​Those defecting to APC intimidated, have skeletons in their cupboards ― MBF

The National President of the Middle Belt Forum, MBF, Dr Pogu Bitrus has stated that politicians defecting to the All Progressives Congress, APC, are those who have cases and problems hanging on them or those who have skeleton in their cupboards.

He said he would therefore not be amazed if the assertion by the All Progressives Congress, APC, that it would shock Nigerians with massive defections actually happened because they were being coaxed and intimidated to join the APC.

Dr. Bitrus who spoke to Vanguard Thursday in Makurdi noted that Nigerians were watching the development as they unfold since they were not stupid people.

His words, “Of course I will not be surprised if that happens because if you look at the characters who defect, they are people who have cases, skeleton in their cupboards or some problem hanging on them.

“That means that they are being coaxed or intimidated into coming into the party to have safe haven so that they would be safe from prosecution and other things.

“So that technique, I believe is what they are going to use, so I won’t be surprised if we have people who have skeletons in their cupboards seek cover in the party.

“But they must realize that the ordinary Nigerian will be sad about this. Just like the latest ones, a senator who had an issue at a sex shop who decamped and the Governor from the east.

“So it is people who have some problems but what I know and believe is that Nigerians know what is going on and they are not stupid and let’s wait and see.”

MBMJP reaction:

On his part, the Convener of Middle Belt Movement for Justice and Peace, MBMJP, Comrade Joe Bukka said “It will be foolhardy for any politician to opt for a party that has unleashed unimaginable poverty and pains on Nigerians.

“A party that dragged Nigeria into recession twice in five years should certainly not be a party of choice for any right-thinking politician.

“Nigerians have now realized that they were deceived into voting out former President Goodluck Jonathan and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in 2015 and no right thinking person would want our country to remain in the hands of a political party that has led us to become the poverty capital of the world.

“Under the watch of APC we have witnessed the escalation of insecurity and insurgency in the country. Nigerians are going through terrible hardship. Families cannot feed and our children are dropping out of school because we cannot pay their tuition.

“This is a political party that gave us so much hope in 2015 that it will fight corruption and transform our country, but today all those who they claimed were corrupt have ran into APC and gained immunity from prosecution for corruption.

“Armed herdsmen are killing and sacking our people from their ancestral land and this APC government turns a blind eye to their atrocities. They have refused to take action to end the killings.

“An APC led government that refused to tag well-armed killer herdsmen a terrorist group as acknowledged in parts of the world but choose to slam IPOB an unarmed group as a terrorist organisation is certainly not a party a well-thinking politician should be proud to identify with.

“If all the politicians want to run into APC, they can go ahead but we the masses will choose those we want to lead us come the next general election irrespective of the political platform.

“We will not allow self-seeking politicians ruin our lives anymore because we are all going through hell in the hands of the present APC led federal government at the moment and we will not allow that to continue. So they can all defect to APC but the pain we are going through is enough to tell those defecting that they are about to commit political suicide.”

​Research: TETFund releases N12bn to 12 varsities

Twelve public universities have been given N12 billion by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund TETFund, to undertake researches.

The amount which according to TETFund, would be shared equally among the universities, is to enable them to carry out research and development programmes that would contribute to national growth.

Among the universities picked included University of Abuja (UNIABUJA), University of Benin (UNIBEN), University of Ibadan (UI), University of Maiduguri (UNIMAD), Bayero University Kano (BUK) ,Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK), Akwa, University of Uyo (UNIUYO), Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, University of Jos (UNIJOS), University of Lagos (UNILAG), Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU) and Uthman Danfodio University, Sokoto.

The universities were drawn from first, second, and third-generation universities in the country. Two universities each per geopolitical zones.

Presenting allocation letters and guidelines to Vice-Chancellors of the universities, Executive Secretary of the Fund, Suleiman Bogoro said the Federal Government graciously approved N1billion as a take-off grant for each of the universities, totalling N12billion.

According to the terms of reference, within a five-year period, the University of Abuja is expected to blaze the trail as a centre of excellence in public governance and leadership.

In the same vein, the University of Jos and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University are expected to churn out research in food security, while the University of Maiduguri would focus on arid zone research and development and Usman Dan Fodio University Sokoto to concentrate on urology and nephrology.

Bayero University Kano would focus on renewable energy, Micheal Okpara University to focus on root crop research and development, Nnamdi Azikiwe University to dwell on agricultural and engineering translational studies.

