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Kogi queries monarch over alleged disrespect to Buhari

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The Kogi State Government has issued a query to the paramount traditional ruler and Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, Ado Ibrahim, for refusing to welcome the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to the state.

Buhari, who was in the state on December 29, 2022 to inaugurate some projects including the palace of the Ohinoyi built by Governor Yahaya Bello, was received by top government officials and foremost traditional rulers but the Vice President of Kogi State council of chiefs was absent.

In a letter to the prominent monarch signed by Enimola Eniola, Director of Chieftaincy Affairs, Ibrahim was accused of exhibiting deliberate attitude and actions capable of bringing “Kogi State and Ebiraland in particular to grave disrepute”.

According to the letter, he refused to come out and receive the President at the designated venue rightly approved by Governor Bello.

The letter read, “It has been observed with serious concern that you have exhibited deliberate attitude and actions capable of bringing Kogi State and Ebira land in particular to grave disrepute. These actions are quite unbecoming of a revered Royal Father of your status.

“Specifically, you were aware through many fora of the glorious visit of Mr. President and Commander-in-Chief of Nigerian Armed Forces, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari to Okene on 29th December, 2022 to commission land mark projects executed by our dear Governor, His Excellency, Yahaya Bello.

“In a flagrant disregard to the persons and high offices of the President and the Governor, you bluntly refused to come out and receive the President at the designated venue rightly approved by the Executive Governor of the State.

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JAMB sanctions officials for asking candidate to remove hijab

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The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has sanctioned some of its accredited officials for demanding that a hijab-wearing candidate at Saturday’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination must remove her headgear.

The officials, at one of the examination centres in Lagos, had insisted that removal of the hijab by the candidate was a prerequisite for her to have access into the examination hall.

“The Board deeply regrets the incident and, on investigation, discovered, that this particular incident, or others in the past, is not linked to any of its examination guidelines.

“It was rather a product of the misplaced priority of some of the accredited partners or officials who claimed ignorance of the Board’s guidelines on accreditation.

“The guidelines ensure that all candidates are screened, allowing only female officials to screen female candidates before allowing them to gain entrance into the hall.

“The situation was instantly addressed by a senior official of the Board at the centre and the candidate in question was allowed in after the usual checks with her hijab.

“Since ignorance of the law is not an excuse, the officials have been sanctioned to serve as deterrent to others,’’ the board’s Public Communication Advisor, Dr Fabian Benjamin, stated in Abuja on Sunday.

He noted that the culpable officials acted in ignorance as JAMB had no policy barring candidates from wearing the religious paraphernalia peculiar to their faith.

Benjamin stated also that about 1.2 million candidates would have successfully taken the examination by Monday, April 22.

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NCDMB emerges as best performing agency in FG’s efficiency ranking 

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The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has retained its position as the best performing Federal Government agency in the transparency and efficiency ranking for the year 2023.

Dr Jumoke Oduwole,  Special Adviser to the President on Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) and Investment, stated this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.

Oduwole stated that ranking was published in the overall Business Facilitation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Acts (BFA) performance results for the year 2023, which was released in Abuja.

According to her, NCDMB topped other Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) in the Federal Government’s compliance ranking scale with 70.07 per cent score.

She quoted the BFA Compliance Report for January to December, 2023 as showing the top five MDAs with commendable performance to include NCDMB 70.07 per cent and Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) 66.9per cent.

Oduwole said the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) had 65.12per cent to place third, while Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) had 65.04 per cent to occupy the fourth position.

“The Nigerian Export- Import (NEXIM) Bank finished the year on 63.51per cent to place fifth,” she added.

The PEBEC boss urged MDAs to take concrete steps to improve efficiency and transparency ratings before the end of the 2024 reporting period, as only 10 MDAs out 39 scored above 50 per cent.

“With only 10 MDAs scoring above 55 per cent and a weighted average score of 334.8 per cent across the 39 MDAs, strategic measures to enhance sector-specific metrics will need to be prioritised.

