NUT faults President
Kogi mulls competency test for teachers
President Muhammadu Buhari has thrown his weight behind the decision by the Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir el- Rufai, to sack 22,000 teachers for gross incompetence.
The teachers, who were recently subjected to competency test by the state government, failed to score average points in their assessments. El-Rufai has already announced his government’s plan to recruit 25,000 new teachers to replace the affected teachers. Against this backdrop, el-Rufa’i came under attacks from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) over plans by the governor to sack at least 21,780 primary school teachers, who could not pass a competency test. The Kaduna State Government had, in June, conducted competency test for 33,000 primary school teachers, while 21,780 failed.
The development, which did not go down well with the leadership of the NLC and NUT, prompted a protest on November 8 over what it described as ‘obnoxious plan’ by the state government to sack the teachers.
But speaking yesterday while declaring open a special retreat for members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), on the challenges facing the education sector in Nigeria, the President expressed concerns on the decaying standard of education in the country.
The President, who said that the situation in the sector was serious, explained that his administration is taking deliberate steps to address it. While tacitly giving his nod to the actions being taken by the Kaduna State governor, President Buhari described the development as “a serious situation.” Buhari noted that the Federal Government, under his leadership will take deliberate actions to revitalizing the country’s education system and make it more responsive and globally competitive.
In specific reference to what happened in Kaduna State, Buhari said: “It is a very serious situation, when teachers cannot pass the exams that they are supposed to teach the children to pass. It is a very tragic situation we are in. “For nine years, I was in boarding school, three in primary and six in secondary school. In those days, teachers treated students or children like their own children. If you did well, they will tell you, you did well. If you didn’t do well, they never spared the rod,” he added. Buhari continued: “I listened to one Nigerian I respect.
He said after his training here in Nigeria and the United States, he went to his alma mater, his primary school to see what he could contribute. “I won’t mention his name, but when he went, he couldn’t differentiate between the students, the children and the teachers.
“And what el-Rufai is trying to do now is exactly what that man told me about 10 years ago. It is a very serious situation, when teachers cannot pass the exams that they are supposed to teach the children to pass,” he lamented. Speaking further, President told the participants that it was not possible for Nigeria to progress if the standard of education remained at the current level.
He said: “The problem is no longer a secret that the quality of education in Nigeria requires greater attention and improvement.” Buhari explained that it is those who acquire the most qualitative education, equipped with requisite skills and training, and empowered with practical knowhow, that are leading the rest. The President said that Nigeria cannot afford to continue to lag behind, adding that education is our launch-pad to a more successful, more productive and more prosperous future. But the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has faulted the presidential endorsement for the laying off of about 22,000 teachers in Kaduna State.
General Secretary of NUT, Dr. Mike Eneh, who spoke to New Telegraph in Abuja, noted that rather than layoff teachers under the guise of having failed a competency test, a retraining programme ought to have been organised to boost the quality and efficiency of teachers in the state. “It will be unfair if Mr. President listen to onesided story and decide to sack the teachers.
If I were Mr. President, I could have called all parties involved, including the stakeholders the NUT, the people that set the exams and we dialogue to proffer solutions to know what to do,” he said. Eneh, who described the competency test and alleged failure as a lame excuse to cut down cost by reducing the workforce in the state, disclosed that the union was not resting on its oars, but was joining forces with NLC to address the situation.
His words: “Our position is that El-Rufai and the government of Kaduna State have decided to cut down on their workforce. We have learnt that local government and civil servants are on the line to take their own exams. If 22,000 teachers can fail, it then means that civil servants and the local government workers who do not have the opportunity of going to school will fail the exams and he will sack everybody. “We are not laying low; we have several options we are going to take.
The NUT has the backing of NLC, we are going to face him one-on-one. Nobody is intimidating him. All we are saying is that as a governor he should give room for dialogue.
“Even in governance, we cannot clap for all the governors and say that they are the best, but to tell us that 21,000 teachers failed exams does not go down well with us. We are disputing it; we are arguing it and we want to find out how the 21,000 teachers failed.
If we dialogue and we are convinced what he did was real and that nobody was cheated, we give up,” he added. Speaking on the endorsement of the Kaduna education reforms by the President, Samuel Aruwan, Senior Special Assistant (Media and Publicity) to Governor el-Rufai, said the state government won’t relent in its efforts for quality education.
“We thank the President and many Nigerians for supporting the tough choice we have made in the interest of the future of our children. “The national conversation over the last week reflects a growing consensus that quality public education should be available for all citizens. Qualified teachers who are competent in their subject areas and equipped with the skills to teach and inspire pupils are crucial to delivering decent education.
“We are witnessing the triumph of reason over sentiment. We owe our children unfettered access to decent education in the public system, and we shall not relent in delivering it,” Aruwan said.
Meanwhile, the President said that his administration was poised to ensure that every capable Nigerian receives good and quality education in line with his campaign promises during the 2015 elections exercise.