Others are the University of Benin, aquaculture, and food technology, University of Uyo, in computational intelligence, University of Ibadan, in multi-disciplinary studies and the University of Lagos in biodiversity conservation and eco-system management.

Bogoro said the aim for establishing the centres of excellence is to support strategic and applications-oriented research and expertise with potential industrial applications.

He said the implications of these are that they would be expected to support national and globally competitive research and development in strategic and applied sciences, including medicine with the aim of generating innovations.

The 12 pioneer universities are also expected to bring together the complementary resources needed for technical development and industrial application.

“This includes concentrating multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and translational research competence in order to further the development of products, processes, and services, typically by focusing on problems that demand larger efforts than can be provided by smaller projects.

“Bridging the gap between researchers and users, stimulating and strengthening triple-helix relationships. This is in order to enhance scientific research being patronized by industry and in order to make the tertiary educational institutions generally more responsive to industry needs.

“In addition is expertise development and training at doctorate level in areas of industry interest, and the development of knowledge management platforms and innovation hubs, “Bogoro stated in the terms of reference.

​Nasarawa trains health officers on management of corpses

Worried by the poor handling of corpses, Nasarawa State has commenced training of Public health, officers, others on how best to handle and bury dead bodies especially those who died from complications, suspected contagious diseases.

Speaking at the training, Ahmed Darie who led a team from the Federal Ministry of Health noted that the training of the health workers and others has become necessary in view of the abnormalities, irregularities and gaps discovered especially during the burial of late Chief of Staff to the president which fall shot of health regulations and capable of exposing others to diseases .

According to Ahmed, burial of corpses was supposed to be handled by professionals or trained personnels adding that this informed the bases for the training.

He pointed out that one of the major aims of the workshop was to educate the officers on how to relate with their host communities based on their religion and cultural background on the danger of burial of infected persons.

He said the ministry of health through the Minister deemed it necessary to have a standby team at the National level, state and local government levels in other to educate, enlighten and to promote healthy way of handling corpses especially in the rural communities across the country..

” This is why we are conducting this training and after the training, it is expected that the state, local government replicate the training in their various communities.

“Those we have invited for the training are the public health officers, nurses, epidemiologists,DSLO and Directors , Environmental health officers in the state” .Darie stated.

On his part, Director, environmental health in Nasarawa state, Abubakar Mohammed who was also a participant described the training and the deployment of resources as apt especially that Nasarawa state like any other state have had its share of deadly diseases outbreak such lassa fever and coronavirus.

According to him, “the training has further impacted on us the methods and management of such death as the benefits can not be over emphasis.

We have been schooled and cautioned with the revealing lectures received in the course of this training, surely the application of what we have learnt which is for our safety and our family will not be thrown away”, Mohammed declared.

​ICPC rates NiMet high on anti-corruption, ethics

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Offences Commission, ICPC, has lauded the Nigerian Metrological Agency, NiMet, for its tough stand in the promotion of ethics aimed at discouraging corrupt practices and behaviour.

This is even as the commission commended the agency for creating the right environment for the effective functioning of the Anti-corruption and Transparency Unit, ACTU, in line with the mandate of the ICPC.

A letter personally signed by the ICPC Chairman, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, scored the agency 69.9 percent during the 2020 deployment of the Ethics and Compliance Scorecard and the ACTU Effectiveness Index, AEI.

“Recall that the commission, under section 6(b) – (d) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000, carried out the 2020 deployment of the Ethics and Compliance Scorecard, ECS, and the ACTU Effectiveness Index, AEI.

“Your documents were analysed and the result revealed a score of 69.9 % which connotes partial compliance on the ECS and a very effective status on the AEI.

“The commission commends your organisation for the structures and processes you have in place which promote efficiency,” the letter read in part.

The ICPC Chairman counselled the agency to maintain the standards while also improving on such areas as ethics and compliance training to identify corruption vulnerabilities, mitigation mechanisms, and effective whistle-blowing mechanisms.

Other areas include the continued support for the Anti-corruption and Transparency Unit, development of a clear policy to guide acceptance of gifts, hospitality, and donations by staff, and putting in place a system for staff to understand the core values of the agency.

Reacting to the Commission’s commendation, Professor Sani Abubakar Mashi, Director-General of NiMet, described it as a good development that would spur the agency to do more in the area of anti-corruption fights.

According to him, the agency has been able to record major achievements with the encouragement of the Minister of Aviation Senator Hadi Sirika, “whose commitment and leadership continues to propel the sector to higher altitudes.”