Month: June 2013

Police Academy now a degree institution

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Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade (Rtd) has pointed out that the Police Academy Wudil, Kano, has been recognized by the National University Commission (NUC) as a degree awarding institution.
The Minster made this known during the 2013 ministerial platform designed by the Federal Ministry of Information at the National Press Centre Radio House, Abuja.
He said that the legal instrument for the establishment of the Academy as a degree awarding institution was made by the Police Service Commission, the Nigeria Police Force and the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation. He added that the Draft Executive Bill to enable the institution was forwarded to the 7th Session of the National Assembly after approval by President Goodluck Jonathan.
After speaking further on the new academy during a session, the Minister said that in line with the status, as a degree awarding institution, a number of construction projects would being undertaking at the site of the academy. Apparently, these include construction of the Senate building, two Faculty buildings, a lecture theatre and seven hostel blocks. Others are the construction of 3.36km of asphalt road network, drainages, three transit suites and rehabilitation of existing structures.
The Minister also remarked that it was however, in the 2012 fiscal year that appreciable improvement was made in the implementation of the projects, both on new constructions and rehabilitated ones


Ogun, Ekiti propose 15% increment for striking teachers

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Governments of Ogun and Ekiti have proposed to pay striking teachers in their states 15 per cent of the 27.5 Teachers Salary Scale that the tutors are demanding.

The Nigeria Union of Teachers leadership had two weeks ago urged teachers in 11 states, including Ogun and Ekiti states, to embark on industrial action following the inability of the states to pay the 27.5 TSS.

But the Ogun State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mr. Segun Odubela, while speaking to reporters on Saturday in Abeokuta, noted that although the government was still negotiating with the NUT leadership, it could not afford the 27.5 per cent being demanded by the union.

Odubela said the teachers in the state under the Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools and NUT would be paid the 15 per cent largesse from the end of July 2013.

He said, “Concerning the NUT strike, I can assure you that we have been having negotiations with them and, of course, the government has agreed to pay 15 per cent. You know they are agitating for 27.5 per cent but the government is prepared to pay 15 per cent and they have been informed of this.

“The implementation will be from the end of July. It is there in a statement released by the Secretary to the State Government. From the end of next month, the government will begin to implement the 15 per cent. We are talking about our teachers. Where they belong is not the business of government. What we are saying is that we are concerned about our teachers. But as far as we are concerned, we are looking at the teachers as a whole.”

But the state NUT Chairman, Dare Ilekoya, has vowed that members of the union would not accept anything less than the 20 per cent of the 27.5 per cent of the allowance.

But Ilekoya’s comment came as the ASUSS state President, Mr. Tunde Folarin, accused the NUT of working against the ASUSS.

The ASUSS earlier hinted that its members would accept the government’s proposed 15 per cent.

Meanwhile, the Ekiti State Government has appealed  to teachers in the state to accept 15 per cent allowance and end the strike.

The state Commissioner for Education, Mr. Kehinde Ojo, his counterparts in Information and Labour,  Mr. Tayo Ekundayo and Mr. Oluwole Ariyo, made the plea at a briefing in Ado Ekiti on Friday.

Ekundayo said the government activities would be crippled if it implemented 27.5  per cent for the teachers.

He explained that implementing this would increase the wage bill of the state by N1.8bn yearly.

Ochekpe urges State Govts to construct treatment and reticulation points to expand access to water.

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The Federal Government has appealed to State Governments in the country to take advantage of the surface water impounded in 200 Dams across the country by constructing treatment and reticulation points as a means of expanding greater access to water to the citizens.

Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Reng Ochekpe made this appeal today, Monday June 17, 2013 while presenting her Ministry’s score card at the on-going ministerial platform at the National Press Centre, Abuja.

Mrs. Ochekpe said that if the State governments could utilize the already impounded surface water in the 200 dams scattered across the country through construction of treatment plants and reticulation points for bulk water supply to cover greater population, this might be the best solution to indiscriminate drilling of bore holes in the country with its attendant limited water supply coverage.

