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After 8yrs, ex-Gov Ahmed left Special Needs school in shame



Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq

After boosting that he will leave Kwara State better than he met it, ex governor Abdulfatah Ahmed left the Kwara School for the Special Needs worse than he met it, ROYAL NEWS has gathered.

AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Friday apologised to ‘special needs’ children in the state over the decrepit condition of their school and the lack of facilities there.

“Now that I have seen things for myself, I know the depth of the problem we have in this sector and we’ll be responsible in allocating scarce resources. We’ll come back here to ensure that basic standards are met. The truth is that basic needs are not met and it is a shame,” AbdulRazaq said during a visit to Kwara State School of Special Needs, Apata Yakuba, Ilorin.

“As a government, we want to apologise to them for living in this kind of condition and we will make sure that minimum standards are met.”

AbdulRazaq toured the school facilities along with some government officials and administrators of the school.

In what seems a deliberate move to give them a sense of belonging, AbdulRazaq took turns to shake hands with the children and the teachers of the school whom he commended for their resilience and commitment.

He directed the Permanent Secretary, State Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development, Hajia Mariam Garuba, to urgently submit a recommendation to the government on what the school needs to give the children a good head start in life.

Aroyehun Faoziyah, principal of the special needs school, said they lack basic amenities to take care of the children even as the classrooms are totally dilapidated.

She said the school lacks toilets while its clinic is without basic drugs to treat malaria and other common ailments.

AbdulRazaq had earlier visited the office of the Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi to assess the facilities that are mostly damaged.

He also visited the Kwara Hotel to assess its facilities.

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Group commences prevention of suicide cases Oct. 26




The National Coordinator of Suicide Research and Prevention Initiative, Nigeria (SURPIN), Dr Raphael Ogbolu, has disclosed that the maiden National Conference on suicide prevention will deliberate on effort to reduce increasing incidence of suicide in Nigeria.

In an interview on Saturday, Ogbolu said the conference will commence Oct. 26 at Lagos State University.

He warned that the issue of suicide in the country is assuming an increasing, worrisome dimension, adding that the youths, who are suppose to be the “engine room of the country are cutting their lives short,” he said.

Ogbolu who is also Consultant Psychiatrist, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital disclosed that the National Conference on suicide prevention will partner with other NGOs, as well as Sen. Ibrahim Oloriegbe, who represents Kwara Central Senatorial District.

He observed that though suicide is not alien in the country, it has however assume alarming proportion, adding that the resilience of the present generations have dropped significantly.

“A rise in suicide is seen because a lot of people are facing mental health depression which is a global problem.

“Depression is the largest contributor to suicide in Nigeria according to world Health Organisation, who have been monitoring the trends for past seven years.

“There is also breakdown of the traditional family system in Nigeria, as people are getting more westernized and doing away with social interaction and social support, ” he said.

The SURPIN National Coordinator pointed out that Nigeria requires a suicide prevention strategy to meet the WHO target of reducing global suicide by 10 percent by 2020.

“Although majority of suicides are preventable, Nigeria does not have a comprehensive, structured and extensively collaborative National Suicide Prevention Strategy till date.

“Targeted suicide prevention programmes can contribute significantly to reduction of suicides.

“There is an urgent need for a National Centre for Data Collation on suicides to enable us formulate and develop a robust strategy to tackle this condition,” he said.

He explained that this fits into the objective of the National Health Policy of Nigeria: “to reduce the burden of mental illnesses and promote the maintenance of sound mental health of Nigerians in general”.

Ogbolu further explained that the Lagos University Teaching Hospital established the Suicide Research and Prevention Initiative, ‘SURPIN’ in March 2017.

He said SURPIN is presently the only comprehensive, structured and extensively collaborative suicide prevention initiative with a unique approach in the public domain, innovative not just in Nigeria but also in West African.

The Psychiatrist said it has reached and saved over 100 lives through the effective use of Hotlines and facility within the first two years with branches across Nigeria.

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Aregbesola reveals feeding allowance of American prisoners





Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola on Friday took a critical look at the poverty level in Nigeria and declared that the daily upkeep spent on a prison inmate in America is about N60,000 per day in some states of the country as against the N30,000 minimum wage being proposed for Nigerian civil servants on monthly basis.

According to him, the least daily upkeep spent on a prisoner in America is 31,000 in Naira equivalent,  as compared to N730 budgeted for similar purpose in Nigeria.

