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FG to start paying youth unemployment benefits to graduates, sets up consumer credit programme

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By Emmanuel Agaji

The Federal Government on Monday said it would extend its social security payments net to graduates with qualifications from NCE and upwards.

Addressing journalists after the Federal Executive Council meeting on Monday, the minister of finance and coordinating minister of the economy, Wale Edun, disclosed that the programme would see unemployed Nigerian youths being paid stipends.

“At this period of heightened food prices, Mr. President has committed to doing all that can be done to assist in giving purchasing power to the poorest and in that line.

“He has committed and instructed that the Social Security unemployment programme be devised, particularly to cater for the youth, for the unemployed graduates, as well as the society as a whole.

“So, we have coming, in the nearest future, an unemployment benefit for the young unemployed, in particular,” the Minister announced.

Similarly, Edun said the FG will urgently establish a consumer credit scheme to alleviate the pains of economic adjustment.

He explained that the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, will lead a committee that includes the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, the Attorney-General of the Federation and himself, the Coordinating Minister of the Economy.

“There is coming a social consumer credit programme. By making consumer credit available, goods become more affordable, the economy even gets a chance to revive faster, because people have purchasing power that allows them to order goods, products,” he stated.

Edun also spoke on the review implemented by the Special Presidential panel on the National Social Investment Programme, which has submitted a preliminary report to the president.

He noted that the president gave the highlights to the Council meeting noting that what was done was “a review of the existing mechanisms, a review of the existing programmes, and where there have been successes, such as the 400,000 beneficiaries of the GEEP programme.”

He added, “So, the direct payments to 12 million households comprising 60 million Nigerians is to resume immediately with the important proviso that every beneficiary will be identified by their national identity number and the bank verification number.

“Therefore, payments will be made into bank accounts or mobile money wallets. So, that whether it is before or after, there is verification of the identity of beneficiaries.

“Each person that receives 25,000 Naira for a total of three months will be identifiable, even after they have received the money, it will be clear who it went to and when it went to them. And that is the big change that has allowed Mr. president to approve the restart of that direct payments to beneficiaries programme.”

On his part, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Bosun Tijjani, explained that beneficiaries would be vetted through their Bank Verification Number and National Identity Numbers to avoid multiple payouts to one individual.

He said, “One of the initial moves that we’re making is leveraging the existing dataset that we have on our people. As you know, the BVN is well known to be extremely credible. NIN on the other side, which is now the most popular data identity system for Nigeriansm, is also to a largest and credible, and it covers quite a significant number of people as well.

“And what we’re looking to do here is the triangulation of this data set to ensure that not only are we using the register that has been properly populated, but that we also do proper verification of every individual that will benefit from that social investment programme, which means we will get commitment to ensuring that no one is paid twice, because you have to be properly IDed before you can benefit from that programme.”

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Reno Omokri Criticizes Tinubu Government: Calls Return of Old National Anthem a Step Backward and Unnecessary act

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

Reno omokri a former Aide to President Goodluck Jonathan had reacted to changing of the Nigerian anthem to the old anthem, In a tweet on X (formerly known as Twitter) , he said “My heart is very heavy about Nigeria right now because, in my opinion, we just took a giant step backwards in our national journey. Now, do not get me wrong, I support the current economic policies of my country. Fuel subsidy removal and Naira flotation are necessary policies that any lover of Nigeria should adhere to regardless of party affiliation.

One of the most unnecessary acts of governance in Nigeria in recent times is the law returning the old National Anthem. First of all, there was nothing wrong with the existing anthem. Secondly, with all of the multifaceted issues we face, it seems like we have a lack of priorities, when we major on such a settled issue as an anthem.

To me, it looks like a step backwards to discard the ‘Arise, O Compatriots’ National Anthem written by a collective of young Nigerians, including John A. Ilechukwu, Eme Etim Akpan, B. A. Ogunnaike, Sota Omoigui and P. O. Aderibigbe in 1978, for ‘Nigeria, We Hail Thee’, written by an English woman, Lillian Jean Williams.

Does it not sound preposterous that a foreigner should write our National Anthem? Are we that shallow and uninspired that we cannot come up with our own indigenous anthem? You can imagine the land of such music icons, like Fela Kuti, Osita Osadebe, Dan Maraya Jos, and contemporary stars, like Sade Adu, Burna Boy, Davido and Wizkid, importing music of national significance from Britain. As my Yoruba brethren will say, ‘O wrong now!’

Already, the name Nigeria was given to us by another English lady, Flora Shaw. And she named us in 1897 in much the same way you name a dog. She did it tongue in cheek, for an article she wrote for The Times of London.

