From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Executive Secretary of the National Mass Education Commission (NMEC), Prof. Abba Haladu, has said that plans are underway to strengthen the monitoring and evaluation system of the commission.
This would enable the commission constantly monitor and evaluate the performance of its personnel and equipment that are donated for the purpose of adult education.
Haladu highlighted the importance of capacity building for people that would carry out such monitoring and evaluation exercise, to imbue them with the requisite capacity for the job.
The NMEC helmsman was speaking in Abuja against the backdrop of allegations that state offices of the commission and its staff were performing below expectations, in addition to allegations that some of the learning and teaching equipment donated by federal government and international donors have been diverted to other uses.
“Such complains have reached our table but we are yet to act because of lack of substantial evidence to nail the accused. However, we will soon embark on routine monitoring and evaluation of the activities of the commission at different levels to ascertain the authenticity of the allegations.
“We won’t hesitate to apply necessary sanctions to whoever and any state found to be operating in contravention to the vision and objectives of the commission,” Haladu said.
He urged six states, Delta, Ebonyi, Gombe, Kebbi, Kogi and Ogun, that recently received information and communication technology equipment as well as other literary and vocational skill tools donated by the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO) to immediately distribute them to the designated model community learning centres in their states.
He appealed to “adult illiterates” to take advantage of various programmes designed by the commission to enhance their formal educational capacity in order to remain relevant in today’s technology-driven world.
TECHNOLOGY: Director in trouble
for embarrassing minister
From Magnus Eze, Abuja
An unnamed assistant director in the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology is set to face disciplinary action for misrepresenting the minister, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, at a function.
The senior officer, who represented the minister at an event organised by the Computer-Based Test Centre Proprietors Association of Nigeria (CBTCPAN), allegedly made a statement indicating that “Indians are buying over MTN Nigeria.”
But the ministry, in a reaction at the weekend, disowned the statement credited to the minister, whom it said “did not make, neither did he authorise anyone to make such baseless pronouncement on his behalf.”
A press statement by the minister’s chief press secretary, Mr. Taye Akinyemi, said though Onu has been working hard to promote the use of science and technology in nation building, including promotion of technology transfer, “The official of the ministry in question went out of his brief and appropriate disciplinary measures will be taken in line with civil service rules.”
It further enjoined MTN, the Indian community and the public to disregard the remark, noting that there was no need to misinform Nigerians on issues that were not backed by verifiable facts.
The assistant director had reportedly made allusion that Indians were taking control of the mobile telecommunications company, thereby denying Nigerians jobs.
NOA: Pray for economic recovery, NOA urges Nigerians
From Magnus Eze, Abuja
Director-General of National Orientation Agency (NOA), Dr. Garba Abari, has called on Christians and all other Nigerians to continually pray for the economic recovery, stability and peace of Nigeria.
He also urged them to keep faith with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Director-General, in his Christmas message to Christians in the country, noted that the yuletide season was a great time to pray for recovery in the economic fortunes, sustenance of peace and total defeat of insurgency and terrorism in the country.
“Christmas celebration is the period for reflection on the virtues of sacrifice and love for humanity as exemplified by Jesus Christ,” Abari said.
He urged Nigerians to continue to uphold the dignity and sanctity of life by avoiding acts that are capable of breeding hatred, violence and disunity.
In a statement by the Special Assistant to the DG, Mr. David Akoji, Abari appealed to religious leaders to continue to inspire, by their actions and words, commitment to unity, peace and growth of the country by avoiding teachings that incite and cause chaos.
While wishing Nigerians a memorable and peaceful Christmas, Abari cautioned them to remain law-abiding, shun all acts of corruption and continue to support the change agenda of the present administration in the best interest of the nation.
Planning: Policy thrust in 2017 will provide sustainable solutions – Udoma
From Basil Obasi, Abuja
As the year 2016 ends with the jingles of harsh economic climate replete with such indices as rising inflation and unemployment, job loss as well as contracting gross domestic product (GDP), Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, has blamed the nation’s predicament on revenue and exchange rate shortfalls even as he averred that the policy thrust of the federal government would sufficiently address the plight of Nigerians in 2017.
The minister stated this during the 2017 budget breakdown in Abuja recently. He explained that the 2016 fiscal year was actually volatile with core macroeconomic variables confirming that the country was sunk into recession but the federal government has been resilient and focused in its approach towards bringing succour to the people.
Udoma, who reinstated government’s commitment in tackling the present challenges, noted that Nigeria has been faced with a compound ailment of revenue shortfall caused by sharp decline in the international price of crude oil and exacerbated by rebellious acts of some people in the Niger Delta.
According to him, over-dependence on oil remains the main cause of Nigeria’s problem; it has made the country vulnerable to international market shocks, leading to sporadic exchange rate behaviour.
Udoma said: “I reassure you that government is determined to bring succour to our people and the only way we can do this is by taking strong action to change, in a fundamental way, the current trajectory of the Nigerian economy.”