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Buhari’s Aide, Minister Disagree Over Exit Plans For N-Power Beneficiaries

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The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Investments, Maryam Uwais, has denied the claim by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, that the National Social Investment Office (NSIO) had no exit plan for N-Power beneficiaries.

Mrs Uwais said the administrators had made exit plans which have not been implemented as discussions were still ongoing on many fronts. She also said she had briefed Mrs Farouq on those plans.

Mrs Uwais was reacting to a statement by the minister of the newly-created ministry, Mrs Farouq.

In her statement earlier on Monday, Mrs Farouq had said the retention of N-Power beneficiaries who should have exited was responsible for the delay of payment of the stipends of the beneficiaries for October and November.

Her comment was against the backdrop of rumours that the delay in the monthly payments to N-Power beneficiaries was because the government plans to drop them without an appropriate disengagement package for them.

The N-Power programme kicked off in 2016 with over 200,000 young Nigerians selected in the first phase. The beneficiaries were to have dropped out of the scheme after two years of internship.

In a press briefing on Monday, the minister lamented that the administrators of the scheme did not make an exit plan for the beneficiaries who ought to have ”exited the programme 16 months” ago.

”N-Power beneficiaries enrolled in 2016 are yet to be exited 16 months after the elapse of their contract; they are supposed to have been graduated to a more productive venture; That the Ministry is currently making efforts to develop an exit strategy, which is non-existent,” Mrs Farouq said.

But in a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES on Monday, Mrs Uwais itemised the various efforts made by the office of the Social Investment Programmes (SIPs) before and after the programme was moved to the new ministry under the leadership of Ms Farouq.

President Buhari in his Independence Day speech had announced the transfer of the NSIPs from the office of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to the newly-created Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development .

The presidential adviser said before the initiative was moved to the new ministry, she and the vice president met with the Ministry of Finance and requested for loans as a package for the beneficiaries.

”On the exit plan for the N Power beneficiaries, we have written the governors to see if they could employ some of them. We have got a lot of discussions with a lot of government agencies on the prospect. We even had discussions with IBM and they were planning to train them online.”

Mrs Uwais, a lawyer, also said she had briefed Ms Farouq concerning the prospect of a meeting with the Ministry of Finance and that the minister had agreed to the plan.

She also said the NSIO had sent reminders but is yet to get feedback from the minister.

”We have had a meeting with the Ministry of Finance in the presence of the vice president and asked for a certain amount as capital funding as loans just to exist them (N-Power beneficiaries) through the GEEP programme.

“Soon after that meeting, we were relocated to the new Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs. So I had briefed her of that possibility that we need to meet with the Ministry of Finance for this purpose and she agreed.’ And I reminded her again last week.

“Unfortunately, nothing yet. I have not got a response from her. She is the minister, I have told her to get us an appointment with the finance ministry so we can finalise the issue of the exit plan because time is going.

”We are stalled because we do not know what the package is that we are going to give them,” she said.

”So we have everything wrapped up. Except the conclusion of our appointment with the finance ministry, we cannot do much. So it is a bit surprising to me that she said we do not have any exit plans because I have briefed her that we did,” she said.

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Nine-Year Old Boy Passes University-Level Maths Exam [VIDEO]

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The Mathematics Certification Institute of Japan on Tuesday said a 9-year-old boy from the Western Japanese province of Hyogo has passed a university-level maths exam.

According to the Kyodo news agency, the institute said Shogo Ando had been studying for the exam for two years and intended to use his mathematical skills for the betterment of society.

The report said the boy was cited as saying that he would like to use his skills to combat climate change.

Testing and achievement are central to Japan’s highly competitive school system.

However, according to the latest data from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), Japan has fallen from fifth to sixth place in the ranking of countries by their school pupils’ maths abilities.

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Sowore Vs DSS: National Assembly May One Day Be Invaded, Says Reps Member

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Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu from Delta State said if the invasion of the federal high court allegedly by the DSS is not properly put to check, the National Assembly may one day be invaded.

It will be recalled that some operatives of the DSS broke into the court while in session to rearrest the convener of #Revolution Now protest, Omoyele Sowere barely 24 hours after his release from their detention facility last week Thursday in Abuja.

