Senate Raises Alarm On Codeine Abuse In Northern Nigeria | “Over 3M Bottles Consumed Daily”

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The Nigerian Senate on Tuesday raised the alarm that the 19 Northern states of the federation were under serious threat due to drug abuse, adding that over three million bottles of codeine syrup were consumed daily in Kano and Jigawa states.

The upper chamber of the National Assemble also revealed that across the 19 states, women, young girls in tertiary institutions, working class ladies, married, unemployed women displaced by Boko Haram insurgency, among others, were involved in drug abuse.

It also said that in 2015 alone, over 2,205 people were arrested in North-West geo-political zone by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, over drug-related abuses.

This revelation was sequel to the adoption of a motion by Senator Baba Kaka Bashir Garbai (APC,Borno) and 37 others on the need to check the rising menace of pharmaceutical drug abuse among youths.

The motion was seconded by Senator Jibrin Barau (APC, Kano).

Garbai said research has shown that abusers of the codeine syrup in Kano and Jigawa states take up to 3 to 8 bottles per day.

He said while the abuse of prescriptive drugs and cough syrups had been thought to be a problem typical in the North-Western part of the country, investigations have shown an incredible spike in drug-abuse in Borno State and the Northeast ravaged by Boko Haram.

“The increasing abuse of cough and prescriptive drugs, among the youth and women across the 19 northern states has resulted in meaningless deaths, rendered them largely unproductive and has devastated many upper and middle class families in the region.

“There are several reports about young girls in tertiary institutions, who have taken to an alarming abuse of the codeine cough syrup, which is often taken, mixed with soft drink. This problem is destroying even mothers in homes, as they use same codeine and other drugs as an escape from their abusive relationships and invariably get hooked on them,” he said.

He said the abuse of cough syrup has become so widespread in recent years, that even secondary school students use them regularly.

“The pharmaceutical drug abuse is threatening a generation of northern Nigerian women including, young girls in tertiary institutions, working class ladies, married women, unemployed women, displaced women from the Boko Haram insurgency,” he said.

Supporting the motion, Senator Aliyu Wamakko said the problem of drug abuse was not peculiar to the north; hence it should be treated as a national menace.

Consequently, the Senate mandated its Joint Committee on Drugs and Narcotics and Health to investigate the growing menace of cough and other prescriptive drugs abuse and report back to the Senate on the needed legislative interventions to combat the trend.

It also urged the Federal Government to partner with states, local governments, traditional rulers, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, NGOs to create a holistic framework in fighting this category of drug abuse.

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BREAKING: Court Orders Permanent Forfeiture Of 56 Houses Belonging To Diezani

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A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos State has ordered the permanent forfeiture of 56 houses linked to a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The directive for the permanent forfeiture of the houses was made earlier today by Justice Abdulaziz Anka.

$90bn Loot: Ex-Minister Diezani Finally Breaks Silence, “I Didn’t Steal Nigeria’s Money”

It is understood that the houses, located in Lagos and Port Harcourt, were allegedly acquired by the ex-minister between 2011 and 2013 using front companies.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission claimed that Diezani paid a whopping $21,982,224 for the properties.

The country’s anti-corruption agency further said that it believed that the funds were proceeds of crime.

Court Orders Permanent Forfeiture Of Diezani’s $37.5m Banana Island Mansion To FG

EFCC Traces N47.2bn, $487.5m In Cash, Properties To Former Oil Minister Diezani

The commission also listed the properties to include 29 terraced houses comprising eight four-bedroomed penthouse apartments, six three-bedroomed apartments, two three-bedroomed maisonettes, two twin bedroomed apartments and one four-bedroom apartment.

In August, the self-acclaimed Area Father and entertainer, Charles Oputa, popularly known as Charly Boy, alongside his #OurMumuDonDo protesters stormed the Head Office of the EFCC in Abuja.

The protest – which is tagged #BringBackDiezaniAlisonMadueke – was to demand the repatriation of a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke from the UK to Nigeria.

The protest came less than two weeks after he led a series of protests to demand that President Muhammadu Buhari either resume office or resign.

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Nigeria To Reintroduce History In Schools From 2018/2019 Academic Session

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The Nigeria Education Research and Development Council (NERDC) has announced that plans are underway to reintroduce History as a subject, beginning from the 2018/2019 academic session.

The NERDC Executive Secretary, Ismail Junaidu, who told the News agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Tuesday that the curriculum is ready, added that the subject would now be a standalone curriculum and would be taught from primary one to JSS III.

Nigeria Plans To Introduce Tourism As Subject In Secondary Schools

It was gathered that the National Council on Education had approved the reintroduction of the subject in July.

The executive secretary said that the NERDC had forwarded a sample of the new curriculum for History to the states to give them ample time to plan ahead of its implementation.

“All states are expected to be sensitised and teachers trained on how to use the curriculum before the implementation can begin.

“We need to give the states ample time to put their house in order before we start implementing the curriculum,” he told NAN.

According to him, History is already in the senior secondary school curriculum.

He said the implementation would only start after the curriculum had been distributed to states.

“We have begun work on the curriculum because the NCE has given the directive, it will soon get to schools.

“The implementation will commence in the next academic session,’’ he assured.

Mr. Junaidu added that the NCE had approved that all efforts should be made to ensure the commencement of History in schools and it will be accomplished.

“By the next academic session (2018/2019), everything will be in place,’ the executive secretary said.

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NNPC Crisis: Kachikwu, Baru Meet, Agree To Strengthen Oil Sector Regulation

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The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu; and the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, appeared to have for a moment on Tuesday set aside their differences to speak about ways to building a stronger and more efficient petroleum industry.

The two industry leaders met at a breakout session at the ongoing 23rd Nigerian Economic Summit and spoke on the controversial Petroleum Industry Bill.

