The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has appealed to the Federal Government to provide conductive macroeconomic environment to tackle drug abuse among the youth.
The National President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, made the appeal, while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria in Ota, Ogun, on Sunday.
Ogunyemi noted that some of the youth involved in drug abuse were pushed to it due to lack of jobs after leaving school.
He also attributed drug abuse to lack of parental care and conducive macroeconomic environment.
“Some of these youths do not have supporting environment to operate, including their homes.
“The Federal Government needs to make the macroeconomic environment more conducive for them so as to tackle unemployment and other factors resulting in frustration and taking to drugs,” he said.
The ASUU president also urged the Federal Government to care more for the youth through the fashioning out and implementation of effective policy for them.
According to him, there is the need for the Federal Government to develop the political will to implement policies that will bring the youth out of criminal activities.
Ogunyemi said that the home should be engaged, as educating parents could also help in checking the problem of drug abuse.
Edited By: Abiodun Esan and (NAN)
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Coalition commends Buhari for signing Police Bill 2020 into law
The Coalition of Public Interest Lawyers and Advocates (COPA), a Human Rights, pro- democracy and good governance group has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing into law the Nigeria Police Act, 2020.
The coalition in a statement by its convener Mr Pelumi Olajengbesi on Wednesday in Abuja applauded the president saying the signing was timeous.
It would be recalled that President Buhari on Sept. 17 signed the police bill into law to enhance professionalism in their administration and regulation in the country.
The new law among other things provides for a more effective and well organised police force driven by the principles of transparency and accountability in its operations and management of its resources.
It also enables and establishes an appropriate funding framework for the Police in line with what is obtainable in other Federal Government key institutions to ensure appropriate funding for all Police formations.
Olajengbesi said that the police were at the heart of a seamless functioning of any political entity given its strategic role in the maintenance of law and order and as such must be preserved.
He noted that inadequate funding, lack of manpower, poor training and expertise in the police had continually been felt by Nigerians who had to bear the brunt of abuse of human rights, and so on.
“It remains puzzling that an agency as strategic as such has been allowed to labour for too long under the limitations of an anachronistic legislation that among other things did not reflect the reality of evolution over the years.
“We therefore commend all civil society organisations and individuals who have tirelessly sustained the clamour for a review of the enabling law governing the Nigeria Police.
“We particularly commend Mr Segun Awosanya, (Segalink) for his selfless role in advocating for the reforms which have so prominently featured in the new law,” he added.
He also commended the 9th National Assembly for midwifing a forward thinking legislation, while calling on the leadership of the Nigeria Police to ensure that the law yielded the desired result.
“We urge the Inspector-General of Police to set proper tone for this “new beginning” by ensuring that utmost compliance and application is given to the law.”
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza
Zamfara seeks whereabouts of N37bn refund on executed FG projects
Zamfara Government says it has alerted security agencies to track the whereabouts of over N37 billion refunds on Federal Government projects executed by the state.
Alhaji Rabiu Garba, the state Commissioner of Finance, announced this while addressing journalists in Gusau on Tuesday.
Garba alleged that the immediate past administration led by former governor, Abdulaziz Yari might have misappropriated the money.
The commissioner said the amount was initially quoted at over N47 billion as the funds used by the former administration in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of 14 federal roads in the state.
“We understood that the cost of the verified projects at the Federal Ministry of Works stood at over N37 billion.
“But when we asked for refunds of the said amount, it was confirmed by both the Federal Ministry of Works and the Debt Management Office that the amount had been paid fully.
“On further investigation, we gathered that the money was collected by the Director-General of Nigerian Governors’ Forum and one lady who also worked in the same place on instructions from former Zamfara government.
“We wonder how people who are not indigenes of the state nor have they ever worked for the state should collect such a colossal amount on behalf of the government and people of Zamfara,’’ the commissioner said.
He assured that the present administration under Gov. Bello Matawalle will do everything possible to recover the money “so that we can use it in the development of the state’’.
But reacting in an interview with the News agency of Nigeria on Wednesday, the former Commissioner of Finance in the Yari led government, Alhaji Muktar Idris exonerated the administration from any wrongdoing.
Idris said that the immediate past administration constructed the roads at the cost of over N60 billion and claimed the same amount from the Federal Government.
“But a federal government verification committee only approved N37.4 billion refunds which was on completed projects.
“Due to dearth of funds to repay such projects to about 23 states, which stood at over N500 billion, it was agreed at the governors’ forum that the states would collect the refunds in two tranches via promissory notes that would mature in three years.
“The states were to receive 40 per cent in the first instalment, in which Zamfara’s due amount stood at N14.9 billion.
“All the affected state governors also agreed that the director-general of the Governors’ Forum should collect for them.
“I still have the documents with me where we put over N10 billion as discounted from N14.9 billion into our joint account because we needed the money.
“So, we discounted and collected the amount through the Debt Management Office, Idris told NAN.
