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E-governance: Gov. Sule inaugurates free ICT training for workers



Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State on Thursday, inaugurated a three months training on Information Communication Technology (ICT) for workers to enhance e-governance in the state.

Sule, while inaugurating the training in Lafia, noted that it had become imperative in order for the state to be in tune with global best practice.

“The essence is to bring our civil and public servants up to date on digital technology.

“When our administration came on board, we reviewed the operation of the civil service and discovered that a lot of our workers, including some permanent secretaries were not computer literate,’’ Sule said.

He pointed out that transparency, a core principle of his administration, could only be attained through e-governance.

“E-governance will reduce bureaucracy, improve ease of doing business, reduce wastages, block leakages and improve our revenue base,’’ he said.

He said that apart from providing ICT training, government would also provide workers with laptops and other accessories on a loan basis to be deducted from their salaries.

Mr Abari Aboki, the state Head of Civil Service explained that the training was targeted at 10,000 workers from grade level 7 to directorate cadre.

Aboki said the programme would feature one month theoretical and two months practical for all the participants.

According to Aboki, the training will hold, at least two hours daily in various ministries.

The head of service explained that the laptops would be given to willing civil servant at the rate of N140, 000 per unit.

He added that the cost would be deducted from their salaries for a period of 12 months.

Mr Bright Adeola, Manager Brightland Computer, technical partners for the training commended the State Government for the initiative.

Adeola said the training would equip workers with ICT knowledge and put them at par with their counterparts all over the world.(NAN)


Edited by Cecilia Odey/Ali Baba-Inuwa

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Principals, essential partners in reviving education standard – Ogun govt.



Mrs Ronke Soyombo, the Special Adviser to Gov. Dapo Abiodun on Primary and Secondary Education, has described secondary school principals as essential partners in reviving the falling standard of education in Ogun.

Soyombo stated this on Tuesday in Abeokuta at a meeting with All Nigeria Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS) led by its President, Mrs Olubunmi Womiloju.

She said that it was important to develop meaningful synergy between the government and ANCOPSS by restoring healthy competition, boarding facilities, discipline, quality teaching, learning and serious advocacy back to schools.

The special adviser charged stakeholders in the state’s education sector to chart a course that would enable the state regain its legacy as a leader in the sector.

“In time past, Ogun State public secondary schools has always been our standard model schools that churned out great and successful people that are doing well in their chosen fields.

“Excellence and good discipline was the priority with healthy competitions among the schools back then, this is what the present administration is working to restore and we believe together we can bring the lost glory of our schools back.

“We are going to restore discipline, excellence and good morals back to our schools, results of our students will now be made public to foster more efforts and healthy competitions.

“Security in schools will be heightened, school management and standards will take a new shape from henceforth. With all these successfully put in place, our educational standard is guaranteed,” Soyombo said.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Mrs. Abosede Ogunleye, commended the principals for their leadership quality , saying government would not rest on its oars until better standards were restored in schools.

Ogunleye also said that schools would be properly fumigated before resumption.

In her remarks, Womiloju commended the state government for its plans to uplift school standards.

Womiloju promised that the association would continue to support the state government’s programmes, saying that the growth and development of the education sector remained a collective responsibility of all stakeholders.

The ANCOPPS president enjoined principals to maintain standards and adhere strictly to the decisions reached at the meeting wholeheartedly.

Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare/Mufutau Ojo (NAN)

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COVID-19: CLO urges state govts to provide soft loan to teachers to engage in farming



The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), an NGO, has urged state governments to provide soft loan to teachers to engage in farming as schools remain closed because of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Chairman of CLO, Anambra branch, Mr Vincent Ezekwueme, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Enugu on Tuesday against the backdrop of the plight of teachers in private schools.

NAN reports that schools nationwide were closed by both federal and state governments to effectively contain and check the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ezekwueme said that since February most private schools had closed and there had been no time frame for them to resume.

He noted that teachers especially those in private schools had continued to find it difficult to survive.

“It is very unfortunate and pathetic that some private school teachers and workers in organised private sector have not received their salaries since February.

“The panacea is for government to provide soft loan for teachers, especially private teachers, to enable them embark on farming activities.

“This will enable them engage themselves more meaningfully even as they await to hear of the scheduled timetable for school resumption and actual resumption itself,’’ he said.

The chairman, however, urged state governments to provide palliatives to private school teachers in their various states.

“Pertinently, this is in view of the deluge of complaints of hardship from teachers especially those in private schools to our office caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“State governments should summon emergency meeting with private school proprietors to find mutual and amicable resolution of their financial challenges in order to save our educational system from imminent collapse after COVID-19,’’ he added.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Fighters of UN-backed government seen in southern Tripoli




A fighter of UN-backed government is seen with weapon in Ramla area, southern Tripoli on June 1, 2020. (Photo by Hamza Turkia/Xinhua)

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Roundup: Lao students return to schools as gov’t further eases COVID-19 restrictions




Most Lao students returned to schools on Tuesday as the Lao government further eased its precautionary COVID-19 restrictions.

