1. Nigeria gives schools guidelines for reopening
The Nigerian Government has directed school owners in the country to meet specific guidelines by 29 July, towards the reopening of schools, at a date to be announced later.
Nwajiuba said the ministry, having consulted widely with the Federal Ministry of Health, Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Education in Emergencies Working Group, had developed and circulated guidelines for the reopening of schools.
According to him, school owners are to prepare and comply with the guidelines.
He said schools were to undertake self-assessment and send feedback to states ministries of education, not later than July 29.
He added that consultations with relevant stakeholders would be held to review the situation and decide on a specific date for reopening or otherwise.
The Minister also said that having taken the painful, but necessary decision not to reopen schools without preparations to ensure the safety of students and teachers, the ministry had continued consultations with stakeholders, and a mechanism to assess and monitor compliance would be put in place.
“Since Tuesday last week, we have consulted widely with stakeholders in the sector, including commissioners of education in all the states of the federation and the Association of Private School Owners of Nigeria (APSON).
“Others are the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools,(NAPPS), Provosts of colleges of education, rectors of polytechnics, vice chancellors of universities, some state governors, and development partners.
Commenting on WAEC, which has already released a timetable for examinations, Nwajiuba said: “We met with WAEC on Monday, and have agreed to further consult with four other countries on a new examination date.
“We appreciate the concern shown by all stakeholders and noted the divergent views expressed on the matter.”
He assured Parents that the safety of students and teachers was paramount and that the ministry was working assiduously towards the speedy reopening of schools for the exit classes to sit for their examinations.
2. Abdulrazak promises interest-free loans to private school owners
Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara, on Friday promised interest-free loan and grants to private school owners to enable them pay their workers and prevent job loss.
AbdulRazaq made the promise in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Rafiu Ajakaiye, in Ilorin on Friday.
The governor, during a virtual meeting with members of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) said that he would “not be blind to the plight” of any citizen,
”These include, proprietors and workers across private schools in the state who have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic due to the closure of schools and some other businesses.
“The government will, therefore, consider your request for grants or loan, which of course will be interest-free.
3. Edo 2020: 35 political parties endorse Gov. Obaseki for 2nd term
A coalition of 35 registered political parties, under the aegis of Coalition of Political Parties (CPP), in Edo on Friday endorsed the re-election of governor Godwin Obaseki and Philip Shaibu for another four years.
4. Bolaji Abdullahi: If airlines can operate, students can write WASSCE
Bolaji Abdullahi, former minister of youth and sports development, has asked the federal government to find “creative ways to manoeuvre around” the coronavirus pandemic so that Nigerian students can write the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) this year.
The federal government has said students of its 104 schools across the country will not participate in the yearly examination because of the pandemic, urging states and private school owners to follow suit.
However, a number of states in southern Nigeria have declared their intention to put measures in place and go on with the examination, while other West African countries are also going ahead.
Abdullahi, who was also Kwara state commissioner for education from 2003 to 2007, told TheCable that the federal government should not foreclose the options before it.
“The best we can do is to find ways to keep life going even in the midst of the pandemic and continue to find creative ways to manoeuvre around it. It is what we are doing with the airlines. It is what we are doing with the markets. It is what we are doing with sundry other sectors that we have allowed to resume even as the pandemic rages still,” he explained.
He said the decision not to participate in the exams will affect 1.5 million students this year, and this can get complicated if the pandemic continues into next year, meaning the number of affected students will double.
Abdullahi said: “The Federal Government is understandably afraid of what could happen, God forbid, if it allows people’s children to gather to write the SSCE examination in the midst of the raging pandemic of COVID-19.
“When it comes to COVID-19, there is no easy answer, and there will always be trade-off. Federal Government is therefore choosing to err on the side of caution by asking children not to write the examinations.
5. WAEC considering postponement of WASSCE, says FG
The federal government says the West African Examination Council (WAEC) is considering shifting the date of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
In a statement on Friday, Ben Goong, director of information, federal ministry of education, quoted Emeka Nwajiuba, minister of state for education, as saying this as a result of a meeting which held on Monday.
WASSCE had been scheduled to begin on August 4, but the federal government announced that students of unity schools would not participate in the examination owing to COVID-19 concerns.
However, according to the statement, discussions will continue with four other countries to determine a new date for the examination.
Goong added that schools have been given till July 29, 2020, to ensure that their facilities are ready for resumption in line with the guidelines issued by the ministry of education for safe reopening of places of learning.
The ministry said a decision would be taken after the July 29 deadline on resumption of schools for all categories of learners.
