By Polycarp Auta
Jos, Feb 21, 2019 Ahead of the rescheduled Presidential and National Assembly elections, the Plateau Police Command on Thursday reiterated its commitment to ensure safety of lives and property in the state.
Mr Isaac Akinmoyede, the state’s Commissioner of Police gave the assurance while addressing a joint team of security personnel before embarking on a show-of-force in Jos.
He explained that the command had put all modalities on ground to ensure peaceful conduct of the polls in the state.
The police chief expressed the readiness of the command to secure both electoral officials and materials during the polls.
“The police will ensure the smooth movements of sensitive materials to the various local government areas.
“We have put all modalities on ground and necessary deployment of officers and men to ensure the smooth conduct of the Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections in Plateau.
“Necessary measures have been taken to safeguard electoral officers, materials and voters on Election Day.
“We have deployed men to various points across the state, and we shall provide adequate security at the LGAs, Registration Areas, and polling units on Saturday,” he said.
Akinmoyede advised members of the public to conduct themselves peacefully during elections, and warned those planning to cause distractions to desist, else they would be decisively dealt with when caught.
“We shall not tolerate any act of lawlessness during elections; we shall not take nonsense from anybody.
“Anyone caught breaching peace during the exercise will be made to face the full wrath of the law.
“So, I want to advice Plateau residents to be orderly and conduct themselves in a peaceful manner on Election Day,” he advised.
Reacting to the allegations made by Mrs Beni Lar, member representing Langtang North and South constituency in the Federal House of Representatives, Akinmoyede insisted that Saturday’s polls would be peaceful in the state.
Lar had at a news conference on Wednesday, alleged that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state had recruited thugs to intimidate electoral officials and disrupt Saturday’s polls in her constituency.
However, the Commissioner denied such plans, adding that the command had made its findings and nothing of such was being orchestrated as alleged.
He denied the allegation that he withdrew officers and men sent to the two areas to provide security during the polls, saying that he would have deployed more if possible.
“Immediately, I heard of the allegation, I called the Divisional Police Officers (DPO) of the two localities, and they said there is nothing of such.
“I have no reason to withdraw security personnel posted to Lantang North and South. If I have the opportunity, I will deploy more to those areas.
“I would have the personnel moved round flash points within the Jos – Bukuru metropolis to show our preparedness,” he said.
NNN reports that the show-of-force was basically conducted to remind residents of the state of the readiness of the security agencies to ensure peaceful polls in the state.
Edited by Felix Ajide
Edited by Felix Ajide
Schools resumption: Lalong urges parents to teach children COVID-19 safety protocols
Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau has urged parents in the state to teach their children the safety protocols against COVID-19, preparatory to resumption of schools targeted for end of October.
Lalong had in a broadcast to the people of the state said schools would resume October ending, but was not definite on the date.
He made the call on Sunday at a send off Church mass for the outgoing Prior Provincial of the Catholic Church Order of St. Augustine in Nigeria, Rev. Fr. John Abubakar, at the St. Monica’s Parish Rantya, Jos.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that St Augustinians in the Catholic Church were accredited with parish and pastoral work, scientific study, teaching and missions, among others.
The governor said he made the call because children easily emulated what parents did, more than instructions given to them elsewhere.
Besides, he said, children were most vulnerable to the disease and must be protected, first by the parents.
“I appeal to parents to comply with COVID-19 protocols for the children to emulate, they are most vulnerable because they move around more than us.
“It is the toughest decision we will make to allow innocent children to return to school, ” he said.
Lalong explained that Plateau was now an epicenter of COVID-19 pandemic resulting from the large number of people tested daily in its three testing centres.
“In the 36 states, we are the third in terms of testing capacity and recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for doing well.
“We test 500 people to 700 people daily, we want everyone to know their health status for appropriate action,” he said.
He commended the outgoing Prior Provincial for his diligence in service during his tenure for eight years and prayed for God’s blessings on him.
“In addition to establishing a new secondary school here, he told me he was lobbying for the establishment of an Augustinian University in Plateau,” he said.
The governor expressed optimism that the university would be a reality even in his absence, because of the foundation he had laid for the process.
He thanked the Prior Provincial for his contributions to the Catholic Church and Plateau, expressing the desire that his successor would consolidate on his achievements for greater successes.
Delivering the homily titled: ` God’s Unmerited Love’, Abubakar urged the congregation to focus on their gifts and talents and desist from comparing their lives with other people.
“We should seize opportunity to be impactful with our talents and gifts and stop the mistake of comparing yourselves with others. How God chooses to operate is up to him,”he said.
He said people were appreciated when they left an office because of the value they have added to lives.
Abubakar appreciated the Plateau Government and people of the state for the love they showered on him during his stay, saying their cooperation made his work easy while urging them to extend such gesture to his successor.
Edited By: Emmanuel Nwoye and Abdullahi Yusuf
Northern Governors mourn Emir of Zazzau
The Northern Governors Forum has described the death of the Emir of Zazzau , Alhaji Shehu Idris ,who died at the age of 84, as painful.
The Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Plateau, Simon Lalong, in a condolence message by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Dr Makut Macham, on Sunday in Jos, condoled with his family, the people of Zazzau Emirate, Kaduna State and the nation for the big loss.
“The late Emir lived a very productive life and represented the virtues of truth, service and honesty in his 45 years on the throne.
“His leadership and goodwill attracted enormous development to the Emirate and also improved the living standards of his people.
“He connected easily with people from all parts of the country and offered wise counsel to Governments at all levels. He will surely be missed,” he said.
