Breaking: Major-General Farouk Yahaya emerges new army chief

President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Major-General Farouk Yahaya as the new chief of army staff.
Yahaya, a major general, will replace the deceased Attahiru Ibrahim with immediate effect.

Prior to his appointment, Major-General Yahaya was the General Officer Commanding 1 Division of the Nigerian Army and the theatre commander of a military counter-terrorism unit in the North East.

Yahaya’s appointment comes six days after his predecessor Lt General Ibrahim Attahiru and ten other military personnel died in an air crash while on an official trip to Kaduna State.

Source: Guardian Nigeria

Children’s Day: UNICEF Tasks Government on Rights Protection in Face of Inequality, Poverty, Pandemic


United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has called on Nigerian government at all levels to protect the rights of children to education and health in the face of growing poverty, inequality and pandemic.

UNICEF, in a statement to commemorate the 2021 children’s day, expressed concerns over the effects of Covid-19 on the children, describing it as a child rights crisis in Nigeria and the world at large.

UNICEF’s Country Director, Peter Hawkins, noted that poverty is rising, inequality is growing, and the pandemic has often disrupted the essential services that secure the health, education and protection of children and young people in the country.

He said the 2021 Children’s day comes at a challenging moment for child rights  with the COVID-19 pandemic threatening gains made for children’s development.

“It has been a challenging year for us all with the COVID-19 pandemic – not least of all, Nigeria’s children – and I want to commend efforts at all levels of Nigerian government and society to protect education, health, and protection services in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children.

“The longer the pandemic goes on, the more intense the impact on women and children. On this Nigerian Children’s Day, let us all agree that we cannot let one crisis compound another.

“The pandemic is threatening decades of progress we have made for children. Violence is perpetrated against one in four Nigerian children – and one in three Nigerian girls are sexually abused. This has only increased during the pandemic. Today of all days, we must commit to reinforce the protection mechanisms for all children”, Hawkins noted.

The UNICEF Director revealed that the Covid-19 pandemic has helped the people learned that education takes place not only in schools, noting that children can and should learn both in and out of school.

Mr Hawkins stated Nigerian children are resilient, talented and aspire to do great things, charging parents and government with the responsibility to give them the platform and encouragement to do that.

The statement reads; “We know that protecting children and investing in women and families is not only the right thing to do – it has proven to be a sound economic choice and a cost-effective tool for national development.

“As we celebrate our children today, we must act in their best interests and deploy innovative solutions to fast-track learning and health services to build back better, for every Nigerian child.”

Constitution Review: Women Coalition Advocates Gender Equality, Equity

By Victor Habila, Kaduna

Coalition of women leaders in Kaduna state has called for equal representation of women at both Federal and state levels.

The coalition expressed dismay over the 1999 constitution, saying it has not improved the level of inclusion of women at all levels as the proportion of women in both elective and appointive positions has remained low.

The group made the declaration in their position paper to the North West zonal public hearing of the 1999 constitution review ongoing in Kaduna, presented by Jemilat Abidoye, a member of the coalition, during a Press Briefing in Kaduna which was in collaboration with United Nations (UN).

Abidoye said women should enjoy the same status as men, so that they can fully realize their human rights and have a meaningful impact on the society, adding that the Constitution does not adequately afford women the opportunity.

In her words; “It is no longer news that not much has been achieved to improve women’s participation and gender equality in leadership and decision-making positions despite a formal support for it through the National Gender Policy (2006) which recommends a benchmark of 35 percent in all sectors.
“We the People,” represent all Nigerians and recognizing that gender equality is a human right, as emphasized in the global Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No. 5”.

“Women need to be fully represented in the Constitution, first by recognizing the use of gender-neutral and sensitive language in our Constitution. Masculine languages are gender-biased and undermine women and girls’ political participation, which further hinders inclusive governance in Nigeria. A Nigerian Constitution should correct these male-dominant narratives in legal drafting”.

The women, however, recommended that the ongoing constitutional review should ensure gender-neutral and sensitive language in our Constitution.

According to Abidoye, masculine languages are gender-biased and undermine women and girls’ political participation, which further hinders inclusive governance in Nigeria

She reiterated that the Constitution should also actualize equitable women representation in government, through at least 35% women representation in appointive offices at the Federal and State levels.

The women leaders coalition also proposed that the Constitutional review define Gender as a benchmark for Federal Character, explaining that the Constitution has already created the Federal Character as an Affirmative Action Mechanism that ensures the representation of margainalized groups in the country.

