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Buhari to Governors: Pay attention to Security, Education, Health, Agriculture

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President Muhammadu Buhari has challenged state governors to pay more attention to the areas of security, health, education and agriculture so as to address the menace of poverty in the society.

The president gave the challenge when he inaugurated the 2019 to 2023 National Economic Council (NEC) and its maiden meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Thursday.

NEC, which is established by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999), as amended, is chaired by the Vice-President.

Membership of the Council includes governors of the 36 states; the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); the Ministers of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Agriculture, FCT and the Minister of State, Petroleum.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning serves as Secretary to the Council.

President Buhari said: “I want you to pay special attention to the four major issues of security, education, health and agriculture in the coming years of this tenure.

“As you are no doubt aware, our successes in these four areas will go a long way in lifting our people out of poverty and secure our future for sustainable growth and development.’’

According to him, if these four areas (security, education, health and agriculture) are actively implemented and closely monitored by NEC and the Governors’ Forum, “we shall in the near future see a more peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.’’

The president enjoined the States to find ways to increase internally generated revenues, improve VAT collection and increase agricultural output without disrupting business activities.

He also charged them to work with the Federal Agencies and the service providers in ensuring that broadband infrastructure is made available all over the country.

According to him, Information and Communication Technology is the future of work and “we must not allow ourselves to be left behind’’.

President Buhari observed that the Federal Government in the last four years had demonstrated unwavering inclusiveness in dealing with every State, notwithstanding the political leaning of the Governor or the predominant party in power at the State level.

“I want this to be your model at the State level. No matter which party we belong to, let us shun divisive policies and join hands together for the upliftment of our people,’’ he said.

He restated the high expectations on NEC as a veritable source of articulating policies and programmes that are expected to drive growth and development, secure the environment and take the country to the next level.

He also noted that the challenges confronting the nation in the next few years, especially in the areas of security, human capital development and employment for the youths are monumental and historic.

“But we are more than equal to the task,’’ he added.

On Security, the president assured that the government would continue to rate security of lives and properties as top priority on its agenda.

He said government was firmly committed to securing the territorial integrity of the nation, while confronting the remnants of terrorists, bandits and other criminals across the country.

He further maintained that there must be collective and deliberate efforts by all to improve the security of lives and properties across the country, saying that “security is a bottom to top operation.

“Everybody must be involved for total success.’’

On education, President Buhari stressed the need to take very seriously and enforce very rigorously the statutory provisions on free and compulsory basic education.

“Section 18(3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended places on all of us here an obligation to eradicate illiteracy and provide free and compulsory education.

“Section 2 of the Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education Act provides that every Government in Nigeria shall provide free, compulsory and universal basic education for every child of primary and junior secondary school age.

“It is indeed a crime for any parent to keep his child out of school for this period.

“In my view, when a government fails to provide the schools, teachers and teaching materials necessary for basic education, it is actually aiding and abetting that crime.

 

“This is therefore a call to action. I would like to see every Governor rise from this meeting and rally his local Government Chairmen towards ensuring that our schools offer the right opportunities and provide the needed materials and teachers for basic education, at the minimum.

“If we are able to do this, the benefits will surely manifest themselves.

“Ensuring proper education during the first nine years of schooling means that our children start off their lives with some discipline and education. They will be safeguarded from roaming the streets, and protected from all the evil influences that assail idle hands and idle minds,’’ he said.

President Buhari, therefore, urged the governors to make a firm commitment to be personally involved in ensuring that every child of school age actually goes to school throughout the crucial nine years of basic education.

He opined that, on its own part, the federal government would strive to extend the school feeding programme which will not only encourage school enrolment but also enhance the health and learning capabilities of pupils.

He said the government would also assist states as much as possible to access the counterpart funding provided by UBEC for the development of basic education.

The president, who also spoke extensively on the nation’s healthcare system, identified lack of adequate funding as major obstacle to the realization of the nation’s goals in the health sector.

He said: “As I already indicated, public healthcare is also a major sector of concern where States and Local Governments have crucial roles to play.

“Health is an area where the neglect of one person quickly amounts to the neglect of many.

“It is in our collective interest that each and every citizen gets at least a minimal access to healthcare, including primary, preventive and emergency care.

“Funding is again a major problem in this regard, so we must take more seriously the idea of universal health insurance and strive to make it work in our respective domains.

“We must also find ways of assisting the poorest and most vulnerable in our society, who cannot even afford to pay the premium.’’

