Category: BREAKING NEWS

As Reality TV Star Tacha Launches her Natacha Akide Initiative (NAI) today

A reality star Natacha Akide who is widely known for humanitarian nature, humility, focused and business mind will be kicking off this project with Government Girls Secondary School, Rumuokwuta Port Harcourt and will extend it to every geopolitical zone in Nigeria.

According to her post made in the early hour of today 5/2/ 2020.

Natacha Akide initiative has launched a project, Pad for Every Girl (PEG). Myself and my team will be sharing sanitary pads and giving lectures on Menstrual Hygiene Management, for girls in secondary school. Today, we are starting with Government Girls Secondary School, Rumuokwuta Port Harcourt and i promise you that the journey doesn’t end here. We will continue to educate and impact on the GIRL CHILD. Please join us and extend a helping hand to our girls, they are the future of tomorrow.   NAI PEG

The aim of this project is to educate the girl child on personal hygiene especially before and after their menstrual cycle and to enlighten them on the needs to always use sanitary pad, when to change their sanitary pads, how many hours a girl should wear her sanitary pad and how to properly dispose it

The next will be the free distribution of sanitary pads which is the major reason for the visit.

We all know that the high increase of Sanitary has brought about lots of vaginal infection because so many families can no longer afford it monthly.

Nigeria is one of the many countries that tax menstrual products, putting further strain on women and girls from underprivileged communities.

Between 2015 and 2018, sanitary pads like Always Ultra rose from N250 to N400, Always Classic from N200 to N300, and Lady Care from N250 to N400. Most Tampon brand products which sold for N750 have risen to about N1200.

The reason for the price hike can be traced to the inflation in the country and the fall in the exchange value of the national currency, the naira.

Although sanitary pads are the healthiest and most convenient menstrual management products because they are comfortable and leave little or no stain, IFUNANYA BLOG research showed that many Nigerian girls and young women now use cloth napkins, cotton wools and tissue paper for economics reasons.

The NAI organization will welcome any form of support to make sure this project and more to come will be a continues success.

Emmanuel Onwubiko: NYSC: Three unforgettable years

The current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has secured for itself an unforgettable legacy so much so that long after the government reaches its zenith in 2023, the remarkable effort made by the government through the management headed by Major General Suleiman Kazaure will remain evergreen. That it took just three years to cement the legacies of reforms and transformational changes in the administration of the scheme could only have happened because the President took his time to make a choice of a General who is credible, effective and efficient as a manager and also someone who believes in teamwork. The scheme no doubt has an illustrious status in the annals of Nigeria, but the refocusing of the entire scheme towards self-employment through acquisitions of vocational skills that have started yielding dividends of phenomenal scale is what sets apart the current management of NYSC from the rest. A history of NYSC will, therefore, have a rich volume of accomplishments of the current management team.

Specifically, the National Youth Service Corps was established 45 years ago by the government of General Yakubu Gowon with the core mandate to promote the unity and integration of a very diverse country almost torn apart by three years of bitter and destructive civil war. In over four decades of operation, 17 helmsmen including the incumbent have superintended over the affairs of the service Corps. Each of them in their own peculiar way has proved their mettle in the discharge of their responsibilities. The present head, Major General Suleiman Kazaure assumed office on 18th April, 2016 as the 17th chief executive of the Scheme.

While in position of leadership some leaders tend to push beyond the limits, explore new horizons to attain greater heights of achievement by evolving policies that shift the paradigm of administration. Major General Suleiman Kazaure, I believe, is cast in this mould. A humble unassuming officer and gentleman, he was busy, quietly playing his part in building, stabilizing and sustaining the security architecture of the nation as the Commandant, Nigerian Army Language Institute, Ovim in Abia State when his acclaimed anonymity was broken with a call to duty at another front, the National Youth Service Corps.

General Suleiman Kazaure, at the dawn of his stewardship outlined four focal areas to drive his administration on the path of realizing the noble objectives of the Scheme. These include, consolidating the achievements of previous administrations and breaking new grounds, motivating the staff through enhancement of welfare provisions, improving the welfare and security of corps members and expanding the Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) progamme through establishment of more skill centres and greater stakeholder involvement for skill and material support. Kazaure’s unique leadership disposition and attributes is evident in the articulation and implementation of the agenda of his administration. He has in the past three years demonstrated these in his strong will, determination and commitment to refocus the NYSC Scheme to play the expected pivotal role in fostering national unity and development as enunciated by the founding fathers.

