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Zulum: A Beacon Of Hope To Borno’s Less Privileged People

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Zulum: A Beacon Of Hope To Borno’s Less Privileged People

By Gbenga Akingbule 

Born without a silver spoon and  struggled through hardwork, perseverance  and unwavering desire to succeed,  Borno State Governor,  Prof Babagana Zulum has since become a household name especially amongst the less privileged persons in the state .

Prof. Zulum is always quick  to share stories  about his  humble beginning amongst the high and mighty,  a gesture observers view as rare display of humility amongst Nigeria’s political elite 

Upon assumption of office  in 2019 , Prof Zulum has consistently associated himself with the less privileged,-  his former constituency where he got first hand experience of the difficult economic hardship bedeveling many Nigerian less privileged people.  

Driven by compassion and his  gennue concern to assist the common people, Prof Zulum had on different occasion while on  visit to the hinterland,  ordered for the immediate halting of his motorcade just to  assist locals walking long distance by giving them a ride on his convoy and also give them cash support.  

Pfrof Zulum passion to liberate his people from the shackles of poverty and education backwardness has led to rise in budgetary provisions and fund releases for the education sector and key ministries that are aimed at empowering the common people.  

For the 2024 buget,  the Ministry of Education was  allocated  the sum of N39 billion to carry out its activities- this effort , amongst others , has removed over one million out- of – school children off the streets of Borno and returned them to the classrooms where their future are being positively shaped to become responsible and productive members of the society.  

”  Out of 1.8 million out -of- school children in 2021, we have taken measures to reduce the number to less that 800. We’re still working assiduously bring down the number ”  Commissioner of Education,  Science , Technology  and Innovation,  Engineer  Lawan Abba Wakilbe said 

No doubt,  the more than a decade long  insurgency in Borno  State had led many children and their parents to flee trouble areas,  thereby obstructing their education where massive destruction to education facilities across the state was evident .

At  a recent function during a public  lecture  held at University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID ) which form part activities to mark the exit of the former Vice Chancellor of the Institution, Prof . Aliyu Shugaba  after completing  his 5 year tenure,  Prof Zulum didn’t mince words when he charged the sea of erudite scholars  present at  the occasion, majority of whom are indigens of Borno State to think outside the box and collaborate to use education as tool for liberating the people of the state .

Zulum was quick to trip down memory lane and revealed how he battled through pletoral of obstacles in his unquenchable quest to gain quality education that has since transformed his life to become a professor of  Soil  and Water Engineer and currently serving his second term as governor of Borno state. 

” coming from my background,  I know how I  suffered , where we do not have competent teachers to teach us in our primary and secondary school.  I never thought I would be a professor,  because both of my parents were not educated,  nobody ever told me to do my assignment while in primary school,  I was on my own.” Zulun said . 

It was therefore not surprising when Governor Zulum recently released the sum of N4.8 Billion as scholarship award to 524  postgraduate  students  from the state , including orphans and less privileged persons.  

 The  scholarship  award according to the governor is meant for  foriegn and local postgraduate students in Science, Technology,  Engineering and Mathematics ( STEM) 

In his usual humanitarian and compassion towards the the less privileged irrespective of ethnicity,  tribe or religion governor Zulum during an early morning visit to a school in Maiduguri,  the state capital gifted a woman form the South East part of the country- a teacher in the  school with the sum of N100, 000 cash for always  showing up eally to her duty post . 

Also , recently,  during a visit to launch grains given to the state by Federal Government , Prof Zulum, shortly after the occasion went towards the direction of the local guard guarding the premises and immediately ordered that the sum of N500 000 be given to him – an amount that is more that his 12 month salary.

The 80 year Chadian  local guard who had lived in Nigeria for over four decades and has over 20 Children was stunned by the governor’s gesture and said the money will go a long way in ameliorating his financial challenges.  

Furthermore, 63 year old Cecelia Joseph, a widow and mother of six children who  was part of the one hundred thousand households that benefited from massive food support scheme carried out by the Borno State Governor.

The aim of the food  support according to Goverenor Zulum is to ameliorate economic hardship being experienced by many vulnerable families across state  including the likes of Cecilia whose husband, a commercial taxi driver was gruesomely murdered by suspected Boko Haram Terrorists over ten years ago. 

Since the demise of her husband,  Cecilia  who had continue to feed from hand to mouth  with her six children revealed that Governor Zulum is the first to have reached out to her with any form of assistance- the food support , she said ” will assist me and my six children immensely ” 

Prof Zulum had ordered that the food support should  be given to all vulnerable residents irrespective of  tribe , religion and political affiliations hence paving the way for Cecilia who hails from far away  Osun State, a devoted Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) member as well as other beneficiaries who are not indigens of the state .

” I’m so grateful to Governor Zulum for wiping away my tears with this food support. But I would appreciate more support from the governor and other well meaning citizens  for the education on my children.  ”  Cecelia  who currently lives in a rented accommodation on the outskirts of Maiduguri , the state capital said .