The two top officials have not been best of friends since last week Tuesday after a letter Mr. Kachikwu wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari accusing Mr. Baru of insubordination and corruption surfaced online.

Baru, on the other hand, stirred ripples in the media with his reply in a showdown that seemed unlikely both officials would come together soon.

However, yesterday, the NNPC GMD, who had spoken on the need for a strong independent regulator without any political interference, had an ally in Kachikwu, who agreed that an industry regulator should be insulated from politics.

The minister stated that the government was working to ensure an improved bill that would eventually be passed and meet the aspirations of stakeholders.

He said, “We are still working to make it better. By the time the Senate and the entire National Assembly finishes what they are doing, we are going to see a much stronger and a much larger independent regulator.

“Whatever model of the PIB that we are pushing, the point that Dr. Baru made is very, very key to see an independent regulator with very enormous powers, with less of political interference so that individuals can do their work and also whittling down the powers of the minister so that these institutions can work and work well.

“The reality is that no one will work as a minister forever. You are going to hand over that portfolio. We should be looking for the system surviving and being able to work well. So it’s something that we are working with the National Assembly very hard on and I think if you look at the issues that come up, there is a lot of emphasis on that independence.”

“The Federal Government will develop policies that ensure that the global decline in fossil energy does not take Nigeria unawares. The government is already thinking in that direction. The Federal Government is currently dealing with the fundamentals of ensuring that the refineries work, and ensuring availability of energy sources to meet our day to day energy needs.

“The NNPC will have to take over the commercial aspects, because they are going to be the one deploying it. As the refineries get kitted up, we will continue to look at new fossil development programmes, and will see a need to pump out policies that will enable Nigerians see the advantages in terms of costs.”

Responding to the issues raised on marginal fields, Kachikwu said that the government was determined to ensure transparency in the bidding process.

“These are some of the issues that the Niger Delta communities are always inquiring about; and indeed all Nigerians. The more transparent it is, the better for us. We are developing models to ensure better regulations geared towards transparency in the bidding process, and we will alert Mr. President as soon as we are done,” he added.

Baru had in his remarks on the marginal fields said that only nine out 14 of those who won the last bidding process were operating the fields, adding that the development was not good.

Describing this as “not good enough”, Mr. Baru said he was committed to work closely with the minister to address the concerns and constraints that hindered the remaining five companies from appropriately operating the marginal oil fields.”

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Another Nigerian Killed By South African Police

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The Nigerian mission in South Africa has confirmed the killing of a 25-year-old Nigerian, Mr Ibrahim Olalekan Badmus, a native of Lagos state.

It was gathered that the killing occurred less than a week after Mr Jelili Omoyele, a 35 year –old cellular phone technician was shot dead at Doornfontein, near Johannesburg.

Nigerian Killed In India Over Argument About Biafra

It would be recalled, on August 30, Kingsley Ikeri, from Imo state, was allegedly killed by the police at Vryheid town, in KwaZulu Natal province while being interrogated for alleged possession of drugs.

Shortly after, on September 5, Clement Ofomoa, a 35-year-old businessman from Anambra was reportedly killed by the police at Springs town, near Johannesburg.

Nigeria Protests Killing Of Its Citizens By Policemen In South Africa

While speaking with NAN from Johannesburg, Mr Godwin Adama, Nigeria`s Consul General (CG) in South Africa, said that Badmus was allegedly killed on Tuesday at Vaal Vreneging, near Johannesburg.

 “Information at our disposal said that the deceased was killed by a South African police officer.

“I led a delegation from the mission to visit the scene on receipt of the information. When we arrived the scene, the place was tensed up because Nigerians there were not happy,” he said.

Adama said that the mission intervened and calmed down the situation.

“We immediately met with the Station Commander in the area with some selected Nigerians. The police assured that a thorough investigation would be carried out.

“The investigation will be done by the Independent Police Investigating Department,” he said.

According to the CG, an autopsy will be carried out while investigation on the killing is on.

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Lemi Gharioku And Temple Management Presents Afro-Artbeat Exhibition

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World renowned album artwork illustrator, Lemi Ghariokwu would be commemorating the 20th anniversary of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti with an exhibition tagged Afro-Artbeat.

Organized by foremost creative talent agency, Temple Management Company, the exhibition holds at the African Artist Foundation (AAF), Victoria Island, Lagos on Saturday, October 21 by 3pm.

The event continues same day at The Artisan, Victoria Island from 6pm with a tribute concert and conversation with Lemi Ghariokwu narrating his time with Abami Eda and his journey to creating his masterpieces.

Lemi Gharioku

Lemi Gharioku

A genius in pictorial narration, realism and iconicity, Lemi was responsible for bringing Fela’s passionate words to life through his vivid album artwork, which is said to be rebellious, satirical, political and erotic.

More than his illustrator, Lemi was Fela’s personal friend. Spending countless hours with The Man over the years, they forged a telepathic relationship that allowed Lemi to see what Fela was saying and thus, capture it on album sleeves for the world to also see.

Responsible for 26 Fela album sleeves, Lemi has also lent his talents to the legendary Bob Marley, Lucky Dube, Miriam Makeba, Gilles Peterson and Osita Osadebe to name a few. Starting in the early 80s, he was the consulting album cover designer for Polygram Records in Nigeria for 11 years. This is why in 2004, The Observer Music Magazine, UK, dubbed him “King of Covers.”

Speaking about the event, Lemi Ghariokwu described it as a fitting tribute to a global icon twenty years on. “It is remarkable that the global recognition and respect commanded by late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti has not waned two decades after. I am delighted to align with like minds like Temple Management Company to further the legacy of the man we all called Abami Eda,” he added.

