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Reps to meet FG agencies, seek development of traditional medicine

The House of Representatives has resolved to seek how Nigeria can develop traditional and alternative medicine towards improving health care service delivery in the country.

At the plenary on Thursday, the House especially mandated its Committees on Healthcare Services, Health Institutions, Appropriations, Finance, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring, Science and Technology, Labour and Productivity and the Committee on COVID–19 to liaise with the Federal Ministries of Health; Industry Trade and Investment; Labour and Productivity; and Science and Technology to “devise strategies towards strengthening and developing alternative healthcare delivery in the country and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.”

The move is based on a motion moved by Balarebe Kakale, titled ‘Need to Strengthen Traditional and Alternative Medicine for Sustainable Health Care Delivery in Nigeria.’

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Kakale, in the motion, noted that the global outbreak of COVID–19 had exposed the disproportionate burden of Nigeria’s over–dependence on imported medical, pharmaceuticals, devices, equipment and other related health services.

The lawmaker said there is an “overwhelming increase” in awareness for locally–sourced health solutions in the country, with more Nigerians demanding health care services that are local, homegrown, organic, close, conveniently accessible and affordable.

He said, “The House is concerned that failure to strengthen and adequately utilise alternative medical practices in the country undermines the sustainability of the domestic structures, denies Nigerians the opportunity to test their usefulness in the prevention and cure of various ailments, and leads to waste of resources.

“The House is aware that evidence has shown that Nigeria, in particular, has a plethora of medicinal plants scientifically proven to have immense health benefits but the country has failed to effectively use them.

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“The House is also concerned that the lack of a sustainable domestic approach to healthcare delivery has resulted in a weak healthcare system in the country especially in efforts towards combatting COVID–19 and other epidemics.

“The House is worried that the overdependence on foreign medicine has created a lacuna in Nigeria’s healthcare system, thus limiting access to other effective forms of treatment and leaving citizens vulnerable to various diseases.”

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COVID-19: US announces second case of Omicron variant

Health authorities in the midwestern US state of Minnesota announced Thursday they had found another case of the Omicron variant on American soil, this time in a man with no known recent international travel history.

Like the first identified US case in California, the patient was vaccinated, and had mild symptoms from which he has now recovered.

He returned to the Minneapolis area from an anime convention in New York City, held November 19-21, before developing symptoms on November 22 and getting tested two days later.

“This news is concerning, but it is not a surprise,” Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said in a statement, hailing his state’s genomic sequencing and virus testing efforts.

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The fact that the man had not recently come back from another country signals that the variant is circulating inside the United States, which epidemiologists had expected, despite Washington’s decision to ban entry to travelers from several southern African nations.  

The case was made public a day after the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) announced the first confirmed US case, a fully vaccinated traveler who had recently returned from South Africa and was recovering from mild symptoms.

US health authorities are urging everyone above the age of five to get vaccinated, and to get boosted once they are eligible. 

Scientists hope lab testing will soon reveal the extent to which Omicron evades the protective action of vaccines, but expect they will remain at least partially effective, especially against severe disease. 

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Top US government scientist Anthony Fauci said Wednesday that past experience had shown boosters were a good idea because they raise the number of overall antibodies in a person’s immune system, some of which will remain effective at stopping new variants.

“Our experience with variants such as the Delta variant, is that even though the vaccine isn’t specifically targeted to the Delta variant, when you get a high enough level of an immune response, you get spillover protection,” he said.

AFP

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2023: I will not impose my successor on Rivers, says Wike

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, on Thursday, said he would not impose any governorship aspirant of his choice on the people of Rivers come 2023.

Wike gave the assurance in a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, in Port Harcourt.

He assured that the leadership of the party would meet to decide who to support at the appropriate time.

Wike, however, said that he is obliged to ensure that the Peoples Democratic Party wins the 2023 governorship election in Rivers.

“One mistake I will not make is to impose somebody. From my experience as a student of history, reality has shown that it is difficult for you to say Joseph is the man I can trust.

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”Until you give somebody power and money, that is only when you will know whether that person is trustworthy or not,” he said.

Wike stated that God would not allow someone who will destroy all the remarkable progress the state had made over the years to be the next governor.

”God will ensure that it is only someone who is courageous, firm and ready to protect the interest of Rivers that will succeed me.

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“Rivers is a state that so many people have interest in. It is a state that you have to put your feet on the ground. It is a state that you have to annoy a lot of Nigerians and a lot of Nigerians will hate you.

