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Mafara emirate to partner UNICEF on water, sanitation

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, The Emir of Talata-Mafara in Zamfara, Alhaji Bello Barmo, has expressed the readiness of the emirate to partner the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on sanitation and improved quality of drinking water in the area.

The emir made the commitment during a one-day Sensitisation and Engagement Meeting for stakeholders organised by the state’s Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA) with support from UNICEF, held at the emir’s palace on Wednesday.

He said that the emirate recognised that a “healthy society can only be attained through quality environmental sanitation and the provision of safe drinking water.

“These, I am aware, are part of the major doctrines of UNICEF and I want to assure this gathering that Mafara emirate will stand firmly for the good of our people and the success of the fund.

“As an emirate, we already have our traditional title holder of ‘Sarkin Tabatha’ who is responsible for environmental sanitation and we added rigorous campaign against open defecation to his responsibilities to protect our communities from disease spread,” he explained.

He then called for regular meetings between sanitation experts and representatives of the emirate so that they could get first-hand best practices and apply same for healthy living.

He specifically said that more attention would be paid to markets, abattoirs and health facilities to ensure that they complied with healthcare standards.

The UNICEF Consultant in Talata Mafara and Bakura, Mrs Juliana Kenneth, said that the essence of the meeting was to share ideas and experiences of the UNICEF programme on Sanitation, Health, Water and Environment (SHAWN2) and to ensure that the emirate was free of open defecation.

She added that the stakeholders’ meeting was aimed at engaging traditional institutions, religious leaders, organisations, departments and other parastatals of government to ensure that Talata Mafara became a defecation-free area.

Kenneth solicited for more support and cooperation from stakeholders, especially the media, to create more awareness on safer and healthier society. (NAN)

ABA/ESAN/HA

Edited by Abiodun Esan/ Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu

Politics

S/Court’s judgment: Zamafara Gov. pledges more good governance

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Gov. Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State, on Friday said that the Supreme Court’s verdict has strengthened his commitment to deliver good governance to the people of the state.

The governor made the pledge in his speech made available to journalist in Abuja, while reacting to his victory over the application for the review of the apex court’s earlier judgment on the state governorship election.

Matawalle congratulated the people of Zamfara for his victory and dedicated it to them and all those who wished progress for the state.

The governor said he was surprised that some people still resorted to court litigations in spite of his pledge to run an all-inclusive administration during his inaugural address of May 29, 2019.

“Today, Allah, in His infinite wisdom, has granted us yet another resounding victory.

“The Supreme Court has again lived to its good reputation by giving a historic verdict that finally put to rest the quest by these fair-weather politicians to return our dear state back to the dark years of the past.

“I dedicate this victory to the good people of Zamfara State who prayed day and night for this victory and all the victories we have had.

“This victory is therefore for all true sons and daughters of Zamfara State who desire its progress.

“Today’s verdict has indeed strengthened our resolve and commitment to deliver good governance to our people.

“We shall continue with our current efforts of securing Zamfara State and transforming it in all facets of human life.”

Matawalle appealed to the people to remain calm and not to resort to any act inimical to peace and tranquility of the State.

“Conversely, we should all thank Almighty Allah for this victory by rededicating ourselves to obedience to His injunctions at all times.

“It is now time we faced the various issues of development of our state with a greater vigour.

“It is not a time for settling political scores but for renewal of determination to do right to all manner of people of our dear state.

Matawalle called on people of the state to remain focused and consistent in prayers for the greater development of our state, as they did throughout the period of the appeal of the review of the May 25, 2019 judgment of the court.

“To the Supreme Court judges and the judiciary as a whole, I bow my hat to you for being the champions and guardians of our democracy.

“Your doggedness in ensuring justice and fair play has succeeded in putting to shame many of the Nigeria’s enemies of democracy and good governance.

The governor expressed hope that the judgement would be the beginning of greater things to come to Zamfara State.

Matawalle, who said the essence of politics, was to serve the people, called on the opposition to shun political bitterness and join hands with his government to move the State forward.

“As we open a new chapter in our journey to move Zamfara State forward, we shall maintain zero tolerance to all acts of mischief capable of derailing our administration from its mission.

“All acts or statements capable of sabotaging our peace and security efforts would not be condoned.”

Matawalle also urged the people of the state to remain law abiding and support the government on its efforts to curtail the spread of Coronavirus in the state.

“We have taken all the steps we have taken in the interest of all of us.

“As I mentioned in my previous broadcasts, Coronavirus pandemic is threatening the very existence of humanity and all hands must be on deck to check its spread.”