After a thorough evaluation of the Scheme, Kazaure, who came to the office with an impressive academic credentials and wealth of experience, went to work to tackle the myriad of challenges bedeviling the Scheme. These include poor facilities at NYSC Orientation Camps nationwide, security of Corps members and Staff especially in parts of the country facing security challenges, backlog of prospective corps members yet to be mobilised for service due to paucity of funds and limited capacity of NYSC Camps, amongst others.

In view of the fact that the law that established NYSC placed the responsibility of providing and maintaining Orientation camp facilities under the purview of State governments, Kazaure embarked on advocacy visits to State Governors appealing to them to upgrade facilities in their Orientation Camps. The intensive improvement of facilities in NYSC Orientation Camps across the country in the past three years, sign posts the benefits of these visits. Virtually all Orientation Camps but a few across the Country are operating in Permanent Camps with improved facilities.

While engaging State governments to discharge their statutory responsibilities to the Scheme, Kazaure, through collaborations with relevant MDAs, launched an intervention programme to address infrastructural deficits in the Scheme. Consequently, Zamfara, Enugu, Ondo and many other States that were experiencing perennial water scarcity were provided boreholes while Kano, Kwara, Bayelsa, Benue and Rivers States got power generators for their Orientation Camps. Delta, Bauchi, Niger, Nasarawa, Osun, Kogi and other States have also benefitted from the provision of water tankers, double bunk beds, mattresses, renovation of accommodation facilities and other infrastructural projects. In addition, ambulances, utility vehicles and motor bikes have also been procured and distributed to State Secretariats of NYSC to aid effective supervision and monitoring of Corps members.

In the area of providing welfare needs of Corps members, General Kazaure has been outstanding. As a result of the security challenges in some parts of the country, the NYSC Director General pursued a vigorous interface with security agencies, State Governments, traditional institutions, and other stakeholders for the effective protection of Corps members. This resulted in the safety of Corps Members being placed in the priority list of Security Agencies all over the country and subsequently led to resumption of NYSC Orientation exercises in Yobe, Adamawa and Gombe States that were hitherto severely plagued by security issues.

The NYSC Distress Call Centre has equally been transformed to an information centre under Kazaure’s regime to meet current challenges. The Centre which was established in 2012 and domiciled in the National Directorate Headquarters of the Scheme, is equipped with communication facilities that are manned 24 hours daily to ensure timely and well-coordinated response to calls from corps members who find themselves in distressed situations. With the upgrade, the information centre now with five operational lines in addition to responding to distress calls from corps members, staff and members of the public, now also provide information on the operations of the Scheme to the corps participants and other stakeholders.

To further enhance the welfare of Corps members, the Management of the Scheme under the watch of General Kazaure is collaborating with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to provide free health services to Corps members. The transport subsidy to corps members as well as the fund appropriated for their feeding at the Orientation Camp has equally been enhanced under Kazaure’s reign.

As earlier mentioned, one of the major challenges of the NYSC on his assumption of office was the backlog of prospective corps members waiting to be mobilized to participate in the Scheme due to scarcity of funds. Through an ingenious interface with government, this has been effectively dealt with as the backlog of graduates have been mobilised and deployed for service leading to the stabilisation of the mobilisation calendar of the Scheme. In fact, in 2018 alone the Scheme executed seven Orientation Courses with over 300,000 Corps Members mobilised to serve in the Scheme’s service year Batches of ‘A’ ‘B’ and ‘C’.

It is on record that General Kazaure has further consolidated and expanded the deployment of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the operations of the Scheme. He ensured the nationwide implementation of biometric system of pay-rolling Corps members for their monthly allowance and Community Development Service attendance to check truancy among them. Collaborations with JAMB and WAEC in the Scheme’s mobilization process are unmistakable evidences of the success stories of the current administration in this area. The enhanced efficiency, transparency and ease of doing business between the Scheme and its various publics, on account of this, attracted to the Scheme the 2016 NITDA/NIHILENT award for the best MDA in the innovative application of ICT solutions at the e-Nigeria 2016 e-Governance Dinner and Award Ceremony.

