Saturday, September 22, 2018
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 CHINEDU WOSU, Yenagoa

A 24-year-old final year Business Administration student of the Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro, Mr.. Diete Rufus, has been murdered in Bayelsa State.

Late Rufus was reportedly killed in crossfire during a deadly armed clash involving two rival cult groups on Sunday.

It was learnt that three other persons also sustained serious injuries in the incident which occurred in Okpotuwari and Ondewari communities, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

Community sources said the incident caused panic and forced many residents to run into the creeks and forest for safety.

Rufus was first rushed to Korokorosei hospital where he was later referred to the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, but later died on the way to the Federal Government health facility.

It was also learnt that the gun duel might not be unconnected with the alleged disagreement over the control of security of oil wells in the area, which had generated bitterness among the youths in recent times.

Meanwhile, one Ebikeseye Abiri, a younger brother of the detained publisher of a local newspaper in Bayelsa, Jones Abiri, from Okpotuwari and Ondewari communities, has been reported dead.

Jones, believed to be the breadwinner of their family, was arrested on July 21, 2016 in his Yenagoa office and has since been in the custody of the Department of the State Services (DSS) without trial yet.

Ebikeseye, a 30-year-old father of three children, was said to have died on Saturday in a medical facility at Akaba, following a fire incident which occurred while he was moving a container of locally-refined petroleum product from one location to another in a community in Rivers State.

Concerned members of the communities said the late Ebikeseye, whose wife gave birth to a baby on Saturday night, was forced to go into the trade to make ends meet for the family following the long absence of Jones.

A community source, who wished not to be named, said: “If Jones were around, this unfortunate incident wouldn’t have happened. Jones used to assist his deceased brother in the area of children’s education and other things.

“Since Jones has been denied his (Ebikeseye’s) family, things became tough and Ebikeseye had to make extra efforts in an attempt to bridge the gaps.”

He, therefore, appealed for the unconditional release of Jones on humanitarian grounds to enable him to take care of their aged mother and the family.

Calls to the spokesman for the Bayelsa State Police Command, Mr. Asinim Butswat, to get confirmation to the two incidents proved abortive as his mobile phone failed to connect.

For a better  society

 

KAYODE AJIBOYE

Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust fund, TETFUND, Dr. Abdullahi Bichi Baffa,  has commended the Rector, Yaba College of Technology, Dr. Margaret Kudirat Ladipo, for  what he observed as  her very prudent and purposeful management of meager resources into the execution of mega projects in the college.

Baffa made the commendation while commissioning the College’s Central Research Laboratory, the Technology Building Science Building which make up the three key projects recently built by Tetfund for the college.

The TETFUND Executive Secretary explained that one of the key mandates of the agency is supporting institution’s essential infrastructure for teaching and learning, adding that the agecy would not rest until all our tertiary institutions had been equipped with the required quality and quantity capacity of the essential infrastructure.

He noted that a minimum of 60% of the structures in most public-owned tertiary institutions in Nigeria are bankrolled by TETFUND.

Dr Baffa commended YABATECH and promised that TETFUND would continue to support the College with facilities and equipment needed to make the central laboratory, a world class. “Providing this equipment will help Yabatech train students to have practical skill to be able to compete and function globally in their profession. We are happy that they have used the fund judiciously”; Baffa  said..

He added that TETFUND would always be there to support beneficiary institutions in order to deliver on quality physical infrastructure for conducive and effective teaching and learning.

“We have a number of intervention lines; physical projects are only one intervention line out of about twelve intervention lines with which we support institutions.

“There are those content-based intervention lines, of which the scholars are the direct beneficiary, but some institutions are not doing well in such intervention lines. Assessing institution-based research grants, Assessing academic research journal intervention,

“Assessing equipment-fabrication-intervention, assessing academic manuscript-intervention are interventions that are going directly to scholars, while YABATECH has been doing well in assessing the institution based research, academic manuscript, and equipment fabrication, we believe that more needs to be done”; he enjoined.

Concluding, the commissioning assignment, Baffa wondered: “Madam, how do manage to get these gigantic projects executed so effectively and beautifully with so little fund at your disposal?”

In her remarks, the host Rector, Dr Margaret Kudirat Ladipo, stated that the administration always placed very high premium on human capital development, noting that during the last year intervention, the polytechnic was allocated N200million to support training of scholars to do masters and PhD. from all over the world as against the N70million that was allocated in 2015.

“We want our scholars to go to the best universities in the world to get the best of training and so as to provide the best of training to our students”; she said.

