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Calling Nigeria Giant Of Africa Deceptive – Sanusi

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A former Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi ll, says Nigeria should stop deceiving itself with the appellation ‘Giant of Africa,’ saying the country is way behind many other African countries in developmental indices.

He also asserted that with the rate at which neighbouring Ghana was attracting industries, “Ghanaian President has become the leading President in Africa.”

Sanusi, a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, said while Nigeria was stuck on crude oil, which is fast depleting and struggling to sell, the rest of the world was embracing technology.

He said except there was a paradigm shift in Nigeria’s economic focus from oil to knowledge, the nation’s economy risks imminent collapse.

Sanusi spoke at the closing session of the Kaduna Investment Summit, tagged, ‘KadInvest 6.0.’

He pointed out that while neigbouring Ghana with smaller economy invests more in education, Nigeria spends only seven per cent of its budget on that.

He said the current reality in Nigeria was that only eight out of every 100 primary school pupils go as far as the university level, while only a fraction of those would get a job upon graduation.

Sanusi said, “Globally, work is being redefined; 30 to 40 per cent of workers in developed economies will need to significantly upgrade their skills by 2030. And what are the major drivers of this redefinition? ICT and remote working, which we have seen even here with COVID-19.

“There is increased automation and Artificial Intelligence. Very soon, robot will take over work in most countries and those who have jobs are those who operate the robots or manufacture the robots or service the robots.

“For us in Nigeria, the enclave economy that we have, the so called goose that lays the golden egg is about to die. There will be no eggs. The future is not in the carbons.

“A few months ago, Germany was able to produce enough renewable energy for the entire country’s need. Today, we are having difficulties selling Nigerian oil. So, not only are we having problems to produce, even when we produce, the market is not there.

“So, this is forcing a change, and for us, a country that depends on oil, things need to change.

“Nigeria is ranked 114th in the global innovation index. We are lower than other African countries such as Kanya, Rwanda and Senegal. We are, in fact, ranked 14th in sub-saharan Africa. I think we should have this reality check and know where we are as a country. Let’s stop calling ourselves the Giant of Africa, because we are the giant with clay feet.

“Countries like Kenya, Rwanda and Senegal are ahead of us. I am not even talking about South Africa. Our expenditure on education is only seven per cent of the budget. We are spending less on education than Ghana; I am not talking about as per percentage of the budget; in absolute terms, even though the Ghanaian economy is much smaller than the Nigerian economy, even though the Ghanaian government revenue is less than Nigerian revenue, Ghana is spending more on education than Nigeria.

“And we are surprised that industries are moving to Ghana. We are surprised that the Ghanaian President has become the leading President in Africa? We are not investing in education and human capital.

“We have a 68 per cent missing job requirement and the major areas being IT, communication and decision making. And the completion rate between entry into primary one and completing university is eight per cent, meaning that out of every 100 pupil who go into primary school, only eight come out of university. And out of those eight, nine percent, which is one of the eight will get job.

“So, this is the reality in addition to what is happening globally. Now, digitisation to level the playing field is required, if we are deliberate and we shift from consumption to value creation. But part of our problem is that, even when we have the solution at our feet, we do not take it.”

Sanusi also stressed the need for skill creation for the young people to create an enabling environment for economic growth and development.

The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, said his administration believed that the future of job in the world today would be digital.

El-Rufai said the state would be introducing ICT skills in vocational institutes, as well as primary and secondary schools across the state.

He said, “We believe in planning, and thinking through what our state needs and we develop human capital capacity.”

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World War III Will Be Caused By Fake News – Lai Mohammed

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Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, has cautioned against the spread of fake news, saying it may cause World War III.

Mohammed spoke on Monday when he appeared before the house of representatives committee on information, national orientation, ethics and values to defend his ministry’s 2022 budget.

The minister said the manner in which information is disseminated today has drastically changed.

He said the means of receiving information 30 years ago was through television and radio sets, adding that people now prefer to patronise social media where fake news is easily spread.

“The people today, they don’t read newspapers, they don’t watch television — it’s social media. And it is most expensive; the most unseen enemy, they are there every moment,” he said.

“With fake news today and misinformation — I have always said here that the next world war will be caused by fake news.

“You can see even the US that use to pride itself on the freedom of the press is now questioning the role of the social media.”

Mohammed has often expressed concerns about the menace of fake news and its potential dangers.

This has prompted the federal government to push for legislation to bring social and online media under control.

At a public hearing in June, Mohammed asked the house of representatives to amend the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) act to empower the agency to regulate social and online media in addition to other channels of broadcasting.

This was after NBC had asked all social media platforms and online broadcasting service providers operating in Nigeria to apply for a broadcast licence.

In August, Mohammed said the federal government will not rest until social media platforms are regulated.

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Buhari Swears in Two INEC National Commissioners

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President Muhammadu Buhari has sworn in two National Commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The swearing-in took place on Monday at the Conference Hall of the First Lady’s office at the State House, Abuja, before the official launch of the eNaira and 2022 Armed Forces Remembrance Day emblem.

The new National Commissioners are Prof. Muhammad Sani Kallah (Katsina State) and Prof. Kunle Cornelius Ajayi (Ekiti State).

The duo are part of the six INEC commissioners cleared by the Senate in July this year.

President Buhari had on September 15, 2021, sworn in three of the cleared National Commissioners.

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Aggrieved Benue Pensioners Task Ortom On 33 Months Arrears

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Coalition of Aggrieved Pensioners in Benue State has called on the state government to direct the payment of their outstanding pensions and gratuities.

The union made this appeal, yesterday, in a rejoinder signed by its Chairman, Akosu Orban, and Secretary, Mac Mtsur, and made available to The Guardian in Makurdi.

Recently, the pensioners had protested against the non-payment of over 32 and 34 entitlements owed state and local council pensioners, even as they disclosed that they lost over 500 members to economic crunch.

But he state government had said it had agreement with the Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) leaders, who are part of the Local Government Joint Account, and had been paying N700 million to pensioners in the state monthly.

Acting Press Secretary to the Governor, Nathaniel Ikyur, said out of this amount, N300 million was paid to the local council pensioners and N400 million to state pensioners.

He added: “This mode of payment has been in effect in the last six months and government intends to continue with it until we are able to stabilise the payment system.”

The aggrieved retirees, in the statement, wondered how N700 million would be released by the state government monthly as claimed by the governor, yet the number of months owed them kept rising.

Chairman of the forum intimated that out of the 33 months pension owed pensioners, only six months was inherited from the previous administration.

RELATEDLY, Ortom has raised the alarm over sharp practices at the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), where a wage bill of primary school teachers is padded.

Ortom, who expressed this at a meeting with local council chairmen, SUBEB among others, yesterday, at the New Banquet Hall of Benue Peoples House Makurdi, said, with the continuous hike in wage bills, the dead seemed to be coming to life to receive salaries.

The governor, who vowed to take decisive steps to end padding of salaries, gave the local council chairmen one month to unmask the cartel behind the padding.

If proper checks are carried out with the involvement of council chairmen, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), leakages and other unwholesome activities would be stopped to give room for more recruitment.

According to him, since the decision to engage 2,000 teachers in primary schools was sacrosanct, his government would do everything possible to block financial leakages in the sector to guarantee expected goal.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Kenneth Achabo, presented a report on audited accounts of the 23 local councils from 2015 to 2019.

Ortom described the report as a novel initiative and stressed the need for those in positions of trust to keep financial records straight, to support auditors with facts and figures to do their job.

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