On staff welfare, General Kazaure was quick to understand that he needed a happy workforce with the right capacity to drive the lofty agenda of his administration and the best way to achieve that is through enhancement of welfare of the staff. In this vein, he has consistently pursued initiatives geared towards motivating staff of the Scheme. On assumption of duty he swiftly cleared the backlog of unpaid staff entitlements, restored other statutory staff allowances and increased the tempo of capacity building training for staff to enhance productivity. In the past three years there has been unprecedented increase in staff promotion in the Scheme. For instance, in the 2018 Senior Staff Promotion Exercise, 1,368 out of 1,817 (over seventy percent) officers that sat for the examination were successful and were elevated in accordance with the Public Service Rules and NYSC Conditions of Service. He has also been striving to tackle the problem of stagnation in the Scheme through liaison with relevant government agencies to create more vacancies. Already effort is on going for the expansion of NYSC administrative structure to accommodate the increase in scope and area of operations of the Scheme in tandem with the yearly increase in corps population.

The humane disposition of Kazaure is further highlighted in the numerous interventions he has made to ensure that staff and corps members with health challenges are adequately catered for. It is in this regard that he upgraded the NYSC staff Clinic with the procurement of state of the art equipments and added an optometry unit. The Director-General also instituted a policy that maintains a periodic supply of office furniture to all NYSC formations nationwide in his bid to create conducive work environment for the entire workforce of the Scheme. These and other confidence-building measures which he has relentlessly pursued have raised the morale of the staff to new heights and promoted industrial harmony in the Scheme.

Under General Kazaure’s leadership, sublime achievements have been recorded in the Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship programme of the Scheme designed to prepare corps members for self-employment and job creation after their assignment. In line with his agenda to extend the frontiers of the programme, General Kazaure, through a partnership with Access Bank has completed the building and equipping of a 1,000 capacity mega integrated skills acquisition training centre in Gombe State, in addition to that of Ekiti. The Centres, to be established in each of the six geopolitical zones, are to facilitate post Camp skill training of Corps members.

Further to this, the maiden NYSC SAED Festival aimed at creating a platform for Corps members to showcase their business, vocational skills and attract funding was staged under his administration. The invigorated public-private partnership drive also resulted in the training of 40 NYSC staff in 2018 by the giant American multi-national, General Electric, in preparation for the training of Corps members as part of the strategies for effective implementation of the SAED programme. Earlier in 2017, four programme staff and a Corps member benefitted from international capacity building activities in China.

Through the same public-private-partnership strategy, he secured credit facilities for Corps members from financial institutions and has so far been disbursed to 1,077 Corps entrepreneurs as loans through Bank of Industry BOI-NYSC Graduate Empowerment Fund. Similarly, Central Bank of Nigeria through Heritage Bank has also disbursed funds to seven Corps members through the NYSC/CBN Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programme (YEDP).

Apart from this, a Job Portal and SAED connect platforms which have expanded opportunities and created alternative platforms for training and mentorship of Corps members nationwide were facilitated by the

Kazaure administration. About 15,000 Corps entrepreneurs out of a total of about 1.2 Million Corps members trained in the last three years under the SAED programme are known to have established and are sustaining different types of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

Another signature achievement of the Kazaure administration is keying into the present Government’s policy to diversify the economy of the country through harnessing opportunities in the non-oil sector. In line with this and a genuine desire to contribute towards ensuring food security, the present Management has begun resuscitation of moribund NYSC farm settlements across the country. Four of the farms in FCT, Bauchi, Kebbi and Oyo States began full-scale farming activities during the 2017 cropping season. These farms produce various crops including rice, cassava, maize and cowpea as well as poultry. The farm settlements have been provided with modern implements and Corps lodges as they are also serving as training grounds for corps members under the agricultural component of the NYSC Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development programme.

