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 Direct allocations: Maintain fiscal prudence, rights group tells LG chairmen

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Direct allocations: Maintain fiscal prudence, rights group tells LG chairmen

 

A rights group, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Ebonyi chapter, has urged chairmen of the 774 local government areas in Nigeria to ensure prudent management of monthly federation allocations accruing to them.

The CDHR State Secretary, Mr Jeremiah Onyibe, gave the advice at a news conference on Monday in Abakaliki.

Onyibe said that the call became imperative in view of the implementation of direct payment of federation allocations to local governments as directed by the Federal Government.

He said that the operationalisation of the directive gave responsibility to the chairmen of the councils to preside over utilisation of funds made available to them under the new fiscal regime.

Onyibe said that fiscal prudence and discipline were required for effective management of local government funds in order to achieve the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari.

He urged the various council chairmen to integrate their councillors, traditional rulers, community leaders and civil society organisations in identifying and implementing projects that would touch the lives of the rural people.

“The implementation of fiscal autonomy for  local government areas is one of the best  achievements of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government.

“Before now, the activities in our local government were in comatose as the federal allocations made for the local government were allegedly hijacked bystate governors in disguise of joint account to execute their joint projects.

“The development was the highest fraud ever and financial injustice meted out to grassroots administration,” he said.

According to him, this singular practice reduced our local government funds as alternative income to the governors.

”The funds meant to be used for  development of our local communities were therefore diverted and misappropriated.

 

“The practice also reduced the local government system as mere appendages of the state governments in Nigeria, as funds accruing to them were handed over to state governments and governors used them without acknowledging needs of the rural dwellers.

 

“But the recent decision to allocate funds directly to the local government has changed the sad narrative.

 

“There is therefore the need for civil societies, citizens and stakeholders to engage the council chairmen.

“They also need to monitor how funds released to these local governments are being utilised to ensure the funds are used for the interest of the masses”, Oyibe said.

He expressed concern on the poor state of infrastructure in public primary schools, lack of teaching materials, poor health facilities, leading to high rate of mortalities in rural communities.

He said: “As our local government chairmen receive their allocations directly, it is worthy for them to note that most of our public schools are in sorry state, lacking adequate qualified teachers, poor school infrastructure and basic instructional materials.

“Our public health centres have become ‘glorified’ medical shops, they are not operational as there are no drugs, nor qualified health officers to attend to our people and most of our health centres don’t even have basic equipment due to poor funding.

“Our rural roads are death-trap, posing difficulty for movement of people and farm produce since over 80 per cent of rural dwellers are peasant farmers, roads should be maintained to enhance accessibility”, he added.

 

 

 

General news

Foundation lauds Gov Fayemi’s enforcement of lockdown directive in Ekiti

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The CLEEN Foundation on Saturday lauded the efforts of Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti on the enforcement of lockdown directives to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

The Foundation gave the commendation in a communique at the end of Ekiti State Administration of Criminal Justice Working Group Bi-monthly meeting in Ado Ekiti.

The communique was signed by Ms Rita Ilevbare, Founder, Gender Relevance Initiative Promotion (GRIP), Ms Yetunde Kolawole, Ministry of Justice and Mr Osubu Ojo, Police Command in Ekiti.

It also commended Mr Olawale Fapohunda, the Attorney-General’s issuance of periodic statements, calling on security agents to respect the principles of human rights in the enforcement of the lockdown directives.

The foundation said review of progress of the implementation of ACJL in Ekiti, as regards compliance with the State Government directives on COVID-19, revealed that both the conventional and state security outfits were not trained before being deployed to enforce the COVID-19 lockdown directives.

It commended the substantial compliance with rules of engagement and ACJA by the security agents, particularly the police and the NSCDC in the enforcement of the COVID-19 lockdown directives.

The foundation said Ekiti witnessed minimal human rights violations by security agents, including no record of extra judicial killings as witnessed in some states

It decried the use and involvement of the military in the enforcement of the COVID-19 lockdown directives.

“This is against the tenents of civil engagements, as some of the human rights violations witnessed in the state were mostly perpetrated by the military and the state’s security outfits,” the foundation said.

While commending Courts’ sittings during the COVID-19 lockdown it, however, alleged that violators of the lockdown directives, were denied legal representation.

“This negates the principles of access to justice; particularly, the right to fair hearing as preserved under the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended).

