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Exam misconduct: JAMB de-list 9 CBT centres

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The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has de-listed nine Computer-Based Test (CBT) centres from the list of approved centres in the just concluded 2020 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination.

JAMB, in its weekly bulletin, published every Monday in Abuja said the centres were de-listed due to technical deficiency to conniving with candidates to cheat.

According to the board, the centres include St. Anthony Comprehensive Secondary School, Abia State, St. Josephs Institute, Enugu, Federal College of Education, Okene, Kogi State, H. S. P. S CBT centre, Omu-Aran in Kwara and Darman Model College CBT Centre, Satelite Town, Lagos.

Others are Lafia Knowledge Centre, Lafia, Solid Rock Girls Academy, Sagamu, Ogun State, Sejdom Global Ventures Limited, Ibadan, and MS World ICT Institute of Information Technology, Kano.

The board said out of the 1,945,983 million candidates who sat for this year’s examination, 195 candidates were involved in different forms of examination misconduct.

According to the board, the misconduct include examination by proxy, connivance to cheat, smuggling of mobile phones and electronic devices into examination hall, attempt to cheat and double registration.

Other examination misconducts as outlined by the board were tampering with exam documents, forceful entrance, double registration, faking of vital documents and unruly behavior by candidates.

Edited By: Joe Idika/Sadiya Hamza
(NAN)

 

Ruth Oketunde: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Sport

German league second-tier clubside open stadium complex for school exams

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Second division Greuther Fuerth said on Sunday they are opening their stadium facilities for schools to hold their final exams there to adhere to social distancing rules amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The club said pupils from partner schools could write the exams in “class rooms’’ in the main stand area.

Several schools have said they would make use of the offer over the next weeks.

“We have heard from various schools that the measures currently required present challenges for them. We thought about how we can help.

“After we developed a hygiene concept and it was approved, we could now make this free offer, and it is nice to see that we can help some in this way,” managing director Holger Schwiewagner said.
OLAL

(
Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)

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Environment

Lockdown: Parents, pupils examine effectiveness of e-learning

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Against the backdrop of e-learning adopted by some schools, occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic and the attendant closure of schools, some parents and pupils on Thursday appraised the effectiveness of e-learning.

The parents and pupils, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos, said that the online study was meant to keep pupils busy during the lockdown.

They, however, noted that online study could not be compared with physical teaching and learning in the classroom.

NAN reports that the Federal Government and State Governments in the wake of the lockdown to curb spread of the COVID-19, initiated various online learning platforms for conventional education to continue.

Mrs Ndidi Ofodile, the Proprietress of Nitabel Nursery and Primary School Ojo, Lagos, one of the private schools into e-learning, said that though parents were informed about it through text messages, not all pupils were participating in the online learning.

Ofodile said that the online learning would have been more comprehensive if parents had made devices available to enable the pupils receive the study worksheets sent through WhatsApp, Google classroom and zoom networks.

“Parents are billed half of the pupils’ regular school fee to pay the teachers and procure other essential devices to aid the online learning sessions,” she said.

Mr John Williams-Lawal, whose two children in another private school had been participating in their school’s online classes, noted that the online teaching lacked coordination.

“It is just like sending a text message to someone at the other end and expecting a reply from the person. This variant of teaching and learning is incomplete.

“Most time, the channel or the platform gets crowded with responses from participants and that of the teacher will be blurred in the system, making it difficult for pupils to know what the teacher says on a particular topic.

’’The challenges are numerous; physical teaching is far better.

’’In a physical class, the teacher employs different teaching aids to enhance the pupils’ assimilation. In the class, a teacher compels pupils to learn by intuition which is difficult to implement online,” he said.

Williams-Lawal urged parents to provide the required learning materials like text books for their children to study before the schools reopen, saying that one rarely forgot knowledge acquired physically.

Janet Alaobi and Adeola Arowolo, both pupils of a public school in Lagos, said that they seldom watched and studied on television channels organised by the state ministry of education.

Alaobi in Basic Four said that because she rarely understood what the teachers on television were teaching, she did not show interest in the sessions.

She noted that the teachers were unlike her school teachers.

She wished that schools should reopen to enable them continue normal academic works, noting that staying at home was no longer exciting.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

 

 

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Foreign

Lebanon announces end of academic year, cancels official exams amid COVID-19

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The Lebanese cabinet agreed on Tuesday to end the academic year for schools and cancel official exams amid increases in COVID-19 infections in the country, the National News Agency reported.