Edited By: Maureen Atuonwu
(NAN)

 

 

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Politics

Zamfara: 41 APC chieftains defect to PDP in Talata-Mafara LGA

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– A total of 41 All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftains from Talata-Mafara local government area of Zamfara state on Thursday defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Talata-Mafara is the local government area of the immediate past governor and APC leader in the state, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari.

Dr. Sha’aya Shehu led the defectors  alongside and the state PDP leadership to Governor Bello Matawalle at the Government House, Gusau.

According to him,  the team: “consists of 41 political leaders who command respect across the local government area and have political structure in place.”

Shehu said their decision to join the PDP was borne out of their careful study of the Matawalle-led administration, especially on how the governor tackled insecurity and restored peace in the state within the first 100 days in office.

Dr. Shehu also commended the governor for his laudable programmes and projects being executed across the state.

NAN also reports that other speakers of the group who include Alhaji  Bello Wadata, Alhaji Abubakar Take-Tsaba, Alhaji Bello Gwaram and Alhaji Armaya’u Ahmad, extolled the positive virtues of Matawalle’s administration and promised to give their total support to the government.

The Chairman of PDP in the State, Alhaji Ibrahim Mallaha said the Party had received them with open hands and assured that they would be treated like any old member of the party in the state.

In his remarks of appreciation, Governor Matawalle said he was overwhelmed by the positive responses from Talata-Mafara local government.

The governor recalled that when God decided to entrust him with the leadership of the state, he thought everyone would rally round him to save Zamfara from its numerous challenges.

He however lamented that bitter opposition was brewed by a section of the state opposition, a situation said was uncalled for.

He therefore, urged politicians in the state to join hands with his administration in order to move the state forward.

“We cannot achieve the laudable goals we are aiming at in a situation of acrimony and sabotage”, he observed.

NAN reports that the Government House has been recording large turn out of decampees from opposition parties in the state.

Reacting to the defection of some of his members however, the state APC Chairman, Alhaji Lawal Liman noted that the APC had also been receiving large number of decampees.

“It will surprise you to know that most of the defectors we receive are from the ruling PDP in the state even though we are not in control of power.

“This will confirm to you that our leadership had done well in the state and am sure those leaving now will realize their mistake and come back very soon,” Liman stated.

Edited By: Isaac Ukpoju

 

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Features

Pension for ex-governors, speakers and `rebellion’ of Hope Uzodimma

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Pension for ex-governors, speakers and `rebellion’ of Hope Uzodimma

By Obike  Ukoh, News Agency of Nigeria

When Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo, abolished the payment of life pension to former governors and speakers, he reasoned along the same line with Zamafara Governor Bello Matawalle.

Uzodimma, when he assented to the bill described payment of pension to former governors and speakers as anti-people.

Matawalle, when he annulled the Zamfara pension law, stressed that no ex-governor is poor, given the perks of office they enjoyed, in most cases, for eight years.

He stressed that whoever attained the position of a governor and other top political offices were already financially well off.

As a result, such persons should not be leeches when out of office, he asserted.

Under the Zamafara Pension Law, former governors are to receive N10million monthly as pension for life; two personal staff; two vehicles replaceable every four years; two drivers, free medical for the former governors and deputies and their immediate families in Nigeria or abroad; a 4 bedroom house in Zamfara and an office; free telephone and 30 days paid vacation outside Nigeria.

Uzodimma, when he assented to the bill repealing the “Governors and Speakers Pensions and Privileges Law of 2007,’’   explained that his government sponsored the bill because it was illegal and designed to allow a few privileged people feed fat on the commonwealth of the people.

He said the law was against the Pension Act which stipulates that only those who have put in a minimum of 10 years in public service were entitled to pensions, adding that former governors and speakers stayed in office for a maximum of eight years.

He also wondered how the same people who collect fat severance allowances at the end of their tenure can turn around to be paid pensions as well.

“As a young state grappling with enormous challenges, it dawned on me that the Imo State Governors and Speakers Pensions and Privileges Law No 5 of 2007 was a bad omen.

“At the age our governors and speakers are leaving office it will not be out of place to assume that many of them will be alive and kicking in the next 15 years or more.

“This will mean that by then the state will have more than 20 governors and speakers qualified for pensions and privileges.

“I was alarmed that the financial implications for the state will not only be scandalous but indefensible.

“ My simple calculation told me that there could come a time when the state could be spending more than one third of its resources to maintain former governors and speakers.

“The same governors and speakers also received severance allowances,   amounting to several millions of naira, when they disengage from office.’’

The governor stressed that the Pensions Act made it very clear that only those who have served in the public service for a minimum of 10 years are pensionable.

