UK opens Opportunity for Nigerian teachers 

Nigeria has been listed among African countries whose citizens can now apply for qualified teacher status through the Teaching Regulation Agency in the United Kingdom, from February 2023.

Other foreign countries which the offer extends to include Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica, Singapore, South Africa, Ukraine and Zimbabwe.

A publication early December on the UK government’s website, by its Department for Education, announced the application for interested non-UK nationals.

According to news report, Applicants do not  necessarily require initial teaching qualifications as the country offers a training programme for the potential migrants.

The notice read, “From February 1, 2023, teachers who qualified in the following nine countries (listed above) will also be able to apply to the QTR through the TRA.

“This change is part of the launch of a new service.

“Teachers from all eligible countries will have to show they meet a consistent set of criteria for the award of the QTS. Over time, this route will be opened to qualified teachers from every country outside the UK.

“To apply for assessment – only QTS, you do not need a formal teacher training qualification.

“However, you must have: a minimum of two years teaching experience, a first (bachelor’s) degree from a UK or non-UK university, an English language qualification which is the same standard as a grade four General Certificate of Secondary Education, a maths qualification which is the same standard as a grade four GCSE to teach children aged three to 11 in primary school, a physics, chemistry or biology (science) qualification which is the same standard as a grade four GCSE.”

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Politicians trying to Produce BVAS, INEC official alleges

Achumie Rex, The Head of Department, Voter Education and Publicity of the Independent National Electoral Commission, on Wednesday, alleged that some politicians were making frantic efforts to manufacture the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System machine and hack into the commission’s server ahead of the 2023 general election.

He added that there would be simultaneous registration and voting on election days as he reaffirmed the electoral umpire’s commitment to a free and fair general election in 2023.

Rex made this statement  at a two-day workshop for civil society organisations on Voter Education, organised by the Transition Monitoring Group and supported by the USAID.

Fielding questions from participants shortly after delivering a paper titled: ‘Technology and 2023 election commission’, Rex revealed that INEC was working round the clock to ensure that the integrity of its server was maintained during and after the elections.

He said, “There is no room to hack into INEC server,” adding that “politicians are doing everything possible to get into the INEC server or even to manufacture BVAS, but unfortunately for them, INEC is three steps ahead of their plots.”

Allaying fears of network problem that would make BVAS work effectively at the rural areas, he said that BVAS was built on dual basis — “online and offline”.

Delivering his paper, Rex said, “At the moment, Nigerians are gradually bidding farewell to the dark days when the voter register was infested with foreign names and those days when election results were announced while voting was still ongoing.

“Apart from voting, results management is easily the most critical aspect of election administration. While voting is an open and public activity, results management is usually run by a few election officials, mostly outside the glare of the public. Thus, there is need to promote transparency in this in the best possible way.

“Other innovations that seem to have enhanced the system include biometric voter registration, computer-based registration of voters, online pre-registration, the Permanent Voter Cards with chips, creating online portals for candidates, observers and political party agents, amongst others, which have all gone a long way in standardising Nigeria’s election management system,” he said.

He expressed optimism that with the introduction of various technology into the country’s election management, which, according to him, had boosted citizens confidence in the process, citizens participation in the elections would “hit at least a 50% voter turnout mark.”

In his remark, the chairman of the TMG, Auwal Musa, who was represented at the workshop by Miriam Menkiti, said the workshop was part of its one-year project tagged ‘Strengthening civic advocacy and local engagement (SCALE) project’.

He said that the aim of the workshop “is to achieve the desired outcomes in improving quality of elections in Nigeria by ensuring that citizens are adequately and effectively mobilised and sensitised in order to actively participate in elections in Nigeria.”

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Abuja property developers protest demolition, demand justice

The Federal Capital Territory Administration’s Department of Development Control agents bulldozed the properties of real estate developers in Abuja, and they have since demanded justice for what they have called illegality.

During the operation in Katampe Extension, Bwari Area Council of Abuja, which began last week and is still going on this week, buildings and other facilities in various stages of construction were destroyed.

Dr. Charles Nwakanma, the CEO of Ideal Grace Consulting Limited and the project’s primary developer, claimed that the victims had invested over N8 billion in the 55.59 acre plot’s development over the previous four years.

His Lawyer, Jerry Edemeka, told journalists that the properties had several structures raised on them above the second storey before they were brought down.

He said, “We decided to engage the FCTA in view of the fact that we are development partners. Look, this property has been approved. We are not doing anything unduly. We have followed the due process, got the due approval, paid all the duel fees, mobilized to site as per the conditions contained in the building approval.

“So, what is this mindless and terrible demolition of a place that due approval has been obtained about? Where is this coming from? It is a very sad chapter in the history of land and housing development in the FCT.”