Students will take no official exams but continue their online education until the end of this month, it said.

Meanwhile, all students will pass their classes with certificates issued by their schools as proposed by Education Minister Tarek Majzoub.

The academic year in Lebanon was disrupted on multiple occasions, with schools closing during the mass protests last October and later as of March in accordance with coronavirus lockdown measures.

Several events that took place in Lebanon in the past few months led to an unprecedented economic and financial crisis which weighted heavily on living conditions of Lebanese citizens who have become incapable of affording schools tuition fees of their children.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Zimbabwe lawmakers request for postponement of schools’ public examinations amid COVID-19 pandemic

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Zimbabwean legislators on Monday called for the postponement of June and November 2020 public examinations following disruptions to the school calendar by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sitting during the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education, the legislators said learners are not prepared to sit for the examinations due to the short time they have had of learning this year.

While some have continued classes through e-learning, a vast majority of the students in rural areas had been disadvantaged due to lack of access to the internet.

Those with access to internet were also facing difficulties due to the high cost of data.

Committee chairperson Priscilla Misihairabwi Mushonga said the government must consider the plight of the disadvantaged rural student.

Legislator Johnson Madhuku said the performance of disadvantaged students will certainly be affected if the government sticks to its original 2020 examination timetable.

Responding to queries from the legislators, Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (ZIMSEC) director Lazarus Nembaware said the organization will wait for guidance from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.

Nembaware said they were now waiting for dates from the government after the announcement by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Saturday that learning of examination classes can now resume.

He said it was too early to talk about shifting the November examinations, noting that what the examination body will do in the meantime is to prepare the examination papers so that they are ready when government gives the green light.

“As far as we are concerned we will still put into motion the wheels of preparing for the November examination and then wait for direction from the ministry. We are amenable to the issues,” he said.

The Minister of Primary and Secondary Education is on Wednesday expected to address parliament on when schools will re-open and the modalities of operation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mnangagwa on Saturday extended indefinitely the lockdown period which started on March 30, adding that reviews will be conducted after every two weeks to assess the situation.

Zimbabwe currently has 46 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 18 recoveries and four deaths.

(XINHUA)

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Defence/Security

COVID-19 : NAF postpones entrance examination into schools

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The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has postponed the entrance examination into Air Force Comprehensive Secondary Schools and Air Force Secondary Schools until further notice.

Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, made this known in a statement on Saturday in Abuja.

Daramola said the examination which was earlier scheduled for May 2, has been postponed in compliance with precautions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.

The spokesman said a new date would be announced in due course.

” This is to inform parents/guardians of candidates that applied for admission into the Air Force Comprehensive Secondary Schools and Air Force Secondary Schools that the entrance examination, which was earlier scheduled for May 2, has been postponed until further notice.

” This is in compliance with precautions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19. A new date will be announced in due course,” Daramola said.

Edited By: Modupe Adeloye/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Foreign

Poland extends school closure until May 24, moves high school exams

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Poland on Friday said it would extend closure of schools, kindergartens and nurseries until at least May 24, due to the coronavirus pandemic, Education Minister Dariusz Piatkowski announced.
Piatkowski, however, said schools would continue to conduct online classes.
“High school final exams will be moved from May to June, starting on June 8, and will take only written form. Primary school final exams will take place in mid-June.
“At the same time, the government is mulling opening some schools to allow them to take care of smaller children. A decision on the matter will be made in the coming days,“ Piatkowski said.
According to the Health Ministry, Poland has so far confirmed 10,759 cases of the novel coronavirus with 463 deaths.

Edited By: Yahaya Isah/Obike Ukoh (NAN)

 

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Foreign

Australian university students protesting facial recognition plan for remote exams

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Australian National University (ANU) students have described a plan to use facial recognition technology to prevent cheating during remote exams as an invasion of privacy.

Amid the COVID-19 shutdown ANU has announced that exams would be conducted remotely rather than on campus, with students required to install Proctorio, a remote monitoring program, on their personal computers to guarantee academic integrity.

“To ensure that the examinations are safe, secure, transparent and valid, the university will use Proctorio to invigilate exams remotely,” the university said in a statement.

Proctorio uses facial recognition software to verify and monitor students via their webcam.

It analyses data such as eye movements, background noise and keystrokes to identify possible cheating.

Video recordings of a student during an exam are stored on a server which can be accessed by relevant university staff.