“Paying governors, speakers and their deputies who spend a maximum of eight years or less in office is actually criminal because it is  against the law of  the land.

” It is noteworthy that I am supposed to benefit from this law when I leave office as governor; yet I called for its repeal.

“This should leave no one in doubt that I am acting in the best interest of our state and our people.

“I believe that those of us who have had the privilege of occupying exalted positions must be human enough to resist the temptation of feeding fat from the lean resources of the state at the expense of the people,’’ the governor said.

Even before the repeal of the pension laws by Zamfara and Imo states, the  Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) had filed a lawsuit before a Federal High Court, Abuja, to order the 36 state governors in Nigeria to “publish details and breakdown of payment of pensions to each of the former governors and other ex-officials, and the names and number of ex-governors and other officials receiving pensions under their respective state pension laws between 1999 and 2019.”

The suit followed SERAP’s Freedom of Information (FoI) requests dated Dec.9, 2019 to the governors, expressing concern that: “Granting pension for life to ex-governors and other officials represents the use of public office to advance private interests, suggests the misuse of legitimate discretion for improper reasons, and has created a more cynical public view of politics and politicians.”

The provisions of most of the pension laws passed by state houses of assembly, made provisions for mouth-watering monthly pension and other allowances similar to that of Zamfara.

Mr Declan Emelumba, Imo Information Commissioner, who shed more light on the issue, said the state currently has about 15 people who had served either as governors, deputy governors and speakers.

He said that about N1.2 billion would be saved annually through the abolition of the pension and gratuity payments to the former governors and others.

The commissioner explained that the money would be channeled into the execution of people-oriented projects.

Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, a Board of Trustees (BoT) member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), backed Uzodimma for halting pension payments to past governors, deputy governors and speakers of House of Assembly.

The PDP chieftain said: “I commend the governor for abolishing the law. I also commend the House  because we have to develop our institutions.

“In our constitution, there was no time pension was meant  for politicians. I think the governor has taken a very right step. I am sure all patriotic Nigerians will support him.

“There is a difference between political appointment and career appointment. You see a civil servant has a career and that is his job, politicians, some of them have had a career, so such people were on pension even  before  they joined politics which is a vocation.”

He urged other governors to emulate  Uzodimma by  repealing pension  laws in their respective states.

An elder statesman, Dr Ezekiel Izuogu, who spoke on the issue, argued that anybody who has had the opportunity of serving as governor, deputy governor or house of assembly speaker   should not be paid pension.

He said some of them went to the National Assembly where they are receiving   salaries and allowances.

“They should consider the common man. Those who find themselves in these positions should be considerate; they should not take more, they should refund some money to the common purse  so that the common man can be taken care of.’’

South-East President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Wing, Okey Paul Nwankwo,  also welcomed the development.

He said: “I think other governors should emulate Uzodimma’s  bold courage. We are behind the governor and will continue to support him to bring in good ideas and innovations that would help to move the state, the South-East and the entire country forward. ”

An activist, Mr Ebubeagu Ekenulo, on his part, lauded Uzodimma for repealing the pension and gratuity law that provided for payment of pensions to former Imo governors.

Ekenulo said that the governor’s action demonstrated selflessness in governance.

He described the action as a road map to sustainable development and economic stability in the state, saying that people of Imo would be better for it.

“This shows that the governor is for the people. He is selfless and determined to rescue the economy for the people to enjoy.

“He does not care about his personal gain and benefit but what the totality of Imo people will gain.”

Ekenulo urged Imo people to continue to support the governor, to reposition the state for the greater good of the people.

The activist who called on other states of the federation to replicate the action of Uzodimma, wondered why some former governors would be earning pension together with other official salaries.

Ekenulo explained that the law contravened the 1999 Constitution as amended, which according to him, stipulates that a pensioner must have worked for at least 10 years.

Dr Ifeanyichukwu Abada, Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Science, University of Nigeria Nsukka, who commented on the issue of pension to former governors,  urged state houses of assembly to reject requests by governors to make law that would grant them life pension.

Abada, the immediate past Head of Department of Political Science, said  contemplation of life pension for governors and political appointees remained an aberration, illegal as well as an act of fraud.

“Life pensions are only meant for civil servants and other private employees who were strictly recruited to work according to set down public service and industry rules after retirement.

“It is therefore illegal and act of fraud to pay a governor or any elected officer pension as the constitution has not stipulated so,’’ he said.

The don advised state legislators in the country to resist any attempt by any governor to lure or force them to make a law that would give legal backing to the alien practice not captured by the constitution.

“The only way we can strengthen and safeguard our democracy in this country is to reject such impunity, undemocratic act and fragrant abuse of  power.

