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Wole Soyinka and Femi Kuti have advised the federal government not to consider history as an academic exercise because an absence of historical knowledge can truncate growth.

The author and musician both made these remarks on Wednesday while speaking at the first edition of UBA’s Africa Conversations, a symposium organised by the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, as part of activities to mark Africa Day.

Djibril Tamsir Niane, Guinean historian; Samia Nkrumah, the daughter of Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana; and Tony Elumelu, group chairman of UBA, were also on the panel.

The theme of the panel session was ‘Africa’s History Redefined, Our Past, the Path to the Future’.


Opening the conversation, Elumelu said: “UBA understands the past- that Africa as a continent has always been united by the struggle for identity. UBA is a symbol for the development of Africa, for the economic empowerment of our people, the Small and Medium Enterprises as well as the big corporations.

“Thus, identifying with Africa and indeed Africa Day is synonymous with who we are as a bank. It presents us the opportunity to remind ourselves, the world and indeed Africa that we owe ourselves the duty of making Africa the continent of our dreams.

“Our past provides a veritable tool to fashioning the continent’s development, renaissance and economic growth.”

Commending UBA’s initiative for opening up discussions on these pressing topics, Soyinka lamented the growing erosion of history from the curriculum in African schools, adding that the lack of knowledge of our past makes children’s growth on the continent truncated.

“How can we cope with the modern phenomenon if we do not know the past? We should never forget the importance of history as it is not just an academic exercise,” he enthused.

On his part, Femi Kuti said: “Our children need to learn this history so that they can come up and build the continent. We need everyone – both boys and girls to work towards this vision.”

According to the bank, the UBA Conversations aims at aggregating discussions necessary for the growth and development of the continent.




President Muhammadu Buhari has re-emphasised that he respects the country’s judiciary and is willing to abide by its decisions at all times.

According to Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, made the statement at a dinner with representatives of the judiciary at his official residence.

Buhari said he believed that the judiciary should be independent, recalling how he submitted himself to the adjudication of the courts three times on his way to becoming president without any fuss.

”I respect the institution. I have come before you three times before I got here on the fourth run for the office. Your word is the last word on any given issue,” he was quoted to have said.


Buhari acknowledged the capability of Nigerian judges, saying: “your training and experience has earned you respect.”

Ibrahim Muhammad, acting chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), who led retired chief justices, some justices of the supreme court and heads of courts in the federal capital territory (FCT), expressed appreciation to the president for breaking the Ramadan fasting with him.

He assured the nation that the judiciary would continue to do its best in safeguarding the country’s judicial system.

He praised Buhari for not meddling in the affairs of courts in the country.



The Academic Staff Union of Universities on Wednesday said that its members should not be held responsible if there is any disruption in the university system, as the Federal Government had not shown commitment to carrying out the 2019 Memorandum of Action.

The ASUU National President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, stated this at a briefing in Abuja, to give an update on the ongoing renegotiation with the government and to clear the air over the N25billion confirmed by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, to have been approved for universities.



Ogunyemi said the N25billion was meant to be a part-payment of the Earned Academic Allowances and should have been released between February 15 and 28, 2019, as agreed. But this was not done.
He said, “Since information on the amounts mentioned in the media went round, the ASUU has been inundated with enquiries on the union’s perspective to the story.

“Funding for the revitalisation of public universities has for years been of very high priority to ASUU.

“Reaching an agreement with the Federal Government has often been a frustrating journey for our union. It is often marked with protests, strikes and requires a conscious and focused engagement. The 2001 agreement, which gave birth to the 2009 agreement, was not an exemption. The exception here is the personality leading the government negotiation team.

“The current leadership of the government team clearly lacks the academic disposition and humility needed to undertake such task.

“Our members enjoy their work and hate to see any disruption in the smooth running of our universities. However, the level of frustration occasioned by the lackadaisical attitude of the government towards meeting the terms of the 2019 Memorandum of Action that was freely signed with our union is increasingly becoming unbearable.

“We, therefore, call on all Nigerian patriots, parents and students including the Nigeria Labour Congress to prevail on the government to keep to the terms of our agreement. Otherwise, our union should not be held responsible for any disruption in the system.”



Strong indications have emerged that Nigeria’s Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, is on the verge of losing an international appointment as Ambassador-at-Large offered him by the International Human Rights Commission (IHRC).

It was learnt that the former Governor of Kwara State and head of Nigeria’s legislature was not forthcoming in documentation of the new appointment within the time frame given him by the international body.

