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I Never Said I Will Probe Fayose —– Governor Fayemi

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Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State has clarified his stance on the fate of the immediate past governor of the state, Ayodele Fayose.

Fayemi spoke with State House correspondents after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Fielding questions whether he would probe his predecessor, Fayemi explained that there was never a time he said he would probe Fayose.

According to him, reports of such probe are on the table of anti-graft agencies.

“Well, I am sure I have never said anything about a probe, and I do not say anything about probe.

“Looking into books is the duty of any new governor, you need to know what you found in place, I just talked about visitation panel into the education sector in the state.

“There are other sectors in the state, and it will be remiss of me not to check what we found when we came into office and share that with the citizens of the state.

“It is just accountability not probe. I am not EFCC I am not ICPC, there are institutions that are charged with the responsibility to do that and its entirely up to them if they want to probe the governor or not.

“It is not my business, I leave Fayose to God, I have said that before.’’

Fayose is presently being prosecuted by the EFCC over an 11-count charge of conspiracy and money laundering.

Speaking on the state of education, Fayemi said that Ekiti had a tradition of being the intellectual capital of the country but it seemed to have lost that edge lately.

He said that his government was working toward repositioning the sector, particularly at the basic and tertiary levels.

The governor said that he had set up visitation panel in all the tertiary institutions in the state to review and recommend what the critical and challenging issues were and how government should respond to the yearnings of the sector.

He said the government was taking specific steps to address access to education in the basic education sub-sector.

“Before now, Ekiti used to be the leading state in terms of school enrollment in the country but the latest figures we received from the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) makes it clear that we are lagging far behind.

“We have moved from 96 per cent enrolment in the entire country to about 45 per cent meaning that about 55 per cent of our school age children are of school.

“That is unacceptable in a state like Ekiti and we need to find out what has happened between 2014 and 2018 leading to this appalling figure in terms of school enrolment.

“And one of the very first things we are doing to improve enrolment is to make sure that all fees and levies in the primary and secondary sector are removed, so we have removed that.

“We have returned free compulsory and qualitative education to our basic education sector.’’

Fayemi said that the government was also doing all it could to encourage more students to come into school.

He said that the state government would commence the school feeding programme in Ekiti State in order to ensure that kids that did not have the opportunity to be in school were enrolled.

“We are also ensuring that we pay salaries regularly because you cannot expect parents who have not received salaries for six to 10 months on the one hand and the children are being asked to pay education levy on the other hand to have the capacity to send such children to school.

“So, it is a double whammy for such families, we need to make sure that education which we see in our party as a right and not a privilege at least at the basic level should be free, compulsory and qualitative and that is where we are returning Ekiti to,’’ he said.

The governor dismissed insinuations that he was having disagreement with the labour union in his state.

(NAN)

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Nigeria’s Criminal Justice System Needs Judicial Surgery —- Prince Abimbola

Gbemileke Ajayi

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A call has been made for the criminal justice system of Nigeria to undergo judicial surgery.

The call was made by Prince A.S Abimbola, Chairman Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Epe Branch during the opening ceremony of the 2019 NBA Epe Law Week themed “Administration Of Criminal Justice: “The Journey So Far”.

While delivering his speech at Centenary Hall of St. Michael’s Anglican Church, Popo Oba, Lagbede Street, Epe, Lagos, Prince Abimbola called for reforms in the judicial system. In his words: “Our criminal justice system in Nigeria needs to go through what I call judicial surgery if you like you can call it reforms. While the fight against corruption remains sacrosanct, the criminal justice system must be safe, just and fair and seen to be so within the ambit of the rule of law.

He further stated that it was pertinent to state that until people unaffected by injustice are as concerned as those affected, the end of justice will not be served.

Adding that the Lagos State Government had provided modern facilities in the courts, Prince Abimbola said that there are still areas in need of reform.

“The Lagos State Government, over the years has provided modern facilities in the courts, vehicles, funds, legal framework for adjudication, administration and implementation of the administration of the criminal justice law in Lagos State, training and re-training of staff and other logistics needed, despite this achievements, areas that require urgent attention and reforms are numerous.

Worthy of note is the challenges of bail facing persons charged with sexual offences who cannot perfect their bail. It is no longer news that sexual offences are on the rise all around the world, given this fact, cum stigma of the offences and administrative challenges of perfecting bail conditions, accused persons are taken back to prison resulting in overcrowding of Nigerian Prisons by a high-ratio of persons charged with sexual offences who are not able to perfect their bail conditions for months or even years,” Prince Abimbola said.

The NBA Epe Law Week which held between Friday, May 10 and Tuesday, May 14, was in honour of Honourable Justice George Adesola Oguntade.

This year’s event had Hon. Justice G. Safari as Chairman of the Session, while Femi Falana (SAN) and Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN) were keynote speakers. Discussants included His Honour Ademola Paul, Chief Magistrate Epe Magistrate District; Roselyn Ekhoe Obakpolor, Vice Chairman NBA Ikeja Branch; Ademola A. Koko Esq, Vice Chairman NBA Epe Branch; and Ishah Abdulmajid DPO Maroko Police Station.

