​FG, KAD ICT Hub, FDA to train 1m Kaduna residents on ICT – Official

Habila Victor, Kaduna

The KAD ICT Hub in partnership with the French Development Agency (FDA) would train one million residents in Kaduna State in four years, on Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Mr Yusuf Bashir, the Chief Executive Officer, KAD ICT Hub, made this known at the opening of a two-day workshop in Kaduna on Wednesday.
Bashir added that the efforts would create 200,000 jobs in the next four years.

He said that the training would be conducted under the Educational Technology Implementation Plan Project with the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning.

He explained that the project was in line with the Nigerian Innovation and ICT Entrepreneurship Vision by building the digital capacity of the Nigerian population to boost employment of youths in the country.

“To this end, the KAD ICT Hub and AFD digital skills acquisition programmes for young residents of Kaduna state as a pilot project,” he said.

He identified the target beneficiaries to include youths, especially students in primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions, and those various income groups, with emphasis on low-income demography.

He added that other beneficiaries would be graduates, out of school or dropouts, young unemployed adults with keen interest to develop ICT skills to have better access to employment.

“This initiative will contribute to preparing the current and next generation of youths in Kaduna state for entrepreneurship and secure fulfilling 21st century jobs in the technology sector.

“The training will be conducted via online platforms and 46 ICT centres that would be established, two in each of the 23 local government areas of the state,” Bashir added.

Mr Aso Vakporaye, Acting Director, Economic Growth Department, Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning said that Nigeria has the largest online market in Africa.

Vakporaye, who was represented by Mr Olusoyi Fatuyi, a Deputy Director in the ministry, said that the country’s online market worth has grown from 104 million dollars in 2014 to 1,007 million dollars in 2019.

He described the digital industry as the future of the nation’s economy and as such requires more commitment from relevant stakeholders to strengthen the digital economy to tap its full potential.

Mr Paolo Lesbordes of the FDA said that the initiative was to encourage economic growth and employment in the country.
“We hope that the study would demonstrate the potential of the digital industry being championed by KAD ICT Hub, in boosting employment in the state,” he said.

On his part, the Emir of Zazzau, Amb. Nuhu Bamali, commended KAD ICT Hub, the federal government and FDA for the initiative.  

Bamali, who is the Chairman of the Special Committee on Youth and Civil Societies for the Northern States Governors Forum, said that the initiative would provide opportunities for the youths to thrive.

He noted that a major cause of youth unemployment was lack of employable skills, stressing that ICT training provides access to new employment opportunities as demonstrated by the KAD ICT HUB.

“The training will not only equip youths with skills to start up their businesses, but also enable them to become employers of labour.

“The core mandate of the Special Committee on Youth Civil Societies is to tackle the socio-economic problems being faced in Nigeria, particularly the north.

“I am optimistic that as we focus more on the ICT sector, we will be able to provide jobs for our Youth and reduce the level of poverty in our society,” he said.

​EndSARS: Attack on Northerners must not happen again — NEF

Leader of Northern Elders Forum, NEF, Prof. Anglo Abdullahi on Wednesday issued a fresh warning against any form of attack on Northerners resident in the Southern part of the country.

The warning was given in Enugu when the Elders met with representatives of Northern groups residents in the South-East.

Speaking at the meeting, the spokesman of the NEF, Dr. Hakeem Ahmed, said the alleged attack on Northerners during the End SARS protest was unprovoked and must not be repeated.

The elders said Northerners had the right to live in any part of the country and as such must not be marked for attacks under whatever guise.

He said, “we were very concerned with the fate of our kith and kin who live in the Southern part of the country.”

He noted that as the End SARS protest progressed, “when we observed that it was taking another dimension, we called up our youths to come off the streets, our young people are law-abiding, they respected us and stopped, when we discovered that the protest has an underlying intention and that it was going to jeopardize the security of everybody in this country, we put up a statement and said we think this protest should stop.

“We continued to observe the experience of our people in the Southern part of the country; experiences that were very sad, we didn’t find reason our people should be subject to attack. Our people were not against this protest, they did not stop anybody, we have evidence.

“We took our time to assess these damages, we sent people who came and you gave graphic details of your experiences, they came back and we felt we have to come

“What you went through must never be allowed to happen again; we have been to Rivers State where the Governor gave us his word and we are beginning to see the result of that engagement.”