Grace Hill, an ANU student representative, said that asking students to install the program was a “gross” invasion of privacy.

An online petition organized by Hill calling for the university to abandon its plan to use Proctorio has been signed by more than 3,000 students in less than a week.

“There’s increasingly requirements for students to participate in online learning with anti-cheating components,” she told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

“But the filming and recording and artificial intelligence monitoring of people’s faces and bodies has been what has crossed the line for many students.”

She cited a mass ANU data breach in 2018 as proof that the university could not be trusted with the information gathered by Proctorio.

In June 2019 the university revealed that it was hit by a massive data hack late in 2018.

The personal details of more than 200,000 staff and students dating back 19 years were compromised.

“The ANU has had a patchy history with security breaches,” Hill said.

“This has been a big area of concern for many students, particularly given the sensitive nature of what is being stored.”
(XINHUA)

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Health

Examine patients before directing them to undergo COVID-19 test- NIMR DG

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Prof. Tunde Salako, Director-General, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Yaba, Lagos, has appealed to physicians to critically examine their patients before directing them to undergo COVID-19 test.

Salako said on his verified Twitter handle, that patients with upper respiratory tract were being directed to go for COVID-19 test without proper assessment.

“Experience, since the beginning of our drive through testing in NIMR, has shown that some doctors are refusing to, even assess their patients once their complaints are about upper respiratory tract.

“Such patients have often been sent to go and get COVID-19 test done. In some of the cases the results were negative.

“Patient probably has other medical issues, which if not treated on time, may lead to complications or death.

“Physicians should please review their patients before panicking to send them for COVID-19 test. It’s time for call to duty,” Salako said in his Twitter handle.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the institute started a drive through testing of COVID on March 30, in partnership with Lifebank led by Temie Giwa-Tubosun.

NIMR was established in 1977 to conduct research on diseases of public health importance in Nigeria.

Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye
(NAN)

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Defence/Security

COVID-19: NAF postpones entrance examination into schools

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The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has postponed the entrance examination into the Air Force Military School (AFMS) and Air Force Girls’ Military School (AFGMS) Jos.

Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, made this known in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.

Daramola said the examination which was earlier scheduled for April 4, has now been tentatively rescheduled to hold on May 16 in compliance with precautions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.

“This is to inform parents/guardians of candidates that applied for admission into the Air Force Military School (AFMS) and Air Force Girls’ Military School (AFGMS) Jos that the entrance examination, which was earlier scheduled for April 4, has now been tentatively rescheduled to hold on May 16.

“This is in compliance with precautions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19,” he said.

Edited By: Fela Fashoro/Ismail Abdulaziz
(NAN)

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Metro

TRCN conducts online examination for 8 teachers in diaspora

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Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) says it has conducted online professional qualifying examinations for no fewer than eight Nigerian teachers in the diaspora.

Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, the Chief Executive Officer of the council, said during the conduct of the examinations in Abuja that the aim of the council “is to provide opportunity for Nigerian teachers in the diaspora to be certified and licensed to teach in any part of the world”.

Represented by Mrs Jacinta Ametepe-Ogboso, Deputy Director and Head of Examination, Professional Development of the council, Ajiboye noted the examination was mandatory for teachers who intended to teach abroad.

“The professional qualifying examination is for Nigerian teachers in diaspora who wish to have the teachers registration council certificate and licence.

“We started this examination for Nigerian teachers in diaspora in 2019; and so far, this set is the third batch of teachers writing the examination.

“This batch has eight candidates sitting for the examination at the same time, though they are in different countries.

“So, 24 hours to the examination, we sent them links to the exams and once it is the set time, they log in and they begin their examinations,” he said.

He said that appropriate measures had been put in place to monitor and ensure that the candidates did not cheat during the examination, explaining that the “web cam on each candidates’ computer must be placed in such a way that we can see their head to their shoulder level.

“When we discover that a candidate is talking to anybody during the time of the examination, such candidate paper will be cancelled, this is to discourage any form of malpractice”.

Mrs Odumosu Olaitan, Head, Information and Communications Technology of the council, said that instructions and guidelines on how to write the examinations were usually sent to the candidates ahead of the examination date.

She added that the council had put appropriate measures in place to ensure technically hitch-free examinations.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the one-hour computer based examination had 60 questions and was supervised by high ranking directors of the council via video conferencing.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Kayode Olaitan
(NAN)

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Metro

Covid 19: NECO postpones 2020 common entrance examination

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The National Examinations Council (NECO), has postponed the 2020 National Common Entrance Examination (NCEE), into Federal Unity Colleges, earlier scheduled to hold on Saturday March 28.

