Child Labour: Obaseki decries widespread practice, warns of sanctions

The Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has condemned the use of children as labourers by employers of labour and warned that his administration will not accept any form of exploitation of children in the state.

Obaseki gave the warning on the occasion of the World Day Against Child Labour, marked by the United Nations each year.

While acknowledging the influx of companies into the state, with the state government’s reinvigorated efforts at creating the enabling environment for businesses to thrive, the governor maintained that his administration will not be home to obnoxious labour practices such as the recruitment of children to work.

“We are committed to equipping our children with quality education for a prosperous future. We have robust laws and policies that guarantee the rights of children in the state and will activate these laws and policies in the event that children are being exploited or abused anywhere in the state,” he said.

The governor urged Edo people and residents to report any case of exploitation of children to the law enforcement agencies for prosecution as the state government has sensitised the enforcement agencies to treat such cases with dispatch.

He further warned that forced labour and human trafficking have no place in the emerging Edo State, and advised parents, guardians and caregivers to be alive to their responsibilities of educating their children.

“The International Labour Organisation in 2002 launched the day to focus attention on the global extent of child labour and the action and efforts needed to eliminate it. Each year in June, the World Day brings together governments, employers and workers organizations, civil society, as well as millions of people from around the world to highlight the plight of child labourers and what can be done to help them,” the UN body said.

Enabulele charges private school owners to improve quality of education

By Osarugue Idemudia

Proprietors of private primary schools in Ovia South-West local government area have been charged to improve the quality of education they impact to the children in the LGA.

The Executive Chairman of LGA, Comrade Destiny Oghayerio Enabulele, gave the charge on Thursday, during a meeting with the proprietors and other stakeholders in the education sector of the LGA.

Present at the meeting were the the Chief Inspector of Education in the LGA, Mrs. Gladys Fred-Osunde, the Education Secretary of the local government area, Mrs. Ifueko Aiguobarueghian and owners of 18 of the 24 registered private primary schools in the LGA.

“The reason for this meeting is not to witch-hunt anybody. The purpose is to appeal to your inner mind to do the needful, because, at that level, you are grooming the future of this country. Any defect at that level cannot be corrected at the university or anywhere.

“Why we decided to pick interest in the education of our citizens is because our success as a local government depends on the quality of the citizens we produce. If we have a vibrant and informed citizenry, we will produce a vibrant and informed local government.

“We want to create the enabling environment for us to have more private schools. Let us know your challenges, we will look at it and see how we could intervene, so that you could strive to make an impact

“We will colaborate with the ministry of education and the local education board to see how we can revive extra curricular activities, in the areas of inter-school debate, essay writing and quiz competitions,” Enabulele said.

He bemoaned the situation whereby primary school pupils are already involved in cultism.

The Chief Inspector of Education in the LGA, Mrs. Gladys Fred-Osunde, gave assurances of her willingness to cooperate with all stakeholders to revamp education in the LGA.

“I assure you that we will work together, since you have the vision, to bring back extra curricular activities, to bring back old values again,” Fred-Osunde assured.

On her part, the Education Secretary of the local government area, Mrs. Ifueko Aiguobarueghian, lammented the many unregistered private schools operating in the area, adding that some of the proprietors of such schools do threaten her staff for daring to complain about the state of their schools.

“Whenever I go on monitoring and supervision, I see so many unregistered private schools in mushroom buildings like poultry,” she lammented.

Also speaking, Mr. Ofurie Godson, the proprietor of Gilgal Education Centre, Iguobazuwa, described the meeting as a “sooting balm” to the nerves of the private school owners, adding that it would motivate them to do better.

“We are also poised to ensure that we do the local government proud and we will also take the charge given to us by the Chairman seriously, to improve the quality of education in the local government area,” he said.

The Supervisor for Education, Miss Tessy Omoyemwen Ekhator, disclosed that the Council has concluded arrangements to commence monitoring of the over 30 private primary schools operating in the LGA.

A committee to be chaired by the Vice Chairman of the Council, Hon. Fred Aimienwanwu, was set up to investigate a private school currently operating at Udo in a very dangerous environment.