Similarly, the NYSC Cultural and Sports Festival put on hold due to lack of funds were resuscitated by the Jigawa born General. The annual Sports and Cultural fiesta is an avenue deliberately created to enhance and deepen cultural cross-fertilization of ideas to promote national integration, the core mandate of the Scheme. His understanding of the key role of these social events to bonding among Corps members apparently inspired General Kazaure’s decision to make concerted efforts to restore them in the Scheme’s annual calendar of activities.

Under the leadership of Kazaure, the Health Initiative for Rural Dwellers programme of the NYSC has been galvanised. The progamme serves as a platform for contribution towards addressing the health challenges of rural dwellers who mostly experience difficulties accessing regular health centres across the country. Under the programme, an annual nationwide medical outreach is carried out, and usually lasts one week in addition to periodic outreaches conducted by State NYSC formations. Through this intervention, the present Management in conjunction with Grace Projects International has donated over 300 wheelchairs to less privileged/physically challenged members of the public across the country. This has enhanced the impact and visibility of the Scheme nationwide.

In furtherance of his policy initiative to consolidate the achievements of his predecessors and break new grounds, the incumbent NYSC chief executive has reinforced existing porgammes and collaborations of the Scheme with government and nongovernmental bodies and added new ones. The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, for instance, has expanded its partnership with the NYSC to enhance the credibility of her UTME using the services of Corps members for its newly introduced ICT based tests. Some of the new collaborations include the NYSC/COGNITY ADVISORY Partnership. Cognity Advisory is coordinating a group of telecom, banking and other multi-national giants to enhance the SAED entrepreneurship training, mentorship and funding options. The partnership with European Union and the Pan African Institute for Global Affairs and Strategy (PAIGAS) is aimed at checking the wave of dangerous illegal migration by Nigerian youths to Europe and other parts of the world in search of greener pastures, through proper enlightenment. Other new robust partnerships include NYSC/SDGs Champions programme, Great Green Wall project with the Federal Ministry of Environment, Peer Group Education on Financial inclusion project with the CBN as well as Engaging Nigerian Girls in New Enterprise (ENGINE) collaboration with Mercy Corps.

A man with an uncommon drive for initiatives that not only impact the present but have potentials to unlock the future, General Kazaure has revatilised and improved the Scheme’s image through a robust and cordial engagement with the media. The result is increased positive media coverage and reviews of NYSC activities and immense contributions to national development and growth. The effect of this improved media visibility is increased appreciation of the relevance of the Scheme to the socio-economic development of the nation. This has apparently influenced the high profile support the Scheme is presently enjoying from stakeholders as well as the growing awareness and perception of the NYSC by Nigerians as veritable pivot of national cohesion, worthy of sustenance. In an effort to consolidate the presence of the Scheme in the Media space, Gen Kazaure has already put in place necessary machinery for the take off of the first ever NYSC Community Radio to be domiciled in Abuja.

It is instructive, that Kazaure’s commitment to refocusing the NYSC Scheme towards greater achievements in its core objective of promoting national unity and economic development is not only yielding the desired result but has broken new grounds, accorded more relevance and attracted increased global visibility to the Scheme. Worthy of note is the request to the Scheme by the Sierra-Leonean Government for collaboration in the establishment of the National Youth Service of Sierra-Leone and invitation and active participation of the NYSC Cultural Troupe in the World Youth Festival held in Russia in 2017.

The unique administrative paradigm of General Kazaure has permeated the Scheme as it has encouraged healthy competition among Departmental Directors, State Coordinators, Zonal and Local Government Inspectors and indeed the entire workforce. In particular, a number of State Coordinators have intensified efforts towards execution of critical projects through public private partnerships in their states. These projects include building and renovation of Orientation Camp Hostels, Clinics, fence, Secretariat Office Complex and other Ventures as well as maximizing the utilization of Corps potentials and services.

From the foregoing, in his three years sojourn in NYSC, Major General Sulaiman Kazaure has succeeded in charting a new course for the Scheme towards realizing the dream of the founding fathers to utilize the service corps as a pivot and platform to drive the attainment of a strong, united and prosperous Nigeria. His recent promotion to the rank of a Major General, Fellowship award from Chemical Society of Nigeria, Leadership award from Leadership newspapers, NIPR and the many other laurels he has received are definitive acknowledgement of the incontrovertible lasting legacies he has bequeathed to the Scheme.

