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Senior citizens enrolling into NOUN inspiration to younger people

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The Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr Ahmed Idris, is among the 16 PhD students of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN).

The Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Abdalla Adamu, made the disclosure in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Wednesday in Lagos.

Abdalla also said that there had  been an increase in number of senior citizens studying in NOUN.

“We have people in their 70s who are studying in our university; these people are not studying because of they are looking for a career, they are studying because they simply want to learn something about the world.

“We feel very proud that we are giving them an opportunity to study, somebody who is 77 years old still wants to learn something. That is an inspiration to younger people.

“We now have a fully established postgraduate school, We also have a business school which teaches MBA, transport technology and a whole bunch of other things on a professional level.

“The postgraduate school runs conventional masters of sciences and PhD programmes.

Abdalla said that NOUN had produced only one Phd graduate in its 18 years of existence.

He gave the assurance said that  the inclusion of postgraduate school in NOUN programmes  would not change its focus on undergraduate studies.

“The last batch of students we admitted at the PhD level includes the accountant-general of the federation; they were about 16 of them last year.

“PhD is not about the degree but the process, Teaching PhD online is not going to be the same as teaching undergraduates; hence, we reduced the number of PhD to less than 20 students; we want face-to-face contact with them to take them through,” he said.

The professor also provided data on the number of students who  graduated from the citadel of learning in the past three years.

“We have all ranges of students at NOUN but the minimum age for admission is 18 years.

He  added that the school had established Centre for Migration and Global Studies and also the Olusegun Obasanjo Centre for African Studies where subjects like insurgency, musical performances could be studied.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Ijeoma Popoola
(NAN)

Foreign

1st LD Writethru: Gunmen kill two senior officials in NW Nigeria

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Police in Nigeria’s northwestern state of Katsina said they have launched a manhunt for gunmen who shot dead a leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the national ruling party, following a failed attempt to kidnap him.

Abdulhamid Sani, chairman of the Batsari local government area of the state, was shot dead on Sunday by the gunmen, believed to be bandits, state police spokesman Gambo Isah said in a statement early Monday.

The gunmen stormed the Batsari local government area of Katsina, where the 55-year-old Sani was a leader of the governing party, and began shooting sporadically with sophisticated weapons, Isah said.

Sani had resisted being kidnapped when he was shot dead by the gunmen, who later fled into a nearby forest, the spokesman said.

In a separate statement Monday, Gambo Isah said a group of gunmen, armed with AK 47 rifles, also attacked on late Sunday the residence of a district head in the Dan Musa local government area of Katsina.

Abu Atiku, the district head, was shot by the gunmen alongside his bodyguard during the attack, Isah said.

The bandits escaped later into a forest while the victims were taken to a local hospital. Atiku was confirmed dead while his bodyguard was admitted and responding to treatment. “Investigation is ongoing,” the state police spokesperson said.

The late district head is the second senior official killed by gunmen within the last 24 hours in the state.

Many people have been killed in northwestern Nigeria in recent months in a series of attacks by gunmen who also carried out robberies, kidnappings and cattle rustling.

Nigerian military has stepped up operation against gunmen groups in the northwest area, with scores of gunmen killed and their hideouts destroyed, according to recent statements from the defense headquarters.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Interview: Zimbabwe backs China’s new national security law for Hong Kong, senior official says

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Zimbabwe reaffirmed its adherence to the one-China policy and backed China‘s top legislature’s decision to establish and improve the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) to safeguard national security, a senior official has said.

Zimbabwean Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa told Xinhua on Thursday that the new law will help consolidate Hong Kong‘s security and stability, and protect it from Western interference.

Western countries that are obsessed with interventions always want to see people divided, Mutsvangwa said. “We are very much for the one-China policy and that is what we support as a country.”

“We know the suffering when people are divided. We know China‘s policy toward Hong Kong has actually brought the people together as one and helped achieve the economic development,” she added.

The minister said foreign intervention aimed at destabilizing Hong Kong was a “disgrace,” which should be discouraged.