Preschools, kindergartens and the remaining classes of primary and secondary schools (whose final-year classes resumed earlier on May 18) have reopened on Tuesday.

Final-year classes at technical colleges, pedagogy colleges and universities have also reopened on the same day, while other remaining classes are instructed to reopen on June 15.

Since May 18, the graduating grade students of primary and secondary schools have gone back to their classrooms, to prepare for tests to gain admission into higher education levels, according to an earlier announcement from the Prime Minister’s Office on May 15.

School administrators must implement precautionary measures to prevent further outbreaks of COVID-19, which was recommended by the Ministry of Education and Sports and the National Taskforce Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

The measures for reopening schools include school administrators keeping their premises clean by cleaning classrooms and grounds and spraying disinfectant around their facilities to reduce the risk of infections.

Administrative staff, teachers and students must wear face masks at all times at school, and parents must also wear masks while picking up their children.

The Lao government also allows normal transport of goods across international borders from Tuesday. Organizations of all forms of sport competitions with no spectators, night markets and cinemas are also permitted to reopen.

The Prime Minister’s Office said the easing of restrictions was temporary and that if further cases of COVID-19 were found, the rules would be reimposed in the province where the infection was detected. If clusters of infections occur in two or more provinces, the lockdown will be re-introduced nationwide.

Restrictions have been further relaxed given that there have been no new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Laos for 50 consecutive days as of Monday. Sixteen of the 19 patients who contracted the virus have been discharged from hospitals.

The Lao Health Ministry announced its first two confirmed COVID-19 cases at its daily press conference on March 24.


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Gov. Uzodimma receives Judicial Commission report



Gov. Hope Uzodimma of Imo has received report of the state’s Judicial Commission of Inquiry on lands and related matters.

The governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr Oguwike Nwachuku, confirmed this in a statement made available to newsmen on Monday in Owerri.

Uzodimma commended the commission for a job well done, promising to do justice to the report.

He assured the members that the government would critically study the report with a view to doing the needful in the interest of Imo people.

He further said that the report was important to the people, as they have looked forward to it.

 “The commission has passed the ball and it is the responsibility of the government to score the goal,” the governor said.

Earlier, the Chairman of the Commission, Justice Florence Duruoha-Igwe (Rtd.), said members ascertained the extent of distortion to the Owerri Master Plan.

Duruoha-Igwe said that the commission’s recommendation had only one motivating consideration: “to completely restore Owerri master plan and the lost glory of the beautiful city”.

She said they were mindful of the fact that history and people of the state would judge them harshly if they fail in the onerous task of getting it right.

She explained that in the course of their assignment, the commission received 1,532 petitions and memoranda from within the state and the diaspora.

“The visual evidence shows that the distortion of Owerri master plan is colossal and mind-boggling.

”It requires a man and government with lion’s heart to restore same, bearing in mind that you cannot make an omelette without breaking an egg.

“It is the prayer of the committee members that the report will find acceptability before God and the people of the state,” she said.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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COVID-19: Rivers Govt inaugurates free bus scheme



The Rivers Government has inaugurated a COVID-19 Free Bus Scheme to cushion the effect of the pandemic on residents and visitors to the state.

The scheme was inaugurated on Monday in Port Harcourt by the Commissioner for Transport, Mr Sunny Ejekwu.

According to Ejekwe, the buses will ply Obio/Akpor, Port Harcourt, Oyigbo and Eleme Local Government Areas as a pilot scheme.

Ejekwe, who commended Gov. Nyesom Wike for the initiative, said that the 28 luxury buses would operate in line with advisories on social distancing, use of hand sanitiser and wearing of face masks.

He said that the buses would pick and discharge passengers at designated bus stops.

The Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr Paulinus Nsirim, described the free bus scheme as “a gift you get from a compassionate and visionary leader’’.

A cross section of commuters, who commended the initiative, said they could not believe that government could provide such a free service.

Meanwhile, the state government has also began the decontamination of public places as part of measures to keep the state safe from coronavirus.

According to a statement by Mr Paulinus Nsirim, the Commissioner for Information and Communications, the programme was flagged off at Government House, Port Harcourt, by Gov. Nyesom Wike who assured that all public places in the state would be decontaminated.

He said that all public places, including markets, Churches, motor parks and schools, would be decontaminated before schools reopen.

In his speech, the Sole Administrator, Rivers State Waste Management Agency, Mr Felix Obuah, said the Decontamination Team, made up of medical and environmental experts, was inaugurated in line with Rivers governor’s directives to decontaminate public places.

