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Friday, 3 December 2021

 Kaduna moves to sack, prosecute 233 teachers over fake certificates

Kaduna State Universal Basic Education Board, (KADSUBEB) has said 233 public school teachers will be sacked for presenting fake certificates during a verification exercise conducted earlier this year.

At a press conference in Kaduna, Chairman of the Kaduna SUBEB, Tijjani Abdullahi, said the Board will also report the teachers found wanting to the Ministry of Justice for prosecution over forgery.

He noted the Board had launched a certificate verification exercise in April 2021 as part of its responsibility to ensure that teachers in the state have the requisite credentials that constitute the basic qualifications for employment as teachers.

He added so far, “451 certificates were verified by the institutions that awarded them and results from nine of the 13 institutions contacted revealed that 233 teachers presented fake certificates.

“This represents 51% of the 451 certificates on which responses have been received.

The SUBEB chairman reiterated that the board will continue to check the integrity of public school teachers to ensure that the profession is not devalued by impostors.

He also noted that a competency test will be conducted for public teachers in the state followed by training programmes for them

“The Board also wishes to inform the people of Kaduna State that it will shortly be conducting the competency test for teachers. When the Kaduna State Government recruited 25,000 new teachers after the 2017 competency test, it made clear that it will continue to assess its teachers both for their own improvement and for better delivery of learning outcomes for pupils.

“The Board will follow up the competency test with a series of training programmes, organised in batches for teachers. This will begin in January 2022 for 12,254 teachers. The Board has signed MoUs with the National Teachers Institute, the College of Education, Gidan Waya, and the Federal College of Education, Zaria, to conduct the training exercise,” Tijani said.


Court ordered police, army to pay Kanu's lawyer, Ejiofor N50Million over invasion, killing in his house

The judgment was passed on Thursday in favour of the lead counsel for the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu as the court also asked the security agents to pay him N2 million for the cause of the action.

Ejiofor, Kanu

SAHARAREPORTERS

AFederal High Court, Awka, Anambra State has ruled that the Nigerian security agents comprising the police, army and others involved in the invasion of Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor's residence in 2019 should pay N50 million as compensation for breaching his human rights. 

The judgment was given on Thursday in favour of the lead counsel for the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu as the court also asked the security agents to pay him N2 million for the cause of the action. 

Ejiofor disclosed this on his verified Twitter and Facebook pages on Thursday with the title, "Justice Delayed Is Not Always Justice Denied."

On December 2, 2019, the Nigerian security joint task force invaded Ejiofor's house in Anambra State, murdered four people and razed houses in the compound. 

On Thursday, the lawyer recounted the ordeal and how justice was served in his favour. 

"Exactly two years ago, on the 2nd day of December 2019, after the funeral ceremony of my elder brother- Late Rev. Chukwukpelum Louis Ejiofor, my ancestral home in Oraifite, Anambra State, was invaded by a team of Security agents comprising the Nigerian Police, Army and others. 

"Four persons were killed in my compound, and all the houses within my ancestral home including my brothers' houses and neighbouring houses were burnt down on that fateful day.

"I instituted a suit for the enforcement of my fundamental rights grossly violated by the said Security agents.

"The Federal High Court sitting in Awka, Anambra State, today, 2nd December, 2021 delivered a well-considered judgment in my favour. 

"The Court found that the security agents grossly violated my fundamental rights and consequently awarded the sum of N50 million only in my favour against the Police, the Army and others, as compensation for the gross violation of my fundamental rights, and further awarded the sum of N2 million Naira only, as the cost of the action.

"The judgment may have been delayed, but the fact that the Court found that my rights were grossly infringed upon and condemnable, will go a long way to assuage the pains and trauma I have been passing through over the past two years, on account of that terrible and heart wrenching experience.

"I return all glory to the Almighty ChukwuOkike Abiama. May the spirit of the innocent souls killed in that bloody invasion continue to haunt those who killed them till the end of time. Isee!!!

"I shall not relent in my pursuit for justice for the deceased because there must be reparation on account of their unjust killing," Ejiofor said. 



Bandits demand cigarettes, marijuana as ransom in Niger communities

The affected residents have been making the deliveries in their desperation to secure freedom for their loved ones.

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SAHARAREPORTERS

Bandits terrorising communities in the Munya local government area of Niger State have asked for packs of cigarettes and rolls of marijuana as ransom from residents to secure the release of their kidnapped relations. 

The affected residents have been making the deliveries in their desperation to secure freedom for their loved ones.

