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I’m Leaving Kogi Better Than I Met it, Gov. Bello Claims

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Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi says he came, saw and will be leaving the state better than he met it.

Bello stated this on Saturday at the 4th Convocation ceremonies of Kogi State Polytechnic, Lokoja, for 10 sets of graduating students from 2013 to 2022.

Bello said part of his achievements were evident in the repositioning of Kogi Polytechnic and other state tertiary institutions.

”My achievements can be attested to, by where the State Polytechnic was before my assumption of office, where it is now and how we have repositioned it for the future.

”We have taken time to look into the education sector for the benefit of our people; we made education a top priority in our thematic agenda.

”We did not only improve on the infrastructure and learning in our tertiary institutions, but also expanded our educational institution through the establishments of two additional universities.

“This will enable our children not to travel far to seek for knowledge within four years of our second term administration.

“By 16th January 2024, the first set of students would be matriculated at the newly-established Kogi State University, Kabba,” Bello said.

Bello appreciated Kogi people for their modest contribution by resoundingly voting for the Governor-elect, Alhaji Ahmed Dodo, in the November 11, 2023, governorship elections, as his successor.

The governor assured them that Ododo’s administration would build and take the state to the next level.

He appealed to the people to support the Governor-elect to enable him achieve greater successes.

Bello, the visitor to the university, thanked the Chairman of the Governing Council, Staff, and Students of the Polytechnic for the cooperation his administration enjoyed.

The governor eulogised the Rector of the Polytechnic, Dr. Salisu Ogbo, for his outstanding achievements which had made the Polythecnic an of envy among others, saying it is worthy of emulation across the world.

”To the Rector, I say I’m proud of you. I’m indeed very proud of you. and I will forever be proud of you,” Bello said.

The governor commended TETFUND and other donors and financial agencies for their contributions to the repositioning of the Polytechnic.

Earlier, the Rector praised the governor for his unflinching support towards the successes recorded, describing his appointment as a rare privilege, and thanked the governor for finding him worthy to serve.

Ogbo said he was able to use his three “RRRs” agenda of Repair, Reform and Restore, to return the lost glory of the Polytechnic to one of envy.

“The Polythecnic now prides itself as an institution committed to graduating students who are employers of labour in the country.

“A total of 145 students are graduating with Distinction at the National Diploma (ND) level, while 104 students are graduating with Distinction at Higher National Diploma (HND) level from various Schools and Departments.

“A total of 7,653 students are graduating with National Diploma while 4,427 students are graduating with Higher National Diploma,” Ogbo said.

On his part, the institution’s Governing Council Chairman, Prof. Yakubu Isa, said the council would continue to support the Polytechnic to prioritise academic and personal development of students,

Isa promised that the Polytechnic would strive to provide the needed tools and resources for students to continue to succeed.

Reports says that the governor was conferred with a Fellowship of the Polytechnic Award for his improvement in infrastructure and in human capital development.

Alh. Ozi Salami also bagged fellowship of the institution for sinking several boreholes and for granting scholarship to several students of the Polytechnic.

Similarly, Barr. Umoru Jimoh, Prof. Idris Bugaji of NBTE and Barr. Moses Okafor were also conferred with Fellowship of the institution. (NAN)

NEWS

Armed herders attacks soldiers, kill one, injured another in Benue

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From Attah Ede, Makurdi

Troops of Operations Whirl Stroke (OPWS), operating in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States, were reportedly attacked by suspected armed herdsmen leading to the death of one soldier, while another one was injured in Ochuekwu, Benue State.

The soldiers were deployed to Ochumekwu, Apa local government area of the State to keep peace following constant attacks on the community by the armed herders.

Force Commander, Operation Whirl Stroke OPWS Major General Sunday Iserihen Igbinomwanhia who confirmed this to newsmen on Monday, in Makurdi, said one personnel was killed and one injured.

