​FG lifts ban on replacement, activation of SIM

The Federal Government has lifted the earlier suspension order on replacement and activation of old Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card.

In a statement on Thursday, signed by the Director, Public Affairs at NCC, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, the Commission said the lifting of the ban was on the condition that the person must have enrolled and obtained the National Identification Number (NIN) the National Identification Number (NIN) .

It will be recalled that the federal government had on December 9, announced the suspension of the sale and activation of new SIM cards across networks.

The suspension order according to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy was expected to last till the completion of the audit of the Subscriber Registration Database, which seeks to achieve global standards and quality in the issuance of SIM Cards.

For the Commission, the lifting of the ban became imperative in line with the federal government’s desire to consolidate the achievement of the SIM Card registration exercise of September 2019.

According to the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), expressed joy over the lifting of the ban.

“Further to engagements with government on the matter, we are pleased to report that our members have been granted permission to carry out SIM replacement upon verification of the customer’s NIN. In this regard, our members are working with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to ensure seamless system connectivity for verification of NINs.”

“We note the challenges experienced by customers seeking to replace or upgrade their SIM cards following the suspension of sale and activation of SIM cards by the government which also affected SIM replacement.

“We empathise with people who have been unable to reactivate their phone lines as a result of the suspension.

”We, therefore, seek the continued patience and understanding of our esteemed subscribers as we work with all stakeholders towards speedy resolution of issues affecting SIM Registration/Swap and activation. We assure you of restoring normal services in a seamless and effective manner as soon as possible.”

​NLC expresses shock over sack of 2,414 teachers in Kwara

Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, has expressed shock over the decision of the kwara State government to disengage 2,414 teachers employed by the immediate past administration.

In a statement yesterday by its chairman, Issa Ore, the union said that the decision to sack that large number of workers was too harsh on the affected people, their families and dependents.

It said the situation would make life unbearable for them and their families; more so that their sack had already created a vacuum in the classrooms, which was also not good for the development of education.

“We wish to stress further that a decision that government will have to re-engage new hands with shallow field experience, may have a big setback on the students.

“We are pleading with His Excellency and the Government of Kwara to please rescind the decision on this issue, so that these teachers can be re-absorbed to continue with their jobs,” it said.

The union argued that by rescinding its decision, government would reduce the rate of unemployment in the state, while commending it further for the immediate payment of seven months’ salary arrears to 594 of the sacked teachers, whose entitlements were withheld since June.

The state government had last week announced the retrenchment of the teachers, under the service of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB),tagged ‘sunset workers’, for allegedly being unqualified as teachers, a claim that was disputed by Organised Labour.

​2020 UTME: No date fixed for sales of application documents yet — JAMB

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, yesterday, says no date has been fixed for the commencement of sales of the application documents for its 2021 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME.

The board’s Head, Media and Information, Dr Fabian Benjamin, disclosed this in an interview with NAN in Lagos.

Benjamin, who was speaking against the backdrop of reports in some sections of the media that the board had already commenced the sales of forms for 2021 application, said that the board had since distanced itself from such report.

According to him, the report is totally false, misleading and malicious.

“The board’s attention has been drawn to some fictitious advertisement for the sales of the 2021 UTME/Direct Entry (DE) application documents purportedly coming from the board.

“This is totally false, and an attempt to mislead the public as the board has not rolled out its 2021 application documents.

“We have clearly defined channels of communication and as soon as we commence the process, the public will be duly informed via the necessary media platforms.

“The board, therefore, want to urge members of the general public not to be hoodwinked into falling prey to the antics of these persons, who derive pleasure in causing confusion.

“We all know the global disruptions caused by the Coronavirus, to education and other sectors of the economy, hence the delay in the commencement of the process as was obtained in previous years,” he said.

He urged members of the public to always cross check with the board through its online platforms for authentic information.

​COVID -19: NIMC releases new guidelines for NIN enrolment

To overcome the challenge occasioned a huge demand for the NIN with a large crowd visiting the NIMC Enrolment Centers nationwide, the Commission has adopted booking system for NIN enrolment.

A statement issued on Tuesday by the Commission signed by the Head of Corporate Communications, Mr. Kayode Adegoke, the Commission said it adopted a couple of measures to contain the spread of the virus whilst ensuring its services to Nigerians are not entirely interrupted.