“That following the gradual ease of the lockdown by the government and the full return to work, that Courts has commenced full sitting in all cases, including corruption cases,” the communique said.

It said that in case of future special duties, security agents, both conventional and state security outfits, should be specially trained by the government before deployment.

The communique said that the military personnel should not be involved by the government in the enforcement of special duties, which were entirely civil in nature.

It said that goverment should categorise lawyers as essential workers, should there be need for future lockdown.

The communique also proposed a training session on ACJA for security agencies, particularly the Police and NSCDC.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that CLEEN Foundation, with support from MacArthur Foundation, was implementing the Project, “Promoting Accountability and Transparency in the Administration of Criminal Justice System in Nigeria” in Ekiti.

It reports also as part of the project activities, CLEEN Foundation set up a State Working Group to monitor the effective implementation of Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) in Ekiti.

NAN reports that the stakeholders were in the justice sector and meet bi-monthly to deliberate on the effective implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law.

It is to explore strategies for collaboration with partners toward the attainment of the ideals of ACJL in Ekiti.

It reports that the usual Bi-monthly meeting could not hold due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in the state.


Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Education

UNILAG set to boost entrepreneurship education through direct online platform

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The Entrepreneurship and Skills Development Centre, University of Lagos, says it is set to launch its online Entrepreneurship Education platform for its 57,000 students.

The centre’s Director, an Associate Professor, Sunday Adebisi, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday in Lagos that the platform would grant 24 hours direct access to the students everyday.

Adebisi was reacting to the recent ranking of the university as the third best most productive school in Entrepreneurship Education in Africa by Forbes.

Forbes is a global media company, focussing on business, investing, technology, entrepreneurship, leadership and lifestyle.

Adebisi stated that the country currently have a population of between 15 and 35 that comprises about 70 per cent of the entire population, who are supposed to be in active production.

”So, that is what this university believes in, and that is why we are very strong in promoting entrepreneurship education, just like the institution’s Business School (ULBS).

”The university’s entrepreneurship education platform is coming on board before the end of the year.

”We are expecting that by the time they do the next ranking, we are likely going to be number one in Africa.

”The reason being that we are now going to give direct entrepreneurship education access to the 57,000 students across board which include both the undergraduates, the Postgraduates, every year and every hour.

”Besides that, we are going to start talents hunting for enterprise creation.

“That is whereby every of our students, be it undergraduate or postgraduate that can create enterprise on campus, which we call Campus Startups, is going to be supported by management and will be launched.

“We are also going to get companies to infuse money into such startups,” he explained.

According to Adebisi, entrepreneurship today is almost everything, because citizens are now in a nation that needs to be extremely productive, with everyone being into production, to be able to be self-sustaining.

He noted that entrepreneurship was the only thing that could give everyone the opportunity to be able to be creative and innovative.

“All on their own, using their own ideas for profitable ventures, without necessarily hunting for jobs,” the director said.

He said that in a bid to further promote entrepreneurship drive among students, the university had also made it compulsory in all the units of the business school, be it Executive MBA in Human Resources, Finance and others.

Adebisi said the most important thing was that entrepreneurship remained key, as a general course, adding that this had been the focal point of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe.

He said the vice-chancellor had always insisted that the key thing the institution must be known for, was entrepreneurship development.

Further on the recent ranking of the university, Adebisi described the development as one of the best thing to have ever happened to the institution.

”As we speak now, we have been ranked the third best entrepreneurship oriented university in Africa.

“And, this is the first time any Nigeria university will be so ranked by Forbes, in this kind of category.

”So, that is to tell you that what UNILAG is now known for today is that any graduating student from the institution is to earn two things: a degree and at the same time, extreme knowledge in entrepreneurship.

”Such graduate is also likey to have an opportunity of creating his or her own enterprise before leaving the university.

”So, today we are the third best in the entire Africa, and this is what has been the drive by the management of the institution.

“What is core to us is entrepreneurship ever since the Prof. Ogundipe-led management came on board, two and half years ago.

”We really want to salute all those who made the ranking possible, the students, staff and the entire management,” he said.

The director said that with the planned launch of the online entrepreneurship education platform, the institution would soon get to its much desired height, not just in the Africa, but the world at large.


Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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General news

COVID-19: Oyo CAN cautions Christians against flouting govt. directives

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The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Oyo State Chapter, has called on Christians in the state  to comply with the all the directives of government including the lockdown of religious centres.