He however said the troops in response killed three and injured several of the herdsmen, while one AK47 and rounds of ammunitions were recovered from them.

” OPWS is currently carrying out a clearance operation to flush out suspected armed foreign herders who have invaded Kwande local government area of the State”, he said.

It could be recalled that in February, a soldier was killed and two (2) others were injured in Agatu local government when suspected herders laid ambush on the troops.

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NEWS

Borehole Drillers Seek Expatriate Levy Review

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The Borehole Drillers’ Association of Nigeria (BODAN), has urged the Nigerian Government to reconsider its decision on the Expatriate Employment Levy (EEL), as it poses a threat to the survival of the drilling sector.

BODAN President, Mr Francis Uzoma, told newsmen on Monday that the decision has prompted many foreign drilling companies to consider relocating to other countries.

The Expatriate Employment Levy mandates an annual fee for organisations employing expatriate workers, requiring $15,000 (£12,000) for a director and $10,000 for other employees.

This move, according to the Federal Government aims to encourage foreign companies to increase the employment of Nigerian workers.

Uzoma said the federal government should reconsider the decision by reviewing the mandated levy to be more considerate in line with current economic realities.

According to him, its members, especially the foreign investors have been worried about the new decision saying it was not beneficial to continue to operate in the country.

“I just came out from a meeting with my members and they have expressed concern about the new law which mandates organisations employing expatriate workers to pay $15,000 for a director and $10,000 for other employees.

“These companies have already indicated their intentions to leave the country, many of them are Indian and Asian drillers.

“There are predictions of massive job losses, affecting mainly Nigerian workers and would contribute to unemployment.

“We are calling for total review of this annual levy as the one-month window given for payment is not tenable and would affect the economy.

“Without such reconsideration, there’s a risk of drilling companies relocating to neighboring countries, as they have expressed dissatisfaction and unfavorable business conditions”.

These effects, he added include potential repercussions on the borehole sector, hindrance to knowledge transfer, and limitations on equipment and technology use.

He stressed the potential retaliation from foreign investors, particularly Nigerians in diaspora, highlighting the importance of considering the policy’s impact.

He mentioned his intention to write to the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, outlining the adverse effects of the policy on the economy.

NAN recalls President Bola Tinubu’s cautionary statement during the recent launch of the EEL handbook, where he warned against using the levy to obstruct potential investors.

He highlighted the government’s expectations to enhance revenue and promote indigenisation, emphasising the objective of balancing employment opportunities between Nigerians and expatriates.

Tinubu clarified that the government’s aim is to narrow wage gaps between expatriates and the Nigerian labor force.

Also, it is to simultaneously foster increased employment opportunities for qualified Nigerians within foreign companies operating in the country. (NAN)

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Foreign News

Cambodia Arrests 2 Foreigners for Smuggling 2.27 kg Narcotics

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Cambodian customs police at the Phnom Penh International Airport said they have arrested two South Korean nationals for an attempt to smuggle 2.27 kg narcotics to South Korea.

The duo, a man and woman, were caught Sunday night while they checked in for a ZA215 flight bound for Seoul.

The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia said in a news release on Monday.

In their body searches, our customs officials found many packs of drugs wrapped around their waists, the news release said.

“As a result, some 1.29 kg of crystal methamphetamine and 0.98 kg of ketamine were seized from the two suspects’ possession.’’

The Southeast Asian country has no death sentence for a drug trafficker.

Under its law, someone found guilty of trafficking more than 80 grammes of illicit drugs could be jailed for life.

According to the country’s Anti-Drug Department (ADP), Cambodia nabbed 3,899 drug-related suspects, including 106 foreigners, in 1,659 cases from Jan. 1 to March 3, 2024.

According to the report they confiscated a total of 2.79 tonnes of narcotics.

Most of the seized drugs were ketamine, crystal methamphetamine, methamphetamine tablets, heroin, ecstasy, and cocaine. (Xinhua/NAN)

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