Events to celebrate the week included a visit to Ikoyi/Kirikiri Male Prison; Prayer at the Aleke Central Mosque, Epe, Lagos; Pro Bono Legal Clinic; and a Novelty Football Tournament at Salami Playing Ground beside Recreation Centre, Epe, Lagos State.

Members of the branch also had a Thanksgiving Service at St. Michael’s Anglican Church Popo Oba, Lagbade Street, Epe, and Workshop Training on Police Duty Solicitors Scheme (PDSS) delivered by Stanley Ibe Associate Legal Officer for Africa (Open Society Justice Initiative) among others.

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GTBank Improves Access to Education for Children in Rural Communities with #BeatTheDistance Initiative

Gbemileke Ajayi

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As the country marks the 2019 Children’s Day, leading Nigerian Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (GTBank) has launched a nationwide initiative, tagged #BeatTheDistance, to improve educational outcomes for children in rural communities by easing the difficulties they face with mobility to school and back.

Through the initiative, the Bank is providing students in remote parts of the country with bicycles to reduce the time and energy they expend in getting to school whilst helping to boost their attendance and focus on academics.

One of the biggest barriers to education for millions of children in Nigeria’s rural communities is often the physical act of getting to school, which could be as far as 10 kilometers away from home.

The challenge of covering such distance twice every day on foot, coupled with the responsibility of doing chores in the morning, significantly curtails school attendance rate, increases the chances of students dropping out, and hampers academic performance. By providing them with bicycles, the Bank aims to empower the children most affected by these challenges to beat the distance, not just to school, but between their present realities and immense potential.

Organized as part of the GTBank CSR Action for Rural Empowerment Scheme (GTBank CARES), the initial stageof the #BeatTheDistance initiative will focus on children in 20 rural communities across the Taraba, Enugu and Ondo States.

Jerry Hannatu, a student of Government Technical Training School, Jalingo, is one of the first beneficiaries of the initiative. Before receiving the bicycle from GTBank, he had to trek for an hour and a half to get to school. Now, his 10-kilometer journey to school takes him about a quarter of that time. Jerry and other beneficiaries like him will now be able to spend less time traveling to school and more time in the classroom improving their academic performance and attaining the skills and knowledge to reach their full potential.

Commenting on the Bank’s #BeatTheDistance initiative, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Bank plc, Mr Segun Agbaje, said; “Children are our greatest hope for a better future, and it is our duty to ensure that every child has access to quality education regardless of their socioeconomic background or geographic location.As an institution that is passionate about empowering young people to reach their full potential, this initiative reflects our commitment to building a society where distance is no longer a barrier to education for any child, and in every community.”

He further stated that “At GTBank, we will continue to leverage our unique capabilities and broad networks to help people and communities thrive. Whether we are intervening in public education, investing in underserved communities, promoting the Arts or working to protect the environment, we are constantly looking for creative and impactful ways to touch lives and give back to society.”

GTBank is regarded by industry watchers as one of the best run African financial institutions across its subsidiary countries and serves as a role model within the financial service industry due to its bias for world-class corporate governance standards, excellent service quality, and innovation.

The Bank, through its clearly defined Corporate Social Responsibility, champions education for all, empowers under-served people and communities, expands access to healthcare, promotes African Art and advocates for environmental protection. In 2018 alone, the Bank carried out more than one hundred CSR projects across the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria, impacting the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and supporting some of the most underserved communities in the country.

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Zenith Bank Achieves Feat Of First Nigerian Bank To Consecutively Audit Its Greenhouse Gas Emissions And Be Certified Compliant Using Internationally Recognized GHG Protocol

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Zenith Bank Plc was presented with a Certificate for Greenhouse Gas Auditing by V4 Advisors after successful completion of the Bank’s Greenhouse Gas Audit for the 2018 Financial Year.

The presentation of the certificate and the report of the Auditors was done by V4 Advisors at the Zenith Bank Head Office on May 21, 2019.

The Executive Director, Dr.Temitope Fasoranti, who received the certificate on behalf of the Bank said the Bank started this effort with the 2016 Financial Year and has carried out three greenhouse gas audits to date. He explained that the Bank understands the relationship between greenhouse gas emission and climate change and appreciates the role it is expected to play towards combating the menace of climate change.

Also speaking on the milestone, the Country Manager Lynsey Elston highlighted that Zenith Bank is the first Nigerian bank to consecutively report the carbon emissions of their Head Office in Lagos using a certified tool which is built on the internationally recognized “GHG Protocol”. She commended the bank for proving its commitment to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Goal 13, Climate Action, in addition to complying with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards”..

In response to her, the Executive Director said the initiative has significantly helped the bank reduce its overall carbon footprints and drive energy efficiency.

V4 Advisors is a UAE-based provider of advisory and consulting solutions on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. The firm’s calculation and reporting tool has been reviewed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) for conformance with the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard.

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