Below are the headlines found on The Leadership Online Newspaper for today, Wednesday, 27 December, 2017.

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
The federal government yesterday described as unnecessary and uninformed, criticisms trailing the approval of $1 billion for the military to tackle the sundry security challenges facing the country.

According to it, the condemnations are uncalled for given the role the military is playing in helping to tackle the numerous security crises facing the country, which is further compounded by frequent Boko Haram attacks.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who said this while briefing journalists in Lagos said the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) deserved to be commended for their patriotic decision to endorse the withdrawal.

He said, “As you are very much aware, there has been an unnecessary, uninformed and highly-partisan criticism of the 1 billion dollars which was recently approved by the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) for the military to tackle the security challenges facing the country, including Boko Haram, illegal oil bunkering, kidnapping and cattle rustling.

“I said unnecessary and uninformed because everyone knows the role the military is playing in helping to tackle the numerous security crisis facing the states, not to talk of the war against Boko Haram.

“The fact that Boko Haram has been largely degraded does not mean the war is over. As we have said times without number, asymmetric wars like the one against Boko Haram do not end with an armistice. It is therefore curious that some of those who have criticised the 1-billion-dollar approval have hinged their argument on the fact that the Boko Haram has been degraded.

“Perhaps also, the critics do not know that fighting an asymmetric war is costlier than fighting a conventional war. In any case, wars, especially the war against terror, are never fought with budgetary provisions”.

The minister argued that it is a common knowledge that the annual budgetary allocation to the military is not commensurate with the internal security challenges rocking the country for which the country have had to continuously rely on the military to assist the police and the Civil Defence Corps.
Wed, 27 Dec 2017
The federal government has disclosed that less than 30% of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have functional websites and less than 25% have functional telephone numbers and e-mail addresses.

The acting director general of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR)   Dasuki Arabi made the disclosure yesterday.

He said the shortcomings have not only created a huge constraint to doing business in Nigeria, but it’s responsible for the country being ranked 169 out of the 190 economies in the World Bank Doing Business Rankings.

According to him, in line with global best practice, institutional websites provide the means through which relevant information for starting business process could be obtained.

He said, “The Federal Government has adopted and bought into the scorecard which would serve as peer review mechanism amongst the MDAs to boost compliance to Standards for government website and improve Operationalization of the Executive Order E001.”

Continuing, Arabi said “The Steering Committee for the scorecard with membership drawn from key government agencies, namely: Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Office of the Head of the Civil Service  of the Federation, Federal Ministry of Communication Technology, Federal Ministry of Justice, National Information Technology Development Agency.

Others are; SERVICOM, Nigeria Internet Registration Agency, Galaxy Backbone and Bureau of Public Service Reforms identified 70 MDAs to participate in the pilot deployment of the scorecard which the Secretary to the Government of the Federation approved vide Circular Ref. SGF/OP/S.3/XII/64.” he added.

According to the BPSR boss, by next month, the preliminary activities towards the deployment of the scorecard for the pilot MDAs which are categorized into three groups namely: the Core Ministries, focal MDAs identified by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) and MDAs with huge customer interface would commence.

He said a  jury comprising of government agencies, Non-Governmental Organisations, Private Sector and Civil Society Organisation (CSO) will carry out scoring and assessment of the participating MDAs bi-annually i.e. mid-year (April/May) and end of the year (October/November). 
Wed, 27 Dec 2017
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the hosting by Nigeria of an international conference on saving the Lake Chad. The conference is to revitalize the basin’s ecosystem for sustainable livelihood, security and development.

According to a statement by the Media aide of the President, Garba Shehu, this is the first time an international conference on Lake Chad is being organised by the six-member countries of the region.

He said the three-day conference will consist of two days of technical sessions and one-day high level meetings between February 26-28, 2018 and it will take place in Abuja. The high level meeting is expected to have in attendance all of the Presidents and Heads of government of the member-states, namely Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic and Libya.

He added that the key partners coming together in hosting the conference are Nigeria, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, the Lake Chad Basin Commission, LCBC and relevant donors including, prospectively, the African Development Bank, AfDB, the World Bank and the governments of Germany, China, Canada and the European Union, EU.

He said, “The main objective of the international conference is to create global awareness on the socio-economic and environmental challenges arising from the shrinkage of the Lake Chad, threat to livelihoods including insecurity with a view to developing a comprehensive programme for action to save the lake from extinction.

“Specifically, the conference is expected to discuss and develop consensus on the different options to restore Lake Chad, including the Inter-Basin Water Transfer project from the Ubangi River in Central Africa to the Lake Chad.”

“Experts, researchers and resource persons are expected to exchange knowledge and share information on water resources development and management in a crisis environment and to garner political and financial support for the restoration option identified for the restoration of the lake.

“Among the expected outcomes of the conference is a roadmap for the implementation of the recommendations of the conference that should lead to the restoration of the lake; restoration of fishing and irrigated farming as a way of alleviating poverty, strengthening climate resilience in the basin, creating employment, leading to reduction of terrorist activities and increasing the revenue of the population and that of the Lake Chad basin countries.”

He said the lake Chad Basin, which is shared by Algeria, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Libya, Niger, Nigeria and the Sudan is about eight per cent of the size of the African continent, with a population of about 40 million inhabitants.

“Its surface area has shrunk from 25,000 square kilometers to just 2,500 sq.kms, roughly 10 per cent of its original size.

This development has adversely affected the economic, social and cultural environment of the area. As at today, the lake is a source of insecurity, instability, and the loss of livelihoods.

