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Yobe: KACRAN condoles Buni over the former governor’s demise.

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Yobe: KACRAN condoles Buni over the former governor’s demise.

By: Yahaya Wakili

The National President of the Kulen Allah Cattle Rearers Association of Nigeria (KACRAN), Hon. Khalil Mohammed Bello, and his executives were at Yobe State Government House Mosque to condole with His Excellency, Governor Mai Mala Buni, and the good people of Yobe State over the demise of former governor Sen. Bukar Abba Ibrahim.

Hon. Khalil Mohammed Bello described the demise of the former governor of Yobe State, Sen. Bukar Abba Ibrahim, as a colossal loss to Yobe, Nigeria, and all lovers of democracy.

He further said, I received the shocking news of the death of former Governor, Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim, with a heavy heart.

“This is a huge loss for us at this time, but it is the wish of Allah. May Allah (SWT) forgive his shortcomings and admit him into Aljannatur Fidaus.” Khalil Mohammed Bello said.

“Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim was a committed leader, a dedicated politician, and a public servant who contributed immensely to the development of Yobe State.

“Between 1999 and 2007, Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim showed he was a man on a mission to improve the lives of his people, and he was also a voice of reason, moderation, and peace at all times,” Bello said.

“I express my heartfelt condolences to his family, the Yobe state government, and indeed, all Nigerians who mourn his loss.

“May Almighty Allah (SWT) grant his soul Aljannatur Fidaus Amin.

Yobe: KACRAN condoles Buni over the former governor’s demise.

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UK Government Hosts Stakeholder Meeting on Serious and Organised Crime

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UK Government Hosts Stakeholder Meeting on Serious and Organised Crime

By: Michael Mike

The United Kingdom Government has hosted a multi-stakeholder meeting in Abuja to discuss how its Serious & Organised Crime (SOC) Prevent Programme is making significant strides in deterring vulnerable young people from joining Organised Crime Groups in Nigeria.

Launched as a three-year pilot in December 2021, the programme is designed to disrupt Nigerian Organised Crime Groups by redirecting at-risk youth towards positive alternatives in Bayelsa, Edo, Zamfara and Lagos states.

In select local governments of these states, the SOC Prevent Programme has established robust structures and delivered various interventions, including Back-to-School Initiatives, Digital Skills Acquisition, Dance and Drama Workshops and Sports Interventions.

Collaborating closely with the Nigeria Police Force, the programme has trained 83 officers in the Prevent methodology, reinforcing the commitment to institutionalise this approach in tackling SOC, and to date, approximately 1,500 beneficiaries across the four states have been diverted from potential involvement in organised crime.

Speaking at the meeting, the Acting British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Gill Lever said: “Serious & Organised Crime is a priority for both Nigeria and the UK, and can take many forms. Ranging from online focussed activities like cybercrime to the physical movement of illicit commodities and people in the form of trafficking.

“Our results in Nigeria have proven that the Prevent methodology works, and it has been successful in diverting young people from choosing a life of crime. I believe that the valuable discussions that took place today will smoothen the way for Prevent to be fully institutionalised in Nigeria.”

The meeting included representatives from the Federal Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Police Affairs, the Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security & Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), INTERPOL, Office for Strategic Preparedness and Resilience (OSPRE), Ministry of Police Affairs, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and others.

The Prevent programme is an approach to tackling SOC. Others are Pursue, Protect and Prepare. Prevent methodology looks to prevent or deter people from engaging in SOC by raising awareness of the consequences of SOC and developing techniques to deter people from continuing in criminality.

UK Government Hosts Stakeholder Meeting on Serious and Organised Crime

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Adeola Odutola College 79/84 set celebrate 40 years in grand style with multi-million naira donation of solar street light to school

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Adeola Odutola College 79/84 set celebrate 40 years in grand style with multi-million naira donation of solar street light to school

By: Michael Mike

All is now set for the commissioning of multi-million naira installed solar street light by Adeola Odutola College 1979-1984 set as part of the activities lined up to commemorate the 40 years of leaving the school on Friday July 19.

In a statement, the set said the celebration which had earlier been kicked off with a thanksgiving in the Church on Sunday June 16, to mark the 75 years Founder’s Day, will witness a special Jumat service for the commemoration in the school.

According to Abiodun Balogun, the President of Adeola Odutola College Old Students Association 1979-1984 set, stated that the programme will start with the set participating in the morning assembly with the students from 8 a.m followed by a courtesy call on the Principal and Management of the school.

Thereafter, he said there would be commissioning of the installed solar street light at 11.00 a.m donated by the set to the school.

