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40 year old Nigerian, Olubayode Treasures Olawunmi, in a bid to reignite the interest in reading across Nigeria and beyond, read aloud for 122 hours at a Read Aloud Marathon Session organized by the YouREAD Initiative, a CSR initiative of Guaranty Trust Bank.

The Read Aloud Marathon, which had renowned Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer as the official timekeeper, heldfrom 1:30pm on Monday, February 26th, 2018 to 3:30pm on Saturday, March 3rd at the Herbert Macaulay Library Yaba, which was recently remodeled into a state of the art facility by GTBank.

Olubayode, who read aloud 23 published books within 5 days and 2 hours, set out to achieve a personal goal of reading for 120 hours as well as play for the Guinness World Record. However, any claim to breaking the current World Record of 113 hours and 15 minutes (held by Deepak Sharma Bajaan from Nepal) is subject to confirmation by Guinness World Record in London, after verification of evidence of this attempt, in line with the guidelines set out by the organisation for every record breaking attempt.His challenge for the Guinness World Record however garnered huge public interest, with hundreds of well-wishers visiting him at the Herbert Macaulay Library and thousands more cheering him on across social media platforms.

Speaking on his remarkable feat, Olubayode said; “I would like to thank GTBank first for sponsoring my Guinness World Record attempt, and most importantly, for all the Bank has been doing to support education and promote the culture of reading. I would also like to thank the Governor of Lagos State, Lagos State Officials and Nigerians everywhere, who sent me messages of support physically and across social media; together, we are making reading famous again. I hope that this effort will raise our consciousness on the importance of reading and also help change the narrative that making money and being famous can only come from entertainment and sports. Those two are great, but so too is excelling in education, and hopefully the younger generation will find in my attempt the inspiration to read and study more.”

Commenting on the Read Aloud Marathon, the Managing Director and Chief Executive of GTBank, Segun Agbaje said; “We are proud to have supported Olubayode Treasures Olawunmi’s trial to make history through one of the most positive human activities—reading. His personal commitment to promoting a reading culture will hopefully put Nigeria on the global map as a nation that is passionate about books, it will also serve as a source of inspiration to everyone in the country and beyond to adopt and maintain an active reading culture.”

He further stated that “At GTBank, we are passionate about rekindling the interest of young Nigerians in reading and will continue to create and support innovative ways to promote an active reading culture within and outside the academic environment.”

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’s footprints in Corporate Social Responsibility are guided strategically by its decision to operate on four major pillars: Education, Community Development, Arts and the Environment, which it believes are essential building blocks for the society and prerequisites for economic growth and societal development.

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Repentant Boko Haram Members Will Have Opportunity Of Schooling Abroad —— Senate Bill

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The proposed National Agency for the Education, Rehabilitation, De-radicalisation and Integration of Repentant Insurgents (Boko Haram) in Nigeria’ will get its funding from the Universal Basic Education Commission and the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, The PUNCH reports.

Other sources of funding include- donations, grants, annual subventions from the government and counterpart funding from the six North-East states of Borno, Bauchi, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba and Gombe. The details are included in the bill which was obtained by Punch on Thursday.

The controversial bill, which is officially known as ‘A Bill for the Establishment of the National Agency for the Education, Rehabilitation, De-radicalisation and Integration of Repentant Insurgents in Nigeria and for Other Connected Purposes’, passed the first reading in the Senate on Thursday last week.

But few hours after the bill, which was sponsored by Senator representing Yobe East, Ibrahim Geideam, passed the first reading, it attracted angry reactions from the Chibok Community, which was attacked by the insurgents in 2014, and the Christian Association of Nigeria.

Also, the #BringBackOurGirls movement, which has been calling for the release of schoolgirls abducted from Chibok in 2014 by the insurgents, said the plan to set up the agency should be done concurrently with the rehabilitation of thousands of internally displaced persons.

But on Monday, Geidam, in an interview with journalists, defended the bill. He said many Boko Haram terrorists were willing to lay down their arms but were afraid of the consequences of their action. The senator explained that his bill was not meant to take care of insurgents captured by the security agencies because those ones would be made to face the full wrath of the law.

Barely two days after the senator defended the controversial bill, 25 Boko Haram members and their wives, who surrendered to troops in Niger Republic, arrived in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, on Wednesday.

A copy of the bill on the agency for Boko Haram repentant terrorists, obtained by our correspondent, states that one per cent of TETFund and UBEC fund will be used in funding the agency for rehabilitating the terrorists. The agency will also be funded by 0.5 per cent of the federal allocation of the six North-East states. Reports says the TETFund obtains its funding from a compulsory two per cent profit tax that is paid by all registered companies to the Federal Government.

Section 10 of the controversial bill reads in part, “The agency shall establish and maintain a fund which will consist of initial take-off grant from the Federal Government; annual subvention from the government; states counterpart funding which will be deducted at source at 0.5 per cent of their statutory allocation; 1 per cent of the Education Tax Fund (TETFund) and UBEC fund.

According to the proposed law, the agency will also be funded by grants in aid, gift, testamentary dispositions, endowments and donations. The bill states that the proposed agency shall have a governing board which shall consist of the chairman who is to be appointed by the President in consultation with the National Assembly.

The governing council will also have one representative from each of the North-East states, one representative each of the stakeholders, three representatives of the impacted communities, one person from the Nigerian Army, air force, navy, police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, all of whom must not be below the rank of lieutenant colonel.

The council will also include one representative each from the federal ministries of humanitarian affairs, finance, environment, petroleum resources, North-East Development Commission and the Local Content Board. As regards the powers of the proposed agency, the bill gives repentant terrorists the opportunity of receiving foreign education.

Section 5(m) reads in part, “(The agency shall) implement programmes geared towards the rehabilitation of beneficiaries, engage the services of offshore and Nigerian institutions in the pursuit of the educational needs of ex-agitators.” The proposed agency is expected to implement a comprehensive programme in the area of disarmament, demobilisation, rehabilitation and reintegration.

It will also coordinate efforts of relevant agencies, organisations and institutions towards the attainment of set objectives as regards job placement, internship and sustainable reintegration.

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BREAKING: Italian Infected With Coronavirus Visited Ogun State

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The Italian confirmed to have been infected with Coronavirus had also visited Ewekoro in Ewekoro Local Government Area of Ogun State this week.

But residents and visitors to the state have no reason to panic, the Commissioner for Health, Tomi Coker said on Friday morning.

Coker disclosed that the Italian visited a giant manufacturing company(name withheld) in the Ewekoro community, adding that the facility so visited has since been quarantined in accordance with the health safety standards.

The Commissioner, who abandoned her bed rest to attend to the public health emergency, while briefing the press, said the state has epidemiologists and Infectious Disease Consultant already handling the situation with support from the Lagos State Government and Federal Government.

She said efforts are in place to get in touch with people that have had contact with the established index case.

She advised the public to wash their hands regularly, cover their mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing and to report to the nearest public health center if they notice any sign of cold, cough and respiratory difficulty.

Details shortly…

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BREAKING: First Case Of Coronavirus Confirmed In Lagos

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The Ministry of Health in Lagos State has confirmed its first case of COVID-19 and reported it to the Federal Ministry of Health.

The case, which was confirmed on Thursday, is the first to be reported in Nigeria since the outbreak in China in January 2020.

The case is an Italian citizen who entered Nigeria on February 25 from Milan, Italy for a brief business visit.

He fell ill on February 26 and was transferred to Lagos State Biosecurity Facilities for isolation and testing.

COVID-19 infection was confirmed by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, part of the Laboratory Network of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

The patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos.

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