tol l-free line (08000005555) and http://egov.plateaustate.gov. ng/, allows citizens to provide feedback, request for services and engage with government agencies, thereby contributing to the administration’s effectiveness.

He encouraged the public to utilize the hub to engage meaningfully with the government and offer information, opinions on policies and inquiries on service offering from MDAs while receiving timely feedback.

Enumerating the benefits of the platform, Governor Mutfwang highlighted increased efficiency, convenience, transparency, accountability, improved communication, engagement and cost-saving for Plateau citizens.

Operated under the Plateau State Information and Communication Technology Development Agency (PICTDA), led by the Director General, Mr. Datong Dominic, the platform, according to him, was a critical tool for enhancing efficiency, transparency, and accessibility to government services.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PLASU debunks killing of 20 students, says it’s rumour

Authorities of the Plateau State University, PLASU, Bokkos, have debunked rumours making the rounds that more than 20 of its students were killed by suspected Fulani terrorists.

Instead, it said only two students lost their lives in the incident when the marauders attacked Chikiam, a community close to the institution Thursday night leading to the death of Dating James Jordan, a 200 level Computer Science student and Armen Fompun, a 300 level Sociology undergraduate.

Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Shedrach Best, made the clarification while speaking with THE NIGERIA STANDARD in his office, Monday, shortly after a management meeting to review the security situation around the university community.

According to Best, “This problem did not begin inside the university campus. It started outside. Suspected herders came to kill people in the surrounding community and they killed three people on that fateful night. One of them was a student of the university who was reading his books preparing for his examination was gunned down by these marauders and merchants of death. So the following morning, students who had access to the dead body of their colleague took to the university and began to protest. That event of evacuating the corpse into the University that exported the problem into the University and sadly, it went violent,” he explained.

Our correspondent reports that the angry students destroyed some property at the institution’s Senate building.

Findings on the nexus between what took place outside the campus and the students’ action showed that this might not be unconnected with the bad elements among them – students who wanted to stop the examination because they had not paid their fees.

The university had earlier announced a suspension of the first semester examination and closure of institution for 10 days with effect from April 19, 2024, to allow the security situation improve and lessen the human risk on the university community.

The examination is to resume on Thursday May 2, 2024.

The VC further explained: “Overall, we have lost two students from that fracas, four were injured, one has been discharged and three are still being managed. We have decided to meet as management today to review what happened. The decision we took last week to close the university and suspend the examination was very necessary because we could not guarantee the safety of students.”

He said that they would continue to engage in series of consultations and discussions with security agencies, staff and students as well as the neighbouring communities to rebuild confidence and make the campus comfortable for the students.

“It was neither the fault of the university nor the government as there was sufficient security provision but you know those marauders, when they come in the cloud of the night, you can never tell what they are planning. So, all of us are victims of a wicked intention of a people who take pride in killing other citizens like we witnessed,” he said.

The VC said that there was a good number of security personnel on ground to patrol the university together with the one they had before the crisis as well as their internal security.

He disclosed that measures were being taken to address the issue of open grazing by herders within the university, which had been a recurring decimal.

The said the problem had been with PLASU since inception, adding that they were determined to address it by interfacing with their neighbours to discourage the Fulani herdsmen from grazing within the university after undermining some perimeter fences to enable them gain entry into the campus.

The Chief Security Officer of the University, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Danladi Mashat, (Rtd), who corroborated the Vice Chancellor, said that the university lost two students in the Fulani terrorists’ attack on Chikiam.

ACP Mashat described as untrue the insinuations in some quarters that more than two students were killed during the attack.

He assured that the institution would continue to put adequate security measures in place to protect lives of students and the entire university community.

Our correspondent gathered that the latest attack on Chikiam community was as a result of misunderstanding following the destruction of a pepper farm belonging to one Mr. Kuba Maren Mbwas, a resident of the community.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a resident of the area said that since the 2023 Christmas Eve attack on Chikiam and Butura Kampani communities and that of January 17, 2024, the rampaging Fulani terrorists had been destroying their farms with impunity.

He disclosed the latest attack of Thursday, April 17, 2024, was launched at about 9 PM after their attack on Butura Kampani was foiled by a stiff resistance from the community, forcing the assailants to turn their attention on Chikiam where they killed three people, including a student.

Attempts to speak with the President of the Students’ Union Government, Mr. Gomos Timothy, proved abortive as he neither picked his phone nor return calls up till the time of filing this report.

 

PLASU loses student in attack

By HOSEA NYAMLONG 

 

THE Plateau State University community woke up to the sad news of another attack on Chikiam, a community close to the institution, recently.

According to a statement by the Registrar, Mr. Yakubu F. Ayuba, the sad event led to the loss of a 200-level Computer Science student residing in Chikiam, Dating James Jordan.

The statement added that the unfortunate accident happened despite the relentless efforts of the Plateau State Government, security agencies, management of the university and other stakeholders to improve the security situation on the campus and the surrounding communities.

Despite all of these, according to the Registrar, the enemies of the university and the state perpetrated “this dastardly attack, leading to the loss of our dear student.

“The Vice-Chancellor and the entire management conveyed their condolences to the family of the deceased, the student body, and the university community.”

He added that following the sad development, management had decided on a two-day mourning period from Friday, April 19 to Saturday, April 20, 2024.

“Accordingly, all the examinations earlier scheduled for Friday 19 and Saturday 20 April 2024, are hereby suspended,” he stated.

The statement cautioned students against taking the law into their hands and urged them to remain calm and law-abiding.

“We wish to call on the security agencies to beef up security around the university to secure staff and students, as well as look into other ways of making the university more secure,” the statement said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team Mangu clinches Plateau State Governor’s Cup

From PETER TITLE AND ANDRE BISYIT, Mangu

TEAM Mangu of Mangu Local Government Area, LGA, of Plateau State last Saturday lifted the 2023 Governor’s Cup, defeating Team Jos North Local Government Council by a lone goal.

The finals, which was played at the Mangu Mini Stadium under a heavy downpour, saw Team Mangu scoring the lone goal during the first half of play under the watchful eyes of dignitaries from all walks of lives.

Determined to equalize during the second half, the Jos North team mounted pressure but were not lucky as the game ended 1-0 in favour of Team Mangu.

Presenting the trophy to the winners, Governor Caleb Mutfwang commended the local governments for participating in the showdown, saying hidden talents had been discovered.

He urged all teams to see Plateau as the ultimate winner of the competition, promising that next year’s edition would be better in all facets.

While observing a minute’s silence in honour of the innocent people recently killed in parts of Mangu and Bokkos LGAs, Governor Mutfwang promised to improve and build more sporting facilities in the state.

He splashed the winners with N3 million while each player was promised 10 bags of fertilizer, Team Jos North, who emerged second, received N2 million and five bags of fertilizer for each player, and Team Shendam, who placed third, went home with N1.5 million with three bags of fertilizer for each player.

Hon Suleiman Yahaya Kwande, Chairman, Plateau State Football Association, PFA, expressed gratitude to Governor Mutfwang for giving them the support to succeed.

He maintained that even though they were elected only six months ago, they had been working tirelessly to fulfill their vision and mission of building a sustainable football culture for the state.

He stressed that the venue of the final was conceived even before the knock-out stages in fulfillment of their promise of taking football to the grassroots and to also let the whole world know that peace had returned to the Mangu LGA.

He further disclosed that they had organised series of youth development programmes, including the Plateau State Under-13, 15 and 17 football tournaments, both for males and females, the Speaker’s Cup and the ALGON Cup, amongst others, and commended Governor Mutfwang’s pragmatic leadership style which had resulted in series of infrastructural development.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fifty two years: Story of The Nigeria Standard

A providential state visit from the South had exposed the political underbelly of the North. But it was more than that. It was also the beginning of a story that has hardly changed in the general run of the Nigerian odyssey. It is the story of the struggle for identity and how it found a voice to express itself. WULIME GOYIT writes.

The Nigeria Standard came from the impulse of one man. But by the time it took its form, it had become the standard bearer of the vision around which the aspirations of the people were molded.  Conceived in a moment of exasperation, it rolled off the press in haste, just a few months after former Governor JD Gomwalk had seen off the then Mid-West State Governor, Col. Samuel Ogbemudia who had visited him. A snobbish treatment of the visit by the northern-owned newspaper, New Nigerian was the spark that ignited the flurry of activities leading to the establishment of the paper.

Coming when it did, against the odds that it faced, the birth of The Nigeria Standard spoke of the urgency of the issues for which it came; for the presence and place of the country’s minority groups under the federal system; and for the unification of the hotchpotch of Nigeria’s ethnic nationalities for the greater good.

The newspaper set out its mission as follows:

“Today, we join the growing family of the nation’s news media. And we dedicate ourselves to the service of helping to build a strong and virile press that will enhance the enlightenment of our people, promote better understanding and ethnic harmony among the various groups that make up this great country and contribute to the economic advancement of and political stability of our country.

“In carrying out our sacred duty of moulding public opinion, we shall not allow selfish motives or sectional interest to becloud our sense of national duty. We are born at a momentous period in the history of our country, a time when the Federal and state governments have embarked on gigantic programmes aimed at building a solid foundation for economic take-off and political stability.

“We owe it a duty not only to support the effort of the governments in this regard, but also to create a favorable atmosphere in which the people will continue to cooperate with government in their task of nation-building. We can only do this if truth, objectivity and fair play form the cardinal principles of reports and comments.

“For the benefit of the government and the governed, we will always offer constructive criticisms and maintain a virile editorial policy within the limits of the law. We will advise, implore, exhort, explain and criticize whenever necessary, without fear or favor.

“And as a vehicle of information, we will also undertake to interpret correctly government policies and measures to the people and relay the people’s reactions and views on such measures back to the government for its guidance. As one of the national couriers of news and views, our principal political objective is to play up all the factors that contribute towards the promotion of unity and trample on those that tend to kindle narrow nationalism, parochialism, and selfish tribal interests which are not only the symbols of disunity, but are capable of frustrating a nation’s hope for a more progressive endeavor.

“Our task to the nation is difficult. But our ability to perform it satisfactorily will depend entirely on the amount of co-operation which we receive from you. We therefore appeal to all of you not only to co-operate with us but to patronize us in order to make The Nigeria Standard a success.”

The newspaper was on the newsstands for the first time on July 8, 1972, decreed into life by Governor Gomwalk via Edict No. 6 of 1972, containing that editorial that set the tone for the pursuit of its grand ambitions.

Simple but assertive, confident but not condescending, the newspaper proclaimed its mission with the force of its convictions, and followed same with equal intensity. From the press of The Nigerian Observer newspaper in Benin, Mid-West State, production of The Nigeria Standard newspaper moved to Jos two years later, in 1974. It was said to be a dreary start as a former editor of the paper, Dan Agbese describes it in the book, JD Gomwalk: A man of vison. Dan Agbese says, “we did not just work, we plodded. Everything was set up for maximum mental and physical punishment. It fell to the Government Printer to produce the newspaper. But it was done manually. This meant that every word was hand composed with the compositors picking individual letters from trays containing various typefaces…the agony was unbearable. We had no respite, we had the Printing Press to contend with too. It was a small letter press with its technology anchored in the 18th Century.”