Abioye Adesina, the interim director of urban and regional planning at FCTA, responded to a request for the land administration department to record the exact size of the property granted by the minister of the FCT, Mohammed Musa Bello, by saying that investigation determined that plot to be

3173 exists in Katampe Extension District, Cadastral Zone B19 and covers an area of 55.22 hectares, designated for mixed use comprehensive development.

“Furthermore, the detailed survey carried out also revealed that plot 3173 covers the area of 55.22 hectares. In view of the above, it is recommended that the actual size covering an area of 55.59 hectares be reflected on the title documents accordingly, please”, Adesina said.

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US lawmakers propose bill to ban TikTok

A bill to outlaw the usage of the well-known social media platform Tiktok in the nation has been introduced by senators from the United States.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio of the Senate Intelligence Committee, one of the bill’s supporters, claimed that the app was more than simply a tool for making films and that the Chinese government used it extensively to collect sensitive information from Americans.

“This is about an app that is collecting data on tens of millions of American children and adults every day,” he wrote in a statement shared on Tuesday.

He added, “We know it’s used to manipulate feeds and influence elections. We know it answers to the People’s Republic of China. There is no more time to waste on meaningless negotiations with a CCP-puppet company. It is time to ban Beijing-controlled TikTok for good.”

The proposed legislation, in general, is aimed at protecting “Americans from the threat posed by certain foreign adversaries using current or potential future social media companies that those foreign adversaries control to surveil Americans, learn sensitive data about Americans, or spread influence campaigns, propaganda, and censorship.”

However, the bill mentions TikTok and its parent company, Bytedance, as well as other subsidiaries of the company, as social media platforms of particular concern.

The new bill follows a flurry of actions already taken by Republican-led states. States like Texas, South Dakota, and Maryland, have all moved to restrict the use of Tiktok on government-owned devices.

Similarly, the US military, the State Department, and the Department of Homeland Security have all restricted the app from operating on their computer devices.

Former president Donald Trump issued an executive order to prohibit the app until it was sold to an American corporation just before the end of his administration. The order was contested in court, and the current Biden government later overturned it.

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Buhari knocks Kazaure over N89tn stamp duty claim

Following controversies trailing a claim of a missing N89.09tn allegedly siphoned from stamp duty charges, the Presidency on Tuesday said such claims were fake.
It also said the entire banking sector deposits in Nigerian did not amount to half of N89tn.
“It is now evident that the consultants and petitioners’ claims of a missing N89tn from stamp duty appears false and a figment of their malicious imaginations. The same set of consultants claimed in 2016 there was N20tn to be collected. It was found to be false. The entire banking sector deposit is not even up to half of N89 trillion.
“Indeed, if the Federal Government can find N89tn Naira, it can pay off all its debt, both foreign and local currency and all state government debts and still have over N10tn left,” a statement signed on Tuesday evening by the President’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, read.
We Also Deserve To Be Allocated New Govt Houses -Lagos Slum Dwellers
The statement was entitled, Stamp duty: facts Nigerians need to have.
In an interview with BBC Hausa last Friday, the lawmaker representing the Kazaure, Roni, Gwiwa and Yankwashi Constituency of Jigawa State, at the lower chambers, alleged that the Presidential Committee on the Reconciliation and Recovery of All Stamp Duties had accused some government agencies of sabotaging the committee’s efforts.
According to Kazaure, who said he serves as the committee’s secretary, it discovered that N89.09tn had so far been realised from deductions by banks but these hadnot made it to the FG’s coffers.
He alleged connivance by some critical operatives of the regime, including the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the Protocol Department of the State House, preventing him from briefing the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) on the findings.
But reacting to the claims on Tuesday, the Presidency said while there was a committee empowered by the President to look recover a sum of N20tn allegedly lost to the Nigerian Inter-bank Settlement System, the President rescinded his approval upon realising actual plan of said committee.
It explained that this ‘anomaly’ arose because certain characters apparently formed a cartel with collaborators in the Nigerian Postal Service and were allegedly collecting and pocketing tokens on banking transactions.
Soon after, a non-government organisation posited to the regime that the Nigerian government had lost the sum of over N20tn to the Nigerian Inter-bank Settlement System between 2013 and 2016 in this regard, claiming that the said sum could be recovered and paid back into the government coffers.
“The consultants asked to be paid a professional fee of 7.5 per cent and were placed under the supervision of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
“Following the lack of progress in the promised recovery, the late Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari wrote on March 8, 2018 to the SGF conveying a presidential directive that following the lack of progress and several expressed concerns received, the activities of the consultants be discontinued.
“In the aftermath of this dismissal, the consultants sued the government. A court of competent jurisdiction subsequently ruled in favour of the government,” the Presidency noted in the statement.
It said arising from the outcome of the litigation and the controversy on the legally responsible agent for collecting this levy, the regime caused an amendment to the law and removed NIPOST from the duty of its collection.
Shehu claimed that the sacked persons returned to the drawing board to formulate one form of trick or another to intimidate the government but the vigilant teams of the administration kept them at bay.
“Lately, they returned to the government through Hon. Muhammadu Kazaure with a plan to track the so-called lost stamp duties with the erstwhile consultant as chairman and Hon. Gudaji as secretary.
“When it emerged that the petitioner and lead consultant of the committee the President had dissolved via the late Abba Kyari’s letter of March 28 had masqueraded himself and re-emerged as the chairman of the new recovery committee championed by the Hon. Gudaji, the President rescinded the approval he gave and asked that it be stopped from operating under the seal of his office,” Shehu further explained.