Mr Azeez Sani, Head, Information and Public Relations Division of the council, made this known in a statement in Abuja, on Tuesday.

Sani said that the decision was in deference to the various measures being put in place by federal and state governments, to curtail potential spread of Corona virus (COV1D 19) in the country.

“The management of NECO regrets any inconveniences the postponement might have caused our esteemed candidates and other stakeholders.

“A new date for the examination will be communicated to candidates and other stakeholders in due course.”

He, however, added in the statement that registration for the examination would continue.

Edited By: Gregg Mmaduakolam/Nyisom Fiyigon Dore
(NAN)

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Education

Kano Govt. approves N74 m examination fees, others

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Kano State Government says it has approved the release of N74 million for payment of various examination fees for indigent students in the state.

Muhammad Garba, the Commissioner for Information, made the disclosure in a statement on Tuesday in Kano.

Garba disclosed that the amount were approved for release by the special State Executive Council  (SEC) meeting held at the Africa House, Government House, Kano.

He said that N38 million was approved for release to facilitate conduct of Interim Joint Matriculation Examination (IJMB) at the College of Education and Preliminary Studies as well as

 Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso College of Arts and Remedial Studies, respectively.

The commissioner explained that the council also approved over N15 million and another sum of N11 million for the 2020 National Examination Commission (NECO) and National Board for Technical Education Examination (NABTEB) examinations fees for qualified candidates of College of Science and Technical Schools Board.

Garba added that the council equally approved the release of over N10 million as compensation for demolished service station at Kano Line Terminus, belonging to Messrs Equatorial Petroleum Coastal and Process Limited, affected by the construction of State Road/Kofar Nassarawa Flyover.

  

 

AAA/ RSA

Edited By: Rabiu Sani Ali
(NAN)

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Economy

Coronavirus: CIBN postpones exams, other events

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The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) has postponed all its programmes scheduled to take place between March 23 and June 30 to check the spread of coronavirus in the country.

A statement by the Registrar/ Chief Executive of CIBN, Mr Seye Awojobi,  however, said that three of its statutory programmes would hold as earlier scheduled, but digitally and virtually through video conferencing.

“These programmes are pre-annual general meeting, annual general meeting and 2020 CIBN Election designed to take place through e-voting platform.

“The other five of the statutory programmes were postponed; they will hold during a conducive period.

“The programmes include April 2020 Diet Banking Professional and Certification examinations, presidential valedictory address and investiture, CIBN USA Branch International Biennial Conference and Annual Lecture,” it said.

The institute said  that all its  governing council and committee meetings would  be conducted virtually through video conferencing and other streaming technologies.

It said that new dates for the programmes would be announced later.

It apologised for any inconveniences the adjustment might caused its members and other stakeholders.

It said that the decision was to safeguard  health and in adherence to the social restriction order of the Lagos State Government.

Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Ijeoma Popoola
(NAN)

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Education

COVID-19: WAEC postpones exam, Unilag for a month

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The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) on Friday announced the suspension of the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for school candidates.

This is contained in a statement signed by the council’s Head of National Office (HNO), Mr Patrick Areghan.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the examination, which was earlier scheduled to commence on April 6, has been rescheduled for a later date.

WAEC in its decision said, ”This is as a result of the impact of the Coronavirus and the serious implications it may  have on the conduct of the examination  coupled with the anxiety it has generated among the populace.

”This decision is in demonstration of the council’s concern and support for the various protocols being put in place by both the federal  and state governments and that of other member countries to check the spread of the disease.

”Consequently, the earlier released time table for the conduct of the examination is hereby suspended until further notice.

”We wish to assure all candidates and their schools as well as all stakeholders and the public at large that the decision will be reviewed as soon as the health situation improves.

”We therefore enjoin all school principals presenting candidates for the examination to inform their candidates accordingly.

”A new date for the conduct of the examination will be communicated to schools and all other stakeholders in due course,”the HNO assured.

In another development, the management of the University of Lagos has implored its students and staff to adhere strictly to all recommended safety measures against the dreaded Coronavirus disease.

This is contained in a statement signed by the institution’s Principal Assistant Registrar, Communication Unit, Mrs. Taiwo Oloyede in Lagos on Friday.

