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Insecurity: Our challenges, by Service chiefs, others

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Security top brass on Thursday told senators the challenges confronting them as they battle to halt the worsening insecurity.

They briefed the Senate during an Executive Session on how they are grappling with lack of adequate equipment and low capacity, sources said.

The closed session which lasted for about four hours, enabled the military and security chiefs to exchange ideas with senators.

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor, Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo and Acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Alkali Baba Usman attended the session.

Others are the Directors-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) Maj-Gen S.A. Adebayo, and Directorate of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Magaji Bichi.

It was learnt that the CDS briefed the Senate on behalf of the Service chiefs, while the IGP and heads of intelligence agencies elaborated on the internal security crises.

Sources said the capacity problem of the Air Force, which lacked fighting assets until the Buhari government started buying equipment was listed.

The senators were also told that the Air Force lacked trained pilots until the recent acquisition of fighter jets. Training of pilots also recently resumed.

The Air Force is expecting the delivery of Tucano fighter jets ordered by the government in July to boost its operational capacity.

The senators also learnt of the capacity problem the army suffered after former President Olusegun Obasanjo, on assumption of office in 1999, retired all officers who had served in political positions.

It took the army a long time to get out of the effect of this action, because some of the brightest officers who were retired could not transfer their knowledge before exiting service.

The financing of the multi-faceted battles the military is fighting and the lack of funding for the police were also discussed, it was learnt.

Senate spokesman Ajibola Basiru spoke on what transpired when he briefed reporters after the meeting.

Basiru said: “Today (yesterday) the Senate played host to the key leadership of the Nigerian security apparatus.

“The Chief of Defence Staff who led the Service Chiefs, that is, the Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff and the Chief of Air Staff and the Director of Defence Intelligence, the DG of National Intelligence Agency, the Director General of SSS and, of course, the Inspector-General of Police.

“At an executive session, they briefed the Senate comprehensively on the state of security in the country, analysis of the various operations and theatre of activities that they are engaged in, the topography across the six geopolitical zones, the complexities and the challenges that are being faced and ways by which they believe the parliament can work together with the Executive and the heads of security agencies to ensure we rein in the atmosphere of insecurity and ensure a long-lasting peace and security for our country.

“The Senate leadership expressed our gratitude for their forthrightness, for their being very open to us and we are committed to ensuring that all necessary legislative and appropriation support is given to all the relevant agencies as may be subsequently requested. I think that is what transpired in summary at the closed session.”

Basiru added: “We did not talk about money. We did not talk about figure. We had a high-level discussion on general challenges and requirements for us to have an efficient and effective security.

“The details of whatever will go into supplementary appropriation can only be worked upon by the ministry of finance, which is an Executive arm together with our relevant Committee and such are not matters that we will go into details.

“Of course, everybody know that security is a serious matter for which you cannot take with levity when it comes to ensuring appropriate appropriation for that. We are ready to receive supplementary budget.

“We don’t have any doubt that there is synergy among the various security agencies. In fact, from the nature of the briefing that we received, it reassured us as elected representatives of the people that there is indeed a synergy.

“In any event, even the success that has been made which we were apprised of is like security is something you only feel the impact when there are breaches.

“Nobody will give you credit for security situations you have been able to address and attended to. For instance, we have a tremendous status quo report that a lot had gone into stemming the tide of insecurity in Nigeria.

“Perhaps, if not for that synergy and the efforts that have gone in terms of operationalising and putting the Nigerian security organisation, particularly the Air Force in proper shape, perhaps we would have being in a more terrible situation.

“So, the story is about how far we have gone but then there is room for improvement and we are committed to that improvement.

On whether the Senate is satisfied with the plan of the security agencies to ensure security in the country going forward, Basiru said: “After listening to the briefings, I personally became upbeat that a lot of work had gone into addressing the problem of insecurity and from the various perspectives that were brought into the discussion which is very frank,  clear and without any form of duplicity, it became very clear that Nigerian security agencies are not only looking at the internal dimension of the challenge we have, we look at all ramifications both in terms of the political context, economic context and international context to the development. There were even perspectives as to what happened recently in Chad.