She appealed to the President to assent to the bill that will establish agencies charged with the responsibility of regulating the functions of water resources development in the country. This, according to her, will assist in further checking the indiscriminate sinking of bore holes and save the nation from its possible environmental implications.

The Minister emphasized that the responsibility of provision of water supply rests squarely with the States and Local Governments through their water agencies while the role of the Federal Government remains that of intervention to increase water supply and sanitation in order to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Mrs. Ochekpe however, assured that Federal Government will continue to strengthen its collaboration with the State Governments to ensure attainment of water related objectives in the Transformation Agenda of the Jonathan Administration.

SURE-P organizes skills acquisition programme in Bayelsa

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The Federal Government’s Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) has organized a three day training for some sons and daughters of Bayelsa State as part of efforts to make them employable and self-reliant.

The Director of subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme, Mr. Audu Maikori regretted that most firms require working experience for new workers which most graduates don’t have, as the firms do not wish to spend time and resources on green horns that may not eventually fit in.

He noted that SURE-P decided to organize three days training for graduates in Bayelsa State tagged: “Why Employers of Labour in the Country do not Engage Fresh Graduates in the Organization Project”.

According to Mr. Maikori, who was represented by the Director of Services, Mr. Anthony N. Kalu, “That was why most graduates remain unemployed due to their inability to hit the ground running”.

All the interns work in a private firm, Mount Tech Engineering Company based in the Bayelsa State Capital.

Mr. Kalu said Government observed this and came up with the graduate internship scheme (GIS), to prepare for the changes. The GIS commenced in October last year with the mandate to engage 50,000 Nigerian graduates by attaching them to firms where they would have acquired working experience and skills.

Each graduate was to be paid a stipend by government while on internship and is supposed to be on the scheme for a period of 12 months. Interns were also only being engaged in their neighbourhoods, so they do not have to spend much on transport and other expenses.

However, Mr. Kalu disclosed that the Company was looking forward to discussing the issue with the Federal Ministry of Finance while enjoining the interns to make maximum use of the opportunity granted them.

Mrs. Peju Adegoke, a consultant, lamented that the school system was not preparing students enough for the world, saying the major challenge was for the interns to know their expectations.

Adegoke, who took the interns on self awareness and understanding, stressed the need for self development as it was difficult to succeed in a competitive world without self development.


Opon Imo And SCARF Debates

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When Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola was inaugurated as the seventh Governor of the State of Osun, many would have expected that his administration would just be a change in name and personnel; that in deeds and operations, it would not be different radically from what people had known about Governments in Nigeria; corruption, nepotism, cosmetic treatment of the needs and welfare of the people and largely noise without action. Of course this expectation was not because the Governor harbours any of this traits in person but because over the years, Nigerians irrespective of State or tribe have become forlorn and despondent due to gross raping of the commonwealth by the elected leaders without making any visible efforts to attend to the crucial needs of the people.

Perhaps, Ogbeni Aregbesola read the minds of the people right or he was favoured by the Supreme Being with a supernatural compass to show the way to go. Steps taking by him as Governor after inauguration, so far, underscore the latter. He seems to be working under some carefully designed divine program like the biblical Moses, who was closely and carefully guided by God to take his people out of the land of Egypt. Right from the onset, he assured a crowd of previously oppressed people but jubilantly present at his inauguration that he will run a government unusual as a leader.

He acknowledged the myriads of troubles and challenges being faced by the people and promised to make the people the centre of his administration. “We are face with many challenges and problems in this state but they are not insurmountable. Together and with the support of everybody we will get a good result that will advance the interest of the generality of the people of the state,” he added. He promised to create a new vision for the people and make leadership accountable to the people.