Aregbesola made the startling revelation while responding to barrage of questions fired at him by members of the Senate and House of Representatives  Committee on Interior during  budget defence session of his ministry for the 2020 fiscal year.

The Nigeria economy, he explained, is small to be compared to that of America which made daily upkeep on a prisoner there, not only far higher than what are projected for similar purposes in Nigeria but also higher than the N30,000 minimum wage.

“Comparing Nigeria with countries like America, Turkey and even Egypt as illustrated by some of the federal lawmakers will completely demoralized the morale of any concerned citizen but what we are sure of in the ministry, is that we shall with the limited resources available make the best for the country.

“At the Federal Executive Council level when the budget being defended now , was to be planned by way of inputs from various Ministers , I kept quiet after listening to the Minister of Finance on the challenges and constraints facing the Nation’s economy .

“One of such challenges is the paucity of fund which has made the Ministry of Interior unable to pay for forty fire trucks manufactured for the country by Turkey since 18 months ago”, he said.

He however assured the committee members that  the Nigerian Prisons will not be allowed to degenerate to concentration camps in line with the new mantra of correctional service given to it .

“We are engaging the governors because there is no other way to do it than to work with them. We are working with the Ministry of Justice which already have a committee in place for decongestion of prisons.

“We are also planning a meeting with the Nigerian Governors Forum in order to sensitize them on what they should do to make sure that aspect of criminal justice administration is not neglected.

“There will be serious problems if all of us failed to come together to solve it.  No sane person will want to administer or be in charge of a concentration camp in this time and age because of the problems faced by those who last operated a concentration camp. No one will in any way be connected with concentration camp. We are all concerned.

“I have said it in general terms but I will be more specific now . We will think out of the box. Nothing can be done by  limiting ourselves to what is available but much can be done by being creative , innovative and very prudent in the management of scarce resources”, he explained .

Aregbesola’s submissions were triggered by comments made by a member of the Committee, Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP Enugu North) on the sorry state of prisons across the country.

Utazi in his comments said there were fundamental issues which the minister must attend to, as regards inhabitable status of the prisons.

According to him, the prisons are over congested to the point that not only are prisoners, sleeping in turns but their daily ration life threatening which cannot in anyway come out as sane citizens .

“Since our justice system is not helping, the Minister should use his passion to help us get a good feeding allowance for the prisoners, what we give to our prisoners in Nigeria is not acceptable anywhere.

“We also need to address the issue of prison expansion. Most of the prisons in Nigeria were built by colonial administration. Please start thinking of what should be done to address the problems”, he said.

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Immigration boss laments Nigeria’s loss of N18bn to PPP pact




Mohammed Babandede

Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, Mohammed Babandede, has lamented over the loss of N18billion to the Public Private Partnership, PPP agreement signed on behalf of the agency by Ministry of Interior with private companies.

Babandede who made the lamentation during an interactive session with the Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Interior, said the agreements are skewed in favour of the private companies to the detriment of operational efficiency of NIS.

According to him, attempts made to jettison the agreement by NIS were frustrated by the beneficiary companies by going to court and securing N18billion judgment against NIS.

“The sharing formula in the agreement between NIIS and the private companies was skewed in favour of the companies which to us, is economically injurious to the nation.

“Expectedly , Immigration as a body has vehemently protested against the whole arrangement but the fact that the agreement was signed on our behalf by the Interior Ministry , the private companies have continued to have upper hand”, he said .

He however informed members of the joint committee that President Muhammadu Buhari has already taken up the matter with operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC which is thoroughly investigating the agreement.

Babandede who refused to explain in details , what the contractual agreements were all about and  companies involved , was taken up on it by the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Kashim Shettima (APC Borno Central, on why the agency gave N18billion to one the companies in 2017  and  another N16billion in 2018 .

On irregular migrants in the country, the Immigration boss said from January 20, 2020, any of the irregular migrants that had not done biometric capturing, will be arrested and deported.

“President Muhammadu Buhari has given them six months grace of Amnesty which started from 18th of July this year and ends on 19th of January 2020.

“During this period, biometric data of concerned migrants are to be taken and documented. Information to that effect has been sent out to all the affected migrants   that whoever refuses to comply, will from January 20, 2020, be on the radar of Immigration operatives for arrest and deportation “, he explained.

He added that while the agency received only N3.4billion out of the N13.175 capital votes appropriated for it in 2018 budget, not a single dime, has been released from N8.214 billion appropriated for capital projects in 2019.

The committee members however resolved to approach the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning on behalf of the agency for way out of the poor capital budget funding.

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