“Where there is unity, where there is peace. There is certainly development and so we support that law. We only hope that this foreign intervention does not continue to happen, because all that it does actually bring disunity and discord in a country and that affects the rate of development which China is moving at,” she said.

(XINHUA)

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Defence/Security

FRSC board approves promotion of 42 senior officers

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The board of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) has approved the promotion of 10 Corps Commanders (CC) to the rank of Assistant Corps Marshal (ACM) and 32 Deputy Corps Commanders (DCC) to the rank of CC.

The Deputy Corps Public Education Officer, Mr McCharm Sambo, disclosed this in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday in Abuja.

Sambo said that the approval was subsequent to the virtual meeting of the FRSC Board on promotion of Senior Officers, where the promotion exercise was diligently deliberated.

The promotion, which takes effect from May 29, has the following CC promoted to ACM as follows:

Mr Bisi Kazeem, who is presently, the Corps Public Education Officer at the National Headquarters (RSHQ) Abuja and Mr Hyginus Omeje, the Sector Commander, Lagos State,

Mr Clement Oladele, Sector Commander, Ogun State; Mr Francis Udoma, Sector Commander, Imo State and Mr Shehu Iliyasu, the Corps Procurement Officer RSHQ.

Mr Benjamin D Anafa, Corps Commander in charge of Monitoring and Evaluation Unit, Operations Department, RSHQ and 4 others,” he said.

Sambo noted that the newly promoted Corps Commanders from the rank of DCC were Mr Segun Ogungbemide, Sector Head of Operations, Ondo State Sector Command.

DCC Godwin Ntukidem, who is the Principal Staff Officer II to the Corps Marshal, DCC Kukbol Gonji, the Deputy Corps Legal Adviser, DCC LD Shehu, DCC CM Onukwubiri, DCC IG Ibrahim, and 26 others,” he said.

The Chairman, FRSC Board, Malam Bukhari Bello, expressed his satisfaction with the high level of transparency and objectivity that heralded the promotion process.

Bello urged the promoted officers to show more commitment and rededicate themselves to achieving the corporate mission of the Corps which were to eradicate road traffic crashes and create a safer motoring environment in the country.

He stated that the promotion exercise was part of the Commission’s drive towards rewarding excellence and hard work in line with the administrative philosophy of the present leadership of the Corps.

Corps Marshal, FRSC, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi, equally congratulated the newly promoted Officers for their excellent performances during the exercise.

Oyeyemi charged them to put in their best in the course of their duties as their new ranks call for more focus and dedication, noting that every promotion comes with greater responsibilities.

He admonished those who were not fortunate in the promotion to keep hope alive as opportunities still abound in the future.

He promised to improve the general welfare of the personnel of the Corps to the satisfaction of all.

He called on all personnel to be of good cheer and put in greater efforts toward the realisation of the corporate mandate of the Corps.

The Corps Marshal directed that all affected officers would be decorated in their respective Zonal Commands.

He said that the decoration would be conducted in strict compliance with Presidential directives and NCDC guidelines on COVID-19.

NAN reports that the promotion exercise began with medical examination, physical fitness test, computer based examination and virtual oral interview.

Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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Defence/Security

Navy appoints 110 senior officers

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The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Ibok-Ete Ibas, has approved new appointments of some senior officers in the Nigerian Navy.

The Navy Director of Information, Commodore Suleman Dahun, made this known in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.

He said the major reshufflement affected 110 senior officers, consisting of 33 Rear Admirals and 77 Commodores.

Dahun said the new Chief of Policy and Plans Naval Headquarters is Rear Adm. Ifeola Mohammed.

He said Rear Adm. Obi Ofodile, formerly Director of Plans, Defence Headquarters, has been reappointed to Defence Headquarters as Chief of Defence Administration.

While Rear Adm. Matthew Emuekpere, formerly Deputy Commandant, Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, moves to Naval Headquarters as Chief of Naval Transformation.

Rear Adm. Ahamefule Eluwa, who was a Directing Staff at National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru-Jos, resumes as Admiral Superintendent, Naval Doctrine and Assessment Centre,” he said.

