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Presidency Opposes Ecological Fund Bill 

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The Presidency has expressed its opposition to a bill in the House of Representatives seeking to regulate the Ecological Fund.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha , especially stated that the proposed law would either clash with or duplicate the existing ones.
Mustapha warned that the bill , if passed into law , would take away from powers the President presently has over the Ecological Fund Office and the funds under it .
The House Committee on Ecological Fund had on Wednesday held a public hearing on ‘A Bill for an Act to Establish the Regulation of Ecological Funds to Address Nigeria’ s Ecological Challenges , Particularly Erosion , Landslide , Desertification, Floods , Oil Spillage , Drought , Etc., and for Related Matters . ’
Mustapha , in his memorandum to the committee , which was presented by the Director , Pollution Control, OSGF , Mr Clinton Igwe, said , “ After a careful review of the document, I wish to respectfully bring to the attention of the Honourable chairman and members of the Committee on Ecological Fund, the observations of the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation on the proposed bill as follows:
“ The establishment of a Governing Council in the bill is a replication of the erstwhile bogus National Council on Ecological Problems. The large number of membership makes the project selection, procurement and execution of projects cumbersome and problematic.
“ The bill as proposed will replace the emergency / interventionist posture of the Ecological Fund Office as presently constituted . This will by implication slow down the quick response in dealing with erosion problems in Nigeria .
“ Over the years, the Ecological Fund have consistently been placed under the control of the President and disbursed through the EFO under the supervision of the SGF . The proposed bill will therefore negate the nature and original design of the Ecological Fund Office .
“ The Ecological Fund as presently constituted is not subject to the process of appropriation by the National Assembly . This gives the President the much needed flexibility to effectively and timeously respond to ecological emergencies the fund is created to address.
“ If the bill is passed into law as proposed , it will impede on Mr President ’s power to use the Fund for emergencies if it has to revert to the National Assembly for appropriation and approvals. It is not always feasible to predict emergencies , hence the inability to appropriate or budget for such disasters or ecological emergencies.
“ As the EFO is presently constituted , salaries and allowances of staff are not paid from the Fund. Officers deployed to EFO are mainstream civil servants who draw their emoluments from the federal treasury . It is advisable to sustain less emphasis on recruitment of officers and payment of board members that could be a drain whittling down the impact of the fund on ecological interventions , by increasing government ’s Overhead Cost.”

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WASSCE Now To Hold From August 16

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The West African Examinations Council, WAEC has announced the date for the conduct of 2021 West African Senior School Certificate Examination, WASSCE which is set to hold between August 16 to September 30.

This was contained in a statement by the Ag. Head, Public Affairs, WAEC, Nigeria, Demianus G. Ojijeogu, on behalf of the council.
According to Ojijeogu, the Head of Nigeria National Office, WAEC, Mr. Patrick Areghan, was misquoted when he said that WASSCE was postponed during a press briefing on Tuesday to announce the results of 2021- first series WASSCE for private candidates.
Part of the statement read: “The attention of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), Nigeria has been drawn to publications in some national dailies and online media, to the effect that WAEC has postponed the May/June 2021 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). This information was allegedly given by the Head of the Nigeria National Office of WAEC, Mr. Patrick Areghan, at a Press Briefing to announce the release of results of WASSCE for Private Candidates, 2021 – First Series on Tuesday, April 6, 2021.
“We wish to categorically state that the Head of National Office was quoted out of context.
“The Head of National Office had in his address during the Press Briefing stated as follows:
“Let me also use this opportunity to dispel rumours being peddled about by some people regarding the conduct of WASSCE for School Candidates, 2021. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still very much felt in the education sector. The academic calendar has been distorted. It will, therefore, not be possible to have the examination in May/June this year. A convenient International Timetable
“for the conduct of the examination will soon be released”.
“The arrangement is in line with the current academic calendar and was done in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education.
“Consequently, the Council wishes to inform schools, candidates and the general public that the examination will hold from August 16, 2021 to September 30, 2021. The International timetable for the conduct of the examination will be released in due course.
“All stakeholders should please be so guided.” WAEC Ag, PRO explained.

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Minister Confirms Deployment Of SWAT Officers To States 

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Muhammad Dingyadi, minister of police affairs, disclosed that the officers of the special weapons and tactics (SWAT) team have been deployed to state commands.

Mohammed Adamu, former inspector-general of police, had constituted the SWAT team, following the disbandment of the special anti-robbery squad in the wake of the October 2020 EndSARS protests.

Speaking when he featured on a Channels Television programme on Friday, Dingyadi said the SWAT officers have concluded their training, and have been posted to the states they were drafted from.

“They have ended their training, and they have been posted to the state police commands that brought them for training,” he said.

“They are there with them and they are performing these functions of the SWAT.”

The creation of the new tactical team had received mixed reactions, including from the United Nations, which said the police swiftly created SWAT “without first addressing some of the root causes of police violence and putting in place sufficient safeguards to prevent future violations.”

But Frank Mba, force spokesman, had quoted the former IGP as saying SWAT will operate within “high professional and ethical standards, rule of law and dictates of best international policing practices”.

“The IGP reiterates that no personnel of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) will be a member the new Tactical Team. He notes that the officers selected for the training are young, smart and energetic officers who have acquired not less than seven years working experience with clean service records – no pending disciplinary matters, no record of violation of rights of citizens or misuse of firearms – and are physically fit to withstand the rigour of SWAT Training and Operations,” he stated.

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PDP Condemns Flogging Of Anti-Buhari Campaigners In Kogi

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says it is insensitive for two young people who protested against President Muhammadu Buhari in Kogi state to have been subjected to whipping.

The protesters had paraded graffiti and posters reading “Buhari must go” when the thugs accosted them.

The Kogi government, however, had hailed the flogging of the protesters, saying the people of the state remain fanatic followers of the president.

But reacting, the PDP, in a statement on Friday signed by Kola Ologbondiyan, its spokesperson, said the protest by the youths was against the incompetence of the Buhari administration.

“These graffiti by Nigerian youths are a loud demonstration against the impunity, divineness, high level incompetence, massive corruption as well as the insensitivity of the APC and its administration to the sorry situation they have plunged our dear nation,” the statement reads.

“The Nigerian youths, by the graffiti, are demonstrating against the failure of President Buhari and the APC to take decisive steps to address the incessant mass killings, high level unemployment, poverty and economic hardship that their administration has foisted on our country.

“The graffiti is also an open aversion to the looting of over N15 trillion by APC leaders at the time our nation is battling with 33% unemployment rate; at a time over 40 million Nigerian have lost their means of livelihood due to APC misrule and where most families cannot afford the basic necessities of life.

“Moreover, the use of political graffiti by citizens is a global practice to express themselves particularly in democratic setting.

“It is therefore a mark of intolerance, disdain and insensitivity to the plight of the people that instead of accepting and taking steps to address their anxieties, the APC chose to unleash their thugs to flog and dehumanise Nigerian citizens exercising their right to freedom of expression, as witnessed in Kogi state.”

The PDP said it rejected the allegations of trespass as basis for the attack on the protesters, noting that such claims should have been taken up in court.

The party said it recalled how Buhari, as the presidential candidate of the APC in 2014, led other leaders of his party who took to the streets and “disrupted public activities in exercise of such freedom and nobody hired thugs to attack or flog them in public”.

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