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Hijab: Rename controversial schools in Ilorin, MURIC tells Kwara govt

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The Muslims Rights Concern (MURIC) has urged  Kwara State Government to rename schools whose authorities have refused to obey court pronouncements and government’s directives on the use of hijab in schools.

The group stated this in a press statement issued on Saturday by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.

According to MURIC, what happened on Wednesday March 17 in some of the schools in the state was an open confrontation, militancy, thuggery and hooliganism on the part of Kwara State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the school principals, and teachers.

The group also said CAN appeared now to be competing with Bill Haram and bandits by preventing Muslim girls from accessing education in the state.

MURIC said, “It is obvious that the Kwara State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is determined to foment trouble. It has refused to obey court judgements. It has also rejected the government’s directive on the approval of hijab for female Muslim students.

“Worse still, CAN incite its members in the state to occupy the schools. It was this direct and open incitement which culminated in the violence witnessed on Wednesday, 17th March 2021, in some of the schools. This is open confrontation, militancy, thuggery and hooliganism on the part of CAN, the school principals and teachers.”

MURIC said it deemed it necessary, at this stage, for the state government to put its feet down, adding that no responsible government would allow “fanatical religious leaders who have no respect for the rule of law to cause anarchy under its watch.”

It also stated in part, “It is in this respect that we commend Governor AbdulRahman for coming out boldly to assert his authority in the unequivocal policy statement issued on Thursday 18th March, 2021.

“However, this statement needs to be followed up with actions capable of demonstrating that government has the political will to enforce its directive.

“Firstly, leaders of CAN in the state should be arrested and charged for contempt of court. This Kwara chapter of CAN is loaded with rebellious subjects and agents provocateur. They have no respect for social decorum, law and order. Government must make it clear that nobody is above the law.

“Secondly, Kwara state ministry of education must take disciplinary actions against the school principals in those recalcitrant schools for exhibiting divided loyalty and insubordination.

“Thirdly, the state government must rename those controversial schools. They may be given names derived from the areas in which they are located. We like to suggest that, by extension, all schools in Kwara State which are still bearing missionary names, whether Christian or Muslim, should be renamed in as much as funding and the teachers’ salaries are still being paid by the state government.”

“We are shocked to our marrows that a religious group in this 21st century has the temerity to disobey court order and the audacity to ignore government’s directive on government’s own property. Where is the principle of equality before the law? Where is the rule of law? Where is respect for democratic principles, norms and values if civilised people refuse to obey court orders? It is such a big shame.

“CAN Kwara State chapter should be ashamed that it seeks to out-Herod Herod by displaying a major characteristic of Boko Haram and bandits. It is well known that Boko Haram and bandit kidnappers are preventing Muslims from having access to schools in Northern Nigeria. CAN is now competing with Boko Haram and bandits by preventing innocent Muslim girls from accessing education in Kwara State.”

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Total power blackout in Kaduna as Labour unions begin strike

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The Management of Kaduna Electric has said that the current total power blackout in Kaduna State was due to the ongoing five-day warning strike embarked by labour unions.

Abdulazeez Abdullahi, Head of Corporate Communication of the company made the announcement in a statement issued on Sunday in Kaduna.

“In compliance with the NLC directive, the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN has knocked off all our 33KV lines in Kaduna State.

“Consequently, we are appealing to all communities, security agencies and vigilante groups to be vigilant so that men of underworld will not cash in on the situation to vandalise power supply installations.

“Any suspicious movement around distribution sub-stations (transformers) should be reported to the relevant security agency”, he said.

He stated that it is the collective responsibility of citizens to protect critical national assets in their neighborhood.

Abdullahi added that the company appeals to both labour unions and Kaduna State Government “to strive at an amicable resolution for normalcy to return”.

NAN

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Osinbajo offers scholarship to Ekiti artist Abosede Okeowo

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has offered a gifted physically challenged artist, Ms Abosede Okeowo,  a US online scholarship to enhance her skills.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Sunday in Abuja, said the presentation was made recently at the palace of Oba Adekunle Adeagbo, the Oore of Otun-Ekiti in Ekiti.

The 27-year-old artist had presented Osinbajo with his pencil portrait during his courtesy visit to the Ooni of Ife in 2020.

Inspite of her limitations, Okeowo focuses on her artistic skills and has gained recognition because of her talent.

Okeowo, an indigene of Otun Ekiti in Ekiti State, suffered an illness when she was a child which resulted in her current state of health.

The self-taught artist who, nurtured her talent in drawing to her current stage of expertise, is known for making drawings of many dignitaries.

Okeowo first caught the attention of the vice president when she drew a portrait of his wife, Dolapo.

She yet again enthralled Osinbajo with her skills when she drew and presented a lifelike portrait of him.

Osinbajo, the statement said, was represented at the presentation by a team led by Sen. Babafemi Ojudu, Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters.

Also in the team was Dr Ebi Awosika, Senior Technical Assistant to the Vice President on Community Engagement.

In her remarks, Awosika expressed gratitude to God for Okeowo, saying it was just the beginning of greatness for the young artist.

She presented to the talented artiste a special wheelchair, laptop and a scholarship in Hyper-Realistic Portrait Course, a virtual course offered through an American online programme.

“This scholarship will help Okeowo to realise her dreams and desire to own an establishment where she can teach others how to draw and help those who are physically challenged to also fulfill their life ambitions,”the statement quoted her as saying.

In his remarks, Adeagbo, who received the delegation on behalf of Okeowo’s family and Otun Ekiti community expressed gratitude to the vice president and his wife for making life meaningful for the artist and her family

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Ekiti to embark on Rice pyramid project

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Ekiti State Government on Sunday said it intends to produce of over one million metrics tonnes of rice within the next couple of years.

Mr Olabode Adetoyi, Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, made this known in Ado Ekiti at a news conference ahead of the official launch of the ” Ekiti Rice Pyramid Project” and flag off of the 2021 Wet Season Rice Cultivation, scheduled for Tuesday.

According to him, Mr Godwin Emefiele, the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, would perform the inauguration of the rice pyramid project while Gov. Kayode Fayemi, would be the chief host.

The commissioner said the state was embarking on massive production of rice so as to be able to meet both local demands and for export.

He explained that the state government had brought in investors, who were ready to invest in planting and processing of rice, adding that the product would be of high standards and stone free.

Adetoyi added that the state government was working assiduously towards ensuring that youths ventured into farming by making it more attractive and lucrative, through various agricultural incentives

He assured farmers in the state that the government would not fail in providing adequate security for them to enable them go to their farms anytime without entertaining fears

Adetoyi disclosed that 23 new investors had already been allocated lands to plant rice, cocoa and palm oil, among others, as the government was doing all to attract investors through provision of enabling environment.

“ Top notch rice processing plant like Stallion, Dangote and Jumlar rice have been allocated land in premium location in Ekiti Knowledge Zone for quality rice production.

“ Land clearing and development of over 5,000 hectares of land for commercial agriculture is also on, out of which 1,000 is cleared for swampy rice along the river banks and valleys in the state. Over 40,000 hectares is to be made available as time goes on,” he said.

The commissioner said that the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari, had conceived the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to provide easy access to credit for farmers and processors at low interest rate, among others.

He added that the government of Japan had also brought in some equipment such as harvesters to provide high quality rice production in the state.

Adetoyi warned people in the habit of setting fire to bushes while hunting game to desist from such acts to avoid causing damage to peoples’ farms.

According to him, some farms had been destroyed in the process.

The commissioner said that government had approved money to buy seedlings that would be distributed to those farmers who lost their farms in such preventable fire incidences.(NAN

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