President Buhari said the governors must resolve to increase budgetary allocation to health and ensure prompt fund releases to keep the hospitals and primary healthcare centres in operation at all times.

According to him, the Federal Government is now implementing the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund.

“Accordingly, it is imperative for us to do more on diversifying the economy, and this necessarily entails the sustenance and even acceleration of the agricultural revolution, which is already firmly rooted in some States.

“Of our nearly one million hectares of land, about 77% is confirmed suitable for agriculture.

“The potentials are therefore huge, both for the domestic and international markets. Mechanisation and agro-allied industry are very big areas still largely untapped and awaiting investment, both by government and the private sector,’’ he added.

He, therefore, urged the governors to take agriculture most seriously as a very viable developmental enterprise.

While the federal government has primary responsibility for security and will not shy away from it, the president said the governors also have a critical role to play in ensuring security of lives and property across the country.

“You can definitely make a difference, not just by assisting the security agencies in your respective States, but also by keenly pursuing policies and programmes that forestall communal, tribal, religious and societal conflicts; policies and programs that promote education, information, dispute resolution, vocational training and youth employment,’’ he said.

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had earlier highlighted the role of NEC, describing it as “an important body that advises and sometimes implements economic and social policies that affects the livelihood of Nigerians’’.

Osinbajo said Thursday’s meeting would be focusing on the crucial issue of national security and the meeting’s recommendations would be forwarded to the president for his possible consideration.

He announced that the meeting had 12 new members, which included the Governors of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Imo, KwaraLagos, Nasarawa, Ogun, Oyo, Yobe and Zamfara States.

NEC, which is established by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999), as amended, is chaired by the Vice-President.

Membership of the Council includes governors of the 36 states; the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria; the Ministers of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Agriculture, FCT and the Minister of State, Petroleum.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning serves as Secretary to the Council.

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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55 % of Nigerians have no access to electricity – Clean Tech

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Clean Tech Hub, a Non Governmental Organization which focuses on research, policy development and consumer awareness on climate resilience, says 55 per cent of Nigerians lacked access to electricity.‎

Speaking during a workshop on promoting citizens access to clean energy solution in Nigeria”A Gender Approach” the facilitator,Mr Mark Amaza said that 93 million Nigerians lacked access to electricity.

He said the figure represents 55 per cent of the total number of Nigerians that lacked access to electricity in the country.

Amaza said that the workshop was organised to increase awareness on the negative impacts of the use of the various sources of dirty energy, socially and mentally.

“The workshop was also organised ‎to create a transition from the use of inefficient energy sources to adoption of clean energy sources.

“‎We are here in Kano to enlight people and food vendors to make them tap the abundant energy opportunity which is clean and healthy through INNOVATIONS, solution, support and awareness while on the other hand to help them avoid the risk associated with using dirty fuel,” he said.

According to him, many people still rely on fuelwood for cooking, pushing the rate of health risk and deforestation to alarming level.‎‎

According to him, training women, particularly food vendors across the country will drastically reduce the high demand for fuelwood for cooking and other industrial use with its accompanied health risk and smoke related illnesses.‎‎

NAN reports that Some of the participants interviewed said that over half of the country’s forests have been cut down, predominantly for fuelwood used in the last 12 years, a development exacerbated by rapid population growth.‎

They said that the training was timely considering the high rate of smoke related illness from use of firewood in the country.‎

‎They also commended the NGO for championing renewable energy system.‎

According to them, ‎decentralized renewable energy (DRE) solutions have shown potential as a key solution in addressing this disparity.‎

MNT/MTM

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Family,Friends mourn Olusanya, FCE, Akoka’s former provost

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Family, friends  and Colleagues of the late Dr Sijibomi Olusanya ,Immediate Past Provost of the Federal College of Education ,Technical (FCE)(T) Akoka, on Wednesday mourned at his Wake.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the late Olusanya died on July 9 in the U.S, following an undisclosed ailment at the age of 61.

He served as provost of the college for two terms ,between year 2011 and May 2019 and led the college to remarkable height of achievements.

In his remark, Mr Abidemi Olusanya, Son of the late provost, described his father as a loving husband  , a unique man and a mentor like no other .

Olusanya said the family had reasons to celebrate the death of his late father because he planned his life with God.

“I cannot wish for a better dad because he possesses everything you need in a father and if I could choose a father in my next world ,I will choose him again,” he said.

