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FG’s School Feeding Programme Generating Concern Among Benue Beneficiaries

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FG' School Feeding Programme Generating Concern among Benue Beneficiaries
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The Federal Government’s initiated homegrown school feeding programme in Benue State appears to be generating concerns again.

It will be recalled that big pen was wielded against the former focal person in the state for the poor coordination of the programme as many things went wrong and the laudable programme had actually started taking a plunge in the state, when the governor sacked him.

This week, many food vendors took protest to Government House, Makurdi, signposting a new trouble as over 300, 000 pupils and many vendors have allegedly been removed from the feeding programme.


On the heels of the protest, some uninformed and illiterate food vendors operating in rural primary schools have been circulating rumours of mass sack hitting them.

In other quarters, it is bandied with that all the old food vendors in the state have been dropped and new ones who are in the good book of the wife of the state governor, Eunice Ortom, are allegedly being secretly recruited. Those who orchestrate this allegation seem to be of the opposition APC stock in the state.

While tension and panic take over the food vendors over the confused atmosphere, information from the official quarters, National Social Investment Programme/Office of the state Focal Person appears not to be diffusing the tension

An online investigation however, revealed that what is happening in the Homegrown School Feeding Programme is not unconnected with the officials of the National Statistics Office, Abuja, who recently toured primary schools in Benue to ascertain vital statistics of the schools in the scheme.

According to the source, Abuja office of the statistics has released the list of the schools toured.
In  the list, many primary schools’ names were either blacklisted, omitted or downrightly expunged from the scheme.

In  Oju LGA for instance, over 115 primary schools were previously enlisted in the scheme but after the visit of the officials of the National statistics, the schools have been reduced to only 90.
According to a source in the office of the state focal person, desk officers would forward the list of omitted schools up for transmission to Abuja for correction.

The earlier the correction of the error, the better for the scheme and the Buhari administration.
Or it is as good as kissing the laudable scheme bye and the good image of the government of the day will be in shreds. God forbid bad thing!

Education

UniAbuja Internal Council Voices Concern Over VC’s Election Plans

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The University of Abuja’s internal governing council has expressed concern over an alleged plan by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Rasheed Na’Allah to conduct an election of the council against the University laws.

The council therefore, said it has taken a legal action against the Vice Chancellor to get clarification.

It would be recalled that President Bola Tinubu’s administration had in June 2023 dissolved all the governing councils in federal universities in the country.

However, the federal government, few days ago announced the constitution of council members of Federal tertiary institutions.

Following the announcement, the University of Abuja’s Internal Governing Council has intensified its stance, asserting that the planned election of new internal members violates established laws of the University.

The University, unlike other Federal Universities in Nigeria operates under a governance framework comprising both external and internal governing council members. 

While the external council members typically consist of individuals appointed by the federal government, the internal governing council members are typically drawn from within the university community, including faculty members, administrative staff, and student representatives through an election.

Meanwhile, addressing a press conference in Abuja, a member of the internal Council of the University, Pof. Edmund J.C Nwana blamed the vice Chancellor for planning an election while their tenure has not expired 

“We were elected 12th of July 2022, there was a contest in senate and we emerged winners. We were subsequently inaugurated on the 15th of July 2021 for a four year term.

“When the new administration came on board, we were about council assignments until we got information that Council was suspended.

“So, we waited thinking it will be resolved in may be another week, but it has lingered for now almost going into a year. 

“As we were watching and listening to know what next government wants to do, the rumours started flying and they are quite serious that our administration here, lead by the Vice Chancellor was planning to call for another election on his own understanding that Council has gone.

“So, we got wind of it and decided that, we don’t have time for any physical engagement or argument so we decided to seek the interpretation of the law, because it is in the art of the University of Abuja.

“So, we sought a legal explanation through the Federal High Court in Abuja a few days ago. So that’s where we are today, he has been served notice of a case that is pending,” he added.

According to him, other federal universities where tenures are not ended for internal council members, the Institutions are not going about hitting up the polity, but the members are going to return and complete their tenures.

Also speaking, Barrister Maxwell Opara, a council to the members urged the VC not to hand himself out as somebody who doesn’t obey the rule of law. 

“So, we are calling on the Minister of education, executive secretary of NUC, the Anthoney General of the Federation and the president to call the VC to order. 

Contributing, the Chairman of ASUU, University of Abuja branch, Dr. Sylvanus Ugoh said it is fully behind the council members for the right thing to be done.

“Our internal council members here in university of Abuja got the wind that the University administration led by the Vice Chancellor are planning seriously to conduct another council election, which we know is not in accordance with the law.

“Internal council members were elected for a tenure of four years and they have not exhausted the four years and because of what the University administration is doing, the members went to court to seek interpretation and ASUU being a union of intellectuals, we come to be in solidarity with our members because we respect the rule of law and want them to pursue it.”