“But what is important is for you to know is what is good for your people and stand for your people. Do not allow personal interest to sway you against the interest of your people,” Wike stated.

(NAN)

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Buhari mourns former Senate President, Wayas

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has sent his condolences to the family of former Senate President, Joseph Wayas, 80, on the passing of the legislator, whose influence and contributions to Nigeria’s democracy remain indelible.

Buhari’s condolence message is contained in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, titled ‘President Buhari mourns former Senate President, Joseph Wayas.’

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According to Adesina, the President notes the sacrifices of Wayas, who started taking up leadership responsibilities at an early age, turning a Senate President at 38, and remaining vibrant and dynamic in mentoring leaders long after he retired from politics.

Buhari, therefore, joined the National Assembly, Government and people of Cross River State, his friends and associates in mourning the loss, believing his legacies will be approximated for posterity.

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He prayed that his soul would find rest with the Lord.

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Pictorial: PDP national leaders in closed-door meeting at Orji Kalu’s Abuja residence

National leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party on Thursday visited the Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu, at his residence in Abuja.

The Orji Uzor Kalu Media Team shared photos of the closed-door meeting with The PUNCH.

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See photos below:

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Gombe farmers decry low budgetary allocation, say food crisis looms

The Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria, Gombe State chapter, has said the state is on the cusp of a food crisis because of the challenges of COVID-19 and poor budgetary allocation to agriculture.

The group made this disclosure on Thursday, during a media briefing on the findings of an analysis on the 2022 proposed budget, organised by Hope Foundation for the Lonely with support from ActionAid Nigeria.

Speaking on behalf of SWOFON, acting Chairman, Budget Committee, Yahaya Atiku, lauded the Gombe State Government for allocating N40m to the group, while urging for its timely release.

He noted that in the past, funds allocated for SWOFON were not released, adding that analyses of previous budgets showed that performance had been very poor in terms of release.

The statement partly read, “We deem it fit to comment on the budgetary allocation proposed to Agriculture in the State. This became very necessary, as a result of the current situation of looming food crisis in the State and in Nigeria due to the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic that has nearly crippled all sectors of the economy.

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“Agriculture is the major occupation of the people of Gombe and forms the main part of its economy. There are many farm products from Gombe State notably; rice, groundnut, maize, sorghum and cowpea.

“Nigeria is a signatory to and is recommitted to providing at least 10% of its annual Budget to Agriculture in the 2014 Malabo Declaration and as such upholding the commitment especially as the country is facing insecurity and the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The Governor, Yahaya Inuwa, had presented 154.6BN to the State Assembly with Agriculture getting less than 2.48 per cent less from the Malabo declaration.

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SWOFON noted that with the foregoing it would be a tall order to eliminate hunger by 2025.

Atiku said, “Based on the findings and observations from this analysis, one of serious note is that, the monetary allocation to the Agricultural Sector has decreased for the period 2021 to 2022.

“To reduce poverty by half and to end hunger by 2025 Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, commitment would be a feat very difficult to accomplish.”

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Six civil servants, humanitarian workers, others abducted in Borno

Six civil servants, fifteen others including an unspecified number of humanitarian workers have been kidnapped at different locations in a day at Damboa, Borno State by Boko Haram terrorists.

The terrorists belonging to the late Shekau faction have been operating in that axis for over two years but recently, they have intensified their activities in an effort to recruit more members after the surrender of thousands of them to the Nigerian government.

Sources within the security architecture confirmed the attack to The PUNCH on Thursday while the state Commissioner for Works, Yerima Saleh confirmed the abduction of six of his staff along Chibok-Damboa Road.

“It is very pathetic to inform you that six of my staff, mostly drivers, were kidnapped near Wovi Village while on duty along Damboa-Chibok Road. Likewise, three of our trucks including one of our Hilux operational vehicles were snatched away

“We have informed relevant security agencies with a view to intensifying efforts to rescue the victims unhurt,” Yerima Saleh stated.

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According to the commissioner, the six members of staff of the ministry of works were kidnapped while supervising the construction of the 45km Chibok-Damboa Road.

Also confirming the abduction of fifteen other persons including some humanitarian workers in Damboa, a soldier said the terrorists mounted a checkpoint along Damboa-Adamawa Road on Wednesday while dressed in a military uniform.

“The insurgents were dressed in military uniform and mounted a checkpoint around Gumsuru Village along Damboa-Adamawa Road.