Dr Ademola Azeez, the Provost of the FCE, Akoka,  said the college would miss the late provost, as his sudden death would deprive the  institution from gaining from his wealth of experience.

Azeez described late Olusanya , as a man of peculiar administrative style ,whose demise posed a challenge.

“The college is involved fully in the burial of the late provost because of his immense contribution to the growth and development of the institution.

“I urge all the members of staff to reflect on the death of the former provost and allow peace to radiate among us.

God is the best judge ,not the positive or negative testimony given about the dead, ” he said.

A neighbour  to late Olusanya, who was simply identified as Mrs Adetanin, described him as her benefactor because he assisted her family greatly financially and also secured admission for her son and offered him scholarship too.

Dr Izeom Ignatious, Former Provost, FCE Asaba, said the late provost was not his friend but a brother in the comity of Provosts.

Ignatious said the late Olusanya was a true christain ,who lived an examplary life with his wife.

“I urge you all to forgive him ,incase his style of leadership offended you in any way or the other because it is not possible to lead without stepping on toes ,” he said.

In his Exhortation, Pastor Idowu Akande, titled his sermon as Death and the Hereafter and while reading a scripture from Hebrew 9 vs 27, said death was an appointment with the creator that it was mandatory.

Akande explained that death actually does not close the chapter of a man’s life but it was rather a transition to a curtain raiser for an eternal life .

“Physical death will surely come and when it does, it should not be strange to anyone, what should be strange is life in the hereafter, ” he said .

Akande, however, enjoined all to forsake sin and live holy to enable them make heaven in the hereafter.

NAN reports that the late Olusanya born on July 29, 1958 to Late Pa Olutunde and Victoria Olusanya from Ijebu -Ode in Ogun State, began his career in the college in 1981 before he rose to become the Provost in 2011.

He is survived by his wife ,Mrs Olusola Olusanya and three children ; Abidemi Olusanya, Salisu Olubowale and Sole Olubanke.

As slated ,lying in state and academic procession for the late provost would hold on Thursday while his remains would be buried afterwards at Vaults and Gardens ,Ikoyi.

RUKY/IFY

Edited by Ifeyinwa Omowole

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Zamfara Gov’s wife partners ANCOPSS on girl-child education

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The Wife of Governor of Zamfara,, Hajiya Balkisu Bello-Matawalle, has pledged to partner with the All Nigerian Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS), Women wing, to improve the girl- child education in the state.

Hajiya Bello-Matawalle made the pledge while receiving members of the association who paid her courtesy visit in her office in Gusau on Wednesday.

The governor’s wife noted that the confederstion had important role to play in complementing government efforts in the education sector in the state.

“I am highly delighted to meet with you, as principals. I recognise your support and commitments while managing schools across the state.

“It is impressive to have your number as women principals in this state, this shows that women in Zamfara are willing to contribute to the future education of our children.

“I am ready to partner with you, especially in the area of supporting girl-child education and also soliciting your support for various government policies, especially in your respective schools.

“The present administration in this state, led by Gov. Bello Matawalle-Maradun, came up with various programmes to boost education in the state.

“As principals of secondary schools, you are among major stakeholders of education sector in the state, all we need is your support and cooperation,”she said.

Earlier, the Chairperson ANCOPSS, Women wing in the state and Principal, Government Girls’ Day Secondary School, Gusau, Hajiya Hawwa-Kulu Lugga, pledged the support of the wing to the state government policies and programmes on education.

She said, “We are here to register our solidarity and support to the present administration’s policies on education.”

 

Lugga said the wing’s support became necessary, considering the role of the state government in improving education sector,especially in terms of the girl-child education.

“We are ready to partner with you to ensure the success of your various programmes to improve education sector in the state.”

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Global IT hails Buhari for appointing Abdullahi as new NITDA DG

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Mr Rasheed Bakare, the Country Director of the firm, gave the commendation in a letter addressed to the president and made available to the Nigeria News Agency , on Wednesday, in Ibadan.

Bakare, in the letter, applauded the appointment of the 39 year-old Abdullahi, describing him as a “digital guru and industry key player”, with potential to surpass his predecessors’ achievements.

He said: “Abdullahi, for a couple of years, has shown and proven to be a world class professional who will use his wide network to take NITDA to the next level, in line with the president’s vision.

“He will also ensure that the agency is more efficient and effective in its role as the clearing house for all IT projects and infrastructural development in the country.”