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1.2m Students to Benefit from First Phase of Education Loan – First Lady

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The First Lady, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu says no fewer than 1.2 million students will benefit from the first phase of the students education loan scheme which commenced on May 24.

Mrs Tinubu disclosed this in the State House on Sunday during the Nigerian Youth Celebration, with the theme “Becoming: Pathway to Success.

Reports says that the event was in commemoration of the first year anniversary of President Tinubu administration.

“It is noteworthy that the administration of President Tinubu, has been exceptionally youth friendly.

“The administration has demonstrated commitment to youth inclusion in empowerment and governance.

“This is evident in the unprecedented appointment of young leaders as Ministers, heads of agencies and parastatals, as well as the full implementation of the Students Loan Scheme,” she said.

Mrs Tinubu expressed her commitment to supporting and encouraging the youths, particularly through her Renewed Hope Initiative (RHI).

She said the RHI is geared towards complementing the efforts of Mr President, in the areas of education, agriculture, social investment and economic empowerment.”

The first lady further assured the youths that the current administration would do its best in making Nigerians happy.

“We will continue to do our best to provide an enabling environment to foster and support the youth as active participants in national development and in re-writing Nigeria’s story for good.

“I urge you to keep believing in Nigeria. By the  grace of God, we will witness the rebirth of a new nation that will take its rightful place among the comity of Nations,” she said.

Mrs Tinubu charged panel of discussants at the event to offer their wealth of experiences in guiding participants in the right way.

Reports says the panelists include, Mr Tunde Onakoya, a Nigerian chess player and coach, holding the Guinness World Records for the longest marathon chess game.

Another participant is, 2nd Lt. Oluchukwu Owowoh, who shattered barriers and soared to become the first Nigerian woman commissioned from the prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, was also among the panelists.

“Not only did you make history, but you also emerged as the most outstanding cadet among your peers, you are an inspiration to so many young girls.

“I  commend our budding fashion designer, Hauwa, whose creativity and passion shines through.

“I also commend Iyinoluwa, who has contributed to African innovation and investment landscape as well as other tech gurus and innovators, whose efforts continue to shape our country and the continent for good,” she said.

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development Dr Jamila Ibrahim, commended the first lady for organising the programme. (NAN)

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NELFUND Opens Portal for 1st Phase of Students Loan Application

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The Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND) has opened the application portal for the first phase of the student loan scheme, for students from federal institutions across the country.

The loan website which became active in the early hour of Friday had the scheme’s pilot phase opened to students of federal tertiary institutions.

The Media and Public Relations Lead of NELFUND, Mr Nasir Ayitogo, listed the step by step application for the loan.

Ayitogo listed the procedures as:

CREATING AN ACCOUNT

Step 1: visit www.nelf.gov.ng

Step 2: Click on the “Apply Now”

Step 3: Click on “Get Started”

Step 4: Answer the questions on this page to continue by clicking on “Yes, I am a Nigerian” 

Step 5: Verify your educational information.

You would be required to select your school from a dropdown and provide your matric number to check if your school has uploaded your details. 

Step 6: Click the “Verify with JAMB” and enter your JAMB details in the screen.

(Students whose NIN has not been registered with JAMB will have an input field where they can enter their NIN for validation.)

Step 7: Create an account by entering your Email address, Password and Confirm Password in the fields provided and click “Create Account”.

Step 8: Click the email verification link sent to your email.

This concludes the process of creating an account.

HOW TO COMPLETE YOUR PROFILE :

After successful registration, log in by clicking the “LOGIN” button.

Step 1: Enter your email address and password to Login.

Step 2: Click on the “Proceed to Contact Details” button.

Step 3: Update contact details with the current information of your Phone Number, Full Residential Address, State of Residence and Local Government Area of Residence and click “Proceed to Educational Details”.

Step 4: Update your educational details by selecting your Higher Institution and inputting your Matric Number, then click “Proceed to Account Details”

Step 5: Verify your BVN by entering your BVN, select your Bank Name and enter your Account Number. Click “Save Changes” to complete your profile.

LOAN APPLICATION 

Step 1: Click on the “Request for Student Loan” button at the top right of the screen on the home or loans page after logging into the application.

Step 2: If you want an upkeep loan, click the check box, and click Continue, if all you need is the institutional charge, click the “Continue” button.

Step 3: Upload supporting documents. The admission letter is compulsory which the Student ID and Institution Invoice are optional.

Click the checkbox for the policy and declaration and click “Continue”

Step 4: Read the loan overview and click the check boxes for both the Terms & Conditions and GSI Mandate then click “Submit Application”

Step 5: Click on the “Loans” button to view the status of your application.

Reports says that President Bola Tinubu enacted an initial version of the student loan policy in June 2023 to grant interest-free loans to students.

The scheme, which was supposed to have taken off in October 2023, was deferred until a re-enactment in April 2024.

However, NELFUND finally scheduled the opening of the loan application and issuance portal for May 24, which is now in operation. (NAN)

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