A member of the security committee in the area told Daily Trust that the items were delivered to the hoodlums on Tuesday before some people were released.

Bandits had recently kidnapped some residents of Zazzaga, Cibani and other neighbouring communities in the local government area. 

“Your relation is in captivity, whatever you can do to secure their release, you do not hesitate to do it. There were some children that they kidnapped during one of the previous attacks on their farms. The families have taken the items they demanded to them, and some of them have been released,” the source said. 

He said the families also delivered to the bandits maize flour, packs of seasoning cubes and five jerrycans of petrol, as demanded by the kidnappers. 



Igbo first republic lawmaker, Amaechi, visits Nnamdi Kanu in DSS detention 

Amaechi visited Kanu alongside the co-Chair of the Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace, Bishop Sunday Onuoha.

Amaechi Mbsxulikr

SAHARAREPORTERS

First Republic lawmaker and former Minister of Aviation, Chief Mbazulike Amechi, on Thursday visited the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS).

This was revealed by Kanunta Kanu, younger brother of Nnamdi Kanu via his known social media pages.

 Nnamdi Kanu

Amaechi visited Kanu alongside the co-Chair of the Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace, Bishop Sunday Onuoha. The separatist agitator's brother said the visitors “had a meaningful interaction” with the IPOB leader.

“Chief Mbazuruike Amechi and His Grace, Bishop Sunday Onuoha, visited their son #MaziNnamdiKanu the leader of IPOB at #DSS Headquarters in Abuja today, where they had a meaningful interaction,” Kanunta Kanu wrote.

SaharaReporters had some days ago reported that Chief Amaechi, a nonagenarian, led Igbo elders to Aso Rock Villa where they met President Muhammadu Buhari and asked for Kanu who has been held since June, to be freed.

Buhari, in his response, had said the unconditional release of the IPOB leader, who is currently standing trial for treason, would conflict the doctrine of separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary.

On Thursday, Justice Binta Nyako of a Federal High Court in Abuja rescheduled Kanu’s trial from January 19 to 18, 2022.

The shift in the trial date followed the abridgement of time granted by the judge following a passionate plea to that effect.

Kanu’s lead lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor had approached the Court with an application seeking an order of the court to accommodate the trial in November and December this year as against the earlier January 19, 2022.

The prosecuting Attorney of the Federal Government, Shuaib Labaran, however, told the court that a counteraffidavit opposing the request by the government had been filed and served on Kanu.

Justice Nyako informed Kanu’s lawyer that the application for time abridgement could not be granted because there was no judicial time for such an issue.

During the drama that ensued, the case diary of the court was read to the lawyer to establish that the court had crowded pending cases.

Following the insistence, Justice Nyako agreed to shift other cases slated for January 18 to accommodate the trial which would last till January 19 and 20.

Justice Nyako ordered the DSS to allow Kanu to practise his faith, change his clothes and be given the maximum possible comfort in the detention facility.


Fuel Subsidy Removal: A tricky policy response to win 2023 

These challenges show that the government can't efficiently dole out N5,000 to those who need it, and I don't doubt they already know that. The policy is cleverly designed to trick Nigerians to vote for the government's continuity in 2023 while the money goes elsewhere. It is that mythical promise that never gets delivered, and we have all been there before.

Nasir Aminu

BY NASIR AMINU

Last week, the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) announced that fuel subsidy would end by February 2022. He added that the pump price of fuel would range between N320 and N340 per litre – more than twice the current price.

Nigeria has been subsidising fuel since the 1970s to ensure Nigerians buy petroleum products below the global price. Like every government intervention, fuel subsidy has its cost and benefits. The principle behind oil subsidies is to minimise the impact of 'rising global oil prices' on Nigerians. Therefore, buying oil products at a high price is the main problem and fuel subsidy is used to solve it. That is why fuel pump prices have remained unchanged despite the rise in world oil prices by about 50% in the last few months. 

However, the old solution has now grown to become a problem for the economy. The GMD of NNPC said the nation is paying around N120 billion per month for fuel subsidy, which is weighing down the country's budget. Of course, the ongoing pressure to eliminate fuel subsidies has been around since the 1980s. Still, certain factors keep preventing it from happening. 

 Dr Nasir Aminu

To cushion the potential economic impact of fuel subsidy removal, the Finance Minister announced a plan to start giving cash handouts to a group of Nigerians from July 2022. The Minister estimated that about 40 million poor citizens would get a monthly consumption allowance of N5,000 for 12 months – N2.4 trillion a year. The period of dishing out the money will coincide with the 2023 elections when at least 30 state governors and a successor to President Buhari will be voted into office. Indeed, Nigerians are questioning the timing of this policy, but most are silent about it. 