Lalong said the Northern Governors benefited from the counsel and knowledge of the royal father, who promoted unity, peace and security of the region and the nation.
He prayed God to grant him eternal rest.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Emir who ascended the Zazzau throne on Feb. 8,1975, died on Sunday Morning.
Edited By: Abdullahi Yusuf
Why FG is investing massively in railways, seaports — Amaechi
The Federal Government’s focus on railway and seaport development is a necessity to drive the nation’s economy, according to the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi.
Amaechi stated this at the virtual 15th Annual Kaleidoscope Global Business Conference hosted by the Consulate General of Nigeria in New York on Sunday.
“Many Nigerians have asked why the construction of railways.
“Eighty per cent of the cargoes we have in Nigeria are mostly imported, because the Nigerian economy is yet to generate enough production.
“However, the president is of the view that if we must produce, we must have infrastructure that enables that production, hence the focus on transportation, power and works,” he said.
The minister said although the railway project had started before the President Muhammadu Buhari, the nation’s seaports were not included in the design.
He stated that one of the first things the administration did was to rework the plan to link the rail network to seaports across the country.
“So, we started with the Apapa seaport. We are working there now and I believe by December, we should conclude the Lagos-Ibadan rail line extension into the port.
“We then added the Warri Seaport, the Calabar seaport and Tin Can Island. We are making sure that all of them include seaports,” Amaechi said.
According to him, contract for the 386km rail line from Kano to Maradi in the Republic of Niger will be awarded on Wednesday.
He added contract award for the 1,500km eastern rail line from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri would follow on Sept. 30.
The minister highlighted other rail line projects in the country, including Abuja to Itakpe, and Itakpe to Warri, which he said had been completed
He said the Warri line would also be extended to the Warri seaport being developed by the federal government.
Amaechi also highlighted the government’s seaport digitalisation programme, which he said would be completed in 2021.
Mr Gurjit Singh, former Indian Ambassador to Germany, Indonesia and the African, described Nigeria as the giant of Africa.
Singh, who is the Chairman of the CII Task Force on Asia-Africa Growth Corridor, said the Nigerian rail sector had the potential to drive the nation’s development as was the case in India.
He urged Nigeria to take advantage of the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor initiative to access public private partnership funding for its infrastructure projects.
Organised by United States-based Kaleidoscope Business Project, the event brought together Nigerian state governors, ministers, business executives and prospective foreign investors.
The participants included Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau, Douye Diri of Bayelsa, Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, Samuel Ortom of Benue and AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara,
The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Pantami, and the Minister of State for of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Uchechukwu Ogah, also participated.
They took turns to highlight the investment opportunities that abound in their respective states and sectors in addition to the invest facilitation and security measures in place.
Welcoming the participants, the Consul General of Nigeria in New York, Mr Benaoyagha Okoyen, said the conference was part of the government’s efforts to open more windows of business opportunities in Nigeria to the world.
“With the opportunities that abound in Nigeria, this Conference aims at identifying those investors that are able, willing and committed to long term direct investment into the Nigerian economy.
“And it goes without saying that those from the Nigerian side are as desirous to meet investors in order to establish mutually beneficial relationships.
“Let me emphasise the need for us to jointly work together to enhance NIgeria economic growth and industrialization on our shared values and sound principles of mutually beneficial partnership and on a win-win business matrix,” Okoyen said.
Edited By: Felix Ajide
Northern states may reopen schools before Oct. 30 – commissioners
The Commissioners of Education in the 19 Northern States, say they may reopen schools before October 30, but subject to approval of their respective state governors.
The commissioners made this known in a communique issued in Kaduna on Sunday, at the end of a two-day meeting on student exchange programme, school reopening and other matters held in Abuja.
The communique was signed by Dr Shehu Makarfi, Commissioner of Education, Kaduna State, who is also the Chairman of the northern states School Exchange Programme (SEP).
The meeting was attended by commissioners of 10 of the 19 northern states namely, Kaduna, Bauchi, Yobe, Plateau, Niger, Kogi Gombe, Taraba, Nassarawa and Plateau, while others sent their apologies.
“We have agreed to reopen schools as soon as possible, hopefully before Oct. 30, fully or in phases, but subject to the approval of our respective governors.
“Some states have already reopened fully while others opened partially since Sept. 14, so we are looking at the possibilities of reopening as soon as we get approvals.
“We therefore urge state governments, development partners, parents and relevant stakeholders to combine efforts in the provision of COVID-19 prevention facilities in schools to fast track reopening.
“The Federal Government should equally support states to meet the COVID-19 requirements for school reopening, as it did to other sectors,” they said.
They recommended the establishment of an effective communication channel between the FME and the state commissioners of education, on policy issues, development in the sector, and particularly plans on schools reopening.
The commissioners observed that most of the SEP schools were overpopulated and directed that affected states should adhere to the numbers stipulated in the guidelines establishing the programme.
According to them, decongesting the schools will ensure quality teaching and learning.
“Commissioners should intensify monitoring of SEP and other schools to improve the education delivery system in their respective states.
“States should equally invest in building the administrative capacities of principals and teachers by organising workshops and supporting school administrators and teachers to attend courses in institutes of education and public administration.
“Similarly, Information and Communication Technology should also be included in school administration to equip school principals and teachers with relevant skills to deliver quality education,” they stated.
The commissioners also resolved to engage the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) in developing the needed strategies for integrating children of all almajiri schools into the formal education system.
They agreed to intensify efforts to gain the support and cooperation of all stakeholders to ensure success of the integration process.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Felix Ajide