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Job racketeering: FCC commissioner debunks collecting money from applicants

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Mamman Alakai, the commissioner representing Nasarawa state in the Federal Character Commission (FCC), has denied collecting money to secure employment for job seekers.

Musa Ibrahim one of the potential beneficiaries had on Monday told the committee that he, alongside nine other persons, paid millions into the account of a linkman to Alakai, identified as Abdullahi Ibrahim.

Alakai during his appearance on Tuesday before the house of representatives ad hoc committee investigating job racketeering by ministries, departments and agencies and mismanagement of the integrated payroll and personnel information system (IPPIS), said he had never received money from anyone for a job offer.

“A traditional ruler in Nasarawa called to inform me that one of my aides collected money from him for job slots. I asked that the number be tracked by the police and I discovered it was Ibrahim. I wrote a petition to the police and he was traced,” Alakai said.

“When they went to his house, the police found a uniform of the Nigerian Correctional Service. He claimed that he worked there. I was told that the people he defrauded have gone to court.”

Alakai asked the committee to carry out an investigation into his bank account, saying “my account is open for the committee to scrutinise since Ibrahim claimed he paid money to me for job slots”.

Yusuf Gagdi, chairman of the committee, said about nine people have brought their evidence of transfer to Ibrahim.

He said Alakai was invited to appear before the committee to give evidence because Ibrahim had claimed he was working for him.

Gagdi said the committee will not give room for any citizen to blackmail another person, expressing his displeasure over the absence of Ibrahim at the panel.

“You cannot come and make public allegations against any public officer without coming to substantiate it,” he said.

“We have nothing to say to you further because the people making allegations are not here if they are not acting a script, they should be here to give further evidence.

“If you cannot justify that you pay money for any job slots with evidence, we will not allow any citizens to blackmail people without facts.”

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Official version of national anthem we issued contains the correct lyrics, says NOA

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The National Orientation Agency (NOA) says the official version of the national anthem it issued contains the correct lyrics.

On May 29, President Bola Tinubu signed the national anthem bill 2024 that reintroduced the old anthem, “Nigeria, We Hail Thee,” into law.

Subsequently, the NOA released the standardised lyrics of the reintroduced national anthem.

However, on Tuesday, Senate President Godswill Akpabio reportedly said what the agency is circulating is different from the new national anthem approved by the upper legislative chamber.

“Take note of what we have here; what we have is different from what the NOA has,” Akpabio was quoted as saying.

“Where we have Nigerians ‘all’ are proud to say, they have Nigerians all and proud to say. Also, where we have ‘though’ tribe and tongue may differ, they have ‘though tribes and tongues.

“Also, at the end, where we have ‘Nigeria shall be blessed’, they have Nigeria ‘may’ be blessed. We are using ‘shall’ which is a compulsion that this country shall be blessed. So tell the National Orientation Agency to drop what they are circulating now.”

But in a statement, Lanre Issa-Onilu, the director general of NOA, said the official version of the national anthem the agency unveiled remains the correct lyrics approved in the Act signed by the president on May 29.

“Mallam Issa-Onilu clarified inquiries from the media on the correct lyrics of the new national anthem, saying as an act of the Parliament, the NOA is duty-bound to only promote the official version,” the statement issued by Paul Odenyi, spokesperson of the agency, reads.

“Believing that the Senate President was misquoted, Mallam Issa-Onilu advised the media to always cross-check their facts before publication.

“He also advised the media to check the Act signed by the President as approved by the National Assembly to confirm the version as released by the NOA.

“The official version that we issued remains the correct lyrics. We are making an effort to standardise the instrumental and audio versions before we release it to the public.”

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Five dead, 60 hospitalised as Lagos reports suspected cholera outbreak

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At least five people have been reported dead in Lagos as a result of a suspected cholera outbreak.

In a statement on Tuesday, Akin Abayomi, Lagos commissioner for health, said cases of severe gastroenteritis have been reported in communities around Eti Osa, Lagos Island, Ikorodu, and Kosofe LGAs.

The commissioner said the outbreak has resulted in about 60 hospital admissions and confirmed that the five deaths were mainly from patients presenting late with extreme dehydration.

“We have activated a statewide heightened surveillance and response,” he said.

“The ministry of health, the directorate of environmental health, and the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) have been alerted to investigate a possible water contamination source in the Lekki Victoria Island axis.

“We suspect a possible cholera outbreak; however, samples have been taken for confirmation. As of April 28, 2024, Nigeria reported 815 suspected cholera cases and 14 deaths across 25 states.”

The commissioner noted that following recent rainfalls, Lagos has seen a notable increase in cases of severe vomiting and watery stools, adding that urban slums and crowded areas with poor sanitation are particularly at risk.

He explained that cholera is a highly contagious disease that causes severe diarrhea and can be life-threatening.

He added that the disease poses a significant health burden in areas with poor water treatment and sanitation and could impact Lagos state.

