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Politics of WAEC Grant: Natasha misinformed the public with fake news – Commissioner



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Iyojo Ameh

The Kogi State Government has debunked allegation that it blocked private individuals from paying WAEC fees for students in the State.
This is in a reaction to the allegations by the Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan Campaign Organization (NAUCO)who in a statement on Monday claimed that the Kogi State government issued a directive stopping private individuals from paying WAEC fees of students in the state.

The statement signed by the Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan Campaign Organization (NAUCO) said the directive came few days after the Kogi Central Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senatorial candidate, Barr. Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan made a promise to offset WAEC fees of students in Kogi Central senatorial district.

The campaign organization had further alleged that the directive is a political strategy by the APC-led government to deprive beneficiaries of her five-million naira WAEC grants in the region.

The Executive Chairman, Kogi State Science, Technical Education and Teaching Service Commission, Hon. Mrs. Cecilia Cook while reacting says in a statement issued on Wednesday that they wouldn’t have condescended as low as to reply the Senatorial candidate adding that “but for the interest of innocent Nigerians, particularly, residents of Kogi and the Central Senatorial District, we will like to set the record straight”.

“Kogi state Government through my office has never stopped anyone from paying WAEC and NECO fees including JAMB.

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“Recall that the member representing Yagba Federal Constituency, Hon. Leke Abejide had for years been paying hundreds of millions of Naira for WAEC and NECO fees for Secondary schools in his Federal Constituency of which he recently extended the gesture to Kabba/Bunu Ijumu Federal Constituency.

“He was not stopped because the present administration believes that carrying the responsibility of the education sector will be too much on the government, hence several calls for individuals to assist where necessary and the introduction of the School Adoption and Mentorship Programme.

“Apart from Hon. Abejide, some well-to-do persons in the State including the Auditor General for Local Government, Alh. Usman Ododo and Political Office holders as well as Alumni Associations of Secondary Schools have been offsetting WAEC and NECO fees for many students and Government has not stopped anyone from doing so.

“Alhaji. Ododo particularly donated 11,000 Chemistry and Physics Textbooks worth millions of Naira to all Secondary Schools in the State.

“It is important to state that offsetting these fees is a good way of reducing the effect of the nation’s economy on our people as the State Government is appreciative of this effort.

“In fact, funding education world over is a collective responsibility and it comes in different ways.

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“From the foregoing, we see the claim by Natasha as a calculated attempt to score cheap political popularity at the expense of the future of our Students. This no doubt is desperation taken too far.

“The memo that my office issued to Zonal Directors and Principals of Public and Grant Aided Schools is for them to obtain clearance from the Commission for any internal or external programme. How does that translate to the off-point issue being raised here?

“This is because, we observe with dissatisfaction that some schools even travel outside the state without permission hence, putting the state under serious embarrassment when any unfortunate thing happens.

“For any right-thinking Nigerian, in view of the security challenges, travelling without permission with people’s children without permission from the Commission that regulates activities of Secondary School education is not appropriate. In fact, in the Civil Service Rule, Staff who intend to travel outside the State no matter the importance attached to the trip are expected to take permission.

“This intent of the Commission was taken in the best interest of the Staff in case of Kidnapping or Accident which nobody prays for.

“We are amazed that Natasha could twist this memo to get political popularity. This is unfortunate and misleading for a personality that is seeking Public Office.

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“Very unfortunately too, she used the Media to peddle misinformation, disinformation, fake news and lies,” the statement read.

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First Lady Calls for Gender Parity, Applauds APC Initiatives, and Encourages West Africa to Follow Nordic Models



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By Iyojo Ameh

Nigeria’s First Lady, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, has recognized the substantial barriers that women in the West African sub-region face in achieving gender parity.

Speaking at the ECOWAS Female Parliamentarians Association (ECOFEPA) event at the National Assembly Complex in Abuja on Monday, 22 July 2024, Tinubu emphasized the need for women’s active participation in politics, stating:

“Despite progress, significant barriers still exist. We must rethink women’s proportional representation in governance.”

Tinubu commended the All Progressives Congress (APC) for removing financial barriers for women in politics and highlighted the success of gender quotas in countries like Sweden, Norway, and Spain, which have led to more inclusive governance. She urged governments to enforce gender quotas through legal frameworks and monitoring systems, saying:

“Governments must take the bold step to kickstart the journey to an enduring democracy of quality representation.”

The First Lady expressed confidence in Nigerian women’s abilities, stating:

“Nigerian women are smart and intelligent and can work alongside our male counterparts, without friction, for the good and development of our country.”

She thanked ECOFEPA for its commitment to achieving 30% women representation in parliament, saying:

“The journey towards achieving 30% women representation in our parliament is achievable once we take the bold step to kickstart the journey to an enduring democracy of quality representation.”

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By Sen. Ahmad I. Lawan, Ph.D, GCON

In these difficult times facing our beloved nation, Nigeria, we stand at a critical juncture where the weight of history rests squarely upon our shoulders. As leaders, we have individual and collective duties and responsibilities to safeguard the future of our country and ensure its prosperity. In the face of mounting economic challenges that threaten to undermine our national unity and progress, it is imperative that we unite and rally behind our President, regardless of political affiliation, ethnicity, or religious beliefs. It is time to set aside our differences and work together to build a prosperous future for us all.

Nigeria’s economy has been plagued by a myriad of problems, including high inflation, unemployment, and a widening income gap. President Tinubu, upon assuming office on May 29, 2023, had pledged to prioritize economic growth and job creation through a series of bold and innovative policies captured under the ‘Renewed Hope Agenda’. He backed these up by investing heavily in infrastructure, making efforts to attract foreign direct investment, and promoting entrepreneurship. His thinking was that by creating a conducive environment for businesses to thrive, we can expand our tax base, generate more revenue, and provide the much-needed employment opportunities for our teeming youth population.

