No fewer than 500 residents of Abakpa Nike Community in Enugu East Local Government Area have benefitted from food palliative distributed by the Nigerian Army on Saturday.
The palliatives included bags of rice, salt, spices, cartons of tomato paste, curry and soft drinks.
Distributing the palliative to the residents, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Burutai, said that the gesture was part of activities lined up for the commemoration of the Nigerian Army Day Celebration (NADCEL), 2020.
Burutai, who was represented by the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen. Lasisi Adegboye, said that it was part of the Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC), meant to improve military-civil relations.
The COAS also assured that Nigerian Army was leaving no stone unturned to ensure overall security within the South-East.
“These palliatives would complement the efforts of the Federal and state governments in providing succour to Nigerians in this trying time of COVID-19 pandemic.
“We hope and believe that the Nigerian Army will continue to enjoy the maximum support and cooperation of the civil populace,’’ he said.
Burutai also thanked Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the people of Enugu State and Abakpa Nike community for their contributions to the success of the Nigerian Army so far.
Responding, Chief Alex Ugwu, Chairman of Enugu East Local Government Area, thanked the Nigerian Army for the massive palliatives distributed to many indigents within Abakpa Nike axis of the council area.
The Chairman was represented by Mr Onyia Okolo, a council official.
“The Nigerian Army is the first military formation that has come to touch the lives of our people directly and help them live above challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,’’ Ugwu said.
The Traditional Ruler of Nike Kingdom, Igwe Julius Nnaji, appreciated the warm and close relationship of the Nigerian Army to his kingdom and its subjects.
“The Nigerian Army is exceptional both in operation and discipline and we have been relating very well for the past 20 years of my reign as the traditional ruler of Nike ancient kingdom.
“Apart from these quantum of palliatives given to my subjects, the Nigerian Army through the 82 Division had made free medical outreach to most parts of my kingdom a yearly one and meeting our health needs,’’ Nnaji said.
One of the beneficiaries of the palliatives, Mr Ifeanyi Akpa, commended the Nigerian Army for the gesture adding, “the palliative would go a long way to keep food on my table for many days.”
Another beneficiary, Mrs Cynthia Udeh, said that the palliative was a big relief to her family for it to overcome this trying time of COVID-19.
“I pray that God Almighty continues to bless and keep officers and men of the Nigerian Army and grant them success as they go about protecting our nation,” Udeh said.
Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
LASG holds consultative forum for Y2021 Budget, adopts holistic approach to COVID-19
Mr Samuel Egube, the State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, made this known at the 2021 Budget Consultative Forum on Tuesday in Lagos.
Egube said that in order to minimise the effect of the pandemic, the state government had implemented interventions along the line of aggressive healthcare responses, business support, sustainability measures and relief to the poor.
“We are going to flag off our internship programme by the Ministry of Wealth.
“The idea is to get people to work, and the state government will pay them, while working for SMEs to gather experience and tackle unemployment,” the commissioner said.
He said that for half of the year 2020, the state recorded a budget performance of 57 per cent (N334. 838bn), which was in absolute terms higher than the 73 per cent (N316.676bn) for the same period of 2019.
“The COVID-19 pandemic with its resultant health and economic impacts greatly affected the state, like other geographies around the world and changed the context within which we execute development agenda.
“Within this very difficult context, LASG was able to achieve greater revenues, while managing expenditure with revenue stronger by six per cent against the approved budget.
“We will continue to minimise wastage through tighter expenditure controls and promote prudent spending.
“Plans to invest in comparative advantage areas such as aquaculture for quick wins was underway,” he said.
For the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the commissioner said that the state was providing wage subsidies based on maintaining payroll and enhancing the access of SMEs to short term funding through the State Empowerment Trust Fund.
“Rice Mill at Imota is expected to employ 300, 000 people and is at 75 per cent completion.
“It is expected to produce 120, 000 Metric Tonnes annually, and increase local rice production by 75 per cent.
“Efforts are also ongoing to train rice farmers on the right variety of rice to produce to feed the mill,” he said.
The commissioner said that continued efforts to digitise the state were ongoing.
