FG’s Task Force Not The Solution To High Cost Of Food -Shehu Usman

farmerThe Financial Secretary Mile 12 Market, Shehu Usman, says the task force set up by the Federal Government to bring down the prices of food items is not the solution.

He said, what the government should do is to assist the farmers tremendously, by subsiding fertilizer.

He said it will go a long way in reducing the high cost of food items.

Mr. Shehu made this known on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.

He however, acknowledged the assistance of the former governor of Lagos state, Mr. Babatunde Fashola for ensuring a lot of farming was ongoing in Lagos state during his term as a governor.

“The former governor of Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, ensured that there was a lot of farming in Lagos state, which easily helped the people of Lagos state to get food items at a Lower price.

“The government could have provided more food when they came in, through importation of food items before closing down the border. For me that’s why food is very expensive”. He said

F.G Sets Up Task Force

The Federal Government had earlier set up a task force to address the challenges facing the nations troubled economy.

This decision was taken during the Federal Executive Council meeting, held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

The task force has been given the mandate to reduce food prices in the county.

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed said the committee will report their findings to the council within the next one week.

Nigerian Navy, Air Force Join Forces Against Oil Theft

airforce President Muhammadu Buhari at a recent Security Council Meeting has given a marching order to the Nigerian Navy and the Air Force to secure the maritime environment and ensure uninterrupted activities in the nation’s upstream sector of oil and gas industry including fighting the menace of oil theft.

The Nigerian Air Force and the Navy have therefore  resumed  Joint Maritime Operations for surveillance and patrol of the Gulf of Guinea to combat crude oil theft and other illegalities.

One of such operations was in the sea areas from Brass River entrance to Bonny River where the Navy and Air Force demonstrated their joint forces for an enduring opened sea lane of communications for effective economic activities.

The mission is to establish communication link with the Air Force on the high sea to nab vessels carrying out illegal activities.

The Commanding Officer NNS pathfinder says this sort of operation will be a regular occurrence, as the fight against crude oil theft continues in the country, many hope that this alliance between the Navy and other security agencies will yield positive results

Health Specialists Say Ebola Virus Is Not A Death Sentence

Ebola virus_death sentenceFollowing the recent outbreak of the Ebola virus in Lagos, Nigeria, the Commissioner for Health of Lagos State, Dr Jide Idris, has urged citizens to be calm as having Ebola is not a death sentence.

Speaking on Channel’s Television’s Saturday breakfast program, Sunrise, Dr Idris spoke on the issues revolving around the outbreak of the virus in Lagos and how it is being managed to avoid further spread.

He stated that the mortality rate for the disease has been between 40% – 90% as many people have survived it.

“If you have Ebola or you suspect people have contracted it, the people need to come out because that way you don’t infect other people and you’re quickly brought under treatment. Once its properly treated, chances are that they will survive”, he said.

Dr Idris stated that the Lagos Government has succeed in providing information to citizens on how the disease can be transferred and emergency numbers to contact if there were any suspected cases.

He affirmed that a total of 10 people have been confirmed to have the virus, with two of them reportedly dead – Patrick Sawyer and the nurse.

Explaining that a body temperature which is above 38.5 degrees is usually one of the symptoms for detecting victims who have the virus, he disclosed that the Government was monitoring people that came in contact with the late Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer, to prevent more spread.

Also speaking on the Ebola virus outbreak, Secretary, FCT Health and Human Services, Dr Demola Onakomaiya, noted that the people mostly at risk of contacting the virus were the families of the victims and the health care providers.

He advised that there should be an index suspicion rate, which is to take basic preventive measures.

He added that the Federal Government has collaborated with other organisations to prevent the spread of the virus, adding that two cardinal steps to manage the virus was to have strong personal hygiene and massive sensitization.

“Sensitization entails two ways, internal and external; the external party are the public while internal are the staffs so they know what is expected of them”, he said.

Dr Onakomaiya confirmed that asides the sensitization currently going on, there was a device at the airport which would pick up high fever in suspected victims to curb the wide spread of the virus.

The Chairman Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners, Dr Adeyeye Arigbabuwo, who was also part of the conversation, cautioned that due to the similarity between the Ebola virus disease and other common ailment like malaria, it would be difficult for the general public to recognize a person who already has the virus.