“It is undemocratic and abomination for a governor who served only eight years to receive life pension,’’ he said.

He also explained that most of the governors were fulfilled rich Nigerians while some others were already pensioners.

According to the lecturer, the amended Pension Act strives on contributory scheme and not offered on a platter of gold.

In the same vein, Mr Quadri Olaleye, the  President, Trade Union Congress(TUC), says political leaders by virtue of their tenure in office do not qualify and should not be paid life  pension.

According to him, an individual must have put in not less than 10 years to  15 years in service or clock 55 years of age to be qualified for pension in the country.

“As politicians, the highest they can stay in office is eight years, so they are not qualified under the pension law.

“ All the conditions put in place for pension, they are totally disqualified,  they are not qualified for it.

“So based on the parameters, I want to say they are not entitled to pension and whatever they have taken as pension is  fraud against the Nigerian populace,” the TUC president said.(NANFeatures)

**If used, please credit the writer as well as News Agency of Nigeria 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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General news

26 Zamfara communities receive N207 for projects 

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A total of 26 Zamfara communities have executed  various development projects worth N207 million, with funding support from the World Bank.

The projects were executed in 2019 under the supervision of the state Agency for Community and Social Development Project (CSDP).

The Permanent Secretary of the agency, Alhaji Garba Muhammad stated this in Gusau on Wednesday during a capacity building training on maintenance of the community projects.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that the participants were members of the Projects Management Committees from the benefitting communities.

Garba said that the benefiting communities were located in Anka, Bungudu, Birnin Magaji, Bakura, Bukkuyum, Maradun, Shinkafi, Tsafe and Talata Mafara local government areas.

He said 70 projects were executed by the communities in the areas of healthcare, education, drainage system, electrification and skills acquisition, among others

“We selected these communities for this training in recognition of their performance in executing quality projects and maintenance in 2019,” he said.

In his remark, the Project Manager of the agency, Alhaji Sani Buhari, commended the communities for complying with the guidelines given on projects execution by the agency and World Bank.

Buhari cautioned project management committees against compromising standards.

In his presentation, the Monitoring and Evaluation Manager of the agency, Alhaji Samaila Yusuf, also cautioned communities against dumping of refuse in drainage and other waterways.

Yusuf attributed the flooding, erosion and other water challenges to improper dumping of refuse and blockage of waterways.

The Project Officer, Information, Education, Communication and Training of the agency, Malam Umar Nakwada tasked participants on proper use of electrical appliances.

Nakwada added that the committees should always engage licence companies while executing electrification and other projects approved by the agency.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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General news

Gov .Matawalle appoints new Principal Private Secretary

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Gov. Bello Matawalle of Zamfara has approved the appointment of Alhaji  Lawal Maradun as his new Principal Private Secretary (PPS).
This was contained in a statement by his Press Secretary, Malam Jamilu Iliyasu in Gusau on Friday.
Iliyasu said that the governor also approved the appointment of three new Permanent Secretaries in the state Civil Service.
“The three new Permanent Secretaries are Alhaji Garba Ahmad, Abubakar Jafar and Bala Umar,” he said.
Iliyasu said that Maradun was a senior lecturer at the Mass Communication Department of Abdu Gusau Polytechnic, Talata Mafara before his appointment.
“Alhaji Garba Ahmad, before his appointment as permanent secretary, served as Director of Finance in the state Hajj Commission among others.
“Alhaji Abubakar Jafar was the former Principal Private Secretary to the governor while Mr Bala Umar before his appointment served as Liaison Officer Abuja Liason Office among others,” he said.

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General news

Tambuwal loses Commissioner for Lands, Housing

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Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State on Sunday announced the death of his Commissioner for Lands and Housing, Alhaji Surajo Marafa-Gatawa.

A statement by Tambuwal’s Special Adviser on Media and Public Relations, Malam Muhammad Bello, said late Mafara-Gatawa passed away on Sunday (today) after a brief illness.

Bello said the late commissioner, born on Sept. 15, 1957, was an astute politician.

He said that the deceased had been a Councillor in Sabon Birni Local Government Area (1988-1989) and also Chairman of the same Council (1991-1993).

According to the statement, Mafara-Gatawa has been a member of the House of Representatives for Isa/Sabon Birni Federal Constituency between 1999-2007

“During Gov. Tambuwal’s first tenure, he was the Commissioner for Social Welfare for four years, later he was moved to the last position he held until his death,” Bello stated.

He said that Mafara-Gatawa, survived by three wives and many children, had since been buried according to Islamic rites.