Dahun said the re-organisation also affected Rear Adm. Segun Adebari, who has been posted to Defence Headquarters as Director of Plans from Nigerian Navy Holdings Limited.

He said Rear Adm. Abubakar Al-Hassan, formerly Director of Development, Defence Headquarters, has been appointed as Admiral Superintendent, Naval Ordnance Depot, while Rear Adm. Francis Isaac is the new Navy Secretary at Naval Headquarters.

Also Rear Adm. Abdullahi Adamu, the immediate past Admiral Superintendent, Naval Ordnance Depot, moves to Defence Headquarters as Director of Search and Rescue.

Rear Adm. Maurice Eno, who was the Admiral Superintendent, Naval Doctrine and Assessment Centre, has been posted to Defence Headquarters as Director of Development.

Rear Adm. Frederick Ogu, formerly Navy Secretary, Naval Headquarters, is the new Flag Officer, Commanding Naval Training Command,” he said.

Dahun said Surgeon Rear Adm. Lawan Adams is now the new Director, Medical Services of the Nigerian Navy, while Rear Adm. Abraham Adaji, who was the Director of Training, Naval Headquarters, resumes as Group Managing Director of Nigerian Navy Holdings Limited.

He said Rear Adm. Elkanah Jaiyeola, formerly Fleet Commander, Headquarters Western Fleet, has been appointed as Moderator at NIPSS, Kuru, Jos.

Similarly, Rear Adm. Baribuma Kole, formerly Fleet Commander, Eastern Fleet, is now the Director of Foreign Liaison Desk at Naval Headquarters.

Rear Adm. Ibikunle Olaiya, the immediate past Director of Operations, Naval Headquarters, is the new Chief of Training and Operations, Naval Headquarters, while Rear Adm. Othaniel Filafa moves to Naval Headquarters as Director of Veteran Affairs,” he said.

He said Rear Adm. Akinga Ayafa has been reappointed Director, Recruitment, Release and Reserve at Naval Headquarters, while Rear Adm. Nuhu Bala resumes at Naval Headquarters as Director of Transformation.

Rear Adm. Barabutemegha Gbassa, formerly the Chief Staff Officer, Headquarters Logistics Command, has been posted to Defence Headquarters as Director of Project Monitoring.

Rear Adm. Sileranda Lassa, the immediate past Director of Project Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate at Naval Headquarters is the new Flag Officer, Commanding Logistics Command.

Rear Adm. Danjuma Moses has been appointed as the Fleet Commander, Headquarters Western Fleet, while Rear Adm. Muhammad Nagenu is now the Director, Project Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate at Naval Headquarters,” he said.

Dahun said Rear Adm. Vincent Okeke, formerly Commander, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) VICTORY, has been appointed as Director of Education, Defence Headquarters.

“Similarly, the new postings moved Rear Adm. Yakubu Wambai from Defence Headquarters to Naval Headquarters as Director of Training,

While Rear Adm. Emmanuel Beckley has been reappointed Director, Combat Policy and Tactics at Naval Headquarters,” he said.

He said Rear Adm. Perry Onwuzulike resumes as the Fleet Commander, Headquarters Eastern Fleet, while Rear Adm. Murtala Bashir, formerly the Chief Staff Officer, Headquarters Western Naval Command, moves to Naval Headquarters as Director of Operations.

Dahun also said Rear Adm. Tanko Pani is now the Chief Staff Officer, Headquarters Western Naval Command, while Rear Adm. Chukwu Okafor has been reappointed to the Naval Headquarters as the Hydrographer of the Nigerian Navy.

“In another development, Rear Adm. Ibrahim Dewu, formerly Commander, NNS DELTA, resumes as Managing Director, Nigerian Navy Hotel and Suites Limited,

While Rear Adm. Monday Unurhiere, the immediate past Commander, NNS JUBILEE, becomes the Deputy Commandant, Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji,” he said.

He said the former Commandant, Nigerian Naval College, Onne, Rear Adm. Joseph Akpan, resumes at Naval Headquarters (Naval Safety and Standards) as Director, Records Return and Analysis.