With the production machine only suited for the preceding generation of newspapering, with limited circulation of the paper and lacking in timeliness, it was indeed morning yet on creation day. Still, over time, The Nigeria Standard has provided the voice it set out to provide for sections of the society whose voices are hardly heard in the noisy clamour for resources and recognition.

Coming on stream when it did, The Nigeria Standard became the 6th oldest newspaper in the country and the second oldest in the North after the New Nigerian. But it is renowned for higher duties for the country than for its long life in the print media world. As it evolved into the behemoth that it became on the media space, it branched out into other publications designed to meet peculiar needs. The Sunday Standard, The Nigeria Standard on Saturday, Yancin Dan Adam and The Rock magazine, all came at different times in the heyday of the newspaper.

Buoyed by its popularity and wide circulation, the newspaper attained heights that tend to belie its fortunes in later years. It is on record that even foreign governments, including the governments of the United States of America and the Soviet Union at some time invited an editor of the paper, Gideon Barde for visits to their countries. History also records that sometime during the Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo military regime, The Nigeria Standard was among the accredited media outfits on the entourage of the then Head of State when he visited The Gambia and Liberia.

But The Nigeria Standard’s years of relative stability and progress, like other media of the 1980s and 1990s, would be troubled by the increasing arrogance and unrestrained ambition of a military class that had apparently lost sight of its primary mission. The Nigeria Standard, however, never abdicated its watch-dog calling, becoming more assertive in its demand for responsive and responsible leadership. In its reports and editorials, there was no let-up in the intensity of its critique of the military government, for which, reports said, it was at one time described as tending towards being a “Communist Manifesto”.

The most recognizable face of the newspaper’s radical bent was a former editor, Jonathan Ishaku whose running battles with the military junta got him fired twice in 1986/87 by the then Military Administrator of Plateau State, Col. Lawrence Onoja! And then there was the incident surrounding the famous Standard 7. These were the seven senior editors/members of the Editorial Board of the paper who had resigned their appointments following the annulment of the results of the June 12, 1993, presidential election in which Chief Moshood Abiola of the Social Democratic Party was expected to win.

The editors/Editorial Board members were Emma Gogwim, Gideon Mitu, Cyril Ogah, Harris Dawurang, Wilson Yale and Usman Abu. They had written the now legendary “This is Our Stand” editorial which demanded that the electoral process should be concluded and the winner declared. Asked by Government to retract that editorial, they stood up to the authorities and would rather quit their jobs! The seventh among them, Danjuma Abah, was of the Sub-Desk but decided to join the defiant party in solidarity!

As the military era stretched the polity to its limits, putting the media on their toes, there were concomitant economic drawbacks with serious implications for media practice. As a consequence, the fortunes of the media, among other sectors across the country began to dwindle. The glory days of The Nigeria Standard had begun to recede. From a local newspaper to a respectable national daily, the paper’s downward slide was aided by aging machines, shortage of consumables and a gradual thinning of the very good hands that took it to the very top.

When the Corporation moved its physical presence to No. 5, JD Gomwalk Road in 1975, its massive, ten-story building represented the pinnacle of its achievements, a fitting tribute to its grandiose goals. Christened Joseph Gomwalk House, after the founder of the organization, it was simply a statement on the Corporation’s gigantic ambitions and the boldness of its vision. Sharing The Nigeria Standard precincts with other key areas of innovativeness such as the Commercial Printing department, which produced the popular Cactus Exercise Books, the idea was also for more income streams for the Corporation. And while these revenue generating organs of the Corporation turned the wheels of its operations, The Nigeria Standard voice was heard in all its distinctiveness.

However, from limited circulation to a drop in the frequency of production, from being out of print to shortage of circulation vans, from the once-respectable national paper to a provincial mouthpiece, it has no doubt been a steep decline for The Nigeria Standard. As it is, the iconic JD Gomwalk House is just a shell of its old self, left in abeyance for years, serving no economic purpose. And then there are printing machines that have simply served out their time at The Nigeria Standard. Mostly outdated and virtually beyond salvation, they remain mere relics of the past. What is more, a depleting staff population, in no mood for the drudgery that is the profession, is no good news for the future of the paper. Now, are the best days of The Nigeria Standard behind it?

Somewhere in the production area of the newspaper outfit is the Goss Printing Press, which has churned out several thousand copies of the newspaper since the 1970s when it was installed. This German-made machine it was that printed the vivacious reports, seminal articles and prodigious writings that all together constitute the highpoint of The Nigeria Standard story.

But the legendary Goss now grinds slowly to an impending end. Weakened by age, it idles away as another one, the City-Line Web-Off Set, takes its place. In the midst of the despondency of the moment, this new one embodies the possibilities of the future. With the potential to re-launch the paper onto the path of greatness once again, it awaits the tonic that its own season requires.

Built in India and shipped into the country in 2014, the new press is several notches higher in its technology than anything The Nigeria Standard has ever seen. However, its advanced technology is not an end in itself. Like it was in the past, the philosophy that underpinned the establishment of the newspaper must be in the center of the plans for its rebirth.

There is no gainsaying that recruitment of staff in all departments of the corporation, training of technical personnel for the transfer of knowledge on the new machine and re-orientation of editorial staff are among the essentials for a turn-around that is being sought. But all this can only be realized in a work environment that enhances optimal performance.

Fifty years after its founding, The Nigeria Standard finds itself in the age of the internet and the New Media. Bolstered by an unwavering spirit, it has survived the vagaries of the media environment, outliving many of its kind to be the brand that it is today. For the future, for its relevance and continued survival, its new approaches must fully exploit the vast resources that the information superhighway provides. This is a key requirement of the newspaper as it seeks to reinvent itself in the new age.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NSCDC uncovers firearms manufacturing factory in Abuja

 From JIDAUNA YANUNG, Abuja   

THE Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) said it has uncovered a firearms manufacturing factory in Abuja and arrested seven suspects during the operation.

According to the corps, the suspects were manufacturing semi-automatic rifles and pistols around the National Stadium when they were arrested.

A statement in Abuja by the spokesman of the NSCDC, Babawale Afolabi, explained that the arrest followed a tip- off and a credible intelligence information.

The suspects are Amos Iyawo – 29, Jonah Manaseh – 27, Ezekiel Nannim – 20, Naifa Pandora – 26, Faith Gadang and Philemon Karam – 26.

The statement added: “From confessional statements volunteered by the suspects, we gathered that Amos Iyawo is the leader of the team and that he recruited others to participate as manufacturers of the rifles.”

Items recovered where 5 already fabricated rifles, 1 pistol, 1 unfinished rifle, 7 empty cartridges, 2 boots, rods and welding machine, among others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NGO empowers youths with skills

By JIDAUNA DARING

 OVER one hundred young people have been trained in different skills courtesy Zemmies Productions (ZP) in Plateau State.

Chief Executive Officer ZP Jos, Anita Nyelong, stated this at the “Stage Fiesta” they organized in collaboration with their business partners at Rekta Garden Jos, recently.

Nyelong said that ZP owns a skills acquisition centre that trains young people in tailoring, dance, crafts and hats, adding that ZP also runs a dance studio aimed at discovering talents amongst young people in the music industry.

She pointed out that ZP programmes are generally geared towards engaging the youth to channel their energy positively in whatever training given them.

Nyelong explained that Stage Fiesta is a platform for expression, particularly for the various artists both in music and dance.

Adding that such event is also a place of expression for the partners who collaborated with ZP to teach young people how to create their own markets. She disclosed that the importance of the event cannot be ovemphasized since it was geared towards encouraging business networking and network expression.

Maintaining that the activities of ZP, since its inception in 2018, have transformed and also changed the youths, sense of reasoning positively.

Speaking on sponsorship, Nyelong posited that the event was self-sponsored with support from their partners.

She called on government and spirited individuals to either collaborate or partner with them so as to enable ZP train more young people in different skills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WE knew crude oil before we knew ourselves as citizens of one country. That is the tragedy of Nigeria. The curse of the Black Gold hangs heavy on our necks.

Had crude oil not been discovered in Nigeria before independence, perhaps our rallying points may have turned out to be very different today.

But so far, our tortuous journey as a geo-political entity and people has been substantially defined by the struggle for the control of the wealth accruing from Nigeria’s huge oil deposits.

While other nations and countries have been shaped and tampered by their profound consciousness in shared values such as freedom and nationhood, protecting the ideals and identity of the motherland, upholding human dignity and rights of their peoples, Nigeria was built on very faulty foundations by the colonial British empire.

It was for the sole purpose of enhancing the colonizer’s commercial interests. Perhaps it was only logical for Nigeria to proceed from being a colonial trade outpost to a free country of citizens whose common goals and aspirations are the sometimes deadly struggle for the control of oil wealth.

In this atmosphere so thick with the dizzying fumes of cunning mercantilism and a back-biting urge for primitive and repulsive accumulation of oil wealth, corruption and its attendant ills are bound to abound, profusely. Our so-called nation is bound in its chaotic alliance more by the consciousness of our stupendous oil wealth than, as our national anthem seems to dubiously claim – freedom, peace and unity.

Rising poverty, brutal quest for political power and dominance, religious extremism which has bred decades of terrorism, banditry and kidnapping, spiraling inflation with no end in sight, a rising wave of unemployment and widespread discontent and disillusionment have become all too common throughout our country.

Apparently, Nigerians had of themselves seamlessly progressed and transformed from being victims of foreign exploiters to depraved shylocks locked in a perpetual battle to corner the country’s oil resources for their regions, states and families. All sense of patriotism, talk less of nationalism, is jettisoned in this deadly strive, heavily powered by religion and ethnicity.

In other climes, enterprise, innovation, the application of human talent and ingenuity and patriotism drive and sustain human and national development and progress.

But not in Nigeria. Which explains the desperate struggle for political power, and in fact all other opportunities that have the potential of opening up avenues for the acquisition of this oil wealth.

That is why the wheels of our national and subnational state structures are almost solely lubricated by oil money. The ingenuity of our leaders begins and ends in this monthly ritual of sharing our country’s commonwealth.

But our own crude reality is not, should not be, the benchmark, the rule, for a country that is so richly endowed by nature. Take a look at others and you will realise that we are an abnormal exception, in fact an aberration of the worst form.

Even though Dubai’s economy is not oil-based, it has channeled the little resources it got from oil in the 1960s and 1990s into building other sectors. That diversification has greatly enhanced its economy – largely dependent on trade and commerce.

As a result, it has become an international investment hub. The emirate’s Hope Probe, part of its space programme established in 2006, has been orbiting Mars since 2021. They are now planning on sending their own astronauts to space in the not too distant future.

Certainly, Dubai’s little oil wealth has not spawned the kind of frightening monstrosities Nigeria’s immense resource has so profusely and catastrophically done to us.

Saudi Arabia is a leading oil exporter. It has deployed its huge resources to deliberately insinuate itself into the global economy through making high yielding investments in blue chip enterprises and corporations all over the world.

It has done this through the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia which was founded in 1971 with an asset base that currently stands at about $800 billion.

It is also using that Fund to boost its sports industry by channeling billions of dollars into that sector. This has attracted renowned international football stars to the largely desert country and placed it on the world golf circuit through the LIV tournament.