Pastor Benjamin Akanmu, the State Chairman, made the call on Friday while addressing newsmen in Ibadan.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the state government is yet to ease the lockdown on religious centres ocassioned by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Akanmu said that it was important to make official statement to guide the leadership of various churches and fellowship centres, amidst misleading information which had rented the air.

“In a situation like this, it is pertinent that the CAN leadership in the state clear the air on misleading information circulating around to save followers from falling victims of fake news or misinformation.

“This, if not addressed, may eventually subject followers to severe punishment, as we all know that ignorance is not an excuse in the court of law,” Akanmu said.

He said that the Federal Government has done the appropriate thing by relaxing the measures to allow each state make decisions based on the current situation and report on COVID-19 pandemic in a particular state.

“As at today, the decision of Oyo government is to retain the restrictions earlier imposed on lockdown of religious centres, curfew from 8pm to 6am and on social gathering.

“As residents of the state, we all should adhere strictly to the state directives. As Christians, we must honour and obey government regardless of the motive behind the decision, order or policy — either in good or bad faith.

“Even in a situation where government deliberately work against the church, God did not permit us to disobey or involve in violence,” he warned.

The CAN chairman said that the best way to chase away COVID-19 pandemic was for people to humble themselves before God,  confess their sins, turn away from evil and ask for the mercy of God.

“If we sincerely call for God’s intervention at this point, He will surely answer and set our nation free from the bondage of lockdown brought on us by the pandemic.

“Anything that is not of God, CAN will never support it. After all, it is the building that is lockdown, the spirit of Christ that dwell in us can not be silent,” he said.

Akanmu said that everything happens for good for those who trust in God, saying this was a period for the people to develop themselves spiritually.

That’s why as Christian leaders we train followers of Christ to be adequately equipped with the words of God, prayer and walk in the righteous path.

“Jesus did not call the pastors alone, he called everyone. He says, go ye into the world and preach the gospel. In other words, lockdown shouldn’t be an excuse to be far from God.

“For no reason should any Christian go against the law and order of the government. I believe that the Lord will return all our losses during the COVID-19 period in multiple folds in Jesus name,” he said. 


Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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Foreign

Trump directs United States troops reduction in Germany: media

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United States President Donald Trump directed the Pentagon to reduce United States military presence in Germany by September, United States media reported on Friday.

Citing United States government officials, The Wall Street Journal said in a Friday piece that the move would reduce 9,500 troops from the 34,500 troops that are permanently assigned in Germany.

The move also limits the size of United States troops deployed in Germany at any one time at the 25,000-troop level. According to the report, overall troop levels under current practice can rise to as high as 52,000 as units rotate in and out or take part in training exercises.

The report came days after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said due to the coronavirus pandemic, she will not attend the Group of Seven (G7) Summit that initially scheduled at the White House in late June.

A person familiar with the matter was quoted as saying that the troops’ reduction plan had been discussed within the administration for months and was not linked to Merkel’s decision on G7 Summit.

The reduction plan might further strain the relations between Washington and Berlin. The two allies have been at odds with each other on Iran nuclear issues, Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, and defense burden-sharing, among others.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Tim Davie named BBC’s new director general

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Tim Davie, one of the most senior executives of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), has been appointed as its new director general, the BBC announced Friday.

Davie, 53, will replace Tony Hall as the BBC‘s next director general on Sept. 1. The Cambridge graduate has been promoted from chief executive of BBC Studios, responsible for monetizing shows including Top Gear around the world.

Davie, who joined the BBC in 2005 as director of the Marketing, Communications & Audiences division, said he was “honored” to take on the role, adding that the corporation needed to “accelerate change” to “stay relevant”.

“Looking forward, we will need to accelerate change so that we serve all our audiences in this fast-moving world,” he said.

“Much great work has been done, but we will continue to reform, make clear choices and stay relevant,” he added.

(XINHUA)

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Religion

COVID-19: Imam pledges compliance with OSSG’s directives on Jumat prayer

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The Chief Imam of Ifeland, Alhaji AbdulSemiu AbdulHammed, has pledged that Muslim faithful would comply with Osun Government guidelines on COVID-19 during Friday Jumat prayer.

AbdulHammed made the promise in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Ile Ife.

He commended Gov. Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun for his efforts at ensuring that residents are protected against the novel coronavirus.