When his administration runs its full course, in addition to the many significant firsts he recorded including the first Doctorate degree holder and Major General to head NYSC, he will be leaving fulfilled that during his era as the chief executive, the service corps recorded unprecedented leap in fortunes and achievements.

*Emmanuel Onwubiko is head of the Human rights writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) and blogs @www.emmanuelonwubiko.com; www.huriwa@blogspot.com.

Father in Court for Raping three of his daughters.

One Mr. Ogba is charged with sexually molesting his daughters aged 25, 20 and 13 at their home in Oke-Ogbe town, Atura bus stop, Badagry, Lagos.

His Wife Mrs. Tope Ogba, yesterday told an Ikeja Domestic Violence and Sexual Offence Court that her husband, Gabriel raped their two adult daughters.

Led in evidence by the prosecutor, Mrs. K. A. Momoh-Ayokambi, the witness alleged that he also defiled their underage daughter and torched her when she reported him to the police.

Mrs Ogba said she was unaware of the sexual molestation, which had been on for years, until it was revealed by the youngest daughter.

She said: “I did not know what was going on; it was when he assaulted my third daughter that I got to know what was going on. I later heard about the assault of my older daughters from neighbours.

“When I asked my older daughters about the rumours, they initially denied it. I got to know about the assault of my third daughter from her teacher.

“I confronted my husband, he said it was a conspiracy against him by our daughters. I told him that a young child cannot come up with such allegation against him.

“Ever since I confronted him, I have had no peace at home. He beats me up and threatens me.”

The trader said a month after she reported the case, he became aggressive towards her.

Wider Cross-examination by Ogba’s counsel, Mr E. Obelu, Mrs Ogba said she did not know when the sexual molestation began.

“I do not know when he started molesting our daughters. I have been the breadwinner of the family.”

The 13-year-old girl’s, testimony which came after her mother was taken in camera.

Justice Sururat Soladoye ordered the court cleared because the witness is a minor.

Breaking: Hoodlums set Anambra police station on fire.

A police station in Ajali, Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State has been set on fire allegedly by hoodlums.

The hoodlums also set free some prisoners after beating up some police officers, reports have claimed.

However, the state’s Police Public Relations Officer, Haruna Mohammed said, “It’s a case of fire incident for now until the contrary is proved through discreet investigation.”

He said “the Commissioner of Police, Mustapha Dandaura is presently at the scene for on the spot assessment.”

He ordered the DC Department of Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department to conduct a thorough investigation in order to ascertain circumstances surrounding the incident.”

Meanwhile in was reported that  members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are currently protesting at the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Rivers State.

The protest is premised on the recent ruling by the Supreme Court over the stay of execution issued to INEC on fielding candidates for elective positions in Rivers State.

However, policemen and soldiers have fired teargas to disperse the crowd.

There is heavy presence of security operatives in the area, as the protesters are insisting that elections will not hold in Rivers if the APC candidates do not contest in the elections.

Details soon…

44-year-old Man, defiles 6-year-old girl.

Rafiu Moruf, 44-year-old, was arrested on February 11 by detectives attached to Ogun State Police Command, for allegedly defiling a six-year-old girl.

The suspect, who lives behind SS Secondary School Aferiku in Idiroko, was arrested following a complaint by the mother of the victim who reported that she noticed an unusual behavior from her daughter which prompted her to closely examine the girl.

The mother of the child further stated that on close examination, she noticed semen in her private part and on questioning the girl, she revealed to her how the suspect took her into his room and had carnal knowledge of her.

The arrest was confirmed by Ogun State police spokesperson, Abimbola Oyeyemi,  He said upon the report, the DPO Idiroko, CSP Amodu Aloko, led detectives to the suspect’s house where he was arrested.

He said on interrogation, the suspect confessed to the commission of the crime and the state’s Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Iliyasu has ordered the immediate transfer of the suspect to the Anti-Human Trafficking and Child Labour Unit of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID) for proper investigation and prosecution.

“The victim has been taken to hospital for medical treatment and report,” he added.

