​Bandits invade Kaduna village, kill 2 locals

Armed bandits have attacked Garu village of Igabi local government area of Kaduna state in the early hours of Wednesday, killing two locals, Aliyu Daiyabu and Safiyanu Muhammad.

However, troops under the auspices of Operation Thunder Strike have continued fighting patrols in Gwagwada general area of Chikun local government area which connects with the Kaduna-Abuja highway.

An operational feedback to the Kaduna State Government revealed that the troops conducted clearance patrols to Napayako and Dajin Wuya, during which several bandit camps were destroyed.

Commissioner for Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Kaduna State,  Samuel Aruwan, said the patrol followed an earlier attack by bandits on hunters in the forest, when two hunters were left with gunshot wounds.

During the clearance operation, the troops mobilized to the location with some hunters who escaped the prior attack. While the camps were dislodged, one of the wounded hunters, Yohanna Yakubu, was found. The other hunter, Isuwa Tanko, was eventually confirmed dead.

Governor Nasir El-Rufai received the feedback with gratitude, praising the morale and resilience of the troops.

The Governor sent his condolences to the families of the two killed in Igabi local government area, and of the hunter found dead in Chikun local government area, while offering prayers for the repose of their souls. He also wished the injured hunter a quick recovery.

​COVID-19: Closure of varsities unconstitutional, disastrous, Afe Babalola

Ado Ekiti- A legal Luminary and founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti(ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola (SAN), has described as unconstitutional, the mass closure of Nigerian universities by the federal government owing to the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic.

Babalola who spoke in Ado Ekiti at a press conference about the attempt by the federal government to defer the resumption of universities earlier slated for January 18, said such action would turn out to be counterproductive and disastrous to the education sector, especially closing down of private schools without prior consultation.

Expressing opposition to mass closure of universities, the Legal Icon said: “I am of the firm view that mass closure of schools is unconstitutional, disastrous and counter-productive.

“It is certainly unjust to the parents, teachers, students and Proprietors of schools and also violates the rule of natural justice”, he stated .

Babalola disclosed that the United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention had outlined all these into consideration when it officially recommended that universities should be accorded preferential treatment under Covid 19 in terms of operations.

“The USCDC said universities are different in terms of size, geographical location, structure and in their abilities to take measures that will guarantee minimum risk to students and teachers in their schools, which in turn will ensure undisrupted on-campus learning for students.

“On the contrary, universities which do not possess these facilities are within high-risk category.

“I hereby strongly advise that the federal government should stop mass closure of schools. All schools, particularly the private universities that have the required world class health facilities and have complied with Presidential Task Force regulations which will enable them to implement low medium risk measures ought not and should not be shut down.

He insisted that his eleven years old university had been having a smooth and uninterrupted academic calendar before abrupt disruption by Covid 19, thereby stalling operations and of the university in spite of the world-class facilities it parades to prevent the spread of the lethal disease.

The legal luminary added : “The FG should know that schools in Ekiti are safer than that located in the heart of Lagos. We must consider the geographical location. Any worker here who goes to Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt goes for special test and seven days isolation. This underscored the level.of our preparedness”.

He urged the federal government to emulate foreign countries by paying the salaries of lecturers in the private universities, which were shut down because of Covid 19.

Babalola reminded the FG that should the low-risk private Universities remain shut down to wait for high risk one will make the ivory towers remain in comatose for long.

On whether he will approach the court to challenge the closure of private universities, Babalola said: “I am not going to court, because we have not exhausted the option of negotiation and local remedy. I am a friend of the FG and I know that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) will look into it”.

On how his university has been affected adversely, Babalola explain that; “We can’t even quantify our losses. We have been following international standard, which was September to July academic session before this global problem.

“We have done seven convocations in ten years. We used to pay salaries on the 24th of the months and nobody has been sacked despite this suspension of work. But this has affected our purse. How can we be paying for services not rendered? This is unfair.

​COVID-19: UNICEF Decries Unending School Closures

By Habila Victor, Kaduna.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has decried the continued closure of schools in “too many countries” on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the agency said this was in spite of increasing evidence that schools were not drivers of the pandemic.

UNICEF also pointed out “overwhelming evidence” of the impact of school closures on children…

It warned that the number of out-of-school children was set to rise by 24 million “to a level we have not yet seen in years and have fought so hard to overcome”. 

In a statement on Tuesday, the agency said this was in spite of increasing evidence that schools were not drivers of the pandemic.

UNICEF also pointed out “overwhelming evidence” of the impact of school closures on children.

It warned that the number of out-of-school children was set to rise by 24 million “to a level we have not yet seen in years and have fought so hard to overcome”. 

It noted the “devastating cost of school closures, which it said affected 90 per cent of students worldwide and denied a third of school children access to remote education.

“Children’s ability to read, write and do basic mathematics has suffered, and the skills they need to thrive in the 21st century economy have diminished.

“Their health, development, safety and well-being are at risk. The most vulnerable among them will bear the heaviest brunt.

“Without school meals, children are left hungry and their nutrition is worsening.

“Without daily interactions with their peers and a reduction in mobility, they are losing physical fitness and showing signs of mental distress,” the agency noted.

The agency added that school children were more vulnerable to abuse, child marriage and child labour in the absence of the safety that schools often provided.

This, UNICEF emphasised, is why shuttering schools must be a last resort after all other options have been exhausted.

“Assessing the risk of transmission at the local level should be a key determinant in decisions on school operations.

“Nationwide school closures must be avoided whenever possible.

“Where there are high levels of community transmission, where health systems are under extreme pressure and where closing schools is deemed inevitable, safeguarding measures must be put in place.

“This includes ensuring that children who are at risk of violence in their homes, who are reliant upon school meals and whose parents are essential workers are able to continue their education in their classrooms.

“In case of lockdowns, schools must be among the first to reopen once authorities start lifting restrictions.

“Catch-up classes should be prioritised to ensure that children who have been unable to learn remotely are not left behind.

“If children are faced with another year of school closures, the effects will be felt for generations to come,” UNICEF said.