1. Private school parents protest N25,000 COVID-19 test fee in Ogun
Parents of SS 3 students in private schools in Ogun State on Sunday protested vehemently over compulsory N25,000 the state government ordered them to pay to test their wards for COVID-19 before they will be allowed to resume.
The Ogun State Government had asked all SS 3 students in boarding schools in the state to undergo compulsory COVID-19 and malaria tests before resumption.
Many of the parents, who took their demonstrations to the streets, faulted the decision of the government to ask them to pay N25,000 on each pupil before they would be allowed to resume.
The dissatisfied parents on Sunday thronged the MTR 250 bed specialist hospital, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, the designated place for the pupils in Abeokuta.
It was gathered that attempts by the parents to get their children tested for free failed as they were asked to pay N25,000 for each child.
The Punch observed that many parents were locked out of the facility.
Some of the parents, who spoke lamented that the payment of N25,000 for COVID-19 test showed the government cared less about its citizens, complaining that the economic reality in the country had made it difficult to pay such an amount of money.
Speaking on behalf of the parents, the Vice-Chairman, Parents Teachers Association of one of the private schools, Dr. Kehinde Sanwo, queried the action of the government.
2. Buhari’s govt piling up ‘debt that leads to death’
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar on Sunday knocked the current administration over the country’s rising debt profile since 2015.
Atiku, who was the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate in the 2019 general election, had expressed similar concern over the country’s increasing debt profile at a public gathering in June.
In a statement issued on Sunday by his media office, the former vice president said though loans were not necessarily bad in themselves, taking them for unproductive purposes remained a disservice to any nation.
The statement read: “Two months ago, the former Vice President of Nigeria and PDP presidential candidate in the 2019 election, Atiku Abubakar patriotically called the attention of the country to the reality of reckless borrowing by the present APC administration and how the terms of those loans could compromise the future of the country.
“Expectedly, some managers of the party and even the government denied the allegations that he raised and also discount the warning for caution.
“But, regrettably, just last week, a cabinet minister confirmed our fears. Now, we all are aware that Nigeria’s sovereignty may have been traded for foreign loans and God forbids our inability to service those loans, the lender country would take ownership of choice infrastructure on the Nigerian soil. No negotiation could be weaker than that!
3. Humanitarian affairs ministry, cesspool of corruption, HURIWA alleges
Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has described the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management as a cesspool of corruption, lacking in transparency and accountability.
Alleging that the ministry was a cash guzzling machine and financial disaster, the pro-democracy non-governmental organisation insisted that the minister in charge must be made to explain how she blew billions of naira ‘feeding pupils’ during the three months lockdown, when the children were at their homes in different parts of the country.
In a statement by the National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Director, Zainab Yusuf, yesterday in Abuja, the group said the minister, Sadiya Farouq, should be asked by Nigerians to provide clarification on the claim that her ministry delivered palliatives to each and every Nigerian.
This despicable and opaque feeding programme happened despite a groundswell of well-informed opposition to the disastrous idea, only because the executioners had allegedly choreographed the primitive ways of siphoning public fund in the guise of feeding ghost school children.
“The minister should prove us wrong, if she can, with facts and figures for all to see and judge,” it said.
The group argued that the minister might face litigation if she refused to clarify the deeply annoying bogus claim attributed to her.
HURIWA said, “It is totally absurd and completely unprovable that Nigeria spends N679 million daily to feed school children. This political and morally-tainted bogus claim is one of the most insensitive lies to have been told by any politician because this is clearly false, since experts have told us with abundant scientifically empirical evidence that 50 per cent under-five children are malnourished in all parts of Nigeria, especially in majority of the North East of Nigeria.”
It, however, challenged the minister to a public debate on Wednesday, August 5, to tell Nigerians the amount she spent feeding school children during the lockdown.
SIMILARLY, Concerned Nigerians has condemned the Federal Government’s plan to construct a 27.3km perimeter fence round University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) at a whopping N64 billion.
4. Poly students protest, demand reopening of higher institutions within 14 days
The National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS) has vowed to paralyse the economic activities in the country if governments refuse to reopen higher institutions within 14 days.
The NAPS, which demanded the reopening of all tertiary institutions in the interest of the students, gave the warning during a peaceful protest in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
The association, led by its National President, Olalere Adetunji, pointed out that now that markets, worship centres and other places earlier locked down following the outbreak of COVID-19 have been reopened, tertiary institutions should not be abandoned.
The protesters with placards of various inscriptions such as “COVID-19 is not a death sentence,” “Adamu, we want a specific date for our resumption,” “Open our campuses now” and a host of others, urged the Federal Government to give a specific date for reopening of the institutions with no further delay.
The students, who condemned the attitude of the Federal Ministry of Education to the plight of Nigerian students, said: “We cannot continue to keep mute in the face of bad policy, most especially that has to do with the education sector.
“All we need from the Federal Government is to stop partaking in the global politics, and come out with a specific date for schools’ reopening. “Federal Ministry of Education should wake up to the task on provision of preventive measures across the tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
“If the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) members are not ready to go back to classes, their salaries should be stopped henceforth.”
5. Declare Anambra oil-producing state, HOSTCOM tells FG
Minister pledges to partner state govt on virtual learning
Anambra State chapter of the Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil & Gas (HOSTCOM) has charged the Federal Government to declare the state an oil producing state to attract more development and revenue.
Its Chairman, Chief Victor Emeka, made the call in Awka at the inauguration of the state executive by the National Chairman of HOSTCOM, Chief Benjamin Style Tamaranebi, pledging to partner the state and Federal Government to ensure that industrial harmony prevailed in the host communities.
He argued that with the production of 10,000 barrels of crude oil per day in the state, Anambra qualified to be classified as an oil producing state and benefit from the 13 per cent derivation.
Tamaranebi, expressed concern over the delay in confirming Anambra an oil producing state despite the production of 10,000 barrels of oil per day since 2012.
He said former President Goodluck Jonathan during his visit to the state in 2012 declared that Anambra had a proven production of 10,000 b/d from AN 1,4 & 5 in OPL 915 operated by Sterling Global and OPL 916 operated by Orient Petroleum at ALO 1 location.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuha, has pledged Federal Government’s readiness to partner with Anambra State in its efforts towards effective teaching and learning in the post COVID-19 era.
Nwajiuba, who stated this in his message to a virtual conference organised by the state Ministry of Basic Education and Integrated Development Konsult (IDK) Learning Centre in Awka, said the conference was unique, timely and necessary.
6. Abia Governor Ikpeazu sacks Transport Commissioner, others
No explanation was given for the removal and suspension of the appointees
The governor of Abia, Dr. OKG Ikpiju, fired his transport commissioner Ekele Nohammu and Matthew Ebay, chairman of the Umunochi Local Government Council Transformation Committee.
Abba South Local Government Area Transition Committee Chairman Cherichi Nwogu and his Aba North counter chief Victor Ubani were also suspended.
The article was communicated to newsmen on Sunday through a news release signed by Chief of Staff Governor Dr Anthony Agbazure.
Agbajure also announced the suspension of Bright Ikeoku, general manager of Abia State (Timas)'s traffic and undisciplined management agency.
However, no explanation was given for the removal and suspension of these appointments.
The governor further approved the TC chairman positions of Aba North and Aba South LGAs, directing local councils deputy chairmen to work with their service heads.
He also directed the Deputy Chairmen of Ikea to set up a task force immediately to check environmental discipline and other vices in their councils.
Timothy was asked to set up a task force to further investigate these redundancies.
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