Dahun added that Rear Adm. Olumuyiwa Olotu, who was Commander, NNS LUGARD, is the new Chief Staff Officer, Headquarters Logistics Command.

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Foreign

APEC senior officials hold virtual discussions on cooperation for economic recovery from COVID-19

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Senior officials from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies held a virtual meeting on Wednesday night to discuss measures to increase cooperation on the COVID-19 outbreak and to facilitate economic recovery, Malaysia, the host nation of APEC 2020, said Thursday.

Hairil Yahri Yaacob, a senior official from Malaysia’s International Trade and Industry Ministry who chaired the meeting, urged participating economies to prioritize the undisputed flow of essential goods and services across the region.

The official said this was key to ensuring participating economies were able to rebound following the wide-ranging economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Despite the trying times that we presently face, the work in APEC must go on,” he said. “APEC’s broader work in areas such as trade and investment, business mobility, tourism, food security, sustainable development, customs procedures, standards setting and intellectual property rights will play a crucial role in our region’s recovery.”

The meeting focused on operationalizing the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) Statement on COVID-19 issued earlier this month, which called for greater regional cooperation including keeping markets open and ensuring a smooth flow of essential goods and services, Malaysia’s APEC 2020 Secretariat said in the statement.

Senior Officials also heard from APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) as the Council offered its insights regarding the private sector’s role in mitigating the impact of the pandemic and hastening regional economic recovery, it said.

Five proposals were discussed during the 4-hour meeting, including the setting up of a possible platform for information exchange on the policy responses by APEC Economies to the COVID-19 crisis; two separate proposals on possible ways to facilitate the flow of essential goods during this time of crisis; creation of a sub-fund for APEC-wide cooperation to combat COVID-19 and navigate the region towards a path of economic recovery proposed by China; and guidance and directions for the APEC bodies to continue future work during the pandemic.

“All five proposals garnered constructive comments from the Economies. Further discussions on these proposals are expected to be undertaken at the relevant APEC bodies,” said the secretariat, adding that preparations are already underway for Malaysia to chair another virtual Senior Officials Meeting and a virtual ministerial-level meeting.

(XINHUA)

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APEC senior officials hold virtual discussions over economic cooperation, open markets against COVID-19

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Senior officials from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies held a virtual meeting Wednesday to discuss economic cooperation, open markets to counter the COVID-19 outbreak.

Hairil Yahri Yaacob, a senior official from Malaysia’s International Trade and Industry Ministry who chaired the meeting, urged participating economies to prioritize the undisputed flow of essential goods and services across the region.

The official said this was key to ensuring participating economies were able to rebound following the wide-ranging economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Necessary lockdowns and social distancing have been or are still in place region-wide to keep the pandemic from spreading, but the resulting economic slowdown has the potential to cause long-term harm to the lives and livelihoods of millions more,” he said.

He called the members to exchange views, review their response to the crisis and formulate a possible coordinated approach to collecting and sharing information on policies and measures regarding COVID-19 and its economic effects.

APEC is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific, with 21 members.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Senior British official defends PM aide over lockdown row

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British Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove on Tuesday defended Prime Minster Boris Johnson’s chief aide’s travels during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Gove told local media that Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings’ account of his actions was “exhaustive, detailed and verifiable.”

“Most people will understand he was under pressure, and sought to put the health of his wife and son first, and took care to ensure they as a family unit were not in danger of infecting other people,” he said.

The latest development came one day after Cummings made a public explanation over why he drove in March from London to County Durham, some 250 miles away, as the country was under COVID-19 lockdown.

Cummings on Monday defended his actions during his first public appearance since a major row erupted over reports that he “broke” Britain’s lockdown rules.

During a news conference in the rose garden of Downing Street, Cummings told reporters that he had behaved “reasonably”.

Critics say Cummings has failed to apologize for his actions, while opposition parties continue calls for him to be sacked.

Johnson has publicly backed Cummings.

