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Barr. Caleb Mufwang Takes Charge as Governor of Plateau State

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Barr. Caleb Mufwang Takes Charge as Governor of Plateau State

By: Zidon Alexander

The swearing in of Governor Caleb Mutfwang and his Deputy witness a mammoth turnout of supporters at the Rwang Pam Township stadium in Jos .

Barr. Caleb Mutfwang was sworn-in as the substantial Governor of Plateau state today the 29th of May 2023. Governor Caleb Mutfwang of the Peoples Democratic Party took over from Governor Simon Bako Lalong of the All Progressive Congress who had served for 8 years as Governor.

Justice David Mann the Chief Judge of Plateau State administered the oath of office on Caleb Mutfwang at the Rwang Pam township stadium .

Former Governor Simon Lalong was absent during the handing over ceremony, he delegated his Deputy Prof. Sonni Tyoden to handover the instrument of office to the new Governor.

In his remarks Caleb promised to build a new Plateau for all that will give a sense of belongings to its people and good leadership is key.

“Those opportune to serve will be judged based on history ” he said.

Barr. Caleb Mufwang Takes Charge as Governor of Plateau State

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Borno: From ashes of insecurity to agric revolution

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Borno: From ashes of insecurity to agric revolution

By Hamza Suleiman

Prior to the Boko Haram insurgency Borno was one of the most agriculturally advanced states in Nigeria with more than two-third of its population engaged in cereal crops, livestock, fishery, and poultry production.

This contributed significantly to Nigeria’s food supply chain, making it a crucial player in feeding the country’s vast population.

However, the insurgency had a devastating impact on agriculture, similar to its effects on the economy and social sectors and residents took refuge in other parts of the country.

The damage was monumental, leading to malnutrition in children and breastfeeding mothers, as well as hunger and starvation among the population, ultimately culminating in a humanitarian crisis in the entire North-East region.

The aftermath of the devastation was estimated to be in the billions of dollars, leaving a significant portion of the population without livelihoods and dependent on food aid from the government and humanitarian organizations.

In 2019, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum assumed office as the elected governor of Borno State, inheriting one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world at the time, with approximately 2.5 million displaced persons.

These individuals, who previously engaged in rain-fed and irrigation activities, cultivating thousands of hectares of arable land across the state’s 20 local government areas, also lost their livelihoods as fishermen and animal breeders.

This significantly reduced the state’s food production capacity to almost zero.
As a result, citizens faced hunger and starvation, and the supply of well-bred animals, dried fish, and other fishery products to markets across Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon Republics was severely impacted.

Notably, the Federal Government established the Lake Chad Basin Development Commission (LCBDC).
This was in recognition of Borno’s significant contribution to agriculture. There was also the establishment of Lake Chad Basin Research Institute in Maiduguri, to enhance studies and innovations in various fields of agriculture.

Zulum also built on the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement program initiated by his predecessor, Vice-President Kashim Shettima. This programme prioritised agriculture, which received significant attention.

During the launch of the Renewed Hope Initiative Women Agricultural Support Programme (RHI-WASP), Zulum emphasised the importance of agriculture in Borno’s development.

“Our government has made agriculture a top priority, and we are committed to mobilizing resources to boost its growth.
“To achieve this, we have procured essential agricultural machinery and inputs like tractors, chemicals, and fertilisers.

`This will significantly enhance our farmers’ productivity. Our goal is to support our farmers in every way possible to increase their agricultural output and promote food security.

He said, “We must shift our focus from short-term humanitarian support to medium and long-term sustainable solutions, and that is agriculture”, Zulum said.

RHI-WASP is the initiative of the wife of the President, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, designed to encourage women to engage in agricultural activities and contribute to the food sufficiency agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Zulum’s administration has empowered 120 women farmers from the North-East region with N500,000 each, and 100 persons with disabilities from Borno with N100,000 each, to support their agricultural endeavors’’, the document said.
The Borno government recognises the importance of logistics support to farmers hence it has taken to meet some of their challenges.

For instance it procured one million liters of petrol which was distributed at a subsidized rate to farmers across the state and distributed 20,000 bags of fertilisers to them.

