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Education reform: Catholic Church to engage artisans, skilled workers in primary schools

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Amid concerns over dwindling quality of products being churned out by educational institutions in Nigeria, the Catholic Primary Education Commission of Enugu Diocese is poised to employ artisan skilled workers to teach primary school pupils basic skills and technical education.
Secretary of the commission, Very Rev. Fr. Michael Okoh made the disclosure, on Sunday, when the St. Joseph School of basic Skills and Development Ugwogo-Nike, was commissioned by the Auxiliary Bishop of Enugu Catholic Diocese, Most Rev. Ernest Obodo.
Performing the official commissioning and blessing of the school, Most Rev. Ernest Obodo said that the skills development school will uplift education standard, noting that in other climes, children begin from the cradle to combine learning with practical handcraft.
Obodo said that skills education creates faster employment and generates wealth and prayed to God to use the school to bring glory and upliftment to the people of Ugwogo-Nike community.
“We congratulate Rev. Fr. Michael Okoh for the beautiful school, one of the best in Nigeria, it will now uplift education standard in Ugwogo. In other climes children begin from cradle to learn how to practice handcraft. That will generate employment and wealth creation,” Bishop Obodo said.
Founder of the School and Secretary of Catholic Primary Education Commission in Enugu Diocese, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Michael Okoh said he was motivated into establishing the school because had been in charge of the management of the mission primary education since 2013 and found a missing gap in children’s education.
According to Rev. Fr. Okoh, “My long time study of primary education shows that there are so many important subjects they do right from primary one, even up to JS3, very good to our children but those subjects are not handled very well. They are just done theoretically and not practical.
“Because the practical aspect is lacking, the children do not implement that, after school or even while at school, so that made me to think how we can make it possible so that a child will finish maybe primary six , even JS3 and be self employed and become an entrepreneur, so that you don’t begin to look for work anywhere.
“That made me begin to look into those subjects that one can also practically handle such as Basic science and Technology that covers a lot of things that one can practically do such as electrical works and solar installation is also into that and then computer is also technology and it will help our children very well.
‘There is also the prevocational study which is vocational studies but because our children are not grounded practically they come out and there are a lot of skills related to that such as Fashion and Designing and so many other crafts. You can also talk about cultural and creative arts; music is there, playing of organ, recorders and others.
“So because of that I decided to set up this school so that we can now combine basic education with skills development whereby the basic education system will be going on in basic 1, 2 and 3, children will be learning how to form syllabus and words and when they get to primary four, basic 4 basic 5 and basic 6 they can then be introduced to these various workshops and various skills, from there they can now continue so that before ever they finish JS3 they would have been trained very well in one thing or the other,” he said.
Rev. Fr. Okoh disclosed that the school will employ artisans who would teach the pupils various technical skills in the very practical manner that they are done in the outside society workshops, noting that as a mission school, the cost of education will be subsidized.
According to him, the school has skills departments such as Integrated Farming; Home Economics department; Carpentry and Upholstery department; Music department; Fashion and Designing; Electrical and Solar Installation department; Computer and Internet department and Solution Production department.
“We are going to draw a curriculum and scheme of work for all these workshops, and we can be getting artisans, doing that theoretically, we can be getting artisans who have knowledge and also help us, they will be coming to help the children and train them. Going through the curriculum and the scheme of work, they can now use it with what they already know practically in order to help them out.
“The teacher for Upholstery and Carpentry will be coming maybe once a week, the teacher will come and demonstrate practically and go and other teachers in other departments will be coming like that, so that if one is not good in wood work, he may be good in electrical works. If he is not good there, he may be good in Home Economics or even Fashion and designing or even in integrated farming,” he noted.
Meanwhile, delivering a paper on “The Role of Education in Community Development: Celebrating the Selflessness of a Genuine Soul-Blessing of St. Joseph School of Basic Skills Development (SJS) Ugwogo-Nike,” Rev. Fr. Nnaemeka Udeonu said that the school had the capacity to increase access to university education for future skilled children who could eventually be of serious help in reduction of the financial burdens associated with university education.
“Akuruouno is truly pregnant with a lot of meaning that has the capacity to transform Ugwogo Nike into an unbeatable example of a Modern city. The selflessness of Very Rev. Fr, Dr. Michael Ndubuisi Okoh is an excellent example and unbeatable motivation in this regard,” Rev Fr Udeonu said.
In a remark, the House of Representative member for Enugu East/Isi-Uzo Federal Constituency, Hon. Cornelius Nnaji said that the school came at the right time when there is a lack of jobs for the younger Nigerians.
“The school is good because there are no more jobs, but with a skills school such as this, a foundation for job creation is already made.
‘Rev Fr. Ukoh had done a similar thing in Nchatacha-Nike because of his passion for education of children and the youths and we thank him for these personal efforts,” Nnaji stated.