“With an estimated 13.2 million children out of school, high illiteracy level, infrastructural deficit and decay, unqualified teachers, and inadequate instructional materials, to mention some of the challenges, we can clearly see the effect of decades of neglect that the education sector has suffered.
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, in his remarks, expressed the need for education to be made attractive to the best brains, make its study free, its outcome lucrative and accord it the respect it deserves.
The minister specifically canvassed that graduates with background in education be employed on grade level 10 at entry into the civil service so as to make the sector more attractive like what obtained in many other nations of the world.
Prince Kazeem Eletu washes hands off crimes as he launches foundation on 40th birthday
Lagos socialite and philanthropist, Ambassador (Dr) Prince Kazeem Eletu Odibo has washed his hands off the travails of the notorious serial killer, Adeola Williams famously known as Ade Lawyer, who was recently paraded in Lagos by the Nigerian Police for alleged murder.
Ade Lawyer was apprehended alongside former National Union Road of Transport Workers (NURTW) Chairman, Lagos State chapter, Alhaji Rafiu Akanni Olohunwa in connection with the murder of Ganiyu Ayinla, popularly known as Pinero, the Personal Assistant to the NURTW Chairman in Idumota, Azeez Lawal, known also as“Kunle Poly”.
Late Lawal was killed on January 23 during an attack on Kunle Poly in the Idumota area of Lagos Island.
Ade Lawyer, however, confessed during interrogation that he was contracted by Olohunwa to assassinate Kunle Poly.
He also alleged in a video that has gone viral on social media that he had worked for many influential Nigerians, including Prince Kazeem, the youngest son of late popular traditional Lagos Chief, Gbadamosi Bamidele Eletu Odibo.
In a swift reaction, Prince Kazeem, in an Instagram video said; “Nothing can shake me”, after giving some street urchins, popularly known as area boys money, while one of his friends remarked that;“When you give people money like you just did, tomorrow they would lie that they know you”.
Prince Kazeem, who recently celebrated his 40th birthday and launched a foundation, washed his hands off the allegations, stressing that the suspect has never worked for him.
However, in a press release which he personally signed and made available to the media, Prince Kazeem disclosed that he saw him once, when he came alongside some area boys during a dispute over a land boundary.
He said: “It wasn’t even a physical fight. Nobody exchanged blows at all. It was just a verbal disagreement with the man who also claimed the (disputed) land belongs to his family.
“We were surrounded by area boys, some of whom always hail me anytime they came across me and as a kind gesture, I do give them money. So, this bearer (Ade Lawyer) was among them. He came with one NURTW official that day. While the argument was ongoing, the Police from the Ilasan Station at Lekki/Ajah came and invited us to their station.
“That was the first and the last time I met this fellow (Ade Lawyer)”, Prince Kazeem noted.
As for the land dispute, Prince Kazeem said: “We were transferred to Area J Command and both sides were asked to bring relevant documents which we did. At the end, the Area Commander instructed both parties to maintain peace and return to the status quo based on the Supreme Court judgment in favour of our family as the rightful owner of the land.”
Meanwhile, Prince Kazeem, who was recently awarded an honorary Doctorate and United Nations Ambassadorial award in Washington DC, USA on November 18, 2017, said despite the distractions from Ade Lawyer’s claim, he would continue to serve humanity through his newly unveiled NGO.
Last Saturday, February 17, 2018, Ambassador Kazeem staged a colourful 2-in-1 40th birthday and launching of his Foundation at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Speaking at the event attended by politicos, eminent monarchs, envoys, career diplomats, academics and celebrities, the Founder and Chairman, Kazeem Royal Properties Limited thanked God for the Ruby Jubilee, adding that the berth of the foundation has come to alleviate poverty and improve the social and economic conditions of the disadvantaged in our society.
No fewer than 40 traders and artisans, including fashion designers, hair dressers and carpenters benefitted from the Prince Kazeem Eletu-Odibo Foundation empowerment distribution during his 40th birthday celebration.
Prince Kazeem called on other non-profit and charitable organizations to partner with him to ensure that the underserved communities in Nigeria are reached with humanitarian assistance.
Corruption: TI Report Has Vindicated PDP
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says the latest report by Transparency International (TI) showing that corruption has worsened under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has vindicated its stand that the current APC-led government is inherently and overtly corrupt.
The party said, by this new TI report, the African Union (AU) must have now realized its error in naming President Buhari as the African Union (AU) anti-corruption champion and should immediately withdraw the conferment.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement on Thursday, said the TI report has exposed the fact that those parading daily as champions of anti-corruption are rather superintending over the worst kind of official sleaze and hypocrisy in the history of our nation.
The party said the APC administration has been deceiving Nigerians with a ‘holier than thou posturing’ and painting others black when it is swimming in forms of corruption that is eminently festered by official concealment by the Presidency.
When the PDP first alerted that the APC and its incompetent Federal Government were swimming in an ocean of concealed corruption, many did not know to what extent.
It is shocking that under our ‘saints’, Nigeria has moved significantly from the 136th it ranked in 2016 to 146th in 2017, with President Buhari presiding on our nation.
