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FG Kicks Off Special Public Works Programme Aimed At Poverty Alleviation

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The Special Public Works Programme of the Federal Government has kicked off nationwide.

The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo on Tuesday inaugurated special committees in all the states of the Federation and the FCT for the selection of applicants for the programme.

In a virtual inauguration conference jointly addressed by the Director-General, National Directorate of Employment, Dr Nasir Ladan Argungu in Abuja, the Minister disclosed that an Inter-Ministerial Committee drawn from eight Ministries and headed by the NDE recommended the setting up of States’ Selection Committees to identify and recruit those to be engaged under the Programme.

“These Committees would also be saddled with the responsibility of identifying the public works to be executed in each of the LGAs in all the States. This would be in addition to projects already identified by several Federal Ministries, Agencies and Parastatals in different localities across the country.

“Having accepted the recommendations, we also ensured that the composition of the Committees is multi-sectoral and local enough to balance all the competing interests in different States. Your selection, therefore, was a result of a painstaking process we carried out to ensure that we make the exercise as credible as possible,” the Minister said.

“The 1,000 persons you will recruit per LGA would be engaged by the Federal Government between October and December this year to carry out public works that are peculiar to each Local Government Area.

“They would be paid a total of N60,000 each (that is N20,000 per month). They would be engaged in roads rehabilitation and social housing construction, urban and rural sanitation, health extension and other critical services,” he explained.

He further said that the programme could be extended or repeated every year.

“After the selection of those to be engaged, they still have to be captured by some selected banks we are in talks with, their account opened, and their BVNs obtained. This is because Mr President has directed that everyone must be paid through their BVNs to eliminate fraud in the programme.

“As a result, I direct that all the States’ Selection Committees have just three weeks to complete the selection process and return the names of those selected to us for further processing with the banks.

“My belief is that if the Committees adhere strictly to the Guidelines given to them, they are bound to achieve the targets set by Mr President to reach out to 774,000 Nigerians who are largely indigent and itinerant workers.” he added.

The SPW is a post-COVID-19 poverty alleviation programme, approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.

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Group Hails NPHCDA Over Arrival, Distribution And Administration Of Covid-19 Vaccines

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The National Vanguard for Vaccine Administration and Advocacy (NVVAA) has commended the management of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) for the seamless arrival, distribution and administration of coronavirus vaccines across the nation.

The group, in a statement by its Secretary-General, Akor Oche, on Monday, said the agency has displayed a high sense of transparency and accountability so much so that Nigerians should expect the safety of the vaccines upon administration.

Following the arrival of the first batch of Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines in the country, the NPHCDA began the massive roll out on Friday with President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo subsequently receiving their first jabs.

By setting up a website for Nigerians to register, the NVVAA noted that the health agency eradicated all forms of encumbrances that would have marred the successful rollout of the vaccines.

The National Vanguard for Vaccine Administration and Advocacy, however, called on members of the general public to extend their support to the NPHCDA by disregarding the narratives against the suitability of the vaccine for humans.

On its part, the group urged the NPHCDA not to relent in the task of ensuring that all Nigerians are vaccinated in the coming months.

Read the full statement below:

The National Vanguard for Vaccine Administration and Advocacy is issuing this press statement to commend the management of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) on the arrival and subsequent distribution and administration of the AstraZeneca COVID 19 Vaccine across the country.

It is indeed commendable that the NPHCDA put in motion mechanisms that ensure that all states of the federation receive their doses of the vaccine in a timely and orderly manner that remains a disconnect from the norm whereby exercises such as this are always marred by poor logistics arrangements.

The NPHCDA has by its actions in recent times displayed a high sense of transparency and accountability so much so that Nigerians should expect the safety of the vaccines upon administration.

It is thus the considered opinion of the National Vanguard for Vaccine Administration and Advocacy that meeting the various timelines from the arrival to the country and its subsequent rollout is indicative of the sustainable efforts of the NPHCDA towards ensuring that the vaccines are safe for humans, as well as ensuring that there is an equitable distribution across the country.

It is also commendable that the NPCHDA opened an online registration platform for Nigerians to register for vaccination. This is indeed an exemplary display of foresight by the management of the NPHCDA in the sense that it has successfully eradicated all forms of encumbrances that would have marred the successful rollout of the vaccines in Nigeria.

The National Vanguard for Vaccine Administration and Advocacy calls on members of the general public to extend their support to the NPHCDA by disregarding the narratives against the suitability of the vaccine for humans.

It also states that with the level of expertise displayed by the NPHCDA, Nigerians should be assured that there shall be equitable distribution of vaccines across the country and all Nigerians regardless of their status in the society shall be vaccinated in record time subject to availability.

Nigerians are also enjoined to continue to support the efforts of the government towards ensuring that all Nigerians are vaccinated in the race to put COVID 19 behind us as quickly as possible.

