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President Muhammadu has challenged state governors to pay more attention to the areas of security, health, education and agriculture so as to address the menace of poverty in the society.

NAN reports that the President gave the challenge when he inaugurated the to 2023 National Economic Council (NEC) and its maiden meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Thursday.

NEC, which is established by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of (1999), as amended, is chaired by the Vice-President.

Membership of the Council includes governors of the 36 states; the of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); the Ministers of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Agriculture, FCT and the Minister of State, Petroleum.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning serves as Secretary to the Council.

President Buhari said: “I want you to pay special attention to the four major issues of security, education, health and agriculture in the coming years of this tenure.

“As you are no doubt aware, our successes in these four areas will go a long way in lifting our people out of poverty and secure our future for sustainable growth and development.’’

According to him, if these four areas (security, education, health and agriculture) are actively implemented and closely monitored by NEC and the Governors’ Forum, “we shall in the near future see a more peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.’’

The president enjoined the States to find ways to increase internally generated revenues, improve VAT collection and increase agricultural output without disrupting activities.

He also charged them to work with the Federal Agencies and the service providers in ensuring that broadband infrastructure is made available all over the country.

According to him, Information and Communication Technology is the future of work and “we must not allow ourselves to be left behind’’.

President Buhari observed that the Federal Government in the last four years had demonstrated unwavering inclusiveness in dealing with every State, notwithstanding the political leaning of the Governor or the predominant party in power at the State level.

“I want this to be your model at the State level. No matter which party we belong to, let us shun divisive policies and join hands together for the upliftment of our people,’’ he said.

He restated the high expectations on NEC as a veritable source of articulating policies and programmes that are expected to drive growth and development, secure the environment and take the country to the next level.

He also noted that the challenges confronting the nation in the next few years, especially in the areas of security, human capital development and employment for the youths are monumental and historic.

“But we are more than equal to the task,’’ he added.

On Security, the president assured that the government would continue to rate security of lives and properties as top priority on its agenda.

He said government was firmly committed to securing the territorial integrity of the nation, while confronting the remnants of terrorists, bandits and other criminals across the country.

He further maintained that there must be collective and deliberate efforts by all to improve the security of lives and properties across the country, saying that “security is a bottom to top operation.

“Everybody must be involved for total success.’’

On education, President Buhari stressed the need to take very seriously and enforce very rigorously the statutory provisions on free and compulsory basic education.

“Section 18(3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended places on all of us here an obligation to eradicate illiteracy and provide free and compulsory education.

“Section 2 of the Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education Act provides that every Government in Nigeria shall provide free, compulsory and universal basic education for every child of primary and junior secondary age.

“It is indeed a crime for any parent to keep his child out of school for this period.

“In my view, when a government fails to provide the schools, teachers and teaching materials necessary for basic education, it is actually aiding and abetting that crime.

“This is therefore a call to action. I would like to see every Governor rise from this meeting and rally his local Government Chairmen towards ensuring that our schools offer the right opportunities and provide the needed materials and teachers for basic education, at the minimum.

“If we are able to do this, the benefits will surely manifest themselves.

“Ensuring proper education during the first nine years of schooling means that our children start off their lives with some discipline and education. They will be safeguarded from roaming the streets, and protected from all the evil influences that assail idle hands and idle minds,’’ he said.

President Buhari, therefore, urged the governors to make a firm commitment to be personally involved in ensuring that every child of school age actually goes to school throughout the crucial nine years of basic education.

He opined that, on its own part, the federal government would strive to extend the school feeding programme which will not only encourage school enrolment but also enhance the health and learning capabilities of pupils.

He said the government would also assist states as much as possible to access the counterpart funding provided by UBEC for the development of basic education.

The president, who also spoke extensively on the nation’s healthcare system, identified lack of adequate funding as major obstacle to the realization of the nation’s goals in the health sector.

He said: “As I already indicated, public healthcare is also a major sector of concern where States and Local Governments have crucial roles to play.

“Health is an area where the neglect of one person quickly amounts to the neglect of many.

“It is in our collective interest that each and every citizen gets at least a minimal access to healthcare, including primary, preventive and emergency care.

“Funding is again a major problem in this regard, so we must take more seriously the idea of universal health insurance and strive to make it work in our respective domains.

“We must also find ways of assisting the poorest and most vulnerable in our society, who cannot even afford to pay the premium.’’

President Buhari said the governors must resolve to increase budgetary allocation to health and ensure prompt fund releases to keep the hospitals and primary healthcare centres in operation at all times.

According to him, the Federal Government is now implementing the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund.

“By this, we hope to achieve at least 65 percent increase in the share of the population covered by primary healthcare by 2023, up from the 12.6 percent we cover at the moment.

“Accordingly, it is imperative for us to do more on diversifying the economy, and this necessarily entails the sustenance and even acceleration of the agricultural revolution, which is already firmly rooted in some States.

“Of our nearly one million hectares of land, about 77% is confirmed suitable for agriculture.

“The potentials are therefore huge, both for the domestic and international markets. Mechanisation and agro-allied industry are very big areas still largely untapped and awaiting investment, both by government and the private sector,’’ he added.

He, therefore, urged the governors to take agriculture most seriously as a very viable developmental enterprise.

While the federal government has primary responsibility for security and will not shy away from it, the president said the governors also have a critical role to play in ensuring security of lives and property across the country.

“You can definitely make a difference, not just by assisting the security agencies in your respective States, but also by keenly pursuing policies and programmes that forestall communal, tribal, religious and societal conflicts; policies and programs that promote education, information, dispute resolution, vocational training and youth employment,’’ he said.