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EndSARS: Controversy as panel members, govt clash over alleged technicalities, discrepancies in report

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The leaked report by the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution on Lekki Toll Gate Shooting Incident and Cases of Police Brutality as well as human rights violations, is currently generating controversy across the country.

TATTLENG reports that the panel which was set up by the state government to investigate the allegations of killings at the Lekki Tollgate during the EndSARS protest in October 20, 2020, submitted its report to the state government on Monday, October 15.
The 309-page report which went on circulation since Monday has indicted the Nigerian Army and the Police of being responsible for the death of protesters at the Lekki Tollgate, admitting that there was a massacre.
The report has, however, generated controversies from concerned Nigerians who called out the presidency over its constant claim that there was no such killings by the Nigerian army and the police.
Many stakeholders have lambasted President Muhammadu Buhari over the content of the report, accusing him of masterminding the massacre of the Nigerian youths who were protesting against extrajudicial killings by the police particularly the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS.
TATTLENG recalls that a former presidential aide, Reno Omokri, upon sighting the report, swiftly issued a petition on the change.org platform against the president, saying Buhari ordered the shooting which led to the death of unspecified Nigerian youths.

Following the report which is currently being studied by the Lagos State government, the former presidential aide petitioned Buhari for allegedly ordering the Lekki shooting.
As of 8pm on Friday when TATTLENG visited the website, it was observed that about 86, 000 Nigerians have signed the petition which is directed to the International Criminal Court – ICC, to prosecute the President over the allegations.
According to Omokri, the petition will be submitted to the President of the ICC, Piotr Hofmański after it receives hundred thousand (100,000) signatures.
He said, “By the grace of God, Buhari will retire to prison in 2023 and all future Presidents will see that there is a consequence to the mass murder of Nigerians by the state.”
TATTLENG also recalls that Anthony Ehilebo, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Director of New Media, on Thursday called for the sack of Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, over the EndSARS panel report.
Ehilebo who expressed anger over the controversy surrounding the Lekki shooting and the findings of the panel, also called for the immediate removal of former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai’s immunity to expose him to the wrath of the law.
It could be recalled that the Benin branch of the Nigerian Bar Association while reacting to the report, commended the panel for its timely finding, advising other states who had set up such panels to make their reports public to engender public confidence.

Similarly, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), while speaking on the report, described the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) as a “murderous party”.
The opposition party, in a statement by Ita National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondinya, on Tuesday, said the report of the panel confirming the gruesome killings of innocent youths, strengthened the fact that the APC was running a “murderous and oppressive regime”, that has no regard for life.
Following the outrage by Nigerians who stormed the various social media to express their grievances, the Lagos State Government on Wednesday, warmed those accusing it of killing the unarmed protesters.
A statement issued on Wednesday by the Information Commissioner, Gbenga Omotoso, appealed to the people to watch their words.
Also, the Lagos State Government’s lawyer, Abiodun Owonikoko, SAN, blamed the panel for making its findings, recommendations and conclusions available to the general public.
While claiming that there are at least 40 discrepancies in the report, he said it should not be in the news pending the original copy. Owonikoko also said that the content of the report is not completely accurate.