Governor Zulum had revealed during one of the many food distribution in  the state that  ” We have never distinguish between Christians and Muslims in our food distribution.  What we’re doing is not partisan either , it’s not based on ethnicity or religion ; we advised the community to select one hundred thousand most valuable and bottom poor and this will go a long way in ameliorating the suffering of the masses ” 

While warehouses were being looted acros the country during  the # EndSARS protests,  residents of Borno  state were full of gratitude to Governor Zulum for always coming to their aid with his unprecedented distribution of food ,  cash and clothing to assist the less privileged.  

Following the release of N2 Billion intervention by the President Bola Tinubu  led Federal governmen to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy  removal Prof.  Zulum had announced raising the number of households being targeted for palliatives from 300,000 to 400,000 households. 

Each household according to the Governor,  will be made up of six family members and  multiplied by 400,000 which, by implication, moves Zulum’s new target to two million and four hundred thousand  individuals. 

“Governor Zulum has continued to stand in the gap for many of the less privileged people in Borno state ”  Umar Ali, one of those that recently benefited from the food support scheme established by the governor.

Zulum: A Beacon Of Hope To Borno’s Less Privileged People

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NAPTIP Promises Improved Strategies to Tackle Evolving Trend of Human Trafficking

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NAPTIP Promises Improved Strategies to Tackle Evolving Trend of Human Trafficking

By: Michael Mike

The Director General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Prof. Fatima Waziri-Azi has pledged that the Agency will continue to develop new strategies, expand cooperation, and foster more collaboration to keep pace with the evolving trends in human trafficking.

She gave the commitment in Abuja while unveiling the activities planned for the 2024 World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, themed “Leave No Child Behind in the Fight Against Trafficking in Persons”.

The World Day Against Trafficking in Persons was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2013 to be observed annually on July 30th to promote comprehensive, coordinated, and consistent responses at national, regional, and international levels to counter trafficking in persons. It aims to promote a human rights-based, gender- and age-sensitive approach in addressing all factors that make people vulnerable to trafficking, and in strengthening the criminal justice response necessary to prevent trafficking, protect victims, and prosecute perpetrators.

According to the United Nations, the 2024 World Day Against Trafficking urges accelerated action to end child trafficking, recognizing that children represent a significant proportion of trafficking victims worldwide, with girls being disproportionately affected.

On the activities lined up for the 2024 World Day Against Trafficking in Persons in Nigeria, Waziri-Azi disclosed that it is in collaboration with UNODC, IOM, ICMPD, and OHCHR and would be commencing from Saturday, July 28 to Sunday, August 4, 2024. She noted that the programmes have been carefully selected to reflect the theme of the celebration, insisting that: “These activities aim to create the needed awareness and impactful sensitization to address the concerns of all and reduce the vulnerability of potential trafficking victims.”

Wazir-Azi said: “I am pleased to state that our activities and interventions in the fight against human trafficking in Nigeria are inclusive, involving various categories of stakeholders. For the first time, NAPTIP will commemorate the World Day together with the National Agency Against Trafficking in Persons (NAATIP), our counterpart agency that would be visiting from The Gambia.”

She disclosed that the celebration will kick off on Saturday, July 27, 2024, with a female novelty match to “Kick Against Human Trafficking” involving NAPTIP officers and partners at the Wakanda Games Arena, Accra Street, Wuse Zone 5, starting at 8:00 am. On Monday, July 29, 2024, a Community Town Hall Dialogue will provide a platform for community stakeholders to voice their opinions and concerns, fostering engagement, transparency, problem-solving, inclusivity, and community cohesion. The Dialogue would be aired live on Radio Nigeria from 10.30am.

“On Tuesday, July 30, 2024, at 7:30 am, there will be an Awareness Walk from the Old Parade Ground through major routes in the Central Business District of Abuja, ending at the Unity Fountain. State Task Forces on Human Trafficking from 23 states across Nigeria will participate. From Wednesday, July 31 to Friday, August 2, 2024, we have planned a Bootcamp for all State Task Force members,” Prof. Waziri-Azi added.

Other planned activities include the Survivor’s Got Talent Grand Finale, sensitization and awareness creation in places of worship and public spaces, and a robust online awareness campaign.

Waziri-Azi urged everyone to join hands with the Agency to ensure a successful 2024 World Day Against Trafficking in Persons celebration .“Let us amplify our efforts, fortify our resolve, and work tirelessly to create a world where every child can thrive in safety and dignity. Together, we can and must leave no child behind in this crucial fight” the Director-General stated.

NAPTIP Promises Improved Strategies to Tackle Evolving Trend of Human Trafficking

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UNESCO’s Readiness Assessment Methodology Launched to Promote Ethical Use of Artificial Intelligence in Nigeria

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UNESCO’s Readiness Assessment Methodology Launched to Promote Ethical Use of Artificial Intelligence in Nigeria

By: Michael Mike

Nigeria’s plan to embrace Artificial Intelligence (AI) took a great leap with the official launch of UNESCO’s Readiness Assessment Methodology (RAM) in the country.