On the economic outlook for year 2020, he said that forecasts suggest 2020 GDP growth would be severely impacted followed by a sharp rebound of 3.5 per cent.
Earlier, Mr Adebayo Sodade, Special Adviser on Economic Planning and Budget, said the forum was an avenue to update the stakeholders on the half year performance of the budget.
Sodade said it also brought to general knowledge the resources available for the next budget, taking into cognisance all economic variables and externalities such as crude oil prices, inflation, interest rates and the effect of COVID-19 on the economy.
“Rubbing minds with you also provides us an ample opportunity to share ideas geared toward the greater Lagos project, while ensuring that your desired interests are adequately captured in the development agenda,” he said.
Sodade urged citizens to fulfil their civic responsibilities through regular payment of taxes, monitoring of government projects and reporting observed lapses.
He also called for the protection of public facilities and infrastructure, obedience to traffic and safety rules and regulations, ensuring environmental friendliness and security consciousness for a greater Lagos.
The special adviser said government had planned to improve revenue and overall service delivery by widening the tax base to meet citizens’ expectations.
Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)
Resumption: Lagos schools comply with COVID-19 protocols
Secondary Schools in Lagos State are complying with the COVID-19 prevention protocols, as students in exit classes resume.
The News Agency of Nigeria correspondents, who visited some schools in the state, report that water, soaps , alcohol-based hand sanitisers and infrared thermometer were provided by the schools.
Also, compulsory wearing of nose masks and social distancing in classrooms were observed by students and teachers.
A big banner displaying World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines was seen at the entrance of the Honeyland Schools, Ipaja.
At the Senior High School, Alimosho, students wore face masks or shields while receiving lectures in their classrooms.
Mr Oluyemi Faleke, Principal of Honeyland Schools, said that SS3, students of the school were ready for the West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
Faleke said that during the COVID-19-induced lockdown, the school engaged its students through virtual learning.
He said that participation was compulsory.
“We do not just collect money from parents, we make sure students get good quality education.
“We have many classrooms for students to practise social distancing , it is possible for five students to sit per class during the examination,” he said.
Kehinde Fadaka, Head Boy of Honeyland Schools, said that he was ready to write the examination.
He said that he studied hard with the assistance of the school’s virtual learning and personal timetable.
“The classes we are having now are to help me revise all I have read and prepare me for further.
Miss Opeyemi Hamzat, SS3 students of Senior High School, Alimosho, said that she was very happy to resume.
Hamzat said that she read everyday during the lockdown and participated in the WAEC revision programme aired on television by Lagos State Government.
Mrs Betty Attah, Executive Director, Mandate Schools, Akerman in Alimosho said that the school followed the COVID-19 prevention guidelines.
”We have prepared our boarding facilities for all SS3 students, the arrangement will accommodate three students instead of 10.
“We have six students in each class in order to practise social distancing,” she said,”Attah said.
Mrs Grace Ikazan, Principal of Sophem High School, Ipaja – a private school, said that the school was doing revision for SS3 students.
Ikahan said that only SS3 students resumed, adding that the students’ temperatures were being checked regularly and social distancing observed.
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Edited By: Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)
Robogarden set to empower education stakeholders on coding technology
A digitised educational platform, Robogarden, has urged the Federal Government to imbibe personalised learning on coding, robotics, artificial intelligence and skills in the Nigeria’s educational system.
Its President, Dr Mohamed Elhabiby, made the plea at a webinar on Tuesday, in Lagos, saying this would ensure future of the new economy was dependent on successful and sustainable digital transformation processes.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the webinar focussed on Personalised Learning, AI and Education Technology, Digital Transformation Skills, Challenges, Today and in the Future.
Its theme was: “Rights and Voices of Youth: Teach Coding for the Youth.”
Elhabiby said there was the need to prepare children from an early age for the new reality of professions and mastery of digital technology to address shortage of skill and enhance competitiveness in the future of jobs.
He said that Robogarden was created to engage and provide code execution support for persons of different races and culture, irrespective of language.