To underscore the relevance of the event, Winifred Okpapi, Art Manager, TMC said, “Lemi Ghariokwu is the genius mind behind classic Fela album covers and the opportunity to present the man and his work to the public, in this year of Fela’s anniversary, was too good to pass up.”

Aside curating art events under its art division known as Temple Arts, TMC also manage a crop of talented artist including Victor Ehikhamenor, Fola David and Logor.

Highlights of the exhibition include a showcase of a select collection of original iconic Fela album covers recommissioned as wall art to be swelled by four new Fela-inspired works of art. A documentary screening about the life of Fela as well as a tribute music concert to feature music, poetry, dance, spoken word and open mic.

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Naira Stabilises At 363/$1 As CBN Funds Forex Market With $195M

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Monday continued its intervention in the interbank foreign exchange (forex) market with the injection of $195 million.

Figures released by the apex bank showed that it offered the total sum of $100 million to the wholesale segment, while the small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) segment received the sum of $50 million.

The invisibles segment, comprising tuition fees, medical payments and Basic Travel Allowance (BTA), among others, received $45 million.

Confirming the figures, the bank’s Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, said the injection was in line with the CBN’s pledge of making the Forex market liquid.

Okorafor reiterated that the bank remained determined to achieve its objective of rates convergence, hence the consistent intervention in the foreign exchange market.

He urged banks to only honour requests from customers with genuine needs, noting that the Bank does not intend to falter in its pledge to ensure liquidity in the forex market.

Meanwhile, the naira continued to maintain its stability in the forex market, exchanging at an average of N363/$1 in the Bureau De Change (BDC) segment of the market on Monday, October 9, 2017.

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Nigerian Navy Begins DSSC 2017 Recruitment For Graduates

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The Nigerian Navy on Tuesday announced that it has commenced the process for the recruitment of suitably qualified Nigerian graduates through the Nigerian Navy Direct Short Service Commission (DSSC) Course 25.

According to the Navy, the guidelines for the enlistment can be accessed on the Nigerian Navy Enlistment Portal www.joinnigeriannavy.com which will be opened on October 11 for interested candidates to apply online.

Interested applicants, who must be Nigerians by birth, should possess a minimum of Second Class Upper Division for first degree holders and Upper Credit for HND holders.

While Male applicants must not be less than 1.68 metres tall, female applicants must not be less than 1.65 metres in height.

Applicants should be between 22 and 28 years by 31 January 2018, except for Imams and Chaplains who should not exceed 30 years by January 31, 2017.

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Aviation Unions Give FG 15 Days Ultimatum To Halt Planned Concession

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The Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and its ally, the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) have given the Federal Government a 15-day ultimatum to halt its planned concession of the four viable airports in the country.

Nigeria Approves Concession Of Lagos, Abuja Airports

The three aviation unions, while giving the ultimatum at a joint news briefing in Lagos on Tuesday, threatened to shut down the aviation industry if government failed to accede to their demands.

The federal government had initiated moves to concession the Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt Airports to enable them meet international standards.

However, the General Secretary of NUATE, Mr Olayinka Abioye, said the ultimatum was the unions’ last resolve to force the Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, to fully involve them in the concession process.

“Immediately at the expiration of the 15 days ultimatum, we are going to shut down the industry.

“We want the minister to talk to us and share ideas with us on what they want to concession and how it will affect our members, “Abioye said.

He maintained that previous concession agreements had not been beneficial as it had ended in series of litigations against the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) before various courts in the country.

Abioye added that the revenue collection points of FAAN such as toll gate, car parks, bill boards, fuel surcharges, shops and VIP lounges were already under concession arrangements, adding that there was nothing left for the concession exercise.

Nigeria Owns No Money To Fund 22 Airports — No Going Back On Concession

He added that the unions were yet to be assured of the fate of the 6,285 staff and 4,124 pensioners of FAAN if the concession of the viable airports was allowed to proceed.

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Buhari Holds Closed Door Meeting With Nigeria’s Service Chiefs

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, held a behind the closed doors meeting service chiefs, Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali; and the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno at the ASo Rock Villa in Abuja.

It is understood that the behind the closed doors meeting, which is presided over by President Buhari, was ongoing as at the time of filing this report.

Also in the meeting are the Director General of the State Security Services, SSS; Lawal Daura, the acting Director of the Nigeria Intelligence Agency, NIA; Arab Yadam, and the representative of the Inspector-General of Police.

The service chiefs at the meeting include Chief of Defence Staff, Gabriel Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas and the Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar.

The purpose of the meeting is yet to be known to pressmen.

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Nigeria Plans To Introduce Tourism As Subject In Secondary Schools

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The federal government of Nigeria has disclosed that plans are underway to introduce tourism as a subject at the senior secondary school level.

Kaduna To Employ 25,000 New Teachers After 21,780 Others Failed “Primary 4 Exam”

Mrs Patricia Narai, Deputy Director, Domestic Tourism in the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.

“The Nigerian Educational Development Council has proposed 34 trades and identified tourism as one of the trades to be thought at the entrepreneurship level.

“So students from SS I to SS III will soon start studying tourism and at that level they can come out victorious and establish a tourism business of their own.

“And they can also further their education on that line.

“What is left now is the approval, and am sure that soon, the curriculum will be out and the students will start studying tourism,” Narai said.

On its impact, the deputy director said the students would be empowered with skills and knowledge on tourism and hospitality.

She maintained that after graduation from secondary school, such a person could become a tour guard, event manager, visa professional or get employment in the tourism and hospitality sector.

“This is because he or she would have acquired the needed skills and knowledge to effectively carry out responsibilities that will encourage tourists and boost the positive image of the country.”

On getting the propose tourism subject into Joint Admission and Matriculation Board Examination, she explained that it would be a gradual process.

