Abia Commissioner for Education, Prof. Ikechi Mgboji, has advised people of the state to support the efforts of the state’s environmental courts to ensure cleanliness in the society.
Mgboji gave the advice in Aba on Wednesday when he received an award for supporting environmental sanitation from Aba-na-Ohazu Environmental Court, presided over by Senior Magistrate Diamond Olewengwa.
He said that the preservation of the environment must be promoted so as to the preserve human life, hence the need to ensure safe, secured and sanitised environment.
“The environment belongs to all of us; it is what makes us and it can also unmake us.
“When I was doing my post-doctoral work at the International Environmental Centre (IEC), Germany, I came across very reputable persons working in the field of environmental law.
“Some people thought that the environment is something they could mess up with.
“If you look around, you will see sachets of water and plastic bottles; all kinds of pollution going on.
“You should realise that God has given us our environment to keep; it is our duty and responsibility to keep this environment until Jesus Christ comes.
“If we fail to do so, we are in great peril.
“So, the establishment of the environmental court is not something to be scoffed at but something that we all have to be proud of.
“On behalf of the Ministry of Education and the governor of Abia State, I encourage you to strive for the best in the work you are doing at the Aba-na-Ohazu Environmental Court,” he said.
Mgboji pleaded with the citizens of Abia and Aba residents, in particular, to support the work of the court.
He urged the people to care for the environment, pledging that the government would play its own part by supporting their efforts.
In address, the judge of the court, Olewengwa, said that the event was organised to thank God and personalities who had supported the court’s activities.
He noted that the persons and organisations that received awards at the event had distinguished themselves in preserving the environment and supporting efforts to keep it clean.
He said that a clean environment would ensure good health for the citizens.
Olewengwa thanked the President, Abia Customary Court of Appeal, Justice Anyalewachi Onwuchekwa, and Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia for giving him an opportunity to serve the state
ASUU postpones its decision on strike then hints at being blackmailed by the FG
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has announced that its decision on strike has been postponed.
The union made this known in a press statement released after its National Executive Council meeting, which held on Saturday, Dec. 18.
In the press statement titled, ‘Enough of blackmail’, signed by ASUU president, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, the union members lamented that the Federal Government had turned its back on the plan to set up an inter-ministerial committee to review the draft Renegotiated 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement.
The statement reads I part: “NEC was worried by the spirited efforts of government agents to reduce the demands of ASUU to a regime of intermittent payment of watered-down revitalisation fund and release of distorted and grossly devalued Earned Academic Allowances.
“ASUU shall not relent in demanding improvement in the welfare and conditions of service of our members. However, we shall resist any attempt to blackmail the union and derail our patriotic struggle for a productive university system by official propaganda founded on tokenism and crumb-sharing.
“NEC concluded that government has failed to satisfactorily address all the issues raised in the 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement and subsequent MoUs and MoAs.
“However, considering the ongoing intervention and consultation efforts, NEC resolved to review the situation at a later date with a view to deciding on the next line of action.”
Earlier, ASUU had announced plans to embark on a strike over the Federal Government’s failure to meet its demands.
Apart from the Earned Academic Allowances, ASUU said its demands included the review of the NUC Act to curb the proliferation of universities by state governments who are not funding the existing ones; adoption of the University Transparency Accountability Solutions (UTAS) with concurrent discontinuance of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and distortion in salary payment.
Others are the release of accumulated promotion arrears; and the review and signing of the draft document on the Renegotiation of 2009 ASUU-FGN Agreement.
Buhari jets out Turkey for summit
President Muhammadu Buhari will on Thursday leave Abuja for Istanbul, Turkey, to attend the third Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit, hosted by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of the Republic of Turkey.
According to the organisers, the theme of the Summit is ‘‘Enhanced Partnership for Common Development and Prosperity’’ and the agenda includes reviewing the cooperation between African countries and Turkey since the last Summit in 2014.
This was disclosed in a statement by Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, on Thursday morning.
The third Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit is coming on the heels of President Erdogan’s recent State visit to Nigeria during which several agreements in the fields of energy, defence industry, mining and hydrocarbons were signed to expand existing bilateral ties.
The Turkish leader had during the visit to Nigeria, affirmed his commitment to immediately expand the volume of trade between the two countries to 5 billion dollars and the Nigerian delegation will seize the opportunity of the gathering in Istanbul to enhance cooperation with other partners for more trade and investment opportunities in the country.