He, nevertheless, explained that “fever on a high temperature side accompanied by severe weakness with muscle pains which may be accompanied by Diarrhea with vomiting is Ebola.”

Dr Arigbabuwo described the ailment to be contagious when the patient starts tricking down with the illness, urging citizens to make use of the communication channels to seek help.

Regarding the ZMAPP, which is an experimental serum mixture for immunological protection against the Ebola virus, Arigbabuwo noted that the drug was yet to be tested on human beings but only on animals, and the process, which is called control trial, needs to be followed, where the drug undergoes full test and is used on a person before its distributed.


Canada Announces Support To Create Jobs And Opportunities In Nigeria

Senator Don Meredith, representative of Canadian Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Honourable Christian Paradis.

The Canadian Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Honourable Christian Paradis, represented by Sen Don Meredith,  today (Sunday, July 27) announced Canadian support for a new project to help increase job opportunities and promote entrepreneurship among young people in Nigeria.

Senator Meredith made the announcement in an address to the inaugural national convention of the Akwa Cross Association of Canada, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the preservation of the cultures in the Nigerian states of Akwa Ibom and Cross River.

“The need for meaningful, sustainable employment, especially for youth, is a critical issue in Nigeria. Creating sustainable economic growth is the best way to break the cycle of poverty and create shared prosperity,” said Senator Meredith. “Canada is proud to help increase employment, support small entrepreneurs and secure livelihoods for young women and men in areas such as agriculture and forestry.”

Canada’s support will help stimulate private-sector-led growth in Nigeria’s Cross River State by creating the conditions to responsibly manage its forestry, agriculture and fisheries sectors.

The efforts will focus on providing skills and entrepreneurship training for young people so they are better equipped to secure jobs, start and grow businesses in the country’s resource-based economy.

This announcement builds on Canada’s work with Nigerian organizations and government bodies to improve how the country manages its natural resources.

“Canada, under the leadership of Prime Minister Harper, is recognized as a global champion for improving maternal, newborn and child health. The work we are doing with our partners is saving the lives of women and children in Nigeria, and across the developing world,” said Minister Paradis. “We need to provide people with not just the ability to survive, but the tools they need to thrive. The need for meaningful, sustainable employment, especially for youth, is a critical issue, and Canada is proud to help increase employment, support small entrepreneurs and secure livelihoods for youth.”

Nigeria is one of Canada’s 10 Maternal Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) countries of focus. Canada is also committed to promoting sustainable economic growth in the country.

Canada’s Global Markets Action Plan identifies Nigeria as a priority market and on May 6, 2014, Canada and Nigeria signed the Canada-Nigeria Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA).

Nigeria Has Many Educational Problems – Prof Awosika

Abiola_AwosikaThe Rector, Olawoyin Awosika School of Innovative Studies, Prof Abiola Awosika, on Tuesday expressed sadness over the plethora of problems facing the Nigerian education system.

Speaking on Sunrise Daily, the university don noted that “our problems are many” adding that “I shudder when I think of what we need to do to overhaul this educational system”.

She listed some of these problems as the reduction of the pass mark of the Joint Administration and Matriculation Board (JAMB) score.

“We lowered the JAMB scores again this year; 180 for universities and 130 for colleges of education and polytechnics” she said insisting that “we should not water down the system.

“But if we are not going to use JAMB, lets task the universities and colleges of education to have solid curricula that will build up solid people, especially for the college of education” she said.

She however added that those with an E pass can be allowed entry into the colleges of education noting that “there is nothing wrong with it; but we have to have a curriculum to back those people up when they show up, so that it’s just not theoretical but we are giving them solid foundation on how to teach, what to teach”.

Prof Awosika berated the fact that S75 ( a certificate given to candidates who fail the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) ) holders “are teaching in the senior section of our secondary schools” noting that “Ekiti to be specific has that issue”.

She also frowned at the fact that education is the last resort for school and work applicants insisting that “it shouldn’t be that way because people teaching our students should be excellent, stellar individuals but we are putting our dregs where we need to put the top ones”.

She argued that the Nigerian education should be tailored to the system obtainable in Finland because they picked the best of their best, made them to teach in a fashion where the students were not only learned enough to pass their examinations and also abolished the standardised examinations.