This is a government that has been providing cover for its corrupt officials while operating heavily on propaganda, persecution of opposition members with fabricated charges and toiling to sway the people with false performance indices.
This is a government that offered protection to former APC governors who were accused of stealing money meant for the development of their states to fund the 2015 APC presidential campaign, and even rewarded them with ministerial appointments.
We challenge the APC and the Presidency to speak out on this TI report. What have they to say when the world is now aware that they are complicit in humongous sleazes including the leaked official memo showing underhand oil contracts to the tune of N9 trillion ($25billion dollars) at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources which are under purview of President Buhari as Petroleum minister?
What has the APC government to say when the world is aware that it is complicit in shady oil subsidy deals amounting to trillions of naira by its cabal who has also been fingered to be behind the illegal lifting and diversion of crude worth N1.1 trillion to service APC interests?
The world is now aware of the diversion of billion of naira meant for fight against insurgency and rehabilitation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) by the presidency cabal; the concealment of theft, by the cabal, of billion of naira at the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) among other heavy sleazes around the presidency.
As we speak, the APC administration has increased taxes, levies and tariffs without a transparent remitting regime while funds said to have been recovered in the anti-graft war have not been adequately accounted for.
Instead, the government has been peddling false figures and bogus claims to hoodwink Nigerians while its cabal continues to fritter away funds meant for the good of the people.
Benue killings: Soldiers providing cover for armed Fulani herdsmen – Tiv leaders
Leaders of the Tiv nation has expressed displeasure over the operation of the Ayem A Kpatuma, a military exercise code-named “Cat Race” launched in the state by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) to restore peace in Benue State communities following attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen.
The leaders accused the army of allegedly providing cover for armed Fulani herdsmen to take over the land naturally given to them by God.
President of the Mzough U Tiv (MUT), Chief Edward Ujege in a statement released to the media, expressed reservations over the emerging trends of the military operation which he said has made the people be apprehensive about the real mission of troops deployed to the state.
But the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 707 Special Forces Brigade, Major Olabisi Olalekan Ayeni, in a swift reaction, countered the position of the Tiv leaders saying “Operation Ayem A Kpatuma is not in support of any group”.
Chief Ujege disclosed that since the flag off of the exercise, the military has been circulating pamphlets through its Department of Civil-Military Affairs, Army Headquarters which “confirmed that the military had come to provide cover for armed Fulani herdsmen to take over the land of the people.
The translation on the pamphlets, Chief Ujege emphasized, portrayed a purported dialogue between the Fulani herdsmen and Benue farmers on their alleged resolution to shift grounds one both farming and cattle grazing activities in the state.
Part of the translation of the pamphlets reads:
Tiv farmer: I’m your brother and a farmer; my farm produce is just as important as your cattle.
Fulani herder: I will no longer destroy your farm produce and longer kill your people. You are my brother, we should live in peace.
Tiv farmer: I too will no longer rustle or kill your cattle. You are my brother, let us live in peace.
The MUT President said it was clear from the flyer that the military has acknowledged that the Fulani herdsmen are responsible for the large-scale massacre and massive destruction in of farm crops in the state, and regretted that instead of addressing issues of justice, reparation and compensation, the federal government is compelling people of the state to accommodate the perpetrators of the heinous atrocities.
“Moreover, there is no reference to the Open Grazing Prohibition and Establishment of Ranches Law 2017, which addresses the fundamental issues of making both the farmers and the herders coexist in peace. The military is not only silent on the law but has encouraged open grazing with all its concomitant consequences. This silence on the law points to the fact that they are not in its support and are not ready to ensure its enforcement”.
But the Army spokesman, Major Ayeni said the role of the army in the crisis is to ensure the return of enduring peace in sacked communities and safe return of the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs.
“All that the army needs to do here is to ensure that no Benue resident is killed or displaced from their homes, that is all we are doing. We want to ensure peaceful coexistence among the herders and farmers. We are not saying the Fulani herdsmen should not obey the anti-open grazing law enacted by the Benue State government”.
“Let me inform you that we had arrested a Fulani herdsman yesterday and two others that wanted to attack Governor Ortom’s farm in Guma and with all these successes you should know that Operation Ayem A Kpatuma is not in support of any group and is not in the pursuit or criticising any group”.
“Our role is to make sure that Benue State is peaceful and one of the ways we are going about it is for the herders to know that either a Tiv man or an Idoma man or Igede man is a Nigerian like him and a herder who is not violent now is their brother”.
“However in the course of the military exercise if we find a violent herdsman that want to kill or displace any person in Benue State, we get him arrested and that is why we arrested two people two weeks ago, and arrested another one for preventing the Tiv people from been peaceful in their own environment”.
“So the way and manner we go in achieving a peaceful environment in Benue State especially in Guma and Logo local government areas of the state and Katsina-Ala local government is by using this psychological method to test these people that we are friends, don’t fight or pursue the other because we are one family. But however, if you saw anyone who want to kill you, report and we will get that person arrested and deal with him according to the law”, said Major Ayeni.
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