It is expected that the Summit would provide guidelines and direction for cooperation with African countries for the next five years.
President Buhari will be accompanied on the trip by his wife, Aisha Buhari; the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Defence, Maj-Gen. Bashir Magashi (Rtd); FCT, Mohammed Bello; Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire; Agriculture, Mohammed Abubakar; Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo; the National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (Rtd); and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.
The President is expected back in Abuja on Sunday, December 19.
Tackling scourge of banditry, terrorism remains Buhari’s priority Editorial– Presidency
The Presidency says that tackling the scourge of banditry and terrorism remains Federal Government’s first priority, as President Muhammadu Buhari holds the victims and their families in his thoughts and prayers.
Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, stated this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja while reacting to Sunday’s Daily Trust editorial: “Life has lost its value under Buhari’s Nigeria’’.
The presidential aide described the editorial as unfair comments, saying Daily Trust’s suggestion that the president exchanges violence for the support he got electorally is beneath a publication that claims any kind of political neutrality or integrity.
The statement read in part: “Given the seriousness of the issue raised by the Daily Trust today, the Office of the President would like to issue a response.
“The growing instability and violence in the North of Nigeria and elsewhere is unacceptable. No one, not least the Presidency underestimates the seriousness of the situation.
“Everyday, the President holds the victims and their families in his thoughts and prayers. Above all, he wishes to reassure them – and all Nigerians – that tackling the scourge of banditry and terrorism remains this government’s first priority.
“Sadly, in this respect, Nigeria is not unique. Violence and terror have risen steadily across the entire African continent over the last decade.
“The Economist magazine in a recent publication wrote about “The Next Afghanistan”, warning the global community of the horrifying security in our neighborhood, citing specifically the states of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.
“So we understand the frustrations of the Daily Trust and Nigeria’s northern communities about the ongoing challenges of security and the Buhari administration is no less worried.
“But it is only fair to say that Nigeria’s persistent and continued efforts to suppress that instability have seen results, with the terror group Boko Haram among others reduced to a shell of its former self.
“Yet, now we Nigerians face a new threat: the worst global health crisis in living memory. Even Nigeria that proudly holds the mantle of Africa’s largest economy is not immune from the debilitating economic impact of COVID-19.’’
According to the presidential aide, the economic instability that the pandemic has wreaked has proven an effective recruitment tool for bandits and terrorists across the continent.
Shehu, however, admitted that the Daily Trust had correctly identified the source of the violence as “an amalgam of many complex issues” such as poverty and unemployment.
“It is equally right to note that, in tackling the violence, “force alone will not be enough.” It is quite wrong, however, to suggest the problem of insecurity is intractable, and more wrong still to claim apathy on the part of the government.
“So what is the government doing?
“First, our military efforts have not let up. It is true that in the face of today’s growing number of threats from Boko Haram, kidnappers and IPOB to your run-of-the-mill bandits, our forces are stretched increasingly thin. But our dedicated soldiers are working around the clock to keep Nigerians safe.
“Second, alongside military force, this government is seeking to address the violence at its economic source.
“Massive infrastructure projects like the coastal rail and new train from the southern coast through the north-east to our neighbour Niger, aim to expand employment and opportunity across the country, bringing hope to our more remote and poorer regions where bandits and terrorists thrive.
“Third, even as the West continues to extricate itself from Africa militarily, we are lobbying our Western allies aggressively for partnership, investment and support in other areas,’’ he added.
According to the media aide, such areas include proscribing Boko Haram, bandits and IPOB as terrorist groups, which will severely dent their funding; for investment in trade and infrastructure, and to help lessen economic instability.
He said the western allies needed to help the country with technical assistance, advanced weaponry, intelligence and ordinance.
“This will likely be small comfort to the families and loved ones of those already lost. But make no mistake: this is a battle we are fighting without let up.
“The Daily Trust’s suggestion that the President exchanges violence for the support he got electorally is beneath a publication that claims any kind of political neutrality or integrity.
“Now is not the time for this sort of lurid political journalism.
“Now our focus as Nigerians must be on coming together and ending the violence. As President Buhari wrote recently of the terrorists in the UK paper, The Financial Times: “We will defeat them, one highway, one rail link – and one job – at a time.”
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