Oloyede said that all students of the university  had been directed to vacate the hostels latest by 4p.m on Saturday, March 21, and proceed on a month compulsory break as part of measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

”Following the increase in the identified cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country, the University of Lagos Management, at a meeting held with the Provost and Deans Committee on Thursday, March 19, 2020, resolved to close the university.

”Subsequently, Senate at an emergency meeting held today, Friday, March 20, approved the resolution in accordance with the order issued by the Federal Government that all schools nationwide should be closed for the period of one month, effective from Monday, March 23,” she statement .

She noted that the  federal government decision was as a proactive step aimed at preventing the spread of the virus.

”In view of the above, management hereby directs that latest by 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, all students should vacate the hostels and return to their respective homes.

“Resumption date is subject to review as developments unfold.

”Members of the university community are hereby enjoined to follow precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

”Management wishes everyone safety and good health during this period,”she added..

Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Ijeoma Popoola
(NAN)

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Education

Anambra proscribes 12 private schools for alleged examination malpractices

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Anambra Government on Tuesday, announced the closure of 12 private schools in the state for engaging in alleged irregularities including examination malpractices.

The state Commissioner for Basic Education, Prof. Kate Omenugha disclosed this in an interview with newsmen in Awka on Tuesday.

Omenugha also said the schools did not have requisites for conducive teaching and learning; such requirement as facilities and qualified teachers.

She listed the schools as Jubilee Secondary School, Ihiala, Jonjay Comprehensive Secondary School, Ihiala, Redemption Model Secondary School Awada, Obosi, Higher Achievers Secondary School Uli and Spencer Secondary School, Uli.

Others are City High Secondary School, Ozubulu, Summit Comprehensive College, Obosi, Dominion Comprehensive Secondary School, Obosi and Keep Looking to Jesus Comprehensive Secondary School, Nnewi.

They also included Azia Comprehensive Secondary School, Azia, Star Light Secondary School, Ogbunike and Bilingual Secondary School, Abagana.

Omenugha, while stating the ministry’s resolve to fish out more defaulting schools, said the state government might consider issuing operational licenses/certificates to private schools.

“It is regrettable that some of these private schools engage in examination malpractices, otherwise known as Miracle Centres,” she disclosed.

Narrating efforts by the ministry to get the private schools work harmoniously with the state government in developing the schools, Omenugha said some of them chose to distort the system.

“The state Ministry of Education has done a lot toward getting private schools work together in order to achieve more for the state.

“It is unheard of that private schools will embark on a strike without writing to the ministry.

“We invited the groups to an emergency meeting on March 14, but two of the four groups declined the invitation and instead, resorted to industrial action.

“Anambra State is the only state granting subvention to private schools. In the last administration, they were given N2.5 million for laboratories as well as buses.’’

“The school owners not only threatened but embarked on strike, alleging, multiple taxation as reaction for their action,” the commissioner said.

She however, blamed private schools in the state for lacking unity, saying they always connived to shield unapproved private schools within their union as well as hiding their data from education ministry.

Nigeria News Agency recalls that some private primary and secondary schools in the state on March 16, commenced a three-day warning strike over alleged multiple taxation and extortion.

The Coalition of Private Schools in the state had in a statement accused revenue agents and the state Ministry of Basic Education protested what it termed “unfair treatment and extortion by the state government.”

Edited By: Maureen Atuonwu
(NAN)

 

 

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Education

2020 UTME: No more biometric verification after examination -JAMB

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The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) says after its review of Saturday and Monday’s examination, it has, henceforth, suspend the conduct of biometric verification after candidates must have written the examination.

The Board’s Head, Media and Information, Dr Fabian Benjamin made this known in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos on Monday.

Benjamin said that the verification of candidates before the commencement of the examination would, however, still obtain.

According to him, without such verification there will be no examination for any candidate.

He said candidates should feel free to go to their respective homes immediately they were through with their examination without filing out again for another verification.

”Candidates are no longer to wait to be signed out through another round of biometric verification after the examination, henceforth.

“They should go straight home as soon as they leave the examination hall.

”However, in addition to this, as we also release the results for each day, we will like to urge all those concerned to note that we will not hesitate to withdraw any result found to be a product of cheating.

”What this means is that it is not yet over, especially for those that may have engaged in acts unexpected of our standard,” Benjamin said.

The spokesman for the board also cautioned candidates writing the 2020 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) to steer clear of any act capable of compromising the outcome of their participation.