The texts reads; “Create additional special seats for women in the Federal and State Legislative Houses:
(a) In Senate: one seat for a woman from the 36 states and the Federal Capital

“(b) In the House of Representatives: two seats for women from the 36 states and the Federal Capital

“(c) In the States’ House of Assembly: one seat from each of the three senatorial districts.

“In addition to these Constitutional provisions, the National Gender Policy was also intended to increase the number of women in political office, party organs, and public life by setting a goal of 35 percent affirmative action to support women in all elected and appointed positions by 2015. But our current reality in 2021, is that women’s political representation is still below 10 percent. It is no longer news that women in Nigeria are yet to benefit from these provisions”, the group noted.

Constitutional Review: North Central commences two day zonal public hearing

Participants from Niger, Kwara and Kogi States as well as the Federal Capital  (FCT) Abuja, converged on the Idris Legbo Kutigi International Conference Hall for the Minna centre of the North Central Zone public hearing on Constitutional review.

The two day event aimed at outlining and articulating the position of the zone on some burning issues as regards the unity of the nation, was attended by critical stakeholders and all the Senators representing the participating States and the FCT.

Declaring the event opened, Niger State Governor and Chairman North Central Governors forum, Abubakar Sani Bello expressed that Constitutional review, if well articulated, would guarantee better and inclusive economic growth as well as increase political stability and enhance peaceful coexistence.

The Governor, who was the Chief Host of the event, described the event as a significant one for the nation pointing out that Nigeria has evolved over time and for the country to attain its actual position in the comity of nations, there is need to review emerging issues in the constitution. 

He said, in all Federal Systems of government, restructuring is a dynamic process through legislation and other procedures accepted by the citizens as the need arises adding that despite different perception concerning the  constitutional review, the unity of Nigeria must remain sacrosanct and that the country is stronger and better as one indivisible nation.

“As the Chairman of North Central Governors’ Forum we’ve had series of meeting on the same subject. I have no doubt in my mind that, at the end of this exercise, justice will be done so that the states of the North Central will enjoy the benefit and full potentials of our democratic system”, he said.

According to the Governor, “we need to consider as a country the nature and type of Constitution we want; in addition to other issues like autonomy for local government, Legislature and Judiciary, we also need to carefully consider the Concurrent and Exclusive Lists; Devolution of Powers and other issues that are cardinal to the survival of the country.”

He enjoined all the participants to take advantage of the opportunity and critically look at the 1999 Constitution with the view to coming out with a workable document that will provide for effective and efficient system of government at all levels.

The Deputy Senate President and Chairman Senate Committee on Constitution Review, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, said the Senate has decided to adopt a bottom-top approach by listening to Nigerians first at all the geopolitical zones.

Represented by the Senate Deputy Chief Whip and Niger North Senator, who is also the Sub-committee Chairman of the Constitution Review for North Central Minna centre, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, Senator Omo-Agege said that topical issues such as judicial and electoral reforms, local government autonomy and devolution of powers are to be looked into.

“You will agree with me that, if we get these items through constitutional processes of alteration successfully then, our Constitutional Democracy will be set on the right pedestal, and ultimately, Nigeria will take its pride of place among the enviable constitutional democracies in the world”, he said.

He said the constitution review represents a critical phase in our development and advancement as a nation, urging Nigerians to use the opportunity to express their opinions on the fundamental laws to govern them.

He said that the Senate Committee on the Review of the Constitution is mindful of the reoccurring clamour for constitutional amendment over the years, adding that many have argued that the 1999 constitution is not peoples oriented.

While assuring that the memorandum submitted will be given a critical consideration, the Deputy Senate said the National Assembly have a herculean task to ensure that the people get their constitution as they want it to be.

In their separate remarks, Speakers Niger State House of Assembly, Bawa Wuse and the Deputy Whip, Kwara State Assembly Mr. Jimoh Aliyu Yusuf called for peace, love and unity among Nigerians irrespective of religion, ethnic and political differences so as to keep Nigeria together.

They emphasized that as Nigerians, we must ensure that our behaviours are in tune with our constitution instead of engaging in the the review of our Constitution to suit our situation.

While appreciating the people, Senator Philip Tanimu Aduda commended Governor Sani Bello for providing a peaceful platform to host the meeting.

STRIKE: FG deliberately killing polytechnic education in Nigeria, ASUP declares

The national leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) on Tuesday accused the federal and state governments of undermining polytechnics education in Nigeria by deliberately designing and implementing bad policies in them.
ASUP National President Anderson Ezeibe, at a press briefing held at Federal Polytechnic, Oko in Anambra State, said that the government establishes polytechnics mainly to satisfy its political desires.