Also present at the meeting were Mr. Monday Osagunmwenwan who tutored Comrade Enabulele in primary 4 at Ozolua Model Primary School, Iguobazuwa, and Rev. Olubiyi Oluwajuoshin, who also tutored the wife of the Council boss from JSS 1 through SS 3, but are both private school owners today.

Highlight of the meeting was the presentation prizes to Master Solomon Wisdom, an SS 2 student of Gilgal Education Centre, Iguobazuwa, who won a trophy and a medal after coming 3rd in the essay writing competition organised by the State to mark this year’s Children Day celebration.

Enabulele said the performance of Wisdom “has made us proud, that is to tell you there is hope, “just as he announced a full scholarship for the victorious student for his SS 3.

A meeting with head teachers of all primary schools in the LGA with the Council boss has been scheduled to hold next week.

Government’s continued neglect threatens infrastructures in Edo State Ministry of Education

Edo State Government’s continued neglect threatens infrastructures in Edo’s Ministry of Education making it now look more or less Ministry of Dilapidation.

Edo Ministry of Education Iyaro premises.
Photo credit: URHOKPOTA REPORTERS

Ministry of Education is supposed  to be Government’s driving force for change, growth and development of the education system – shaping direction for education agencies and providers and contributing to the Government’s goals for education.

But besides these functions, infrastructures at Edo state Ministry of Education are in despair and dilapidated without any serious commitment from the government.

Urhokpota Reporters exclusively investigated the dilapidation of Edo State Ministry of Education Iyaro and the plights of people in accessing its services.

Our investigation revealed that many are the challenges confronting the Ministry of Education Iyaro. URHOKPOTA REPORTERS spoke to a number of staff both junior and senior staff, all of them pleaded for anonymity.

The staff, rightly so, are looking up to the government to tackle the ever growing number of challenges in their workplace  in order to make work more dignifying for them. But as seen in many cases, help does not always seem to come easily from the state government.

The challenges, mostly topped by dearth of infrastructures in the Ministry, have subjected staff to untold hardships and indignity.

Top on the list of complaints of staff is office space to discharge their duties.

Edo Ministry of Education Iyaro premises.
Photo credit: URHOKPOTA REPORTERS

The staff, who handle the routine duties of the Ministry suffer various forms of difficulties, depending on the level they occupy. Some suffer problems ranging from poor ergonomics, dilapidated buildings, lack of facilities to carryout their duties, and manpower shortages. For example they have to depend on business centre to type or photocopy even sensitive letters due to a lack machines in the ministry.

In some situations, staff are made to sit on top books due to lack of space as Urhokpota Reporters witnessed. Some staff  were seen under a small tree attending to a school principal who had come to seek information on take off approval for his school.

So is the situation in Iyaro, where a tree serves as the office of a staff of the Ministry of Education.

The poor state of the Ministry can be linked to years of negligence and abandonement by successive government administration, especially since the tenure of Adams Oshiomhole where a portion that was burnt by curious fire has not been repaired till date. Check the pictures.

The Ministry continue to be in despair inspite of the N6.3b  budgeted for education in 2018.

Poor governance and mismanagement have crippled education sectors in the state not leaving behind the Ministry of Education. Government’s attitude towards crucial problems of education, especially its quality, is lackadaisical.

A principal who spoke to our correspondent lamented that government’s institution should be in such state of despair,  calling on the government to renovate the dilapidated buildings.

A top staff who doesn’t want his identity disclosed said “Apart from the dilapidated nature of some of the buildings, the existing offices cannot contain all the staff”.

URHOKPOTA REPORTERS calls on Governor Obaseki to urgently do something about the dilapidation that has continued in the Ministry of Education under his watch and justify the huge budgetary allocation to the ministry.

A stitch in time saves nine.

Okowa is a responsible leader – Ned Nwoko …Congratulates the Governor on 3 years in office

Delta North leading senatorial district’s aspirant, Prince Ned Nwoko says Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has enthroned a responsible regime of service in the past three years in Delta state.