We ought to have even changed that name to something indigenous, such as the Republic of Wazobia, as Ghana did in 1957 when she changed from Gold Coast to Ghana at Independence in 1957.

We should also have reverted to the original name for Lagos, Eko. Lagos is an imposed Portuguese name. The annoying thing is that the Portuguese who renamed Eko as Lagos were just opportunistic slave traders who did not set up any viable administrative structure.

Instead of undertaking these name changes, we are rather doubling down on another colonial relic by discarding the anthem written by our own citizens for one written by a foreigner.

I dare anyone reading this to name another country whose National Anthem was written by a foreigner. Even a Banana Republic would not do that!

In my humble opinion, President Tinubu ought not to have assented to that bill. Instead, he should have written a strongly worded letter to communicate to the National Assembly the implications on our sovereignty and national psyche to revert to an anthem written by a foreigner, which would make us a free nation that willingly chose to return to the yoke of imperialism.

Is it too late for the President to do what he ought to have done? No. He is our Head of State and has a duty to promote indigenous ideas over imperialistic ones”.

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APC Lawmakers throw weight behind Ado Bayero

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

As the emirship tussle continues in Kano State, the 12 members of the All Progressives Congress in the House of Assembly have pledged allegiance to the 15th Emir, Aminu Ado Bayero.

Led by the minority leader, Labaran Abdul Madari, the 12 lawmakers from APC paid homage to Ado Bayero at the Nassarawa Palace after the assembly’s plenary session on Tuesday.

Recall that a crisis has broken out since the reinstatement of Muhammadu Sanusi II as the 16th Emir of Kano at the weekend, after Governor Abba Yusuf repealed the five emirates council.

Both Sanusi and Ado Bayero have refused to bow to pressure of different court orders asking them to vacate the palace.

This has created tension in the city as different organisations including the police, ulamas, eminent figures, lawyers, politicians have tried to wade in to resolve the matter but the two sides refused to budge.

Meanwhile, as the APC lawmakers in the State House paid a visit to Ado Bayero, Kantin Kwari Market Traders Association did the same to Sanusi on Tuesday.

The delegation of the traders led by the state’s Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Adamu Aliyu Kibiya, was at the emir’s palace, Kofar Kudu to register their allegiance and loyalty to the monarch.

Sanusi enjoined the traders to uphold the principles of honesty and fairness in all their business transactions, noting that Kano remains a leading commercial centre, attracting merchants from outside the country because of the contribution of traders.

The emir has been receiving visitors coming to pay homage since Sunday when 40 district heads and title holders pledged their allegiance.

Findings showed that vigilante groups and local hunters (Yan Tauri) are still keeping vigil at the palace.

Five DSS operatives were seen manning an entrance to one of the offices of the emir at Gidan Rumfa.

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Tinubu Under Fire Over National Anthem Bill, Says ‘Hungry People Don’t Sing

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

Some Nigerians have expressed outrage over the bill President Bola Tinubu signed into law on Wednesday morning.

The bill, which was simultaneously introduced in the Senate and the House of Representatives last week, received an accelerated consideration and passage.

The speed with which both chambers of the National Assembly considered and passed the bill at a time Nigerians are facing more pressing issues occasioned by rising inflation and security challenges, has been criticised.

While launching the National Anthem at the National Assembly, Tinubu commended the lawmakers.

““Please, let’s continue to collaborate and build our country. We have no other institutions or personality that will help us unless we do it ourselves. Let us work together to build our nation not only for us but generations yet unborn”, he said.

‘Nigeria, We Hail Thee’, composed by the Britons, was the national anthem of Nigeria used from Independence in 1960 until 1978, when it was replaced by a new anthem, ‘Arise, O Compatriots.’

But with the new law, ‘Arise, O Compatriots’, will give way for ‘Nigeria, we hail Thee’.

While a few persons have commended the president for signing it into law, others see it as a mispriority.

On X, a social media user, @Zarmaomar, wrote: “The long-awaited national anthem bill that will solve the issues of insecurity, hunger, corruption and create job opportunities has been officially signed by the President…”

@Mudiaga247 said: “How does signing this bill help the Drowning Economy

@KennyNuga: “Misplaced priority . we need laws mandating all vehicles to shift off the road when an Ambulance is approaching. we need laws that criminalize bullying in our institutions.”

@RealQueenBee_: “This will now be an achievement for the Tinubu administration, reverting back to the colonial anthem.”
@Ikepicano: “did he know what he signed?”

@PatoEner: “This government is never implementing policies that would alleviate the poverty in the economy. Or do they think hungry people sing the national anthem?”