“They stopped many vehicles heading to Adamawa, abducted all the passengers who were mostly youths and the drivers of the two buses. We later discovered that among those kidnapped were NGO staff who were in one of the buses. The affected persons are fifteen in number but two of them were later released by the terrorists after taking them into Sambisa Forest,” the soldier noted.

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“They have been terrorising and abducting people from that axis for over two years now. The Shekau faction is the one that has been terrorising Damboa, Chibok and Askira towns.

“They have camps in Wajiroko in Damboa Local Government Area and have been collecting taxes from motorists and passengers ever since without any hindrance,” he added.

Ms Yasmine of the forum of international non-governmental organisations in Borno said she heard about the abduction of the humanitarian workers on Wednesday but she could not ascertain which of the NGOs they are working for as the identities of the abducted workers are yet to be ascertained.

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An unusual traffic jam on Sagamu-Lagos Expressway  

Ehi Braimah

It was a Sunday afternoon trip to Abeokuta. Ordinarily, Sundays are not very busy days and on a “normal” day, it takes about one hour and a few minutes to arrive Abeokuta from Lagos. Remi Bello, the District Governor of Rotary International District 9110, and his entourage hit the road last Sunday for his official visit to the Rotary Club of Obantoko in Abeokuta. As District Secretary, I was part of the team.

The District Governor is required to visit every club in our District comprising Lagos and Ogun states with 131 Rotary clubs – and still counting. Nigeria has four Districts with the following numerical identities: 9110, 9125, 9141 and 9142. In the whole of Africa, which forms Zone 22, there are 17 Districts. But in District 9150, which hosted the 3rd All Africa Rotary Institute in Cameroon from August 24-28, 2021, there are 10 countries!

You can see that Nigeria is blessed in so many ways and it shows in Rotary. Nigeria alone has four Districts out of the 17 Districts in Africa due to our numerical advantage. As we continue to drive membership growth of Rotary in Nigeria, more Districts will be created.

By 4.50 pm, it was time to head back to Lagos. My driver suggested we should avoid the Sagamu-Lagos Expressway because of the long line of cars we saw when we were inbound Abeokuta. I discussed this option with our District Governor who was in his own car and we agreed to use the expressway through the Sagamu interchange back to Lagos. It turned out to be a costly mistake.

There was chaos on the expressway that was completely enveloped by darkness. There were no street lights. Apparently, the Federal Government had announced traffic diversion on that route effective that same Sunday for six days to enable Julius Berger, one of the contractors working on the project, to lay asphalt between Arepo and Warewa, a distance of one and half kilometres. But most people were unaware of the announcement.

The Federal Government is keen to complete the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway project by next year, because it was a promise made by the Buhari regime. There was clearly the need to increase the pace of work but it has come with the hefty price of sitting for long hours in the traffic.

No one could rule out the threat of hit-and-grab criminals who operate in slow moving traffic, harassing innocent people for cash, mobile phones and other valuables.

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The effect of the diversion was pain, anger, frustration and lamentation by motorists and commuters. The drivers were impatient but it was understandable. From private cars to commercial vehicles and heavy duty trucks, it was a struggle for every available space, sometimes only in inches. About six lanes were formed with a lot of “James Bond” driving on full display in a desperate bid to out-manoeuvre each other.

I travelled with the District media officer, Elizabeth and photographer, Afeez, and we sat patiently for seven hours in the horrendous traffic jam to get to Lagos. Most of the time, traffic was at a standstill. When movement resumed, it was at a snail’s pace.

The more I remembered the suggestion by my driver to beat the traffic, the more I felt guilty. Instead of seven hours, the journey would have lasted less than two hours if we had passed through Ijebu-Ode.

We were stuck in Mowe for one hour. I asked Afeez to step out of the car at around 6.30 pm to take shots of the bumper-to-bumper traffic scene. At this time, we were not even sure when we would arrive Lagos.

Emotions began to run high due to the fact that no one could be in control of the situation. Even if a chopper was available, there was no place for it to land in the pitch dark neighbourhood.

On the sidewalk, commuters who disembarked from commercial vehicles trekked long distances: men, women and children opted to find their way home from the nasty traffic experience that would be etched on their minds forever.

But it appears we are forgetting something. Everyone was heading to Lagos — the city, like New York, that never sleeps and bursting at the seams — for different reasons. Lagos has its attractions which include high enterprise growth, sprawling real estate and access to opportunities. Lagos is home to everyone.