“And when they tested this out with the rest of the world, they beat everybody else. They beat the United States of America, they beat Norway because teachers are special and are paid like their contemporaries in oil companies” she said.

She advised that “we flush out the ones that are not supposed to be in our educational system; any teacher that is not qualified to be there should not be there” adding that “let’s find them something else to do because the future of this country is too special for that”

Prof Awosika also assured Nigerians that the recommendations reached at the 20th National Economic Summit Group’s conference on Education is still being worked on and described the appointment of former Kano State governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, as the Minister of Education as “a step in the right direction”.

She noted that the committee members are still working to ensure that recommendations made in the subsectors are eventually implemented but noted that “it will take a lot of support for that to be achieved, from the Ministry of the Education and the Federal Government.

“Unfortunately, time is running out till 2015but we are hoping we and get some low hanging fruits before the next election because a lot rides on that” she said.

She allayed fears of discontinuance of the recommendations should there be a change in the leadership of the government noting that the organisation is set up to give continuity on any project, whether it is agriculture, education or health and make sure “they sit on it through any kind of government changeover”

She said part of the recommendation at the summit, though not clearly spelt out, was to have “someone who could do the job” of overseeing Nigeria’s educational system.

“Someone with a background and qualified to do the job. I think appointing the new minister (Ibrahim Shekarau) is a step in the right direction, because no matter what we put out there as recommendations, if we do not have someone on that seat who is fit for purpose, who is committed to education that is fit for purpose, then we would have done it in vain” she said.

“The new minister has had a lot of time in the ministry and has been in education for a long time and so hopefully that is a step in the right direction” she added.

This year’s National Economic Summit, which focused solely on the education sector, was declared open by President Goodluck Jonathan.

“The decision to hold the Summit on education was taken to address the decline in a sector that is critical to economic development,” said Frank Nweke Jnr, Director-General of the NESG.

“The Nigerian education sector is in dire straits, and requires both public and private sector intervention, if the country is to fulfil its potential as not only a regional powerhouse, but as a global player”, he added.




Boko Haram Is A Failure of Leadership – Ashiru

Dele Ashiru UNILAGA Political Scientist at the University of Lagos, UNILAG, Dele Ashiru, has attributed the state of insecurity in Nigeria to a failure of leadership, occasioned by the nature of Nigerian politics.

He also extended the purported leadership deficiency to the military forces which he accused of fighting terrorism without a strategy. Ashiru was Channels Television’s guest on Sunrise Daily.

He made reference to the Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, whom he accused of putting blames on the media rather than confronting the situation as the Chief of Defence Staff. He also berated the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Kingsley Kuku, for putting the responsibility of fighting Boko Haram on the people.

He asked, “Which people? The disillusioned people? The people who are on a daily basis being challenged by the failure of Government at all levels?”

“Boko Haram didn’t start as a terrorist organization; it became a terrorist group after the killing of Mohammed Yusuf. Until as we speak, the military captured Mohammed Yusuf alive, handed him over to the Police – if I’m correct, and between that space of two minutes, the guy was gone” he said, while explaining his earlier statement, “we must address the issue of justice.”

He noted that there cannot be peace without justice, irrespective of what the challenges facing the country were. He explained, “Whether you talk about militancy, agitation, or terrorism; at the root of all of these is the question of justice. There is injustice everywhere.”

He insisted that “Those who were extra judicially killed for whatever idea they profess deserve some form of justice and you need to also increase intelligence gathering.”

He continued, “Some people have been named; senators, governors – Kabiru Umar, was arrested in a government lodge in Abuja; Zakari Biu (Commissioner of Police who was dismissed for  engineering the jailbreak of Kabiru Sokoto). There is some kind of unholy alliance between some characters within the Nigerian state.”

On the role of the people in the fight against terrorism, he enthused, “the people can help only if they are sure that they have a leadership that can protect them in all ramifications.”

Kogi State Government Raises Flood Alert

The Kogi state government on Tuesday released a warning alert to those living on flood prone areas to relocate their relatives to designated camps in the state following the release of water from Jebba Hydroelectric Dam.

The state Deputy Governor Yomi Awoniyi, who made this call while speaking with journalist in his office, stated that water has finally been released from the dam and people living around flood plains in the state will have no hiding place as the flood is fast coming.