The Leader of the decontamination team, Dr Ian Gobo, assured that the team would carry out the exercise with utmost dedication.

Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Oyo owes N26 bn in gratuities–Gov. Makinde



Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State says the state has a backlog of N26 billion in unpaid gratuities to  6,274 pensioners.

Makinde made the disclosure in Ibadan on Monday while presenting cheques to some of the beneficiaries of the N180 million gratuity for 2013 retirees.

He said his administration had been making efforts to offset the debt inspite of the limited sources of funds for the government.

“I gave you a promise that as our economy is getting expanded, so also we will be adding more to what we need to pay to pensioners to ensure that we shorten the period within which we can offset this debt,” he said.

He said that his administration remained committed to finishing whatever the previous administrations had left undone, including payments.

“When a child inherits fortune from his father, he will not reject it.

“In the same way, if he inherits debt, he is duty-bound to do something about it and that is what I just explained; we are doing something about it,” he said.

The governor said that those who had served diligently needed all the support they could get from the state.

” Ordinarily, the payment of gratuity to retirees should come immediately after retirement.

“Despite the meagre resources available to the state, my administration will continue to bring relief to the entire workforce in the state and its senior citizens.

“This symbolic presentation of cheques is for retirees who finished the processing of their retirement papers in 2013.

“In total, 82 of these retirees will be paid their full retirement benefits.

“Seven years is a long time for anyone who could not work to wait to get paid their benefits.

“Such payment should ideally come immediately upon retirement and it is indeed disheartening that the previous administration did not do what was supposed to be done when it should be done.

“We are able to do this because we increased monthly allocation for gratuities from N100 million to N180 million with effect from June 2019.

” What this means is we have committed N1.908 billion to this payment in the past one year with a total number of 886 retired civil servants, hospital workers, teaching and non-teaching staff benefitting.

“When we came in, we still had the gratuity arrears of 2011. Now, we have completed the arrears of 2011 and 2012 and we are now on 2013.

“I give you the assurance that we will keep paying off these debts and I know we will finish paying them.” he said.

Makinde further said that his administration would continue doing its best to ensure that everyone in the state felt the impact of governance.

In his address of welcome, Prof. Kehinde Sangodoyin, the state Commissioner for Establishment and Training, said the Makinde-led administration had alleviated the sufferings of helpless retirees.

Mr Okusegun Abatan, Secretary of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners in Oyo State, commended the state government for the payment of the gratuities.

Abatan urged Makinde to sustain his efforts at bringing smiles on the faces of the retirees.

Some of the beneficiaries–Raji Ayinde, Rachael Ogundiran, Adeniyi Omofoye and Fausat Olanrewaju– commended the governor for fulfilling his promise to them.

Edited By: Moses Solanke/Mufutau Ojo (NAN)

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UNIBEN governing council commiserates with family of murdered student



The Governing Council of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) have commiserated with the Omozuwa family and the entire university community over the rape and murder of one of its students, Miss Vera Omozuwa.
The acting Chairman of the council, Dr Daniel Mwanmut, in a statement issued on Monday by the institution’s Public Relations Officer, Dr Benedicta Ehanire, described the actions of the perpetrator(s) as heineous and inhumane.
Mwanmut urged the family, university authorities, members of staff and students of the institution to take solace in the fact that the young girl lived a focused life.
He also called on the Edo government and law enforcement agencies to leave no stone unturned to fish out those involved in the gruesome murder and bring them to book.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that Omozuwa, a 23-year-old student of the university, was raped by a gang of unknown men on May 27 and died few days later at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH).

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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COVID-19: Enugu govt. distributes palliatives to cab operators



The Enugu State government, on Monday at Okpara Square, presented food items and protective equipment to members of the Coal City Cabs/Taxi Operators’ Union in the state.
The state Deputy Governor, Mrs Cecilia Ezeilo, said the gesture was part of efforts to cushion the effects of the lockdown, occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ezeilo said that government was committed to the wellbeing of the people of the state.
According to her, government has been consistent in the distribution of food items to various groups in the state, including the poorest of the poor, since the outbreak of the pandemic.
The deputy governor appealed to members of the union to continue to abide by the government’s restriction orders as well as the safety protocols in order to be free from the virus.
Responding, the Chairman of the cab operators, Mr Samuel Ajogwu, commended the state government for its efforts at assisting the less-privileged and groups through distribution of palliatives.
Ajogwu also commended the government for its efforts at containing the spread of the virus in the state.
“It is heartwarming that the state government has deemed it necessary to provide us with these food items as palliatives,” he said.
The chairman expressed the union’s resolve to assist the state government in containing the spread of the virus in the state.

Edited By: Benson Iziama and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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