Vehicles that ran out of petrol and could no longer continue also became part of the problem and added to the back story. Others broke down from rising engine temperatures while some drove against the traffic, making life even more difficult for other motorists.

The entire stretch on the expressway from Mowe, Ibafo, Magboro all the way down to the Long Bridge and the surrounding communities are major conurbations of Ogun State extending into Lagos. There are so many people who live in Mowe, Magboro and Arepo areas but work in Lagos. On a daily basis, they commute to and fro these communities.

The population density in Lagos is perhaps one of the highest in Africa and the rising cost of a decent accommodation has resulted in developers building low income estates in the area. It is evident the residents are used to traffic jams on the highway but what happened last Sunday must have shocked them, too.

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Motorists and commuters were helpless and traffic enforcement officers were missing in action. They were clearly overwhelmed with the unbearable traffic gridlock and they were not around for duty.

But the good thing was that miscreants who usually rob in traffic could not carry out their nefarious activities on that day. The explanation is simple: since the vehicles were largely at a standstill, the occupants of all the vehicles on the road were capable of forming a “formidable army” to repel any attack. It would have been a game of numbers.

Thankfully, to the best of my knowledge, there were no violent incidents in spite of the anxious moments until we arrived at Ojodu-Berger a few minutes to midnight. Even at this late hour, there were several vehicles dropping off passengers at the bus terminal.

It turned out to be a huge relief for vehicles that were running low on petrol to drive into filling stations that were still open to top up. For example, the Total Filling Station at Ojota was still open for business at about midnight.

For those who had appointments to keep, the logjam was a huge disappointment. I was also looking forward to arriving Lagos early enough to see the Super Sunday English Premier League game between hosts Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge. I missed it but I monitored the match online.

For the next few days, construction works will continue on the highway and the slow moving traffic and the inconvenience will not go away.

Overall, it was a frustrating experience, affecting one’s capacity to think straight apart from being drained physically. Medical practitioners tell us not to sit for too long so that blood flow in our veins is not restrained, but on that day, we sat for seven hours nonstop. The driver stepped out a few times and the photographer once.

But you cannot make an omelet without breaking an egg. Can you?

Braimah is the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Naija Times

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I admire your strength, Britney Spears’ fiance, Sam, celebrates singer on 40th birthday

American superstar singer, Britney Spears, turned 40 on Thursday and her 27-year-old fiancé, Sam Aghari penned an emotional message to celebrate the singer.

Aghari, who is an actor, took to his verified Instagram page to share loved-up photos of himself and the singer.

He stated that he admired Spears’ strength, adding that her smile lit up his world.

The actor wrote, “I call you Lioness because I admire your relentless strength. I’m inspired by your beautiful heart. I celebrate your smile that lights up my world. Everyday is your birthday my queen. Happy 1st birthday to my wife.”

It is pertinent to note that this is Spears’ first birthday after finally being freed from a 13-year conservatorship.

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Spears’ and Asghari got engaged in September while the singer was in the middle of a conservatorship battle.

The singer had posted a video on her verified Instagram account that sent fans into a frenzy as she showed off her engagement ring.

Spears and Asghari, who have been together for about five years, were seen in the video laughing and smiling as she posed with the ring.

The duo first met in 2016 when Asghari co-starred with Spears in the video to her single, “Slumber Party.”

Fans of American superstar singer, Britney Spears, have urged her to ensure she signs a pre-nuptial agreement with her fiancée, Sam Asghari.

Her engagement came days after Britney Spears’ fight to end her court-ordered conservatorship took an unexpected turn on Tuesday when her father and the conservator of her estate, Jamie Spears, filed a petition to end the arrangement.

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The elder Spears has served as conservator of his daughter’s estate since it was established in 2009. He was also the conservator of her person, overseeing her health and medical issues until he stepped aside in 2019.

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Pastor kidnaps Catholic priest, begs God for forgiveness

The operatives of the Imo state police command have arrested one pastor Izuchukwu Anoloba, 35, and others for kidnapping a Catholic priest, Fidelis Ekemgba.

Parading the suspects and others, the state Commissioner of Police, Rabiu Hussaini, said that the suspects held the priest for over seven days and made to pay a ransom of N5 million to them.

The CP, who disclosed that the syndicate was a deadly one, disclosed that the pastor was arrested in Lagos following intelligence gathering by men of the anti-kidnapping unit of the command.

