Imo Govt. Spends 40bn Naira On Free Tertiary Education

Imo Govt. Spends 40bn Naira On Free Tertiary EducationThe Imo State government says it has spent over 40 billion naira on its free tertiary education policy since inception four years ago.

The State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, made the disclosure at the Heroes Square in Owerri, the Imo State capital in southeast Nigeria.

He was speaking during the ongoing revalidation and verification exercise organised for Imo indigenes who are beneficiaries of the free education programme in all state-owned tertiary institutions in the state.

Addressing the students, Governor Okorocha who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Mr Uche Nwosu, noted that the state government has decided to concentrate on Imo indigenes and drop non-indigenes from the programme.

He explained that the state government has spent about 40 billion naira to sustain the policy, adding that it would have to drop non-indigenes from the scheme as Imo indigenes in other state-owned schools across Nigeria do not enjoy such benefit.

The governor, however, assured the students of the government’s commitment to sustaining the programme beyond the life of the present administration.

Drop Non-indigenes

“Nothing less than 40 billion has been spent in the last five years to sustain this free education policy.

“But as you know, our Imo sons and daughters in other schools outside Imo State are not benefiting any similar scheme in their various schools and we can’t keep shouldering their expenses.

“Like the saying: charity begins at home; we need to take care of our own first before others. So we have decided to drop non-indigenes from the exercise,” he said.

Governor Okorocha explained further that the essence of the ongoing revalidation and verification of students was to generate the accurate data of students and to also ascertain that students enjoying the programme were majorly of Imo extraction.

“The idea of this exercise is to capture (those) who are exactly Imo State citizens and to build a data base of who they are, and to inculcate in them the fact that government is training them for free, despite the very lean resources that is available to the government.

“From the form, they have to go back to their villages and get endorsement from their traditional ruler and also get endorsement from the secretary of the CGC (that is President-general).

“By that, we will know that they are from so so and so local government (and) let me tell you that some of them don’t even know their local government.

“The free education has come to stay,” he noted.

Dreams Of Better Educational Standard

In an interview with Channels Television, some of the students said that the free education programme has actually helped them achieve their dreams of a better and higher educational standard without payment.

A student said “because of the free education, I could achieve a lot in the medical school.

“I have not paid a dime since I got admission into the university (and) my siblings are here.

“If not for the free education, I don’t think there is a way we can do it but I just thank the government for giving us the free education”.

At the inception of the Governor Okorocha led administration in 2011, education was declared free at primary and post-primary levels in all public schools in Imo State.

The government subsequently extended the gesture to all the state-owned tertiary institutions on February 14, 2012, including the Imo State School of Nursing and Health Technology.

As an extension of the free education programme in November 2012, the government slashed the tuition fee of non-indigenes schooling in the state-owned tertiary institutions by 50%.

However, the revalidation and verification exercise is supposed to last for two weeks of which students are meant to take their forms to their traditional rulers and government liaison officers in their communities for identification and return the form to the state government within the specified period.

 

NSCDC Intercepts Vehicles Carrying Suspected Adulterated Blue Gas In Abia

NSCDC, Abia State, Blue GasOperatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC) have intercepted and recovered four vehicles in Abia State conveying various quantities of adulterated blue gas wrapped in polythene bags.

They were apprehended on Wednesday at Umumba-Umuire in Osisioma Ngwa Local Government Area of Abia State, southeast Nigeria.

The Abia State NSCDC Commandant, Walter Akubuiro, who paraded the vehicles before reporters, said they were abandoned by the suspects who took to their heels on sighting operatives of the command.

Mr Akubuiro exhibited the seized adulterated blue gas and the recovered vehicles with registered number DV908QBJ, BK61YAB, EM2355MK and ACH588AA at the NSCDC Headquarters in Umuahia, the state’s capital.

He maintained that the command would not relent in frustrating the activities of saboteurs, saying it has intensified the anti-vandalisation campaign to flush oil thieves out of the state.

The commandant hinted that unprecedented surveillance had been mounted on all the oil pipelines across the state and warned vandals to steer clear.

Akwa Ibom Market Collapse: Police Make U-turn, Say No Life Lost

akwa-ibom-market-wallAkwa Ibom State Police Command has discountenanced its earlier position on the fate of victims of a collapsed wall at Ederebo Market in the state.

