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Ex- TETFund Executive Sec. Advocates for priority funding of public varsities

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Former Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has emphasised the necessity for prioritising government intervention in public universities over private ones.

He spoke at a book launch held on the campus of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo State. The book is titled: ‘The Psychology of Growing Old: A Personal Experience for Both Young and Old,’ written by Bashorun Sehinde Arogbofa, Prof. Sulaiman Bogoro.

Expressing his views at the launch, Bogoro who served as the Executive Secretary of TETFUND from April 2014 to February 2016, addressed the ongoing debate regarding the inclusion of private universities in the TETFund scheme for infrastructure development.

Despite calls from private universities for government support, Bogoro argued that public universities enroll a larger number of students, warranting greater attention from government funds.

His remarks shed light on the disparity in student enrollment between public and private universities, underscoring the importance of directing resources towards institutions serving a larger population of students.

According to him, the primary purpose of establishing the intervention agency was to address the deficiencies in public institutions.

He stated that this is not lacking in private universities.

He said, “There was wisdom from 1988 to 1992 when the ETF (Education Trust Fund) then negotiated. The wisdom is simple. Today, the private universities outnumber the public ones by about 20. The public universities are about 120, while the private ones are about 160.

“Invariably, we say we have more private universities, but in terms of student’ populations, the private universities are holding only less than 10 percent of the population. What does that say? The majority of the students are in public institutions. That was the wisdom of ASUU at the time, and it is still valid.

“If you look at the private institutions, children of the poorest of the poor are unable to pay. Some of them charge in dollars. These are some of the considerations that the government will review. Some of us were able to complete our studies because of the intervention of the government.

“But then, TETfund, which has admitted private universities as partners in research through the National Research Fund, has now started admitting private universities as co-partners in research. They may not be principal investigators but they are second partners, and you can fund them up to 50 percent of the total research grant cost for any particular intervention in terms of priorities for Nigeria’s knowledge economy.”

In his remarks, the author and former Secretary General of Afenifere, Bashorun Sehinde Arogbofa, lamented the decline in the standard of education in the country, particularly, reading culture, saying urgent intervention of the government and other stakeholders was needed to save the sector from total collapse.

He said, “The book industry is dying. There are no longer any libraries. I discovered that only two of the renowned publishing houses still have my books: University Press and Longman. All the others, where are they? Heineman has folded up, and MacMillan has gone into oblivion.

“Education is dying. I know we have modern technology like this and that, but we can’t begin all this without writing, without producing the books, and we are not producing. Where do we go?

“This is a challenge for us in education. And of course, without books, we can’t move ahead. I’m aware that some will write in their bedroom or publish in the kitchen, and nobody, no editor, will know what they have written, and they will go in front of their house to start selling the books. The next thing is that we find them in the hands of our students. And that is where education is going.”

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EID-el-Kabir: Tinubu calls for reflection on sacrifice, duty, unity

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President Bola Tinubu has urged Muslim faithful to reflect on the occasion of Eid-el-Kabir, an event that denotes sacrifice, faith, and obedience to the will of the Almighty.

“The President congratulates the Muslim faithful and prays that Allah accepts their supplications and acts of obedience,” Chief Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President, Media and Publicity, said in a statement in Abuja on Saturday.

Tinubu enjoined Nigerians to reflect on the essence of the occasion, which bears strong meaning and significance for the nation.

The President emphasised that sacrifice and duty were essential ingredients to nation-building, “noting that it takes collective purpose, will, and action to bring about great change.”

He called on citizens to spare a prayer for the nation for continuous peace and stability while working according to purpose in promoting unity, peace, and progress.

“The President acknowledges the sacrifices that Nigerians have made in the past one year as his administration sets the nation on a firm pedestal of growth and development.

“President Tinubu affirms that the sacrifices and great expectations of citizens will not come to nought as already propitious outcomes are beginning to manifest with the economy strengthening and vibrancy returning to critical sectors.

“The President reassures Nigerians that his administration is prioritizing their physical, social, and economic security and will not relent on this noble endeavour,” Ngelale said.