He explained further that the second promissory note was for N22 billion which was also discounted to a little over N17 billion.
“All the money had been deposited into the state government’s accounts.
“Zamfara people are free to check and verify these facts,’’ he said.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
NCDC announces 176 new COVID-19 infection in Nigeria
The NCDC made this known on its official twitter handle on Wednesday.
According to the agency, the new infection takes the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 57,437.
The NCDC said that the new cases were reported from 14 states of the federation.
It stated that Lagos reported the highest infection in the country with 73, Plateau (50), FCT (17), Rivers (8), Ondo (6), Niger (5), Ogun (5), Edo (3), Kaduna (3), Oyo (2), Bauchi (1), Bayelsa (1), Delta (1), and Nasarawa (1).
According to it, till date, 57613 cases have been confirmed, 48836 cases have been discharged and 1100 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the FCT.
The health agency said that a multi-sectoral national emergency operations centre (EOC), activated at Level 3, have continued to coordinate the national response activities across the country.
It added that the drivers of COVID-19 were different across the country, therefore subnational understanding of transmission was critical.
“We can’t celebrate decline in national figures until we test sufficient numbers in every state,” it stated.
The agency said that in addition, most patients who died were reported to have difficulty in breathing.
“Most people who died were 61-70 years of age.
The agency said that a properly worn face mask acts as a protective barrier to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Wear a mask properly covering your nose and mouth, no gaps secured with straps.
“Remember, a face mask is a personal item and must not be shared,” it said.
Edited By: Ejike Obeta
Obiano inaugurates 18-member task force on human trafficking, irregular migrationar migration
Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra has expressed concern over the growing number of indigenes falling victim of human trafficking in the state.
He spoke on Tuesday in Awka during the inauguration of an 18-member task force to curb human trafficking and irregular migration in the state.
Obiano, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Solomon Chukwulobelu, described the development as “a serious subject matter in the state which we are already aware of.
“The trend seems to be growing that occasionally, the matter comes up at the state Security Council meeting,” he said.
He recalled that efforts were made in the past to receive evacuated indigenes of the state in Lagos and Port-Harcourt, who were rescued and repatriated back to Nigeria from different countries.
According to him, they were later rehabilitated and reintegrated successfully into society.
Obiano lauded the efforts of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and pledged to donate a property to serve as the state command of the agency.
In a remark, the Director-General of NAPTIP, Dame Julie Okah-Donli, described human trafficking and irregular migration as a national concern with a large number of Nigerians trapped in other African and European countries.
“This is apart from hundreds that continue to die in the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea,” Okah-Donli said.
She said that more worrisome was the case of young girls, being trafficked from the South-East and neighbouring states to Mali, Burkina Faso and other countries in the West African sub-region.
She said that 528 indigenes of Anambra were rescued by NAPTIP between 2004 and July 2020, consisting of 426 females and 102 males.
Okah-Donli said the victims were mostly from Onitsha North and South, Anambra East, Anaocha, Awka North and South, Idemili North and South Local Government Areas.
“These victims were subjected to child labour, domestic servitude, recruitment for foreign travels, sexual exploitation and sales of babies.
“Between 2017 and 2020, the International Orgaisation for Migration (IOM) returned 34 indigenes of the state from various parts of the world, comprising 29 females and five males,” she said.
The NAPTIP boss, therefore, said the task force had a pivotal role to play in ensuring adequate sensitisation at the grassroots and among vulnerable groups providing services and support to victims.
She, however, called for strong political will and budgetary provisions by the state government, in addition to the commitment of traditional institutions, religious and community leaders to deal with the phenomenon.
Also, Mrs Ruth Mbugua, the Protection Officer of IOM, said coordination and operationalisation of the task force was key to tackling human trafficking.
Mbugua said her office had supported the establishment of six task forces in Rivers, Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Ogun and Oyo states since January.
“Task forces create a strategic, coordinated and collaborative framework for a more effective response to trafficking in persons,” she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that members of the task force were drawn from the Police, Civil Society Organisatiosn, Immigration, Federal Road Safety Commission, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and youth groups.
Others were individuals from rights groups, Ministries of Women Affairs and Justice as well as offices of the SSG and Government House.
Responding, Dr Obianuju Nwogu, the Attorney-General of the state and Chairman of the task force, pledged the commitment of the state judiciary to the fight.
“We have able lawyers and we are expanding the number for the purposes of this job.
“We have all the apparatuses it will take, including regular courts, the Child’s Right Courts and the Administration of Criminal Justice Law to carry out the task,” she said.
Nwogu, who is also the state Commissioner for Justice, was represented by Mrs Ngozi Iwouno, the Director, Civil Litigation.
Earlier, NAPTIP was received by Mr Benjamin Okoye, the Traditional Prime Minister of Awka, when the group paid a courtesy visit to Obi Gibson Nwosu, the Traditional Ruler of Awka Kingdom.
Edited By: Sam Oditah