From Uche Usim, Abuja
Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has said that the Federal Government will not pay $79 million as commission to the Swiss government on the $321 million loot ascribed to the late General Sani Abacha, describing media reports to the contrary as totally misleading.
Speaking at the weekend through her spokesman, Festus Akanbi, Adeosun guaranteed that the money would be recovered in full, even as she emphasised that there was no commitment nor requirement to pay any commission.
She said the loot would be channelled into projects that are subject to verification by the World Bank.
“The recovery process is ongoing with the Swiss authorities and the World Bank has agreed to undertake the required verification.
“The Federal Government is committed to securing the return of all looted funds in their entirety and has never entered into any sharing arrangement as suggested in the report.
“Intense efforts continue to secure all monies due to Nigeria, including an additional $400 million of Abacha loot held up in US courts on which the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Ministry of Finance are engaging with US counterparts to secure expeditiously. The amount payable to Nigeria from Switzerland is $321 million,” the minister said.
EDUCATION: TRCN inducts UNICAL VC, 4 profs into teaching profession
From Fred Eze
Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) has inducted the Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar (UNICAL), Prof. Zana Akpagu, and four other professors who were 2016 recipients of the university’s special professional teaching awards into the teaching profession.
TRCN spokesman, Oyewuyi Muyiwa, in a statement yesterday identified the four professors as A. J. Isanghedihi, Obinna I. Enukhoha Ochiriozu, Usang Bassey and Dr. Richard Omang Ntui.
Registrar of the council, Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, who spoke at the third induction of professional teachers at UNICAL, said the induction was a show of comradeship aimed at appreciating the officers for sharing and supporting the vision and aspirations of TRCN.
Ajiboye insisted that TRCN would not relent in its determination to continue to improve the teaching and learning process by strengthening the abilities of teachers to inspire learners, making it an experience that would propel them to become strategic thinkers.
The VC, in his response, appreciated TRCN and the UNICAL Faculty of Education for living up to expectations, particularly in ensuring that the all-important ritual of inducting qualified graduates into the profession is held annually.
“This exercise, as we know, is primarily intended to license these graduates for professional practice at any level of our educational system.
“This endorses the idea of professional ethics maintenance and makes teachers aware of the numerous responsibilities they owe the students and society at large through the process of indoctrinating them into worthwhile knowledge,” he said.
NDE: NDE inaugurates toothpick factory in Akure
From Magnus Eze, Abuja
The National Directorate of Employment (NDE) yesterday inaugurated a toothpick factory in Akure, Ondo State.
The initiative was actualised through a loan to four young entrepreneurs from the NDE, which has created 30 jobs in the production chain.
Nigeria spends about $18 million on importation of toothpicks, though the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently listed it as one of the 40 items that would not receive foreign exchange.
NDE acting Managing Director, Mr. Kunle Obayan, said the factory would create an additional 150 indirect jobs within the first six months of operation and also lay the foundation for the gradual substitution of toothpicks importation, while aiming at export in future.
He, however, appealed to the Office of the National Security Adviser to expeditiously approve the application for waiver of end user’s certificate for urea formaldehyde resin powder, an essential input for pencil production, using waste paper.
Obayan said this would enable the take-off of the second component of the factory that would inject over 2,000 jobs into the economy.
“Pencil production is another component of this cottage industry initiative located in this same environment. All the equipment needed for the production of pencils has been purchased and installed but the authorisation for the use of formaldehyde resin powder as an input is being awaited,” the NDE boss said.
SON: SON reads riot act to Onitsha traders, importers
From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
The Director-General of Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), Mr. Osita Anthony Aboloma, has warned traders and importers in Onitsha markets in Anambra State to stop the sale of substandard and counterfeit products.
He said the lack of standards, facilities, technologies and mechanisms often causes the market to be penetrated with substandard or low-quality products, making Nigeria a dumping ground.
The DG stated this yesterday in Onitsha during a sensitisation workshop on “Operation E-Flush.” He said the consumers, despite their origin, ethnicity, region, financial status or education, deserve the right to safe products and services.
Aboloma, who was represented by the Director of Operations, Mr. Felix Nyado, said he was collaborating with security and regulatory agencies to fight substandard and counterfeit products and the corruption therein.
He stated that SON has strengthened market surveillance, enforcement and legal departments to monitor 360 degrees the markets and product distribution channels round the country, seize substandard and counterfeit products, close erring businesses and prosecute the offenders.
AGRIC: Ogbeh unveils handbook on food contaminants
From Patrick Ochife, Abuja
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has attributed some organ diseases afflicting Nigerians to contaminated food.
Ogbeh, who unveiled an information handbook on modules, mycotoxin, mycotoxicoses and their management in Abuja yesterday, said many young people in the country were manifesting kidney or liver problems as a result of poor knowledge of healthy food.
He noted that it was unhygienic to spread and dry food and crops on the motorway because they gather dust and all sorts of impurities.
Ogbeh explained the book would educate the people on how to handle food items.
“We should educate ourselves more on the dangers of food we eat as it is said that food is medicine and also poison; we should be careful not to eat poison in our search to nourish ourselves.
“As a result, we are going to amplify this programme to develop our agric sector as we are going to begin massive education of farmers using extention officers who will embrace the handbook,” the minister said.
Coordinating director of the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service, Dr. Vincent Isegbe, stated that mycotoxin has been shown to be the number one threat to humans through food contaminants, causing acute and chronic toxicites.