“Since coming to office, President Muhammadu Buhari has used every available speaking opportunity at the international level to raise awareness of the need for action to save the Lake Chad.”
Wed, 27 Dec 2017
BY VICTOR OKEKE, AbujaExperts in human development and psychology has called on the federal government to initiate youth mentoring programmes designed to promote healthy development and functioning of the Nigerian youth.The use of mentoring to address the need of youths has grown dramatically since early research found that mentored youth were less likely to skip school or engage in drinking, drugs, and violence.The Michelles Youth Initiative for Sustainable Development, MYISD, argues the mentor 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
ByMichael Oche, AbujaContrary to accusations in some quarters that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has deliberately refused to issue a certificate of return to Dr Obiora Okonkwo as the authentic winner of the Anambra Central Senatorial Election, checks have revealed that the case is not simply one of obeying the orders of the High court.Supporters of Obiora Okonkwo argue that Justice Tsoho of the Federal High court Abuja had granted relief sought by Dr. Okonkwo, to the effec 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
proceeds to go to IDPs, less privilegedBy Kauthar Anumba-Khaleel,AbujaThe Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara yesterday raised about #265 million from the launch of his biography, titled: A Reed Made Flint.The book presentation which formed part of events marking his 50th birthday celebration held at the International Conference Center.Dignitaries who graced the event include, president of the Senate, Dr. Olubukola Saraki who was also chairman of the event, Governor of Sokoto 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
The year 2017 will undoubtedly go down in the annals of the nations history as one of the defining years for the governing All Progressives Congress (APC). ANDREW ESSIEN in this piece, highlights some of the major events that shaped the party.Monday, 29th May, 2015, will ever remain a defining point in Nigerias political history as it witnessed the historic transition of government at the center, from the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
BY ADEBAYO WAHEED, IbadanThe Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has condemned the attacks and killing of four people on Friday night around the Nindem village axis in Godogodo district, Jemaa Local Government Area of Kaduna State. The director of MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola in a statement on Tuesday, described the killing as gruesome, barbaric and ungodly.It would be recalled that a lone shooter allegedly killed four people and injured eight others in an attack on Friday night around the Nindem v 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
By Isaac AmiurieIn just over a year, Godwin Obaseki, governor, Edo State, has redefined governance in a manner never thought of before now. His ideas on public policy are radically different from the norm and so are his policy drives, putting his state far ahead of its peers in development parameters.There is a common story making the rounds in political circles in Benin, the Edo State capital, these days. It is about how conversations at party gatherings of the ruling All Progressives Congress 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
By SOLOMON NDA-ISAIAHThe founder of Waterlight Save Initiative, Engr. Prince Ero Ibhafidon has showered love to over 500 widows by giving them bags of rice, cooking oil , cooking utensils and drinks for the Christmas and New year celebrations respectively.He also visited the Orphanage homes and donated sleeping items and food stuffs, in order to make the season a remarkable one for all.He took the opportunity to advice Nigerias that are well placed in the position not to hesitate to help the nee 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
BY TARKAA DAVID and CECILIA OGEZIFollowing clashes between Gbagyi and Hausa youths in Bwari town yesterday, which resulted in the death of about three persons and 17 others, with various degrees of injuries, hospitals in the town are said to have denied treatment to the injured victims.Addressing newsmen on the situation, the head of communication and advocacy, Nigeria Red Cross Society, Nwakpa Nwakpa, lamented challenges of taking the victims to hospitals, as some hospital officials demand auth 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
By Ayuba AhmedLike a bolt from the blues, the deluge of the campaign for the scrapping of the police special Anti-Robbery squad, SARS, took generality of Nigerians by surprise. Few could have foretold its occurrence. Not even the police, with all their ears to the ground saw it coming. They were literally caught napping. All because, it was an unplanned, spontaneous action taken by a few courageous and give in desire to right their perceived wrong in the conduct and activities of a special unit 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
2017 has in many ways been very eventful. No one can deny that. For many Nigerians, the events have been largely negative, at least in the public sphere! Most worrisome is the excruciating fuel scarcity and humongous queues with which the year is ending. In the history and experience of fuel shortages in our nation, this years is arguably the worst because no single part of the nation is spared the horror!From Sokoto to Port Harcourt, from Maiduguri to Calabar, the story is the same; long lines 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
By Chibuzo Ukaibe, AbujaThe Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday declared that its sweeping victory in the Ekiti State local council election is flevidence of its popularity not only in Ekiti State but also in the entire South-west and the nation at large.PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement described the election as credible, free and fair, adding that the landslide victory is a direct response by the people to the achievements of the Governor Ayo Fayose-led P 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
The Kaduna State Police Command, yesterday, confirmed the interception of fake drugs worth over N15 million in Zaria.The commands spokesperson, ASP Muktar Aliyu, made the disclosure to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in a telephone interview.He said the Police Area Command in Zaria had intercepted the fake drugs after a tip-off by some residents.On getting the information, our men swung into action and eventually intercepted the adulterated drugs which would have destroyed the lives of innocent 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
The national chairman of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), said 2018 will be challenging and called on Nigerians to brace up for tough times.Oye gave the charge in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka yesterday.He described the outgoing year as generally impressive on security and economy but decried the harsh living condition of the people.Oye said being a year preceding a general election, there would be heightened tension in the country and charged President Buh 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
By Jonathan Nda-IsaiahThe federal government has disclosed that less than 30% of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have functional websites and less than 25% have functional telephone numbers and e-mail addresses.The acting director general of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) Dasuki Arabi made the disclosure yesterday.He said the shortcomings have not only created a huge constraint to doing business in Nigeria, but its responsible for the country being ranked 169 out of the 
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