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N75bn SUVs for lawmakers: Missed opportunities to improve education, healthcare

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Last week, the House of Representatives rejected a proposal to provide free external secondary school examinations for the 2023/2024 session to assist families affected by the removal of fuel subsidies and its impact on the economy.

The lawmakers argued that Nigeria couldn’t afford to offer free WAEC, NECO, and UTME exams to its citizens who were already struggling with economic difficulties due to the subsidy removal. Ironically, while they deemed free exams too expensive, they were on the verge of spending a staggering N75 billion to purchase luxury vehicles for their personal use.

To put this N75 billion expenditure in perspective:

  1. Pay for UTME, NECO, and WAEC for 1.6 million students:
    • Around 1.6 million students took the 2023 UTME, costing N5,500 per candidate, totaling N8.8 billion.
    • Similarly, 1.6 million candidates sat for the WAEC, each paying N18,000 in fees, totaling N28.8 billion.
    • For NECO, 1.205 million students registered for the 2023 exam, with a total cost of N21.3 billion.
    • Without buying expensive vehicles, the funds could have covered the exam fees for all Nigerian students, with N16.8 billion left over for other purposes.
  2. Build four primary healthcare centers in every local government:
    • It costs between N18 million and N22 million to build a primary healthcare center in Nigeria.
    • With the N75 billion, members of the National Assembly could have constructed four such centers in each local government, resulting in 3,096 primary healthcare centers to serve constituents.
  3. Fund 10 federal medical centers for a year:
    • The N75 billion could have funded 10 federal medical centers for a year, covering expenses such as salaries, drugs, and capital projects.
  4. Provide 400 laptops in every local government:
    • By opting to invest in IT training for students in their local governments, the N75 billion would have been sufficient to purchase 279,810 laptops. Each local government would receive 400 laptops, facilitating the learning of programming and other IT skills.
  5. Address the issue of 13.5 million out-of-school children:
    • Members of the National Assembly could have contributed to addressing the out-of-school crisis by supporting states in accessing the Universal Basic Education Fund (UBEC). This fund could have been used to build or renovate more schools, especially in areas lacking the necessary resources.

It appears that the lawmakers have chosen to prioritize the purchase of expensive vehicles over these critical needs, despite the pressing challenges faced by the country.

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Police condemn killing of man over alleged blasphemy in Bauchi

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The Bauchi State Police Command has condemned the killing of a man identified as Yunusa by a mob over alleged blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad.

DAILY POST reports that the sad incident occurred on Wednesday at about 3 pm in Nasaru community, located in Ningi Local Government Area of the state.

An eyewitness, Umar Abubakar, in a phone interview with DAILY POST, said an argument erupted between the victim and another individual, during which he allegedly made the blasphemous remarks, which quickly escalated to a mob action.

Reacting to the mob action, the spokesperson of the Bauchi State Police Command, Ahmed Wakil, in a statement made available in Bauchi on Thursday, said: “It has come to our attention that an individual named Usman was involved in sharing information about a new religious movement known as the Fera Movement. Regrettably, this led to tensions and an altercation, resulting in the loss of his life.”

According to him, Commissioner of Police Auwal Musa Muhammad condemned the actions of the individuals involved while emphasising the importance of upholding the rule of law.

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He charged the public to work with law enforcement agencies and refrain from taking matters into their own hands.

CREDIT: DAILY POST

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Federal College of Education Gusau resumes academic activities after 3-month strike

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The College of Education Academic Staff Union, COEASU, of the Federal College of Education Technical, FCET, Gusua, Zamfara State, has suspended its strike action unconditionally, saying that lecturers have resumed their academic activities.

DAILY POST reports that the three-month industrial action was called off on Thursday after a long-hour meeting by members of the union at the college in Gusau, the state capital.

Speaking with newsmen shortly after the meeting, a member of the union, Muktar Abdullahi, apologised to parents, guardians and students for the inconvenience caused by the over three months strike.

According to him, the decision to call off the strike was reached unconditionally after the members of the union were able to resolve issues at stake in the college.

Earlier, the coalition of Zamfara State civil societies and the well-wishers had recently staged a protest over what they called the anti-progress pose of the union.

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Speaking on behalf of the coalition, Alhaji Nasiru Garba, has said that they show their solidarity to Hajiya Hauwa’u Mukhtar Abdul Karim, being the substantive and only female and indigenous provost since the creation of FCET Gusau in 1988.

According to him, some members of the embattled union are undermining the college.

He said: “Some academic staff of the college do not want the college to be manned by a substantive provost; they always want to lead the institution in acting capacity as caretakers, which is very bad, and by doing so, the college will never progress.”

He called on the federal government, through the Minister of Education, to ensure the speedy transfer of the COEASU members to other federal colleges of Education.

“That will help the growth of the institution to allow the provost to continue with the good job she started,” he said, stating that the coalition of civil societies is behind the leadership of Dr. Hauwau Muktar Abdulkarim.

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CREDIT: DAILY POST

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Army arrest alleged mastermind of Taraba killings

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Troops from the 6 Brigade Nigerian Army/Sector 3 Operation WHIRL STROKE (OPWS) in Taraba State have arrested a terrorist linked to recent deadly attacks in the Bali local government area.

Last week, several people, including a 92-year-old man, were killed in Mararaban Azagawa village in Bali. In a statement released on Thursday, Lieutenant Oni Olubodunde, Acting Assistant Director of 6 Brigade, Army Public Relations, confirmed the arrest of the terrorist responsible for the attack.

The suspect, identified as 39-year-old Hassan Ibrahim, was found with a dane gun, cartridges, and a motorcycle belonging to one of the victims. Nicknamed Godu, Ibrahim has admitted to his role in the attack and has provided valuable information to the authorities.

“He is currently in custody and cooperating with authorities to help capture his collaborators,” the statement noted.

Brigadier General Kingsley Chidiebere Uwa, commander of 6 Brigade Sector 3 OPWS, praised the public for their valuable information that led to the suspect’s capture. He urged continued public support to help eliminate criminal activities in Taraba State.

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“The successful capture of the terrorism mastermind is a significant achievement for the troops and a step towards restoring peace and security in the affected community,” he stated.

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