Balogun said the set will join the Muslim community of the School to observe a Jumat service specially for the set .

Other activities lined up for the anniversary include a get together and gala nite where the old students will reunite and reminiscence of their five years stay in the school.

Balogun added that the set is grateful to God for His benevolence on them as it has produced Professors and academicians, top civil servants, businessmen and women, educationists among several others both at home and in the diaspora.

It will be recalled that the set regrouped in 2014 to mark its 30 years in existence with renovation of some classrooms in the school.

Adeola Odutola College 79/84 set celebrate 40 years in grand style with multi-million naira donation of solar street light to school

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Rebuilding Zamfara in a Complex Era – The Dauda Lawal Style

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Rebuilding Zamfara in a Complex Era – The Dauda Lawal Style

By: Zagazola Makama

In the intricate landscape of Zamfara State’s recent history, a transformative chapter unfolds with the governance of Dauda Lawal. Amidst the shadows of banditry, poverty, and institutional decay, his tenure as the 5th Executive Governor emerges as a beacon of hope and resilience. Through a tapestry of strategic reforms and resolute actions, Governor Lawal orchestrates a bold revival of Zamfara’s fortunes, championing security, education, healthcare, infrastructure, and empowerment initiatives. As the state grapples with the legacy of past challenges, Zagazola Media Network Team who was in Zamfara recently, has in this captivating piece, captures how Governor Lawal’s leadership shines as a testament to visionary governance in a complex era, heralding a new dawn of progress and prosperity for Zamfara.

In the last decade, Zamfara State, like its neighbor in the North-West region, has been engulfed by banditry, kidnapping, and other crimes that threatened the social fabric and economy of the state. Many people were killed, and thousands displaced, while large-scale destruction of public and private properties was perpetrated by the bandits, resulting in a serious humanitarian crisis in the state.

Upon his inauguration as the 5th Executive Governor of Zamfara on May 29, 2023, Dauda Lawal inherited Zamfara in a state of bankruptcy characterized by decayed institutions, widespread poverty, and hunger among the citizens, thus eroding the confidence of the people in the government’s ability to navigate the security and economic challenges bedeviling the state.

The past administration had failed to pay workers for four months, leaving them in bad shape. As a passionate leader, Governor Dauda Lawal quickly sourced funds with which he paid off the backlog of four months’ salaries. These included the withheld salaries of local government workers and primary school teachers. To break the shackles of poverty and address the myriad of problems bedeviling the state, the Dauda Lawal administration initiated viable empowerment, social, and economic infrastructure development programs to build a secure, peaceful, and prosperous state.

The November 2022 release of the multidimensional poverty index revealed a troubling statistic for Zamfara: 78% of its population is living in poverty, showcasing a worsening trend under the past government of Matawalle, now a minister in the federal cabinet, as poverty increased from 74% to 78%.

Furthermore, the preceding administration in Zamfara showed inadequacies in debt management. In 2019, according to a report by Premium Times, Zamfara’s total debt, including both domestic and external, stood at N103.35 billion. This figure climbed to N130.1 billion in 2020 and further increased to N130.94 billion in 2021. Shortly before Governor Lawal took over power, the state held the second-highest debt burden in the North-West region and ranked 15th among the 36 states of the federation in terms of debt levels.

Despite inheriting an empty treasury, Governor Dauda Lawal has so far kept to his campaign promises and has accomplished major strides in key sectors to rescue and rebuild Zamfara under his Six Smarts Agenda

Securing Zamfara

To end banditry and other security breaches in the state, the Lawal administration demonstrated high commitment to curb the lingering banditry and kidnapping. This singular commitment led to the establishment of the Zamfara Community Protection Guards (CPG), also known as “ASKARAWA,” the pioneer security guard corps in the North-West region. Members of the guard corps underwent rigorous physical and regimental training to prepare them to assist the security agencies with credible intelligence to combat insecurity. The group has been very helpful in foiling bandit attacks in villages and towns across local government areas of the state. This has given the people hope for safety and security.

Other security-related interventions by the governor included the provision of logistics and equipment to the security agencies, such as fueling of patrol armored vehicles, and repairing patrol vehicles to improve the security presence throughout the state, as well as conducting periodic meetings of the State Security Committee. Also, the Lawal administration, through collaborative operations with the security agencies comprising the Nigerian Army, Police, State Security Services, NSCDC, among others, successfully neutralized key bandit kingpins including Kachalla Ali Kawaje, the mastermind of the abduction of students of the Federal University Gusau. Other neutralized bandits are Kachalla Jafaru, Kachalla Barume, Kachalla Shehu, Tsoho, Kachalla Yellow Mai Buhu, Yellow Sirajo, Kachalla Dan Muhammadu, Kachalla Makasko, Sanda, Abdulbasiru Ibrahim, Mai Wagumbe, Kachalla Begu, Kwalfa, Ma’aikaci, Yellow Hassan, Umaru Na Bugala, Isyaka Gwarnon Daji, Iliya Babban Kashi, Auta Dan Mai Jan Ido, and Yahaya Dan Shama.