“Cholera spreads through direct transmission by eating or drinking contaminated food or water and indirect transmission due to poor sanitation and a lack of handwashing,” the commissioner said.

“Symptoms of cholera include severe watery diarrhea, vomiting, rapid dehydration, muscle cramps, fever, and sometimes collapse.”

Abayomi said treatment options for cholera include rehydration using oral rehydration salts (ORS) for mild to moderate dehydration.

“Intravenous fluid is used for severely dehydrated patients and is given only in medical facilities and supervised by medical personnel,” he added.

“To prevent cholera, citizens are urged to ensure safe drinking water by boiling, chlorinating, or using bottled water, and avoiding ice products made from untreated water. Maintaining proper sanitation by using toilets, safely disposing of feces, and avoiding open defecation is crucial.

“Practicing good hygiene, such as washing hands with soap and clean water regularly, especially before eating, preparing food, and after using the toilet, is essential, as is following food safety guidelines.”

He urged citizens to rely on the Lagos state ministry of health, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and accredited local health facilities for guidance, advice, and updates on prevention, treatment, and management.

He added that suspected cases can be reported via the following emergency hotlines: 08023169485, 08137412348, or by using helplines 767 or 112.

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FULL TEXT: Tinubu speaks on economic reforms, new minimum wage in Democracy Day speech

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President Bola Tinubu this morning delivered his second Democracy Day speech.

In the speech, the president hailed pro-democracy activists who fought on behalf of Nigerians to end military administrations and restore democracy.

Tinubu also praised journalists and media organisations that joined the struggle 31 years ago.

Read the president’s full speech below.

My fellow Nigerians, let me begin by congratulating all of us for witnessing the celebration of another Democracy Day today, the 12th day of June 2024. This year also marks our nation’s 25 years of uninterrupted democratic governance.

On this day, 31 years ago, we entered our rites of passage to becoming a true and enduring democratic society.

Going through this passage was hard and dangerous. During the fateful six years that followed, we fought and struggled for our natural rights as human beings put on this earth by the divine hand of our Creator.

We lost great heroes and heroines along the way. In this struggle, the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief MKO Abiola, the most significant symbol of our democratic struggle, his wife, Kudirat, General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, and Pa Alfred Rewane, among others sacrificed their very lives.

They bravely surrendered their futures, so that our nation might have a better one.

Let us honour the memories of Chief Anthony Enahoro, Chief Abraham Adesanya, Commodore Dan Suleiman, Chief Arthur Nwankwo, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, Chief Frank Kokori, Chief Bola Ige, Chief Adekunle Ajasin, Chief Ganiyu Dawodu, Chief Ayo Fasanmi, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Chief Olabiyi Durojaiye, Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti, Chima Ubani, and others who have transited to the higher realm.

The sacrifices of General Alani Akinrinade, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, Professor Wole Soyinka, Chief Ralph Obioha, Chief Cornelius Adebayo, among many others, should never be forgotten. For at least six years, they bore the pains and difficulties of life in exile.

While the exiled pro-democracy activists kept the fire burning, their comrades at home sustained the pressure on the military brass hats. Among the latter are Olisa Agbakoba, Femi Falana, Abdul Oroh, Senator Shehu Sani, Governor Uba Sani, Chief Olu Falae, and other National Democratic Coalition leaders such as Chief Ayo Adebanjo and Chief Ayo Opadokun.

The sacrifices they made, and the precious gift brought about by their selfless devotion can never be repaid. Neither shall it be forgotten.

We could not have won the battle against military dictatorship without the irrepressible Nigerian journalists who mounted the barricades along with the pro-democracy activists. We celebrate them today, along with their media establishments such as The Punch, Guardian, National Concord, Tribune, The News/Tempo, and TELL Magazines. Military authorities proscribed these media establishments and jailed their journalists for standing for free speech and civil liberties

Despite the lethal might of the military government, what appeared to be high and unyielding walls of dictatorship came tumbling down. The dismal fortress exists no longer.

The power of an idea, the power of the people proved more potent than all the guns and munitions, than all the guns, the munitions and the threats of the strongmen.

The nation exited the yoke of military rule in 1999 to become the most populous democracy on African soil, the beacon of democratic self-determination for the black race and one of the largest democracies in the world.

This change stands as a pivotal moment in human history. From this change, we shall never turn, nor shall the annals of mankind’s progress forget the sublime meaning of this great moment.

Today, 25 years later, we celebrate the silver anniversary of our journey in democracy.

We have steadied the course.

Democracy is neither a foreign nor abstract concept devoid of real-life meaning for us. Neither can we afford to reduce or minimalise it to being nothing but the mere holding of periodic elections where one candidate and party outdo another.

While elections attract dramatic attention, they are but one aspect of democracy. Democracy is a way of life that encompasses a broad outlook of which elections are but a part. As such, a nation can have elections without being democratic. But a nation cannot be truly democratic without holding elections.