According to Awoniyi, the reservoir that was at elevation 99.09m has risen to 102.42m following profuse inflow receipt of water.

He also restated that the state government is taking necessary actions to prevent the devastating consequences that trailed 2012 flood adding that the state government is also also putting in place adequate security for the protection of lives and property.

Health Ministry donates medical items to Kogi flood victims

The Federal Government on Saturday donated drugs and medical equipment worth millions of naira to Kogi State Government to address medical needs of the flood victims.

The Deputy Director, Health Emergency Response and Disaster Management, the Federal Ministry of Health, John Kehinde, presented the items to Idris Wada, the state governor, in Lokoja.

Kehinde said that the items were donated to address the immediate health needs of the flood victims, stressing that Kogi remained the worst hit among the 20 states that were affected by the flood disaster because it was home to the confluence of Rivers Niger and Benue.

The items donated include 60 litres of methylated spirit, a thousand pieces of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), 3,000 household water filters, 140 cartons of Ringer Lactate and 19 cartons of Darrows’ Solution.

Receiving the items, Wada thanked the Federal Government for the medical items and other relief materials donated to the state.

The governor said that the state government would soon allocate alternative plots of land to victims of the flood to enable them to build new houses in locations far away from river banks and waterways.

“We will do everything we can to give them alternative plots to build new houses but we will enforce extant environmental and town-planning laws.

“When we give them alternative plots, we will also assist them to build their new houses as but we need their understanding and cooperation.

“Now, we are back to the drawing board, planning ahead so that such a thing will never happen to us again. In the future, we will be better prepared with good planning strategies and strict enforcement of regulations.”

Besides, Wada said that the state government planned to invest in water transportation in collaboration with the private sector so as to provide alternative means of transportation for the people.

The federal government pledged that 10,000 anti-malaria drugs and 500 insecticide-treated bed nets would also be delivered to the state by Tuesday.


Police officer gets death sentence for killing 3 yr old girl

Three years after he callously killed a three year old girl Kausarat Muritala in cold blood in Lagos, Justice Olabisi Akinlade of the Lagos High Court in Ikeja yesterday sentenced ex-police corporal, Ikechukwu Nwabueze to death by hanging.

Justice Akinlade handed down the verdict after reviewing the fact of the case, according to her, the weight of evidence before the court showed that Nwabueze had the intention to kill.

It will be recalled that Nwabueze was alleged to have in April 2009 shot at a car in which the parents, the three-year old Kausarat, and her siblings were commuting at Oba Nle Aro Bus Stop, Alapere, Ketu.

The condemned man and his colleagues took to their heels when they discovered that the there was a fatality.

However, they were later arrested, while Nwabueze who was later dismissed from the Police Force, was said to have confessed during investigation that he shot dead the deceased little girl.

The convict, however, recanted during trial, maintaining that he was coerced to make the confessional statement by the police officer who investigated the case.

The condemned man also claimed that he was not the only one that fired shots into the air and that other members of his team also did same.

The court pointed out some inconsistencies in the testimony of Nwabueze while also holding that a recanted confessional statement does not necessarily cancel its relevance.

“It is trite law that the confessional statement of a defendant is relevant regardless of the fact that it is recanted. It is also trite that a person can be convicted on the basis of the confessional statement.

“It is my opinion that the evidence of P1 is consistent with the testimonies of PW 2 and PW 3.”

The judge further held that the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses were not discredited during cross-examination unlike that of the defence.

According to her “By his training as a police officer he (Nwabueze) cannot claim ignorance of the probable consequences of shooting at the vehicle.

“I therefore hold that the defendant had intention to kill or cause bodily harm to the occupants of the car. I find the defendant guilty as charged.”

After court reached it decision, counsel to the defendant, A.O. Omodele made an allocutus (plea for mercy) for the convict, urging the judge to temper justice with mercy on the grounds that he was at his duty post when the offence was committed and that he was a first offender. He also said that he was a young man who was yet to be married and had a lot to contribute to the nation.

But, the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution, Mrs. Olabisi Ogungbesan opposed Omodele’s plea.

She said: “We do not have enough records of the defendant. Notwithstanding, the menace of police in releasing bullets recklessly on innocent citizens should be discouraged.