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NNPC slashes price for marketers to ease scarcity

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL, yesterday, enacted additional steps to ensure a sufficient supply of fuel across the nation, setting the price of lifting gasoline at depots at N148 per litre. It also agreed to supply outstanding stock to independent oil marketers, to end product shortage.

This came as the independent marketers said they had been lifting the product from private depots at about N200 per litre, which made it impossible for them to meet the Department of State Services, DSS, 48-hour directive last week.

They said that the situation also led to their inability to sell petrol at the N170 per litre like their major marketers’ counterparts and NNPCL.

According to news report gathered yesterday, that  a meeting was held between NNPCL, marketers and all the stakeholders, where the issues were resolved.

Operations Controller, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, Mr. Mike Osatuyi, who confirmed the development, said: “Our members have now been allowed to lift petrol at N148 per litre, meaning that we can now reduce our pump prices. We are committed to working with other parties to tackle the shortage across the country as quickly as possible.”

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2023: Tinubu promises double-digit economic growth at Kaduna rally

The All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has promised widespread industrialisation across the country if elected president.

Tinubu made this statement at the party’s presidential rally in Kaduna on Tuesday.

The presidential candidate said he has a track record of bringing alive the hopes of the citizenry with “people-oriented governance.”

“Those who till the soil and grow our food will be helped to produce more and earn more. You farmers who feed this nation, your dignity and pride will be restored.”

Speaking on his plans to massively industrialise the nation, the former Lagos State governor said, “Our industrial policy will make industries hum again. Meanwhile, we shall give the youth the training, access, and policy support they need to explore new economic frontiers in the digital economy and other uses of technology to create new goods and services that benefit the entire population.

“Our infrastructural policy will promote nationwide road and rail transport, enabling small businesses to easily transport their goods across state lines and engage in productive trade throughout the land. Federal roads, especially the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Road, will be turned into productive and safe highways for travel and commerce.

“Bringing jobs and cheaper power for your homes and businesses, the AKK gas pipeline completion will be a top priority, helping to fuel the region’s economy.

“We shall bring order to the mining industry by discouraging illegal and dangerous mining and promoting legal mining to bring better jobs, economic prosperity, and security to Kaduna.”

Tinubu noted these will help achieve his administration’s goal of achieving double-digit economic growth, which will “bring the most talented hands on deck regardless of their gender, tribe, age, or affiliation.”

The APC candidate also spoke on his plans to improve the country’s security situation, promising to wipe out terrorism and make Nigeria safe for all.

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2023: Politicians Buying PVCs, Paying Voters -INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has accused some politicians of buying Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and financially inducing voters to harvest their Voter Identification Numbers (VIN).

The chairman of INEC and National Commissioner, overseeing the FCT, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Plateau states, Mallam Mohammed Haruna, said this in Abuja, during the launch of the #YourVoteMatters project by NESSACTION, an election observer group, on Monday.

The commission also claim two persons have been recently convicted for illegal possession of PVCs in Sokoto and Kano states.

The project was supported by the International Foundation for Electoral System (IFES); the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Haruna stated, “We are aware some politicians are more or less buying the PVCs. If you collect the PVC and then you sell it out or allow someone else to have it, you are aiding illegal possession of the PVC which is an offense in our Electoral Act.

“Some of you are aware that only recently, INEC managed to convict two people who were found guilty of illegal possession of PVCs in Kano and Sokoto. So, I urge people to connect their PVCs, keep them safely, and make sure that on election day, you go out and cast your votes because, of course, without your PVC you cannot vote.”

The Executive Director of NESSACTION, Eniola Cole, said that the project scheduled for implementation in the FCT, Nasarawa, and Plateau states, would provide logistics and give incentives to communities with low PVCs collection rates.