The spokesperson for the police, Cordelia Nwawe, briefed reporters on the new development at the Police Headquarters in Uyo, the state’s capital.

Nwawe said contrary to their earlier position that two lives were lost in the incident, discrete investigation revealed that no life was lost in the collapse.

She maintained that as at Tuesday, there was no documented evidence or record of any deaths arising from the incident.

The police spokesperson added that a total of nine victims, who sustained injuries, were receiving treatment at the Ibom Specialist Hospital.

She noted that four victims sustained severe injuries and were undergoing surgeries in the same hospital.

The police command further revealed that it had put several measures in place to ensure crime free Christmas and New Year celebrations.

The wall was said to have fallen on Monday in Ikot Akpatek axis of Onna Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom State, southeast Nigeria.

Police Rescue Stolen Baby In Akwa Ibom State

Police, Baby, Akwa Ibom StatePolice have nabbed a 35-year-old woman for allegedly stealing a month old baby in Akwa Ibom State, southeast Nigeria.

The suspect who was Identified as Mrs Peace Chukwuemeka was said to have stolen the baby after drugging the mother.

She was paraded on Tuesday alongside other suspected criminals at the Akwa Ibom State Police Command in Uyo, the state’s capital.

Confessing to the crime, Mrs Chukwuemeka said she came from Abia State to visit her sister in Uyo and was tempted to steal the child to save her 10 years childless marriage.

On their part, parents of the rescued baby, Mr and Mrs Mohammed Ibrahim, narrated their ordeal while their child was missing.

Some of the other suspects paraded also confessed to the kidnap of a four-year-old boy.

Parents of the boy were full of praise to God for the rescue.

Others were also paraded for their involvement in various crimes ranging from armed robbery, stealing of car batteries and job racketeering.

Addressing journalists, the spokesperson for the Police Command, Cordelia Never, said that the arrests followed painstaking investigation by officials of command.

She reassured Akwa Ibom State residents of the command’s commitment to keeping the state crime-free, especially during the coming festive season.

Labour Gives FG 21 Days To Resolve FMC Owerri Crisis

FMC Owerri, LabourThe Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have given the Federal Government of Nigeria a 21-day ultimatum to resolve the industrial crisis at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Owerri.

The ultimatum is contained in a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole.

The unions asked the government to summon the Chief Medical Director of FMC Oweri, Mrs Angela Uwakwem, to answer the cases she has with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

They claimed that her return to the hospital at a time she was being prosecuted by the EFCC was a violation of the civil service rule.

Reacting to the allegation, the Mrs Uwakwem stated that her accusers cannot be the judges in their own case.

The Federal Government had earlier announced her reinstatement as the substantive Medical Director of FMC Owerri, after about 10 months of stepping aside.

The directive for the recall was contained in a statement issued by the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire.

The government insisted that it has not found Uwakwem guilty of the allegations levelled against her.

The development consequently triggered series of protest by health workers and labour unions at the health institution in Imo State, southeast Nigeria.

The workers vowed not to return to work until their demand was met.

Police Strategise To Avert ‘Ember Months’ Crime In Abia

Police, Imo, Ember Months, CrimePolice have strategically positioned personnel at various entrances into Abia State in southeast Nigeria.

The Abia State Police Command says the development is part of measures to prevent and reduce crime in the state during the ’ember months’.

Addressing personnel in Umuahia, the Commissioner of Police, Mr Adeleye Oyebade, said the deployment would also guarantee travelers and residents’ safety on the highways.

He added that due to influx of people in and out of the state during the period, the efforts put in place would assist in checkmating crime.

Mr Adeleye reassured the people of the state that the police would leave no stone upturned to ensure their safety.

He also urged officials at the command to be diligent, professional and honest in the course of their duty.

NSCDC Officials Rescue Baby Abandoned With A Letter In Abia

Abia NSCDC rescues Abandoned BabyThe Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has rescued an abandoned baby girl in Abia State, southeast Nigeria.

The infant was dropped by the mother with a letter that the baby should not be sold but handed over to motherless babies’ home or any well-meaning Nigerian who can cater for her welfare.

Reacting to the development on Tuesday, the Abia State NSCDC Commandant, Walter Chika, noted that the right of every Nigerian child must be protected.