In a goodwill message to the Governor on his third anniversary on the saddle , Nwoko said Okowa’s track record as a leader is inspiring to all well meaning Deltans.

The prince of Idumuje Ugboko kingdom, in Aniocha North local government area of the state, said Okowa governorship brought pride to Anioma people and equity to multi ethnic Delta.

According to Nwoko, former member house of representatives, (1999 – 2003), Okowa came to power unique, as the first Anioma elected governor in the history of the state and proved a competent and accountable pathfinder with a pan – Delta agenda.

He said the administration of Okowa is marked with a liberal climate of participatory democracy haven promoted peace, unity and enterprise among Deltans through coordinated policy thrusts .

He said the massive development of social infrastructure , sustainable youth empowerment programmes and meticulous management of public resources established Okowa as a governor that defers to good governance.

He enjoined Deltans to overlook ethnic and political cleavages and work with the governor as he charts a positive future for all.

While wishing Deltans and Nigerians an eventful anniversary under civil rule , Nwoko assured that his tenure if elected senator would unfold a new dawn of socio economic development for the people ,which aligned with the populist stewardship of Governor Okowa.

Self-help syndrome: the bane of political evolution of Ewu land and people – Hon. J.E. Imoisili.

The inaugural edition of the EKPEBUA HOUSE, Ewu Political Lecture Series held on Saturday in Ewu has gone down in history as a wake up call to Ewu reawakening towards engendering Unity and prosperity associated with Unity.

Lead Speaker of the maiden edition of Ekpebua House Political Lecture series organised by the Ewu Progress Foundation, Hon J. Ebeagbor Imoisili, an Ewu man formerly Esan Central council boss and management consultant, while taking a historical voyage around Ewu political evolution, revealed that from time immemorial, Ewu politics has been marred by lack of unity and communal backing of candidates of Ewu origin.

According to Imoisili who is now a leader in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Ward 8 (Ewu), whose tenure as Esan Central council boss is remembered by most people as a time of quality, altruistic leadership of focus on transformation,  politicians of Ewu origin who succeeded in getting political positions did so through self help.  This has been a bane to the political evolution of Ewu land, according to the Lead Speaker.

According to Imoisili, while other communities like Irrua, Uromi and others projected and supported their people to elective offices  to get elected into political positions, Ewu politicians only resort to self help because they lack the backing from home.

He cited the early great politicians like Shaka Momodu of Irrua, Ijie of Ibore and others having laid the foundations for their future generation to thrive in politics.

Corroborating this shortcomings of Ewu, Pa Jerome Idiata, the chairman of Elukhide Social Cultural Development Organization, popularly called Elukhide, revealed how in his own watch, the political Godfathers of that time tried to lure them into supporting the removal of Hon David Iyoha, an Ewu man, from office as the then Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly with the deceptive promise that if Iyoha is removed, then their own son would be made the next governor of the state.

He said he vehemently refused that plot because a bird in hand is worth more than millions in the bush.

Also speaking at the historic event, Hon David Iyoha, formerly speaker, Edo State House of Assembly during the Igbinedion tenure as governor, stated that the theme of the programme “Get Involved” was what motivated him to attend the Ekpebua House inaugural lecture.

According to the former speaker who is now a leader in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ward 8 (Ewu), he got involved in the 90s when he first contested as a councillor under the Grassroots Democratic Movement (GDM).

Under the political calculations then,  he later wanted to contest for local Government Council Chairman but had to accept the House of Assembly ticket in the end owing to the then prevailing political circumstances.

He got involved and became a Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly. He narrated further how he impacted many people in education through scholarships.

In his Keynote Address, which was the high point of the event,  the Onojie of Ewu, HRH Barr. Rasaki Isesele Ojiefo III commended the converners of the programme in their wisdom in using the name EKPEBUA for the series.

According to the legal luminary who is King of Ewu, he said the tree royal princes whose families are now the kings and kingmakers lineages; Ekpebua, Uwamen and Ughulu, were the 3 brothers who migrated from Benin to Ewu in the distant past.