The kingdom has also embarked on a highly ambitious project that is set to give it a chunk of the world’s tourism, industrial, investment and entertainment space, among others. It is envisaged to be on a scale and nature that will make it compete favourably with the best internationally.

It is doing this by sinking a whopping $500 billion into building a futuristic mega city. Known as NEOM, it is located in the northwestern Tabuk Province and will be made up of a floating port, a ski resort and a mirrored city, among others.

From the two instances above, we have seen how both little and huge oil revenues can be used as triggers for monumental socio-economic and political transformations.

Can we also change Nigeria’s crude reality into a very positive and humane one chiefly geared towards uplifting and dignifying our citizens and country at large?

Yes, it is doable. But that is a discussion for another day.

NB: Part of the title and inspiration for this piece were drawn from Brian Black’s 2012 book, Crude Reality: Petroleum in World History.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mutfwang condemns attack on Plateau villages

Plateau State Governor, Barr. Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang, has strongly condemned the recent brutal attacks on innocent residents in Mushu village, Bokkos Local Government Area.

He has therefore directed security agencies to promptly apprehend the perpetrators responsible for the heinous acts and ensure they face the full wrath of the law.

Expressing deep concern over the unacceptable violence, Governor Mutfwang urged communities across the state to remain vigilant, reporting any suspicious activities to security forces for immediate action. He questioned the impunity of the attackers who inflict harm on communities, destroyed property, and evaded justice.

Highlighting the importance of collective collaboration among rural communities, the Governor assured that proactive measures would be taken by the government to curb the ongoing attacks on innocent citizens. He sympathised with affected families, and urged them to find solace in God as the government diligently works to end the prolonged violence.

Wishing swift recovery to those injured, Governor Mutfwang emphasised his administration’s unwavering commitment to pursuing peace and unity. He reassured the public that these goals remain top priorities, with continuous efforts until the desired results are achieved.

As the state faces these challenges, Governor Mutfwang extended his heartfelt prayers for a peaceful Christmas celebration in Plateau and across the country.

 

Is the Labour movement in Nigeria endangered?

In recent times, the labour movement in Nigeria under the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC and the Trade Union Congress, TUC has been enmeshed in one controversy after another. From the struggle to cushion the effects of the removal of the fuel subsidy as announced by the incumbent government to the face-off between TUC and Lagos State government and; most recently, the assault on the President of NLC Comrade Joe Ajaero allegedly carried out by security operatives in Imo State. Are these healthy signs for the labour movement in Nigeria? KENNETH DAKOP asks…

At the turn of the year 2000s, the labour movement as championed by Comrades like Adams Oshiomhole and others was revered by the citizenry because of its fierce stance on government policies and programmes perceived to had no “human face”. The movement courted the sympathy of Nigerians when it became obvious that the NLC and TUC had the interest of the generality of Nigerians and not that of the powers that held sway during their days. Naturally, the movement became the bride of the Nigerian people as the diminutive Oshiomhole never missed an opportunity to assert himself and the ideals of the movement as the voice of the populace.

Fast forward to present day, the movement under Oshiomhole’s successor, Ayuba Wabba seemed to had taken a downward slide into limbo as the Wabba and his comrades “failed” to sustain the tempo and fervor his predecessor led the NLC with. Even though some may be quick to argue that the two leaders may have served under different circumstances or had different approaches to handling issues, the two scenarios in the movement under the two labour leaders were at variant. While the latter presented a scenario of a diplomat in tackling issues; the former was militant and more aggressive in his approach. Both however should be commended for their forthrightness in leading the movement.

Under the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu government, which of course is barely six months old in office, the labour movement had cause to test its mettle against some policies and decisions of government that are viewed as harsh. First was the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit, PMS otherwise known as petrol on May 29. The president made it categorically clear that the subsidy regime was gone. As a direct consequence of that government pronouncement, the pump price of petrol of petrol was pegged at 615 per liter by the regulating authorities, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL.

This pronouncement that resulted in consequential hike on the cost of other goods and services in the country did not sit well with a lot of Nigerians and especially the labour unions who argued that the biting inflation in the country was excruciating and the removal of fuel subsidy would be tantamount to further tightening the noose around the jugular of the already “multi-dimensionally poor” Nigerians.

Armed with this position, the labour unions spoilt for war between her and the federal government insisting that some palliative measures be deliberately put in place to cushion the effects of the new regime before any consideration. Ultimatum was issued to the government, notices of industrial actions were served, affiliate unions across the country were asked to down tools as part of efforts to get the federal government to agree to the terms of the Nigerian workers, and by extension, the Nigerian people.

Expectedly, the federal government in its characteristic nature succumbed to the demands of the labour unions and workers and Nigerians were asked to go back to their duty posts with the promise that the government would meet those demands. Well, like they say: a better part of those demands are yet to be met by the federal government months after the suspension of that industrial impasse. Is the labour movement still monitoring the implementation of such demands?

Similarly, while that was in the offing, the Lagos State government decided to be in the bad books of the union, particularly the Trade Union Congress, TUC when it proscribed the activities of the Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria, RTEAN from its motor parks across the state. Again, TUC mobilized its arsenal and matched out its army against Lagos State government last September. The TUC/RTEAN planned protest in Lagos was fixed for September 24.

However, some few days to the picketing of the Lagos State government by the union, the government quickly sough respite from the National Industrial Court sitting in the state. according to the Commissioner of Information and Strategy in Lagos, Gbenga Omotoso, Trade Union Congress (TUC) plan to protest the September 2022 suspension of the activities of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Lagos Chapter, in motor parks and garages in Lagos State due to violence and internal strife would be a breach of the law since the state had already filed an appeal against the planned action.

Omotoso said a 35-man Ad-hoc Caretaker Committee was constituted by the State Government to manage the State’s Parks and Garages under the control of RTEAN pending resolution of the internal dispute and to stop immediately the violence in some parts of the State – in line with the recommendations of the Y2004 White Paper on Transport Union Matters in the State.

 

Both parties were advised to embrace dialogue for the socio-economic benefit of the state and country. The situation between RTEAN/TUC versus the Lagos State government is still work in progress to finally find an amicable solution to the industrial dispute. Between the Lagos State government and RTEAN/TUC, who is going to blink first?

 

As if that was not enough, the Imo State government under Hope Uzodinma also murdered sleep in his state when he decided to introduce some obnoxious labour policies that caught the attention of the labour movement. Media reports had it that Ajaero, who stormed Owerri to lead a protest over unpaid salaries to government employees in Imo State, was beaten by hoodlums and allegedly detained for hours by the police in the state.

Consequently, the labour movement gave the Federal Government an ultimatum to arrest the perpetrators among other demands, to avoid a strike.

To prevent the labour action, the Federal Government secured a restraining order against the unions at the National Industrial Court but the labour leadership mobilised the workers for the strike which commenced on last Tuesday.

Yet again, the Nigerian economy was grounded as workers were called out to down tools in protest to the manhandling of Ajaero in Owerri. But in a swift reaction, the National Security Adviser, NSA Nuhu Ribadu held a meeting with labour leaders over the industrial impasse and pleaded with them to shelve or suspend the action in the interest of the economy. Ribadu, as at Wednesday informed the labour leaders that two of the hoodlums who attacked Ajaero were under detention and that their other demands would be looked into subsequently.

The National Deputy President of the TUC, Tommy Etim, explained that the strike was suspended based on the trust the unions had in Ribadu.

He stated, “The NECs of the NLC and the TUC have suspended the strike. We did this based on our trust in the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu who gave us his word. We also saw that he wasn’t playing politics with our demands and he was ready and promised to follow up with everything.”

Asked whether the suspension of the strike was indefinite, Etim said, “It is a temporary suspension. We are going to give them some time after which we will meet and if they fail to meet up, the strike resumes.

“We listened to the NSA and he listened to us. He noted that Ajaero didn’t do anything wrong by going to Imo State. We must commend the NSA and it is because of him that there is a suspension of the strike.”

Ribadu noted that the Federal Government regretted the incident that happened in Imo and condemned it in its entirety, adding that it was against the rule of law and the principles of freedom of association and expression subscribed to by President Bola Tinubu and his administration.

In a different reaction however, the organised Private Sector and the maritime operators carpeted the NLC and TUC over the industrial action, stating that it was ill-timed and misconceived. The OPS comprising critical players in the economy noted that the strike would affect the Federal Government’s ability to meet its yearly revenue target.

From the foregoing it is obvious that even the labour movement in Nigeria may be singing discordant tunes on mutual issues. Add the many allegations of compromise by leaders of the movement, this development may spell a bleak future to the continuous survival and respect the unions command amongst Nigerians. It is time to clean the Augean stables and restore the fading glory of the movement if it must not be seen as an endangered specie in Nigeria.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ll sustain the mandate given to PDP – Gov Mutfwang

The Executive Governor of Plateau State, Barr. Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang, has reassured that every possible action within the confines of the law will be taken to defend and protect the mandate given to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) by the people of Plateau during the 2023 General Elections.

Gyang Bere, the Director of Press and Public Affairs to the Executive Governor of Plateau State disclosed in a statement made available to THE NIGERIA STANDARD.

Governor Mutfwang has also expressed his confidence in the Nigerian judiciary, emphasizing that it is comprised of men and women of integrity who will uphold justice in the collective interest of the Plateau people.

He made these remarks on Monday during an interview with journalists at the Yakubu Gowon Airport, Heipang, shortly after his return from an official trip to the US, where he secured scholarships for Plateau Engineering students among other significant benefits.

The Governor clarified that the PDP’s victory in the 2023 elections was fair and unequivocal. He acknowledged concerns among Plateau people regarding certain judgments but appealed for calm, emphasizing that despite the setbacks, there will be light at the end of the tunnel.

He assured the people of Plateau State that their hard-won victory would be preserved.

“We have faced challenges, but we are addressing them diligently. I urge our people to remain patient and calm. Our confidence in the judiciary remains unshaken. I believe in the integrity of the men and women in the judiciary who will do what is right when the time comes,” Governor Mutfwang stated.

Regarding his visit to the United States, the Governor shared positive outcomes, stating, “I sought potential investors and forged relationships with both the United States and State Governments, aiming to bring global attention to Plateau State.

” I am pleased to announce that the visit was successful. We engaged in an Agriculture Investors Conference with Vice President Sen. Kashim Shettima. We have advanced discussions with the African Development Bank to establish an agro-processing zone in Plateau, which will significantly impact our economy.”

He continued, “We also partnered with American institutions for exchange programmes and capacity building. Liberty University, for instance, has generously offered five scholarships in Engineering for Plateau State postgraduate students.

Additionally, commitments have been made to provide medical equipment for our hospitals. We will continue these discussions and keep the people of Plateau informed.”

