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ECOWAS Parliament: Nigerian Parliamentarian Urge Government To Invest In Education

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By Gloria Ikibah

A member Parliament from Nigeria, Hon. Awaji-Inombek Abiante, has called on the government of Nigeria to emulate the example of Cape Verde by investing in education to curb the spate of religious intolerance in the country.

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The parliamentarian was speaking on the sidelines of the ECOWAS Parliament Delocalised meeting of the Committees on Education, Science and Culture/ Health/ Telecommunication and Information Technology, in Praia, Capital of Cape Verde.

Naijablitznews.com reports that about 93 Percent of the Population of Cape Verde are educated, a development the authorities attribute to one of the major factors responsible for religious tolerance in the country.

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Situating Nigeria with Cape Verde, Abiante said that the high number of out of school children in Nigeria, may not be far from the reason for the high rate of religious intolerance in the country.

The lawmaker therefore appealed to the government at all levels to make deliberate efforts in ensuring that education plays a vital role in the socio-economic development of the country.

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“Some very obvious factors have been identified as the cause or drivers of religious intolerance in the region and basically, we have looked at education as a fulcrum towards reducing the challenge.

“So if you situate that to the Nigerian experience, it is one record that we have one of the highest out of school population and if that is correct, then we don’t need to go very far to understand why we have the challenge of religious intolerance . So what we need to do is to put together all the resources that will enable us to migrate away from being tagged as one of the countries with the highest number of out of school children.

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“You have heard Cape Verde saying 93% of their people are educated, so if we achieve education for our people, understanding will improve and that will also propel tolerance”, Hon. Abiante stated.

The lawmaker questioned the claim of Nigeria being a secular state when such was not applicable in practice. He emphasised that such a situation could be corrected with education.

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“Luckily for us we have also declared that Nigeria is a secular state, but how secular in practice is what we should be pushing for? We need to look at the perimeters and see if it guarantees secularity in practice because you cannot contradict yourself. If you say the country is a secular state, while some States within that same country have laws that declare one religion superior to the other which has led to isolating some culture, isolating some practices, isolating some beliefs to the extent that certain things are considered taboo.

“So a lot need to be done and you cannot achieve it by force , you cannot achieve it by fait , you can only achieve that by superior argument and the superior argument can only come when you are enlightened , when you are educated”, he added.

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On the allegation that politicians who are supposedly enlightened, were also one of the key drivers of religious intolerance, Abiante argued further that the solution still lies in educating the masses.

“Human nature itself seeks to take advantage of any situation. The enlightened mind may have seen the unenlightened and seeks to take advantage of him and manipulate him to sooth that purpose but if the category of the enlightened are much more than the unenlightened , whether you call it politicians, enlightened, educated or whatever, cannot manipulate with ease the person he seeks to take advantage of. So education still is the key.

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“Education does not mean educating a very tiny minority. It means educating the state, it means educating the people, educating the quantum that is required to propelled the desired understanding. So if a greater number of the citizens are enlightened, it will be very difficult to be manipulated”.

Some schools of thought have advocated for the domestication of laws as a measure to reduce the incidence of religious intolerance but the law maker was not at home with that position.

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According to him, “it is not about law and declaration. It is not about domestication. For instance, we have so declared that we are a secular state. What secularity means is that no religion is superior to the other. Everybody has the same or equivalent latitude to practice his or her belief but how is it being implemented becomes the question.

“There is even a contradiction in our own case where some states have enacted laws to promote certain religions , so it is not about laws. It is about the practice of the people. Is about conviction, it is about positive expression of what is right, positive expression of the capacity to tolerate ,the capacity to accommodate, that is exactly what is required in this circumstance”.

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Reactions as new photos of Tinubu with grandchildren resurface on social media

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By Francesca Iwambe

Reactions have continued to trickle from Nigerians on social media over photos of presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu with his grandchildren, which surfaced on Twitter and Instagram on Thursday.

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Tinubu’s son shared photos of the APC flag bearer on his verified Instagram handle with the caption and hashtags, “ Hi Grandpa #FamilyFirst#TinubuFamily #FamilyMan #Grandpa #TakenOnSunday #Noella #BATSenior #BATJunior #Leader.”

Special assistant on digital communications to President Muhammad Buhari, Bashir Ahmad, also shared Tinubu’s photos on Twitter on Thursday.