@DoublePrince001: “Within 7 days it was sorted….. Let’s talk about minimum wage or what will benefit Nigerians… It will take months and years.”

@iam_damayor: “Congratulations Nigerians, we now have a new National Anthem. When you want to buy anything, just recite it and you get the 2015 price of that goods/service.”

@That_Ondo_Boy: “As for me, I’m in support of this Old National Anthem ooo. Tinubu you do this one oooo. Now, lets sign to bill the old exchange rate, old food price to as at the time of the old National Anthem.”

Analysts, CSOs fault bill

In an interview with Daily Trust, analysts and civil society organisations argued that the resolution of the National Assembly to revert to the old National Anthem was a misplacement of priority, and also a sign of disconnection with reality.

The Country Director of Action Aid Nigeria (AAN), Mr. Andrew Mamedu, in an interview with Daily Trust, said the bill to revert to the old National Anthem “is an absolute misplacement of priorities and an abuse of legislative privilege, especially given the numerous pressing issues facing the nation that remain unaddressed”.

He stated: “While the National Anthem is a symbol of our heritage, the urgent and concurrent approval of this bill stands in stark contrast to the lack of prioritisation and accelerated legislative action on critical national matters. Issues such as security, economic stability, education, healthcare and infrastructure development are in dire need of attention and resources.

“It is profoundly disappointing and frankly outrageous that the National Anthem is being prioritised over these vital concerns”, he stressed.

Similarly, Yiaga Africa’s Senior Communications Officer, Mr. Mark Amaza, told one of our correspondents that the actions of the federal lawmakers on the issue were “a misplacement of priorities”.

“There is absolutely nothing wrong with our current National Anthem that warrants a change. Not only that, this episode shows how disconnected our legislators are from the challenges of Nigeria that at this critical juncture, they chose to prioritise a needless return to our former National Anthem”, Amaza said.

The Executive Director, Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), Comrade Ibrahim Zikirullahi, also decried that Nigeria continued to exhibit a disturbing trend of misplaced priorities.

According to him, it is disheartening to see the nation trapped in a cycle of ineffective leadership.

“Our senators, elected to represent the masses, seem disconnected from the pressing needs of the people. Who among the citizens indicated that changing the National Anthem was a priority?

“Nigerians are hungry, angry, and deeply disappointed. Trust in the government is at an all-time low.

“Changing the National Anthem does not address the urgent issues we face: it doesn’t put food on our tables, create jobs, improve security, provide reliable electricity, clean water, good roads, or quality healthcare,” Zikirullahi said.

On his part, a former senator from Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Senator Shehu Sani, said the parliament should have consulted widely before tampering with the National Anthem.

He said that altering the National Anthem without wide consultations would be seen as an attempt to dissolve Nigeria.

Commenting on his X handle, the former lawmaker said: “Tempering with or changing the National Anthem or National Pledge of Nigeria should be done after wider public consultation and should be factored in the process of constitutional amendments.”

A seasoned journalist and former Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, also faulted the lawmakers’ decision to reintroduce the old National Anthem.
He said: “The excessive embrace of the past is part of the metaphysical nostalgia that refused to appreciate the political economic choices and wrong leadership recruitment processes that led us to the deep pit we have been dug into.

“Instead of searching for far more rational and scientifically relevant instruments of problem solving, our lawmakers think an empty gesture of nostalgia offers an easy route.

“There is also an unacceptable demographic tyranny that Opeyemi Bamidele and his colleagues are attempting to impose on Nigeria, with the plan to revert to the old National Anthem. It is an anthem that would resonate with the generation born before independence and maybe immediately after. Let us unpack the facts”, he said in an opinion article published in Daily Trust on Saturday.

Lawmakers’ move in order – NOA DG

The Director-General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Lanre Issa-Oninlu, said even though the bill was yet to become a law, the move was not a bad one.
“You see, there is so much in words that we speak and we hear. So, in communication, the impact of our statement resonates with us. There are some anthems that you listen to and then you see a call to it. They call you to action. They ask you to act and do certain things. And there are some that are just flags that are just like any other song.

“And anytime you sing them, you don’t feel any psychological attachment. No any feeling. It doesn’t call up any passion in you. It doesn’t really speak to your emotion, and doesn’t call up to your sentiment.

“And it’s important that you have an anthem that connects with your sentiment; that calls you to action so that when carrying out those actions, the impact of the anthem will now reflect in our lives”, he said in an interview on Trust TV’s Daily Politics.

Senate, Reps’ spokespersons silent

Efforts to get reactions of the spokespersons of the two chambers of the National Assembly were unsuccessful.

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