ENUGU POLYTECHNIC, IWOLLO, HOLDS EDUCATION SUMMIT SATURDAY All is now set for the maiden edition of the Enugu State Polytechnic, Iwollo, education summit scheduled to hold on Saturday, June 29, 2024. Among the dignitaries expected at the event is the Governor of Enugu State, Chief Peter Mbah, Senator Representing Enugu West Senatorial Zone, Osita Ngwu, captains of industry, education experts among others. Addressing a press conference in Enugu on Monday, the Rector of the institution, Nnamdi Nwankwo, said that participants at the event would help proffer solutions to the institution’s needs with the aim of repositioning it for academic excellence. He said, “This is the first of its kind. A summit which affects the entire state. We want to bring to the attention of the owners a list of needs. Since this institution belongs to the state government, the school belongs to the people of this state. So this summit is for the people. “We want the school to rise to the beacon of excellence in skills acquisition so it can produce middle class skilled workers. We want to get to the highest level of producing these sets of workers. “We want to bring to the people the importance of education as is promoted by the administration of the government of Enugu State under Peter Mbah. It is not just any summit, it is a summit in line with the education policy of the state government. The Rector also highlighted some needs of the school to include, increase in manpower, more laboratories, more classroom blocks, increased funding among others. On his part, Senator Osita Ngwu who was represented by his media aide, Dr. Luke Mgbo, pledged to continually support any effort made towards the growth and development of the institution. “It is a fact that the Senate Minority Whip is in love with anything that will promote education in the state.Ngwu is collaborating with Enugu State Polytechnic to ensure that students are empowered academically in a wonderful environment to make them better and beneficial to the Nigerian society,” he said.


IT’LL TAKE DECADES FOR THE NORTH TO GET OUT OF BANDITRY – SULTAN The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Saad Abubakar III, says it will take decades for the bandit-ravaged North-West geopolitical zone to come out of the menacing security challenge. The President General of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) stated this at the North-West Peace and Security Summit in Katsina State on Monday. “What we must do is to challenge these bandits because we all know the consequences of banditry and insurgency on our lives. But it will take decades to get out of it if all we get out of it. We all know the consequences and the problems,” he said. The Sultan expressed the readiness of traditional rulers to partner with security agencies and the seven governors of the geopolitical zone to “save our region from the numerous problems” of banditry and insurgency. He believed that at the end of the summit, proposals to bring insurgency to the barest minimum for people to go about their lives and businesses would be arrived at. The summit was graced by Vice President Kashim Shettima, who represented President Bola Tinubu; ex-President Muhammadu Buhari, governors of the seven states in the North-West geopolitical zone, service chiefs, the Inspector General of Police. Banditry became a phenomenon in Kaduna, Kastina, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Kano, and Jigawa in the last one decade as a spillover of the intractable Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East zone. Thousands of people, mostly vulnerable persons, have been killed and displaced by the bloodthirsty marauders who mostly disguise as herders. A very large number of people have also been kidnapped for ransom as the AK-47-wielding bandits multiply across the North-West zone and penetrate the North Central zone.Non-kinetic approaches explored by governments at different levels have failed over the years as bandits continue to sack farmers from their farmlands, significantly affecting the food production of the country.


