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Scrapping of Delta 1st Class Award: Okowa, enemy of educational excellence

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Deltans and Nigerians in general have again been taken aback and are in total shock over the anti-excellence and anti-people policies of the Delta State Government led by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, the latest of which is the scrapping of all forms of Students’ Support Programme initiated and sustained by past governments, have come to be.

Just like the rat which cools and eats the feet of its victim, the Delta State Bursary and Scholarship Board in a memo with reference number DT/SB/61T2/52, on Wednesday, September 27 2017, announced the suspension of the 1st Class Graduate Scholarship Scheme.

This Award which entitles the beneficiary to a cash reward of Five Million Naira in addition to Postgraduate scholarship up to the doctoral level as well as automatic employment was one which Students of Delta State Origin who performed excellently in their various fields of learning looked forward to.

The message by the board which is currently receiving a backlash from all quarters in the State and beyond, is a mockery of the agenda of the current administration, ‘Prosperity For All Deltans’.

Education which remains the bedrock of any nation and a veritable tool in eradicating illiteracy, Crimes, Terrorism and Poverty, has received a TKO (Total Knock Out) from the Delta State Government.

Recently, the Governor himself was seen in the media being honoured in a supposed distinguished way at the Prestigious Citadel of Learning in the West, University of Ibadan (UI) and at the Cradle of Scholars in the East, University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN).

These universities known for producing some of the best brains in the Country, should in the light of this anti-excellence move of their awardee, hide their heads in shame for giving a precious award to someone whose policy negates the recognition of excellence.

As stated in the letter, reason given for the suspension of the special support scheme, was the alleged financial downturn in the State. But the questions begging for answers are; How much in Naira value gets to each beneficiary of this noble scheme? What is the actual number of 1st Class students of Delta State origin every year? Why choose to suspend such scheme at a time when the Economy is gradually recovering? Was there any fraud recorded in the Scheme and if any what has happened to the culprits?

When the prayers of hardworking Fathers and Mothers of Delta origin are being answered by the bagging of First Class Honors by their wards each year and relax off on the Scholarship scheme of the State Government to further learning process of these children, their hopes are now being dashed by the ignoble action of the present administration.

Suffice it to say that this attitude of the State government could be the reason for the low turnover of 1st Class graduates at the just concluded Convocation Ceremony of the State owned Institution, Delta State University (DELSU). It is true that when rewards are not attached to a competition, it becomes a mockery exercise.

While the over 300 political aides and halleluyah congregation of the Governor continues to feed fat, Deltans will never forget the era of anti-peoples policy made by the Okowa administration of declaring himself an enemy of Educational Excellence.

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THE NATION

Age Falsification: ICPC arraigns ex-border agency boss

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A former Acting Executive Secretary of the Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA), Mrs. Victoria Olutayo Odumosu, has been arraigned by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for age falsification.

ICPC spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa in a statement on Thursday said Odumosu was arraigned before Justice Olasumbo Goodluck of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Maitama on a five-count charge bordering on conferring corrupt advantage upon herself as a public officer in order to keep herself in public service beyond the statutory retirement age.

Okoduwa said Odumosu was alleged to have changed her date of birth on the agency’s nominal roll from 6th July, 1956 to 6th July, 1960, when she was made the head of Human Resources Department of the agency, contrary to Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

She added that this fact was unearthed by ICPC after it launched an investigation into allegations contained in a petition it had received against the accused person.

She added that Odumosu pleaded not guilty to all the charges preferred against her when they were read out to her, Counsel to the accused person, Sayo Odumosu, through a written application, sought the relief of the court to grant his client bail.

Justice Goodluck then adjourned the case to Friday 19th October, 2018 for bail hearing, while the suspect has been remanded in ICPC custody, the ICPC statement.

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THE NATION

Guild of Corporate Online Publishers holds second annual conference in Lagos

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The Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP) has concluded arrangements for its second annual conference holding on Friday, October 19, 2019 at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos State.

A statement released in Lagos on Wednesday by GOCOP Publicity Secretary, Olumide Iyanda, confirmed that the theme of the conference is “Online Publishers’ Role Towards a Sustainable Economy, Credible Election and Security in Nigeria.”

Former Governor of Ogun State, Aremo Olusegun Osoba (CON), has confirmed his presence as chairman of the event.

“Aremo Osoba’s choice as chairman is informed by his enviable profile as a journalist, elder statesman and peace advocate.

“He brings in a wealth of experience as former Managing Director of Daily Times Nigeria Limited, Governor of Ogun State and member of the Nigerian Constituent Assembly, among others,” the statement said.

Former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Senior Team Manager for the Africa Program of the Open Society Justice Initiative, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, has also confirmed his presence as the guest speaker.

“Recognised globally as an authority in international law, international economic and human rights law, public policy and political economy, Prof Odinkalu’s presentation will provide a clear roadmap for the media and other critical stakeholders in the Nigerian projects,” the statement added.

Chairman, Centre of Excellence in Multimedia Technology, Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos, Prof. Ralph Akinfeleye; and former Director, ICT Centre, Federal University, Otuoke, Bayelsa State, Prof. Leonard Shilgba, will be the discussants.

The Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON), Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) and other stakeholder groups in the media will be represented at the conference.

GOCOP represents media organisations registered in Nigeria with promoters drawn from practitioners who have served at senior levels in the profession.

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THE NATION

Shekarau back in Court over N900m money laundering charges

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The Federal High Court sitting in Kano on Thursday adjourned the case of alleged money laundering against former governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau.

Shekarau was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside former external affairs minister Aminu Wali and one Mansur Ahmad on a six-count charge bordering on conspiracy and money laundering to the tune of N950 million.

When the case came up for hearing, the Judge, Justice Lewis Allagoa, who has just assumed duty at the Court, adjourned the trial till Nov. 19, 20, and 21, 2018.

The judge replaced Justice Zainab Bage who was transferred.

Counsel to the EFCC, Mr Johnson Ojogbane, had earlier told the court that the defendants, between March 26 and 27, 2015, conspired among themselves and received the said amount without going through financial institutions.

He said that the money was issued to the defendants by the Peoples Democratic Party and former petroleum minister Diezani Allison-Madueke.

The prosecutor said that the offences contravened sections 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (prohibition) Act 2011 as amended and punishable under section 16 (2)(b) of the same Act and Section 15(1) of money laundering Act.

The trio had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Before the adjournment, the defense counsel, Mr Jibrin Okutekpa (SAN) prayed that the court to extend the bail granted to his clients by the former judge in line with Section 163 of the Criminal Justice Act 2015.

The judge acceded to the request to extend the bail before adjourning to Nov. 19, 201 and 21 for continuation of the trial.

NAN recalls that Bage had granted the defendants bail in the sum of N100 million each with two reliable sureties in like sum.

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