But the head of the panel, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa SAN, on Friday, insisted that he acted on the mandate of the Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to fulfill his promise by making its findings public.
He raised the alarm over the alleged persecution of panel members, saying that since the report of its findings was submitted to the state government on Monday, some of them have been under media attacks.
Mr Adegboruwa said in his statement that members of the panel are being “unfairly persecuted,” and called names by some officials of the government.
Recall also that the United States, US Mission in Nigeria on Tuesday while welcoming the report, said America awaits the response from President Muhammadu Buhari’s government and the Lagos authorities, urging them to act fast on the report.
Responding to that, President Buhari on Thursday while meeting with the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said that the Federal Government will allow the system to exhaust itself, stressing that it will wait for pronouncements from state governments that have set up panels to probe the alleged police brutality in the country.
This has also triggered reactions as some Nigerians alleged that the government is unhappy with the report and was probably expecting the panel to remain silent like other previous cases.
Some respondents told TATTLENG that the government is currently struggling and finding a way to still cover up the massacre with lies.
A current affair analyst, Mr John Ameh who spoke to our correspondent, said, “I actually commend the Lago panel. They have done so well. From the reactions of the government, you can see that they were not expecting the panel to reveal the truth.
“This is how the Federal Government and even most states have been inaugurating panels to investigate crimes and at last, no report will come out. This one ‘choke’ them well.

“Even when the panels submit their reports, you find out that it will not be implemented and nothing will be heard about it again”.
He recalled the case of Human Rights Violations Investigation Commission of Nigeria, also called the Oputa Panel, which was set up by the former President, Olusegun Obasanjo to investigate the military dictatorship that controlled the country until 1998.
According to him, nothing has been done on the report till date, alleging that the federal and Lagos State government expected the panel on Lekki to take a similar step.
TATTLENG also reports that the recommendations of the Steve Oronsaye Panel on rationalisation of ministries, agencies and parastatals which was set up by the former President, Goodluck Jonathan is yet to be implemented by the Federal Government.

Recall also that the report of the panel headed by the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai on restructuring has not been implemented till date and government has taken no further actions.

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Concerns, reactions as Buhari mulls release of Nnamdi Kanu

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Mixed reactions have trailed the declaration by President Muhammadu Buhari to consider the appeal by some Southeast leaders to release Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.

The Southeast leaders under the aegis of Highly Respected Igbo Greats, led by First Republic parliamentarian and Minister of Aviation, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, called for the release Kanu during a meeting with Buhari at the State House, Abuja.
Amaechi pleaded with the president that, rather than opting for military actions, political solutions should be considered in Kanu’s case.
Responding, Buhari who promised to consider their appeal, however, noted that an unconditional release of Kanu runs contrary to the doctrine of separation of powers between the Executive and the Judiciary.
The president also stressed his on his policy of non-interference with the Judiciary.
However, a constitutional lawyer, Maduabuchi Idam, countered the president’s stance that he would be interfering with the judiciary, if he orders Kanu’s release.
Idam explained that contrary to the president’s remark, the Nigerian constitution permits Buhari to direct the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami to withdraw the case against Kanu.
Speaking with TATTLENG, the Abuja-based lawyer said, on the interest of the public, the president can direct Malami to withdraw all cases against anyone, including the IPOB leader.
According to Idam: “Kindly note that if an offence is alleged to have been committed, it is the state that prosecutes the alleged offender. In this context, the state is the Presidency and that is why it is the office of the Attorney General of the Federation that prosecutes Mr. Nnamdi Kanu and those of his members on behalf of the Federal Government.
“Meanwhile, by virtue of Section 174 (1),(c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as Amended, the AGF has the constitutional power to amongst others, enter a “nulle prosecui” ( power to discontinue a case) in favour of any person being prosecuted for any offence on behalf of the Federal Government. Similarly, the power is also available to the AG of the State with respect to State offences. See Section 211 of the Constitution.