(XINHUA)

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Politics

Senior officials absent as Gov. Zulum pays surprise visit to 6 local government areas

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Most senior officials overseeing the affairs of six of the  local government areas in Borno were absent when Gov. Babagana Zulum conducted  roll calls  during an unscheduled visit to their secretariats.

 

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the affected local governments are: Chibok, Konduga, Bama, Askira/Uba, Damboa and Gwoza.

 

At Gwoza, the newly constructed council secretariat was under lock and key.

 

The governor’s spokesman, Mallam Isa Gusau, said  that those absent during the governor’s just concluded three days’  monitoring tour of projects and quality of governance at the grassroots comprised secretaries, heads of department, directors and other top-ranking officials.

 

Gusau in a statement he issued  on Friday said, “None of the heads of department was around, neither the Secretary nor the other principal officers  reported for  duty.

 

“Look at the Secretariat; termites all over, an indication that nobody is operating in the Secretariat. Government cannot allow this situation to continue.

 

“We came from Maiduguri to determine the presence of senior public servants at their places of work.

 

“We have been pleading with them for quite sometime, to be operating from these local government areas so that citizens will feel the impact of governance at the grassroots but from all indication, many are not listening.

 

“We will take punitive measures because we cannot allow this system to continue” Gov. Zulum was quoted as saying in the statement.

 

The governor, however,  met with  the traditional rulers of Bama, Askira, Gwoza and Uba in their respective palaces.

 

He lauded and urged them to sustain the tempo of ensuring that their subjects continue to  live in peace and harmony.

 

In Bama, Zulum announced that any house in Bama not occupied in two weeks would be temporarily allocated to the  Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)  pending when the owners would be  ready to occupy them.

 

/ PAD

Edited By: Benson Iziama/Peter Dada (NAN)

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Foreign

Time to reopen S. African economy despite surge in COVID-19 cases: senior offical

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A national lockdown in South Africa has served its purpose and that it is now time to reopen the economy despite a surge in COVID-19 cases, a senior govenrment official told Parliament on Friday.

The government is finalizing consultations with different stakeholders on how to systematically reopen industries and get the economy back to work, Lionel October, director-general of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, said while briefing Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry on measures to reopen the economy.

A large part of the economy is expected to reopen as the country moves to level three of the lockdown next month, October said.

South Africa eased the lockdown, imposed on March 27, from level five to level four on May 1, allowing certain businesses to resume operations.

Despite the rapid spread of the pandemic, there have been growing calls for further easing the lockdown to level three, which will allow more businesses to reopen and greater movement of people.

On Thursday, South Africa reported 1,134 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, the highest daily record since the country recorded its first case in early March. With the newly-added cases, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa stood at 19,137, the highest on the African continent.

Although the lockdown has had devastating effects on the economy, it has achieved its objectives, allowing the country to prepare for an increase in cases of COVID-19, October said.

The World Health Organization has advised that the rate of infection must first fall before countries can start relaxing lockdown.

October said industries will be required to ensure worker safety and protection as a condition to return to business and companies which do not put safety measures in place will be forced to close.

South Africa’s economy, like many others across the globe, will no doubt contract quite seriously as a result of the impact of COVID-19, he said.

As part of interventions to keep industries afloat during this difficult period, October said, the government is assisting companies in distress through funding and has also made significant investments assisting companies manufacturing protective equipment.

“The procurement is done by the departments of health and education. Our role is to mobilize the industry to make sure it is able to produce and protect jobs,” he said.

Also on Friday, President Cyril Ramaphosa held a virtual engagement with stakeholders in tourism on plans to sustain the sector affected by lockdown restrictions on the movement of people and the closure of the country’s borders.

The meeting followed the president’s consultations in recent days with the National Economic Development and Labor Council, leaders of South Africa’s interfaith communities and leaders of political parties represented in Parliament, on the country’s move to level three of the lockdown.

These consultations enable the government to share its plans and outlook with stakeholders who are given the opportunity to table concerns and proposals that enable effective partnerships between the government and the social partners in efforts to protect lives and livelihoods alike, Ramaphosa’s office said.

(XINHUA)

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