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Removal Of Fuel Subsidy Tough On Citizens, Tinubu Admits

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President Bola Tinubu, on Thursday, acknowledged that the removal of fuel subsidy is tough on Nigerians and has affected every sector, including education. But he gave the assurance that the future is bright.

Tinubu, who is the Visitor to the University of Lagos, UNILAG, said this at the 54th convocation ceremony of the university.

Tinubu was represented at the occasion by the Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman (SAN).

He said the impact could be seen in the high cost of living that has affected parents, guardians, students and other Nigerians.

According to Tinubu, “We took some life-changing decisions including the removal of fuel subsidy and single exchange rate of the naira.

READ ALSO: Nigerians Suffering Increased Under Tinubu – Shari’ah Council Laments

“There is no doubt that the actions have led to Nigerians, including parents, guardians and even students experiencing some discomfort. The decisions affected the education sector, with parents paying more for education among others.

‘Our plans’
“I can assure you that the pains will soon be over and that the future is bright. For the education sector, we are assuring you that no Nigerian child will drop out of school.

“It is in view of that we brought back the School Feeding Programme and also introduced the Student Loan Scheme.

“The loan is repayable two years after a beneficiary has completed the mandatory one-year National Youth Service Corps Scheme, NYSC.

“We are also not taking higher education for granted and that is why we recently took some decisions like removing higher institutions from the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System, IPPIS.

READ ALSO: Edugate: Presidency Speaks On Tinubu Reshuffling Cabinet

“We are also on the agenda of autonomy for universities.

“Regarding the setting up and running of universities in the country, we are moving to the fourth stage, which is the internalisation of the university system.

“The first stage was the setting up of universities by the Federal Government. The second stage is the setting up of universities by state governments and the third stage is the coming on board of private universities.

“The fourth stage is that we want foreign investors and foreign universities to come and set up universities here. They can also do so in partnership with our universities here,” he said.

The President commended the management of UNILAG for contributing to the manpower development of the country. He expressed the hope that the graduands would go into the world and make positive impacts on society.

He also charged academics to let the world feel their impact by proffering solutions to societal problems.

READ ALSO: Tinubu Approves N9.8bn For Workers’ Life Assurance

In her address, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, said the university has made tremendous progress in the last one year.

She said: “A lot has happened in the last year but I will mention a few. Our research activities and income from research grants continue to grow with our staff attracting over N11 billion in grant income in both local and foreign currency.

“These figures are derived from 42 grants obtained in the year 2023 only and they cut across the sciences, social sciences and the arts.”

The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who is also an alumnus of the university, opined that UNILAG has proven to be a leading citadel of learning, not only in the country, but on the continent and also globally.

He reiterated the commitment of his administration to give education its pride of place in the scheme of things.

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Terrorism: Court Frees Rivers APC Chieftain After Two Years

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A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has discharged and acquitted a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress and Deputy Chairman of Youth Movement in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State, Chief Fubara Ohaka, of charges filed against him by the Federal government.

Ohaka had been standing trial on six counts of alleged involvement in illegal oil bunkering, terrorism, dealing in illegal refining products without a licence, and conspiracy among other charges preferred against him since 2022 by the Federal government through the Department of State Services.

Delivering judgment in the matter, the trial judge, Justice Stephen Dalyop-Pam, held that the Federal Government failed to provide evidence to back its claims, hence failing to prove its allegations against the defendant.

READ ALSO: Rivers Eders Drag Tinubu, Others To Court Over Peace Agreement

Our correspondent reports that Justice Dalyop-Pam agreed on no-case submission by the counsel for the defendant and thereby discharged and acquitted him.

Speaking to newsmen outside the courtroom, Ohaka expressed happiness that he has been vindicated, saying the judgment has put shame on the faces of all those who conspired to tarnish his image.

He said, “I’m happy that the judiciary has vindicated me today. I told the world that I never had any idea of the allegations against me, I am not a bunker, I have never sponsored any person to do bunkering,

READ ALSO: Fresh Bill Seeks Creation Of Three States

“Thanks to the judiciary who in its wisdom have reached to the root of the matter and proven to be the last hope of the common man.