The government also provided 1,000 solar-powered water pumps and 5,000 water pump machines to farmers in the three senatorial districts.

Among others, the state government established modern, innovative and climate-smart irrigation schemes at Bokkoiri in Konduga; Kulunnam in Magumeri, Jaffi in Kwaya Kusar, Mafa in Mafa, Bulabulin, Shuwari and Gajibo in Dikwa and Logomane in Ngala LGA, respectively.

Similarly, the Zulum administration is investing hugely in drip irrigation to accelerate cash crop production such as maize, cassava and sesame seeds, even as it has inaugurated a 20-hectare sesame plantation at Koiri pilot drip irrigation scheme.

“Let’s carefully put things in order. Borno State will start exporting sesame and other cash crops in the near future.
“We will subsequently change focus and invest our resources in irrigation farming or, rather, food production.

I assure you that we will provide the political will needed to achieve food sufficiency.

“We need to expand our scope; we should identify bigger lands, we can expand with another 100 hectares each in Borno Central, South and North Senatorial Districts.

“My predecessor has procured about 10,000 hectares of drip irrigation kits. After this year’s rainy season, we hope the state will be able to cultivate at least 1,000 hectares”, Zulum said.

The Zulum administration recorded significant success in enhancing extension and farmers support services as it distributed improved variety seeds, fertilisers, chemical and knapsack sprayers to 3,000 rice farmers at Ngala and Gwoza.

It also provided 250 water pumps, 250 tubewells, assorted seeds, and agrochemicals to 1,000 Dry season farmers in Baga resettled community, while 1,000 tubewells and 1,000 water pumps were distributed to rice growers at Damasak in Mobbar LGA.

Farmers in Tarmuwa-Banki also received 50 units of water pumps with accessories, 50 tubewells, seeds, fertiliser, and chemicals to dry season farmers.’’, among other initiatives.

The efforts of the administration have not gone unnoticed by experts and other stakeholders in the sector.

Executive Secretary of National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA), Prince Paul Ikonne urged all stakeholders to emulate Zulum in his agriculture sector revolution.

He spoke at the inauguration of projects executed by NALDA in Jere Local Government Area of Borno.
“I want to call on all stakeholders to quickly key into this agricultural revolution of Mr President (Bola Tinubu) by adopting the method of Borno State, the method of unconditional land donation and method of total commitment.

“I thank you, Mr governor, for your support for agriculture, your support for the development of Borno…NALDA will continue to partner Borno because Borno has the potential to develop food production and achieve food security in Nigeria’’, Ikonne said.
A social media influencer, Abudulla Ayofe, has also commended Zulum over his steps to transform the agric sector in Borno.

“Governor Zulum’s administration is turning desert into green fields in a bid to push the modern agriculture revolution in Borno State’’, he said in one of his verified social media posts.

Gaji Ngari, a grain farmer in Dille village in Askira/Uba Local Government Area, said Zulum had not only transformed farming but also the lives of farmers.
“The government has done a lot for us, particularly given our recent history; gradually, we are picking ourselves up’’, he said.

Agric experts say in spite of the achievements, more still needs to be done to position Borno in a position to reach its agric potential.

They say the state government should further explore technology in providing logistics for farmers. They say such tools can be used to predict weather and latest agriculture inputs.

They also call for strengthened security in the state, particularly around farmlands, which are still vulnerable to sporadic security breaches, as well as provide financial security for farmers through soft loans.

Hamza Suleiman is a Senior Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

Borno: From ashes of insecurity to agric revolution

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NAPTIP DECRIES THE SURGE IN BABY FACTORIES, THE BUYING, AND SELLING OF CHILDREN ACROSS THE COUNTRY

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NAPTIP DECRIES THE SURGE IN BABY FACTORIES, THE BUYING, AND SELLING OF CHILDREN ACROSS THE COUNTRY

By: Michael Mike

The Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Prof. Fatima Waziri–Azi has expressed deep concern over the increasing incidences of trading of babies and the proliferation of baby factories across the country.