But the DSS had since denied swooping in on Sowore in the court. Miffed by the alleged invasion, the House at plenary on Tuesday resolved to probe the matter to unravel the circumstances.

“Worried further that if this action is not properly put to check, the National Assembly may one day be invaded and the relevant security agencies will claim not knowing who the offenders are,” Elumelu said.

Elumelu in the motion canvassed for adherence and respect to the concept of separation of powers as enshrined in the laws of Nigeria, fearing that if the invasion was not checked and offenders punished, it might degenerate to National Assembly someday.

He said: “The House notes with dismay, the exhibition of thuggery, brute force, lawlessness, contempt and disregard for the rule of law by yet to be identified persons within the precinct of the Federal high court, Abuja on the 6th day of December, 2019.

“Further Notes that the videos emerging in public domain shows these unidentified person trying to bundle Omoleye Sowore and his co-accused Olawale Bakare away from the courtroom, while Sowore’s supporters were resisting them, which is an abuse to the sanctity of the courtroom.

Concerned that the men of the civil society claims that the unidentified masked man are agents of the Department of the state services (D.S.S).

“The Department of State Services has denied through their spokesman Peter Afunanya that its personnel were never involved in the incident

“Concerned further that section 4,5 and 6 of the 1999 Constitution as amended guarantees the separation of powers and the independence of every arm of Government.

“A situation where one arm is seen to be overpowering another in the course of dispensing her duties, will definitely spell doom for the separation of powers as enshrined in the Constitution.

“Worried that the actions of these unidentified persons disrupted judicial proceedings on the 6th day of December 2019 and made the presiding judge to abandon her duty post because of safety concerns.

This is a complete desecration of the temple of justice and such an action should be completely discouraged. “Worried further that if this action is not properly put to check, the National Assembly may one day be invaded and the relevant security agencies will claim not knowing who the offenders are. “

Aware that the invasion of the Federal high court Abuja runs contrary to the avowed assurances of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria “Further Aware that physically assaulting Mr. Omoleye Sowore and his co-defendant Olawale Bakare by the yet to be identified persons inside the court room is the highest act of sacrilege against the judicial arm of government and a complete disrespect to the rule of law.”

Adopting the motion, the House mandated its committees on National Security and Intelligence, Judiciary and Human Rights respectively to investigate the event and report back to the House within two weeks.

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Two Ex-Govs In War Of Words At Airport

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A report by Daily Trust indicate that two former governors of Sokoto state, Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa and Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko engaged in a war of words at the Sultan Abubakar III International Airport, Sokoto on Monday, December 9.

Bafarawa was said to have shunned Wamakko who stood to greet him at the VIP lodge of the airport on his arrival.

According to the report, Bafarawa’s action was the recent statement made by his predecessor, which termed him as a seasonal migrant to Sokoto state.

“You said I am a seasonal visitor to Sokoto, why are you greeting me. I know my father and grand father were born and died here, I can even show you their graves. Can you show me the grave of your grand father?,” he allegedly asked Wamakko.

Wamakko was said to have responded by saying: “I don’t want to know where your father and grant father are buried. All I know is that you are a seasonal migrant in Sokoto, that is all.

“There are other people whose parents and grant parents have been buried here but you called them seasonal migrants as well. So just go and face your businesses.”

The duo, however, boarded the same flight to Abuja after the hot exchange of words. Wamakko, now a senator, deputized Bafarawa for almost eight years before he voluntarily resigned to avoid impeachment.

The senator later succeeded Bafarawa after defeating his anointed candidate who is now the minister of police affairs, Alhaji Muhammadu Maigari Dingyadi in the Sokoto state 2007 governorship election. Meanwhile, a recent media report revealed that former governor of Zamfara state, Abdulaziz Yari, paid himself and his former deputy N525 million two days before they left office.

According to the report, official documents and a bank statement show that Yari was paid N350 million two days before he left office. The money was paid from the state government’s gratuity funds under the pension sub-account with a new generation bank branch in Gusau, the state capital on Monday, May 27.

Also, the then outgoing deputy governor, Ibrahim Wakkala, was paid N175 million from the same account.

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