REVOLUTION THAT WILL CONSUME TINUBU GOVT OVER HARDSHIP WILL START FROM NORTH – DELE FAROTIMI Human rights lawyer, Dele Farotimi has said that the current Nigerian system is not sustainable and that the revolution and problem that will destroy President Bola Tinubu’s government will come from the Northern region of the country. In an interview making the rounds on social media, Farotimi said that revolution against the suffering created by President Tinubu’s government will not start in Eastern Nigeria. According to him, an average Igbo person has learnt not to depend on the government so it is easier for them to survive on their own. He said, “Long ago, I predicted that the Nigerian revolution would start in Northern Nigeria. The only reason I said so at the time is because the North had always been the reason we could not find a common purpose to fight the evil. “But now that the person in power in the presidency is not a northerner, and he is at best, a nominal Muslim, and the suffering has now been fully democratised, the Northern streets, not Northern elites, has no interest in forbearing and continuing to suffer. “Why is it that all of a sudden, everything they tolerated in all the years of Muhammadu Buhari is no longer tolerable?” “I don’t know how long it is going to take but if this mess continues, the problem that will consume this government will start in Northern Nigeria. It is not going to start in the East. It might seem like nothing is going to happen but something will definitely happen. This system is not sustainable,” he said. Justifying his point in detail, the activist said, “You will rarely find an Igbo man applying to civil service or looking for a salary job. The average ones, even the ones that went to the university, still attach themselves with somebody in the market and learn a trade. “They learnt to do without the government. They learnt to discount the government completely. Which means that the Igbo man is better equipped than any other Nigerian to cope with our current circumstances where the government has completely become useless. “The Igbo man was already prepared for the uselessness of the government. Now that he is prepared for it and everyone wants to stigmatise him, I can’t blame the Igbo man for turning around and saying, ‘it is none of my business, enjoy your government.’” He added, “He didn’t enjoy anything from the beginning. I’m talking about average Igbo man, not about the Orji Uzor Kalus or the Okorochas of this world who have always fed on the grievances of the Igbo people and have made money by appeasement of the government and presume to speak on behalf of the Igbos. “Average Igbo man on the street grew up believing that he has no portion in Nigeria, which was what fed the Biafran spirit and demand for Biafra even 50 years after the civil war.“The average Igbo man in Igbo land, in Alaba International Market, in Ladipo, have always lived with the mentality of being victims of the system.”


TINUBUNOMICS BITE HARDER AS PRICES OF BEANS, TOMATO GARRI RISE BY OVER 30% – NBS The prices of major staple food items such as tomato, beans, garri, and potatoes rose by over 30% in May, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) food price watch for the month. The continuous rise in prices of goods and services appears unrelenting as the effect of the economic crunch makes life harder for millions of Nigerians who spend a large part of their income on food. The economy has been reeling from the effects of subsidy removal, exchange rate unification, and higher interest rates amidst a growing fiscal deficit. According to the report, the average price of 1kg of brown beans (sold loose) increased by 219.05% year-on-year, rising from N629.75 in May 2023 to N2,009.23 in May 2024. On a month-on-month basis, the price increased by 44.77%, up from N1,387.90 in April 2024. Similarly, the average price of 1kg of tomatoes rose by 196.92% year-on-year, from N498.34 in May 2023 to N1,479.69 in May 2024. Month-on-month, the price increased by 31.71%, up from N1,123.41 in April 2024. Furthermore, the average price of 1kg of white garri (sold loose) increased by 200.12% year-on-year, rising from N371.42 in May 2023 to N1,114.72 in May 2024, with a month-on-month increase of 30.87%. Additionally, the average price of 1kg of yam tuber increased by 189.20% year-on-year, from N457.25 in May 2023 to N1,322.36 in May 2024. On a month-on-month basis, the price increased by 16.98%, up from N1,130.37 in April 2024. The average price of 1kg of locally sold loose rice stood at N1,608.89. This represents an 189.79% increase year-on-year from N555.18 in May 2023 and a 14.98% rise month-on-month from N1,399.34 in April 2024. State by State analysisThe state profile analysis for May 2024 reveals that the highest average price of 1kg of locally sold loose rice was recorded in Kogi State at N2,528.84, while the lowest was in Benue State at N1,013.59. The highest average price of 1kg of brown beans (sold loose) was in Plateau at N2,855, with the lowest in Kebbi State at N1,171.21. For tomatoes, Rivers State had the highest average price at N2,100.12, while Katsina had the lowest at N775.02. Gombe reported the highest average price for 1kg of white garri (sold loose) at N1,613.29, while the lowest was in Kwara at N825.70. Additionally, a zonal analysis showed that the Northeast had the highest average price for 1kg of locally sold loose rice at N1,821.77, followed by the Southwest at N1,698.53, with the Southeast recording the lowest at N1,328.44. The highest average price for 1kg of brown beans (sold loose) was in the North-Central and South-South at N2,574.52 and N2,293.03, respectively, while the lowest was in the Northwest at N1,379.97. The South-South recorded the highest average price for 1kg of tomatoes at N2,053.59, followed by the Southeast at N1,643.76, with the lowest in the Northeast at N1,050.84. The Southwest and Northeast had the highest average prices for 1kg of white garri (sold loose) at N1,294.51 and N1,138.62, respectively, while the lowest was in the North-Central at N1,021.20. The double-digit monthly increase in staple food prices denotes a renewed increase in food prices after the tepid rise seen in March and April. The spike also defies earlier projections that curve of food inflation will begin to flatten by the end of the first half of the year.An earlier report by Nairametrics on food prices during the just concluded Muslim Eid celebration saw food prices at a 30year high making the period the most expensive for Muslims in almost three decades.