The Onojie clarified  that the Ruling House of Ewu is more appropriate to be called the Ekpebua Dynasty instead of the current name of Ojiefo Dynasty.

According to the cerebral royal father of Ewu Kingdom, Ekpebua is the originator of the current Ewu Ruling House.

He further revealed that in the early 1900, Ewu was recognised by the colonial government as a Kingdom covering the whole of present Idoa, Ukhun, (now in Esan West LGA) Jagbe, and Agbede (Now in Etsako West LGA).

Zaiki Ojiejo III further revealed that the mother of Emuan n’Ogidigan (The great), one of the greatest kings of Ewu who was dreaded by the colonial government and the then neighbors, is from Agbede and that was why King Eimua, (whose three sons tasted the throne; Abhulimen, Ojiefoh and Omosun), gave the portion of Ewu land to the Agbede people which is now called Agbede land today.

In his conclusion, the Lead Speaker commended the Ewu Progress Foundation (conveners of Ewu Political Forum) and impressed on them to get involved.

He cited that the time to support our own is ripe adding that a bright son of  Ewu is asking for a position as a legislator at the House of Assembly in 2019, apparently referring to the aspiration of Saintmoses Eromosele. He died that Ewu should back him to demonstrate their resolve to break the old jinx.

Ewu Political Forum was founded on December 27, 2017 by two cousins, Saintmoses Eromosele based in Germany and Osajele Godsend Jomo based in Lagos on a WhatsApp platform. Both of them are currently members of the Board of Trustees.

The group is currently being led by Engr Fidelis Edokpa after Mr Isiwele Osezuwa handed over in a democratic election held in March 2018. Chairman of the Board of Trustees and a strong pillar for the group, Pastor Henry Amenkhena, was also Chairman of the occasion and he pledged to support any Ewu man to higher position.

The group was founded to unite Ewu towards greater sociopolitical achievement, to initiate the EKPEBUA HOUSE Political Lecture Series and to agitate for the creation of a separate Local Government Area or Local Council Development Authority to be known as Kugbe or Esan North LGA or LCDA comprising Ewu, Ukhun, Idoa and Jagbe with head quarters in Ewu.

The Chairman of the Political Lecture Series Committee of the EPF, Mr Lawrence Isiraoje, expressed satisfaction over the success of the maiden edition and asked the public to embrace subsequent editions which would be open to non-Ewu people.

Faruk from Ukhiodo-Ewu anchored the memorable event which attracted all sectors of the Ewu public. The Chairman of the Esan Central council who is an Ewu man was conspicuously absent but the two councillors representing Ewu at the council attended.

At the end of the program the guests went to inspect the medium sized Ewu Community Library of large hall and four reading rooms donated to Ewu by the TY Danjuma Foundation, which management Onojie of Ewu last April handed over to the EPF. Donations for the take off of the library were received from Hon David Iyoha, Pa Idiata, and others.

 

Osajele Godsend Jomo, reporting for URHOKPOTA REPORTERS.

Dozens injured as rapists attack a girls secondary school in Abia State

By Richard Okundia 

Many students were seriously injured after a suspected rapist attacked the Ovim Girls Secondary Secondary in Isuikwuato Local Government Area of Abia State early this morning.

Urhokpota Reporters gathered that reports the rapists came into the school armed with dangerous weapons like cutlass, iron rod and other weapons.

As at the time the writing this report, the girls were receiving treatment at a nearby hospital.

ASUU says Buhari led Government is very irresponsible

By Richard Okundia 

The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has condemned the Federal Government over its incapability to arrest the spate of killing in the country, saying that the government has demonstrated an act of irresponsibility towards its constitutional responsibility.

The Union maintained that a government that allowed her people to be murdered daily was totally irresponsible and has failed to fulfill the social contract of protecting lives and properties. Conveying this position to the public, the ASUU Chairman of the University of Ibadan, UI, Dr Deji Omole, in an interview with newsmen shortly after the congress of the Union in Ibadan demanded adequate security of lives and properties of Nigerians from the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Union also called for the de-politicization of security by heads of security agencies, saying loyalty must be to Nigeria and not to Aso Rock residents. Omole, who noted that Nigerians who were already battling with poor economic conditions were now afraid that their lives could be terminated anyhow, pointing out that the Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government had been issuing ineffective condemnation speeches.