Thousands of Nigerian Fans Still In Russia After World Cup

Russian Interior Ministry has confirmed that 1,863 Nigerians who were in the country for the last year’s FIFA World Cup are yet to leave.

The figure which was gotten from the FAN ID system adds to the more than

5,000 supporters who have remained illegally.

According to the ministry’s report, more than 12,000 World Cup fans are still Russia as of December 31.

“In the main, they were all law-abiding and left the country in their own time,” migration department head Andrei Kayushin had said last week.

Majority of the fans gained entry into Russia without visa, provided they held a FAN ID document.

Nigerians have the highest number followed by Vietnam (911) and Bangladesh (456) – neither of whom were playing at the 32-team tournament.

Senegal, who have an estimated 253 citizens still in the country.

The Interior Ministry has said that work to expel those in the country illegally will continue, and is expected to be completed by the end of March.

Around 650,000 foreign fans visited Russia during the tournament, according to the ministry.

I Wole Soyinka will not be voting for either the two so-called contesting parties.

In an interactive session that was held at the Freedom Park, Lagos, on Thursday, Wole Soyinka says the presidential candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are only worthy of “absolute rejection” as the country needs a new direction he stated this at the Citizen Forum

 He also stated that he was open to supporting an “alternative” candidate.

He said; “It is time for a totally new direction, and when an alternative emerges, we will give the candidate our backing.

“For the avoidance of doubt, let me make my position quite clear because I don’t want any ambiguity; I Wole Soyinka will not be voting for either the two so-called contesting parties. I find both of them worthy of absolute rejection.

“For a number of reasons which I will not go into here, I’m not interested in a comparative assessment. My position is simply that it is time for a totally new direction. And obviously, I’m not the only one; as I’m speaking, there is a coalition having its meeting in Lagos from which they hope to produce a consensus candidate.

“There is another group meeting in Abuja, also at the end would send us their consensus candidate. Things have been going on quietly in the background to try and change the direction of this nation in a very positive way, and to make the public understand that they do not have to be enslaved permanently to the old discredited order. It is my sole business in this election.

“I don’t believe in what is called negative vote, which means, for me, throwing your vote in a waste basket, I believe instead in a creative vote, not a protest vote, not a negative vote but a creative vote. And a creative vote means that the will to at least sow a seed through your vote that will germinate eventually. The pace of germination is beyond the control of everyone, but it is never too early to make a beginning. It has happened before in other societies. When a dark horse emerges from nowhere and trumps all the political juggernauts caterpillars and so on with their performers, worthless, their capacity for violence and treachery.”

New minimum wage: Reps approves N30,000, Ignore Burahi and Govs.

The House of Representatives has approved the sum of N30,000 as the new national minimum wage.

The approval followed the adoption of the report by the ad hoc committee set up on the New Minimum Wage Bill presented to the National Assembly.

Public hearing on the bill was held by the committee,

The President had in the executive bill sought the approval of N27,000 as against the N30,000 agreed upon by stakeholders.

The Federal Government and state governors insisted on the N27,000 proposed in the bill but the Organised Labour and the Organised Private Sector insisted on N30,000.

Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, who is the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum said at the hearing that the states, which had earlier proposed N22,000, had now concurred with the Council of State on N27,000.

The lawmakers amended Clause 3(1).

The old version read, “As from the commencement of this bill, every employer, except as provided for under this bill, shall pay a wage not less than a national minimum wage of N27,000 per month to every worker under his establishment.”

The amended version reads, “As from the commencement of this bill, every employer, except as provided for under this bill, shall pay a wage not less than a national minimum wage of N30,000 per month to every worker under his establishment.”

The lawmakers also amended Clause 10(2) to raise the fine for non-compliance with the proposed law by an employer.

It now reads, “Any employer who fails to comply with the provisions of the sub-clause 1 of this clause commits an offence and is liable on conviction to (a) a fine not exceeding N75,000 (against the N5,000 earlier proposed) and (b) an additional penalty not exceeding N10,000 for each day the offence continues.”

The Deputy Speaker, Mr Yusuf Lasun, who chaired the committee, explained why the lawmakers chose to accept the workers’ demand.