“We have consulted widely with stakeholders in the sector, including commissioners of education in all the states of the federation, the Association of Private School Owners of Nigeria,(APSON), National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools,(NAPPS), Provosts of Colleges of Education, Rectors of Polytechnics, Vice-Chancellors of Universities, some State Governors, and development partners,” Nwajiuba was quoted as saying.
6. Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot to be buried July 23
The Nigerian Air Force says Tolulope Arotile, the first female combat helicopter pilot in the history of the force, will be buried on July 23.
In a statement on Friday, Ibikunle Daramola, NAF spokesman, said the late officer will be buried in Abuja with full military honours.
He also said a government delegation will visit Arotile’s family a day to her burial.
“The remains of late Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, NAF’s first combat helicopter pilot who died on July 14 will be laid to rest with full military honours at the National Military Cemetery in Abuja on July 23,” the statement read.
7. Saraki opens up on why Magu was after him
Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki has revealed why the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu went after him with zeal to prosecute him.
Saraki said Magu decided to take the fight against him personal because the eight National Assembly did not confirm his appointment as substantive EFCC Chairman.
The former Senate President was reacting to his victory against the EFCC at the Federal High Court in Lagos.
Justice Rilwan M. Aikawa had dismissed in its totality the application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for forfeiture order on Saraki’s home in Ilorin, Kwara State.
He said the last five years had been very challenging for him and his family, as he had endured and defeated one false allegation and malicious litigation after another, in an ill-motivated persecution, intimidation and harassment, through which some vested interests sought to damage his name and label him with charges of corruption.
“But with the grace of Allah, I have always been victorious. I thank God for the outcome of this case which is the fifth victory in cases in which the EFCC was either the main investigating agency or the plaintiff.
“It is obvious that the EFCC leadership under its erstwhile acting chair, Mr. Ibrahim Mustapha Magu decided to take the issue of his non-confirmation by the 8th Senate which I led, personally. However, I know that the Senate under my leadership only followed the due and normal procedure during the confirmation process and we never executed any personal agenda against Magu.
“The records of the Senate during the period is there for the perusal of all Nigerians interested in the truth. I hope that with the outcome of today’s case, the EFCC learns that a serious issue like the fight against corruption should not be reduced to a forum-shopping means to execute a personal vendetta or prosecute a parochial agenda.
“Fighting corruption and combating economic crime requires stakeholders to eschew coercion while employing upright diligence, due process, fairness, equity and broad mindedness in dealing with all cases and persons.
The deployment of a state institution to fight a personal and partisan battle, particularly with the use of the mass and social media as championed by the EFCC was aimed at inflicting damage to my name, reputation and elective public service record, through a targeted misinformation and disinformation campaign of calumny, also directed at intimidating the judiciary,” he stated.
According to Saraki, it was directed at giving the wrong impression about him, as he recorded yet another vindication by the competent court of law, saying that God’s willing, his focus would now shift to more serious issues.
He said it was the grace of Allah and the support of his family that saw him through these past trying years, stressing that his family members had withstood with courage, candor, resilience and grace the war of attrition which was also directed at them.
Saraki said it was important to put it on record that he held no grudge against any individual for their roles in his trials, as his experience in the last five years had only strengthened his faith in Almighty Allah, the Nigerian nation and her judiciary which had always risen above the din to give justice at all times and in all situation.
“Definitely, I remain unflinching in my belief that we need to build a functional society which creates the right atmosphere for all to aspire to be whatever positive they desire.
8. Bishop Oyedepo: You’re under financial curse if you don’t pay tithe
Bishop David Oyedepo, the founder of Living Faith Church Worldwide aka Winners’ Chapel International, ignited controversy on social media.
The cleric said people who do not give a tenth of their income to the church are under a financial curse.
Oyedepo, who Forbes claims is Nigeria’s wealthiest pastor, said this in a tweet on Thursday.
He tweeted, “Tithing is an inescapable covenant obligation. Prosperity not just wealth is impossible without tithing, because when you’re not paying your tithe, you’re under a financial curse”.
However, in a series of tweets on Friday, July 17, 2020, Oyedepo further said that many problems men faced are traceable to their monetary dealings.
He said, “The way you handle your financial dealings determines greatly what happens to you financially. Many things that afflict men are traceable to their monetary dealings. False financial dealings can open doors to inexplicable afflictions.”
The cleric’s tweet on tithing has, however, got Nigerians talking on Twitter.
The message was well-received by many of his followers but some critics described his message as archaic and improper.
Some also claimed the timing was wrong due to the effect of COVID-19 on the financial status of many Nigerians.
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