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Nevertheless, the economic headwinds that we encounter are not peculiar to Nigeria alone. The global economy has been severely impacted by a confluence of factors, which in turn have resulted in supply chain disruptions in the demand for crude oil, our country’s major source of revenue. These external forces have exacerbated pre-existing economic vulnerabilities within our country, leading to rising inflation, unemployment, and falling living standards.

President Tinubu is acutely aware of the challenges and hardship that Nigerians face. His administration, to the best of our knowledge, has outlined a comprehensive economic plan aimed at addressing these issues in a holistic and sustainable manner that seeks to, amongst others, Stabilize the economy and control inflation; Promote job creation and economic growth; Improve infrastructure and energy production; Enhance agriculture and food security; and Combat corruption and promote transparency.

However, the success of any government’s economic plan depends heavily on the cooperation and support of its citizens.

In the face of difficulties facing the country, it is essential that political leaders come together at this time to support President Tinubu in developing and implementing effective solutions to the unintended outcomes that trailed some of the policies of the administration.

The nation’s future hangs precariously in the balance, and it is incumbent upon all stakeholders to prioritize the well-being of our citizens.

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It is disheartening to witness the petty politicking and divisive rhetoric that have dominated our political discourse in recent times. While healthy debate is essential for a vibrant democracy, it must not be allowed to overshadow the urgent task of addressing the plight of our people.

The hardship that Nigerians endure is palpable. Skyrocketing inflation has eroded the purchasing power of the average citizen, leaving many struggling to put food on the table.

It is, therefore, imperative that as leaders, we all put aside partisan differences and work together in the national interest. By collaborating with President Tinubu, political leaders and stakeholders alike can pool ideas and expertise to come up with innovative solutions to Nigeria’s economic challenges.

Moreover, we all should be willing to make tough decisions and sacrifices for the greater good of the country. This may involve implementing unpopular reforms or policies, but these are essential in order to secure a better future for all Nigerians.

Although the federal government has announced the distribution of 20 trucks of rice to every state, which, in my opinion is a step in the right direction. But, I must point out that the quantity of foodstuffs needed in Nigeria today requires expeditious and massive supply by the FGN to address issues of both availability and affordability.

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President Tinubu cannot succeed in achieving this alone. He needs the support of governors, lawmakers, and local government officials. He needs the cooperation of the private sector and civil society organizations. And most importantly, he needs the patriotism of all Nigerians.

We must all be willing to compromise and find common ground, even if it requires us to step outside of our comfort zones.

The spirit of patriotism that once defined Nigeria must be rekindled. It is a spirit that transcends ethnicity, religion, and political affiliation. It is a spirit that puts the interests of the nation above all else.

By working together as leaders, we can overcome the country’s challenges and set it on a path towards sustainable development, growth and prosperity. It is my hope that we all rise to the occasion and support President Tinubu in his efforts to build a stronger and more vibrant economy; and a secured, stable and peaceful nation.

We are stronger together.

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Shitile Integrity Group Condemns Attacks on Harga, urges Improve security in Sankara



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Shitile Integrity Group (SIG),a social -cultural group of Shitile sons in diaspora have condemned in strongest term, the incessant attacks on Harga, a community in Katsina -Ala Local Government Area of Benue State where several innocent residents have been killed, including the recent attack which about 18 defenceless citizens were gruesomely murdered in cold blood ,at the early hours of Saturday, 20th July 2024.

In a statement made available to the Citypost, Hon. Ben Ukeji
Ivaan I Ayange Tsanyi,
President, SIG group says the continuous tergeted attacks on Harga ,and other places in Shitile land is an indication of a complete breakdown of law and order, and urges government at all levels to step up security around Shitile, and indeed Sankera axis to protect lives and property .

Jeremy Bentham, says the essence of government is utilitarianism .

SIG bemoans the manner where lives of their kinsmen are brazenly wasted in a horrendous manner and called on the government to ensure that perpetrators of the heinous crime are made to face the full wrath of the law.

The statement reads in parts: “We condemned in its enterity ,this act of barbarism where innocent people are slaughtered, murdered like animals within Shitile land . This shameful, inhumane , criminal behavior
have continued unabated for some years leading to herriofic deaths as well as the destruction of socioeconomic and educational activities.”

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“We also want to state emphatically that, such acts are inhumane , ungodly, and must stop now!

SIG, note with utmost dismay, the violation of all international protocols and municipal law, especially the fourth (4 ) Geneva convention of 1949 which protects Civilians and civil objects from harm even in a war situation, talkeless of peace time .

“It is therefore, surprising to us that innocent blood of peaceful citizens is being wasted without adequate machinery on ground to contend the renigants .
We use this midum to appeal to those behind this murderous activities to eschew violence and embrace peace for the growth and development of Shitile nation both in Taraba and Benue States respectively.
It’s very important for the youth to understand that, issues are resolved through dialogue”

“SIG wishes to commend His Excellency, the Governor of Benue State, Rev. fr. Hyacinth Iormen Alia, for his efforts towards ending the menace and urge him not to relent on his oars.

We are aware of the government approval for the deployment of a Police Mobile Force to Harga to quell the crises

While we acknowledge the many initiatives of the governor in this regard,we most respectfully request the government to seek for a wholeistic approach to end this wanton killings and distraction of lives and property.

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“We equally call on the” traditional institutions in Shitile and Sankera intermediate area to take necessary measures in conjunction with the political class, and other stakeholders towards bringing this sad narrative to an end.
We sincerely commiserate with the families of victims of the attacks , the Mbacher community, Shitile nation and indeed Katina-Ala LGA.
May the good lord in his infinity mercy ,restore peace to Shitile land “

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