The founder of the garden also urged the government to stimulate plans to provide tools to enable individuals, communities and companies to become active innovators.
“The job market was already undergoing profound digital transformation, and so required professionals with an increasing knowledge of technology.
“Such qualifications would result in better income distribution, reduction of social inequality, unemployment and crime rates.
“Skills for the future in 2030 include: digital literacy and computational thinking, creative and innovative thinking, and cognitive flexibility.
“We are highly relying on technology and skills should be matching to them.
“It is important to be digitally literate to the emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, internet of things and data science.
“Today’s job vacancies may not be the same as tomorrow, and that is why humans should be able to adapt to the changes happening around them in the digital space.
“Currently, every country has issues with shortage of skills and high unemployment rates globally.
“Skills plus education is the new future, while the new literacy is coding,” he said.
In her remarks, Mrs Ngozi Ogoke, Chief Executive Officer, Ovana E-learning Limited, said her organisation, in collaboration with Robogarden, focussed on bringing transformation to the Nigerian digital economy and Africa as a whole.
According to her, the webinar serves to offer scholastically unique technology driven solutions that would lead to critical thinking and achievement of excellence in higher learning outcomes.
“We aim to create bright new opportunities for individuals and the entire community as we are in a new world of technology and
digitalisation,” Ogoke said.
Responding, the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, said the country had opened its doors to technological training with regards to robotics.
Adamu, represented by Mrs Muna Onuzo-Iyanam, Special Adviser, Technical Planning, Research and Development, Ministry of Education, said he was committed to upscaling training of teachers and students toward achieving digital transformation in the education space.
“Our schools will become more compliant at introducing AI, robotics, coding and technological learning to prepare our children for the future and advance the future of jobs,” he said.
Also at the webinar, Dr Sally Adukwu-Bolujoko, the President, National Association of Proprietors of Private School, pledged her support and commitment to ensuring public schools’ participation in technological personalised learning.
Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)
Opposition lawmakers leading anti-corruption investigations says Elumelu
The Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Rep. Ndudi Elumelu (PDP-Delta) says opposition lawmakers in the house have been at the center of unearthing and exposing acts of corruption in the country.
Elumelu made this known in a statement by his Special Assistant on Legal Matters, Mr Oyomira Idahosa, on Tuesday in Abuja.
Elumelu was reacting to a statement credited to the former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Timi Frank, accusing the opposition of being indifferent and silent over the ongoing anti-corruption investigations in the house.
“Such accusation is unfortunate, misleading, undeserving and uncharitable to the minority caucus in our manifest forceful efforts in exposing corruption and holding this administration accountable.
“Opposition lawmakers in the National Assembly have never and will never compromise or shy away from its legislative duties at any time, even at the risk of their lives.
“While we appreciate his concerns, the accusation by Comrade Timi Frank against opposition lawmakers is incorrect and misleading miscomprehension of our processes in the uncompromising efforts in exposing corruption.
“The accusation is apparently borne out inadvertent misunderstanding of the processes and procedures of the legislature, including those related to listing and presentation of motions, bills and other activities at plenary and committee levels in the National Assembly,” he said.
Elumelu said that the minority caucus in the house Minority had not dropped any motion for corruption investigation on any individual as wrongly alleged by Mr Timi Frank.
According to him, it is also misinforming to allege that a motion was officially slated to be read before the Eid-el-Kabir festivities and that no action was taken.
The rep described the alleged inaction as another mis-comprehension of the procedures, processes and scheduling of legislative activities.
“Our efforts contributed to various corruption investigations both within and outside the National Assembly, and we will never relent in this onerous task.
“The minority caucus has been extensively vocal on the floor in the fight against corruption as well as in holding government accountable in all sectors of our national life.
“The roles of opposition members in the National Assembly in unearthing corruption as well as investigating of indicted persons are in the public domain.
“However, it is imperative to state that in this task, guiding legislative procedures and processes, which reinforce the achieving of expected results, are followed.
“The opposition lawmakers are indeed aware of the confidence reposed on it by Nigerians at this critical time in our national history and we will never relent in holding government accountable in the interest of Nigerians,” he added.
Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)