More than two years down the line, pundits have come to a common position on him; that he has been faithful on his campaign promises. Badly as they would like to hate him, the critics, the loyalists of the opposition administration have not taken on Aregbesola’s government on failure to meet the promises made to the people but rather on their perceived quantum of the degree of promise fulfilment. Immediately after being inaugurated, Governor Aregbesola unveiled the direction of his administration by putting in place various programs and policies all of which have become the defining paradigm of the State as a State on the crest of development. His programs, though fancifully tagged as six integral plan of actions, covered every aspect of life and living. Education, Physical Infrastructure, Security, Agriculture and Economic regeneration, Jobs creation, Human Capital Development and of course Culture and Entertainment are all adequately integrated into the plan of actions which themselves are being implemented within the global plan of the leaders in the South West to integrate the political and economic activities in the region into an organic whole.

Among his packs of revolutionary programs on which a lot have been written and much acknowledgement had been made however, one stands out as life-changing and generational shift. This is the introduction of computerised learning system into the public secondary schools in the state as part of the educational reform regime necessitated by the extreme rots in the educational sector in the state. The computerised learning system comprises of various sub-programs which are aimed at changing the way students and teachers in the state access instructional material henceforth.

The philosophy behind the computerised school learning system is that our children and the youth should be properly and effectively impacted with knowledge to make them function well and create a society that can stand at par with others in the developed world. According to Ogbeni at a press conference in Osogbo recently, “the distinction between a purposeful governance and others is not the road, the electricity you build only. In an underdeveloped economy such as we have, physical infrastructure is very important.

However, If we have to do things in a more purposeful way, the human capital is the most important thing to affect. Infrastructure cannot be the basis of success of any administration. It forms part of it but not the basis for it. If we look at what greatness entails and purposefulness entails, the human being is the most important element.” This is why Ogbeni Aregbesola is committing unprecedented resources to radically improve the education sector in the state and provide our country an inspiring reform model.

The reform in the education has witnessed the introduction of new uniform in line with brand colours of the State, building of world-standard 100 schools in the State, introduction of nutritious and constant regular free meals for all students in public schools in the state and the computerised of access to books and educational materials through the introduction of “Opon Imo,” tablet of knowledge in the public secondary schools in the state. The Opon Imo, though a component of the education reform, is a game changer which many students and parents in the state have been scrambling to get especially those in private schools as the device is provided free for all students in public senior secondary schools just as tuition and uniform are free for all pupils and students in the State.

In terms of configuration, the Opon Imo, “Tablet of Knowledge”, is an e-learning tablet that provides the senior secondary students with the contents required to prepare for school examinations. It provides three major content categories; Text Books, Tutorials and Practice Questions. These tablets are being distributed to all senior secondary students across state schools in a move that is expected to radically scale up ‘access’ to learning, regardless of means, location or status of the families from where the students come from. Opon Imo delivers compelling self- paced courses in a highly interactive manner.

The courses are syncronized to a library of relevant e-books and a computer- based testing environment. Opon Imo is a first of its kind initiative in Nigeria, which tackles the learning problem using contemporary ICTs, indigenous content and taking into account socially embedded factors accordingly. The tablet is a portable electronic device, which is controlled through its touchscreen interface, and is available across the open source android operating system. The tablet is already preloaded with 54 e-Textbooks covering 17 Subjects. 54 Tutorials covering 17 Subjects and over 40,000 practice questions and answers as well as 6 extra curricular books among others.

Just as the technical, content and physical infrastructure of the education sector in the state are being tackled in the mainstream policy and program of the State administration, wife of the Governor, Mrs Sherifat Aregbesola has also rolled out educational programs, under her development Foundation, known as the Sheri Care Foundation (SCARF) to directly complement the efforts of the State administration. The programs include schools debate, quizzes, cooking competition, Aptitude Game among others.

Penultimate week, SCARF debuted with its School Debate series. The maiden edition tagged “Osun Debaters.” Not less than 180 public schools participated in the maiden editition with excitement and indescribable zeal. Speaking at the finals of the debate program, the Founder and President of the Foundation, Mrs Aregbesola said, “the debate program is one of the elements of our educational programs designed to compliment the educational curricula in our secondary schools in the State. The objective of the “Osun Debaters” is to activate the spirit of competitiveness among our young ones in a way that would prepare them for the leadership roles in all facets of life in future.

