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School feeding: Kaduna teachers ‘eating food meant for pupils’

Connecting Gender for Development (COGEN), a non-governmental organisation, has alleged that teachers are taking part of the ration meant for pupils in some schools in Kaduna state.

Rachael Musa, one of the monitors of the project, said this during a town hall meeting on the federal government’s home grown school feeding programme.

Musa spoke at the meeting which held in Kafanchan, Jema’a local government area of the state, on Wednesday.

She said the ration for the children do not usually go round.

Musa also said though every child was supposed to be given an egg once week, the egg do not usually go round because of short supply.

Similarly, Monday John, another monitor, alleged that some politicians were collecting money from food vendors on the grounds that they were not members of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).

John said some members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have equally stopped their children from eating the food, saying it could be poisoned.

He described the development as serious, and urged those involved to stop the act so as not to sabotage the programme.

Esther Gushe, assistant head teacher, Aduwan III Primary School, confirmed that eggs were always in short supply in her school.

Yakubu Kyari, desk officer of the programme in the local government, said he receives between 300 and 400 crates of egg weekly instead of the 730 crates for the 177 schools in the area.

Kyari said teachers eating up food meant for pupils have been warned to desist from the act or risk sanction.

Ebenezer Omolekun, COGEN head of programmes, said findings by the NGO revealed that one egg is being shared for between two to four pupils in 46 schools, while two pupils share juice and biscuit in 26 schools.

He explained that the meeting with the theme, “Together We Can Build Our LGA and Make it More Prosperous” was primarily organised to mobilise communities and stakeholders to monitor the implementation of the school feeding programme.

He explained that COGEN, with support from MacArthur Foundation is tracking the programme in 60 schools, 20 each in Kaura, Jema’a, and Zangon Kataf local government areas.

He said the goal was to ensure successful implementation of the programme in promoting learning, enrollment, retention and completion of primary schools by pupils.

The official said similar town hall meetings were organised in Kaura and Zangon Kataf to enlist community support in monitoring the programme.

A total of 420 schools in the state are being tracked by five NGOs with support from MacArthur Foundation.

Oyo Govt shuts Bodija market as Police, butchers clash

The Oyo State Government has shut down Bodija market, Ibadan, as police and butchers clash on Thursday.

According to the verified twitter handle of the Oyo State Government, @oyostategovt, it was shut after gunshots were heard in the market.

The tweet added that the chairman of Aare Laatosa Local Council Development Area, Adekunle Oladeji, said the closure was to prevent the loss of lives and property. “It is also to guard against the escalation of violence in the market to other parts of the state,” the tweet said.

The state government had directed that the butchers should relocate to a new abattoir outside the town but the butchers did not agree with the directive.

On Tuesday, the butchers staged a protest at the state secretariat in Ibadan over the demolition of the abattoir in the market by the government over the weekend.

Our correspondent learnt that Thursday’s clash began when some of the butchers accused their leaders of taking gratification from the government to support the relocation order.

The clash led to the closure of shops in the market while traders vacated the market because of the commotion.

When contacted, Public Relations Officer of the Oyo State Police Command, Adekunle Ajisebutu, said he would come up with a statement on the clash soon.

Taraba residents protest Nyame’s imprisonment, block major roads in Jalingo

Residents of Jalingo, the Taraba State capital on Monday protested the jailing of the first Executive Governor of the State, Rev. Jolly Nyame.

Nyame was last week sentenced to 14 years imprisonment without an option of fine for misappropriating N1. 64 billion.

The protesters majorly youth and women numbering over  400 converged at the Mile Six Junction in Jalingo and marched through major streets of the town, causing vehicular traffic.

The peaceful protesters who carried placards with various inscriptions,  ‘Free Nyame; Temper justice with mercy’, ‘We don’t want selective justice’, among others terminated the march at the resident of the former Governor located along Jolly Nyame way in Jalingo.

Addressing the protesters at Nyame’s residence in Jalingo,  National President of the Mumuye Cultural Development Association,  Mr. Anthony Dogo said the peaceful protest was a solidarity march for the embattled former governor who was sentenced last week.

“We are not fighting the government but we are out to march for solidarity with our former governor and to call on the government to be just in its fight against corruption.

“Jolly Nyame is our political leader in Taraba state and we are ready to take instruction from him even if he is in the prison.

“We still believe in the adage that the court is the last hope of a common man and we believe justice will be done in this case as he heads to appeal court,” he said.

Obaseki, World Bank, step up consultation as Edo inches closer to bank’s support window  

Edo State government will today, Friday, host the Senior Director, Governance Global Practice, at the World Bank, Debbie Wentzel, in continuation of the series of expert meetings and consultations between the World Bank and the state government to deepen the bank’s officials’ insights into the workings of the Obaseki-led government and pave way for a special support window from the bank.

Wentzel who will be accompanied by the bank’s Practice Manager, Hisham Waly, will be hosted to sessions to be led by Governor Godwin Obaseki.