“We appreciate the governor for lifting the ban on worship centres and giving us two weeks to observe our religious services.

“The compliance of religious leaders at worship centres to government guidelines will surely pave way for the next steps either to lockdown again or total freedom of religious services,’’ he said.

The Chief Imam also lauded the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja 11, for decontaminating the Ife Central Mosque against COVID-19, especially as Friday Jumat would now begin.

He, therefore, appealed to all Muslim faithful to ensure that they used their facemasks before, during and after Jumat prayer until they return to their homes.

AbdulHammed admonished the aged people 65 years and above and others with ailments like tuberculosis and diabetes to observe their Jumat at home.

The Muslim cleric assured that all government directives would be strictly adhere to.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Religion

Comply with Osun govt. directives on services, CAN orders churches

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With the reopening of worship centres in Osun, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Ife Central Local Government Area has urged churches to comply with the state government’s directives on conduct of services.

Rev. Bisi Olatipe, the Chairman of the association, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Ile-Ife.

He acknowledged the efforts of Gov. Gboyega Oyetola in containing the spread of COVID-19 across the state.

Now that Mr Governor has harkened to our voices, religious leaders must therefore cooperate with state government and comply with the rules and regulations given.

” Government alone cannot do it for a tree cannot make a forest. So jointly,  we must forestall possible spread of the virus as a result of the re-opening,” he said.

The CAN chairman said that the level of compliance with the guidelines given would determine further actions by the government.

According to him, churches should not extend their services beyond an hour with a maximum of two services per week as stipulated.

He also warned the ministers in the churches not to allow vulnerable persons, those with ailments such as tuberculosis and diabetes as well as those aged 65 and above in the services.

Olatipe also said that churches must fumigate their premises, provide washing facilities and  sanitisers while worshippers must observe social distancing.

He said goverment was also opposed to sharing of devices such as microphones, distribution of food and water as well as closing of doors and windows of churches during services.

Olatipe further said that the use of thermometers to check temperature of worshippers must be strictly enforced.

The CAN chairman added that no churches in the state would be allowed to conduct vigils and children services.

(
Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Mufutau Ojo (NAN)
)

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General news

Rivers may demolish markets for flouting COVID-19 directives, says Commissioner

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The Rivers Government warned on Wednesday that some markets in the state might be demolished for flouting the order of the government that trading should stop at the markets because of COVID-19.

The state’s Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr Paulinus Nsirim, gave the warning in a statement issued in Port Harcourt.

He lamented that traders had continued to flout government’s directives that markets should be shut, due to rising cases of the coronavirus in the state.

Nsirim said that five markets in the state might be shut down permanently for flouting the directives. He did not elaborate.

The Rivers Government wishes to draw the attention of the general public that Mbiama Market has been closed down.

“Any attempt to continue trading activities at Mbiama Market will lead to complete demolition of the market.

The commissioner named Oginigba Market and two others as markets notorious for disobeying Gov. Nyesom Wike that the markets should be closed.

“The government warns that anybody who goes to Oginigba Market for any form of business will face the full wrath of the law.

Similarly, Oil Mill Market has been closed and as such all those using Igbo-Etche Road as an alternative market are warned to desist forthwith or risk destruction of their goods.

“Government has not approved any goat market at the Eleme/Ahoada stretch of the East-West road in the state.”

Nsirim directed authorities of Emohua and Ahoada-East Councils to shut down the goat market in the area immediately.


Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Silas Nwoha (NAN)

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Foreign

Israeli scientists directly observe light flow using unique quantum microscope

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Israeli researchers have recorded flow of light using a unique quantum microscope, the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion) said on Wednesday.

According to the Technion, this is a dramatic breakthrough in the field of quantum science, as a Technion research team directly observed the light trapped inside a photonic crystal.

In this research, published in the journal Nature, all the experiments were performed using a unique ultrafast transmission electron microscope, developed by the Technion.

Using the microscope, the scientists were able to change the color and angle of light that illuminates samples of nano materials and map their interactions with electrons.

“This is the first time we can actually see the dynamics of light while it is trapped in nano materials, rather than relying on computer simulations”, the researchers said.

This breakthrough may have an impact on numerous potential applications, including the design of new quantum materials for storing quantum basic units (bits) with greater stability.

Similarly, it can help improve the sharpness of colors on cell phones, televisions and other kinds of screens.

(XINHUA)

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