Recall that the recent Federal Government policy which requires mobile network subscribers to update their SIM registration with a valid National Identification Number (NIN) has occasioned a huge demand for the NIN with a large crowd visiting the NIMC Enrolment Centers nationwide.

According to the statement, effective December 30, 2020, attending to applicants would be based on Booking System. For Bookings, applicants are to visit any of the NIMC Offices closest to them during stipulated business hours (9 am – 1 pm).

Although, the policy has been in place since 4th February 2020 applicants are now crowding all the centers.

It informed that personal information would be collected for the sole purpose of scheduling an enrolment appointment, urging subscribers not to include any personal information other than what is required by the booking register.

It further explained that once admitted into the office, a Number-Issuing queue management system will be in place to ensure orderliness and strict adherence to Covid-19 Protocols.

The statement reads in part: “The recent Federal Government policy which requires mobile network subscribers to update their SIM registration with a valid National Identification Number (NIN) has occasioned a huge demand for the NIN with a large crowd visiting the NIMC Enrolment Centers nationwide.

“Mindful of the second wave of the COVID-19 which continues to severely affect public health and cause unprecedented disruptions, the Commission wishes to announce that it has adopted a couple of measures to contain the spread of the virus whilst ensuring its services to Nigerians are not entirely interrupted.

“Effective December 30, 2020, attending to applicants would be based on Booking System. For Bookings, applicants are to visit any of the NIMC Offices closest to them during stipulated business hours (9 am – 1 pm). Although the policy has been in place since 4th February 2020 applicants are now crowding all the centers.

“Personal Information would be collected for the sole purpose of scheduling an enrolment appointment. Please do not include any personal information other than what is required by the booking register.

“Once admitted into the office, a Number-Issuing queue management system will be in place to ensure orderliness and strict adherence to Covid-19 Protocols.”

“As a responsible Commission we fully understand that safety comes first, as such, only individuals with facemask would be allowed entrance into our premises.”

It urged the general public to cooperate with it as it deploys its staff to work assiduously to respond to the new normal.

​Labour crisis looms in Ekiti as workers threaten showdown over minimum wage, unpaid arrears

Labour crisis looms in Ekiti as workers in the state on Wednesday threatened a showdown with the government in the new year if Governor Kayode Fayemi fails to implement the N30,000 minimum wage and the consequential adjustment to workers across the board.

The labour, which threatened to protest next week, said that the only way labour crisis could be averted, is the payment of all the promotion and salary arrears to all categories of workers as negotiated

Shortly after the minimum wage was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2018, Governor Fayemi implemented the payment to workers on grade levels 01 and 06, promising to effect across the board when the finances of the state improve.

The threat to embark on a strike to welcome the state into the new year was reached at a meeting held by trade unions operating in the state on Tuesday evening.

The communique conveying the message released to journalists on Wednesday was signed by the Chairmen of Nigerian Labour Congress, Coms Kolapo Olatunde, Trade Union Congress, Sola Adigun, and Joint Negotiating Committee, Kayode Fatomiluyi.

The labour unions said they reached a compromise on the implementation with the government before a strange formula was allegedly introduced to stall the process.

Subsequently, the labour directed “that the agreed New minimum wage and consequential adjustment table should be sustained without any concession.

“That the new minimum wage and consequential adjustment implementation should commence for payment in January *2021* with the accruable arrears from April 2020

“That all arrears of promotions for years 2017, 2018 and 2019; arrears of leave bonuses for years 2016, 2017,2018,2019 and 2020 as well as 6 years for Local governments, subvented institutions and four years for State workers salary arrears and deductions should be paid in earnest.

“That the organized labour should with immediate effect report to the enlarged workers at the State Secretariat complex to allow adequate information to the generality of the workforce.

“That failure on the part of the state government to implement the new minimum wage and consequential adjustment as negotiated, as well as various outstanding arrears, the organized labour should mobilise workers for peaceful protest in the first week of January 2021”.

El-Rufai Appoints Aisha Isyaku Head of Kaduna Health Supplies Agency

By Habila Victor, Kaduna.

Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has approved the appointment of Aisha Tukur Isyaku as the Executive Secretary of the Kaduna State Health Supplies Management Agency (KADSHMA).

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media & Communication, Muyiwa Adekeye on Tuesday.