Mutfwang affirms commitment to social contract he signed
By PETER TITLE
In commemoration of Nigeria’s 63rd Independence Anniversary, the Executive Governor of Plateau State, Barrister Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang has reaffirmed his commitment towards fulfilling the social contract he signed with the people when he took office.
The governor stressed that his unwavering passion and dedication was to enhance  good governance for the betterment of the citizens.
He  also exercised the prerogative1 of mercy as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Danladi Musa who was sentenced to life imprisonment for culpable homicide and having served 17 years was granted absolute pardon.
Tali Zingtim who was sentenced to death by hanging for criminal conspiracy and armed robbery would serve  21 years imprisonment. Ponzing Nanshep who was sentenced to life imprisonment for criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide was to serve 21 years..
Others include Dauda Joshua who was sentenced to death by hanging for culpable homicide would serve life imprisonment in that order.
Governor Mutfwang made these known in a statewide broadcast to commemorate Nigeria’s 63rd Independence Anniversary in Jos the Plateau State capital on Sunday, where he noted that the 2023 Independence Anniversary was special to him being the first since the people gave him the privilege to serve them as Governor. He thanked them for their collective decision.
According to him, ” My team and I are constantly reminded of the need to work assiduously and deliver the dividends of democracy for the common good of all. The least we will present as a token of our appreciation for the trust and belief in our vision for a new Plateau is to make Plateau the envy for all ” .
Governor Mutfwang further noted,” Irrespective of the challenges we face , we must stick together , look beyond the horizon, towards building a prosperous state and nation. We are certainly not where we ought to be, just like our beautiful Nigeria. Nigeria is a blessed land, with vast resources, opportunities and talents, all yet to be fully explored.
However, we must have faith in this nation and support our leaders. We must rally round and collaborate with one another towards improving the fortunes of our beloved country “.
He urged citizens to strengthen their resolve to forge a common front and to set aside their differences and strive towards building a Nigeria that realizes dreams of their founding fathers.
According to him, it was a duty the people must uphold.  Stressing that “Together, we can build an inclusive society where every Nigerian, regardless of background, gender, ethnicity or religion, gain access to equal opportunities for growth and development. Equity, justice and fairness will continue to be our watchwords ” .
Gov. Mutfwang said on assumption of office, they hit ground running by tackling the systematic inadequacies and distortion of engagement processes within the civil service. Adding that the process was grossly abused, significantly altering the wage bill of the state. He said he was glad that the outcome of the preliminary verification exercise yielded positive results thereby saving taxpayers monies which he said would be channeled to developmental needs.
Towards minimizing the impact of fuel subsidy removal, the Governor explained that they were partnering with the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), to revamp railway services in the state, adding that the assessment of facilities between Terminus and Kuru stations have been completed with the first phase of work on the railway line  underway while he revealed that they had entered an agreement with Value Jet Airline to enhance Air Travel connectivity.
” There is no gainsaying that the main stay of the economy is agriculture and in furtherance of some initiatives towards mitigating the effects of the fuel subsidy removal by our people, we have procured over 200 trucks of fertilizer for distribution across the 17 Local Governments at a subsidized rate”, the governor stated.
 Recall that during the campaigns, we affirmatively indicated the need for farmers to think beyond rain fed agriculture. Therefore, it is our expectation that farmers will take advantage of this provision to expand into dry season farming “, Gov. Mutfwang stressed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By PETER TITLE

The Executive Governor of Plateau State, Barrister Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang has emphasized the importance of cross fertilisation of ideas, noting that it was the only path towards propelling Africa’s progress and development.
Governor Mutfwang shared his thought at the conclusion of the Executive Leadership Retreat, a collaborative effort between the Nigerian Governors’Forum (NGF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), held recently in Kigali, Rwanda.
This was made known in a statement signed and made available to The Nigeria Standard by the Director of Press and Public Affairs (DOPA), to the Governor, Gyang Bere. He further said that the retreat’s primary objective was aimed at fortifying the governance framework to enhance effectiveness and efficiency in leadership within Nigeria’s sub-national government.
According to the statement, Governor Mutfwang and his counterparts engaged in a fruitful dialogue with Rwanda’s President, Paul Kegame which was aimed at redefining leadership as well as reshaping Nigeria for a stronger and more unified nation.
” As Africa strives for progress, the exchange of ideas and the sharing of valuable lessons are increasingly vital in making significant strides to enhance the well-being of our people”, he asserted.
Recallbthat the the retreat drew participants from amongst Nigeria Governors and Rwanda. The theme was ” Rethinking Leadership and Leading Systems ” with some range of sub-themes including “Reimagining Nigeria: Exploring the Future of the Nation” among others.
The Nigeria Standard reports that Governor Mutfwang who is a staunch advocate for value -driven governance, would replicate and bring to bear the outcome of the retreat on good governance on the Plateau and Nigeria as a whole.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By DUMAH RANDONG

The Plateau State Governor, Caleb Mutfwang has frowned at the illegal mining activities in the state and called on the Federal Government to address the lapses in the administration of mineral titles.

He also wants stakeholders in the sector to always engage the government as well as involve communities for the smooth operation in the mining industry.

Plateau State, according to Governor Mutfwang, is one of the leading states in mineral resources, but it has nothing to show for it except the death traps that have been left all over the place.

The governor made this position known when the North-Central, officials of the Nigeria Mining Cadastre office led by Kubai Musa Abba paid him a visit, recently at the Old Government House, Rayfield, Jos.

Represented by his Deputy, Mrs Josephine Piyo, Mutfwang maintained that Plateau State widely known as Tin City, has been the mainstay of the Nigerian economy in those days but up till date without any commensurate benefit.

He stressed the need for the harmonization of the mining lease in the country and noted that a situation where people just cut corners to obtain operational licenses and go into exploration in communities without the knowledge of the people must be stopped.

Earlier, Director General, Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office, represented by Kubai Musa Abba, a director in the Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office, North-Central Zone, explained that they are responsible for administration of mineral titles. He added that anyone interested in exploration and exploiting minerals in the country will have to obtain the legal instrument to do so.

According to the Nigeria Mining Act 2007, there are six types of mineral titles with which one could explore or exploit for minerals in the country to include Recognizance Permit, Exploration Licence, Small scale Mining Lease, Quarry lease, Mining lease as well as Water Use Permit.

He further disclosed that as at July, 2023, there was a total of 6561 valid mineral titles excluding Water Use Permit and Recognizance Permit. And that out of 328 mining leases in the country, 48 are in Plateau State which is the highest, second only to Kogi with 55 as at July, 2023 and encouraged Plateau State to take advantage of this and many others by being interested in what is happening in the mineral sector.

Also contributing, Plateau State Commissioner for Lands and Survey, Peter Gai described what is happening in the mining sub-sector as unacceptable. This is because these mining companies operate without environmental impact assessment which has caused devastating effect on the land, apart from the insecurity as a result of these mining activities.

He stressed the need for a deliberate policy to ensure that those going into the mining industry should follow due process whereby the government and the communities are paid royalty while also ensuring the reclamation of the land.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By PETER TITLE, Jos

 

Gov. Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau has promised to tackle security challenges currently facing the state and ensure lasting peace returns to all parts of the state.

Muftwang said this  while declaring opened the 43rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Alumni Association of National Institute (AANI) on Saturday in Jos.

The governor said that adequate measures have been put in place toward ending the recurrent killings and massive destruction of property in parts of the state.

”The current attempts by our enemies to discredit Plateau will soon be a thing of the past.

”We will do our best to rescue Plateau and make it a safe haven for anyone who wish to come for business or live here.

”Plateau under my watch will soon be home for all,” he declared.

Mutfwang however called for a robust partnership between the state government and the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPPS), Kuru, near Jos.

The governor said that such collaboration was needed in order to entrench good governance and functional public service in the state.

Mutfwang, who extolled the critical role of the institute in shaping the policy direction of the nation, said that the collaboration became necessary to move the state forward.

”There is no doubt that Plateau citizens expect a lot from us and this is why we are not resting on our efforts by ensuring that we meet these expectations.

”This is why we will partner with NIPPS in order to correct the faulty foundation to entrench good governance in Plateau,” he said.

Prof. Ayo Omotayo, the Director General of the institute, thanked the governor for honouring the invitation, and assured him of its readiness to supprt the state government toward a more functional system.

Omotayo, who described the AGM as ‘unique”, also thanked the alumni association for holding the meeting within the institute.

The director general, however, called on the alumni association to regularly visit the institute, adding that such move will give them a sense of belonging.

He maintained that NIPPS has adopted strategies that would enable agencies and organisations to send people of proven integrity and high intellectual standing to the institute as participants.

Earlier, Mr Mohammed Abubakar, the National President of AANI, said top on the agenda of the AGM is the election of new officials of the association.

Abubakar, a retired Inspector General of Police (IGP), thanked members of the association for the opportunity given to the current exco to serve in the last four years.

He also commended members for the support granted the outgoing officials, urging them to vote people of proven integrity that would serve the association in the next four years. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plateau State Governor, Simon Bako Lalong has urged communities to take advantage of the Anti Land Grabbing Law of 2020 in the state to report any attempt by anyone to take their land by force.

He has also advised that rather than going to the social media to play politics of blackmail with such matters, persons or communities whose land has been forcefully taken should formally write government, stakeholders or approach the court directly for redress.

The governor said this on Sunday 5th February 2023 at St. Monica’s Catholic Church Rantya, Jos, during the interdenominational Church service to commemorate the 2023 Plateau Day of Forgiveness.

At the Church service, attended by top government functionaries, politicians, and stakeholders in the state, Lalong stated that “This is to help in restoring order, and to strengthen, deepen the peace, and security of our land which was previously truncated before we came into office. We strongly believe that peace and security is the foundation upon which every other thing stands,” he said.

He added that despite passing the Anti Land Grabbing Law, insinuations are making rounds but no official complaint has been put on his table that a village has been taken over by herdsmen.

The governor pointed out: “Permit me to use this opportunity to clarify the insinuation being made by some people that some villages have been taken over by herdsmen in the state and that the government has not done anything about it”.

“As the Governor, I can say authoritatively that there is no report on my table that any village has been taken over. It is to prevent such from happening that we passed and signed into law the Anti-Land Grabbing law in 2020”.

“By this law, anyone whose land has been forcefully taken is expected to write to me, his traditional ruler, Local Government Chairman, elected representative or even approach the court directly for redress. So far, no one or any community has done so”.

“But I want the world to know that what we have been doing is to return displaced persons who fled their homes due to attacks back to their ancestral lands. For example, the site for the construction of a Police Mobile Barracks in Kakuruk, Gashish District Barkin Local Government has been handed over to the contractor who will start work immediately to provide security for the people to return to their lands”.

“I promise you that we will not spare anyone who tries to lay claim on any inch of Plateau State that does not belong to him. Not under my watch”.

He said Plateau is a great state that has been blessed by God and destined for greatness despite the setbacks experienced in its 47 years of creation. And that fact explains why the state remains a melting pot for people from all parts of the world, while the natural endowments it has remains a source of attraction.

In his homily, Catholic Archbishop of Jos, Most Rev. Ishaya Audu who cited scriptures from Matt 18: 29, James 2:13 and Matt 6:14, stressed that   Christians who are the salt of the earth are expected to pull down all barriers for peaceful coexistence, tolerance, good neighbourliness and mutual respect to thrive.

Prayers were offered for God’s blessings upon Plateau State and Nigeria.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

APC CONGRATULATES GENERAL YAKUBU GOWON @ 88

Plateau State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC),  Honourable Rufus Bature, has joined millions of Nigerians both at home and in the diaspora in congratulating Nigeria’s former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, as he attains the ripe age of  88 years.