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He disclosed that the priest, 45, in charge of St. Peters Catholic parish in Umunohu Amakaohia in the Ihitte/Uboma Local Government Area of the state, was double-crossed and whisked away by his abductors.

Commending his men for an excellent job, the CP said that he would continue to make the state uncomfortable for criminals.

Speaking to Journalists, Anoloba, said that he got N1.5m from the ransom the priest paid them.

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He said, “I am a pastor with Apostolic Church of Christ in Lagos. I got N1.5 million from the kidnap of the priest. I never knew I will be arrested. I regret my actions because I am now a disgrace to the body of Christ and my family.”

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Why we haven’t named sponsors of terrorism – Malami

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), has stated the reasons why the government is holding off on naming sponsors of terrorism in Nigeria.

Malami, who spoke during an interview with Channels TV on Wednesday evening, said the government was not reluctant in naming the sponsors of terrorism but was only taking its time.

This is despite calls from different quarters for the President, Major Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to publish the names of the sponsors.

Malami stated, “One thing that I think you need to take into consideration is that investigation is still ongoing and the fact that a lot of arrests were made.

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“With the fact that judicial orders for the detention of those that have been arrested have been obtained, it is indeed out of place to conclude that nothing is being heard on the matter.

“Work is in progress. It will continue to be in progress and certainly we will do the needful at the right time.”

The AGF, while noting that the names include those of locally and internationally recognised individuals, said arrests have been made and that the government is not resting on its oars.

“The fact remains that we have ever been working. There is no dull moment as far as the process is concerned. So, what I am saying in essence is that it is work in progress. Arrests were made, judicial orders were obtained and, indeed, we will do the needful,” Malami said.

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The minister also vowed that “no one will be spared as far as we are concerned as a government.”

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Second Republic Senate President, Wayas, dies, Ayade mourns

The Second Republic Senate President, Dr Joseph Wayas is dead.

Wayas died in the early hours of Tuesday in a London hospital.

Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade has lamented the passing of Wayas, describing his death as a monumental loss to Cross River State in particular and Nigeria as a whole.

In a press statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Christian Ita, Ayade said Dr Wayas left indelible footprints on the sands of time.

“As a state, Cross River is in pains as we mourn the passing of our illustrious son. He was a rare gem. Dr Wayas’ demise is indeed a monumental loss to our dear state and Nigeria,” Ayade said in the statement.

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The governor also said, “As Senate President, Dr Wayas contributed to the deepening of Nigeria’s democratic ethos through his robust and vibrant leadership of the upper legislative chamber.

“And since his retirement from active politics, the former Senate President had been playing a fatherly and stabilising role in the politics and affairs of our state.”

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He condoled with Dr Wayas’ family and assured them that his demise is a collective loss and the pains a shared one.

“We are with you in this moment of grief. We have you in our hearts and prayers,” he assured the family of the deceased.

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We’ll walk for peace with you —LASU students to Sanwo-Olu

Students of the Lagos State University have said they will embark on the Walk of Peace proposed by the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

President of the Student Union Government, LASU, Comrade Oladipupo Uthman Badmus, said this when the governor visited the school on Thursday.

Sanwo-Olu who inaugurated a new Students’ Arcade at the school was welcomed by the SUG President, Speaker of the Students Union Representatives, Rt. Hon. Mustapha Adejuwon, and hundreds of students.

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The students who commended Sanwo-Olu’s giant strides in the state, especially in the education sector, said they would embark on the walk with the governor for peace and prosperity of the state.

The Walk of Peace which, according to Sanwo-Olu, will “herald the healing of the land,” will likely have in attendance some notable members and activists of the EndSARS campaign.

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The Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu and Commander of Rapid Response Squad, CSP Yinka Egbeyemi, will also embark on the walk.

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Kaduna dismisses 233 primary school teachers with fake certificates

No fewer than 233 teachers with fake certificates will be dismissed by the Kaduna State Government, Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board, Tijjani Abdullahi has said.

The chairman who stated this at a media briefing in Kaduna, the state capital, on Thursday, also insisted that there was no going back in the conduct of competency tests for public school teachers in the state.

Abdullahi noted that as part of the effort of the board to ensure that teachers process the qualification they claimed, it embarked on a certificate verification exercise in April.

According to him, the aim was to ensure that all teachers have the requisite credentials that constitute the basic qualifications for employment as teachers.

He noted that so far, the board verified 451 certificates from 13 institutions, adding that out of the figures, 233 certificates were discovered to be ‘fake’.