It was further learnt that there was no contact with the World’s Secretary General of the International Human Rights Commission over the Action Plan of Dr. Saraki, who was supposed to be leading diplomatic missions, a development that raised concerns within Nigeria office of the IHRC.

When contacted, the legal adviser to the Commission in Nigeria and other African countries of IHRC, Barrister Barnabas Aruwa, confirmed that the appointment would be withdrawn any moment.


“Dr. Saraki is losing the appointment as Ambassador-at-Large already. He has not done the documentation and the ultimatum has elapsed.

“The Commission office in Nigeria and other African countries of the IHRC have been put on notice.

“The World headquarters of the IHRC waited without further development since March, 2019 when the IHRC in Nigeria and other African countries wrote him on behalf of the World’s Secretary-General,” the legal adviser maintained.

The Senior Special Adviser to the Senate President on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said that he was not interested in discussing development when contacted.

It is recalled that the Senate President was appointed as Ambassador-at-large sometime in March in which he was expected to lead diplomatic delegations on human rights issues across the world.





The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has received another batch of 195 stranded Nigerians from Libya.

Alhaji Idris Muhammed, Coordinator, Lagos Territorial Office, NEMA, who confirmed the development to newsmen on Thursday in Ikeja, said this was the largest batch of voluntary returnees since the exercise began in April 2017.

Muhammed said the Nigerians arrived at the Cargo Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja at 8.20p.m. on Wednesday aboard a chartered Al Buraq Air aircraft with registration number 5A-DMG SEB.

He disclosed that they were the 69th batch of returnees brought back by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the European Union (EU) under the Assisted Voluntary Returnees (AVR) Programme.


According to him, after profiling, the breakdown of the new returnees shows that they comprise of 71 female adults, 25 female children and 17 female infants.

“They also include 60 male adults, 12 male children and 10 male infants.

“Among them were three male returnees with minor medical issues and seven pregnant women, ” Muhammed said.

Welcoming the returnees, he advised Nigerian youths to look inwards and utilise the money they had set aside for embarking on perilous journeys, to set up good businesses in the country.

“Since the EU closed their borders for irregular migrants, the journeys through irregular means have become wasteful and dangerous.

“If you had used the huge amounts of money spent on these fruitless efforts in Nigeria to start a business, you would have been very successful in your endeavours.

“Therefore, you need to strive and embrace the Federal Government’s enabling initiatives to empower the youths,” Muhammed said.

One of the returnees, Mr Kehinde Obala from Badagry, Lagos, regretted his sojourn in the volatile North African country.

The 66 years old man said he was a successful mechanic and pastor in Libya until the war broke out and he lost everything.

“I had a church over there but everything I worked for were destroyed.

“Ordinarily, I never thought of coming back to Nigeria but when I was assured and promised that I will be resettled when I return home that was why I came back.

“I have wasted my life except IOM and government are magnanimous enough to help me start from the scratch,” he said.

NEMA said as at March 15, 12,574 Nigerians have so far returned from Libya under the Assisted Voluntary Returnees Programme, which began in April 2017.

It was gathered that NEMA said over 4,900 of the returnees have also been trained on various skill acquisition and empowerment training by IOM through special funding facilitated by the EU.




The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, says the Federal Government has closed three of the nation’s foreign missions and downsized another due to insufficient funds.

Onyeama said this on Tuesday in Abuja while speaking on activities of the ministry in the last three years.

The Minister said that the countries where Nigeria closed its missions included Sri Lanka, Czech Republic and Republic of Serbia while Ukraine was drastically downsized.



Before the closure, Nigeria had 119 foreign missions.

Onyeama added that the reduction of Nigeria’s foreign missions remains one of the agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

He explained that the closure of the missions was occasioned by inability of the ministry to maintain them due to insufficient funds.

“Every embassy has written to us about their huge financial demands. and when we go to these embassies we see clearly very unattractive state that does not reflect well on the country.

“Very often the staff of the embassy really find things extremely difficult.

“Clearly, if we want to operate on the scale and scope in which we are at the moment with over a 100 missions around the world, we need to spend a lot more.

He said though Nigeria has spent a lot, it was not enough, compared to what other countries around the world spend

“What I am saying is that rather than having this terrible circle of inadequate funding for missions, headquarters and so forth we have to reduce the scope.

“We should have foreign missions that we can fund, we might not necessarily close the embassies per se, it might be reducing the number of staff in the embassies.