Champion Scholar recalls that a sitting Minister in 2013 had observed with pleasant surprise that the Rector,Ladipo had distinguished herself as a very prudent financial manager who had executed so many big projects with very fragile funds made available to her administration.

Subsequently, he caused the federal government to write a letter of commendation to Ladipo in spite of a barrage of accusations of embezzlement and financial impropriety levied against her by a former bursar of the institution while the rector has now been cleared of all the accusations by a White Paper.

For a better society

Candidates' performance drops by 10% in 2018 WASSCE

Some 214,952 candidates cheated in the May-June West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and their results have been seized by the authorities.

Mr. Olu Adenipekun, Head of National Office of the West African Examination Council, WAEC, announced this in Lagos as he also announced the cheering news of a seven percent improvement in the number of candidates that passed the examination with five credits.

Last year, 52.9 percent of the candidates recorded the feat. The number jumped to 59.22 percent this year, out of the 1,559,662 candidates that sat for the examination.

Adenipekun said WAEC was still investigating the exam cheats and that the schools of the students would be duly informed soon.

“The cases are being investigated and reports of the investigations will be presented to the appropriate committee of the council in due course for consideration. The committee’s decisions will be communicated to the affected candidates through their schools,’’ he said.

He said that 923,486 of the 1,559,162 candidates that sat for the examination, obtained a minimum of credits in five subjects and above, including English Language and Mathematics.

The official said the percentage of candidates in this category in the WASSCE for school candidates was an improvement on what was obtained in the same examination in both 2015 and 2016, with 38.68 and 52.97 respectively.

Giving a further breakdown of the results, the WAEC boss said that 1,084,214 candidates, representing 69.94 per cent, obtained credits and above in six subjects.

He said that 1,243,772 candidates, representing 87.05 per cent, obtained credits and above in four subjects.

Adenipekun added that 1,436,024 candidates, representing 92.44 per cent, obtained credits and above in three subjects, while 1,490,356, representing 95.59 per cent, obtained credits and above in two subjects.

He added that of the 1,559,162 candidates that sat for the examination, 1,471,151, representing 94.36 per cent, had their results fully processed and released.

The official said that 95,734 others, representing 5.64 per cent, had a few of their subjects still being processed due to errors traceable to the candidates in the course of registration or writing the examination.

“Such errors are being corrected by the council to enable the affected candidates get their results fully processed and released subsequently,’’ Adenipekun said.

The head of national office commended the supervisors, examiners, and other persons for their immense contributions in ensuring a smooth conduct of the examination.

“The coordination and marking of candidates’ scripts for the 2017 WASSCE for schools was successfully held between May 24 and June 11 at 83 marking venues spread across the country.

“Having said this, we will like to state also that the Nigeria National Office of the council has concluded arrangements to commence the conduct of the WASSCE for private candidates from January/ February 2018.

“This is part of our commitment in ensuring quality service delivery to the Nigerian public.

“I also want to seize this opportunity to inform you that with the upgrade of the council’s ICT facilities, particularly the recently commissioned HP Converged System – a private cloud, the compability of the council’s ICT has now been enhanced,’’ he said.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that WAEC official called on candidates who sat for the examination to check the details of their performance on the council’s result website within the next few hours.

For a better society

The National Association of Nigerian Students(NANS) says it has distributed 15, 000 exercise books and writing materials to public primary schools in Gombe State in commemoration of 2017 Children’s Day.

A statement by NANS’s President, Mr. Chinonso Obasi, on Saturday in Abuja, said that books and other materials were meant to encourage the pupils and the Gombe State government.

Obasi called on governments at all levels to reform public schools which were in sorry state.

“ In line with NANS’ resolve to encourage state governments that are doing well in the area of education and social welfare of young Nigerians, we have distributed over 15, 000 exercise books and writing materials to primary school pupils in Gombe State.

“This gesture by NANS is to challenge the pupils to devote themselves to education as key to a better future and reach out to these future leaders.

“As a nation’s greatness depends on the quality of its citizens, the Federal Government should focus on education as potent weapon in the fight against corruption and other social ills.

“NANS urges the Federal Government to look into the deplorable state of public schools in the country as  private schools have become the mainstay of moral and educational development young Nigerians which  is not a healthy development.’’

According to Obasi, despite the fact that Nigerians in leadership positions are products of public schools, the public school system has been pushed to the background through neglect and abandonment.

Obasi said that Nigeria public schools could reclaim its past glory if government took interest in provision of critical infrastructure, capacity building for teachers and expansion of facilities to accommodate the growing population.