MURIC RAISES ALARM OVER ALLEGED PLAN TO DEPOSED SULTAN OF SOKOTO The Muslim Rights Concern group (MURIC), has raised alarm over an alleged plan by Sokoto State Governor, Ahmed Aliyu, to depose the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III. The Executive Director of MURIC, Prof. Isiaq Akintola, made the announcement in a statement on Monday. The development comes amidst controversy and tension over the deposition of monarchs in Kano State. Governor Aliyu had previously deposed 15 traditional rulers for various offences. Akintola warned that Nigerian Muslims reject any thought of deposing the Sultan, who he said is not only a traditional leader but also a religious figure with jurisdiction across Nigeria. He urged the governor to reconsider, stating that tampering with the Sultan’s stool would have far-reaching consequences. MURIC called on the Sokoto State House of Assembly to repeal or review the state’s chieftaincy laws, adding immunity for the office of the Sultan. He said, “A military governor, Col. Yakubu Muazu, exposed this soft underbelly when he deposed Sultan Ibrahim Dasuki on 20th April 1996. Nigerian Muslims will be forced to make a hard decision if Sokoto governors continue to diminish the authority of the Sultan. “For the avoidance of any doubts, Sultan Muhammad Sa’d Abubakar is not only the Sultan of Sokoto but the Sultan of the Nigerian people. His performance and style of leadership have warmed him into the hearts of Nigerians. “Nigerian Muslims North and South of the country may be constrained to pick Islamic scholars only as President General of the NSCIA and overall leader of Nigerian Muslims. “It will be farewell to the leadership of traditional rulers over the NSCIA and an irreversible departure from Sokoto’s priviledged leadership position. But history will not be kind to Col. Yakubu Muazu and Ahmed Aliyu for ruining the chances of Sokoto. “Once is happenstance, twice is a coincidence, the third time is enemy action. If the deposition of a Sultan and NSCIA leader happens a second time, Nigerian Muslims will not allow the embarrassment to happen a third time. “MURIC reiterates its call on the Sokoto State House of Assembly to either repeal or review the state’s chieftaincy laws by adding the phrase ‘except the Sultan of Sokoto’ to Section 6, Cap 26 of the Laws of Northern Nigeria which empowers the state governor to depose the emirs including the Sultan.“We urge Northern elites and Islamic scholars based in the North to intervene before it is too late. This is the time to lobby the Sokoto State House of Assembly and the governor himself. If the chieftaincy laws of Kano State can be repealed within 24 hours, nothing stops that of Sokoto State from being reviewed in favour of immunity for the office of the Sultan in a single day to save Nigerian Muslims from humongous embarrassment.”