According to him, any candidate caught in any act with a view to discredit the examination process will face severe consequences.

”Some candidates who dared to test the board’s system had already found themselves in the hands of security operatives after they were caught in the act and arrested.

”They were trying to impersonate.

”Let me sound it clear that the  board will continue to monitor the examination as it progresses, using technology to ensure that the process is in any way not compromised,” Benjamin said.

Edited By: Moses Solanke/Adeleye Ajayi
(NAN)

 

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Judiciary

Akingbola: Defence cross-examines EFCC’s witness

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Trial of  a former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank Plc, Erastus Akingbola, resumed on Monday before a Federal High Court Lagos, with cross-examination of the first prosecution witness, Mr Paul Akali.

Akali is an official of Nigerian Deposits Insurance Corporation (NDIC).

Cross-examined by defence counsel, Prof. Taiwo Osipitan (SAN), Alkali told the court that his team did not recommend a takeover of intercontinental bank.

Akingbola is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on  allegations of granting unsecure credit facilities worth billions of naira to different companies.

According to the EFCC, the offences contravene the provisions of Section 14 (1) of the Money Laundering Act of 2004.

During his evidence-in-chief earlier, Akali informed the court of the various roles played by his team, which led to the removal of Akingbola as the bank’s managing director.

He was led in evidence by the prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN).

When trial resumed on Monday, the witness told the court that  though the team conducted various examinations on the bank, it never recommended takeover of the bank.

When asked if he knew that the takeover was less than one month after an ‘exit meeting’, he answered in the affirmative, adding that  though there were financial discrepancies in the bank, none was directly linked to the defendant.

He told the court that some of the discrepancies in the bank were noticed in the bank’s monthly returns.

He, however, added that the bank’s management disagreed with the team on commercial papers which, he said, were for short-term loans of a maximum of 270 days.

The witness told the court that he could not remember if any of the commercial papers was signed by the defendant.

Akali also told the court that there were loans given to the bank’s directors to buy shares, but when asked if the defendant was among the directors who collected or signed for the loan, he said, ”No.”

When asked by defence counsel if any of the directors who benefited from the loan and bonuses was standing trial alongside the defendant, he said, “No.”

When asked if he was aware if any of the directors who benefited from the unsecure loan of N8 billion was charged and arraigned before any court, he said  he was not aware.

The counsel then showed the witness a charge in which the names of the directors were listed as defendants as well as an enrolled order striking out the charge against the directors in 2014.

The witness, consequently, confirmed that Akingbola’s name was not in the charge and that he had no cause to testify against the named directors before any court.

When asked if he knew any reason why the charge was withdrawn against the directors, he said, “No”, adding that Intercontinental bank was not on trial.

The witness also confirmed to the court that several banks were having issues with their capital market transaction and were allowed to sort out the issues until Dec. 31, 2009.

When asked the number of banks that were taken over like Intercontinental on account of shares-related loans, he said, ‘I don’t know of any bank that was taken over on share related-issue.”

When asked if bank directors have rights to bonuses, he told the court that it was their right but he noticed that the defendant did not collect loan or bonuses.

The trial will continue on March 20.

Edited By: Ijeoma Popoola
(NAN)

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Entertainment

COVID-19: Examining Nollywood’s fate as Hollywood studios push release dates

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Disney announced to fans worldwide on March 12,  that it had pushed the theatre release for ‘Mulan’ due to growing coronavirus concerns.

It is easy to see why Disney would refuse to risk the earning potential of the film as more people are resorting to isolation in order to contain the virus.

Disney spent 200 million dollars to produce ‘Mulan’, a large sum of money that does not include marketing fees. Given how familiar the animated version is to global audiences, the new version of ‘Mulan’ was made to resonate with moviegoers around the world.

More films have followed suit. In fact, the first movie to deliver similar heart-breaking news to fans was the James Bond movie, ‘No Time To Die’. In the last couple of days, films like ‘The New Mutants’, ‘Fast and Furious 9’, ‘Sonic The Hedgehog’, ‘A Quiet Place 2’ and ‘Peter Rabbit 2’ have pushed back release dates.

This move makes sense as theatres have shut down in some parts of the world, with growing concerns in North America. The situation is not the same in Africa, particularly Nigeria. On March 13, Nigeria’s health minister, Osagie Ehanire, announced that the second coronavirus case had tested negative.