This was contained in a press statement signed by Plateau State Publicity Secretary, Hon. Sylvanus Namang, and made available to SUNDAY STANDARD in Jos, the state capital Wednesday on occasion of Gowon’s 88th birthday.

The Chairman in a congratulatory message, said, “the octogenarian who is a worthy son of Plateau State remains Nigeria’s longest ruling Head of State. General Yakubu Gowon has remained a reference point of courageous and selfless leadership as he served Nigeria during its most critical moment, including a 30-month old civil war which he prosecuted with finesse and distinction as Nigeria came out as one united and indivisible country.

“This unparalleled stewardship which gave his name the acronym of Go On With One Nigeria ( GOWON) and his  popular ” “No Victor,  No Vanguished”  stand which gave birth to the 3Rs of Reconstruction, Reconciliation and Rehabilitation should continuously inform our present set of leaders on the need to keep our country and its people united and pursue the path of progress and prosperity.

“As we celebrate this quintessential  elder statesman of all times, we call on the  Federal Government to immortalize him while he is still alive by naming a major national monument after him apart from the Jos Airport based  on his meritorious  service and sacrifice for this country”, he enthused.

According to Bature, “his non ostentatious lifestyle should also serve as a reference point to our leaders where morbid accumulation of wealth have taken the centre stage. As he marks this special day in his life, we pray Almighty God to continue to grant him long life and good health for us to continue to draw from his wise counsel and service to our nation”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0ver 60 orphans sponsored for educational projects

The Qatar Charity Foundation has sponsored the education of 60 orphans in Sokoto State, the Chairman of the state Zakkat and Endowment Commission, Malam Muhammad Maidoki has stated.

The Chairman, Maidoki in a chat with our correspondent said that the 60 children will begin their primary school education on Monday 17th October, 2022.

According to him, the children are among 106 orphans being taken care of by the foundation.

He also disclosed that the mothers and guardians of the orphans should note that the intervention was to ensure better future for the children and not the other way round.

“The allowances paid to the orphans’ account by individuals through the Qatar foundation are to take care of their needs and ensure a better future for them.

That “today 60 are taken to school, while others that are under -age will continue to remain with their mothers, until they reach appropriate school age”.

Maidoki assured that the children would be in safe hands while in school. He added that the guardians would be supported with part of the money sent to the orphans’ accounts, to engage in income generating ventures of their choice.

Maidoki expressed the gratitude of the state government to the foundation for its support to vulnerable families in the state.

He also appreciated the decision of the Qatar Charity Foundation to support the livelihood of 1,000 orphans in the state while praying for peaceful coexistence in Sokoto State and the country at large.

Earlier, Malam Jabbi Ibrahim, the Director Endowment of the commission, explained that 34 of the beneficiaries from Gandi IDPs Camp and Shagari were enrolled in Almajiri Boarding Primary School, Shuni.

He also revealed that 16 of the orphans from Sokoto will be attending Ahmed Sarkin-Gona Primary School while 10 others were admitted into Ubandoma Model Primary School, Hamma-Ali.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oil theft: Discovery of illegal pipeline, any conspiracy?

Oil theft in Nigeria has been a recurring decimal in the petroleum Industry for over 22 years. But lately, this phenomenon has reached an unprecedented scale especially with the latest discovery of an illegal 4-kilometre [km] crude pipeline that had operated undetected for nine years. Kenneth Dareng examines the situation.

THE Nigerian National Petroleum Company [NNPC], Group Chief Executive, Mele  Kyari had recently disclosed to the  Senate Joint Committees on petroleum [upstream and downstream], and gas that, the illegal pipeline had operated for nine years  and ran through the Frocados terminal to the sea, also had a loading port  without the knowledge of the authorities.

He said the pipeline was found during a clampdown on theft in the past few weeks which according to him, ” The Brass, Forcados and the Bonny terminals, are all practically doing zero production today, the combined effect is that you have lost 600,000 barrels per day when you do reality test.

”As a result of oil theft, Nigeria loses about 600,000 barrels per day, which is not healthy for the nation’s economy, and in particular, the legal operators in the field, which had led to a close down of some of their operational facilities.

”But in rising to the highly disturbing challenge, NNPC has in recent times in collaboration with relevant security agencies, clamped down on the economic saboteurs.

” In the cause of the recent clampdown, 395 illegal refineries have been deactivated, 274 reservoirs destroyed, 1,561 metal tanks destroyed, 49 trucks were seized.” Kyari said.

Speaking on the current development, Pa Edwin Clark, an Ijaw national leader, said the lingering oil theft in the Niger Delta has been going on even beyond 20 years, saying; ” My attention and that of the entire country have been drawn to the recent discovery of a large scale sophisticated oil theft machinery going on in the deep swamps at Yokri close to the Forcados terminal in Delta state.

”The discovery of the illegal four kilometers pipeline through which crude oil was being siphoned showed that oil theft was being perpetrated by criminal mafias, with the connivance of some officials of the oil Industry.

”It is dangerously incredible that crude oil theft, in spite of all the securities around, has assumed wider dimension to the extent that the quantity of crude oil we export today is less than the quantity being stolen by a gang of thieves of various designations.” Clark said.

Also expressing his reaction on the matter, Mr Isaac Gbam, a Jos based public commentator said, ” These must be interesting times for our country, otherwise, how can someone explain with the level of intelligence gathering and sharing within all security agencies and sophistication in such operations like that of crude, it beats my imagination that it took nine good years to detect such an illegality.

”I suspect this must be an inside job from within the NNPC and perhaps in collaboration with some highly influential personalities within the corridors of power. The truth must be told, this is not a job for the boys, it is a multi-million dollar venture that can only be executed by a team with a high technical background and with a strong security support.” He added.

Also in a chat with SUNDAY STANDARD, Mr Ray Nwankwo, a resident of Jos North said, ”It cannot be surprising to see such things happening. This goes to show the rot in our security system which has led to the present security challenges which may be either due to lack of loyalty and love for the country that some people have decided to look the other way while our commonwealth is being hijacked by some few unpatriotic elements in our country.” Nwankwo stressed.

Paul Chuks, a businessman also in Jos was quick to point out that for the fact that the illegal pipeline had been operational for nine solid years, means that this very episode must have begun right from the previous Government headed by Goodluck Jonathan. He further said, ” Let the Federal Government launch a serious probe on the matter with a view to getting to the bottom of it and unravel those behind it. This country needs to get more serious with economic saboteurs by bringing those found wanting to face the full wrath of the law.” Chuks noted.

However, with the rampant cases of oil theft in the country’s Niger Delta region, the NNPC CEO, Kyari said, in order to address the menace, NNPCL carried out aerial surveillance of the affected areas and saw economic saboteurs carrying out their activities unchallenged.

He noted that, the level of oil theft at hand, poses a blend of both social and security problems. ” It is not normal to involve non-state actors for the protection of oil pipelines and other critical infrastructure as done in Cambodia and Mexico which produced results.”

SUNDAY STANDARD findings indicate that the Federal Government right from 1999 had running battles with youths in the Niger Delta who in order to ventilate their frustrations over what they called total neglect by exploration companies and the destruction of the land due to oil spillage and other forms of environmental degradation.

After years of open confrontation between the growing number of militant groups from that region, the Umaru YarAdua Administration opted for dialogue with the Niger Delta militants in exchange for amnesty and with the promise to address all fundamental concerns of the people of that region which to a large extend has calmed a lot of nerves especially with the establishment of the Niger Delta Development Commission [NDDC], to spearhead projects that would impact positively on their people.

It was also in the same vein that the Federal Government went a step further especially with the action of the present Muhammadu Buhari Administration, in a bid to safeguard the pipelines from vandalisation and coupled with the rise in crude oil bunkering lately, the Government had to do a U-turn by re-awarding a pipeline surveillance contract to an ex-militant named Government Tompolo, who was alleged to have once stolen oil and vandalized pipelines.

The move to award the contract to Tompolo was criticized by most citizens, but officials in the sector defended the action saying, the former militant’s expertise will help prevent the theft.  Meanwhile, raids in late August led to the arrest of more than 100 oil thieves and the recovery of millions of litres of crude oil and diesel.

The surge in illegal oil activities within the past three years has further affected Nigeria’s oil out-put and serious decline of its oil revenues and the resultant effect is that Nigeria has dropped from being the number one largest oil producing nation in Africa to the fourth, behind Angola, Algeria and Libya.

According to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries [OPEC] latest ranking report, monthly oil market report for August, 2022, showed Nigeria’s oil production stood at 980,000 barrels a day, a decline of more than 100,000 barrels per day compared to July.

The drop further indicate that such figure coming from Nigeria is about 50 percent of OPEC’s target for the month of August. Again, Mr. Isaac Gbam in sharing his opinion with SUNDAY STANDARD expressed concern that as a mono-economy, Nigeria should have before now, mapped out long term strategies of laying a solid foundation for its upstream and downstream sectors. Rather, corruption and maladministration has crippled the whole industry. ”Look at what has happened to our refineries, none is working, we are now depending on refined products and at the mercy of importers and those stealing from pipelines. Sadly, we cannot even meet our local demands. The empty filling stations and the long queues speak volumes of what Nigeria has become. It is unthinkable that we are dropping below a war torn country like Libya.” Gbam said.

Kevin Hart, a post graduate student of Management studies at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University [ATBU], Bauchi , told SUNDAY STANDARD that; ” I was shocked to  watch the report about the discovery of illegal pipeline that ran for many years undetected. It sounds like a tale out of moon light of those good old days. But outside these whole mess, the Government can as well approve license for business entrepreneurs to invest in modular refineries. What is required is for government to set up the conditions and standards and we can gain from it rather than the practice of importation and subsidy which has become controversial and even a scam.”

For decades, Nigeria has been Africa’s largest oil producer. But in recent years, theft and sabotage at production sites have hampered out-put.  And Petroleum authorities have said more than 200,000 barrels are lost daily and that the trend is costing the country millions of dollars in revenue.

According to an oil and gas expert, Emmanuel Afimia, said the current situation in the sector is disturbing. ”At this particular point in time when oil prices are rising, Nigeria is supposed to sit back and be enjoying revenue inflows of foreign exchange through sales and export of crude oil but the reverse is the case. So it is really a negative thing for the country falling from the top largest oil producer, Nigeria will be slowly losing its influence in the global oil market.” Afimia said.

Oil was once Nigeria’s biggest earner and contributor to its national GDP, but latest data shows information and communication technology and trade contributed more in the second quarter of this year. Meanwhile, Nigerian authorities are also raising concerns as President Muhammadu Buhari was quoted as saying that the situation was putting the economy in a precarious situation. However, with the recent clampdown on crude oil vandals by NNPC in collaboration with security agencies, for now the results being realized suggests that it is still work in progress.

And on the larger scale, many citizens now expect the Federal Government to commence investigation to uncover all government officials involved in the illegal operation at the Forcados oil pipelines, including top officials of the NNPC and their collaborators, especially for the harm done to the nation. Such may be the only assurance that would convince Nigerians that the authorities are serious in bringing the ugly trend of oil theft to an end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2023 elections, parties and crisis

As registered political parties in Nigeria embark on campaigns collecting votes from the electorate ahead of the February 2023 elections, some of the major parties have been engulfed in one crisis or the other. What tendencies does this portend for the general elections?     VICTOR ALI Writes.