He said, “Sometime last week, the executive sent a bill to amend some sections of the Principal Act of the Minimum Wage Act, of which one of the most important amendments that we are about to carry out is moving the minimum wage from N18,000 to N27,000 that was recommended in the bill.

“We had a public hearing which was aired live and it was there and then that we realised that the tripartite committee that was set up by Mr President actually did recommend N30,000 as the minimum wage. It was a public hearing that was well attended.

“Everybody is of the opinion that the time is right and that it is even overdue. So, in the executive bill that the executive sent, the only thing that was touched is the minimum wage itself.”

Black Panther wins top prize at SAG awards

Black Panther

Superhero film Black Panther has won the top prize at the Screen Actors Guild awards (SAGs).

The box office hit picked up best ensemble cast award in a motion picture, the SAG ceremony’s version of the best film prize.

Asked if Black Panther had changed the film industry, lead actor Chadwick Boseman replied: “My answer to that is…to be young, gifted and black.”

The only British winner was Emily Blunt for her performance in A Quiet Place.

The actress picked up the prize for best supporting actress for the film, which was directed by and co-starred her husband John Krasinski.

She looked shocked as she accepted her gong: “I am going to share this completely with my husband, John Krasinski, because the entire experience of doing this with you has completely pierced my heart directly. You are a stunning filmmaker.”

Emily Blunt and John Krasinski

Despite four nominations, Oscars frontrunner A Star is Born failed to pick up an award.

Glenn Close beat The Favourite star Olivia Colman to take home the best actress prize for her role in The Wife, replicating her success at the Golden Globes.

Rami Malek achieved the same repeat success, picking up the best actor award for playing Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody.

Mahershala Ali was honoured with the best supporting actor prize for his part in Green Book, beating British hopeful Richard E Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

The SAGs also honour the stars of television and it was Amazon Prime series The Marvellous Mrs Maisel which swept the comedy prizes, taking the award for best ensemble in a comedy series, as well as outstanding performance by a female actor in a comedy series for Rachel Brosnahan and male actor in a comedy series for Tony Shalhoub.

The prize for best ensemble in a TV drama went to This Is Us.

Best actor went to Jason Bateman for Ozark, with Sandra Oh honoured with best actress for Killing Eve.

Other TV winners included Patricia Arquette for Escape at Dannemora and Darren Criss for The Assassination of Gianni Versace.

Black Panther also won best action performance by a stunt ensemble.

News credit; BBC News

Nigerians Must Resist President Buhari’s Attack on the Constitution. BY DR. OLISA AGBAKOBA, OON, SAN.

President Muhammadu Buhari`s suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen is the most brazen assault on Nigeria`s constitutional history. The President has obviously not listened to the advice of the Hon. Attorney General of the Federation or the Attorney General of the Federation has misadvised him or both.

President Buhari claims that the suspension of the Chief Justice Onnoghen is pending the determination of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT. This is simply not true. The CCT itself adjourned proceedings in respect of Justice Onnoghen`s matter in order to determine if it had jurisdiction to try Justice Onnoghen. The President`s decision contravenes the Ruling of the CCT.

There are at least six (6) pending cases in superior courts of Nigeria and one in the Court of Appeal. All these cases ruled that Justice Onnoghen should remain in office pending when all cases against him are resolved. These Rulings bind the President of Nigeria. In any case, Section 292 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria sets out the procedure for removing or suspending the Chief Justice of Nigeria. The power to suspend or remove the Chief Justice of Nigeria vests in the Senate side of the National Assembly.

For all these reasons the purported suspension of Chief Justice Onnoghen is the gravest insult to the Nigerian constitution in history.It is difficult to understand how President Buhari will expect my vote of confidence in the February polls if he wantonly denigrates and desecrates our Constitution.

I call on all Nigerians to take the strongest possible view of the President`s conduct. I am shocked that Mr Justice Mohammed Tanko would have offered himself to be sworn in as the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.

I call on the Chief Justice of Nigeria to refuse to be pushed out of office. The NBA must rise to resist this assault to our constitution.

Our judges must rise; Civil Society Organizations must rise. This is potentially the beginning of our descent into constitutional anarchy.

Dr Olisa Agbakoba, OON, SAN.