This means the global hysteria around the virus is at the minimal in the country. With all these films pulling out, what does the cinema audience have to watch and how can Nollywood take advantage of it?

Usually, the months of March through May are a flurry of big budget films selling across markets and earning heavy returns in most cases. The audience is presented with carefully curated options and left to spend accordingly. Nollywood is commonly lost in this period as they do not hold enough leverage.

In 2019, ‘Avengers: Endgame’, ‘Shazam’, ‘Captain Marvel’, ‘What Men Want’, ‘Fast and Furious’ and ‘Aladdin’ premiered within the three months window and made a bulk of the cinema share for the Nigerian market.

‘Avengers: Endgame’ made over 528 million naira with over 320, 000 admissions, ‘Shazam’ had 104, 037 admissions and made almost 130 million naira, ‘Captain Marvel’ pulled in 238 million naira with 169, 000 admissions and ‘What Men Want’ got 130 million with 118, 000 admissions.

Also, ‘Fast and Furious 8’ had 280 million naira gross and 207, 000 admissions while ‘Aladdin’ made 194 million naira with 152, 000 admissions. Generally, the combined earnings of the three months summed up to over 1.6 billion naira.

This is the usual earning power of these months, a market of 1.2 million admissions that has now fallen straight onto the laps of Nollywood. There is no competition, just the interesting cleared path that the industry creates in December.

While a virus of this magnitude was not pre-empted and thus, the industry did not commission enough films in advance, it is easy to see how the poor rate of making competitive films has come to haunt the industry.

A popular quote says, “Let opportunity meet preparedness”.  Here, there is an opportunity but the industry had not flexed muscles enough at this time to prepare for it. They had simply surrendered this money-spinning window to the foreign market and thus have no power over it at this point.

As a pseudo-response to the shift of the Bond movie, Toyin Abraham moved the release date of her film, ‘Fate of Alakada’ forward. She dubbed the campaign, ‘No Time to Dull’, a funny take on the Bond title, ‘No Time to Die’. How well will this strategy play out?

Reactions to lack of preferred choice by the audience is normal. They test the waters by watching one or two available films and when they feel repulsed by it, they push back and wait for better.

In the case of ‘Alakada’, Abraham has identified an audience that finds some solace in the name behind the project and has grown to tolerate her franchise. In 2017, the second movie, ‘Alakada Reloaded’ made 70 million naira.

The movie is currently available to watch on Netflix and with the rate at which Nollywood films jump straight from cinema to streaming platforms, would the audience just decide to wait?

Certainly, the film would make some money but so far, it has lacked the marketing and the audience connection that the films generally consumed in this period have. Nollywood has allowed its home audience develop a solid appetite for foreign films between March and May such that reengineering their minds requires more than minimal efforts.

‘Fate of Alakada’ is not ‘Fate of the Furious’ or ‘Mulan’ (or its 2019 brother, ‘Aladdin’). Still, ‘Alakada’ is the better positioned of the three Nollywood films slated for release this period. The others are ‘Rise of the Saints’ and ‘Ratnik’.

Both have interesting premises and far more soul than ‘Alakada’. The former is the modern take on what would have happened to Queen Moremi’s son, while the latter is a sci-fi film eager to fill that gap in the industry.

Audiences have heard of ‘Alakada’, at least from the dozen posts the battalion of influencer cast have put on their social media pages. On the other hand, audiences have to seek out the last two on their own as little or nothing is being done. It is as though they have relied solely on pro-bono marketing.

These films will be joining ‘Who’s the Boss’ and ‘Sugar Rush’ (which now has a more legitimate reason for remaining in the cinema), yet it seems the cinema chains are doing nothing to let the audience know that whilst their Hollywood favourites would be unavailable, there are films they can spend their time watching.

Again, stakeholders have chosen to gamble with the audience hoping that when they stroll into the cinema, they would just pick the Nigerian options with no push back. They forget that nothing shown in the cinema will be novel from the retinue of Nigerian film audiences can stream. Maybe they will, maybe they will not.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Omowole
(NAN)

 

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Health

Covid-19: Unilorin instructs foreign students to proceed for medical examination

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The University of Ilorin (Unilorin) has instructed its returning international students to go for medical examination.

Prof. Felicia Olasheinde-Williams, the Director, Centre for International Education (CIE) of Unilorin gave the directive in a letter addressed to the international students.

The letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Nigeria News Agency on Sunday in Ilorin, stated that the directive was necessary to prevent the spread of Coronavirus on campus.

