Seek alternative means of funding, FG tells universities

The federal government has advised tertiary institutions to develop alternative means of generating funds to run their activities.

Adamu Adamu, minister of education, said this on Wednesday at the third conference of the committee of pro-chancellors of Nigerian universities, in Abuja.

Adamu, who was represented by Fatima Ahmad, director of tertiary education, said that poor deployment of information communications technology in the education sector was responsible for slow migration from traditional classrooms to smart classrooms.

“Resource constraint is a challenge we are facing. However, the reality for now is the effective and efficient management of all resources available –human, material or financial.

“I would also want to urge you to come up with a framework for funding tertiary education to augment the statutory sources which are not adequate. This is critical because education, as we all know, is a critical nexus in the development process.

“With the present drive for global comparability and harmonisation of tertiary education qualifications, ICT deployment is a must feature in our educational institutions. The current deployment is low and most education officials lack ICT skills.

“There is also a shortage of ICT personnel across the nation. Issues of broadband and power outages are constraining factors that government is trying to address. However, we must look out for alternative support because government cannot do it alone.”

In response, Kimse Okoko, chairman, committee of pro-chancellors of Nigerian universities, said that there were ongoing efforts by tertiary institutions to generate funds internally in order to bridge infrastructural development gap.

“We are encouraging our experts in our universities to get involved in publications so as to increase research collaborations leading to development and, thereby, increasing the internally generated revenue base of the universities,” he said.


Source: The Cable

We need fund to tackle kidnapping, says IG

Inspector-General of Police (IG) Ibrahim Idris has identified inadequate funding as the factor hindering the police from tackling kidnapping.

He noted that a lot needs to be done to follow up on prosecution of suspects in courts.

Idris spoke yesterday in Abuja during a seminar organised for Zonal and Command Police Public Relations Officers.

The theme of the one-day seminar was: “Public Perception and Improving the Image of Nigeria Police Force”.

On how funding has hampered the police in tackling kidnapping and some of its activities, the IG said: “Members of the National Assembly (NASS) are our survivors. Our progress depends on them because they need to pass our budget every year.

“I have said before now, the NPF is greatly underfunded and for us to give our best, we need to be properly funded. We need funds to pay for allowances, funds to address our administrative requirements and buy equipment.”

“We also have the issue of kidnapping that has become a challenge to us. We need a lot of fund to tackle this challenge. We need fund to enhance our intelligence gathering and address information that are in public space. These are issues that need to be addressed for the police to achieve maximum results.

“For us to have maximum effect in conducting our activities, we need fund to carry out these activities.”
On negative perception the public have about the police, the IG said: “We should come up with strategy to change the negative perception people have about us. We as police officers have to conduct ourselves in a positive way.

“We have to beat our drum loud and clear so that the public can see that their investment in the police is not in vain. If we keep quiet, the negative things that few us do will overshadow the whole good.”

On arrest and prosecution of cases in court, the police chief said: “When you arrest people, follow them to court and allow people monitor and appreciate what we do because people believe that the job stops after we arrest and parade suspects.

“Follow the cases and get the outcome of the cases. Sentencing and serving terms in prison serve as deterrent for future would-be criminals. They would understand that there is a price to pay for crime because you are either sentenced to death or you spend term in prison.”

Idris warned his men against the use of social media for the purpose of showcasing themselves and also using it to divulge classified information.

He noted that such acts were detrimental to the country’s security.

On how police officers are perceived, the resource person from United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), Dr. Olu Ogunsakin, said: “The overall legitimacy of the police depends much more on citizens’ perceptions of how the police treat them than on their perceptions of police success in reducing crime.

“Public confidence in and support for the police depends more on citizens perceptions of police officers’ motives than whether the outcome was personally favourable to the citizens.

“If people do not believe that the police are fair, the police may lose legitimacy and people’s confidence and trust in the police can be eroded.”

Why Nigeria Can’t Rely On Donors’ Funding- UNFPA Chief

Nigeria cannot continue to rely on donor support for family planning and lifesaving commodities, the Executive Director of the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA), Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin has said.

The UNFPA chief, who is also the UN Under Secretary, is in Nigeria for a three-day visit with the Permanent Secretary of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DfID), Mark Lowcock, to boost access to reproductive health services.

Estimates have it that DFID funds nearly 60 per cent of family planning commodities in Nigeria’s public health sector.

At a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema in Abuja, yesterday, Osotimehin said there has to be a larger commitment where the government should plan to transit out of “donor support over time.”