He further stated that “We are here in Enugu because it is the capital of the five South-East States. We will meet with the governor and we know he will relate our message to his colleagues.

“We are here to hear your grievances and to make sure it does not happen again, our people in the North welcome other people from other parts of the country, we give them assurances, we welcome them, they have right to live in the North, the same way that you have the right to live here.

“We want a situation where no Northerner unjustly attacks anybody from the Southern part of the country and not one person from the North should be attacked here in the Southern part of the country.”

​Qualitative higher education necessary for national development — TETFund Chief

Prof Suleiman Bogoro, the Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), says qualitative higher education is necessary for national development.

Bogoro made the assertion on Wednesday in Lagos at the 2020 joint TETFund and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) interactive forum with administrators, contributors, and tertiary institutions in the South-West zone.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that theme of the interactive forum was: “New Thrust in Sustaining the EDT Collection During the COVID-19 Pandemic for Effective Service Delivery of the Mandate of the Fund.”

Bogoro said that education played a key role in the ability of a developing country to absorb modern technology and the capacity for self-sustaining growth and development.

“It was in order to raise the quality of higher education in Nigeria that the TETFund was established.

“The task of nation-building has never been an easy one; it requires the building of human capital, needed skills, and requisite knowledge for all citizens.

“It is only through the provision of sound education that such knowledge and skill can be acquired,” he said.

Bogoro added that the interactive forum had continued to be one of the fund’s annual platforms for strategic discussions and engagement with FIRS on education tax.

“The forum is aimed at enhancing Education Tax Collections (EDT) and strengthening our harmonious working relationship.

“It also serves as a platform for the fund to showcase its judicious utilisation of the two per cent education tax collected and an opportunity for the fund to present spectrum of its projects.

“The fund has been receiving education tax since 1999 to date from the FIRS.

“The year 2020 has witnessed a dramatic change as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bogoro said.

He said that in spite of the increasing numbers of beneficiary institutions and limited resources (funds) available for interventions, the funds had transformed tertiary education in Nigeria.

“This year’s theme was deliberate; it is a wake-up call for all of us to improve and discharge our individual and collective responsibilities in ensuring the efficient and timely collection of EDT.

“I commend the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari for supporting the course of the fund in changing the narratives and laying emphasis on research and innovation.

“Following the recommendation of the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, the president approved the upward review of the National Research Fund from five billion naira in 2019 to N7.5 billion in 2020.

“The fund is striving to change the narratives by taking practical steps to put the nation on a revolutionary path of a knowledge-based economy,” Bogoro said.

​Reps to FG: Use revenue generated from Apapa, Tincan lsIand, other ports terminals to fix access roads

House of Representatives on Wednesday asked the federal government to dedicate a greater part of two months revenue generated by Apapa, TinCan Island, Kirikiri Lighter Terminal, and PTML ports for the construction of all the access roads leading to the commands for optimal revenue.

The House also called for the disbandment of the Presidential Taskforce on the Ports access roads, saying it has outlived its usefulness, participating in extortion and contributing to the congestion of the ports.

The parliament also directed the shipping lines to forthwith Gate-in Exports and Empty Containers by sea to the Ports through the waterways by Barges directly to the vessels or the terminals where the vessels should pick them.

This was even as the lawmakers urged the Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA, and other relevant security agencies and apparatus to ensure immediate cease from the extortion activities going on at the Ports and ports access roads.

The resolutions followed the consideration of a motion of urgent national importance sponsored by Hon. Leke Abejide (Logo, APC).

Moving the motion earlier, Abejide said that businesses, commuters, and residents along the access roads “see hell on a daily basis as they are subjected to nuisance, pollution, and emissions to the environment.”

According to him, due to the challenges of inaccessibility to ports, it now took an average of 60 days to do a turn-around of the container as against the usual 5 days.

The implication of this, he said, was that the country was losing an average of five times the revenue it should have made if the access roads were good.

He said: “Despite the stated challenges the Nigeria Customs Service in four (4) Commands within the Port, viz: the Apapa, Tincan lsIand, PTML, and Kirikiri Lighter Terminal, make an average of N100 Billion in one month. This would have translated to N500 Billion monthly if access roads leading to the Ports were to be in order.