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Ahmad tweeted, “Good morning from our presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmad Tinubu, and his grandchildren. A wonderful family person.”

Recall that Tinubu shared a video of himself cycling on a fitness bike on Sunday.

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The video, which went viral, had since elicited questions about his whereabouts.

But, the spokesperson of the APC presidential campaign council, Festus Keyamo has said cycling is a regular routine for Tinubu, adding that the former Lagos state governor was not trying to prove any point.

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Keyamo, while speaking in an interview with Channels Television’s Politics Today on Wednesday, described Tinubu as an “avid cyclist.”

His words, “People who are close to him know that he is an avid cyclist. He does that all the time. It is his regular routine. So, we are not trying to prove anything to anybody.”

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Meanwhile, Tinubu also posted picture of himself in an office on Instagram on Thursday with a caption that simply reads, “Stay Focused.”

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NCC To Deploy Technology For Verification Of Annual Operating Levies, Tax, Among Others

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By Gloria Ikibah

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that it is going to deploy technology to verify the annual operating levies (AOL), tax and other payments by network service providers to the Federal Government.

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Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbata, disclosed this on Wednesday when he appeared before the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee to Investigate the Duplication of Functions of Agencies of the Federal Government.

He said, “We are currently going to deploy a technology solution. We call it Revenue Assurance Solution. We have finished signing the MOU with the consultant that is going to do this deployment, so that we can be independently verify that the amount of annual operating levy (AOL) they are paying and other taxes are indeed what they are supposed to pay and therefore not shortchange the NCC or government when it comes to payment of taxes”.

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He also revealed that the Commission recently did a successful fifth generation spectrum auction where more than half billion dollars was generated for the Federal Government.

He said, “We, through what we call annual operating levy, run our operations, pay our staff salaries and allowances and even provide resources for intervention in the diverse areas of information and communication technology in the various parts of the country.

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“These interventions are verifiable. There is no state of the federation that we don’t provide interventions in the diverse areas of ICT. We also provide training. We would like to ensure our citizens are ICT savvy by embracing this important technology because that is what the whole is doing. That is what we can do in order to ensure our citizens are socially and economically transformed to change the way they are doing things, the way they collaborate and innovate.

“We have records available to show that we have been contributing a lot to the coffers of the government and a very good example is when we did that successful 5G auction. The proceeds from the auction goes to the coffers of the government. We don’t normally take anything. It is gazetted that whatever we sell spectrum, we do not keep the money, we normally transfer this money to the consolidated revenue fund of the government,” he said.

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Earlier, the Chairman of the Ad hoc Committee, Rep Victor Danzaria, said research, revenue generation and service delivery are critical conditions in the consideration process for merging or crapping agencies of government.

According to him the committee had a mandate to investigate duplication of functions and counter productivity of agencies for possible merger.

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Some of the agencies under consideration were Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBS) and the Nigerian Communication Satelite.

Others are, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Galaxy Backbone, National Boundary Commission and Border Communities Development Agency among others.

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Danzaria said that it is not about having many agencies with so many Director-Generals that does not deliver the required services to Nigerians but about productivity.

“The ad hoc Committee is critically looking at these agencies, their existence and looking at possible synergies and mergers of these agencies to give effective service to Nigerians.

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“One area is research, second is revenue generation and thirdly is regulatory functions and service delivery and at the end of the day, this is what Nigerians want.

“It is not about when you go to any agency, you see this man seated there on a table and services are not being offered there,” he said.

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BREAKING: Rivers State House of Assembly Delists Omehia, As Ex-Gov

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By Gloria Ikibah

The Rivers State House of Assembly, on Thursday at plenary adopted a motion to derecognise Sir Celestine Omehia, as a former governor of the State.

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Omehia was governor of the state from May 29, 2007 to October 25, 2007 when he was removed by the Supreme Court and replaced by Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi as the rightful governorship candidate of the PDP at the time.

Although Justices of the Supreme Court, while delivering their judgement, declared that in the eye of the law, Omehia was never a governor, but on June 25, 2015, the incumbent governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, officially recognised Omehia as a former governor of the State.

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The motion to derecognise the Ubima, Ikwerre local government area-born politician, was moved by the leader of the House, Hon. Martin Amaewhule.

Naijablitznews.com reports that the former governor is a close ally of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

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