SINCE the return to democracy in 1999 after several years of military interregnum, Nigeria entered another phase in its nationhood. With democratic rule kept in abeyance for a long time, party politics, sure, will have to start from the scratch.  Largely, the political parties of the first Republic (1960-1966) can be said to be regionally-based. These parties had their firm roots in the regions.

The Northern peoples congress (NPC led by Sir Ahmadu Bello cum Alhaji Tafawa Balewa had the Notherrn region as its forte, the National Council for Nigeria and Cameroon (NCNC) with Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe in charge had the faster region in its grip while Chief Obafemi Awolowo of the Action Group (AG) had the western region for itself. That is not to say that there were no other parties. The aforementioned were the dominant ones.

Even the second Republic 1979-1983) was not different. The prominent and dominant parties then had the semblance of the First Republic. The National Party of Nigeria (NPN) on whose platform the late Alhaji  Shehu Usman Shagari emerged as president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria had its firm roots in the North, the Unity party of Nigeria (UPN) of Chief Obafemi Awolowo had the West while Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe’s Nigeria Peoples Party (NPP) was in charge of the East.  Of course, there were pockets of other smaller parties.

Interestingly, the transition programme that ushered the Fourth Republic was huge departure from the past. The parties that were registered and contested had national out look. Though some involved strange bed fellows, they were still good to go. At the down of the democratic dispensation in 1999, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) emerged as the dominant and intimidating Political Party. Like a colossus, it swept the polls virtually everywhere.

For sixteen good years (16), the PDP held sway at the centre, from Chief-Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Yar’Adua down to Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the PDP was in the eyes of the storm. So confident was the party that its then zonal vice chairman (West) Chief Olabode George, boasted that the party will continue to rule Nigeria for the next 50 years was to come to naught in 2015 as the ruling Party (PDP) was resoundingly defeated by the mega party – the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The emergence of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in itself was an act of ingenuity in political engineering. It was a fusion or amalgam of several partiers –the Congress for Progressive change (CPC). All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and part of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) amongsts others. In what started as a joke, the APC was to be PDP’s waterloo in the general elections of 2015.

With the 2023 general elections around the corner and with the APC on the saddle for about eight years (8) what are the state of the parties? Will the PDP stage a come back? What about the emergence of a third force in the mould of the Labour Party (LP) or the New Nigeria People Party (NNPP) and others?

The emergence of these new parties and their forceful, albeit serious entry into the politics areas has given political pundits a second thought on what to expect. The so called establishd parties, particularly the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the ruling All Progressives Congress (ADP) seem to be having post-convention issues. The political intrigues and intricacies that trailed and still trailing the two major parties call for concern. Can the centre still hold? Or something will give away?

With the beginning of campaigns on Wednesday, September 28, 2022, it has been mixed outlook for the parties. According to media reports, The Nation, Friday, September 30, 2022), barely 24 hours after launching its campaign, the crisis that has hit the peoples Democratic Party (PDP) escalated as some members of the National working committee (NWC) returned N122.4m rent stipends paid into their account.

Some NWC members alleged that they got the strange alerts after they joined issues with the party on the where about of over N10 billion realized as nomination fees during the party’s primaries. The N10 billion was said to have been depleted to N1 billion in uncertain circumstances, leading to tension in the NWC.  The paper equally reported that some NWC members were paid N28million each to house the row over the where about of the N10 billion.

According to the report, those who have so far returned their emergency stipends were the Deputy National Chairman (South) Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja (N36 million), National Vice Chairman (South West) Olusoji Adagunodo (N28,000,000), National Woman Leader, Prof. Stella Effa Attoe (28,000,000) and National Chairman (South –South) Chief Dan Orbih  (N28,800,000. Though money maybe at the centre of this latest controversy but beyond the horizon there seems to be some under-current.

It is an open secret that since the conclusion of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National convention in which Alhaji Atiku Abubakar emerged as the standard bearer of the party, the Dr. Lyorchia Ayu-led executive has not known peace. At the fore-front of the campaign for resignation of the PDP National Chairman has remained Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike with his few governors-colloquy. Wike who equally contested the presidential primaries may have been displeased and disappointed hence, his resolve to have his pound of flesh.

With the leadership of the party sill shaky and with wike’s belligerent and shunning of all overtures aimed at reconciliation, the PDP must up its ante in order to reinvent itself if it must regain power. With some of his colleague governors in his camp, wike is sure ready for a showdown. Will he succeed? Can the party amicably broker peace? Though the PDP is in a good stead to give the ruling APC a good run for its money, the internal crisis now bedeviling the party portends an ominoeus.

Similarly, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is not immune from controversies and crisis as one of the major disquiet amongst the rank and file of the party after the National convention was the issue of the Muslim-Muslim ticket of Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu and Kashim Shiettima. In a multi-cultural and multi-religious society like Nigeria, this, ostensibly, is bound to raise eyebrows. How the party weathers the storm remains to be seen.

Again, one would have expected that as the party in power, the All Progressives Congress (APC) ought to have kick-start its presidential campaigns before others. That was not to be thereby leading to rumors and insinuations. However, the Director-General of the Tinubu Shettima Presidential Campaign Council and Governor of Plateau State, Barrister Simon Bako Lalong said the adjustment of the time-table and schedules of activities is in order to accommodate growing interest shown by various political tendencies. Being part of the campaign council, he said in a statement that a new date would be announced soon?  (Vanguard, Wednesday, September 28, 2022).

The statement read: “Recall that we had earlier earmarked a peace walk and prayers for Wednesday, September 28, 2022 to officially kick off our campaign for the 2023 presidential  election. We had also announced that the members of the campaign council report at the campaign Head quarters on that day to collect their letters of appointments.

“However due to the expansion of the lists to accommodate more stakeholders and interests within the APC Family, we have decided to adjust the timetable of these activities in order to ensure everyone is on board before activities officially commence. Consequently, the activities earlier announced for 28th September will no longer hold. As the ruling and most attractive party in Nigeria, we understand the sacrifices and understanding of our teeming members who are more than  ready for the task ahead. It also shows the enormous love that the party members have for our candidates. A new date and time-table will be announced soon.

While APC members and indeed Nigerians await the new date for the kick-off of the APC presidential campaign, other parties have since swung into action, while the PDP  and APC are literally perceived as the dominant parties, 2023 may spring some surprises. Other parties like the Social Democratic Party (SDP), African Democratic Congress (ADC), Labout Party may just spring surprises. Indeed, it is an interesting moment for Nigerian politics and the polity.

In as much as the game of politics is a matter of choice, campaigns should be issue – based devoid of hate speech, sentiments and fake news.

After 2023 general elections, Nigerian democracy should be seen to have matured. There is no room for mouthing “scent” democracy or making caricature of government of the people, by the people and for the people campaigns would surely show the direction of the elections proper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘We’re ready to correct our mistakes’

PEOPLES’ Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Candidate for 2023 election, Atiku  Abubakar, says his party is conscious of its past mistakes and willing to correct them if given the mandate.

He said in an interview while in Gombe that the party is willing to correct its past mistakes by making Nigeria a prosperous country.

Though the former Vice-President was not categorical about the party’s mistakes while ruling the country from 1999 to 2015, he stated however, that his party remains a very strong opposition that can win the forthcoming election.

According to him, “PDP is a very popular party, the oldest party that might have made mistakes in the past, but we have realized our mistakes. We are ready to correct those mistakes to make Nigeria prosperous”.

He said Nigerians still rate the PDP higher than the ruling party if compared in terms of performance.

Dr. Ahmed Gana, a member of Atiku’s campaign team from Gombe State, said the PDP members in the State were extremely happy with Atiku’s visit.

“This is one of the first offices that the presidential candidate was physically present to declare open.

“So, we are highly elated. We are very grateful to God for having time to come.

This is a state campaign Office for the presidential candidate. We are very ready. You can see from the response from the people”, he stated.

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was in Gombe to officially commission the Atiku/Okowa Presidential campaign office and cars in Gombe State which were donated by Dr. Jamilu Isiyaku Gwamna, who was defeated at the PDP Governorship primary election by Mohammed Jibrin Barde.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food security: Farmers resort to human urine

The high cost of fertilizer which is fast going beyond the reach of an average farmer in Nigeria has forced the users to look for cheaper and environment friendly alternative source of growing their farm produce or risk being cut out of the farming business. KENNETH DARENG, writes.

HUMAN Urine is evidently becoming an alternative solution towards complementing Nigerian government’s strategic desire in ensuring adequate fertilizer to farmers for greater productivity in the country. For decades now, most of these farmers in particularly rural areas have continued to struggle by overcoming the unpalatable consequencis of food insecurity in the nation. No doubt, the raising cost of fertilizer has continue to discourage some of these farmers whereas, only a few of them can successfully lay their hands on these farms input to guarantee a bumper harvest for the benefit of the citizenry.

For instance, a market survey by the Nigeria standard reveals that a bag of commonly used NPK 20-10-10 fertilizer which a year ago went for between N7,000.00 and N8,000.00 is now sold at N30,000.00 per bag with other varieties going for between N15,000.00 and N25,000.00 respectively as against the previous price of less than N6,000.00, depending on the brand available in the market.

Mr Musa Maichibi, a farmer in Bassa LGA of Plateau State, expressed worry that farmers are experiencing the most difficult times in the nation’s history whereby farmers  apart from the fear of insecurity are being confronted by high cost of farming inputs such as hiring of tractor, pesticides, herbicide, fertilizer and costs of human labour, transportation and which when put together makes farming a not too pleasant business at this crucial times.

Also sharing his opinion with SUNDAY STANDARD, Mallam Luka Barde, a dry season farmer in Dong, Jos North LGA, noted that; ” If the cost of fertilizer does not go down, the next farming season may likely experience severe food shortage and even a further hike in prices of food stuff.

”In the olden days, our great grand parents never knew anything like chemical fertilizers, yet people lived healthy long life. I grew up farming with my parents with just cow feces and ashes and the crops produced quite well with natural taste. Unfortunately, the white men came with their so called civilization and destroyed our land. What we have today is devastation of both land and health of human beings due to the effects of chemicals in our food.” Barde added.

Another view was expressed by Haruna Garba, a resident of Narguta in Jos north who noted that; ”With this latest development, Nigeria has now joined the league of nations that convert human urine as a component for making fertilizer. Then, the borne of contention was, how were they going to collect the urine and what will be the guarantee that this will not go as one of these  elephant projects which never saw the light of the day.

”It is quite sad that the government is taking such a risk at the expense of its citizens especially in a country where majority of its populace eat from hand to mouth with dare consequences. Imagine the government telling the populace to  take a bite at their own fists in the name of improving their farm yield especially in view of our backwardness and the general level of poor hygiene in most of our communities and with diseases rampaging the people. What then is the guarantee that the use of human urine will not endanger the health of its citizens at any given time.” Garba  asked.