He revealed that the abandoned child was rescued by the Anti-Traffic Unit of the agency near a health centre in Avodim village in Umuahia South Local Government Area of the state.

Against Child’s Right

The NSCDC Commandant urged young women to ensure that they were ready for child care before engaging in acts that could result into pregnancy.

He stated that abandoning children under the disguise of inability to care for them was a criminal act and against the right of the Nigerian child.

Mr Chika also called on the mother to show sympathy for the child who needed her love.

He disclosed that discussion was ongoing with designated ministry to take responsibility for the child.

FG Launches CBN Rice Anchor Borrowers’ Programme In Imo

Rice Anchor Borrowers' Programme, CBN, ImoThe Federal Government has flagged off the Rice Anchor Borrowers’ Programme in Imo State, to provide farmers with credit facility made available by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The programme was launched on Sunday at the Imo State International Conference Centre in Owerri, the state’s capital in southeast Nigeria.

Governor Rochas Okorocha explained that the aim was to provide food and guarantee food security in the country.

He added that the development was also targeted at empowering the teeming unemployed youths and create the much needed dividends of democracy to the people.

Governor Okorocha called on the people of the state, especially farmers to support the programme, which he described as a “laudable gesture by the CBN”.

He stressed the need for Nigerians to embrace agriculture as Nigeria battles with recession, disclosing that the sum of nine billion Naira has been earmarked to support farmers in the state for the programme.

The Commissioner for Agriculture and Water Resources in the state, Udo Aguoha, also highlighted the benefits of the programme.

The event was witness by the Kebbi State Governor, Sen. Abubakar Bagudu and representatives from the CBN led by the Head of Development Finance, Mrs Nkechi Osuji.

Mrs Osuji revealed that Kebbi State government had already gotten access to 20 billion Naira credit facility on the programme.

With the support, she expressed hope that the state government would harvest at least one million tonnes of locally made rice by the end of 2016.

Governor Bagudu, on his part, corroborated Osuji’s disclosure.

He commended the Federal Government for the intervention programme, saying it would help to cushion the effect of the economic recession in Nigeria.

The Rice Anchor Borrowers’ programme is an initiative of the Federal Government through the CBN and its primary aim is to provide credit facilities to rice farmers.

It is targeted at encouraging local production, reduce rice importation as well as providing food and job security for the citizenry.

Governor Ikpeazu Inspects Waste Dumpsites In Umuahia

Okezie Ikpeazu, Waste, UmuahiaThe Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, has made an inspection visit to some refuse disposal sites within the Umuahia, the state’s capital.

The Governor said the visit was to ensure strict adherence of the roll-out policy and template for environmental waste management in the state in southeast Nigeria.

He expressed displeasure with the indiscriminate waste dumpsites in the Umuahia metropolis.

Governor Ikpeazu said he had decided to put up an intervention to make the waste disappear, as trucks were already seen carting away waste from the streets.

Also during the unscheduled inspection, he engaged the supervisor of the environmental intervention, Otah Ukariwo, in a conversation on the need to keep Abia Sate clean at all times and to clearly understand if there were challenges.

Governor Ikpeazu promised that the state government would support the effort and put all the necessary machinery in place to realise its goal.

On his part, Mr Ukariwo hinted that they have cleared the debris at the Health Centre road, Zone Nine and other areas.

He assured the Governor of an effective waste management in Ehimiri and the World Bank Housing Estate from 5:00 a.m. local time every Sunday or Saturday.

Governor Ikpeazu also took time out to inspect the road rehabilitation at the New Conference Centre at the Government layout in the state’s capital.

Recession: Obiano Suspends Minor Taxes In Anambra

Anambra, Obiano, Taxes, RecessionAnambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, has suspended payment of numerous minor taxes in the state, announcing that the directive will take immediate effect.

In a broadcast at the Governor’s Lodge in Amawbia, southeast Nigeria, he said the decision followed the announcement of the Federal Government that the nation’s economy had gone into recession.

The Governor noted that his administration was aware of the difficulty the economic crisis had posed to the people of the state.

Four Intervention Stimulus

He said the state government had come up with a “four-intervention stimulus package”, to ease the pain of recession and its impact on the people in the grassroots majorly.

Governor Obiano identified the first part of the four key areas of intervention as the “Tax Relief Programme” in which various minor taxes would be suspended.