Bakare, while congratulating Abdullahi on his appointment, which it described as well-deserved, charged him to leave above board and justify the confidence reposed in him by the president.

NAN reports that the new NITDA boss was born on Feb. 21, 1980 in Hadejia, Jigawa State.

He is a graduate of Computer Science from the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT-Sloan), with 15 years experience in IT operations, business transformation and solution architecture in both the private and public sectors.

He attended leadership and management courses at Harvard University, USA, University of Cambridge, UK and IMD Business School in Switzerland.

The new NITDA boss is the first Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) in Nigeria’s public sector and certified project manager as well as solution architect.

He worked at Galaxy Backbone as Network Engineer, IP Network Field Engineer, Senior Network & Lead, IP Operations Team, and Senior Solution Architect & Lead, Technical Solution Design Team from 2004 to 2013.

In 2014, he joined the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as a Technology Architect, where he dedicated his time to developing Technology Architecture Repository that gives total view of the bank’s IT infrastructure and easy decision on new IT investment.

Abdullahi was part of the team that executed software license rationalisation, which has increased cost savings for the bank in license annual subscriptions.

As a technology architect at the apex bank, he produced seven Solution Architectures for critical IT initiatives that helped in achieving cashless policy in Nigeria.

The new NITDA boss also overhauled the agency’s IT clearance process and encouraged shared services among agencies which helped the federal government saved over N16 billion from IT projects.

Abdullahi is a member of both the British Computer Society (BCS) and Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), and he is a recipient of 100 Leading Telecom and ICT Personalities award in Nigeria.

Edited by Olabisi Akinbode and ‘Wale Sadeeq

 

 

 

 

 

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Plant trees to mark special events: DG advises Nigerians

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The Director-General of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Dr Muhtari Aminu-Kano,  on Wednesday in Lagos appealed to Nigerians to  cultivate the habit of planting  trees to commemorate  special anniversaries in their lives.

Aminu-Kano made the appeal during the planting of 30 trees at the NCF Family Park in Lekki located within its premises by IBTC Bank  to commemorate its 30th anniversary.

He added that it would also help to restore the nation’s depleted forest cover.

He said that Nigeria had lost 94 per cent of her  forest cover and all hands must be on deck to reverse the trend through sustained planting of trees.

He commended the bank and appealed to other Nigerians, corporate organisations and the three tiers of government to emulate the gesture to restore the nation’s forest cover.

“This is something I will recommend to every Nigerian; to plant trees to commemorate  special events in their lives   because trees are long lasting and you remember that event whenever you  see such  trees.

“If you have an occasion to commemorate whether marriage, the birth of a child, jubilees, any birthday or landmark event, plant trees.

“I commend what the bank is doing and they have promised to replicate the planting in  the six geo political zones of the country.

“I hope  the public, companies and governments can do more to take to this habit of planting trees in hundreds,’’ he said.

Aminu-Kano said that NCF as part of its Green Recovery Nigeria initiative would continue to plant trees even in some forests that need regeneration.

“We can never get tired of planting trees. Even in a forest, there are places where you will need natural enrichment due to natural processes that some trees go through and die. And sometimes there is  the need to assist the forest to recover,’’ he said.

He lamented how  flooding  had been affecting  some trees in the Lekki Conservation Centre due to eastward ocean current causing erosion.

He said that this had continued to threaten the existence of the entire NCF.

He appealed to the Federal Government to support the Lagos State Government in combating the problem by building more groins.

He lamented the sharp drop in the nation’s forest cover to less than six per cent  and called for  sustained efforts by stakeholders to save the nation’s environment.

“We think that it is pitiful that the amount of land in Nigeria that is forested has moved from 40 per cent in the 1960s to arguably below six per cent.

“And the international standard which Nigeria signed up to is that a country should aim to have a minimum of 25 per cent of its area covered in forest;  so we have a long way to go.

“And we have to plant as many trees as possible; we are doing an exercise now with government and other stakeholders to identify which are the right trees that should go to the right places, in the right numbers, at the right time.

“We are losing 350,000 hectares of forests every year in Nigeria and we need to catch up by planting enough to not just replace the ones we are losing but pick up and try to hit that target of 25 per cent,” he said.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that two species of trees:  the African mahogany and Ijebu Mahogany were planted.

Mr Adeyemo Olayomade, NCF’s Conservation Assistant,  explained that the two species were chosen because both were hard wood of the same family, ever green and medicinal.

NAN reports that IBTC Bank was established in 1989.

 

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