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had earlier highlighted the role of NEC, describing it as “an important body that advises and sometimes implements economic and social policies that affects the livelihood of Nigerians’’.

Osinbajo said Thursday’s meeting would be focusing on the crucial issue of national security and the meeting’s recommendations would be forwarded to the president for his possible consideration.

He announced that the meeting had 12 new members, which included the Governors of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Imo, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun, Oyo, Yobe and Zamfara States.

NEC, which is established by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999), as amended, is chaired by the Vice-President.

Membership of the Council includes governors of the 36 states; the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria; the Ministers of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Agriculture, FCT and the Minister of State, Petroleum.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning serves as Secretary to the Council.

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Abass Sulaiman Adegoke, well known as Adegoke is a student of Federal Polytechnic Ede studying Civil Engineering, He is a media enthusiast, loves traveling, and has a special interest in personal development.

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Lagos: Why okada, keke ban will not be reversed – Dep gov, Hamzat

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Lagos: Why okada, keke ban will not be reversed – Dep gov, Hamzat 20200215 043819

The State Government has stated that the ban on commercial motorcycles (okada) and tricycles (keke) in metropolis will not be reversed.

Deputy Gov. Obafemi Hamzat, in a statement on Friday, said this was because the government was determined to reduce accidents and vices associated.

Hamzat noted that the ban would promote security of lives and that the decision was taken after evaluating the rate of crime and accidents recorded.

He said: “It is not to punish anybody or restrict people from doing certain jobs; the reality is that people are dying, security of our children is being compromised, and the government must act.

“What this administration is doing is just to enforce the law that the House of Assembly passed which must have been vigorously scrutinised.

“The ban is in accordance with the Lagos State Transport Reform Law of 2012. The law that has been in existence since 2012.

“The law says that commercial motorcycles and tricycles are restrained from plying major highways, certain roads and all bridges,” he said.

“The law was revisited due to the scary figures of fatal accidents in the state as against the claims that the ban was targeted at anyone or group.

“We have 27 general hospitals in Lagos and close to 3,000 private hospitals.

“Using the statistics from the general hospitals alone, an average of 28 deaths related to okada are recorded monthly. It is therefore important for us as a government to act.”

Hamzat noted that said motorcycles and tricycles were being used by some unpatriotic citizens as tools for crime such as theft and drug trafficking.

He said that the modes of transportation were becoming avenues to commit crimes and the government would not wait until major disasters would happen before acting.

“We get calls through our emergency control centres as early as 6:00a.m. from people going to who are being robbed and harassed through motorcycles,” the deputy added.

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Presidency suspends NBC DG, Kawu

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Presidency suspends NBC DG, Kawu NBC DG Ishaq Modibbo Kawu

Presidency suspends NBC DG, Kawu NBC DG Ishaq Modibbo Kawu 300x179

The Presidency has suspended the Director – General of the National Broadcasting Commission, Mallam Ishaq Modibbo Kawu , sources told
Sources in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation said Modibbo reportedly got the suspension letter within the week but had been battling to have it reversed .
“ I have confirmed from the relevant department , it is true that the DG of NBC, Mallam Ishaq Modibbo Kawu , was ordered to be suspended by the ( Maj . Gen . Muhammadu ( retd . ) following series of petitions and allegations against him ,” a source in the SGF office stated .
Yet , another source said he was asked to “step aside” following investigation of the petitions against him.
The suspension came many months after an ongoing prosecution of Kawu by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other -Related Offences Commission for alleged corruption .
Consequently , the Director ( Broadcast Monitoring ) , Armstrong Idachaba, was said to have been directed to act pending the outcome of the case .
When  visited the NBC on Friday , the issue was being discussed in hushed tones among staff members .
But when contacted, the spokesperson for NBC, Ekanem Antia , told our correspondent that he would not speak on the issue as according to him , he did not have details of the allegation .
“I am not aware ( of it) , as we speak now . I don ’t have any document on my table to confirm ( it) . But we will issue a statement if at all it is true. The office is still working ; we are all in the office . Everybody is in their department ,” he said .
Several calls later put across to him didn ’t go through as his telephone line indicated that it was switched off.
Last year, a civil rights organisation under the aegis of Coalition Against Corruption and Bad Governance, said it had made a fresh discovery of 16 illegal slots of radio licences approved by the NBC DG.
The organisation had alleged that while six slots were for his private company, Word, Sound and Vision Multimedia Limited , another 10 were approved for companies which did not apply or were not on the list approved by Buhari .
The chairman of CACOBAG , Alhaji Toyin Raheem , who raised the issue in a statement issued in Abuja , claimed that a former SGF was one of the 10 beneficiaries of the radio licences recently doled out by NBC .
The CSO asked the Presidency to direct anti -corruption agencies , including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and ICPC to investigate its findings .
But Antia had said the allegations were not new as the same group had petitioned ICPC .
The ICPC had urged the Federal Government to suspend Kawu and 32 other public officers / civil servants undergoing corruption trial at the time .
The commission had arraigned Kawu and two others , Dipo Onifade and Lucky Omoluwa , on alleged N 2. 5bn fraud.
They are being prosecuted on 12 counts for allegedly conspiring with one another to use the position of Kawu to confer a corrupt advantage on Omoluwa , his friend and associate , for which they pleaded not guilty and were granted bail .
The anti – graft agency also charged Kawu for allegedly deceiving Mohammed to sign the deal.
The embattled NBC boss allegedly asked Mohammed to approve payment of N2 .5 bn to Pinnacle Communications Limited owned by Omoluwa as “Seed Grant ” under the Digital Switch- Over Programme of the Federal Government .
The suspended DG has

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