‘The Nigerian state has consciously, over the years, decided to abdicate from its responsibilities towards developing skill-based education. And this is contrary to the provisions in the nation’s policy on education adopted since 1977 which recognized the place of technical and vocational education in the development of this nation.

‘And as a matter of fact, it is not as if the Nigerian state has decided to do away with this sector. It is not as if the Nigerian state is not seeing the fact that this sector has a very vital role to play to the development of this nation.

‘This is because if that is the case, the establishment of new polytechnics and colleges of technology in this nation will not be taking place. Of course, like you know, 36 new federal polytechnics were established in the recent past in addition to the two established about three years ago.

‘And different state governments are still establishing new polytechnics. So, what it means is that we are led, as a matter of fact, to believe that by the stands of the government, that these institutions are being established to satisfy political convenience. And this is not good enough,’ he complained.

Source: The sun

​No Police Station Was Attacked in Abuja – FCT Command

The Police Command in Abuja on Tuesday declared that none of its stations or Area Commands in the FCT was attacked.

This is sequel to a video circulating alleging that one of the police stations in the FCT had been attacked and set ablaze.

ASP Yusuf Mariam in a statement debunked the video noting there was no record of such incident in the FCT command.

The statement reads, “The Police Command of the Federal Capital Territory wishes to debunk a viral video in the social media suggesting that a Police Division in Abuja was attacked and set ablaze by hoodlums.

“The command wants to state categorically that there is no record of such incident in the FCT”.

“However, the Command enjoins members of the public to cooperate with the Police and other security agencies by providing prompt and useful information rather than circulating messages capable of causing undue panic amongst the well-spirited residents of the FCT.

“On this note, we wish to reaffirm our undeterred resolve towards the protection of lives and property within the Federal Capital Territory.

“The Command further implores residents to report all suspicious movements, emergency or distress, through these numbers: 08032003913, 08061581938, 07057337653, and 08028940883 and to report the conduct of Police Officers, call the Public Complaint Bureau (PCB) number: 09022222352.”
Source: Vanguard News Nigeria

Rights groups kick against scraping NYSC, threatens mass action

By Victor Habila

Rights groups, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), alongside its continental arm, Association of African Writers on Human and Peoples Rights (AFRIRIGHTS) has said the federal government must guide jealously the national cohesion attributes of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, scheme.

The groups, on Tuesday, noted that any plot to scrap the scheme would amount to sabotage, even as it counseled President Muhammadu Buhari to continue to sustain the ideal of the scheme without let or hindrance.

“President Muhammadu Buhari should jealously guide against any attempt from whatever quarters to tinker negatively with the National Youths Service Corp Scheme, NYSC.

“As far as most civil rights practitioners in Nigeria are concerned, this government has made remarkable milestones in the youth sector. The consistent strides made by President Buhari to sustain the only legacy that reminds us of our national unity which is the NYSC, have become a beacon of hope for generations yet unborn.

“On no account should any negative force be permitted to succeed in scuttling the NYSC. What we expect is for all hands to be on deck to consolidate on the gains made by NYSC and to strengthen its operational capacity,” a statement issued by Emmanuel Onwubiko, Executive Director of HURIWA, read in part.

HURIWA and AFRIRIGHTS jointly appealed to House Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila and Senate President, Ahmed Lawan to throw away the reported proposal through a constitutional alteration bill to abolish the NYSC scheme as moved by a member of parliament.

The bodies argued that it is scandalous to “read that whereas committed statesmen are thinking of ways and means to upgrade the operational and funding capability of the pillar of unity which is the NYSC, the House of Representatives is said to be considering discontinuation of the National Youth Service Corps scheme.”

The rights groups said the sponsor, Awaji-Inombek Abiante, in the explanatory memorandum of the proposal, listed the various reasons the NYSC should be scrapped.

It read in part, “This bill seeks to repeal Section 315(5)(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, (as amended) on the following grounds:
“Incessant killing of innocent corps members in some parts of the country due to banditry, religious extremism and ethnic violence; incessant kidnapping of innocent corps members across the country;

“Public and private agencies/departments are no longer recruiting able and qualified Nigerian youths, thus relying heavily on the availability of corps members who are not being well remunerated and get discarded with impunity at the end of their service year without any hope of being gainfully employed;

“Due to insecurity across the country, the National Youth Service Corps management now gives considerations to posting corps members to their geopolitical zone, thus defeating one of the objectives of setting up the service corps, i.e. developing common ties among the Nigerian youths and promote national unity and integration.”

However, HURIWA has threatened mass action should this piece of legislation goes all the way to become law.