Speaking at the launch in Abuja, the Head of Abuja Office and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Representative to Nigeria, Mr. Abdourahamane Diallo said the event signifies a pivotal moment in Nigeria’s journey towards embracing ethical artificial intelligence practices.

Diallo said: “As we gather here at the UN House, we are reminded of the transformative potential of AI in driving innovation and sustainable development across our nation. UNESCO’s Readiness Assessment Methodology (RAM) stands as a beacon of guidance, ensuring that our advancements in AI are not only groundbreaking but also aligned with global standards of ethics and responsibility.

“We are particularly proud that Nigeria is joining us as part of UNESCO’s custodial role in promoting the ethics of AI worldwide. UNESCO’s Recommendations on the Ethics of AI, adopted by 193 countries, provide a robust framework for the responsible and ethical development and deployment of AI technologies. These recommendations emphasize human rights, fairness, transparency, and accountability, and it is heartening to see Nigeria committing to these principles as we work together to build an inclusive and ethical AI ecosystem.”

He added that: “As we gather here today, we are reminded of the profound impact that artificial intelligence has on our society. AI permeates many aspects of our daily lives, and its ethical implications have become a focal point for all actors within the ecosystem. Recognizing this, in 2023, UNESCO launched the Readiness Assessment Methodology (RAM) as a pivotal tool for implementing its Recommendation on the Ethics of AI, which was adopted by 193 countries in 2021.

“The RAM, with its comprehensive framework consisting of five dimensions, serves as a vital instrument for assessing a country’s readiness to implement AI ethically and responsibly. It highlights strengths and identifies infrastructural, institutional, and regulatory gaps, enabling nations to address these challenges effectively and create an ethical AI ecosystem.”

On his part, the Secretary General, National Commission for UNESCO (NATCOM-UNESCO), Dr. Idowu Olagunju said: “I firmly believe that today’s discussions will pave the way for significant advancements in our national AI strategy, aligning with UNESCO’s global mission of promoting ethical AI.”

He asked: “Let us embark on this journey together, as we work towards a future where AI is harnessed for the greater good, in alignment with our shared values and ethical principles.”

Speaking to journalists after inaugurating the Steering and Technical Working Committees and Launching the Project, the Minister of Communication, Innovation and Digital Economy: Dr Bosun Tijani expressed the country’s readiness to take advantage of the value addition of AI, noting that the youths have already been sensitized and mobilized to evolve the use of AI

He appreciated the support from UNESCO to ensure that AI is ethically embraced, noting that the government is working on making the country one of the top countries in Artificial Intelligence.

He noted that with the diversity of the committees constituted for the AI project, Nigeria is on an interesting ride to the very top.

UNESCO’s Readiness Assessment Methodology Launched to Promote Ethical Use of Artificial Intelligence in Nigeria

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Dangote vs. NNPC: A Tale of Sabotage and Misrepresentation

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Dangote vs. NNPC: A Tale of Sabotage and Misrepresentation

By: Shina Adewoye

During major football events, every Nigerian acts like a football coach. Around the elections period, everyone becomes a lawyer analyzing both pre elections and post elections matters.

Throughout various discussions, Nigerians take on roles as journalists and economists. This active participation is the beauty of democracy. However, problems arise when uninformed individuals try to present their opinions as facts.

On the Dangote issue, it’s striking that Nigeria, a member of OPEC and the world’s 7th largest oil producer, lacks a functional refinery. The NNPC doesn’t even have a laboratory, yet it questions the quality of products from Dangote’s world-class refinery.

Elon Musk, a vocal critic of Joe Biden and a supporter of Donald Trump, faces no personal attacks from Biden. This makes it puzzling why Dangote, Africa’s richest man, faces sabotage in Nigeria. The U.S. embraces diverse talents like Elon Musk ( a South African) and late Steve Jobs ( a Syrian) emphasizing its reputation as a land of great opportunities.

President Tinubu, also serving as the Minister of Petroleum, oversees an NNPC that falsely claims a 20% stake in Dangote’s refinery, while Dangote maintains they only paid for 7%. No action has been taken against those responsible for this irresponsible misrepresentation and embarrassment.

Moreover, Dangote’s $100 million claim for land in Lagos raises questions about the use of US $ in Nigeria as a legal tender.

Nevertheless, as an entrepreneur, Dangote is prepared for challenges. He built his refinery in a free trade zone, constructed his own port, and he can thrive without the Nigerian market by focusing on exports.

Nigerians should identify their real adversaries. Dangote can source crude oil globally and export the by-products.

Time will reveal the truth, and history will vindicate the just.

Shina Adewoye
Public Policy Analyst

Dangote vs. NNPC: A Tale of Sabotage and Misrepresentation

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