The World Bank’s officials’ visit will build on previous discussions between Edo government and the Bretton Woods institution that has expressed its readiness to increase the tempo of its developmental activities in the state, after rating the Obaseki-led administration high on transparency, accountability and demonstrable commitment to the sanctity and integrity of development-based partnership.

According to the bank, “the meetings will provide the platform for the governor to share his perspectives on governance issues in Nigeria in general and Edo State in particular with a view to identifying possible areas of intervention by the bank, and to also discuss progress on the implementation of the State Employment and Expenditure For Results (SEEFOR) project which falls under Wentzel’s portfolio.”

The meetings will be followed by “visits to some project sites as well as interactive session with beneficiaries of the projects across sub-components on-site and their representatives.”

The Senior Director’s one-day visit is coming one week after the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Mr. Rachid Benmassoud, paid a 2-day visit to Edo State.

Benmassoud was accompanied by senior specialists in various sector areas, such as institutional reforms, public works, gender, agriculture, water and sanitation.

Development experts who have been following the World Bank’s relationship with the Obaseki administration say Benmassoud’s visit was predicated on Edo State government’s impressive deployment of funding, technical and other assistance of the World Bank, which was attested to recently, by 11 Executive Directors of the World Bank, who were in the state recently, for on-the-spot assessment of the bank-sponsored developmental projects in the state.

Obaseki said Debbie Wentzel’s visit will deepen talks and insights of the bank on the developmental aspiration of Edo State, to enable the bank customise its developmental products to suit the peculiar needs of the state.

He assured the state government would expand ongoing development conversation with the bank on support for the state’s education and health sectors; rural development, job creation, gender issues and infrastructural development amongst others.

“The several visits of the World Bank officials lend credence to our commitment to bringing development to our people in the state, with the support of our partners,” the governor said.

He maintained that Edo State under his watch places high premium on the sanctity and the integrity of partnerships, contracts as well as an open and transparent process.

“Development partners like the World Bank, operate in an environment where stakeholders abide by rules governing the partnerships, and in which input, output and outcomes are measured from time to time. The World Bank will not take you seriously if all you do is to award ‘political contracts,” he added.

Some of the bank-sponsored projects such as erosion control projects under the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Project (NEWMAP), Edo State Employment and Expenditure for Result (SEEFOR), covering road projects; agriculture (FADAMMA); water, sanitation and review policy.

BREAKING: Bauchi deputy governor resigns

The Deputy Governor of Bauchi State, Nuhu Gidado, has resigned, CHANNELS TV is reporting.

According to the report, Mr. Gidado submitted his resignation letter to Governor Mohammed Abubakar on Wednesday, citing his waning enthusiasm for the job as reason for leaving.

Mr. Gidado’s departure brings to three the number of high-ranking officials that have left Governor Abubakar’s cabinet.

In December 2017, the Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Shehu Ningi, resigned from his position.

Mr. Ningi stepped down a day after Governor Abubakar presented the 2017 budget estimates to the state’s House of Assembly.

The then commissioner said he left because the governor did not encourage members of his cabinet to offer advice on how to run the state.

Mr. Ningi explained that the environment in which he would have exercised his advisory role as member of the State Executive Council was “unaccommodating, debilitating and non-adviser friendly”.

In March, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Investment, Samaila Sanusi, also resigned due to “unfriendly working environment”.

Mr Sanusi said all avenues to hold talks with the state governor on official issues and development were unsuccessful.

Also around the same time, Munnir Yisin, deputy caretaker chairman of Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area, also tendered his resignation.

The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Communication, Sabo Mohammed, could not be reached Wednesday night for comment on the deputy governor’s resignation.

11,001 vacancies exist in Edo civil service

The workforce in the Edo State Civil Service has been depleted to 2,822 comprising of 1,660 males and 1 162 females left on the payroll.

As a result of the depletion, a total of 11,001 vacancies exist in the state.

This was disclosed by the Chairman, Edo State Civil Service Commission, Princess (Mrs) Ekiuwa Inneh, while presenting the 2017 Annual Report.

Princess Inneh said the report would assist government in planning how to move the Civil Service Commission forward.

Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Emmanuel Ademokun, had during the last May Day celebration urged Governor Godwin Obaseki to employ people into the State Public Service to address depleting workforce in the state.

Receiving the report, Governor Obaseki, said his administrator is set to strengthen the civil service with the injection of new blood and more technical manpower through the ongoing recruitment exercise in the service.

Obaseki stated that he would continue to prioritize recruitment of skilled hands to beef up the capacity of the civil service to respond to the demands of a fast-changing world.

He assured of his committed to building capacity of civil servants for optimal service delivery and promised to train workers in line with modern trends.

He said plans have been concluded to digitalize the workings of the state civil service, as the deployment of equipment and upgrade of skill sets will allow for improved data analysis and information dissemination within the civil service structure

His words, “We are deploying technology in the State Civil Service to digitalize our human resources data for easy analysis. The state would fill vacant positions in the commission to address the needs of the commission and not on a routine basis.”