Abdullahi said the 233 teachers with the fake certificates would be dismissed from the state workforce and made to face the full weight of the law.

He added that as part of board’s transparency, the names of the 233 teachers with fake certificates would be uploaded on the state government’s website.

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The SUBEB boss said, “The Kaduna State Universal Basic Education Board (KADSUBEB) wishes to update you on recent developments in its continuous quest to improve standards in public basic education schools.

“As part of its responsibility to ensure that all teachers actually have the qualifications they presented, the Board launched a certificate verification exercise in April 2021.

“The major objective of this exercise was to ensure that all our teachers have the requisite credentials that constitute the basic qualifications for employment as teachers.

“So far, the Board has verified 451 certificates by contacting the institutions that awarded the certificates. Nine of the 13 institutions contacted have responded, as of today.

“The responses from the institutions show that 233 teachers presented fake certificates. This represents 51% of the 451 certificates on which responses have been received from the awarding institutions. One institution disowned 212 of these 233 fake certificates.”

“The Board will dismiss the 233 teachers who presented these fake certificates, while their files will be forwarded to the Ministry of Justice to initiate prosecution for forgery.”

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Meanwhile, the Chairman added that the board would soon commence the conduct of competency tests for public school teachers in the state.

According to him, the test will start as from January 2022 with 12,254 teachers across the state.

He said, “When the Kaduna State Government recruited 25,000 new teachers after the 2017 competency test, it made clear that it will continue to assess its teachers both for their own improvement and for better delivery of learning outcomes for pupils.

“The Board will follow up the competency test with a series of training programmes organised in batches for teachers. This will begin in January 2022 for 12,254 teachers.

“The Board has signed MoUs with the National Teachers Institute, the College of Education, Gidan Waya, and the Federal College of Education, Zaria, to conduct the training exercise.”

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Hoodlums set ablaze Senator Jibrin’s campaign office in Kano

Some hoodlums in their hundreds on Thursday set ablaze the Gubernatorial Campaign Office of one of the political opponent of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, Sen. Barau Jibrin representing Kano north senatorial district.

Some of the attackers were said to have gone with dangerous weapons to the Senator’s office located along Maiduguri Road in the early hours of Thursday.

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Eyewitness who spoke on condition of anonymity told The PUNCH that Police officers had already foiled an attempt by hoodlums headed to Senator Barau’s house along Ibrahim Dabo Road.

The thugs also vandalised the new office of a faction of All Progressives Congress along Zoo Road, which the chairman of the party, Alhaji Ahmadu Haruna Zago is suppose to occupy.

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Effort to contact the Police spokesman, DSP Abdullahi Haruna was not successful as his phone was switched off.

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Late Uranta was an asset to Nigeria – U.S. Consulate

United States Consul-General in Nigeria, Claire Pierangelo, says the U.S. government and staff of the mission are saddened by the death of the rights activist, Mr Tony Uranta.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the prominent Niger Delta activist died on November 24, at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital at the age of 67.

Pierangelo, in a letter addressed to the widow, Mrs Baarong Tony-Uranta, a copy of which was made available to NAN on Thursday in Lagos, described Uranta as an asset to Nigeria.

“On behalf of the U.S. government and staff of the Mission in Nigeria, I extend my deepest condolences to you and your family on the passing of your husband, Tony Uranta.

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“We are deeply saddened by this tragic event and our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family during this difficult time.

“Tony’s service to the Niger Delta region and Nigeria at large will continue to resonate with the people long after his passing.

“His contributions in the fight for justice, equity and peace, a struggle against injustice and societal ills have left an indelible mark, a meaningful legacy that will not be forgotten.

“Tony was not only an asset to Nigeria, but he was also a good friend of the Consulate and a key interlocutor on issues pertaining to good governance,’’ she stated.

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According to her, the consulate will all miss late Uranta dearly but grateful for his life of service.

“I hope his exemplary life and positive legacies will continue to be a source of strength for you and your family.

“Words are of little comfort at a time like this, but please know that we share in your grief,’’ Pierangelo added.

Uranta was a member of the Presidential Committee on National Dialogue and member, Federal Government’s Technical Committee on Niger Delta.

He was also Executive Secretary, Pan-Niger Delta Forum, Executive Secretary, United Niger Delta Energy Development Security Strategy and Executive Secretary, Nigeria National Summit Group, among others.

(NAN)

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