He regretted that while private schools spread in most states, the number of public schools remained stagnant in spite of increasing population of children in need of access to education.

“ Public schools should not be the dumping grounds for children of the less privileged members of the society, but the mainstay of the nation’s well planned and developed educational policies.

“ This calls for a constant review of curricular to match modern trends, training and retraining of teachers and upgrade of educational facilities,’’ he said.

 

For a better society

Nigerian writer, Jowhor Ile, has been announced winner of the 2016 edition of Etisalat Prize for Literature, the most prestigious literature prize for first-time fiction writers of African origin.

For his novel And After Many Days, Ile was announced the winner at a prize presentation ceremony held on Saturday night, the 20th of May 2017, at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. He received a prize of £15,000 and an engraved Montblanc Meisterstück pen among several other rewards.

Another Nigerian, Julie Iromuanya, author of the book, Mr & Mrs Doctor, and a South African, Jacqui L’Ange, author of The Seed Thief, emerged as the runners-up for the prize.

Ile’s announcement followed the unanimous selection of his book by the judging panel for the 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature chaired by multiple award-winning novelist and poet, Helon Habila.

Habila, while congratulating the winner and the runners-up, disclosed that the prize-winning book met the required standards of originality, creative excellence and African sensibility, in keeping with the objective of the Etisalat Prize, which is to promote literary excellence in Africa.

Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher, congratulated the winner and the runners-up, and restated the company’s commitment to continuously offer Nigerians and other Africans the best platforms to express their passion and creativity.

“From the outset, our vision at Etisalat has been to support innovation, creativity and talent development. This is why we have stayed focused on creating platforms that enable people, not only to communicate and stay in touch with one another, but also to express their individual creative abilities in all forms of science and arts”, he said.

Born in 1980 and bred in the city of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, Ile took to writing early and has had his short stories published in McSweeney’s Quarterly and Litro Magazine.  His 256-page novel, And After Many Days, set in Port Harcourt in the oil-rich Niger-Delta region of Nigeria, tells the story of a family whose 17-year old son and sibling, Paul Utu, goes missing during the rainy season of 1995. Burdened with the sudden loss, the family gets torn apart, as their search for answers uncovers several family secrets.

In addition to the prize money, other rewards for Ile include an Etisalat-sponsored fellowship at the University of East Anglia where he will be mentored by Professor Giles Foden, author of The Last King of Scotland’.

He and the two runners-up will participate in a multi-city book tour of three African countries also sponsored by Etisalat Nigeria. Furthermore, Etisalat will purchase 1,000 copies of their books for distribution to schools, libraries and book clubs across Africa.

Past winners of the Etisalat Prize for Literature include Democratic Republic of Congo’s Fiston Mwanza Mujila, for his novel, Tram 83; South African writer, Songeziwe Mahlangu for his novel, Penumbra and Zimbabwean writer NoViolet Bulawayo for her novel, We Need New Names.

 

For a better society

History will be made on Wednesday, May 24, 2017, as high profile Nigerians including Kano State Governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II and the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta are billed to witness the first matriculation ceremony of Digital Bridge Institute(DBI), Kano.

The Federal Ministry of Education and National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) had last year, given the DBI the green light to operate as an Innovation Enterprise Institution.

A statement signed by Dr Okechukwu Adinde, the Administrator of the institute, said the license enables the DBI to run two-year programmes in the specialised areas of software engineering, computer hardware engineering, networking and systems security, telecommunications technology and multimedia technology.

 “The first set of students were admitted into the programme for the Kano and Lagos Learning Centers in the current 2016/2017 academic session. On completion, graduands will be awarded a National Innovation Diploma (NID) equivalent to Ordinary National Diploma (OND) with which they can pursue higher studies in related fields in the university via Direct Entry admission,” the statement noted.

 Established in 2004 by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) DBI has, over the years, become the leading provider of capacity building in telecommunications and information technology in Nigeria and beyond.  

 The curriculum of the programme is uniquely designed with 30% classroom instructional work and 70% practical laboratory and workshop experience to offer students a rich blend of theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Upon graduation, students can proceed to a degree programme of their choice via Direct Entry in related fields at any University in Nigeria.

 DBI now has regional centres in Lagos, Kano, Enugu, (Enugu State), Yola (Adamawa State), Asaba, (Delta State). The institution’s facilities include fully equipped training rooms, multimedia teaching aids, and video conference facilities among others.