According to the statement, “The new Executive Secretary is expected to consolidate the supply chain innovations that KADSHMA is implementing to support healthcare delivery in the state”.

Aisha Tukur Isyaku graduated from Ahmadu Bello University in 1985 with a degree in Pharmacy and holds a postgraduate diploma in Public Health from the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists.

Prior to the appointment, She has worked in the public and private sectors, including a stint as the principal pharmacist at the Yusuf Dantsoho Hospital. She is currently an executive director at Ama Pharmaceuticals.

​Kaduna Gets 272 Police Constabulary force

The Police Command in Kaduna state has trained and handed over 272 police constabulary constables to the Kaduna State Government for the commencement of Community Policing across the state.

While speaking at the reviewing of the passing out parade of the constabulary, Governor Nasiru Ahmad El-Rufai of Kaduna state who was represented by the Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr.Samuel Aruwan tasked the constables to be good ambassadors and be prepared to help the Security agencies in making Kaduna safe for life and property.

He said the state government had committed so many resources in their training and therefore, they are expected to enhance internal security in the state.

According to him, there will be a second phase of the training and passing out of the constabulary to enhance security monitoring in the state.

“You are trained to be our eyes in security issues in the state, so to whom much is given, much is expected. You are expected to help security agencies to ensure peace in the state because without peace there can never be development. You are expected to be good Ambassadors of your community, be civil and upright n your conduct. You are also expected to play your role to protect lives and property in the State,” he said.

“Don’t put us to shame, you have to justify the confidence reposed in you.

We will appeal to Local Government chairmen to support you to succeed because community policing has come to stay. The State Government too will continue to support you. Together we will surmount the security challenges, it is a critical issue that we don’t need to play with it to ensure peaceful coexistence,” he said.

The Commissioner of Police, Mr.Umar Muri said that the passing out parade was part of activities for the formal handing over of the special constabulary to the State Government.

According to him, the special police will be sent to various Local Government Areas in the state where respective Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) would give them further instructions as to the line of duty.

Muri, however, admonished them to be patriotic and to carry out their duty with the fear of God,

He said, “You should have the fear of God in your heart because you are representing a community.”

​Crossover Night: Cooperate with govt, CAN tells churches

The President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Samson Ayokunle, has urged churches in the country to follow strictly the COVID-19 protocols and additional directives by the relevant state government authorities as they prepare for the crossover night service.

Ayokunle, who noted that the second wave of the COVID-19 was fast-spreading, said the total ban on crossover night service by some state governments was a necessary sacrifice to put an end to the pandemic once and for all.

He added that CAN supports any decision of the government that would promote the progress and development of the country.

In a statement he signed, the CAN President said: “We understand the unfortunate state COVID19 infection has put everybody world over which caused some state governments to place a total ban on crossover night service and we are not happy that we would not be able to enter into the new year prayerfully in joint fellowship with our brothers and sisters.

“We, however, urge you all to abide by the directives of each state government on this to prevent the spread of the infection. No sacrifice is too much, in order to put an end to the pandemic once and for all.

“We advise that, where the government places an embargo on the Crossover Night service, churches may meet earlier to praise and give God praises for the gift of life despite the pandemic and to place their requests for 2021 before God.

“In those states, services should be closed about 10:30 pm or at most 11:00 pm to enable worshippers to return home on time.

Ayokunle expressed optimism that the COVID-19 pandemic would soon be over and social and religious engagement returned to normalcy.

“It (COVID-19 second wave) is a passing phase and this too shall pass away in Jesus Name. Very soon, the pandemic will become history and we will return to our usual routine services in Jesus’ Name,” the cleric added.

He, however, appealed to state governments to relate with the leadership of CAN under their watches for understanding and support on their directives, stressing that they are partners in the progress and development of the country.

“We also call on local government authorities to enforce the COVID-19 protocols in our markets and the transport sector,” he added.

Human Resource for Health: NGO Urges Government to Give Females Priority

An Non Governmental Organisation, Population and Reproductive Health Initiative, has call on Kaduna State Government and Northern states to give priority to training of female human resources for health in order to close the gap that exists in the region.

Punshak Watle- Matawal the programme administrator/ programme officer Girls for Health (G4H) project gave the advice during a media chat on the girls for health project executed by the NGO in Kaduna.