“Because what we found out is that it is more expensive to close the embassies than operating them,” he said.

(NAN)



The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, has said that the Federal Government has just approved an additional N25billion for public universities to meet the demands set by the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

The minister said the money will be shared to the beneficiary institutions directly, adding that some universities since 2013 had not been able to access the third tranche of the N200billion released by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Adamu, who stated these in his valedictory ministerial press briefing.

The minister appealed to ASUU to shun further strikes and allow for peaceful negotiations.



After ending a three-month strike, the ASUU and the Federal Government signed a Memorandum of Action in February 2019 and a government team was also set up to renegotiate the 2009 agreement.

Adamu said on Tuesday that the Federal Government had approved the release of additional N25billion to universities.

He said, “Funding has been one of the major challenges of tertiary education in this country. At the inception of this administration, we inherited an unimplementable agreement between the Federal Government and ASUU whose total value was put at N1.3trillion which payment was to be spread over six years.

“Between 2014 to 2017, the nation witnessed an economic downturn and consequently, there were no releases in the N1.3trillion. However, last year, the Federal Government released N20billion directly to universities and all of them have got their share. The Federal Government has just approved an additional N25billion to be shared to beneficiary institutions directly.

On the out-of-school children, the minister said the government had failed to reduce the 13.2million kids it met by half, as it had promised.

Adamu noted that despite all interventions and efforts, the population of out-of-school children stood at 10.2million kids.



Another batch of 131 Nigerians would be deported into the country on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 from the North African country – Libya.

The impending returnees, consisting of males, females and toddlers are expected to land in the country at 9pm on Wednesday through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.

A source close to one of the security agencies at the Lagos Airport, confided in our correspondent that a chartered aircraft, a Boeing 787-800, belonging to Buraq Airlines with the registration number 5ADMG would return the deportees to Nigeria.

The Nigerians are being deported from the war-torn North African country for illegally entering and residing in Libya.



The stranded Nigerians would be assisted back to the country through the humanitarian efforts of International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and special funding from European Union (EU) for reintegration process for the voluntary returnees after their futile attempts cross over to Europe through Libya.

The source told our correspondent that all the security agencies at the Lagos Airport had been notified of the impending return of the Nigerians.

Some of the security agencies included – the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Aviation Security (AVSEC), Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Nigeria Police, Department of Security Service (DSS) and several others.

Besides, it is expected that officials of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) would receive the deportees on arrival in Nigeria.

It would be recalled that the exercise has been ongoing since 2017 with the 66th flights performed late last month.

As at the last time, over 13, 000 Nigerians have been returned to the country through the exercise.

Most of the returnees had planned to use Libya as a departing point to Europe, but were later stranded in the North African country.



Two students of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso yesterday lost their lives in a ghastly auto accident.

The accident occurred in the early hours of yesterday.

It was gathered that five of the students were involved in the accident that occurred on Aroje road, opposite Bovas Petroleum station, Ogbomoso.



Those who were involved included two of the students identified as Seun also known (a.k.a. Young Prof.) of 400 level and Dr. Sleem (400 level).

The duo died on the spot.

Sympathisers, including students and security agents, thronged the scene with deep sorrow, with some weeping profusely.

Others are a 400 level student identified as Hon. Yusluv, another student identified as Yunus, who is in 500 level and Mayor Timmy (graduating class).

It was learnt that Yunus was still in a state of comma in the hospital as at yesterday’s evening. Other students were receiving treatment at the hospital.

Read also: Accident claims two on Abeokuta–Sagamu Expressway
The cause of the accident was unknown. However, some witnesses attributed it to over-speeding and dangerous overtaking.

The institution, while confirming the death of the students, described it as devastating and tragic.

LAUTECH Vice- Chancellor Prof. Michael Olufisayo Ologunde, while speaking on the sad occurrence, prayed to God to give the university community the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.

The VC, in a statement, said he was personally involved in the efforts at rescuing the students.

The statement reads: “The Vice-Chancellor has described as devastating, the death of some students of the institution in an early morning auto accident around Aroje area of the city.

“Prof. Ologunde, who was personally involved in efforts at recovering the remains of the dead students, prayed that the lord repose their souls and grant their parents and the entire university community the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.

“He has also directed that the university ambulance be deployed to the scene to convey their remains, ordering functionaries to abandon whatever other duties to ensure that the corpses are recovered for necessary steps ahead of their burial.”