“We have done the curriculum, when it is approved, the teachers guide will follow to enable them know what they are going to teach and subsequently it will go into JAMB and NECO examinations.

“The essence of this is to catch them young; by the time tourism is studied in all senior secondary schools across the country, it will go a long way to produce large workforce for the sector,” Narai said.

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Kachikwu’s Allegations: NUPENG, PENGASSAN Pledge Support For NNPC GMD Baru

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The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), on Monday pledged unalloyed support for the transformation stride of the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru.

The unions in the oil and gas sector made the pledge in Abuja, according to a statement by Ndu Ughamadu, NNPC Group General Manager Group Public Affairs Division.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, had accused Mr. Baru of flouting contractual agreements, creating a fear culture in the corporation and insubordination among others.

In his reaction to the allegations yesterday, Mr. Ughamadu, however, said the minister’s allegations were not true as due process had been followed in the corporation’s various activities.

Mr. Ughamadu said at a solidarity visit to the GMD, the National President of PENGASSAN, Francis Johnson, said the unions and its members considered it appropriate to rally round Baru and the NNPC Management to pledge their support.

“The unions’ support for the GMD was based on his ability to walk his talk since assuming office last year.

“The National body of PENGASSAN and all the NNPC in-house unions are here today to show our support for you.

”You have brought stability to the NNPC and we are happy today that staff morale is high. You were Chairman of NNPC Anti-Corruption Committee for over five years and that was what informed your appointment as GMD of NNPC.”

The PENGASSAN President also called on Nigerians to be cautious of their comments on the controversy, adding that any wrong information was capable of discouraging investors from the oil and gas industry which is the highest foreign exchange earner.

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LAUTECH: ASUU Rejects One-Month Salary After Being Owed For 12 Months

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other workers’ unions at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, (LAUTECH) have rejected the resolve by the school’s Governing Council to pay workers only one month’s salary out of the 12 months being owed.

The Chairman of the Joint Action Committee of the university, Alhaji Muraina Alesinloye, who led workers to the meeting held between the JAC and the Governing Council, said the workers insisted that the university should pay at least three months’ salaries.

The Chairman of the Governing Council of the university, Prof. Oladapo Afolabi, who doubles a former Head of Service of the Federation and was represented at the meeting by a member of the council, Prof. Olaide Adedokun, was quoted to have said that the council had approved the payment of one month salary to all workers through cheques.

Alesinloye said the JAC, which comprised the Senior Staff Union of Universities, the Non-Academic Staff Union and National Association of Academic Technicians, also said their members would not collect their salaries via cheques.

He said, “The Governing Council held a meeting with us today Monday and Prof. Adedokun, who represented the Chairman of the Council, Prof. Oladapo Afolabi, said the council had agreed to pay us one month’s salary now and pay another month on October 20 and pay the third month before the end of October.

“But we said no. They are owing us 12 months’ salaries and the people, who have been selling things to us on credit, are now insisting that we should pay what we are owing because government had paid us six months’ salaries.”

In September, the management of LAUTECH had directed the lecturers, workers and the students of the university to resume after over eight months’ forced holiday.

After the directive, the workers’ unions in the university said they were not aware of the resumption of the institution, which was then scheduled for Friday, September 15, and as such would not obey the directive of the university authorities.

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Kaduna To Employ 25,000 New Teachers After 21,780 Others Failed “Primary 4 Exam”

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The Kaduna State Government has unveiled plans to employ 25,000 new primary school teachers as parts of efforts to restore dignity and quality to its education sector.

This is after about 21,780 out of 33,000 teachers failed the primary four test administered to test their competence by the State government.

Governor Nasir el-Rufai of the State made this known on Monday when he received a World Bank delegation in his office in Kaduna.

He explained that the recruitment is now necessary due to the acute shortage of qualified primary school teachers in the state.

The governor stated that his administration would disengage about 20,000 unqualified primary school teachers to restore confidence in public schools.

His words: “We tested our 33,000 primary school teachers, we gave them primary four exams and required they must get at least 75 per cent but am sad to announce that 66 per cent of them failed to get the requirements.

“The hiring of teachers in the past was politicized and we intend to change that by bringing in young and qualified primary school teachers to restore the dignity of education in the state.”

He stressed that teachers would be redeployed across the state to balance the issue of teacher-pupil ratio.

“We have a challenge with the teacher-pupil ratio in the urban schools; there is concentration of teachers that are not needed.

‘’In some LGAs, it’s a teacher pupil ratio of 1-9 while in some places it’s 1-100,” he said.

The governor said that in a bid to improve the education sector, the school Directors decided to enroll their children in public schools starting from this academic session.

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Kaduna To Employ 25,000 New Teachers After 21,780 Others Failed “Primary 4 Exam”

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The Kaduna State Government has unveiled plans to employ 25,000 new primary school teachers as parts of efforts to restore dignity and quality to its education sector.

This is after about 21,780 out of 33,000 teachers failed the primary four test administered to test their competence by the State government.

Governor Nasir el-Rufai of the State made this known on Monday when he received a World Bank delegation in his office in Kaduna.

He explained that the recruitment is now necessary due to the acute shortage of qualified primary school teachers in the state.

The governor stated that his administration would disengage about 20,000 unqualified primary school teachers to restore confidence in public schools.

His words: “We tested our 33,000 primary school teachers, we gave them primary four exams and required they must get at least 75 per cent but am sad to announce that 66 per cent of them failed to get the requirements.

“The hiring of teachers in the past was politicized and we intend to change that by bringing in young and qualified primary school teachers to restore the dignity of education in the state.”

He stressed that teachers would be redeployed across the state to balance the issue of teacher-pupil ratio.

“We have a challenge with the teacher-pupil ratio in the urban schools; there is concentration of teachers that are not needed.