Matawal said a lot of girls desire to pursue their dreams and aspirations but don’t have the opportunities due to lack of securing admissions or the girls marrying led to some stopping half way as husband’s couldn’t allow them to continue.

He commended the Kaduna State government for taking a step to starting a foundation year program.

“If we don’t have female health providers especially in the rural areas, they won’t be able to open up and access health delivery because most of them will not want to be attended by a male provider.

The Girls for Health (G4H) project as the name implies is a project conceived to close the gap of shortage of female human resources for health that exists in northern Nigeria.

The project is school-based – meaning it was implemented in schools not at community level.

“The project started in 2016 in four states of Northern Nigeria (Kebbi, Sokoto,Jigawa and Kaduna and is supported by Bill and Melinda gates Foundation.

He said the project supported three cohorts of girls totalling 375( 125 per cohort) and 113 of cohort girls are already admitted into various institutions of higher learning.

“Out of the 375 beneficiaries,113 are already admitted into various institutions of higher learning.

“42 we’re admitted into health related training institutions,22 into the university,28 into College of Education,10 in the polytechnic and 11 in other institutions.

“We selected five schools, one each from five LGAs in Kaduna State,we selected 25 girls from each school per cohort (total of 125 girls per cohort) and each state is led by the state team leader.

He said the selection of beneficiaries were girls who are largely from poor background and girls from SS2.

“We conducted baseline survey for the girls selected in order to ascertain their level of performance before intervention, conducted safe spaces for girls in order for them to acquire life skills, implemented vacation program and paid for WAEC and JAMB exams fees for the girls.

“We conducted inter-school debates and quiz for our project girls across the five schools,took them for excursion to hospitals where they learn from those practicing in the medical professional,bonded the girls with thier communities so they can give back at least two years of service to their communities after becoming trained health workers.

“We also conducted foundation science training to further groom them to be competitive during entrance exams or weeding exams and conducted end line survey to assess the impact of the project on students performance.

“With the support of the project, it help arouse zeal of parents to send their girls to schools as the girls have taken challenge to work hard and encourage their younger ones.

Matawal urge the girls not to give up but keep hope alive and work hard in order to accomplish their aspirations and also called on parents to give support to their girls to enable them achieve their aspirations of becoming health care providers.

He also called on development partners to continue the good work of supporting the government with special attention to training of female human resources for health.

“With this experience, we learnt that a project like this can be implemented at the community level too as the community leaders will be carried along from onset and more less advantaged girls will be reached.

​Edo APC, Deputy Governor at war over court case against Obaseki

Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Deputy Governor of the state, Rt. Hon Philip Shaibu has engaged in a war of words over a pre-election matter in the court as Shiabu alleged that the former National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole had recently said that the Supreme Court would give his party victory like the case of Imo state.

But in a statement yesterday by the State Publicity Secretary of the APC, Chris Azebanmwan, the allegation which he described as weighty was false and that Shaibu was engaging in a smear campaign against Oshiomhole.

He said, “The statement which he credited to Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is a blatant falsehood as no such words emanated from the elder statesman. It is a smear campaign that is aimed at tarnishing the pristine image of the immediate past Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC in the vain hope it would pit the judiciary against the legal reliefs sought by the APC.

“I challenge Philip Shaibu to provide an audio or video clip of the occasion where Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is alleged to have made such a statement. Instead of this puerile and infantile attempt at diverting attention from the substance of the matter in court which centers on forgery and perjury, Philip Shaibu is well advised to address his mind to shoring up their defence.

“Philip Shaibu conveniently lost sight of the fact that the issue in contention borders on forgery and perjury. APC did not go to the Federal High Court to challenge the outcome of the September 2020 election.

“The Nigerian public is too informed and discerning to be hoodwinked with fake allegations and sensationalism. We totally agree with Philip Shaibu that the Nigerian judiciary ranks amongst the best and most diligent in the world and will not be swayed or distracted by antics such as being irresponsibly orchestrated by Philip Shaibu.”

Shaibu had through his Media aide, Benjamin Atu alleged that Oshiomhole was plotting to overturn Governor Godwin Obaseki’s victory at the September 2020 governorship election through the Judiciary.

Though he reaffirmed confidence in the judiciary and President Muhammadu Buhari to protect the nation’s democracy and the collective will of Edo people, Shaibu urged Edo people, especially the youths to take their destiny in their hands by securing Nigeria democracy and the political future of young people.