He called on states to step up support for life-saving interventions instead of leaving all funding and support to the Federal Government.

Osotimehin pledged the support of the UN agency for the Presidential Committee on North East Intervention, stressing that most of the support to the region would be channeled through the panel.

Onyema lamented how the insurgency in the North East was derailing the health and humanitarian situations of the people resident there.

The minister, however, maintained that government was working hard to ensure the streamlining of donor support for the region.

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Wike, Akpabio Deny Funding Niger Delta Avengers

The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, and ex-Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, have denied funding the Niger Delta Avengers.

Both men along with ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, and Chief Edwin Clark were among South-South leaders named as sponsors of the Niger Delta Avengers by the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, a group which split from the NDA.

Others mentioned in the list were Bayelsa State Governor,  Seriake Dickson; ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo (alias Tompolo); the founder, African Independent Television, Raymond Dokpesi; Kingsley Kuku; Kimi Angozi, and Patrick Akpobolokemi.

Wike, who spoke through his Special Assistant on Electronic Media, Mr. Simeon Nwakaudu, called on Nigerians to ignore the list.

On his part, Akpabio, the Senate Minority Leader, described the allegation as “baseless, reckless and senseless”.

“Senator Akpabio has no link with the Niger Delta Avengers or any other militant group for that matter,’’ a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Anietie Ekong, on Sunday said.

The reaction was similar for Clark, who spoke through his lawyer, Mr. Dotun Sowemimo.

He said, “The allegation is an attempt to undermine the efforts of the Niger Delta leaders to bring true, lasting peace to the region.

“Clark and other leaders in the region believe in the unity of Nigeria. The list is a cheap lie, which is meant to distract the peace moves by the elders and leaders in the Niger Delta.”

Dokpesi also distanced himself from the Niger Delta Avengers, stressing that he remained committed to strengthening the unity and stability of Nigeria.

He said, “I don’t know who is giving that report; I have never met any member of the NDA in my life, I have no association with them and I don’t know who they are. I have been committed to strengthening the unity and stability of the country.”

A former spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Olisa Metuh, also denied having anything to do with the NDA.

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Minister Of Defence Promises Increased Funding For Military

 The Nigerian government has promised to provide the critical needs for the military to carry out its constitutional duties.

The Minister of Defence, Mr Mansur Dan-Ali, made the pledge on Monday in Abuja.

Mr Dan-Ali explained that besides infrastructures, the government was poised to invest in the much needed operational platforms, hardware and equipment, human capital development and professional military education.

The Minister made the promise at the commissioning of the permanent site of the National Defence College.

The event threw up issues of the importance, with focus on a better financed military.

The Minister of Defence further commended the National Defence College for the giant strides and reemphasised that the government would provide more funding for the military under the present administration.

He also promised to ensure that the permanent site of the Defence College would be completed in the shortest possible time.

Credit: ChannelsTV

ITF DG Denies Funding Jonathan’s Campaign With N700m

The Director General, Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Mrs Juliet Chukkas-Onaeko, said the allegation that she used the agency’s N700 million to fund former President Goodluck Jonathan’s election campaign was untrue. Speaking at a media roundtable in Abuja on Thursday, Chukkas-Onaeko described the accusation allegedly made by some members of staff of the organisation as ‘’ridiculous and painful’’.
She stated that those peddling the `falsehood’ should have known that it was impossible for her to sign off such huge amount of money without appropriation. She said, “I am sure that when they wrote that thing they expected me to go and commit suicide or for the President to just shoot my head.

“If I were going to steal money to fund somebody’s campaign, where did they expect me to get it from? N700 million is not what you just sign off like that. “The former Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Olusegun Aganda, under whom I served, is a professional, not a politician.
“I don’t know of other chief executive officers under him, but nobody ever told me to bring money for campaign; PDP never asked me for any money,’’ Chukkas –Onaeko said. She also dismissed the allegation that she transferred N1.2 billion to the Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA) without due process.

She explained that the money was provided for in the agency’s 2014 budget to fund the ITF-NECA Technical Skills Development Programme (TSDP) launched in 2009. “Every year, there is funding provided for it, which is in the budget and is approved by the National Assembly. “By the time I came on board in 2014, they had already disbursed about 70 per cent of the money. That budget wasn’t drawn up by me.
“What I saw in the trend was that on a yearly basis, the money allocated for the programme was increased by between 10 and 20 per cent to reflect current economic realities. “But, in the 2015 budget, which is the only one I have presided over, I refused to approve the increase. “Instead, we increased the number of participating companies from below 10 at inception to the current 14 which is against the initial arrangement.