“The House inferred that were two (2) months of Nigeria Customs revenue from these Commands be dedicated to facilitating its access roads and needed infrastructure the revenue dedicated would be recovered in full in less than a month. Sharply increasing our revenue in this manner would stem the frequency of loans from China and other sources, of which we cannot predict the future ramification of the debts for the country.

“The House is worried that further aggravating traffic chaos is most of the Shipping Companies which continue to operate their Empty Containers Receiving Bay within the perimeter of the Ports rather than relocating the Boys and Logistic Parks outside of the Ports, and employing the use of barges as transport alternatives for both importers and exporters towards reducing traffic on the Port roads.

“The House notes that this should be done using private Terminals, such as ESS LtIBRA in Ibeshe, and government warehouses, such as the ikorodu Government Warehouse to return empty containers and Gate-in Export direct to the vessels at the Ports rather than using the Road to bring in Exports and empty containers to the Ports creating congestions.

“Also Worried that major Terminal Operators the likes of APMT and Tincan continue to operate analogue Gate-in-and-out System, and yet to automate their gates, whereas terminal delivery orders (TDO) should be used to the opening of gates for entry and exit of the Ports by Truckers. The use of Automated tickets will eliminate human contacts which have proven to breed bottlenecks and corruption.

“Concerned that in addition to the poor condition of the port access roads, extortion by officials of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Security Department, Police, and the Presidential Task Force remain the major cause of unending gridlock along the Port access roads, with stakeholders as importers, Clearing agents and Truck Owners alleging that they are forced to pay as much as N250,000.00 to N280,000.00 per Truck for entries and exits to Parts. These apparatus milking the stakeholders at the expense of the nation should be held accountable, white the Taskforce which has demonstrated that it has outlived its usefulness should be disbanded forthwith.”

Adopting the motion, the House mandated the House Committee on Customs and Excise to within 6 weeks ensure compliance and report back for further legislative action.

​NASS has no constitutional power to summon Buhari ― Malami

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami says the national assembly has no constitutional power to summon President Muhammadu Buhari.

You would recall that the house of representatives last week passed a resolution summoning the president over the rising insecurity in the country.

The president is scheduled to appearbefore the national assembly on Thursday but it is now uncertain if he will honour the request.

In a statement on Wednesday, Malami said it was outside the constitutional powers of the national assembly to summon the president over his “operational use of the armed forces”.

“President Muhamamdu Buhari of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has recorded tremendous success in containing the hitherto incessant bombing, colossal killings, wanton destruction of lives and property that bedeviled the country before attaining the helm of affairs of the country in 2015,” the statement read.

“The confidentiality of strategies employed by the President as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is not open for public exposure in view of security implications in probable undermining of the war against terror.

“The fact that President Muhammadu Buhari was instrumental to the reclaiming of over 14 Local Governments previously controlled by the Boko Haram in North East is an open secret, the strategies for such achievement are not open for public expose.

“While condoling the bereaved and sympathising with the victims of the associated insecurity in the country, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN maintained that national security is not about publicity and the nation’s security architecture cannot be exposed for the sake of getting publicity.”

According to the statement, the president’s efforts on security matters are exclusive and confidential, and as such, “the National Assembly has no Constitutional Power to envisage or contemplate a situation where the President would be summoned by the National Assembly on operational use of the Armed Forces.”

Malami added that the decision to appear before the national assembly should be at the president’s discretion and not subject to summons by the lawmakers.

“The right of the President to engage the National Assembly and appear before it is inherently discretionary in the President and not at the behest of the National Assembly,” the attorney-general said.

“The management and control of the security sector is exclusively vested in the President by Section 218 (1) of the Constitution as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces including the power to determine the operational use of the Armed Forces. An invitation that seeks to put the operational use of the Armed Forces to a public interrogation is indeed taking the constitutional rights of law making beyond bounds.

“As the Commander in Chief, the President has exclusivity on security and has confidentiality over security. These powers and rights he does not share. So, by summoning the President on National Security operational Matters, the House of Representative operated outside constitutional bounds.

“President’s exclusivity of constitutional confidentiality investiture within the context of the constitution remains sacrosanct.”