Edited By: Dianabasi Effiong/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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General news

Ramadan: Senator distributes 6,000 bags of rice in Zamfara

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The Senator representing Zamfara West, Sen. Lawali Hassan, has distributed 6,000 bags of rice as Ramadan packages to people in his constituency. The constituency comprises: Gummi, Bukkuyum, Anka, Bakura, Talata Mafara and Maradun Local Government Areas (LGAs).

Speaking at the event to flag off the distribution exercise in Anka town of Anka LGA on Saturday, the Senator’s aide, Murtala Jangebe, said each of the local government in the zone would benefit with 1,000 bags each.

Jangebe said the packages were meant to ease economic hardship among less privileges across the zone.

He said the senator was determined to improve the living conditions of all indigent members of the communities.

Jangebe noted that COVID-19 had compounded the situation in the state, saying it had become more important to come to the aid of the people, especially the poor, at these trying times.

A cross section of the beneficiaries commended the senator for the gesture, saying that it would go a long way in relieving them of the current economic challenges.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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General news

Lockdown: Osun govt. to deport illegal miners

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The Osun Government says it will start the deportation of illegal miners who sneaked into the state from Zamafara during the lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Mrs Funke Egbemode, the State Commissioner for Information, in a statement on Friday in Osogbo, said the planned deportation of miners was a precautionary measure to contain community transmission of the virus in the state.

Egbemode also said that the state government was following Presidential directive that banned all interstate travels and movement, stressing that the state’s boundaries were currently shut.

The commissioner, who noted that government recognised the right of every Nigerian to live anywhere within the country, said it would, however, act within legal and moral boundaries by returning illegal miners to their last known addresses.

She said Osun government was taken aback by the misinterpretation of its earlier statement in which it sounded an alarm about the activities of illegal miners in the state and those breaching its orders.

“We believe in the unity of the nation but will not hesitate to take actions against those who breach its boundaries and try to jeopardise the health of its people.

“The State of Osun has shown highest regards to the respective state  governments of the concerned people by attempting to return them to their places rather than prosecuting them under the State’s Emergency Regulation.

“Every State in the country is upscaling its security measures in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic and other vices.

“Zamfara State Government, a few days ago, arrested some suspected illegal miners in the state.

“If ‘alleged’ illegal miners are abhorred in Zamfara, why then should the State of Osun be crucified for being safety conscious,” Egbemode said.

The commissioner said that the Osun government would continue to do everything within its power to protect its citizenry.

Edited By: Gregg Mmaduakolam/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

 

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Education

Gov Matawalle appoints VC, principal officers for Zamfara versity

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Gov.Bello Matawalle of Zamfara has approved the appointment of Prof. Mu’azu Gusau as the substantive Vice-Chancellor of the Zamfara State University, Talata-Mafara (ZAMSUT).

This was contained in a statement signed by the governor’s Special Adviser on Higher Education, Alhaji Abdullahi Gurbin-Bore and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Gusau on Sunday.

Gurbin-Bore said the governor also appointed Mr Bashiru Mafara  as the Registrar and Mr Usman Bungudu as the Bursar of the institution.

He said  all the appointments were to take immediate effect.

Gurbin-Bore said that Gov. Matawalle who had vowed to revamp the education sector in the state, implored the new appointees to discharge their duties diligently.

“He promised to give the institution all the required support to meet the demands of new age and become a world-class university,” he said.

NAN reports that the new Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Gusau holds a PhD in Toxicology from the University of Surrey, Guildford, United Kingdom and had been a Professor at the Department of Biochemistry, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto (UDUS) since 2009 where he  lectured and held various positions for 31 years.

Gusau, who had also served as Head of the Department of Biochemistry at the Umaru Musa Yar’adua University, Katsina. also consulted for the

Department of Petroleum Resources on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), on general toxicological issues.

He also served the National University Commission (NUC) in Resource Verification Exercise to several Nigerian universities.

The new Registrar, Mafara who is currently pursuing his doctorate degree, was the Registrar, College of Agriculture and Animal Science (CAAS) Bakura, Zamfara, and  had been in the tertiary education system for 20 years.

He occupied several administrative positions which include Deputy Registrar; Student Affairs Officer; Schedule Officer, NYSC Matters; Desk Officer, NBTE Matters; Desk Officer, JAMB Matters; and Desk Officer, Nigerian Security Printing and Minting among others.

While the  new Bursar, Bungudu, until his appointment worked as a staff of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) as a Principal Accountant in Gusau and rose to become the  Chief Accountant and Head of Department of Finance, NTA Katsina.

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Edited By: Edith Bolokor and Isaac Ukpoju (NAN)

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