“I want to thank those who stood by me in the time of trial, I’m happy that I never disappeared from them when I was told I was innocent of the allegations against me.

“Let me also use this medium to advise government agencies to always carry out proper investigation before engaging in legal battles, because if they had I would not have spent the number of months I spent in detention before the legal action that turned out in my favour today.”

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NLC Insists On Planned Protest, Knocks DSS

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The Nigeria Labour Congress has insisted that the planned protests against the prevailing economic situation in the country will hold contrary to the warning issued by the Department of State Services to shelve its protests.

The organised labour, on Monday, began mobilising its members for a nationwide protest slated for February 27 and 28 over the cost of living crisis in the country.

The Federal Government’s failure to fulfil its promises after the 14-day ultimatum by Labour, according to sources, will be met with a two-day nationwide protest already slated for February 27 and 28.

Reacting to the planned protests in a statement on Wednesday, the DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya, urged the union to shelve the plan in the interest of peace and public order.

READ ALSO: Economic Hardship: CSO Gives FG Ultimatum, Threatens Nationwide Protest

The Secret Service urged the union to pursue dialogue and negotiation rather than engage in conduct that could heighten tensions.

However, the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, in a statement he personally signed on Wednesday evening, noted that the protests will still hold and questioned why the DSS had yet to execute the arrest of those planning to disrupt the protests.

We are concerned by the unsolicited advice of the Department of State Security to shelve our planned protest against the unprecedented high cost of living despite the indescribable suffering in the land, spiralling inflation, deepening poverty and the Naira at an exchange rate of N1,900 to the US Dollar.

“According to the Service, the planned protest should be shelved ‘in the interest of peace and public order’, pre-supposing that the action is intended to be violent and disruptive even when we have a history of peaceful protests’.

“More worrying is the new role the Service has assigned to itself, the chief spokesperson of the government.

READ ALSO: Obasanjo Advocates Law To Curb Organ Trafficking

“We are equally worried that although the “Service is aware that some elements are planning to use the opportunity of the protest to foment crisis and by extension, widespread violence and yet have not executed the arrest of these elements,” the NLC president said.

Ajaero noted that the NLC will not compromise the sovereignty or security of the country while assuring that the protests would be peaceful.

We are equally intrigued by the innuendos of the Service, their philosophy of “peace” and wild allegations and we want to reassure them that no one loves this country more than us and on our honour, we would never do anything that will compromise its sovereignty or security.

“Having said this, we would not have ourselves blackmailed or lied against by the Service. Our protest is a peaceful one against the unpardonable cost of living of which the unserviced personnel of the Service are also victims.

“We cannot fold our hands and pretend all is well. That will be a grievous conspiracy that history will not forgive,” he said.

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VIDEO: Give Tinubu Time To Get Things Done, Gowon Begs Nigerians

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A former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd.), has urged Nigerians to exercise patience with President Bola Tinubu’s administration, emphasizing that it’s premature to anticipate flawless outcomes at this stage.

Gowon spoke in an interview with State House correspondents after a meeting he had with Tinubu on Wednesday.

The former Head of State, who noted that he was visiting Tinubu for the first time after the latter’s inauguration, disclosed that discussions revolved around matters concerning peace and security within the West African sub-region.

Responding to inquiries about his advice to the President regarding the prevailing national circumstances, Gowon acknowledged the existing challenges but stressed that it’s too early to anticipate perfection.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Tinubu In Talks with Gowon At Aso Rock Villa

He said, “I was telling him that there’s no Nigerian leader that can get there, that will not get all of these, all that is being said about him. But certainly, there is no doubt about all that one has heard and seen from various media. I think the government is trying its best to deal with the various problems of the country.

“But with Nigerians, don’t worry, you will get criticised but people who get there know better than you know. I think all one can say to Nigerians is that they have to give the President time to get things done and it is too early to sort of say a perfect result will be achieved. That is my opinion.

“At least, if I remembered, I was told that I was too slow, fighting the war and that probably Nigeria would not make it and we should seek for discussion. Well, did we do it or not? They probably did not know the problem there on the ground there.”

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