“So it was a very thorough discussion and I also believe that the forthrightness of the leadership of the security agencies showed the seriousness that they attached to that duties.

“So, I believe that going forward, the confidence has been built between the security chiefs on one hand and the Nigerian parliament on the other hand and that would be a good signal of what we expect in the future.”

– The Nation

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We’ll not ban Almajiri qur’anic education, but reform it — Gov. Tambuwal

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Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State has said the state government was targeting the remodelling of the Qur’anic education system and not banning it.

Tambuwal stated this on Saturday at the closing of a two-day workshop for the adaptation of the Indonesian Pondok system into the Almajiri-Islamiyya educational system in the state.

He expressed government’s determination to ensure that the initiative was implemented to the letter, stressing that any recognisable success of the system would upgrade and improve the state’s educational system.

He said: “We are not aiming to ban the Almajiri qur’anic education system as some people have urged the Sokoto State Government to emulate other states.

“We are striving to provide reasonable solutions to the challenges and with the present initiative the time has come.”

Tambuwal assured of full implementation of the suggestions made by resource persons and the design of a programme that would surely be a solution to the educational challenges, especially bridging the gap of out of school children.

In his remarks, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, urged the Federal Government and its agencies, including the Universal Basic Education Commission, to consider making financial provisions to the Almajiri qur’anic educational system.

Abubakar noted that when the implementation of the initiative begins, the out of school children figure will drop as well as curtail those roaming the streets.

The Sultan urged others states to emulate Sokoto state on the initiative, in recognition of its importance and suitability to Nigerian’s system of education.

The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on National Social Investment Programmes, Maryam Uwais, expressed delight at the initiative as it was in line with the President’s efforts at reducing poverty and empowering Nigerians.

Uwais said: “The huge numbers of marginalised youths and children, who have no education, school dropouts who have no skills, have contributed to the dismal outcomes of security challenges.

“The challenges also include females who faced incidence of gender based violence, along with cases of early marriages arising from lack of education, which leads to diminished opportunities.”

She noted that the Pandok system focuses on character development and addressing socioeconomic challenges that children faced, as well as improving educational levels which were all aligned with Sustainable Development Goals.

Uwais added that her office was working towards empowering between 30 to 50 youths in all the local government councils, to supervise and monitor others on valuable skills to be acquired, through various initiatives.

Earlier, the Executive Director, Sokoto State Arabic and Islamic Education Board, Alhaji Umar Altine, said based on the study conducted, the Pandok system of education in Indonesia were owned and managed by individuals or communities, regulated and assisted by the federal ministry of religious affairs.

Altine said the major sources of sustainability were Endowments (Waqf) and Alumni, noting that based on advocacy and sensitisation by the board, six Qur’anic schools had adopted the model.

In her presentation, UNICEF Education Specialist, Sokoto Field Office, Dr. Safiyya Tahir, said that no fewer than 1.2 million children were out of school in Sokoto State, noting that early children development centres were mostly owned by private schools, with only a small percentage owned by public schools.

Tahir said the Pandok system would be relevant to the culture of Sokoto people because they shared similarities with the Indonesians as many families prepared their children for enrolment in religious schools in early life.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that several resource persons made presentations at the occasion, including Dr. Bala Muhammad of the Mass Communication Department, Bayero University, Kano, and Prof. Abdullahi Sule-Kano of the Political Science Department, BUK.

Others were: Prof. Maryam Koko of the Centre for Entrepreneurship Development, Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto; Prof. Suleiman Khalil, Sociology Department in UDUS; Prof. Bashir Galadanci; and Prof. Muhammad Junaid.

The Eagle Online

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Resident Doctors Vote to Continue Indefinite Strike

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Striking resident doctors in the country have resolved to sustain their ongoing industrial action until their demands are met by the federal government.

The strike by members of the National Association Resident Doctors (NARD) has entered its seventh week, with their parent body, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), also threatening to embark on solidarity strike if the dispute is not resolved by next weekend.