‘’In some LGAs, it’s a teacher pupil ratio of 1-9 while in some places it’s 1-100,” he said.

The governor said that in a bid to improve the education sector, the school Directors decided to enroll their children in public schools starting from this academic session.

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PHOTOS: Amb. Karo Ekewenu Gives Back To The Entertainment Industry

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The United Nations Ambassador on Sustainable Development Goals, Amb. Karo Ekewenu has extended his youth empowerment program to the entertainment industry.

The empowerment program called Ambaville Artist Challenge was launched on Instagram (@ambaville) and has emerged with its first set of winners.

The winners emerged from different sects of the industry ranging from Makeup, Visual Arts, Film and Music.

All 5 winners were hosted to a dinner with Amb. Karo Ekewenu (Chairman, Ambaville Group) and his team.

Amb. Karo started his first empowerment program 11years ago to help entrepreneurs kick start their business and has disbursed a total of N47,000,000 million.

In 2015, he bagged the prestigious Nigerian Entertainment Award in New York as Entertainment Supporter of the year.

He extended the program to social media via his Instagram page (@karowenu) in 2015 via the Startup Fund Challenge (#AmbKaroGiveBack) where 6 winners won N1,000,000 each.

The next empowerment program will be announced soon.

See more photos below:

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PHOTOS: Amb. Karo Ekewenu Gives Back To The Entertainment Industry

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The United Nations Ambassador on Sustainable Development Goals, Amb. Karo Ekewenu has extended his youth empowerment program to the entertainment industry.

The empowerment program called Ambaville Artist Challenge was launched on Instagram (@ambaville) and has emerged with its first set of winners.

The winners emerged from different sects of the industry ranging from Makeup, Visual Arts, Film and Music.

All 5 winners were hosted to a dinner with Amb. Karo Ekewenu (Chairman, Ambaville Group) and his team.

Amb. Karo started his first empowerment program 11years ago to help entrepreneurs kick start their business and has disbursed a total of N47,000,000 million.

In 2015, he bagged the prestigious Nigerian Entertainment Award in New York as Entertainment Supporter of the year.

He extended the program to social media via his Instagram page (@karowenu) in 2015 via the Startup Fund Challenge (#AmbKaroGiveBack) where 6 winners won N1,000,000 each.

The next empowerment program will be announced soon.

See more photos below:

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Kachikwu, Baru And The NNPC Debacle

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Kachikwu, Baru And The NNPC Debacle – Reuben Abati

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The current NNPC debacle is probably the most embarrassing, even if mercifully, eye-opening crisis in the history of that nationally strategic institution since its creation in 1977. I seek in the following commentary to offer a number of observations that would probably throw some light on the muck and confusion running riot out there on the matter. In my view, it was an error to have paired the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Maikanti Baru, with Dr Ibe Kachikwu.

I say this for two reasons. When Dr Ibe Kachikwu was appointed the GMD in charge of the NNPC and as Minister of State in 2015, it looked like a dream appointment and an extraordinary career point for him but not necessarily for the sector. Dr Kachikwu did not hesitate to assert himself and in his attempt to reform the NNPC, one of the victims was a certain Dr Maikanti Baru, most senior Executive Director at the NNPC, who was redeployed under the new dispensation as a Technical Adviser in the Ministry of Petroleum. This was like sending Baru to desert territory of the oil and gas sector. How the same Baru eventually got rehabilitated as GMD of the NNPC, to work with the same man who had tried to marginalize him within the system was a poor demonstration of an understanding of human psychology.

It was common knowledge that there was no love lost between the two men, and yet someone thought it was a good idea to force them to work together as a team. Leadership failed at that point, because the arrangement was not going to work. The Ministry of Petroleum and NNPC that emerged at that point was built on a fulcrum of conflict of personality and interest. The key players in the oil and gas sector can only work together as a team if they must reduce the opaqueness and conflicts in that sector, but the pairing of Kachikwu and Baru practically showed a lack of understanding. The crisis that has now erupted between both men was foreseeable, and I dare say, avoidable. Where is the wisdom in forcing two persons who have shown open dislike for each other to work together?

But let us consider the other level of the conflict: and that is the conflict of interest. One major issue in the oil and gas industry, over the years has been the uneasy relationship between the Ministry of Petroleum and the International Oil Companies (IOCs). The Ministry of Petroleum through its parastatals, the NNPC, and more particularly, NAPIMS, regulates the IOCs. Nonetheless, the relationship between the regulator and the IOCs has always been like that between the cat and the mouse. Civil servants not just in the NNPC but elsewhere within the government have a penchant to want to work with their own.

Political appointees are treated with suspicion, as wayfarers, as the civil servants seek to protect their own territory. The battle for territory in the Nigerian government is one of the most vicious fights in the corridors of power. So it has been that in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria, every attempt to appoint an IOC-associated person as head of the NNPC or other parastatals under the Ministry of Petroleum has always resulted in the equivalent of street fights.

Under President Olusegun Obasanjo, Edmund Daukoru and Funso Kupolokun could not forge a seamless relationship even if Daukoru spent only five months or so in that position. Diezani Allison-Madueke was also from the IOCs (in her case Shell) and obviously, she had issues with NNPC and Ministry officials. She had an advantage though: no GMD of NNPC would dare stand up to her, or by-pass her.

The belief within the Ministry of Petroleum system is that Ministerial appointees from the IOCs have interests that are different from their own traditions. President Buhari made the matter worse by making Kachikwu, an IOC man, from Exxon Mobil, GMD and Minister of State of Petroleum. On the surface of it, the impression was created that he could generate policies as he deemed fit, enjoy direct access to the Minister of Petroleum and gain the authorization to implement the same policies as he liked. From day one, Kachikwu was thus a marked man within the Ministry of Petroleum system. It will be naïve to assume that it is only Maikanti Baru that is fighting him. It will be safer to assume that it is the establishment that is trying to cut him down to size. If you doubt that, then check the history of the system: most of the former Ministers of Petroleum that managed to do well are not even from the system but complete outsiders. Caught in the middle of this conflict, Kachikwu does not want to take the matter lying low. He is fighting back. I’ll comment on whether that is a smart or clever move anon.