Gunmen attack Nigeria Air Force helipad, kill one

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Monday said that gunmen had attacked the guard post at the NAF Helipad at Igbodene in Yenagoa, Bayelsa, killing an airman.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the attack appears to be a resuscitation of the deadly confrontations in the resource-rich Niger Delta, which has seen a lull in recent years.

The NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Olatokunbo Adesanya, who confirmed the incident in a statement in Abuja, said the attack occurred early on May 13.

“In the early hours of Sunday, a group of unknown gunmen attacked the guard post at the Nigerian Air Force Helipad at Igbodene in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

“Although the NAF personnel on duty were able to repel the attack, an airman paid the supreme sacrifice in the process.

“The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has ordered an investigation to unravel the circumstances surrounding the incident,’’ Adesanya said.

The federal government has been battling militants in the Niger Delta for many years. The militants have been fighting to have greater share of resources in the area.

(NAN)

Bayelsa governor’s adviser assassinated

The police in Bayelsa have launched a manhunt after an aide to Governor Seriake Dickson was shot dead in a suspected assassination operation overnight.

Ebikimi Okoringa was inaugurated as an adviser to the governor last month, but he has not yet been assigned an office.

He was killed at about 1:00 a.m. Tuesday in his hometown in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area, about 20 kilometres north of Yenagoa, the state capital.

Bayelsa police commissioner, Don Awunah, said he had ordered a manhunt for the suspects, adding that the police are treating the matter as a homicide.

“We understand that he had a brief altercation with some people shortly before he was murdered,” Mr Awunah said on Tuesday night. “We have launched a manhunt for the suspects.”

Two administration officials who spoke under anonymity from Yenagoa Tuesday night said they suspected that Mr Okoringa was assassinated.

The incident comes six months after an AIT reporter escaped assaasination in the state.

Patience Owei was returning from a church programme at dusk on October 8 when she was assailed and shot by thugs in downtown Yenagoa. The police said at the time that they were treating the case as armed robbery because the suspects bolted with Ms Owei’s handbag which contained her telephones and other belongings.

Mr Dickson condemned the attack and said the state would cover the bill for the journalist’s care at a specialist hospital.

Okorocha imposes N3,000 ‘development levy’ on all adults in Imo

Governor of Imo state, Rochas Okorocha has ordered all “leviable adults” in the state to pay N3,000 each as “development levy”.

According to a statement by Louis Duru, the state commissioner for community government, culture and traditional affairs, the money is to be used for  “autonomous community adult development”.

Duru said the state had registered at least 2,ooo leviable adults in each of the 637 autonomous communities.

He added that recognised communities will serve as the collectors and they are to pay not less than N6 million each.

Okorocha warned that the traditional rulers of defaulting communities will have their allowances or salaries suspended.

“To facilitate the payment, the state government through the ministry of CGC, since September 2016, has provided community adult registers for all autonomous communities in the state where the communities will enlist the names of at least 2000 leviable adults”, the statement read.

“Consequently, His Excellency Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha has directed that all recognised autonomous communities in Imo State should pay the minimum adult development levy of N6,000,000 (Six million Naira only) without further delay.

“Any recognised autonomous community that fails to pay the development levy will be merged with sister autonomous community that had paid and the salaries/allowances of the traditional ruler will be suspended.

“Government has concluded arrangements to embark on sensitisation meetings with traditional rulers at the local government areas to further emphasize His Excellency’s directives and monitor compliance.”

Obaseki unveils plan  for steady power supply to industries, residents

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has revealed the state government’s plans to strategically develop industrial layouts away from residential areas to ensure proportionate power supply to help actualize the state’s developmental plans.

Obaseki disclosed this during an interview with journalists in Benin City, Edo State capital.

According to him, “We have developed plans to help overcome the challenges of power distribution to industries, residential buildingsand other users. This includes building areas of use, that is, developing industrial parks, housing estates and other clusters that can be directly connected to generating plants.”

He said, “When these plans are fully achieved, the state would havesteady power supply to support businesses and other users. With time, Benin City and other towns in the state will be better planned and segregated so that industrial use of power can be separated from domestic use.”

“When this is done, the structural challenges along the chain of generation and distribution will then be reorganised and steady power supply will then be guaranteed,” he said.

He explained that steady power supply cannot be achieved overnight until the structural impediments are addressed, noting, “Even if the issue of generation of power is addressed, efforts must be made to address issues mitigating distribution and transmission.”

Obaseki said, “As long as we have determined people like the developers of Edo Azura Independent Power Plant (IPP), Edo state and Nigeria can become self-sufficient in power supply. As long as there is power generation, we will find a way to get it to users.

“If we have people who know what they are doing like the developers of Edo Azura IPP, we will overcome issues of power supply. In terms of generation, I believe, given the resources available, hydro, thermal and green energy, we can generate all the electricity to power the state and country.”