SAUDI AUTHORITIES BLAME HEAT, UNAUTHORISED TRIPS AS HAJJ DEATHS REACH 1,300 Saudi Arabia’s official death toll from this year’s Hajj exercise has reached 1,301, with extreme heat and unauthorised trips cited as major contributing factors. The Saudi government released a statement acknowledging “numerous cases” of heat stress and highlighting that 83% of the deceased were “unauthorized to perform Hajj.” The affected pilgrims, the statement claimed, “walked long distances under direct sunlight, without adequate shelter or comfort.” Two Kwara Pilgrims Die In Saudi Arabia, Board Mourns The scorching temperatures in Mecca, with highs exceeding 125 degrees Fahrenheit, have been a major concern throughout the pilgrimage. Witnesses reported pilgrims collapsing from heat exhaustion and bodies covered in white cloth lining walkways. Adding to the dangers, Saudi Arabia pointed to a surge in unauthorised pilgrimages. Hajj permits are allocated by country quota and require a license for legal entry to Mecca. These licences, however, can cost several thousand dollars, leading some pilgrims to seek alternative, often dangerous routes. Egyptian authorities recently revoked licences of 16 tourism companies accuced of facilitating illegal trips. Reports suggest hundreds of Egyptians may be among the deceased, far exceeding the official toll of 31. The companies, according to the Egyptian government, failed to provide proper visas, forcing pilgrims onto treacherous desert paths and leaving them exposed to the brutal heat.Beyond the immediate tragedy, the disaster has sparked renewed calls for improved infrastructure and better organisation of the annual Hajj. Critics point out that even with official permits, pilgrims still spend a significant amount of time outdoors under the scorching sun.


RIVERS PROTEST TURNS UGLY AS DOKUBO’S MEN ATTEMPT TO ATTACK DEMONSTRATORS The peaceful protest in Rivers State has taken a dangerous turn as a group of men believed to be operatives of Asari Dokubo’s private military company, commonly known as Amama Soldiers, attempted to attack the demonstrators. However, their efforts were thwarted by the quick intervention of the police. The crisis in Rivers State has continued to Monday (today) as former council chairmen of 21 out of 23 local governments have taken to the streets, rejecting the takeover of their offices. The protests, which began early in the morning, have seen the former chairmen and their supporters waving placards with inscriptions such as “Police, continue occupying the councils” and “Sim Fubara can’t continue to act as he likes.”The crisis in Rivers State deepened last week when the Police Command prevented some chairmen from accessing their secretariats, following a directive to take control of all 23 local government council secretariats.


NLC REJECTS DECENTRALIZATION OF MINIMUM WAGE NEGOTIATIONS Secretary of NLC in Oyo State, Adebayo Aribatise, has said that decentralising minimum wage negotiations would put workers in some states at a disadvantage. Aribatise in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Ibadan said that some politicians had, recently, called for decentralised minimum wage negotiations. One of them, Dr Kayode Fayemi, had stressed the need for allowing states to conduct wage negotiations with their labour unions, separate from that of the Federal Government. Fayemi, a former Governor of Ekiti, said that the position of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, of which he was once the chairman, was that states should be allowed to have negotiations with their labour unions, as ‘fingers are not equal’. Explaining the broader implications of a centralised minimum wage, the former governor noted that only a small percentage of the population benefits directly from minimum wage negotiations. However, Aribatise frowned at decentralising minimum wage negotiations, saying that it was not ideal for the country. He noted that some states in the country had not yet fully implemented the old ₦30,000 minimum wage despite the efforts put in place by NLC at the national and state levels. Besides, the labour leader said that some governors would abuse the privilege if they were allowed to negotiate minimum wage with their states’ workforce. “The fact remains that the law binds states to pay national minimum wage. It is expected that the federal government will continue to set the minimum wage. If not, some governors will continue to do as they like.“Some governors will bastardise the agreement if we allow it and junior workers will continue to earn nothing worthwhile,” he said.