She said it aims to assist INEC in increasing the number of PVCs collected ahead of the 2023 general elections as well as the voters mobilized on election day.

Cole said, “We implore the general public to take advantage of the timeframe set by INEC for PVC collection at the Commission’s LGA offices nationwide from December 12, 2022, to January 5, 2023, and at the 8809 Registration Areas from January 6, 2023, to January 22, 2023, including Saturdays and Sundays.

“The public can, through dedicated channels, inform us of their location in order to receive support including the PVC collection buses and community outreach activities to be conducted at the local level in each state by our community mobilization officers.”

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NAFDAC warns against injurious Cooking Margarine, Arrests suspect

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control has arrested one Michael Owerekwe, an importer of counterfeit Super Delicieur Cooking Margarine.

The agency’s acting director-general, Mrs. Monica Eimunjeze, said in a statement on Monday at the NAFDAC office in Lagos that Joseph Rapoluchukwu, a distributor of the forbidden potassium bromate tablets, had been detained on December 5, 2022.

Eimunjeze warned Nigerians to be wary of the dangerous products.

She said that 115 cartons of potassium bromate tablets with a street value of N28,750,000.00 were found on Rapoluchukwu when NAFDAC officers raided a warehouse in the Apongbon area of Lagos Island.

Speaking on Monday at the NAFDAC office in Lagos, acting Director-General Monica Eimunjeze of the organization stated that Joseph Rapoluchukwu, a distributor of the forbidden potassium bromate tablets, had been detained on December 5, 2022.

She added, “Also discovered in (Rapoluchukwu’s) warehouse was a counterfeit EDC Bread Improver, packed in sachets with a fake NAFDAC registration number of 01-4242, valued at N300,000.

“Owerekwe, at the point of his arrest, upon seeing the operatives, he destroyed his mobile phone so that the evidence will not be traced to him,” she added. He also fought the operatives but was instantly overpowered, arrested, and taken into custody.

“He confirmed that he did, in fact, import 400 cartons of the product from Dubai via an online group purchase and cleared them at Onne Port, Port Harcourt. He claimed that the shipment was delivered to him by a clearing agent, whose name he did not yet disclose.

“He also admitted to distributing the product to markets across the country.

“Preliminary examination of the product showed that the actual manufacturer’s name was not written, but produced for a company in Indonesia.

“The public is urged to keep an eye out for these harmful products anywhere in the country and to report any suspected fake, counterfeit, or unwholesome product to any nearby NAFDAC office.”

“Owerekwe, at the point of his arrest, upon seeing the operatives, he destroyed his mobile phone so that the evidence will not be traced to him,” she added. He also fought the operatives but was instantly overpowered, arrested, and taken into custody.

“He confirmed that he did, in fact, import 400 cartons of the product from Dubai via an online group purchase and cleared them at Onne Port, Port Harcourt. He claimed that the shipment was delivered to him by a clearing agent, whose name he did not yet disclose.

“He also admitted to distributing the product to markets across the country.

“Preliminary examination of the product showed that the actual manufacturer’s name was not written, but produced for a company in Indonesia.

“The public is urged to keep an eye out for these harmful products anywhere in the country and to report any suspected fake, counterfeit, or unwholesome product to any nearby NAFDAC office.”

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N’Assembly says constitution amendments may not work, blames states

The current revision of the 1999 Constitution, according to the National Assembly, is doomed to failure because the state Houses of Assembly haven’t voted on the modification measures that have been passed and sent to them for approval.

Separately, Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila and President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan pleaded with Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai to persuade their respective state legislatures to take up the measures.

 Lawan and Gbajabiamila made the plea in Abuja on Monday at the second edition of the Distinguished Parliamentarians Lecture Series organised by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies.

The 9th National Assembly had budgeted N4bn for the Constitution review, N1bn for each of the four years of its lifespan.

 El-Rufai, in his remarks as chairman on the occasion, urged the National Assembly to enact a series of laws concerning security, education and the economy among others.

The governor listed the seven interventions he wanted from the National Assembly.

 He said, “First is state and community policing. I think we are all clear now that the current policing system is broken. It does not work for Nigeria. And Nigeria is the only federation in the world with one centralised police system. I think this National Assembly can enact the state and community policing system that prevents the abuses of the past and takes into account the challenges of the present.

“Secondly, Value Added Tax has become a major source of survival of this country. This year NNPC has not paid a penny to the Federation Account. We have taxes, particularly Value Added Tax. The fact that VAT is not on the Exclusive List, is a major source of concern for the fiscal health of the federation. I think it is something that this National Assembly can do something about in its last six months.”

He also made a case for making 12 years of education free, adding that “This country can never make progress without educating everyone.”

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