The Kwara State Government has approved the use of hijab by female students in all public secondary schools in the state, thus ending a week of controversy and protest over the issue.
The state government also directed the reopening of all mission schools closed schools over the issue, with effect from March 8, 2021.
The following is a statement issued on Thursday by the state government and signed by the Secretary to the Kwara State Government, Prof Mamma Sabah Jibril:
Sequel to recent developments in our state over the status of the hijaab in public/grant-aided schools, the state government has consulted widely with thought leaders and leaders of both Muslim and Christian communities with a view to clarifying issues and reaching a consensus. The last of such meetings was held on Wednesday February 24, presided by His Excellency Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq.
At least 10 schools of interest were earlier shut down to maintain peace and public order as well as prevent mischief makers from taking undue advantage of the development.
The state government has considered submissions of all major interest groups on the matter. It has also thoroughly considered the education law of Kwara State, the prevailing court judgments and current global trends of multiculturalism in evolving a consultation-based decision that will bring lasting peace and understanding to our communities. The government has also paid particular attention to the ‘declaratory’ nature of the subsisting judgments of the Court of Appeal and their purports.
Consequently, the government hereby acknowledges and approves the right of the Muslim schoolgirl to wear the hijab, and directs the Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development to come up with a uniform hijab for all public/ grant-aided schools, which will be the accepted mode of head covering in schools. Any willing schoolgirl with the approved (uniform) hijab shall have the right to wear same in public/grant-aided schools.
Also, the government affirms the right of every child in public schools to freedom of worship.
The government hereby directs that the affected 10 schools should reopen to commence classes on Monday 8th March 2021.
Similarly, the government has carefully noted submissions regarding ownership of grant-aided schools and related issues. While the status of these schools is the subject of judicial determination, this and other related matters will soon be subjected to a technical committee to advise accordingly. The government reassures all members of the public that it will act in good conscience at all times.
The government asserts that there is no victor or vanquished on the hijaab question. It urges the two faith communities, especially the leaders, opinion moulders and media personalities to act with restraint and great responsibility in their public utterances and actions, and continue to live in peace and harmony with one another. The government commends all the thought and religious leaders on both sides for their forbearance, understanding and commitment to peace.
Prof Mamma Sabah Jibril
Secretary to the Kwara State Government
February 25, 2021.
Meet Eruani, youngest Nigerian to receive CFR national honours
President Muhammadu Buhari is set to confer a national honour award of the Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic on a 48-year-old medical doctor, industrialist and celebrated entrepreneur, Dr Eruani Azibapu, becoming the youngest Nigerian to receive the CFR award.
Eruani, who is the chief executive officer of Azikel Refinery, is to get the award for his immense contributions to Nigeria’s economic growth, employment and national development, according to the letter conveying the national award to him.
The CFR award, according to the letter, will be formally conferred on him at a ceremony scheduled for Tuesday, October 11, 2022, at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
Born on December 25, 1973 to the royal family of King Allwell Eruani, Aguda IX, the Obenema of Emadike Kingdom in Bayelsa State, the philanthropist obtained his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from the University of Port Harcourt in 1999.
In preparation for business conquest, he studied at the Lagos Business School where he obtained certification in the Owner Management Programme (OMP). He also studied at the London Business School and the University of Pennsylvania and obtained the Senior Executive Programme (SEP) and Advance Management Programme (AMP) certifications respectively.
Eruani pioneered the establishment of in-country petroleum refining by setting up the first private Hydroskimming Refinery in Nigeria.
With an output of 25,000 barrels per day, Azikel Refinery brings to reality President Buhari’s Modular Refinery Regime launched in 2015.
His business interests, which started with dredging and sandfilling, include power, aviation, oil and gas and technology.
On graduation, he worked as a medical officer in the civil service and some private clinics in Port Harcourt, and later sought further education and specialisation, starting in surgery at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, then travelled to the United States (US) and took interest in family medicine and later became a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Azibapu also worked in Bayelsa State as a medical officer. But when he became a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, he secured employment in Nigerian Agip Oil Company as an expatriate, basically providing occupational health services. He rose to the level of a deputy chief industrial doctor.
Then, there was clamour for him to come back, as the government of Bayelsa State needed some experienced doctors to revive its health sector.