“SCARF’s conviction is that debate is a challenging and highly rewarding educational activity for our students. We have no doubt that Osun Debaters program would enhance the analytical skills of our students and develop their problem solving ability both while in schools and thereafter. We are convinced that exposing our students to activities such as debates and quizzes would also develop proficiency in thoughts and public speaking ability of the students as they would be motivated to do I depth researches. This will increase the ability of the students to do well in life either in businesses, professions or government.”

Participants at the debate, which was won by students of Osogbo Grammar demonstrated so much enthusiasm and excitement at being allowed to take part. They were so active in both the qualification and finals stages. They commended the program and requested for constant hosting of such programs.

With the provision of Opon Imo, students in the State will now certainly be well positioned to build their research ability and now that the Foundation and other stakeholders are complimenting the government efforts in terms of out-of-class academic activities, Osun will soon become the place to send one’s children for education. In the words of one of the top rate media men in Osogbo, “the efforts of the Governor together with the support programs being unveiled by the Sheri Care Foundation have given students in Osun great unfair advantage over their peers in other States”. Parents should now be mobilised to ensure usage of these platforms effectively.

Nigeria beat Kenya, top Group F

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Nigeria maintain leadership in Group F of the African qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup after beating hosts Kenya 1-0 in their second leg tie in Kasarani on Wednesday. Nigeria now have eight points from four matches, while Kenya are bottom of the log with two points.

All Nigeria needed was an 81st minute strike from CSKA Moscow’s Ahmed Musa to give Nigeria the needed victory.

The former Kano Pillars winger capitalised on goalkeeper Duncan Ochieng’s miscalculation to rush for the ball as the Nigerian chipped it into the net to send the small band of Nigerian supporters at the stadium into wild jubilation.

The other Group F match between Malawi and Namibia ended goalless in Blantyre, leaving the hosts with six points in four matches.

The Flames of Malawi could not find a way past the Brave Warriors of Namibia at Kamuzu Stadium, giving them their third draw in four games in the qualifying series.

Both Nigeria and Kenya were without some key players in the encounter with Nations Cup hero Emmanuel Emenike and Victor Moses missing out on the game for the Eagles, while Dennis Oliech and Arnold Origi were absent from the Harambee Stars.

The African champions had a tough day with their hosts as the Kenyans tried all they could to exploit their home advantage in front of a capacity crowd at the Moi International Sports Centre.

In spite of the lacklustre performance in the first half, Nigeria came close to taking the lead as early as the fifth minute when Dynamo Kyiv’s Brown Ideye got a chance at goal but he blasted the ball over.

Goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama was hardly tested for most of the first half waiting till the 39th minute to make his first save of the match, stopping Peter Opiyo’s long range effort.

In the 47th minute, Nnamdi Oduamadi missed a chance to put Nigeria forward after dribbling past Brian Mandela in the goal area, but Kenya goalkeeper Duncan Ochieng made a brilliant save to deny the Varese forward of his second goal in the qualifying series.

The introduction of Anthony Ujah to replace Ideye gave Nigeria more bite up front, forcing the Kenyans back, but the FC Koln striker wasted his chance to be on the scorers sheet when he headed wide a cross in the 72nd minute.

Nigeria’s next World Cup qualifier will be against Namibia in Windhoek on June 12. After that, the African champions travel to Brazil for the FIFA Confederations Cup which holds from June 15 to 30.

Countering cancer of the female reproductive system

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The word ‘cancer’ is a very dreadful terminology for the doctor and patient alike. It is so feared because of the amount of suffering, difficulty in being cured and high death rates inflicted on its victims.

What does the word cancer mean? It simply refers to the uncontrolled growth and spread of aberrant (abnormal) cells in the body. Cancer can affect various systems in the body including the female reproductive system.

The female reproductive system constitutes the organs and structures that are involved in the process of reproduction in women. These organs and structures include the cervix, uterus (womb), ovaries, vagina, vulva, fallopian tubes and also the mammary glands (breasts). Female reproductive cancers thus include cancers affecting the ovaries, cervix, uterus, and so on.