Undoubtedly, fuel subsidy bites deeply into the nation's budget, and cash transfers can help the poor. On the other hand, it is unreasonable to think that replacing a subsidy with another subsidy can solve the problem. However, understanding the removal cost can make the policymakers focus on solving the problems at their root sources instead of dealing with the results of the issues. 

First, there is an issue of bending the Fiscal responsibility Act 2007 (FRA). The 2022 budget shows a net borrowing of about N6.25 trillion, approximately 3.39% of GDP, which is slightly above the 3% ceiling set by the FRA. It is logical to assume the N5,000 is included. Borrowing to finance the consumption of 40 million adults goes against the FRA principle as the law only permits borrowing for capital expenditure and human development. The estimated N2.4 trillion in the 2022 budget means that for every 10 naira borrowed, 4 naira will be given out to the poor during the election season. 

Secondly, it is always important to find the devil in the details. This is achieved by conducting independent macroeconomic projections, which helps elaborate government policies. Removal of fuel subsidies comes with consequences. When Nigerians begin to bear the high cost of fuel, businesses with petrol generators and vehicles will have to increase their prices in proportion to the rise in fuel cost. 

As the cost of production increases, supplying the same amount of goods and services will require more money. Businesses that borrow from commercial banks will have to be reassessed under the new economic situation, making it difficult to survive. Interest rates will rise as demand for loans will increase. The cost of doing business in the country will increase, which will affect foreign investment. Foreign exchange will be scarce. Companies that cannot cope will eventually close down, which will increase the unemployment level. 

In short, the effects of fuel subsidy removal will be felt across the economy, not just by the poor. The average Nigerian will have to deal with higher inflation while salaries remain the same. According to estimates, if the cost of goods and services increases in proportion to the 100% increase in fuel pump price, the N5000 handout will be equal to half of its value. 

The government should understand that we will all suffer from the stench when the fish begins to rot from the head. There are several documented analyses and predictions of subsidy removal which have not changed much. Still, the number of things the government does not understand could fill a library they probably would not read. 

Thirdly, since the fuel subsidy removal is to become a law, it is essential to look at relevant alternatives to the N5000 policy response. Surprisingly, the Minister is not making plans to repair existing refineries or build modular refineries to cushion the impact of the subsidy removal. Modular refineries can be constructed at different locations of the country to refine 20,000 barrels per day.  It will take about 15 to 18 months from starting the building project to refining the first barrel. An estimate shows 1-month fuel subsidy will build ten modular refineries. Doing so will keep the fuel pump prices lower than the current value and even provide millions of jobs, all things being equal.

It is also surprising that the Minister did not plan to fund the small and medium businesses (SMEs) in the country. According to the national bureau of statistics (NBS), Nigeria's SMEs contribute nearly 50% of the country's GDP. They also account for over 80% of employment in the country. Investing a percentage of the allocated N2.4 trillion in SMEs could teach technical and entrepreneurial skills and help develop managerial competencies for the private and public sectors. These can reduce the worrying unemployment level and expand the economy in the short, medium, and long term.

The Minister claimed the government would work with the World Bank to ensure that the cash payments go to the rightful recipients. It is surprising to find the World Bank supporting such a questionable policy response. The plan is to use biometric verification numbers (BVN), national identity numbers (NIN) and bank account numbers to reach these groups of individuals. It is tough to argue against this efficient method.

However, the critical challenge is that the group of poor Nigerians that the Minister of Finance aims to dole out N5000 for 12 months are not captured in the country's database. According to various data sources, only about 48 million Nigerians have been issued the BVN and 65 million with NIN. The worrying figure shows that about 40 million adults do not have a bank account. The World Bank also backs the report on the latter. These are the group of people who really need the money. If we are to follow the Minister's method of transfer, then they are bound to miss out.

These challenges show that the government can't efficiently dole out N5,000 to those who need it, and I don't doubt they already know that. The policy is cleverly designed to trick Nigerians to vote for the government's continuity in 2023 while the money goes elsewhere. It is that mythical promise that never gets delivered, and we have all been there before.

Before I get misunderstood, I totally support dishing out cash to the poor, but not by a process that leads to corruption.

Dr Nasir Aminu – Cardiff Metropolitan University (Twitter: @AminuEcon)




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