I expected to be commended for that,’’ she said. The director general said that she had stepped on many toes since she came on board by blocking the avenues through which they were making easy money from the agency. One of such avenues, she disclosed, was the outrageous monthly rent of N9.5 million being paid by the agency on a property housing one of its offices before she assumed duty.
According to her, the landlord was forced to reduce it to N5 million monthly following her insistence that the rent was either renegotiated or the office be relocated to a cheaper accommodation. “I think this is one of the ways I’m stepping on many toes, because people who are used to making easy money will definitely react when you attempt to block them. “Corruption is something that when you fight it, it fights back even more aggressively and if you are not careful you end up being the corrupt one.
“That is the jacket that they have sown, but I refuse to wear it. Anybody saying I’ve taken millions illegally should come and check, the system is open for them.” Chukkas-Onaeko also debunked the workers’ allegation that she was insensitive to their welfare, saying that within her one year in office she had worked a lot on staff welfare. She stated that staff salary was doubled, while the money set aside for staff loan was also increased from N250 million to N500 million.

Credit: Vanguard

Aviation Ministry Funding Stopped After Oduah Left- Perm. Sec.

The Senate ad hoc Committee on Aviation which is chaired by Rabiu Kwankwaso (APC-Kano State) Tuesday, held a public hearing on Tuesday.

Heads of parastatals and other officials of the Ministry of Aviation led by the Permanent Secretary, Binta Bello, attended the hearing at the National Assembly.

Ms. Bello lamented the challenge of funding which she said was affecting the Nigerian aviation sector, particularly infrastructure at various airports.

Ms. Bello said, “We have financial constraints. Budgetary provision can never finance the projects that were opening up in all the airports in Nigeria.”

She hailed the remodeling of the airports under former Minister of Aviation, now Senator, Stella Oduah.
Ms. Bello, however, said the projects were stalled as funding for the projects stopped immediately Ms. Oduah was removed.

“She (Oduah) started a very good job. Every airport was opened up. Well she’s sitting here. She may tell us where she got the funds. But records showed she got the money from intervention funds.

“Since she left, these intervention funds stopped. We depend on budget. On capital project, we got very little amount of money which can in no way take care of over 150 projects in our airports.”

Credit: PremiumTimes

Search For Funding For Nigeria Is Giving Us Hypertension- Okonjo-Iweala

Over 70 per cent of the workers in the Federal Ministry of Finance, including top officials, have high blood pressure as a result of excessive stress at work.

?T?he Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and the Permanent Secretary, Anastasia Daniel-Nwaobia, who spoke in Abuja at the commissioning of the Federal Ministry of Finance Welfare Facilities, including crèche and clinic, said many of the workers in the Finance Ministry were affected.

The Minister ?said ?even the Minister of State, Bashir Yuguda, and Permanent Secretary had hypertension as ?confirmed after a recent medical test conducted in the ministry.

Although the Minister later apologized to the Minister of State and the Permanent Secretary for disclosing their health status publicly, she attributed the development to the stress the top managers and staff in the ministry go through in the course of discharging their duties.

“It sounds unbelievable. But, it’s true. The three of us are on medication.  At times, we have to be in the office as late as 1 a.m. looking for how the country will get money to finance her activities,” she said.

She said now that the clinic has been established and certified by the Federal Ministry of Health, the staff can take full advantage of the facility to take care of themselves.

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ISIS Operative Admits to Getting Funding Through US

An ISIS Pakistani militant has confessed to getting funds via the United States, says a report by a leading Pakistani newspaper.

The ISIS operative, identified as Yousaf al-Salafi, told Pakistan’s law enforcement agencies that he received funding through the US, the Express Tribune reported on Wednesday.

Salafi was taken into custody in December 2014, according to the paper, although other reports said he was arrested on January 22.

“During investigations, Yousaf al Salafi revealed that he was getting funding – routed through America – to run the organization in Pakistan and recruit young people to fight in Syria,” a source close to the investigations made the announcement.

The operative also admitted to receiving $600 for each person he managed to recruit and send to war-torn Syria.

“The US has been condemning the IS activities but unfortunately has not been able to stop funding of these organizations, which is being routed through the US,” a source claimed, using an alternative name for ISIS.

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