Female reproductive cancers (especially, cancer of the cervix and breast) constitute the commonest group of cancers in women, especially in this country and have been associated with high mortality (death) rates. So, the import of preventing cancers of the reproductive tract cannot be overemphasised.

What are toxins? Toxins are harmful substances which are capable of causing disease, especially when introduced into the body. Toxins can get into the human body by various routes like eating the wrong food, inhalation, skin contact, etc. It is interesting to note that toxins can stay in the human body without immediately causing symptoms and do linger on for a long time, which may be for years and even decades before the negative effects are noticed.

Numerous scientific studies have linked toxins in the development of cancer and these toxins are referred to as ‘carcinogens.’ The study of toxins and carcinogenesis (development of cancer) is a very complex and dynamic, as more and more toxins are discovered.

As noted earlier, toxins can be in the water you drink, your food, immediate environment (work, school, house and other places), pesticides, solvents and so on. How toxins are involved in carcinogenesis is a very complex and sometimes poorly understood topic. It is pertinent to note that cancer cells are usually normal cells at first that undergo certain changes that cause them to begin to divide in an uncontrollable manner and spread. These usually involve an alteration in the structure of a DNA (De-oxyribonucleic acid of a cell). In other words, the DNA is concerned with the regulation of the alterations in the genetic composition of the cell. These alterations are referred to as ‘mutations,’ while the toxins that lead to these changes are called ‘mutagens.’ However, not all mutagens are carcinogens and vice versa.

A number of toxins/carcinogens has been associated with female reproductive tract cancers. Toxins associated with cancer of the ovary include asbestos, talcum powder and pesticides; while those associated with cancer of the cervix include DES (Diethylstilbestrol, which is present in many contraceptives) and tobacco smoke. Carcinogens linked to breast cancer include ethyl alcohol, tobacco smoke, aromatic amines in plastics and DES in contraceptives.

Recently, the wearing of bras with metallic support has been linked to breast cancer. This has led to the production of bras with plastic support. Those carcinogens linked to uterine cancer include dichloroethane found in PVC plastics and other hydrocarbon products, arsenic (found in herbicides, wood preservatives and lead alloys in batteries), DES and acrylamide (found in cosmetics).

Carcinogens can be divided into various classes, based on what stage of carcinogenesis they affect; thus, they can be grouped as initiator carcinogens, promoter carcinogens and progressor carcinogens.

Also, some carcinogens can influence all the stages of carcinogenesis. Examples of initiator carcinogens include nitrosamine (found in smoked fish and cured meat); and cadmium, which is found in batteries.

Examples of progressor carcinogens include asbestos, which is used in roofing and ceiling materials, as well as the arsenic present in herbicides. Because of the intricate association between various toxins and cancer development, the question of how to deal with these toxins becomes very important. The most important fact is based on the work of Prof. Otto Heinrich Warburg (1883-1970), who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1931. His main focus was that development of cancer is due to blockage of the energy producing cell in the body called mitochondria, leading to the switch-off of the cell control mechanisms.

In other words, the carcinogens take control of the cell and do not allow it to function properly. Therefore, any situation to address cancer must reactive the cell control mechanisms.

This brings us to the topic of detoxification, which can be carried out by various methods or techniques, but the overall goal is to treat or prevent various diseases in the body by removing the substances that could cause them.

The removal of toxic substances associated with a type of cancer from the body of an individual, for example, could help protect the individual from developing that cancer, especially when he/she is at high risk of developing it.

Detoxification could be used as a method of preventing the development of female reproductive cancers such as ovarian and breast cancer, by removing the associated carcinogens. In addition to other activities like cancer screening and early detection, vaccination and aggressive chemotherapy, detoxification could also be used as a tool in dealing with the scourge of female reproductive cancers that plague women.

A good detox centre will remove all the heavy metals and toxic food such as heavy carbohydrate, while regenerating the body with orthomolecular supplements and an alkaline diet.

When this is done long enough, the cancer cell should become silent in its activity.

Culled from Punch Newspaper