That we have established a tradition of holding transparent, open, and fair elections gives credence to our democratic bearing. That we have experienced peaceful transitions of government affirms our democratic temperament.

Fellow Nigerians, true democracy shines its light into the daily lives of the people who live under its nurturing wings. It affords us the freedom and liberty to think as we want, live where we want and pursue whatever legitimate endeavour that suits us.

Democracy does not assume some false or forced unity of opinion. In fact, democracy assumes that conflicting ideas and differing opinions shall be the order of the day. Given the diversity and variety of the human experience, there must be diverse perspectives and viewpoints.

What democracy demands is that we do not resolve differences through force and repression. But we make allowance for the legitimacy of views that differ from our own.

Where other forms of government impose against the will of the people, democracy aims to make leaders sufficiently humble that they conduct themselves as servants of the common good, not as viceroys of the narrow interests of the mighty.

My dear compatriots, Nigeria faced a decision of untold gravity twenty-five years ago: Whether to veer toward a better destination or continue aimlessly in the fog of dictatorship.

We made the right choice then. We must continue with that choice now.

As Nigerians, we must remind ourselves that no matter how complicated democracy may be, it is the best form of governance in the long run. We must also be aware that there are those among us who will try to exploit current challenges to undermine, if not destroy, this democracy for which so much has already been given.

These people do this not to make things better but to subject all other people and things to their control and dominance until the point that, if you are not counted among their elite, then your life will be small and no longer owned by you.

This is the great battle of our day and the major reason we specially celebrate this Democracy day.

Fellow Nigerians, our Democracy is more than a historic fact. It is a living, breathing reality.

The true meaning of this day is not to focus solely on the great deeds of the past that have brought us to this point.

Yes, we pay eternal honour to those who laid down their lives, sacrificing everything to pave the way for the nation.

I stand uniquely placed in this regard. I was among those who took the risk to midwife the birth of our democracy. I am now a direct and obvious beneficiary of the fruits of those historic efforts.

As president of this nation, I am morally and constitutionally bound to preserve this precious form of governance. I vow to do my utmost best to protect your rights, freedoms, and liberties as citizens of Nigeria.

Even more than that, I pledge to do whatever is necessary to cement democracy as our way of life.

Although the challenges are steep and multiple, I am grateful to lead Nigeria at this moment in her history and point in her democratic journey.

I come before you also to declare that our most important work remains before us. This real test has never been whether we would rise to challenge the slings of misfortune and grievous pain of dictatorship.

The real test is whether we shall lower our guards as the shadow of despotism and its evident physical danger fade.

I say to you here and now that as we celebrate the enshrinement of our political democracy, let us commit ourselves to the fulfilment of its equally important counterpart, the realisation of our economic democracy.

I understand the economic difficulties we face as a nation.

Our economy has been in desperate need of reform for decades. It has been unbalanced because it was built on the flawed foundation of over-reliance on revenues from the exploitation of oil.

The reforms we have initiated are intended to create a stronger, better foundation for future growth. There is no doubt the reforms have occasioned hardship. Yet, they are necessary repairs required to fix the economy over the long run so that everyone has access to economic opportunity, fair pay and compensation for his endeavour and labour.

As we continue to reform the economy, I shall always listen to the people and will never turn my back on you.

In this spirit, we have negotiated in good faith and with open arms with organized labour on a new national minimum wage. We shall soon send an executive bill to the National Assembly to enshrine what has been agreed upon as part of our law for the next five years or less.

In the face of labour’s call for a national strike, we did not seek to oppress or crack down on the workers as a dictatorial government would have done. We chose the path of cooperation over conflict.

No one was arrested or threatened. Instead, the labour leadership was invited to break bread and negotiate toward a good-faith resolution.

Reasoned discussion and principled compromise are hallmarks of democracy. These themes shall continue to animate my policies and interaction with the constituent parts of our political economy.

I take on this vital task without fear or favour and I commit myself to this work until we have built a Nigeria where no man is oppressed.

In the end, our national greatness will not be achieved by travelling the easy road. It can only be achieved by taking the right one.

The words of the American President Franklin Roosevelt certainly ring true:

“ There are many ways of going forward. But only one way of standing still”!

We dare not slumber lest the good things awaiting our immediate future pass us by. We dare not plant our feet in idle standstill in the middle of the intersection of hope and despair.

We know the proper way forward and we shall take it!

The initial rays of a brighter tomorrow now appear on the early horizon. An abundant future and our capacity to achieve that future lie within our reach. Democracy and the institutions it begets offer to take us to our profound destination.

Let us board this progressive train together. Together, let us move Nigeria forward.

Let’s continue to keep the fire of democracy burning. Let’s keep the torch lit for generations to come.

May God continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria and preserve our democracy.

I wish us all a Happy Democracy Day.

PRESIDENT BOLA AHMED TINUBU

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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.

She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others

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