The resident doctors are demanding payment of arrears of salaries of their members on GIFMIS platform as well as approval of new hazard allowance for the health sector, among other demands.

Rising from its Annual General Meeting (AGM) that ended yesterday at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH), Bauchi State, NARD said that it had unanimously resolved by vote to continue the total and indefinite strike action.

A new national leadership also emerged at the meeting with Dr Dare Godiya Ishaya as the new president of NARD.

NARD said that: “After critical appraisal of the performances of both federal and state governments on all the issues that led to the ongoing strike as stated above, the AGM unanimously resolved by vote to continue the total and indefinite strike action until our minimum demands are met”.

In a communiqué jointly signed by NARD President, Dr. Dare Godiya Ishaya; Secretary General, Dr. Suleiman Abiodun Ismai; and National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Alfa Yusuf, the doctors said that federal government should ensure that their demands are urgently met before normalcy would return to the health sector

The resident doctors said they are demanding the payment of the Medical Residency Training allowance within 72 hours since the money meant for it is available and verification of the list for payment has been completed.

They also demanded payment of the arrears of salaries of their members on GIFMIS platform within 72 hours while the migration process continues.

Other demands of the Resident doctors include: “Withdrawal of the case against us in court in the interest of peace; and payment of our withheld August and September salaries”.

NARD said that federal government should prevail on various state governments to urgently “pay arrears of salaries and allowances owed our members in the state tertiary health institutions as stated above”.

In the communiqué, NARD said they were committed to the smooth running of the health sector, but can only do so when their welfare is given the desired attention.

“We, therefore, call on all well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the government to set aside all technicalities as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari and resolve the aforementioned demands in the interest of the masses and our members who are currently suffering because of the ongoing strike action,” it said.

Earlier during the AGM, the doctors bemoaned the delay in payment of death-in-service insurance benefit to the next-of-kin of the fallen heroes despite their sacrifices to the country.

They expressed concerns over the conditions of their members under different state governments’ employs, especially Abia, Imo, Ekiti and Ondo states, where their members are being owed 20 months, six months, four months and four months’ salary arrears, respectively.

They meeting also observed with serious concerns the poor response of most state governments in domesticating the Medical Residency Training Act of 2017 while commending states like Delta and Benue for adopting the law.

In particular, NARD expressed appreciation to the governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, who has paid its members the 2021 MRTF during the ongoing strike.

The meeting lamented the acute manpower shortage in most tertiary health institutions and the attendant burnout effects on its members.

The communiqué said that NARD observed with serious concerns that despite several meetings with the presidential committee on salaries and other top government stakeholders on the review of hazard allowance for health workers, the hazard allowance still remains a paltry N5,000.

It also noted the non-payment of COVID-19 inducement allowance to some of the members in federal and most of its members in state tertiary institutions.

Onyebuchi Ezigbo, Thisday News

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BREAKING: IPOB orders sit-at-home on October 1, removal of all Nigerian flags from southeast

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The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has declared a sit-at-home across the Southeast on October 1.

IPOB said the October 1 sit-at-home is to show its rejection of Nigeria and all the country stands for.

In a statement by its spokesman on Saturday, Emma Powerful, the group also declared the commencement of “operation no Nigerian flag begins in Biafra land from October 1st.”

Powerful said the sit-at-home order was declared to celebrate Ambazonia Independence Anniversary.

The statement reads partly: “IPOB has declared 1st of October 2021 total shutdown in Biafra land as a sign of our rejection of the evil construct called Nigeria and there shall be no movement in Biafra land on this day.

“Also, IPOB has declared from today 25th September 2021 that all Nigerian flag mounted anywhere in Biafra land must be brought down, Banks exceptional, IPOB leadership will communicate to Banks directly and give them reason they must peacefully bring down Nigeria flag in their banking premises before we do it ourselves in our own way.

“Every body must strictly adhere to this directives from IPOB leadership, we want to let the world know you that Biafraland is not Nigeria and shall not be. Don’t say I don’t know, a word is enough for the wise.”

Seun Opejobi, Daily Post

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