Although the argument appears to be gaining currency, some Nigerians like Madam  Asabe Jang, expressed misgivings over the idea of using human urine as fertilizer. According to her; We as a people are not ready for that. Let the government  address the challenge by subsidizing  farming imputs with the collaboration of the  Federal, States and Local Government  Councils.

But Mr Chinge Rivie, a retired civil servant in Bassa LGA, now a farmer in a chat with SUNDAY STANDARD  said; ”There is no need for apprehension by some individuals on the usuage of human urine after all, most people don’t even know the secret behind some of the food we all consume. Farmers in most cases have now adopted the use of human urine in place of chemical fertilizer.

”Nowadays, farmers buy human urine stored in public or residential  septic tanks or soakaways then mix the substance with other chemicals to get the desired  bags to cover the entire farm and the yield is always amazing and in most cases more than the chemical fertilizer yield.” Rivie disclosed.

However, the reason for the soaring cost of chemical fertilizers may be associated with Federal Government’s efforts of breaking the jinx and taking out the firm grip of powerful cartels behind fertilizer control by the removal of subsidy some years ago which allowed market forces to determine the procurement and sale of the product.

Although the government decision yielded positive results in terms of the stabilizing cost of the commodity, the current down turn of the economy coupled with inflationary trends and general insecurity is taking its toll on the availability of fertilizers.

Other factors associated with this scarcity and high cost has to do with Federal Government placing strict control on the product in the wake of insurgency in the north western part of the country where terrorists had taken advantage of the low cost of the product such as Urea fertilizer, where the criminals were in the habit of purchasing Urea in large quantity for the production of improvised explosives.

However, another mix bag of factors have been attributed to the Russia – Ukraine war. But then, the fertilizer availability and affordability issue  has always been a vexed discourse with the government still taken the bulk of the blame especially with what some critics say are the failures and missteps by policy makers to address the main issues at stake coupled with endemic corruption in the system.

Others also lay blame at the door steps of those institutions that are supposed to take action but have either been compromised or have left the farmers at the mercy of fraudulent businessmen who are making money at the expense of these poor farmers.

SUNDAY STANDARD  also gathered, that the farming communities are at a cross road wondering where the solution will come from as average farmers appear tinged with helplessness  over their sorry condition with their source of livelihood completely threatened. While the hash economic realities bite harder, the center of their uncertainty over the continued surge in prices of fertilizer which grew up to about 30 percent at the beginning of the year after the 80 percent increase of the previous year. This has contributed in change of plans and search for alternatives such as the use of human feces and urine to boost their crops.

According to a commentator, Mr Abachi Ungbo, ” Our food supply chain is activated by the production activities of small scale farmers that are scattered across the country who hardly get appropriate reward for their  busting activities after spending unstintingly for the inputs they deploy.

”We now have a huge crisis in our hands with the soaring price of fertilizer. It means higher production cost will ultimately be transferred to all of us in the prices of food. And by implication, food prices will continue to make an exorable upward trajectory in the face of asphyxiating economic crunch.”

Recent  research by economic experts have also shown that, about 80 percent of household’s income is spent on food which may have informed the mass appeal to farming in order to counter the proportionate expenditure.

Meanwhile, most agricultural experts have agreed that most Nigerian farmers are making use of human urine as an organic fertilizer available for use. But they are also of the view that the potency of the human urine though not yet ascertained by empirical research, but has gained global acceptability.

The human urine is rich in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium and the minerals and nutrients  also found in chemical fertilizers are also available in Urea. The organic compound in urine is considered rich and environment friendly and can be used to improve farming activities across the country.

Madam Angelina Gwom , a resident of Rantya, Jos was however not happy with the trend of using human fists for agricultural purposes saying; ” I don’t subscribe to such practices in our present economic challenges. The phobia of knowing that what one is eating contains some organic materials like human feces can be disturbing. Perhaps such is the reason we are having all kinds of diseases in our communities. Let the government do something about it .”

Similarly, Thomas  Tukop, a retired Police officer shared his views with SUNDAY STANDARD, wondering why the government cannot encourage the use of manure as was the old practice rather than allowing people to eat  indirectly from human urine in the name of fertilizer.

But Abachi Ungbo in his comment said; ” Here in Africa, I was pleased to see what an entrepreneur in Uganda is doing with urine which has attracted global attention. Researchers in Niger Republic and their counterpart from Europe have been working on human urine to fertilize crops and the soil. So far, it has been a roaring success.

”In fact, Swedish researchers  are trying techniques of drying up urine into chunks then into powder then pellets that will fit into farming equipment. The idea of human urine as far as fertilizer isn’t novel. Historians have described it as a valuable commodity and used extensively by different civilizations in the past.

The Romans are known to have deployed urine for a multiplicity of uses that included fertilizer so much that it became a source of tax. The government  researchers need to turn their attention towards alternative sources of cheaper and environment friendly fertilizers to our farmers bearing in mind the impact of the prohibitive cost of the input on food production, soaring food prices isn’t just about food security challenges but also about national security.” Ungbo  noted.

However, as the nation’s farmers test run the use of human urine and other cheaper means of farming, most Nigerians expect food on the table for their families and any method that can provide respite may not be a problem. Rather, what is instructive is how every opportunity can best be optimized for the benefit of national food security and survival.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traditional ruler, stakeholders laud UNICEF on girl education

THE Emir of Agaie, Dr Yusuf Nuhu, and other relevant stakeholders in Niger State have confirmed that UNICEF’s intervention to increase girl-child school enrolment in the state had been successful and commendable.

The UNICEF intervention is funded by the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the UK.

The Girl Education Project (GEP3) intervention began in Niger in 2012 and ended in 2021.

It was executed in nine local government areas of the state including Shiroro, Agaie, Gbako, Edati, Mariga, Mashegu, Rafi, Kontagora and Munya.

Speaking with our reporter in Minna, Niger State in central Nigeria recently, the Emir of Agaie, Dr Yusuf Nuhu, said traditional leaders also made useful contributions to the success of the intervention.

He observed that the intervention also encouraged the girl child to stay in school and complete her studies rather than abandoning same for early marriage.

DrNuhu said that the emirate actually put a ban on withdrawal of girls from schools by parents for such premature marriages.

“We had cases where some parents approached school authorities to withdraw girls for marriages, but the schools, with the support of traditional rulers, frustrated the moves.

“It is all the more painful as this usually happens when the girls are about completing their number of years in school.

“It is part of our responsibilities to encourage our people to go to school and we are playing that role well; we will continue to play it by protecting the girl child and making sure that girls are allowed to acquire education,” the emir said.

On his part, the Education Secretary of Shiroro Local Government, Usman Tukura Ibrahim said, the authority has mapped out measures to ensure the sustainability of GEP 3 programme as the programme ended last year.

“We have designed a programme which will not allow the programme to die a natural death in Shiroro Local Education Authority; part of it is that the Master trainers in various schools are to be reorganized to train others”

He said they will be trained and will in turn train teachers in various schools to ensure continuity of UNICEF programmes.

“This has become necessary for the fact that the programme was able to showcase the importance of girl child education. Before now girls were taken out of school for marriages, but now they have realized that enrolment of girl child in school is the best legacy. In most cases, educated girl child takes care of parents than boys”, he stated.

Given the statistics of the enrollment in Primary School, the Head Teacher, Sa’adatu Ibrahim said in 2019, enrollment of male students was 37while that of female was 35 in 2020 male enrollment was 40 while female were 50, in 2021 male enrollment was 35 while that of female was 60. In 2022, male enrollment was 33 while that of female was 50.

In his contribution, Mr Yabagi Ndanusa, Head Teacher of Suleiman Primary School in Agaie Local Government Area confirmed that the intervention had helped in the enrolment of more girls in school.

“Before now, the population of pupils in this school was 699 pupils, now the number has increased to 785 pupils and out of this number we have 485 girls while the boys are 300″Before now, we had more boys than girls,” he said.

Also speaking with our reporter, Malam Aliyu Ibrahim, Chairman, School Based Management Committee (SBMC) in the school, attributed the increase in girls enrolment to continuous sensitisation of parents and guardians.

“In the past, there was not much awareness; parents were not allowing their children, especially the female ones to go to school.

“Since UNICEF’s intervention, many parents are now realising the importance of sending their children to school, especially the girls,” he said.

Ibrahim said the SBMC had been assisting some of the less privileged pupils with school uniforms and instructional materials. In collaboration with the Parents Teachers Association.

Another respondent, Malam Mohammed Ado, Head Teacher at Islamic Training Centre, Agaie, said girls were now allowed to enrol at the centre consequent upon UNICEF’s intervention.

“Before now, the centre admitted only boys, but UNICEF’s intervention helped us to accept girls into the centre and they now outnumber the boys.

“We have 257 pupils out of which 150 of them are girls. UNICEF also provided us with school uniforms and instructional materials as well as grant to construct blocks of classrooms, “Ado said.

He also told our reporter that the intervention enabled the centre to expand its curriculum beyond Arabic Language to accommodate English Language and Mathematics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DG hails proposed NYSC Trust Fund Scheme

BRIG. Gen. Muhammad Fadah, Director General, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has hailed the proposed establishment of NYSC Trust Fund, as the scheme is capable of empowering corps members to become self reliant and employers of labour.

He called for strong support for the scheme to come on board and make positive impact on the lives of corps members in view of the alarming unemployment situation in Nigeria.

The NYSC DG made the call during the swearing-in ceremony of the 2022 Batch ‘B’ Stream Il youth corps members posted to Kogi at the NYSC Orientation Camp in Asaya, Kabba Local Government Area.

Represented by the NYSC Coordinator in Kogi, Mofoluwasho Williams, the DG said “already the NYSC Trust Fund has reached an advanced stage of legislation.”

“This Trust Fund, when established, will help the smooth operations of the NYSC Scheme especially in addressing the challenges of infrastructure and providing start-up capital for corps members.

“It’s a clear fact that white-collar jobs are no more readily available, which calls for corps members to inculcate the strong desire to be self reliant and employers of labour.

“As you are now in camp, I encourage you to avail yourselves of the opportunities for self employment offered to you through the Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) Programme.

“You’re expected to choose from any of the areas and make yourselves available for the training, “he said.

Fadah strongly charged the corps members to maintain high level of discipline and enthusiasm by complying with the camp rules and regulations.

He said, “You must continue to distance yourselves from cultism, drugs abuse and other social vices to be responsible in contributing your quota to nation building as patriots.”

The DG also cautioned them against using social media for spreading fake news, fueling hatred through hate speeches and other negative purposes.

While advising them to use social media for the promotion of national unity and development, Fadah charged them to the security conscious at all times and report any suspicious character or activities around them.

He said, “One of the objectives of NYSC is promotion of national unity and integration, hence, your deployment away from your states of origin and your assemblage here from diverse ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds.”

“This policy will not only offer you the opportunity for a broader understanding of the country, but also entrench the culture of working together in an atmosphere filled with friendship, peace, harmony, and a shared vision of a great and prosperous Nigeria,” he said.

Our Correspondent reports that a total of 1,200 corps members posted to Kogi, were led by Justice Esther Haruna in taking their oaths at the colourful swearing in ceremony.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HoR committee mandated on Kuje attack

THE House of Representatives has mandated its committees on National

Security and Intelligence, Interior, Reforming Services, Defence, Army, Navy and Police Affairs to investigate the causes, dimensions and effects of the recent Kuje custodian center attack.

