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Ex-Senate Presidents,Speakers To Become Council Of State Members

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By ADEBIYI ADEDAPO, Abuja
The National Assembly has perfected plans to include former leaders of the legislative arm of government as members of the Council of State.


The Nigerian Council of State is an organ of the Nigerian Government, which among other functions, advises the executive arm of government on policy making.
The Council of State, according to the 1999 Constitution as amended comprises the president, who is the chairman, the vice-president, who is the deputy chairman, all former presidents of the federation and all former heads of the government of the federation, all former chief justices of Nigeria, serving president of the Senate, serving speaker of the House of Representatives, all the governors of the states of the federation and the attorney-general of the federation.
But in a new amendment, the Bill is seeking to alter Paragraph 5 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution to include former presidents of the Senate and former speakers of the House of Representatives as members of the Council of State.
This is just as another alteration to the constitution seeks to ensure life pensions for former Senate president’s, deputy Senate presidents, speakers of the House of Representatives and deputy speakers is also being perfected.
When eventually passed by the National Assembly and assented to, the Bill will ensure that past leaders of the three arms of government are fairly represented in the Council of State, as well as guarantee a life pension for presiding officers of the National Assembly.
The alterations are part of the 23 items resolution adopted by the House of Representatives Special Ad-hoc Committee on Constitutional Review, headed by deputy speaker of the House, Yussuff Sulaimon Lasun.
A document exclusively obtained by our correspondent indicated that the alteration of paragraph seeks to include former heads of the National Assembly in the Council of State.
This is expected to enhance equity and equality of the arms of government and uplift the legislature as an institution.
“Part I of the Third Schedule to be altered in paragraph 5, by substituting sub-paragraphs (e) and (f), new sub-paragraphs ‘(e)’ and ‘(f)’ – ‘(e)’ the President of the Senate and all former Presidents of the Senate; and (f) the Speaker of the House of Representatives; and all former Speakers of the House of Representatives.”
Meanwhile, another Bill seeking to alter section 84 of the Constitution will guarantee life pension for presiding officers of the National Assembly who were not impeached.
According to the current arrangement, only former Presidents and vice presidents are entitled to life pension equivalent to the annual salary of the incumbent president and vice president.
Section 84 stipulates that; “there shall be paid to the holders of the offices mentioned in this section such remuneration, salaries and allowances as may be prescribed by the National Assembly, but not exceeding the amount as shall have been determined by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission. (5) Any person who has held office as President or Vice-President shall be entitled to pension for life at a rate equivalent to the annual salary of the incumbent President or Vice-President: Provided that such a person was not removed from office by the process of impeachment or for breach of any provisions of this Constitution.”
The alteration to the section, however, seeks to insert a new subsection, ‘(5A)’ to accommodate provision of the life pension to cover former presidents of the Nigerian Senate, deputy presidents, speakers of the House of Representatives and deputy speakers.
“Section 84 of the Principal Act is altered by inserting after subsection (5), a new subsection “(5A).” Any person who has held office as President or Deputy President of the Senate, Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, shall be entitled to pension for life at a rate equivalent to the annual salary of the incumbent President or Deputy President of the Senate, Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, provided that such a person was not removed from office by the process of impeachment or for breach of any of the provisions of this Constitution.”
This alteration entitles the resident of the Senate, deputy President of the Senate, speaker and deputy speaker of the House of Representatives to life pension benefits as is the case with leaders of the other two arms of government.
This resolution, according to a LEADERSHIP Weekend source, has been adopted by the Senate and the committee is set for the final adoption next month at a planned retreat for its members.

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Education crisis widening social gaps in Nigeria, others –World Bank

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The World Bank Group has warned that the education crisis in Nigeria is currently widening the social inclusion gaps in the country .

The group said this in its World Development Report for 2018 titled “Learning to Realise Education ’s Promise ” which was presented in Abuja on Wednesday .

The event was attended by the Minister Finance , Mrs . Kemi Adeosun , her counterpart in the Education Ministry , Adamu Adamu , and major stakeholders in the education sector .

The bank in the report called for greater action and coordination of the education sector to achieve the objectives of poverty reduction.

It said millions of young students in low and middle -income countries face the prospect of lost opportunities and lower wages in the future because their primary and secondary schools were failing to educate them to succeed in life .

Warning of a ‘learning crisis’ in global education , the World Bank report said schooling without learning was not just a wasted development opportunity but also a great injustice to children and young people worldwide.

Without learning , it said education would fail to deliver on its promise to eliminate extreme poverty and create shared opportunity and prosperity for all .

The report observed that even after several years in school , millions of children could not read , write or do basic mathematics .

This learning crisis , according to the report , is widening social gaps instead of narrowing them .

It added that young students disadvantaged by poverty, conflict, gender or disability got to adulthood without even the most basic skills of life .

The World Bank Group said like in Kenya , Tanzania, and Uganda “where third grade students find it difficult to make a sentence ,” evidence had shown that in Nigeria , when fourth grade students were asked to complete a simple two- digit subtraction problem , more than three – quarter could not solve it.

It said , “The diagnosis in this World Development Report may make for disheartening reading , but it should not be interpreted as saying that all is lost – only that too many young people are not getting the education they need .

“Learning shortfalls eventually show up as weak skills in the workforce , making it less likely that young people will find good- paying , satisfying jobs .

“But change is possible , if systems commit to learning , drawing on examples of families , educators, communities , and systems that have made real progress . ”

 

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New study finds that 78% of black fathers are unmarried

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A new study has found that most black fathers are unmarried and this revelation has led to a coversation online.

The study carried out by the Centers For Disease Control reveals that more than 3/4 of all Black fathers are not married. The study also found that 72% of Black men have had children by age 44. But only 27% of African American fathers were ever married to the child’s mother. That number applies irrespective of the race of the child’s mother.

The study goes on to point out that 78% of Black men with kids fathered at least one child outside of marriage.

Past studies have pointed out the high percentage of unwed Black mothers. The new study pointing out the percentage of unwed fathers exposes a crisis among Black men and social media activists are concerned by the high percentage of unwed fathers.

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IVF made easy: Scientists create device to identify strongest sperm

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Scientists from Cornell University have created a device that will help doctors identify the strongest sperm to be used for in-vitro fertilization.

The result of the research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Alireza Abbaspourrad, Cornell’s Yongkeun Joh assistant professor of food chemistry and ingredient technology, said conventional methods of separating motile sperm is tedious and takes hours.

The device takes advantage of sperm’s ability to go against the flow — a process called rheotaxis. It has a microfluidic channel through which the sperm swim and a microscopic corral — shaped like a “C” — with a retaining wall that attracts the strongest swimmers.

“The older method is tedious, time-consuming and not efficient. It’s the time that laboratory technicians and physicians expend that makes the process expensive,” Abbaspourrad said.

“With this method, it’s five minutes instead of several hours.”

Soon Hon Cheong, Ph.D., assistant professor at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and Meisam Zaferani, a doctoral student in chemistry, also worked on the device.

“Here, we took advantage of sperm’s natural tendency to redirect against fluid flow, once the sperm reach a certain velocity,” said Cheong.

“Once the sperm detect interference, they can use it to swim upstream. That’s when we can trap them. We could separate the good sperm from the not-so-strong in a reasonably elegant way. We are able to fine-tune our selection process.”

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