Education Revolution

Recognizing the crucial link between education and development, the Dauda Lawal administration declared a State of Emergency in the education sector. This initiative aimed to combat illiteracy, empower the youth and women, and establish a strong foundation for sustainable social and economic progress in the state.

The governor has implemented sound school infrastructure and teacher development programs in the past year in office. The projects are designed to correct the deteriorating state of education inherited from the previous administration and revive the sector to conform with best international standards. The Lawal administration paid N1.4 billion in outstanding examination fees for indigent students who sat for the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and Senior Secondary Certificate of Education (SSCE in the past three years. WAEC had released all the withheld results following the payment of the examination fees owed by previous governments. Similarly, Governor Lawal approved and ensured the payment of the National Examination Council (NECO) fees for all public school candidates who sat for the 2023 exams. Certificates for the candidates who sat for the 2019 NECO examinations have since been collected and distributed to the students.

The results of the NECO exams taken in 2020, 2021, and 2022 were also released to students in November 2023. The results were previously withheld by the examination body due to defaults in payment by the previous administration. It is heartwarming to note that with Lawal’s intervention, students who graduated during those years can now access their results and apply to different tertiary institutions for admission.

In terms of infrastructure, the Lawal administration has started the construction and renovation of 245 schools spread across the 14 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state. This effort involves not only renovating these schools but also providing two-seater desks for 9,542 pupils and students, furnishing 1,545 tables and chairs for teachers, and carrying out the rehabilitation and remodeling of 28 schools throughout the state.

To address the menace of out-of-school children and encourage girl-child enrollment and retention in school, the Lawal administration contributed N150 million as a counterpart fund to fast-track the implementation of the Adolescent Girls Initiative For Learning And Empowerment Additional Financing (AGILE-AF). AGILE-AF is a World Bank education intervention program aimed at empowering young girls to complete basic education and acquire skills to enable them to become self-reliant and contribute to the development of society.

Governor Lawal has also provided office space to the project implementing team and conducted a Needs Assessment exercise in 123 basic and post-basic schools and 40 non-formal Islamic schools in the state. In his determination to provide a safe and conducive learning environment, the Dauda Lawal administration has revived the school feeding scheme in 10 senior boarding schools for the 2023/2024 academic session, while extending scholarships and bursary awards to cover tuition fees of students studying in Nigerian institutions and overseas, including Sudan, Cyprus, and India. This gesture is to ensure the seamless progression of their academic pursuits.

Lawal has also sponsored 50 percent of Zamfara indigenes admitted into the Federal Government Girls College Gusau for the 2023-2024 academic sessions. To buttress its drive for ensuring access to quality education, the governor approved the suspension of the licenses of private education providers in the state. This ensures that private schools meet the required standards for providing quality education in a comfortable environment with well-trained teachers, quality infrastructure, and necessary equipment. Governor Dauda Lawal constructed additional classrooms and renovated the exam halls.

Transforming Healthcare Services

On January 30, 2024, Governor Dauda Lawal declared a state of emergency in the health sector, with a view to tackling the rot in the system and transforming the sector towards the delivery of quality healthcare services in the state. To this end, the Lawal administration rolled out infrastructure and capacity development projects in health facilities across the state. The projects include rehabilitation and provision of equipment at the general hospitals in Maradun, Maru, Kauran Namoda, Gusau, and the primary health center in Nasarawa Burkullu, as well as the rehabilitation of the School of Health Technology, Tsafe.

Importantly, Lawal has organized a Special Modified Medical Outreach Program to address critical healthcare needs and improve people’s quality of life. The outreach provided free medical services to people with cases of cataracts, groin swellings (hernias, hydroceles), Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) repairs, and health education. This is the first time in Zamfara’s history that the state government is engaging in a free medical outreach that covers such critical areas; the ongoing modified outreach utilizes tele-screening for patients from rural and semi-urban areas to provide specialized care to people in need.

About 1,858 persons had so far benefited from the free medical outreach across the 14 LGAs in the state, including 747 groin swellings, 246 swellings & lumps, 781 cataract surgeries, and 84 VVF repairs, as well as the supply of medical supplies to hospitals across the state.