 

For a better society

IBRAHIM KADIRI

The Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa on Wednesday berated the low turn out of the State public schools during the Public Hearing of a proposed law to make the teaching and speaking of Yoruba Language compulsory in the State.
The Public Hearing was organized by the House on a Bill titled, “The Promotion and Preservation of the Use of Yoruba Language in Lagos State and for Connected Purposes.”
The Bill was in continuation of the Yoruba Summit Day organised by the House in 2016 as part of measures to promote and preserve the language and its accompanied customs and traditions.
Obasa who made this remark while delivering his keynote address at the Lateef Jakande Auditorium of the House, stated that it was disheartening that many public schools in the State were lackadaisical to a programme geared towards protecting the native language from going into extinction.
“We have a lot of public schools in Lagos State but many of them are not here today. We need to look at that because it is through them (public schools), we can reach out to the children. I have observed that we don’t have many of them in this gathering,” said the Speaker.
He however explained that that might prompt the House to direct all the lawmakers to go to their respective constituencies to educate residents on the import of the law.
The Speaker further stated that it was saddening to see young children and the elderly at times having difficulty in speaking Yoruba language.
According to him, “I have the privilege to travel far and wide, but do you know what? Other people cherish their natve languages so they are developed and more sophisticated. So the question is, why is it so difficult for us to speak our language?”
Obasa however explained that the proposed law was not to intimidate anybody but “it is to encourage our children to start speaking in our mother tongue.”
While delivering his welcome address, the Chairman House Committee on Education, Olanrewaju Ogunyemi explained that “these decisions are hinged on our observation that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has set aside 21st February of every year as international Mother Language Day.
The Chairman also added, section 1(10) (a) of the National Policy on Education (NPE) states that ” Government appreciates the importance of languages as a means of promoting social interaction and national cohesion; and preserving cultures.”
Ogunyemi therefore argued that in line with these provisions it would be inappropriate for “most schools now regard the use of the native language as a vernacular.”
In his contribution, a representative of the Lagos State University (LASU), Dr. Rufus Olaoluwa observed that section 5 of the Bill which stated that “a credit in Yoruba Language shall be acceptable as part of requirements into any tertiary instition in the State” would be difficult to enforce.
He advised that instead of the provision in section 5, it should be made compulsory to study the language up to SSIII level and listed as one of the core subjects.
Also speaking, the Tutor General of Education District 5, Anike Adekanye explained that emphasis should be laid on teaching the primary schools pupils the language, adding that it would be difficult to lay emphasis on the older generation.
She advised that parents should speak the language to their wards.

Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has formally unveiled the State Digital Library, reiterating his administration’s commitment to provide access to education for all.

Governor Ambode, who spoke through the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello at the launch of the Lagos State Digital Library held at the Landmark Event Center, Victoria Island, said the unveiling of the first of its kind digital Library was part of the vision of providing access to education.

According to the Governor, the access envisioned would be through collection and curation of digital content by online portal.

He said that the development, apart from complementing the quest for achieving Lagos dream of becoming Africa’s model megacity, would also help in transforming the State to a global economic and financial Hub.

“The digital library will provide a repository of contents which include 2,000 study aids on core subjects from primary to senior secondary school curriculum, over 1,600 tutorials, instructional videos and selected e-books for primary to SS3 approved texts, brief history of Lagos State, online forum, podcasts and exam-mate (A Test Resource).

“The contents also include quality research papers from Lagos State Tertiary Institutions covering a wide variety of topics digitized for the platform in various forms such as vocational videos, entrepreneurship contents, creatively presented history lessons and online courses on coding.

“This portal will be accessible via internet connection on a range of devices, from desktop computers to feature phones regardless of location, age or social economic status,” he said.

He said as part of the government’s efforts to make the State the next technology hub in Africa,  the “Code Lagos” and “Digital Library” projects were initiated, adding that the Digital Library programme was the first of its kind in the State and one of the largest learning platforms in Africa.

The Governor noted that based on statistics available, Africa is expected to reach 500 million internet users by 2020, majority of whom will access internet through a mobile device.

He, therefore, urged students, researchers and everyone interested in knowledge acquisition to make use of the platform which can be accessed from any part of the State and country.

Earlier in his remarks, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Mr Obafela Bank-Olemoh said part of the innovation of the present administration was the introduction of “library initiative” whereby private organisations can adopt a library and improve it.

According to him, the initiative was already yielding fruits with the library at Herbert Macaulay, Yaba and the one at Isolo already taken up by corporate organisations.

The representative of the Governor later logged on to the “www.educatelagos.com” portal to formally unveil the programme at the event which also attracted members of the Organised Private Sector and the Diplomatic Corps.

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