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Democracy not a Steady State, Requires Dedication and Determination, US Cautions Nigerians Against Losing Hope

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Democracy not a Steady State, Requires Dedication and Determination, US Cautions Nigerians Against Losing Hope

By: Michael Mike

The United States has advised Nigerians against losing hope in democracy, insisting that it is not a steady state, but a continuous process that requires focus, dedication, and determination.

Speaking at the commemorations the 247th Independence Day of the United States of America, the Chargé d’Affaires of the United States’ Mission in Nigeria, David Greene noted that Nigeria’s recent elections showcased the contradictions inherent in democracy.

He said: “As large, diverse democracies, the United States of America and the Federal Republic of Nigeria share many of these principles: in the content of our constitutions, in the forms of our institutions, in citizens’ relationships to their governments, and in our daily lives. Our struggles for independence – while centuries and continents apart – shared the common vision of nations governed by their citizens, for the welfare of those citizens.

“We can acknowledge that achieving that vision has been a bumpy road, for both our nations. We have had to work hard to preserve democratic principles and values, sometimes in the face of strong headwinds, or even storms.  Yet we persevere.  

“Nigeria’s recent elections showcased the contradictions inherent in democracy, at once highlighting this nation’s commitment to the democratic system even as many voters were frustrated by the process. We in the United States know as well as any, that democracy is not a steady state, but a continuous process that requires focus, dedication, and determination.”

He added that: “So even as the United States works to ensure our own nation remains true to the ideals of its founding, we seek to partner with friends and allies in strengthening their democratic institutions as well. In recognition of this important, common task, President Biden hosted, on the margins of December’s African Leaders Summit, a session focused on elections – attended by former President Buhari – to highlight this critical moment when democracy needs to be renewed and defended globally.
 
“Beyond the history and abstract principles, I want to speak to our shared commitment to the practical work of any democracy – helping citizens live prosperous, secure, and healthy lives. As President Biden has said, “Elected leaders owe it to their people to show that democracy can deliver for their needs.”  And the United States is Nigeria’s partner in making it possible to deliver.”

The envoy stated that: “Prosperity demands a stable economy in which businesses can succeed and in which citizens can aspire to leave their children better off. So the United States partners with Nigerian entrepreneurs in agriculture, health, information technology, and renewable energy – to name just a few sectors – to help expand small and medium-sized businesses.  We know that the success of a business is dependent on reliable energy infrastructure; so the United States has helped bring electricity to over three million homes and businesses – so far, with the number to grow in the future.”
 
He however admitted that “economic opportunity by itself is not enough; citizens need security. In this area, too, the United States and Nigeria are working together closely. Through robust military-to-military ties, police training, and judicial cooperation, by way of examples, the United States is partnering with Nigeria to bolster its security capabilities, to combat terrorism, violent crime, and corruption.”

Greene said: “In short, across every sector you can think of, the great federal republics of the United States and Nigeria have long been working together to improve the lives of both of our peoples.  And we look forward to partnering with President Tinubu’s Administration to ensure that the Nigerian people’s vision for their country is realized – by strengthening Nigerian institutions and helping, in the words of the Nigerian National anthem, “build a nation where peace and justice shall reign.””

He recalled that President Biden said, on the occasion of President Tinubu’s inauguration, “As Africa’s largest democracy and economy, Nigeria’s success is the world’s success.”  Stressing that: “I, and my whole team here and in Lagos, look forward to working with all of you towards that success.”
 
Gracing the event that held on Thursday night were prominent people from all sectors including those in government and diplomatic corps, among them are the Senate President Godswill Akpabio and the Deputy Speaker Benjamin Kalu.

Democracy not a Steady State, Requires Dedication and Determination, US Cautions Nigerians Against Losing Hope

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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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Emir of Kano prays the peace and stability of Nigeria, West Africa

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Emir of Kano prays the peace and stability of Nigeria, West Africa

By: Michael Mike

The Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero has prayed for peace and stability in Nigeria and the entire West African region..

The Emir offered the prayer when the Deputy President of the Senate, who is also the Acting Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Senator Barau Jibrin, led the delegation from ECOWAS Parliament who are in Kano for the Second Extraordinary Session of the regional legislative arm to his Palace on a courtesy.

The Emir thanked the parliamentarians for the visit and prayed for the successful conduct of the extraordinary session of the parliament.

The Emir, while commending the Deputy President of the Senate for facilitating the hosting of the session in Kano, urged the parliamentarians to explore business opportunities in the state.

Speaking during the visit, Senator Jibrin explained that Kano was selected for the second extraordinary session to bring the ECOWAS Parliament closer to the people.

He said: “This will bring the ECOWAS Parliament closer to the people at the grassroots. It will also create an avenue for interactions and business relations. The dream of our founding fathers is to unite us through ECOWAS.

“The emir is the custodian of our tradition and religion. We are here to seek for his blessings and register our respect for the emirate and the emir. Your Royal Highness, we also want to seek for your prayers for the event to be successful,” he said..

The extraordinary session is convened to consider and adopt the rule of procedure and strategic plan for the sixth legislature as well as the 2024 work programme.

Parliamentarians from 12 countries including Nigeria, Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote D’ Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Republic of Togo, are participating in the second extraordinary session of the parliament.

Emir of Kano prays the peace and stability of Nigeria, West Africa

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