The Federal Government is coming up with a policy that will remove the ownership of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (cooking gas) cylinders from consumers.

It stated that the move would help deepen the use of LPG, popularly known as cooking gas, adding that the government had reached an agreement with two original cylinder manufacturers to deliver 600,000 cylinders to LPG distributors on credit, with a pre-payment period of 18 months.

Speaking at a stakeholders’ forum on LPG penetration in Abuja on Tuesday, the Senior Technical Assistant to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources on Downstream and Infrastructure, Brenda Ataga , noted that the planned policy on gas cylinders would require that the ownership of the facility “rests strictly on the dealers and distributors.”



She noted that aside from deepening the penetration and usage of LPG across the country, the policy would also address issues of safety.

She said the Federal Government would soon commence a clampdown on illegal roadside LPG dealers and urged operators to immediately convert their outlets to micro distribution centres before the beginning of the enforcement.

“The MDCs will essentially create and introduce into the market what we call the cylinder exchange programme, whereby the cylinders are owned by the distributors,” Ataga said.

She told operators, “There is no need for you to decant for anybody that comes in, and that eliminates illegal risks as well. You would fill them at the refill plants that would be tied to you and exchange it with your customers because you know your customers already.

“Your customers pay for only the content, while you own the cylinders and control the management of those cylinders.”

Providing reasons for the policy, Ataga said, “It is for us to be able to, at any point in time, discern and discover cylinders that are bad, cylinders that need recertification and cylinders that need to be removed from circulation.

“We put that onus on distributors going forward, to support the safe and standard method of selling LPG. I tell you today that Nigeria is the only country in West Africa that does not practice the re-circulation model. Everyone has moved away from this because again, most of the population cannot afford cylinders; so, you have to remove that cost from them.”



Tochi Michael, a 46-year-old businessman has dragged Justice Tanko Muhammad, the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, before a Federal Capital Territory High Court over alleged age falsification. According to reports, in the originating summons with suit No. FCT/HC/BW/CV/79/2019, filed before the court in April, the petitioner alleged that the CJN deliberately falsified his date of birth. Michael alleged that the acting CJN falsified his date of birth from December 31, 1950 as contained in all his official records, including that of WAEC, to December 31, 1953 upon his appointment as a judicial officer.     The petitioner in the originating summons is praying the court to determine whether such act by the acting CJN does not constitute a criminal act of perjury, falsification and forgery. Michael in the originating summons also prayed the court to determine whether by falsifying his date of birth upon being appointed to the Nigeria Bench as a judicial officer, he has not breached the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.   The petitioner also prayed the court to determine whether Justice Mohammad had not breached the Code of Conduct for judicial officers and consequently brought the image of the Nigerian judiciary to disrepute and odium. The petitioner prayed the court for a declaration that the defendant falsified his date of birth and that he had desecrated the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.   He also prayed for an order directing the Inspector-General of Police to prosecute the defendant for the offence of perjury and an any other order which the court may deem fit. At the Tuesday’s proceedings, counsel for the CJN, Mr Sam Ologunorisa (SAN), informed the court that the plaintiff and his counsel were not in the court. Ologunorisa told the court that it seemed the plaintiff and his counsel were “running away” from the suit they filed, stressing that the court should do the needful in the interest of justice.“We filed a notice of preliminary objection, a counter-affidavit and a written address. We urge the court to deem it fit that the originating summons has been argued. We have to look at Exhibit III of the originating summons. We urge the court to dismiss the suit. The case is meant to scandalise the CJN,” he said.Justice Danlami Senchi said another opportunity would be given to the petitioner to appear in the court to prove the allegation.  He adjourned the case till Friday.


Founder and senior pastor of the Living Faith Church aka Winners chapel, David Oyedepo, has said that God swore to make him rich because he gave him a car for the gospel many years ago. Oyedepo has been profiled by forbes as one of the Wealthiest clergymen in the world. Preaching in his church recently, the clergyman said his church now buys buses like loaves of bread because the car he gave to God many years ago.‘I gave my car to God not to be rich but to spread the gospel and God swore to make me rich…now in one day we bought 87 buses at once, another day we bought 100 buses at once…We now buy buses like loaves of bread… Many of you will soon be building houses like loaves of bread,” he said. He challenged his members to depend not on their certificates or profession but on God who can provide all their needs.“There are too many ‘common’ people in the world; you need to come out of them and be distinguished by His leading,” he said.

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