“MDAs must take concrete steps to improve efficiency and transparency ratings before the end of the 2024 reporting period.

“Most importantly, MDAs should as a matter of urgency set-up BFA Implementation Reform Committees.

“These committees will be responsible for steering BFA implementation initiatives in the MDAs, accelerating the strides taken in promoting a culture of transparency and accountability,” she said.

Oduwole urged the MDAs to draw insights from empirical data and past BFA reports (since 2018) to drive essential improvements in efficiency and transparency.

“The high-performing MDAs demonstrated commendable performance in both efficiency and transparency through diligent adherence to their Service Level Agreements (SLAs) during the 2023 reporting year.

“The overall performance of MDAs highlights the need for massive improvement in key BFA compliance metrics.

“Over the past seven years, PEBEC has consistently published Compliance Reports, providing an empirical analysis of the monthly reports from MDAs,” She said.

According to Oduwole, MDA’s EO1 performance score is based on efficiency and transparency measures, with a 70 per cent to 30 per cent ratio, respectively.

She said transparency, on the other hand, was assessed based on website updates, online service portals, detailed service information, timelines, costs, statutory requirements, and customer service contact details.

The PEBEC was established in July 2016 by the Federal Government to oversee Nigeria’s business environment intervention.

It had the dual mandate of removing bureaucratic and legislative constraints to doing business and improving  perception of the ease of doing business in Nigeria.

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Senate tasks stakeholders on strengthening commodities exchange

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The Senate has tasked relevant stakeholders in the Capital Market to strive hard to strengthen the commodities exchange toward actualising its full potential.

Sen. Osita Izunaso, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Capital Market, said this at a workshop for members of the committee, with the theme “On Infrastructure Financing Development of the Commodities Ecosystem through Commodities Exchanges” in Abuja on Sunday.

He said that executive and the legislature must work in harmony to ensure that commodities exchange was strengthened in line with the global best practices.

Izunaso said that the workshop was aimed at positioning the community exchange toward ensuring food security in the country as well as enhance foreign exchange earnings.

“We discover that people are talking about money market, capital market. Nobody is dwelling on commodity. So that is why we have to partner with Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange to bring the story nearer home.

“There must be need for us to ensure that all the export commodities in Nigeria should pass through the commodity exchange as a way of getting revenue for the country.

“Commodities exchanges are game-changers. They enable investment diversification, manage risk, ensure fair pricing and streamline transactions.

“To boost Nigeria’s competitiveness, we need a thriving commodities trading ecosystem,” he said.
Izunaso added:“Recent global events highlight the urgent need to diversify our economy. Prioritising and accelerating the development of non-oil commodities is crucial, especially to diversify foreign exchange sources.”

He said that the Lagos Commodities Exchange had recorded some major achievements lately.
recorded an upswing

“This demonstrates the potential of the sector. Commodities Exchanges are a path to progress.There is a clear consensus,” he said.

He also said that for Nigeria to overcome its challenges, economic diversification was essential adding that commodities exchanges could play a vital role in achieving the goals of job creation and economic growth.

The lawmaker said that the Senate through legislation, would ensure that there were adequate legal frameworks for commodity exchanges, warehouses and financing.

Also speaking, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Sabi Abdullahi said the ministry had been working to reverse food inflation and stem food crisis in the country.

He said that Nigeria had about 73 million hectares of arable land out of which only about 33 hectares were being cultivated.

“With this, our productivity is still low. I believe there is a lot to be done to raise the productivity of farmers.”

He said that to increase productivity, there was the need to improve on irrigation capabilities through dry season farming.

“Our findings show that farmers are finding it difficult to fuel irrigation facilities.

“We are suggesting that there are solar-powered irrigation pumps that members of the national assembly can use as part of their constituency programmes.

“So as to empower their farmers who are involved in dry season farming so that together, we can increase our production and improve the volume of food available, thereby reducing the impact of food inflation and of course, guaranteeing food security for our citizens,” he said.

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