CHINA TO INCREASE AGRIC IMPORT FROM NIGERIA The Chinese government has promised to increase agricultural product imports from Nigeria going forward. This was disclosed in a joint statement between Wang Yi, China’s foreign affairs Minister and his Nigerian counterpart, Yusuf Tuggar, at the first plenary meeting of the China-Nigeria Intergovernmental Committee held in Beijing. This is after Nigeria exported N572.58 billion worth of agricultural products to the Asian market including China, according to data from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The two sides seized the moment to review the positive achievements in the development of China-Nigeria relations over the past 50 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations. Strengthening Cooperation According to the joint statement published on China’s foreign affairs website on Saturday, the two countries agreed to strengthen cooperation in infrastructure, electricity, telecommunications, finance, agriculture, industry, mining, free trade zones and other fields. The Chinese side assured of improving agriculture imports from Nigeria among other things. “China is willing to further increase imports of high-quality agricultural products from Nigeria. Nigeria is willing to strengthen its partnership with China in mining and solid mineral development and is willing to cooperate with Chinese companies to build factories locally to meet local consumption and export needs. “The two sides are willing to create an open, transparent, fair and non-discriminatory business environment for cooperation between enterprises of the two countries, support the multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core, oppose trade protectionism, and promote the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment.” the joint statement partly reads. Furthermore, China said supported Nigeria in improving its capacity building in military security technology, equipment and intelligence to more effectively respond to traditional and non-traditional security challenges at home and abroad, in the region and internationally, and in maintaining national peace and stability. What the Nigerian government is saying In his X page on Saturday, Tuggar confirmed the deliberations in the meeting with the Chinese government. He stated that their discussions reviewed over 50 years of robust Nigeria-China relations, emphasizing mutual support in international fora like the UN, and exploring new avenues of cooperation in infrastructure, agriculture, and digital economies. “Both sides agreed to enhance partnership across various sectors and create a business-friendly environment. They also reaffirmed commitments to good governance, regional stability, and economic development, including a currency swap agreement to facilitate trade,” Tuggar tweeted. What you should know China is well grounded in commercial relations with Nigeria over the years. In the first quarter of 2024, China ranked highest among the top trading partners on the import side, followed by India, the United States of America, Belgium, and The Netherlands. Analysis by trading partners reveals that imports originated mainly from China and were valued at N2,930.10 billion, representing 23.18% of total imports “The data showed that most of the agricultural products were exported to Asia, valued at N572.58 billion, this was followed by exports to Europe with N366.11 billion,” the NBS for Q1, 2024 showed. The NBS added that further analysis showed that ‘Sesamum seeds’ worth N83.29 billion and N58.04 billion were exported to China and Japan in the period under review.


LP INSISTS ON PETER OBI AS 2027 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE Labour Party (LP) Directorate on Mobilisation and Integration has denied any plan to dump Peter Obi as the party’s candidate ahead of the 2027 presidential election. The directorate was reacting to a report, which hinted that they had reconciled with the Lamidi Apapa-led faction of the party and agreed to field another candidate in 2027. According to the report, camps of the incumbent National Chairman, Julius Abure, and Apapa faction laying claim to the mantle of leadership have agreed to sheathe their swords and work together. Spokesman of the Apapa faction, Abayomi Arabambi, also hinted that there was nothing like Obi-Datti presidential campaign at the party anymore, saying it had been dissolved and everybody “reverted to former governorship and presidential candidate”. But in a statement signed by the Director General of the Directorate, Marcel Ngogbehei; Deputy Director of Media and Communications, Aju Elumelu and the Deputy Director, Strategic Engagement, Rufai Al-Saddiq, yesterday, the directorate acknowledged efforts to reconcile aggrieved groups in the party, but no agreement ahead of the 2027 election with the groups. LP, through a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh, announced the creation of a directorate to see to the affairs of the Obidient Movement and encourage their participation in the party and the governance in Nigeria. The statement reads, “The leadership and members of our great party recognises the importance of this great admonition based on our African culture of ensuring peaceful coexistent among brothers and acknowledging a bigger target – liberating Nigeria from the shackles of greedy politicians and building a nation that protects the interest of its citizens. “The party has decided to follow a peaceful approach to resolving the internal misunderstanding. This effort within LP and its successes has elicited different reactions. Also, we have seen an attempt by the opposition to make a false spin for their selfish interest, misinforming the general public to cause more crises in our party.” It added that the party leadership recognised the need for unity and cohesion within the party as a requirement for internal party stability and for improving Obi’s winning chances in 2027.“But to set the records straight, Peter Obi remains our presidential candidate for 2027 as ratified and all the party leadership is behind him and committed to his message of a new Nigeria.”