Enhancing Access to Clean Water

For many years, residents of Gusau, the state capital, and other parts of the state have been experiencing acute water shortages due to the collapse of urban and rural water schemes, a situation that forced them to rely on unwholesome water sources. However, the governor conducted a total turnaround maintenance of the facilities to ensure a steady water supply to meet the growing demand of the population. Today, most parts of the state enjoy access to potable water.

Civil Service Reform

Upon taking office, Dauda Lawal initiated a civil service reform program aimed at revitalizing the workforce. This program focused on capacity-building training, creating conducive work environments, and introducing improved welfare packages. These efforts were designed to cultivate a dynamic and results-driven workforce to propel the development agenda of his administration.

Some of the laudable achievements include the payment of withheld salaries of workers. The immediate past administration owed four months’ salaries to the workers. In appreciation of the workers’ contributions to the attainment of government policies and programs, as well as concern for their welfare, Dauda Lawal quickly sourced funds to pay off the backlog of four months’ salaries, including the withheld salaries of local government workers and primary school teachers. The governor approved the payment of N4 billion in backlog gratuities to retired workers owed since 2011. Workers also received a 10 percent leave grant for the first time in the history of the state.

Regarding restructuring, the Lawal administration has reduced the number of ministries in the state from 28 to 16, and the number of Permanent Secretaries from 48 to 23. This is to reinvigorate the service, promote good work ethics and productivity, cut government expenditure, and promote transparency and accountability in the service.

Road Infrastructure/Urban Renewal Project

On August 18, 2023, the Dauda Lawal administration embarked on massive road construction projects under the Urban Renewal Project in Gusau and other major towns in the state. The first phase of the project involves reconstructing and improving 3.5 km of township roads in Gusau and enhancing the drainage system. The project was awarded to Ronchess Nigeria Limited, starting from Bello Barau Roundabout – Old Market Road, Bello Barau Roundabout – Central Police Station Road, Bello Barau Roundabout – Government House Road, and Kwanar Yan Keke – Emir’s Palace – Tankin Ruwa Road.

A 14-kilometer dualized road was also awarded to the construction giant to link Government House – Lalan Mareri, Government House – Sule Zumunci Pharmacy, and Danlarai Mosque – Nasiha Pharmacy, as well as reclaiming the government house gate and landscaping. A 3.4 km dual carriageway project was awarded to TRIACTA Nigeria Ltd, from Lalan Sokoto Road – Government House, and the construction of 13 km township roads was awarded to MOTHER CAT NIG. LTD for the relocation of Lalan – Lalan New 7 numbers of township roads.

Some of the completed road projects, like the Freedom Square – Nasiha Chemist Junction and Freedom Square – Government House – Lalan – Gada Biyu, were commissioned in June 2024 by a former Governor of Bauchi State, Ahmed Mu’azu.

Other projects that have been executed include the renovation and furnishing of the state secretariat complex, rehabilitation of courtrooms, legislative quarters, NYSC Camp, recovery of the Governor’s Lodge Kaduna, and remodeling of Sardauna Memorial Stadium, Gusau.

The Governor also approved the award of the contract for the construction of the Ultra-modern Central Motor Park to Fieldmark Construction Ltd, amounting to N4.8 billion, as part of a crucial component of the state’s Urban Renewal Program that will significantly enhance the state’s transport infrastructure and service delivery.

Empowering Youths and Women

The Dauda Lawal administration has so far empowered 1,500 youths and women to reduce poverty and provide employment opportunities under the Zamfara Youth Sanitation Programme (ZAYOSAP). ZAYOSAP is an integral part of the urban renewal project designed to make Gusau and its environs hygienic, clean, and safe for residents.

Another landmark achievement of the administration is the implementation of environmental protection projects under the ACReSAL program and Ministry of Environment ecosystem. These include contracts for the procurement and installation of solar-powered boreholes in five communities and the construction of five earth dams to provide potable drinking water for people and animals, as well as irrigation.

Governor Dauda Lawal negotiated with the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company (KAEDCO) to restore electricity supply to all government agencies, which had been without power for many years due to non-payment of N1.2 billion in electricity bills.

To further enhance good governance, Governor Dauda Lawal has recently signed an agreement with several development partners, including UNICEF, the World Bank, and the Melinda & Gates Foundation, and settled the ground rent for the Governor’s Lodges in Abuja and Kaduna.

Makama is a Counter Insurgency Expert and Security Analyst in the Lake Chad region.

Rebuilding Zamfara in a Complex Era – The Dauda Lawal Style

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