To this end, the joint committee is to make its report available within four weeks for further legislative action.

The lower chamber urged the federal government to implement the recommendations of the special summit of national security organized by the leadership of the house in 2021.

At the resumption of the plenary, the house unanimously adopted the motion moved by Hon. Sha’aban Sharada titled, “Need to investigate the terrorist attack on Nigerian correctional medium security custodian center Kuje”.

Representative Sharada recalled the July 2022, terrorist attack the Nigerian correctional service’s medium security custodian center, Kuje, in Abuja, and expressed worried that the Kuje custodian center attack and its terrible out come along with several related crimes against national security are on the increase despite stakeholders commitment towards equipping the national security enforcement and intelligence community with significant appropriation of funds.

The House, he said is cognizant of the fact that public peace and safety will continue to be threatened if urgent steps are not taken to address the situation.

Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has advised Nigerians to file lawsuits against candidates who they know submitted false certificates for their eligibility to contest the 2023 general elections.

The electoral body also said it was also involved in 334 pre-election court cases that arose from the conduct of the congress and primaries by political parties for the general elections.

INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu stated these at the swearing in of Dr. Hale Longpet as Resident Electoral Commissioner recently in Abuja.

He said Longpet who is from Plateau State has been deployed as REC for Kogi state.

Prof. Yakubu disclosed that the commission is set to publish the personal particulars of candidates nominated by their political parties for governorship and state assembly elections in all constituencies nationwide as required by law.

He explain that with the publication of the personal particulars of candidates for governorship, deputy governorship and state assembly elections, the commission expects the number of cases to increase.

Prof. Yakubu appealed to all Nigerians (citizens and aspirants) to seize the opportunity to scrutinize the particulars of the candidates and to seek judicial remedy for any observed violation of law as provided in section 29 of the Electoral Acts 2022.

The INEC boss further stated that the issue of internal democracy in parties remains a sore point in the Nation’s electoral process in Nigeria.

He added that the commission would continue to engage with them while standing firm against any transgression by strictly enforcing provisions of the law and extant regulations and guidelines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Signs, and ways of dealing with depression

DEPESSION is a mental health challenge that can eventually eat you up if you don’t keep personal trackers and checks to watch out the signs and parameters and assess yourself.

There are many causes ranging from loss of loved ones, tragedies, disasters, accidents, bankruptcy, financial and emotional challenges, disappointments, unfulfilled dreams and desires, among others.

The death of popular Nollywood actress Ada Ameh of the favourite Popular comedy sitcom ‘The Johnsons’ this week was so tragic to many because the actress had shared variously how she is battling with mental health issues after losing her only daughter Aladi in 2021 alongside seven of her family members.

According to the health experts, there are some signs that shows a person is having depression and there is a thin line between being unhappy and being depressed.

Healthline editorial team say “Being unhappy isn’t the same as being depressed. Depression is a term often used loosely to describe how we feel after a bad week at work or when we’re going through a breakup. But major depressive disorder — a type of depression — is much more complicated. There are specific symptoms that determine whether it’s depression or the sadness we all sometimes experience in life”.

However determining if persistent, unshakable dark feelings are a result of depression can be the first step toward healing and recovery.

They suggest you read these warning signs to see if it’s time for you to see a mental health professional.

  1. Hopeless outlook

Major depression is a mood disorder that affects the way you feel about life in general. Having a hopeless or helpless outlook on your life is the most common symptom of depression. Other feelings may be worthlessness, self-hate, or inappropriate guilt. Common, recurring thoughts of depression may be vocalized as, “It’s all my fault,” or “What’s the point?”

  1. Loss of interest.

Depression can take the pleasure or enjoyment out of the things you love. A loss of interest or withdrawal from activities that you once looked forward to — sports, hobbies, or going out with friends — is yet another telltale sign of major depression. Another area where you may lose interest is sex. Symptoms of major depression include a decreased sex drive and even impotence.

  1. Increased fatigue and sleep problems

Part of the reason you might stop doing things you enjoy is because you feel very tired. Depression often comes with a lack of energy and an overwhelming feeling of fatigue, which can be among the most debilitating symptoms of depression. This could lead to excessive sleeping.

Depression is also linked with insomnia, as one might lead to the other and vice versa. They can also make each other worse. The lack of quality, restful sleep can also lead to anxiety.

  1. Anxiety. While depression hasn’t been shown to cause anxiety, the two conditions often occur together. Symptoms of anxiety can include nervousness, restlessness, or feeling tense feelings of danger, panic, or dread rapid heart rate rapid breathing

increased or heavy sweating

trembling or muscle twitching trouble focusing or thinking clearly about anything other than the thing you’re worried about

  1. Irritability in men

Depression can affect the sexes differently. Research shows that men with depression may have symptoms such as irritability, escapist or risky behavior, substance abuse, or misplaced anger. Men are also less likely than women to recognize depression or seek treatment for it.

  1. Changes in appetite and weight. Weight and appetite can fluctuate for people with depression. This experience may be different for each person. Some people will have an increased appetite and gain weight, while others won’t be hungry and will lose weight.
  2. Uncontrollable emotions

One minute it’s an outburst of anger. The next you’re crying uncontrollably. Nothing outside of you prompted the change, but your emotions are up and down at a moment’s notice. Depression can cause mood swings.

  1. Looking at death

Depression is sometimes connected with suicide. People who die by suicide usually show symptoms first. Often people will talk about it or make a first attempt before succeeding in ending their life. If you think someone is at immediate risk of self-harm or hurting another person, get help for the person. If you have had some of the previously mentioned symptoms for more than two weeks, you might be suffering from major depression disorder. Recognizing that you’re depressed is essential to getting the right help.

Depression affects millions of people, but there are varying treatments available, from lifestyle changes to medications. No matter the path of treatment you choose, asking for professional help is the first step to getting back to feeling like yourself again.

How to overcome depression

Jabeen Begum in a piece on Webmb.com says being depressed can make you feel helpless but there’s a lot you can do on your own to fight back. Changing your behavior — your physical activity, lifestyle, and even your way of thinking — are all natural depression treatments.

Get in a routine. If you’re depressed, you need a routine, says Ian Cook, MD. He’s a psychiatrist and director of the Depression Research and Clinic Program at UCLA because depression can strip away the structure from your life. One day melts into the next. Setting a gentle daily schedule can help you get back on track.

Set goals. When you’re depressed, you may feel like you can’t accomplish anything. That makes you feel worse about yourself. To push back, set daily goals for yourself. “Start very small,” Cook says. “Make your goal something that you can succeed at, like doing the dishes every other day.

Exercise. It temporarily boosts feel-good chemicals called endorphins. It may also have long-term benefits for people with depression. Regular exercise seems to encourage the brain to rewire itself in positive ways, Cook says.

Eat healthy. There is no magic diet that fixes depression. It’s a good idea to watch what you eat, though. If depression tends to make you overeat, getting in control of your eating will help you feel better. Get enough sleep. Depression can make it hard to get enough shut-eye, and too little sleep can make depression worse.

Try not to nap. Take all the distractions out of your bedroom — no computer and no TV. In time you may find your sleep improves.Take on responsibilities. When you’re depressed, you may want to pull back from life and give up your responsibilities at home and at work. Don’t. Staying involved and having daily responsibilities can help you maintain a lifestyle that can help counter depression. They ground you and give you a sense of accomplishment.

If you’re not up to full-time school or work, that’s fine. Think about part-time. If that seems like too much, consider volunteer work. Challenge negative thoughts. In your fight against depression, a lot of the work is mental — changing how you think. When you’re depressed, you leap to the worst possible conclusions.

The next time you’re feeling terrible about yourself, use logic as a natural depression treatment. You might feel like no one likes you, but is there real evidence for that? You might feel like the most worthless person on the planet, but is that really likely? It takes practice, but in time you can beat back those negative thoughts before they get out of control. Check with your doctor before using supplements. “There’s promising evidence for certain supplements for depression,” Cook says.

Do something new. When you’re depressed, you’re in a rut. Push yourself to do something different. Go to a museum. Pick up a used book and read it on a park bench. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Take a language class.

“When we challenge ourselves to do something different, there are chemical changes in the brain,” Cook says.Try to have fun. As strange as it might sound, you have to work at having fun. Plan things you used to enjoy, even if they feel like a chore. Keep going to the movies. Keep going out with friends for dinner, avoid alcohol and other drugs. Substance misuse is common in people who have depression. You may be more likely to turn to alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs to deal with the symptoms of your depression. It’s unclear if drinking and using drugs causes depression. But long-term drug use could change the way your brain works and worsen or lead to mental health problems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drums for Lalong @ 59

THE corridors of power was agog last week with drums  of celebrations to mark the birthday of Governor Simon Bako Lalong who clocked 59 on May 5th 2022.

It wasn’t a moment for lavish celebrations in view of the challenges being faced in the state and country but there was clinking of wine glasses to mark the day as his family members, close associates and  personal aides celebrated the ‘First Man’.

Good will messages from many notable dignatories including President Mohammadu Buhari, members of Parliament at the state and National levels, the Progressives Governors Forum, and other groups and individuals all wished the celebrant well describing him as a man with a strong desire for fostering peace and unity of the nation especially with his role as Chairman Northern Governors Forum and in his state.

Governor Lalong who said he was so humbled by the gesture appreciated God for the gift of life which he said is paramount to all the achievements he has done in his lifetime. He prayed for wisdom to continue to lead the state and nation in the many areas of assignment he finds himself.

He dedicated his birthday to the state praying for more peace and unity among citizens and more developmental strides to be recorded, and also to two young star-golfers who died in an accident while returning from a golf kitty at the Rhino Golf Course in Jos, shortly after the May 2022 Sallah.

Unity Iftar 2022

As the Muslim Ummah rounded up their 2022 Ramadan fast, activities at Plateau Government House Little Rayfield heightened with an Iftar dinner and breaking of fast at the instance of the Governor.

The dinner tagged ‘Unity’ fast’ was held on Tuesday April 28, 2022 a few days to Sallah at the Banquet Hall, Government House Jos. Government played host to both Christians and Moslems for the breaking of fast. The dinner brought together both Christian and Moslem leaders at government circles, the traditional institutions, social and religious sectors.

This is not the first time Governor Lalong is spearheading such ventures where he uses as a platform  to advance his message on interreligious tolerance and need for peaceful living among different faiths. His peace strides is among the cardinal policy thrusts of his rescue administration.

Prof. Danladi Atu, the Secretary to the Government, said the welcome address at the fast-breaking-dinner saying the Iftar, which is at the instance of the governor, was solely a gesture to promote unity and peaceful coexistence among the citizens of Plateau State.

He said the Governor had tagged the meal ‘unity meal” that’s why the dinner was also used as a forum to invite guests cutting across different divides to partake in the significant gathering. He called for continued prayers for the state to keep it afloat to advance seeds of development.

The Governor, on his part, challenged all leaders and faithfuls of the two prominent faiths and  religions of Christianity and Islam to be practical about the teachings of their faith by showing love to others and living in peace.

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