Olasheinde-Williams said all returning international students must proceed to the University Clinic for medical examination, so as to deter the spread of the virus within and outside campus.

She said: “Note that this medical test is an important requirement for maintaining your studentship with the University.

“As such, you are enjoined to adhere strictly to the directive immediately on your arrival”.

Covid-19 is an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus that was first detected in China and which has now been detected in more than 100 locations internationally, including the United States.

Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola
(NAN)

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Features

Addressing challenges of infrastructure financing in Africa: The Egypt’s example

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Most countries in Africa have the luck of having resources such as raw material, labour, large population and land, among others, which can be tapped and utilised for the sustenance of citizens.

Incontrovertibly, especially among the developing nations, one of the biggest deficits faced by the people remains access to healthcare delivery, electricity and transportation, among others.

In addressing these challenges, cost implication and sourcing of the funds become significant to governments.

Unarguably, most countries lack the fund to embark on life changing projects that will affect the lives for generations.

For instance in Nigeria, electricity deficit affects most of the development spheres that would have propelled the country’s progress.

Although sourcing of fund from foreign countries has always been the option to solving the problems, malpractice, arising from somewhat misappropriation in handling such funds is worrisome.

In Egypt, the funding of the Egypt’s New Suez Canal ought to catch the fancy of other African nations in addressing the challenge of funding needed for the provision of infrastructure in the respective countries.

Analysts note the leadership style of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in that regard when he needed to expand the Suez Canal not only for the benefit of Egyptians but as a hub for other Africans and the world.

While there were financial challenges threatening the undertaking of the project, the reality in the face of the government has been that the project would bring immense advantage to Egypt and the entire maritime industry in the world.

Suez Canal is considered to be the shortest link between the East and the West due to its unique geographic location and Egypt is said to be the first country to dig a canal across its land with a view to stimulate other countries’ interest in maritime trade.

Suez Canal is, therefore, an important international navigation canal linking the Mediterranean Sea at Port Said and the Red Sea at Suez.

Determined to achieve the feat, in August 2014, the Egyptian government inaugurated construction to expand and widen the Ballah Bypass for 35 kilometres to speed the canal’s transit-time.

At a cost of 8.4 billion dollars, this project was funded with interest-bearing investment certificates issued exclusively to Egyptian entities and individuals and the New Suez Canal was opened with great fanfare on Aug. 6, 2015.

The New Suez Canal is expected to expand trade along the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia.

The new canal allows ships to sail to both directions in the same time to decrease transit time from 18 hours to 11 hours for most ships.

The expansion is expected to double the capacity of the Suez Canal from 49 ships to 97 ships a day.

The expected revenues from the Suez Canal (after the completion of the New Suez Canal) will jump from 5 billion dollars to 12.5 billion dollars annually.

The Egyptian government said that these revenues will be used to transform the cities along the Canal (Ismaïlia, Suez, and Port Said) into international trading centres.

The government has also said that many new projects in the Suez province are being considered in the areas building a new industrial zone, fish farms and the completion of the valley of technology, bringing to reality the industrial zone and a new capital city.

The lesson for other developing nations, including Nigeria is that the new canal project cost around 30 billion Egyptian pounds and no foreign investors were allowed to invest in the project.

Rather Egyptians were urged to participate in funding the project through bank certificates of deposit initially, yielding 12 per cent and later raised to 15.5 per cent.

After President Sisi announced the new megaproject, Egypt’s stocks rose to the highest level in the past six years.

The Egyptian Armed Forces also participated in the project by helping in digging and designing the canal.

The financing of the mega project became a success story and a rallying point of nationalism for Egyptians.

Many new projects are being undertaken after this project such as the various expansions in Ismailia, Port Said and Suez, which a recent visit by African journalists revealed in January.

Observers note that this nationalistic spirit of Egyptians to rally round a project that was of benefit is a signal to the way to go in infrastructure financing in Africa.

If Egyptians could go to designated banks to invest their money in a project believed to be of immense benefit to their generation, then other nations can replicate the idea, they observe.

According to them, making the people a part of a success story for national development can be embraced to create the necessary change needed in the continent.

They call on Nigerians or Africans to be a part of history in changing the fortunes of Africans and the upcoming generations just as Egyptian woman who was impressed by the initiative said: “Even if I don’t benefit from the project or the money I invested now, I am proud that my children would benefit from it’’.

(NANFeatures)

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