I think the other problem signposted so far in this matter, is the role of the Minister of State and the substantive Minister and how power and responsibility are delegated along the reporting lines. The related issue is access to the delegating authority. What we know is that the Minister of State in the Nigerian system has always faced difficulties. He or she occupies the same space in the power spectrum similar to that of a Deputy Governor, even if he or she does not have any Constitutional right of succession, in the event of the death or impeachment of the substantive officer.

So serious is this matter that when certain Ministers of State were treated shabbily in the past they had to protest, and force the issue. The Nigerian Constitution, in line with the Federal Character Principle, says there must be a Minister from every state of the Federation. Since it would make no sense to have 36 Federal Ministries, some Ministers end up as Deputy Ministers, but in reality, they are expected to report to a substantive Minister representing another state! The result has been nothing but conflict.

Under President Umaru Yar’Adua, the then Secretary to the Federal Government had to issue a memo dividing functions and responsibilities between Ministers and Ministers of State. Under President Goodluck Jonathan, there were three Ministers in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs representing different states of the Federation: their functions had to be spelt out to avoid conflict. This was also done in the Ministry of Health between Onyebuchi Chukwu and Muhammed Ali Pate, but one of the unwritten reasons why Pate eventually left the government was that he didn’t like the assigned role of a subordinate.
At a time, not even Rilwan Lukman and Odein Ajumogobia could work together. In Kachikwu’s case, he faced a humiliating situation whereby the GMD of a parastatal under his Ministry seemed to have better access to the substantive Minister and President. For months, the Minister of State could not access his principal, but the GMD of NNPC could, and that must have made him feel really bad. The truth is that the oil and gas sector is Nigeria’s honey pot and every GMD of NNPC has always enjoyed both official and unofficial access to the President. As I said earlier, only Diezani Allison-Madueke could keep her NNPC GMDs in effective check. If they stepped out of line, they lost their job.

Nonetheless, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria does not have to be the Minister of Petroleum of Nigeria. At face value, the President seeing that the oil and gas sector is the honey pot of Nigeria may want to supervise it directly. Oil generates close to 80% of Nigeria’s foreign exchange. Even a President who does not hold on to that portfolio will be tempted to keep a close eye on that. In President Buhari’s case, he had been a Minister of Petroleum in the past and chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund. All of this when new players in the industry were in kindergarten class, and so it can be assumed that he knows much about the industry. But the President being the Minister of Petroleum creates exactly the kind of crisis that we are witnessing. The President is the final authority.

Whoever is appointed Minister of Petroleum Resources exercises in any case, delegated authority. Both the Petroleum Act and the NNPC Act further vests authority in the Minister of Petroleum Resources exercising delegated authority. When the President combines the positions of President, Minister of Petroleum and Chairman of the Executive Council, and memos by all Ministers are to be processed through the Council, the President turns himself in the case of the Petroleum Ministry into a mini-god over Nigeria’s honeypot. If the President acting as Minister presents a Memo to Council, it is most unlikely that anyone among his own appointees will oppose that memo.

The memo ordinarily receives automatic approval, no matter how it may be. NNPC GMDs from Obasanjo’s time have tried to exploit this, when given that advantage, and it is why the NNPC’s response to Ibe Kachikwu now in the public domain is so troubling. Baru quotes the law. He insists that he has followed due process in all that he has done. He merely exploits the loopholes within the system that work perfectly in his favour under the present arrangement.

In his opportunistic statement released yesterday, he quotes NNPC’s alleged fidelity to the Procurement Act, and why and how the NNPC Group Executive Council does not have to report to a Minister of State, but the Minister or the Federal Executive Council. Mr Baru should be told that due process is not the only issue raised in Dr Kachikwu’s memo. He raised issues about the appointment and deployment of NNPC Executives and the appointment of COOs. Is that part of the mandate of the BPP? So, why should we have a Board that cannot perform oversight functions? The truth is that in many government departments, the chief executives often undermine the Board, especially if they are as powerful as an NNPC GMD who wields enormous influence and goodwill, as he wishes. On his part, Dr Kachikwu himself ruins his own case when he begins to talk about his being pro-North and his father having served in the North. What is that all about? It is completely immaterial. When a serving Minister begins to justify his own Nigerianness on the grounds of being pro-north, then we get closer to the root of the problem with Nigeria. Is Kachikwu also trying to play smart, to protect himself strategically?

Kachikwu and Baru have created a significant mess in the petroleum industry due to their own conflicts. With due respect, that is the truth and the situation. It is a conflict that must be resolved in the national interest and the buck for doing that stops at the President’s table. This particular conflict, and other intra-governmental conflicts before now, almost becoming recurring decimals: EFCC vs NIA, DSS vs. EFCC, Babachir Lawal and NIA probe, the Senate and the Inspector General of Police, have altogether dramatized to the international community cracks within this administration, and a growing governance crisis. President Buhari has a responsibility to rescue his administration from the same odium that has often compromised Nigeria’s most strategic revenue sector. So far, he has not done so, and his failure will be remembered appropriately, if not now, then at the right time. It is tragic.

The National Assembly also probably has a role to play, beyond claiming it would look into the allegations that have been raised. The Senate has since separated the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill into three sections. It has passed the Administrative Section. But it would appear that the key issues in that industry would be both the Fiscal Regime and the local community frameworks. Administrative reform is not enough, and may even cause more serious problems such as we are witnessing. However, more probing questions have to be asked for the benefit of the divided public: how many NNPC contracts have been tabled before the FEC in the last two years, and what is their status? There is more to this matter than we know.