“We are very hopeful that both speaker of parliament and the Senate President are proud products of the noble NYSC scheme and should ensure that no stone is left unturned to stop forthwith the retrogressive march to infamy which is what the proposal to end the NYSC Scheme represents.”

It also added that “the tepid and laughable excuses of insecurity and allied circumstances adduced as collective raison d’être for contemplating such a national suicidal move of abolition of NYSC, does not hold water.”

HURIWA specifically applauded President Buhari and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and the Director General of NYSC “for keeping the flame of NYSC burning and meeting the objectives of the National Youth Service Corps scheme as are clearly spelt out in Decree No.51 of 16th June 1993.”

Source: Vanguard News Nigeria

CONSTITUTION REVIEW: House of Reps commences  zonal public hearings June 1

The House of Representatives Special Committee on Constitution Review has fixed June 1 to June 3 for its zonal public hearing taking place across the country’s six geopolitical zones.
Umar Puma, Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Rep Ahmed Wase, said in a statement on Monday in Abuja.

He said that the committee had invited the general public, executive and judicial bodies, traditional institutions, political parties, civil society organisations, professional bodies and all other stakeholders.

Wase, Chairman of the special committee on constitution review, was quoted in the statement as saying that each zone would have two centres.

The committee chairman further stated that the North Central zone public hearing would hold in Jos, with Plateau, Benue, Nasarawa states and FCT, in attendance, while Lokoja would serve as the second centre, with Kogi, Niger and Kwara states.

“The North-East has Bauchi centre, which is made up of Bauchi, Borno and Yobe states, while Yola centre has Adamawa, Taraba and Gombe states.

“The North-West centre is in Birnin Kebbi, with Kebbi, Zamfara and Sokoto states, while Kano centre which will hold on June 2 and June 3, with Kano, Kaduna, Katsina and Jigawa states.

“The South-East which has Enugu centre, will host Enugu, Anambra and Ebonyi states, while Owerri centre will host Imo and Abia states.

The South-West with a centre in Akure, will host Ondo, Ekiti and Osun states, while Lagos centre will host Lagos, Oyo and Ogun states.

The South-South zone comprising Delta, Bayelsa and Edo states, will hold in Asaba centre on June 2 and June 3, while Uyo centre will hold on June 1 and June 2, with Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Cross River states.

Wase appealed to members of the committee to always put Nigeria first and work for Nigeria to ensure it delivered for the country the best constitution.

He revealed that the members of the committee would be posted outside their zones to have a feeling of what obtains in other geopolitical zones.

“We have an opportunity to write our names in gold, let us not waste this golden opportunity as all eyes are on us.

“We must ensure that we do not betray the confidence Nigerians have in us,” he said.

​Tambuwal mourns, as commissioner dies

Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State has announced the death of the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Arzika Tureta, who died on Sunday night.

Tambuwal in a statement, titled, ‘Transition Announcement and Burial’, which he personally signed said, “With submission to the will of Allah, on behalf of the government and good people of Sokoto State, I hereby announce the death of our Commissioner for Agriculture, Hon. Muhammad Arzika Tureta (1959-2021).

“Honourable Tureta, who had variously served as Commissioner in the state before his last appointment, battled with protracted illness, died yesterday night.

“An agricultural entrepreneur, administrator and politician, he attended Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he bagged a Bachelor of Education.

“He was a member of the Sokoto State House of Assembly under the defunct National Republican Convention and member of the House of Representatives for Bodinga/Dange-Shuni/Tureta Federal Constituency on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party. He was also the State Chairman of the PDP in Sokoto State”

He will be buried today at his home town of Lambar Tureta in Sokoto.

Source: The Punch Newspaper

No Plans to Seize Our Secretariat Building – NUJ Kaduna Council

By Victor Habila, Kaduna

The  Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kaduna state Council has called on its members and the general public to disregard a social media post with the caption ” El Rufa’i threatens to seize the NUJ Kaduna Secretariat Building for their support for NLC protest”. 

The Council  described the post, which went viral on different social media platforms as baseless and unfounded.

This was contained in a statement jointly signed by the NUJ Chairman Kaduna Council, Adamu Yusuf and the Secretary, John Femi Adi.

“The post is mischievous and  only intended to disparage the reputation of the governor and to create disharmony between Kaduna state government and the union.

“At no point in time did the Council paid a courtesy call to the governor to even warrant such a position from Malam Nasir El Rufa’i.

“Kaduna Council of the NUJ views the post as the handiwork of faceless mischief makers who are bent on creating tension where none exist”, NUJ stated.

The council urges its members to remain calm and to continue to remain professional in their daily operations, as it has taken steps to unearth the source of the malicious post.