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Nigerian airspace fully covered by radar – NAMA

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This is contained in a statement signed by the Managing Director of NAMA, Mr Ahmed Farouk, on Saturday in Lagos.

Farouk said that the radar stations in Nigeria located in Kano, Lagos, Abuja, and Port-Harcourt are all serviceable.

He described as false and misleading the claims by a blogger that an unidentified aircraft was spotted at the Presidential Villa, Abuja undetected.

According to him, radar services for Terminal and Enroute flights are positively identified and provide air navigation services to airspace users.

“The agency hereby wishes to state that the claim that the Nigerian airspace is not covered by radar is false and misleading.

“The radar stations in Nigeria (Kano, Lagos, Abuja, and Port-Harcourt) are serviceable. Radar services for terminal and enroute flights are positively identified and provide air navigation services to airspace users.

“Yes, it is true that the TRACON system, like any other electronics systems, is undergoing an upgrade of software and modernisation to meet the ever growing demand for efficient, effective and seamless air traffic management services.

“Furthermore, the welfare of Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers in terms of salaries and allowances is not in contention, as to suggest that it is the lowest in the world.”

Farouk added: “The reported ‘unidentified’ aircraft is a security terminology. In real terms, the aircraft in question is known, but only to the ATC.

“The violation was in the interest of safety, as a result of adverse weather (serious thunderstorm) on the said date.

“The purported circular issued by the NCAA is for airlines to be guided from straying into the marked and published prohibited or restricted areas of the Nigerian airspace.

“It is obvious that the journalist in question does not understand the workings of the surveillance systems, hence his misconstrued and misguided information on Primary and Secondary Radar.

“The agency shall willfully volunteer information on her services to anyone who requires them at any time,” said Farouk.”

The NAMA boss assured of the agency’s commitment to ensure sustainable welfare packages for its staff, especially the Air Traffic Controllers.

According to him, NAMA remains committed to its responsibility to provide safe, effective, economic, and efficient air navigation services in Nigeria.

He said that the existence of robust, effective civil and military coordination and collaboration guarantees a secured airspace and air navigation.

“We are pleased to say that the Nigerian airspace is safe and secured,” he noted.

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Ohanaeze felicitates Okonjo-Iweala at 70

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The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has felicitated with the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr Okonjo-Iweala, as she clocked 70 years on Thursday.

The congratulatory message is contained in a statement in Enugu on Saturday by the Publicity Secretary of the group, Dr Alex Ogbonnia.

Ogbonnia said that the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu and Ohanaeze Ndigbo joined other numerous admirers to felicitate with Okonjo-Iweala.

Iwuanyanwu said “We felicitate one of our best; a cerebral modest woman of substance, a distinctive global icon and a renowned development economist.

“Ngozi Okonjo Iweala is a quintessential Igbo in character, ingenuity, elegance and integrity.

“Her trajectory is a veritable testament to the audacity of intellectual prowess, hard work, competence, self-confidence, humility, prudence and service to humanity.

“Our daughter, Okonjo-Iweala is a source of pride. She has distinguished herself in all the facets she has ever set her foot; at the Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Brookings Institution, World Bank and in the Nigerian government, among others”.

The Igbo leading group said Nigerians would always recall with nostalgia, the various economic reforms that Iweala introduced into the Nigerian financial institutions as a Minister of Finance; under President Olusegun Obasanjo.

He said she spearheaded negotiations with the Paris Club which led to the wiping out about $30 Billion of Nigeria’s Debt, including the outright cancellation of $18 Billion in favour of Nigeria.

Iwuanyanwu added that she introduced the monthly publication of the federal, state and local government shares of revenue from the country’s federation account.

“Back home, the keynote address delivered by Okonjo-Iweala at the South East Economic Summit at Owerri, Imo State, on Sept. 28, 2023 still reverberates with profound wisdom, and instructive reflections.

“On behalf of all the National Executive Committee (NEC), states and local government structures of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide; and indeed all the sons and daughters of Igbo land, I wish you many more years in good health and full of more accomplishments.”

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