This piece was written by Reuben Abati. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.

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31 Cases Recorded As Monkeypox Spreads To 7 Nigerian States

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said that 31 suspected cases of monkeypox have so far been reported in seven states across the country.

The National Coordinator/Chief Executive Officer of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, made this known on Monday in Abuja.

2 Cases Recorded As Monkeypox Spreads To Lagos

According to him, following the notification of a suspected monkey pox outbreak on Sept. 22, 2017 in Bayelsa, other suspected cases have been reported from six more states.

He listed the affected states as Bayelsa, Rivers, Ekiti, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Ogun and Cross Rivers.

Panic As Monkeypox Spreads To Akwa Ibom

Ihekweazu said that samples had been collected from each suspected case for laboratory confirmation.

“Results are still being awaited. So far, there have been no deaths recorded.

“It is unlikely that many of the suspected cases are actually monkey pox, but all are being investigated.

“All the suspected cases are currently receiving appropriate medical care, and the patients are all improving clinically in their various states,’’ he said.

The NCDC national coordinator said that the Federal Ministry of Health, through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), was supporting the affected states to ensure the outbreak is brought under control and to limit further spread.

“NCDC has activated an Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) to coordinate the outbreak investigation and response across the affected states.

“The EOC is currently supporting State Ministries of Health in their response to the outbreak through active case finding, epidemiological investigation and contact tracing.

“Measures have been put in place to ensure effective sample collection and testing for laboratory confirmation.

“Risk communication activities have been heightened to advise the public on preventive measures. All 36 States and the FCT have been notified for preparedness,’’ he said.

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Aisha Buhari Slams Nigeria’s Healthcare, Aso Rock Clinic

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Nigeria’s First Lady, Aisha Buhari, on Monday publicly slammed the health care delivery system in the country, even has she reserved special criticism for the State House Clinic, which she said lacks basic equipment for medicare.

Aisha, the wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, also called for a probe of the budget utilisation at the clinic.

She made this known at the opening of a two-day stakeholders meeting on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn Child, Adolescent Health and Nutrition (RMNCAH and N) held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

Her daughter Zahra Buhari had last week taken to her Instagram page to carpet the Permanent Secretary of the State House, Jalal Arabi, for his inability to provide even Paracetamol tablets to the clinic despite a budget of N3 billion for the provision of drugs to the hospital.

However, Mrs. Buhari said she recently fell ill and was advised to travel to London for treatment, but she refused.

Her words: “I would like to be realistic to say a few words concerning health delivery system in Nigeria. It is very poor, sorry to say that.

“I am happy that the MD of Aso Clinic is here. Dr Manir, I am happy that you are here.

“As you are aware for the past six months Nigeria was not stable because of my husband’s ill health.

“We thank God that he has fully recovered now.

“If somebody like Mr President can spend several months outside Nigeria, you wonder what will happen to a common man on the street in Nigeria.

“Few weeks ago I was sick as well; they advised me to take a first flight to London; I refused to go.

“I said I must be treated in Nigeria because there is a budget for an assigned clinic to take care of us.

“If the budget was N100 million, we need to know the way the budget is spent.

“And along the line I insisted; they called Aso clinic to find out if their X-ray machine was working, they said it was not working; they didn’t know that I was the person that was to be at that hospital at that very time.

“I had to go to a hospital that was established by foreigners in and out 100 per cent.

“What does that mean?’’

“I think it is high time for us to do the right thing.’’

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BREAKING: 2 Cases Recorded As Monkeypox Spreads To Lagos

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The Lagos State Government on Monday announced that two suspected cases of Monkeypox have been recorded in the state.

Speaking at a news conference earlier today, the State commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, said that the two suspected cases were currently under observation in health facilities in the state, The Punch reports.

He specifically said no confirmation has been made of the two cases but both are currently being investigated.

“Though no confirmed case has been recorded, there is need to sensitise members of the public and provide adequate information on measures for prevention and control of the disease in line with the policy of the State government,” he said.

Yesterday, the Federal Government described as fake and sinister a report that the outbreak of Monkeypox in Bayelsa State resulted from a free medical care exercise it allegedly administered in some parts of the Niger Delta.

Panic As Monkeypox Spreads To Akwa Ibom

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a statement in Abuja, said Nigerians should disregard the report which, the federal government said was apparently being spread by some unscrupulous persons to fit into a sinister agenda.

He had said: ”The Federal Government has not conducted any free medical service or care in either Bayelsa or Rivers state, as alleged in the fake report being circulated. So that could not have been the cause of the outbreak of Monkey Pox in both states.

“Monkey Pox is a virus found only in monkeys and it is rare in human beings. It belongs to the same family as Chicken Pox and Smallpox.

”It is suspected that someone may have contacted it by eating monkey meat, thus triggering the current outbreak.”

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Issues Arising From Dr. Ibe Kachukwu’s Leaked Letter

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Issues Arising From Dr. Ibe Kachukwu’s Leaked Letter, By Femi Falana

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The people of Nigeria were surprised last week to read the embarrassing petition of the minister of state in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu, addressed to President Buhari pertaining to his inability to consult with the president and substantive minister of Petroleum Resources, and the unilateral award of $25 billion contracts by Mr. Maikanti Baru, the group managing director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Although it was reported that Dr. Kachukwu has since been given access to the president, the details of the discussions between the duo have not been made public. However, apart from sanctioning the officers responsible for creating the wide gulf between Dr. Kachukwu and the president, the allegation of the unilateral award of contracts worth $25 billion by Dr. Baru ought to be investigated in line with the anti corruption policy of the Buhari administration.