We also encourage the leadership of the NPHCDA not to relent in the task of ensuring that all Nigerians are vaccinated as the vaccines become available in large quantities in the coming months.

The National Vanguard for Vaccine Administration and Advocacy as a critical stakeholder in the country is pledging its continuous support to the NPHCDA in ensuring that the vaccination programme is successfully implemented across the country.

The NPHCDA has indeed displayed exemplary service to Nigeria and it behoves all mischief makers to desist from spreading negative information with regards to the safety of the COVID 19 vaccines been administered in Nigeria.

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BREAKING: Fire Breaks Out In Aso Rock

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A fire outbreak has been reported at the Presidential Villa in Aso Rock, Abuja, causing confusion among workers in President Muhammadu Buhari’s abode, SaharaReporters reports.

It was learnt that the fire started at 4 pm as the fire service officials tried desperately to put it out.

“The security men were chasing people not to capture the incident, but I tried my best to capture it. The fire is still on,” a source disclosed around 9 pm.

Although the cause of the fire is not yet known, fire service trucks have moved in and were seen in the villa.

More details soon….

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We Won’t Allow Hijab In Kwara Mission Schools, CAN Insists

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The Christian Association of Nigeria in Kwara State has insisted that it will not allow its pupils to wear hijab, despite the Kwara State Government’s directive that Muslim female pupils in Christian mission schools should wear hijab.

The state government, last week, said it had approved wearing of hijab by Muslim female pupils in Christian mission grant-aided schools in the state.

It also said the 10 Christian mission schools closed down in the wake of the hijab crisis would be reopened on Monday, March 8.

However, the state branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria said it would not agree to the use of hijab in schools established by Christian missions, alleging that they were surprised that the government was trying to make a decision on a matter that was still before the Supreme Court.

CAN said, “The body condemns the use of hijab in Christian missions grant-aided schools as this will cause discrimination in schools and allow terrorists to easily identify our children and wards.”

Two missions, Evangelical Church Winning All and the Kwara Baptist Conference, said they would not allow the wearing of hijab in their respective schools when the schools reopen on Monday.

The leadership of ECWA said it would not welcome the directive in all its schools in the state.

The Chairman, ECWA Ilorin District Church Council, Rev John Owoeye, who spoke at a press conference in Ilorin on Friday, said ECWA schools were established by Christian missionaries for purposes of reaching communities with the love of Christ and to meet educational needs of the indigenes irrespective of religious affiliations, among other reasons.

The ECWA church leaders, who demanded return of ECWA schools to them, said since 1974 when there was agreement on collaboration between the state government and the proprietor for the school to be grant-aided schools, “the policy has never been total takeover of our schools by the government.”

Owoeye, who said Christians are bona fide citizens of the state, added, “We have equal rights under the provisional constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

He argued that the government was aware that Christian Religious Knowledge teachers were not posted to Muslim grant-aided schools and that the gathering of Fellowship of Christian Students was not allowed in Muslim grant-aided schools.

“Similarly, we want the government to be informed that her decision and plan to provide hijab and enforce its use in our Christian mission grant-aided schools will not be tolerated as it is an infringement on our freedom of religion as enshrined in the constitution of Nigeria,” he said.

Also, the President of Kwara Baptist Conference, Rev Victor Dada, in a separate press conference, said the mission would not allow the use of hijab in its 38 schools across the state, adding that the government was wrongly advised in taking the decision.

Dada argued that the state government took a wrong decision by its blanket approval of wearing of hijab for female pupils in mission schools.

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“The state government was wrongly advised to take that decision. The state even acted in contempt of court as the case is still pending before the Supreme Court.

“We want to warn the government that the step it wants to take by approving the use of hijab for all public schools and grant-aided schools in the state will lead to an avalanche of reactions, the end of which no one can predict.

“With this move, the state government is saying the Muslims’ purported rights are superior to those of the Christians.

“What we are saying is that no one, whether the Kwara State Government or even the Federal Government, can force hijab on our children or in our schools. We shall not hesitate to use all legitimate means to protect our heritage. We will defend our faith and protect our property.”

Meanwhile, Muslim stakeholders in the state have urged the state government to stand by the rule of law in taking a final decision on the hijab issue.

In a statement signed by its Chairman, Alhaji Is-haq AbdulKarim; and Secretary, Professor Ibrahim Abikan, the Muslim Stakeholders said the state branch of CAN, which engaged the state government in a legal battle over the issue of ownership of the grant-aided schools since 2013 lost its two cases in Ilorin High Court in 2016 and the Court of Appeal in 2019.

In a related development, Chairman, Kwara State branch of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Olu Adewara, said the union was not part of the hijab crisis currently going on in the state.

The NUT Chairman, Adewara, told reporters, “The hijab matter is basically an issue between the government, the Muslim parents and the owners of these schools, regardless that such schools are grant-aided by the government. The NUT is not involved because this is not a matter bordering on teachers’ rights.”

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