In recent times, there have been alarming reports and public outcry regarding the sale of babies and the existence of facilities specializing in trapping young girls, recruiting men to impregnate them, and subsequently selling the babies after delivery.

These factories operate clandestinely, preying on the desperation and vulnerability of unsuspecting victims, often luring them with promises of financial gain or false assurances of care and support.

One of the most recent incidents occurred in Umunkwa village, located in the Umuafai Ndume Ibeku area of Umuahia North Local Government, Abia State where ten victims were rescued from a baby factory.

The victims, aged between 1-24 years , included seven young girls, six of whom are pregnant, one lactating mother, and two boys who are minors. The baby factory was uncovered by the Department of State Services (DSS), Abia State Command.

A 63-year-old woman, identified as Chinyere Nkwocha, was apprehended as the owner of the baby factory. Both the suspects and the victims have been handed over to the NAPTIP Abia State Liaison Office for further investigation and appropriate action.

While commending the Abia State Command of the DSS for the successful operation, the Director-General urges the public, particularly parents, to be vigilant and ensure that their wards do not fall victim to these unscrupulous individuals.

She also encourages communities to continue collaborating with Law Enforcement Agencies in combating these heinous crimes by promptly reporting all cases of human trafficking to NAPTIP through its toll-free number, 0703 0000 203, or short code 627 (MTN & AIRTEL Only).

NAPTIP DECRIES THE SURGE IN BABY FACTORIES, THE BUYING, AND SELLING OF CHILDREN ACROSS THE COUNTRY

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Borno flags off 2nd phase of training for 781 incompetent teachers

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Borno flags off 2nd phase of training for 781 incompetent teachers

…Present N783 million cheques for participants

By: Ndahi Inusa

Following the inability of thousands of Primary School Teachers to pass competent test earlier conducted, in which they are yet to be placed on N30,000 minimum wage, the Borno state government under the leadership of governor Babagana Zulum has flagged the second phase for the training of 781 teachers who were yet benefit from the N30,000 minimum wage.

This is as the sum of N783 million cheques has been approved and disbursed for the three months exercise at Bama College of Education, venue for the training.

The 781 second beneficiaries were part of the over 2,740 teachers, mostly those who failed to meet up with the 2019 Verification and the 2022 competency tests organized by a committee that were constituted by the present administration.

Just last week, a total of about 1,949 teachers formed part of 1st phase free training at Waka- Biu college of Education in southern Borno Senatorial District, where the sum of over N1 billion cheque were presented.

Unveiling the second training on Monday at Umar Ibn- Ibrahim College of Education, Science and Technology (UIICEST), Bama in Borno Central, Governor Zulum, represented by his Deputy, Dr. Umar Usman Kadafur said, “the programme underscore the pragmatic policy initiative of this
Government in the critical sector of education, as such, is quite
appropriate and timely.

“You may recall that on Monday, 6th May, 2024, we unveiled phase 1 of this significant programme with one thousand nine hundred and fourty nine (1,949) teachers from 27 Local
Government Areas. This initiative is part of Government broader commitment to improving the quality of education in the State, as outlined during the inauguration of the Local Government Education Secretaries on March, 19th 2024.

“It is strategically pertinent to note that Government allocated a substantial sum of one billion naira (N1 Billion) for
the training of 2,730 teachers. These educators will undergo rigorous training at both the College of Education Waka-Biu and Umar Ibn Ibrahim El-Kanemi College of Education, Science and
Technology Bama.

“The duration of the program is three months, covering one thousand eight hundred and eighty four (1,884)
teachers through a sandwich programme and eight hundred and
forty six (846) teachers through a full-time NCE program.

“It may interest you to note that the aim of this initiative is to address issues of remuneration, retention and most importantly the competency of our teachers in line with national standards.

The program is free of charge and each participants is entitle to N30,000.00 monthly stipend, in addition to their regular salaries. Those enrolled in full-time NCE program will attain automatic in- service status.

On this note, let me use this medium and urge the participant to approach this opportunity with utmost dedication
and seriousness, knowing fully well that successful completion of the program and passing the competency test will lead to a review of wages.