Kachikwu Writes Buhari; Accuses NNPC GMD Baru Of Insubordination

In order to conduct a thorough investigation into the grave allegations of the reckless contravention of the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, Mr. Baru should be placed on indefinite suspension while the Presidency should refer the case to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. And once it is confirmed that the said $25 billion contracts were awarded without the approval of the NNPC Board they should be revoked while the recent appointment of the heads of the parastatals in the oil and gas industry should be reviewed in line with the Constitution and the Federal Character Commission Act.

Curiously, the Presidency has demanded for the minutes of the meetings of the NNPC Board. This demand has confirmed that the meetings of the Board, which are statutory required to be chaired by the minister of Petroleum Resources have not been held as and when due. More importantly, the demand has corroborated that aspect of Dr. Kachukwu’s petition alleging that the powers of the Board have been usurped by Dr. Baru. Therefore, the petition should provide an opportunity for the resident to reorganise the NNPC with a view to ensuring that it is publicly owned in a manner that the Board is constituted by accredited representatives of the oil producing commnunities and credible civil society groups, including the trade unions in the oil and gas industry.

Having regard to the enormous responsibilities of the office of the minister of Petroleum Resources and chairman of the NNPC Board, President Buhari is advised to relinquish the ministerial position in view of his busy schedule and appoint another Nigerian of proven integrity and competence to superintend the affairs of the Ministry. If this advice is accepted in good faith and acted upon without any delay, it would remove undue pressure on the health of the president and allow him to attend to other urgent matters of State.

Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), writes from Lagos.

This piece was written by Femi Falana. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.

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How Police Foiled Evans Plot To Escape From Custody

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A plot by Kidnap kingpin, Onwumadike Chukwudumeme, also known as Evans, to escape from his prison cell, before his arraignment in court, was thwarted by detectives of the Nigerian Police Force.

The Nation reports that the plot was aborted by police detectives, especially those in the Intelligence Unit, while the Nigerian Prison Service (NPS) has formed a heavy security ring around the suspect.

Evans: Notorious Kidnap Kingpin Leads Police To Detention Camps, “Where He Kept His Victims”

Evans, who is being held at Kirikiri prison, has pleaded guilty to the kidnapping charges leveled against him.

But while in custody in Abuja, the suspect had reportedly attempted escaping, before he was transferred to Lagos.

It was gathered that Evans allegedly attempted to give between $50,000 and $100,000 to one of the guards manning his cell to facilitate his escape.

A source privy to the development told the news outlet that Evans was allegedly coordinating his escape bid with some members of his gang by telephone which he obtained through “suspicious” means.

Kidnap Kingpin Evans May Get Death Penalty, Life Imprisonment As Ambode Signs Bill To Law

It was learnt that intelligence officers and IGP’s Special Tactical Squad detected his plot.

The source said: “When Evans was in our custody, he tried to escape but we were able to abort all his plans. We discovered that he had access to phones which were hidden in the middle of loaves of bread, eba, semovita and so on.

“He was making calls from these smuggled phones in the middle of the night, making arrangements with some yet to be identified members of his gang to arrange for his escape.

“We intercepted how he was luring one of the guards with about  $50,000 to $100,000. He wanted an insider to serve as informant to him and members of his gang.”

360nobs earlier gathered that Evans may be sentenced to death or get life imprisonment after the Lagos state Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode signed into law, the state kidnapping prohibition bill, 2016 which prescribes life imprisonment or death penalty for the offence of Kidnapping and forceful extortion in Lagos State.

Literally, the bill – which was passed by the Lagos State House of Assembly on January 5 – provides death penalty for kidnappers whose victims die in their custody, and life imprisonment for the act of kidnapping.

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JUST IN: 10 Feared Dead As Gunmen Invade Community In Rivers

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At least 10 persons have been feared dead after a group of gunmen stormed Mgbosimiri, Agip axis of Port Harcourt in Rivers State in the early hours of Monday.

The incident, which happened at about 4am, caused panic in the community as nobody could state the reason for the attack.

It was gathered that a couple died of gunshot injuries during the raid.

Confirming the incident, the State Police Public Relations Officers, Mr. Nnamdi Omoni, however said details about the killings were still hazy.

He, however, assured that the police will do everything possible to get the perpetrators.

Details later…

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Open Drug Market To Be Shut Permanently By December 2018 – FG Insists

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The federal government has insisted that all open drug markets in Nigeria will be permanently shut by December 31, 2018.

This is just as it said it will be introducing drug Coordinated Wholesale Centres nationwide to check the menace of falsified medical products in the country.

The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, stated this in Lagos during a stakeholders’ workshop organised by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in collaboration with the World Health Organisation  (WHO) on ‘The prevention, Detection and Response of Substandard and Falsified medical Products.’

In August, Adewole had first announced the decision when he visited the site for the construction of a Pharmaceutical Coordinated Wholesale Centre at Oba, near Onitsha in Anambra.

However, he said the new measures were designed to allow drugs to be sourced directly from importers or manufacturers down to the end users instead of buying drugs from the open drug markets.

According to him, the FMOH had developed the National Drug Distribution Guidelines, (NDDG) in 2012 to address the unsatisfactory chaotic drug distribution system of the country.

“Coordinated Wholesale Centres to accommodate open market medicines sellers have been approved and are being developed in Lagos, Onitsha, Aba and Kano and will commence operation by January 1, 2019.

“Medicine is an important component of healthcare delivery service and without the infusion of medicines; the health care service delivery system of a nation is sterile.

“A good-quality medicine supply system is essential for healthcare delivery. There is a special need to prevent therapeutic drug falsification in order to safeguard against health and maintain trust in healthcare system. The overall scale of trading in medicine and the resultant harm done to global health has not been adequately accessed,” he said.

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