“In the light of the above, the President of Nigeria, in the interest of the public, can direct the AGF to withdraw any case that is instituted against any one on behalf of the Federal Government.
“By the operation of the said provision of the constitution, the AGF has the vires to personally or through an officer in his office, walk into the court where Mr. Kanu is undergoing prosecution and apply to withdraw the charges against him and his members, and the court has no power under the constitution or any law, to refuse the Application or demand the AGF to give an explanation for that.
“If the President feels that a matter should be withdrawn from the court for public interest, all he needs to do is to direct the AGF to do the needful.
“I must say that I commend the courage of Mr. President for the first time, at least for saying that he will consider the request to release the IPOB Leader, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu and his members.”
Idam’s remark was, however, countered by a Northern socio-political activist, Yaro Abdullahi, who warned on the dangers of releasing Kanu.
Abdullahi warned that Kanu’s release may serve as a spring board for other people to commit serious crimes and get away with it.
He pointed out that nobody in the history of Nigeria has committed Kanu’s kind of crime; hence releasing him would be sending the wrong message.
“How do you start considering the release of a criminal like Kanu, who ordered killing of people. Because of his criminal style of agitation, the Southeast is no longer peaceful, releasing him would be sending the wrong signal that people can just do anything and get away with it.
“This is my view. The president should allow the judiciary to do their work and not listen to all those appeals. If the courts find him guilty, he should face the music and if it’s the other way round, he should be released.

“The president, while considering should also note the damage Kanu is capable of doing if set free,” he told TATTLENG.

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Bayelsa Gov Warns Aiteo Over ‘Criminal Neglect’ Of Oil Spill

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The Bayelsa Government has expressed worry over Aiteo Production Company’s failure to plug the leaks arising from the oil spill at its field in Nembe, two weeks after the incident was reported calling it an act of criminal neglect.

The government’s reaction was contained in a statement issued on Friday by the Commissioner for Information, Orientation and Strategy, Mr Ayibaina Duba, and made available to newsmen in Yenagoa.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the incident occurred on Nov. 5 at Santa Barbra Well 1 Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29.

Duba stated that Gov. Douye Diri was disappointed that the company had not taken any concrete steps to rectify the problem since the equipment failure was reported.

He stated that Diri “wondered why the massive spill has continued unabated, leading to extensive pollution of the rivers, waterways and farmlands in Nembe Local Government Area, even when the company’s management is aware of the situation”.

“The governor is gravely concerned that if the high volume of crude being spilled continuously is not stopped immediately, it will spread to many more communities.

“This will undermine the economic life of residents, who are predominantly farmers and fishermen.

Bayelsa Governor Warns Criminal Neglect of Oil Spill By Aiteo Will Be Accounted For

“Diri warned Aiteo not to assume that this criminal neglect of its facilities and disregard for human life and the environment, as demonstrated by its conduct will not be accounted for,’’ Duba further stated in express

He quoted the governor to have also warned the oil firm to be prepared for the consequences of its failure.

According to the statement, government will not stand by and watch it put human and aquatic lives and the environment in jeopardy.

It urged the residents of Nembe to be law abiding and remain peaceful, assuring them of government’s commitment to their wellbeing.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that officials of National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) deployed to ascertain the cause of the leak reported that the magnitude of the leak was hampering investigations.

The Director-General of NOSDRA, Mr Idris Musa, told NAN that the agency had directed the operators of the facility to plug the leak for investigations to begin.

Musa had said that other oil firms in the country, under the auspices of “Clean Nigeria Associates’’, had been drafted to join Aiteo in the recovery of spilled crude.

Meanwhile, residents of the area in Bayelsa have expressed worry over their health as the gaseous discharge had gone unabated for 14 days following the oil spill from the Aiteo facility.

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