“To ensure adequate preparation, the Ministry of Education has been directed to release an additional sum of
fifty thousand naira (N50,000) to all participants”. Zulum stated.

In his address, the Commissioner Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Engr. Lawan Wakilbe while commending governor Zulum and all state holders for repositioning the sector said, the ceremony is a pivotal step in journey toward revitalizing basic education in the state.

He hinted on the Needs Assessment carried out in 2021, which prompted the competency test for teachers across the different Local Government Education Authorities that took place from 5th to 20th January 2022.

Wakilbe noted that “the outcome of the test revealed that Five thousand Two Hundred and Fifty-Seven (5,257) individuals passed, Six Thousand Two Hundred and Twenty-seven (6,227) were considered trainable, and Four Thousand Three Hundred and Thirty-Nine (4,339) were found to be untrainable.

“The challenges facing basic education in our state have reached critical levels, particularly following the cessation of the direct absorption of Primary School teachers from their Teachers’ Colleges.

“The absence of a structured employment framework has led to various issues, including discrepancies in salary scales and the recruitment of
underqualified personnel. Consequently, the Borno State Government has been confronted with significant challenges in teacher recruitment, remuneration, and
retention.

“Therefore, decisive measures have been taken to address these challenges, especially the authorization granted for the Ministry of Education to reassign untrained personnel from Local Government Education Authorities (LGEAs) to alternative roles, freeing up positions for qualified individuals.

“Secondly, a comprehensive assessment of manpower requirements within the LGEAs has been authorized, leading to the employment of suitable candidates to meet those needs. And lastly, plans for Phase III of the teacher training program have been initiated, encompassing individuals with Diplomas and those unable to participate in the initial training phase.

“Additionally, arrangements are
underway for further education and development programs through the Institute of Education at Borno
State University (BOSU) for eligible personnel.” Wakilbe stated.

Also speaking, the Executive Chairman of Borno State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Professor Bulama Kagu, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Hyelni Mshelia lauded governor Zulum for magnanimously ordered the lifting of the embargo on promotions across the Civil Service, including teachers.

“Borno SUBEB has taken decisive steps to implement this executive order. First, the management issued a circular to all former education secretaries, urging them to urgently compile authenticate, and submit the list of all deserving teaching and non-teaching staff due for promotions.

“Secondly, the management constituted an ad- hoc committee to screen and verify submissions from the Local Government Education Authorities (LGEAs). However, a change in leadership within the LGEAs necessitated another circular from the
management to the new education secretaries to revalidate and Submit the earlier list.

“This process is ongoing, and I urge all our education secretaries to expedite their actions.

“Thirdly, the management has written through the Honourable Commissioner to the Deputy Director of Statistics, Ministry of Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation, requesting the submission of the list of NCE and graduate teachers with their current salary scales for appropriate placement, considering their experience and years of service.

“Once this data is collated, the committee will expeditiously work on it and submit it to the management for the board’s consideration and, ultimately, for government approval.

“Presently, 5,408 teachers are on their qualifications. We have 3,096 teachers with NCE qualifications, of whom 1,907 are already appropriately placed.

“Another 1,189 require upgrading and will be placed on GL 07 step 1 immediately. We have 1,032-degree holders, of whom 324 are appropriately placed, while 708 teachers with degrees will be upgraded immediately to GL 08 step 1. Seven teachers hold master’s degrees, and only one needs upgrading.

Earlier in his welcome address, Professor Kalli Tijjani, Provost of UIICEST, Bama appreciated the efforts pit in place by the present administration in improving quality of teaching, and pledged that participants would receive the basic training needed to inculcate knowledge to pupils and students in the state.

In their separate goodwill messages, the Shehu of Bama, Alhaji, Dr. Kyari Umar Kyari El-Kanemi, the Chairman of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Borno chapter, Comrade Zali Garba and the Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in the state, Comrade Yusuf Inuwa cautioned people to stop politicizing the issue of education, in which some resort to social media alleging poor salary package to those incompetent teachers who were supposed to be laid off from the teaching profession.

Borno flags off 2nd phase of training for 781 incompetent teachers

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