While passing out her sentence the court held that it is not convinced of any reason why it should show some leniency.

She therefore pronounced: “The sentence of the court upon you is that that you be hung on the neck until you are dead. And may God have mercy on your soul.”

Nigeria Army steps up counter terrorism operations

The Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Onyeabo Ihejirika says the Nigerian Army is adopting a new strategy to fighting terrorism in the country.

He said “the Nigeria Army cannot always depend on a set pattern of operations”.

General Ihejirika made the remark at the graduation ceremony of 1,952 soldiers from Basic Counter Terrorism Course 6 at the Nigerian Army Training Centre Kontagora, Niger state.

Nigeria has been grappling with the upsurge of terrorist attacks in the northern region that has claimed many lives and raised fear among citizens and doubts over the capability of security forces.

Terrorist attacks including the killing of Italian and British hostages earlier this year raised calls for the military to adopt new tactics and skills in counter terrorism.

Messi, van Persie, Ronaldo others on Uefa Best Player shortlist

Uefa has announced a list of the 32 players who are in contention for their award for the best player of Europe.

La Liga champions Real Madrid are the most represented club on the list, with seven players, followed by Premier League holders Manchester City, who boast six players.

Champions League winners Chelsea and Catalan giants Barcelona boast four players each, while Radamel Falcao is the sole player from Europa League champions, Atletico Madrid.

The players were chosen by a jury of journalists from each of Uefa’s 53 member associations. The governing body for European football will reveal on August 14 the names of the three players who were given the most points by the writers, who will then proceed to the live vote to choose the overall winner in Monaco.

Barca’s Lionel Messi was the winner of the first edition of the award, beating team-mate Xavi and Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo to the honour.

Raul and Didier Drogba have left Europe since their exploits last season for Al Sadd and Shanghai Shenhua respectively, while Shinji Kagawa’s form for Borussia Dortmund earned him a summer move to Manchester United.

Player               Club

Sergio Aguero Manchester City

Xabi Alonso Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli Manchester City

Jakub Blaszczykowski Borussia Dortmund

Gianluigi Buffon Juventus

Iker Casillas Real Madrid

Petr Cech Chelsea

Fabio Coentrao Real Madrid

Leslie Davies Bangor City

Didier Drogba Chelsea

Cesc Fabregas Barcelona

Radamel Falcao Atletico Madrid

Joe Hart Manchester City

Zlatan Ibrahimovic AC Milan

Andres Iniesta Barcelona

Shinji Kagawa Borussia Dortmund

Vincent Kompany Manchester City

Frank Lampard Chelsea

Lionel Messi Barcelona

Luka Modric Tottenham

Mesut Ozil Real Madrid

Pepe Real Madrid

Andrea Pirlo Juventus

Sergio Ramos Real Madrid

Raul Schalke
Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid

Wayne Rooney Manchester United

David Silva Manchester City

Fernando Torres Chelsea

Yaya Toure Manchester City

Robin van Persie Arsenal

Xavi Barcelona

A live vote will be conducted to reveal the overall winner of the accolade after the final three most nominated players are revealed next month.

SUBSIDY PROBE: FG declares commitment to prosecute indicted oil marketers

The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Bello-Adoke has debunked claims that the federal government will not prosecute oil marketers indicted by the House of Representatives ad-hoc Committee on the probe of petroleum subsidy.

The Justice Minister, who spoke through his counsel, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo in Abuja, at a press conference on Thursday, said that the government was following the principle of rule of law.

According to the AGF “no fact finding committee can indict a person except the police, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offenses Commission (ICPC)”.

He stressed that indicted oil marketers will be prosecuted by the federal government as soon as the relevant investigating agencies complete their investigations.

Mr. Adoke confirmed that the federal government will be heading to court next week to file charges against the indicted companies and officials saying, “if next week the report of the investigating agencies on any of oil companies indicted by the House of Representatives committee is out and it is reliable and conclusive, the federal government will go to court and prosecute the company”.

This is coming despite a Federal High Court ruling in Abuja on Wednesday which barred the federal government from implementing the fuel subsidy report by not prosecuting any official of the Integrated Oil and Gas Limited, which filed the suit.

The court ordered the federal government to maintain the status quo pending the determination of the originating summons filed by the company.