The then governor, and later President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, appointed him as adviser on HIV/AIDS and Community Health and he was appointed commissioner of Health by Chief Timipre Sylvia, who took over from Jonathan.
After serving as adviser for about two years and commissioner for about five years, he went into an area that was considered not befitting, the business of sand selling.
At the outset, not many people wanted to work with him. In fact, when he told his mother that he wanted to go into selling sand, she wept, that her son and only child, a medical doctor of international repute and commissioner was going to start selling sand.
But Azibapu had always known that one could actually make a good business from what many people didn’t like. And he found encouragement in his father, who said he believed in whatever he wanted to do.
He said, “I looked at the critical drivers of that business – I needed to have land and a dredging machine. I couldn’t afford to buy a dredging machine, because it costs millions of dollars. The cheapest dredging machine as at that time was nothing less than $10 million.
“I needed to get land by the riverside. I could go to a community to get land and even if I cannot pay at once, I can pay overtime, and that was what I did. I went and discussed with the Otuogori community and they agreed. That is where my operation is based, more so, it was a vacant land then, as it was always submerged under water.”
Solving the problem of dredging machine was more challenging, as he didn’t have the money to rent a dredging machine, let alone buy one. “So, I approached someone I know has a dredging machine, who remains very famous in my history, called Akpe. I asked if he could pump some sand for me, and he agreed to do so if I was willing to pay.
“From the bill he gave me, I needed an initial deposit of about N80million. I didn’t even have up to N10million. I tried to bargain as much as I could, but it wasn’t forthcoming, so I accepted it, despite not having the money.
“But I said since he wouldn’t need the whole N80 million at once, we should have a payment plan and I proposed N80 million to dredge about 100 feet of sand and offered to pay him N5 million deposit to mobilise a dredging machine to the site.
“I was able to muster about N10 million, so while he was there, I could pay him another N5 million. So, when he pumped the sand and we quantified that it was worth N10 million, I paid another N10 million,” he recalled.”
Asked how he hit it at an early age, Azibapu explained: “It is influence, largely environmental influence. The environment is not where you grow up; it is the people that you meet, your perception and the people that are around you. When you are purposeful and you have success written around you, you are likely to succeed.”
Today, Azikel operates in Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states. The business soon evolved into a multinational industry and there was the quest to diversify, this time into the aviation sector, starting with a small aircraft.
Other prominent Nigerians to receive the CFR national award are the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajaiamila; his predecessor, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara; Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha; Head of Service of the Federation, Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan; former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami (retired); former CEO/Managing Director/Founder of Zenith Bank, Mr Jim Ovia; Chairman, Body of Benchers, Chief Oluwole Olanipekun SAN; economist, and philanthropist, Mr Tony Elumelu, along with a number of serving and retired military officers, Justices of the Supreme Court, business executives and traditional rulers.
-Additional report by the Guardian
Just in: NECO releases 2022 SSCE results, 60.7% candidates pass
The National Examination Council (NECO) has released the results of the 2022 Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSSCE) conducted nationwide in July, with over 60 per cent of the candidates scoring credit in five subjects including English and Mathmatics.
NECO Registrar and Chief Executive Officer, Prof. Dantali Wushishi, disclosed this while addressing newsmen in Minna, Niger State capital, on Thursday.
He said 1,209,703, candidates sat for the examination, with 60.74 per cent (727,864) having five credits and above including English Language and Mathematics.
He said compared to 2021 SSCE figure of 878,925 (71.64%) pass in English and Maths, there is a decrease of 10.9 per cent.
Strike: Court strikes out NANS suit on ASUU/FG dispute
The National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday, struck out a suit the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, filed to compel the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, and the Federal Government to call off the ongoing strike action.
Justice Polycarp Hamman terminated further proceedings in the matter, after it was withdrawn by factional President of NANS, Umar Faruk Lawal.
Lawal had told the court that he filed the suit marked NICN/ABJ/273/2022, for himself and on behalf of NANS.
Aside from ASUU which was cited as the 1st Respondent, the Minister of Education and the Attorney-General of the Federation were listed as 2nd and 3rd Respondents, respectively.
When the matter came up on Tuesday, Lawal told the court that he had filed a motion for discontinuance.
He said the decision to withdraw the suit was on account of the challenge by the student body which contested his standing.
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