The second is the “Special Intervention Programmes for Small and Medium Enterprises and Large Enterprises” where the state government, under the Anambra Small Business Agency (ASBA), would provide the agency with a minimum of three billion Naira to lend to SMEs and MSMEs at nine per cent interest rates across key sectors.

Under the third intervention, which is the “Social Intervention Programme”, the government would provide the sum of 3.6 billion Naira to fund the ongoing 20 million Naira “Choose-Your-Project Community Programme” in all the 179 communities in the state.

The last programme is the “Infrastructure Intervention for Job Creation” in which the government would fund the development of 500 hectares of land in all agrarian communities across the three senatorial zones for commercial agricultural purposes among other measures.

Governor Obiano believes that Anambra State has the manpower, the material resources and the willpower to turn the looming despair and suffering to hope and prosperity for its people.

GDP Contracted In second Quarter

Nigeria’s economic recession had become obvious few weeks ago, after a report by the National Bureau of Statistics showed that the Gross Domestic Product had contracted by 2.06% in the second quarter of 2016.

According to the report, the decline has caused the Naira to get weaker while lower oil prices dragged the oil sector down.

The output shrunk by 0.36 in the first quarter.

During the quarter, nominal GDP was 2.73% higher at 23.48 million Naira at basic prices.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) retained all key indicators.

The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, read a communique, announcing decisions reached at its September meeting in the nation’s capital, Abuja.

The committee agreed to keep the Monetary Policy Rate at 14 percent, the Cash Reserve Ratio at 22.50 percent and the Liquidity Ratio at 30 percent.

Police Reveal Approach To Crime Control In Zone Nine

Police, Zone Nine, Hassan KarmaThe Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone Nine, Hassan Karma, has revealed the security strategies to tackle crime within the zone in southeast Nigeria.

He listed the plans to include bringing the police closer to the people, policing with integrity and adopting professionalism among others.

Mr Karma warned that the era of people committing crime in a state and migrating to another state in an attempt to flee from justice was over.

He told a gathering that the Nigeria Police Force had deployed check and balances across Nigeria, to curtail crime.

The Commissioner also noted that efficient crime management had been adopted, as the focal point in community policing.

He added that he was devising amenable ways of establishing and maintaining mutual trust between the citizenry and the police.

Mr Karma reiterated that crime would not be tolerated anymore within the zone and warned that anybody found wanting, regardless of his or her status, would not go unpunished.

He was speaking on Monday at a gathering in Umuahia, the Abia State capital.

The Chairman of Umuahia North Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Philips Ajomuiwe and the Imo State Comptroller of Immigration, Anthonia Opara, expressed delight at the development.

They told Channels Television that they would bring crime down to its minimal level.

Traditional Rulers Join Anambra State’s Economic Diversification Drive

Traditional Rulers on Anambra's economy
Obi of Onitsha, HRM Alfred Achebe

The Anambra State Council of Traditional Rulers say they are determined to contribute their quota in efforts to break the bounds of mono-economy and shift focus to a broadly creative, self-generating and diversified economy in the state.

The monarchs are optimistic that the step taken by the Council would enable them meet the varied needs of their various communities and that of the entire state population.

It was a decision made at their fifth annual seminar held at their Secretariat Complex within the Government House in Awka, the Anambra State capital in southeast Nigeria.

The theme of the discourse was “Diversification of the Nigerian Economy; a Sine Qua Non for Sustainable Socio-Economic Stability and Growth”.

Mechanised And Commercial Agriculture

Addressing the assembly, Governor Willie Obiano, represented by his deputy, Nkem Okeke, proposed industrialisation and agriculture, as the solution to the challenges of depreciating currency, dwindling national Gross Domestic Product and the sharp rise in the suffering of Nigerians.

Mr Okeke, who commended the organisers for their choice of the theme, highlighted the efforts of the government in agriculture.

He reiterated the commitment of the government to pursuing mechanised and commercial agriculture, saying that huge investment has been made in establishing industrial farms in over five communities in the state.

In their various remarks, the former Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife; as well as the Chairman of the Council and Obi of Onitsha, Alfred Achebe, urged the people of the state to develop interest in agriculture and investment.

The Obi of Onitsha further called for conscious effort to be made by all traditional rulers of the 179 communities, to ensure that their subjects key into the vision of the state government in the area of agriculture and industrialisation.