According to Omole, it was a sign of irresponsibility for the government to fold its arms while people were being killed only to approve N10 billion for rebuilding affected communities, saying “a serious government would have prevented destruction from happening but the government allowed the carnage to happen.”

The ASUU boss noted that while land transportation was hellish for Nigerians, it was now more deadly to travel since criminals had positioned themselves on major roads, kidnapping, raping, dispossessing and killing people at will. Omole said food production was now threatened because communities affected were farming communities while those displaced were farmers who were supposed to be farming during raining season but that the herdsmen had allegedly taken over their lands.

He said, “every day you open newspaper and what you read is news of killing and some people will sit inside air conditioner offices in Abuja and issue condemnation speeches which have not done anything in the last three years since they came to power. If Nigerians are already denied quality health facilities, quality education, quality social services, they must not be denied right to life.

This is the worst form of treating the governed by a government that promised hope to the masses but which the rich have continued to benefit from. We demand security of lives and properties from the Muhammadu Buhari government. Only the living can demand for their rights. It is sad that one state claimed to have lost about 500 persons to herdsmen terrorism and nobody has been prosecuted for this”.

Bill for the establishment of a University in Ogoniland read at the Senate

By Richard Okundia 

A Bill for the establishment of the Federal University of Environment, Science and Agriculture in Ogoni land was yesterday read on the floor of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the first time.

The Bill which was sponsored by Magnus Abe, Senator representing Rivers South-East.

Abe had suggested during the visit of the Senate Committee on Environment to Ogoniland for oversight December last year that it would make sense if the Federal Government of Nigeria considered converting the Center of Excellence, a key recommendation in the UNEP report on Ogoniland into a Federal University of environmental and agricultural studies that would be in a reference, not only in Niger Delta , but in Nigeria and Africa at large.

Senator Abe followed that up with an article published in Thisday where the same opinion was canvassed.

The Bill with the title Federal University of Environment, Science and Agriculture Ogoni, Rivers State (Est, etc) Bill, 2018 (SB. 680) underwent first reading yesterday.

The presentation of the Bill and first reading of same today on the floor of the Senate is therefore seen as the first step in a long journey to actualize that lofty ideal for the benefit of Niger Delta.

Peace Corps: Peace Corps Bill dies as Reps fail to veto Buhari

By Richard Okundia

The controversial nongovernmental organization, Peace Corps of Nigeria’s Bill today failed to pass the second reading in order to veto the President Muhammadu Buhari’s rejection, at the House Of Representatives.

The Bill, which had been passed by the National Assembly was also rejected by the President Muhammadu Buhari, who refused to sign the bill into law.

Unfortunately, on Thursday, the bill also suffered another set back as the House of representatives couldn’t achieved the “Veto Power” on the passage of the Peace Corps Bill.

Unizik holds a multidimensional seminar on drug abuse and indiscipline

By Osarugue Idemudia
Nnamdi Azikiwe University today Wednesday held a multidimensional seminar on drug abuse and indiscipline. The seminar which took place at the Juhel Auditorium, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Agulu Campus was organized by the Faculty of the University. Present at the seminar were the host Dean, Prof. Uzochukwu Ike, NDLEA Commander in Anambra state, Mr Momodu Sule, Dr. Ajaegbu and principal faculty members of the University. The anchor Dr. Chika Abba introduced the speakers and then went ahead to inform the students of a planned  examination to ascertain students that will be admitted to school hostels.
 The host Dean in his opening address gave a summary of the Faculty’s plan to improve the quality of training being received.
The NDLEA Commander, Mr Momodu in his presentation discussed extensively on drug abuse and ways to identify addicts.
Dr. Ajaegbu in his presentation dwell on the psychology of drug abuse.
The Registrar/FAO gave rundown on the punishable offenses in the University. The seminar ended with light refreshment and exchange of pleasantry.