Tag Archives: Edo State

Obaseki approves resumption of primary, secondary schools in Edo State

Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has approved resumption of primary and secondary schools for the 2020/2021 academic session on Monday, September 28, 2020 across the state.

In a statement, Commissioner for Education, Hon. (Barr.) Jimoh Ijegbai, said the Governor of Edo State has graciously approved the resumption of Primary and Secondary Schools in Edo State for the 2020/21 academic session on Monday September 28th, 2020.

He said in order to observe the social/physical distancing safety protocol in the classrooms, secondary schools are to operate according to the following schedule: JSS 1-3 between 8am -11am, while SSS 1-3 will be between 12pm-3pm.

Ijegbai said parents and guardians are expected to provide face masks for their children and wards in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), adding, “School Heads and Proprietors are to ensure strict adherence to COVID-19 safety protocol guidelines and collect copies of the 2020/21 academic calendar from the office of the Chief Inspectors of Education in the 18 Local Government Areas.”

He added that sale of forms for examination into the six model schools is still on, while the entrance examination has been moved from September 26th to October 3rd 2020.

2023: Edo should produce president after Buhari – Edo Indigenes

The umbrella body of Edo indigenes, Edo Indigenous Movement(EIM) /Edo Progressive Indigenes Association (EPIA) has said that the next president of Nigeria should be an Edo person.

EPIA in its argument, wondered why there is so much hullabaloo over Nigeria’s presidency when the Edo people, despite their contributions to national development, have never been considered for the position.

Chief Bishop J.O.E Edokpolo who is the Edo Indigenous leader and president, in a message to journalists at the weekend, said its the turn of Edo State to produce a president.

“In all fairness, Nigeria should be led by a president of Edo extraction in 2023. Given its historical role in Nigeria and as a kingdom that has been seen as one of the most historically civilized class of people in Africa, we feel very marginalized for not having a president from Edo Kingdom. It is our turn and not our fault, Edo is able and capable”, he stated.

EPIA set to offer free legal services for rape victims

Edo Progressive Indigenes Association (EPIA), known as Edo Indigenous movement said modality has been put in place in providing free legal services to rape and domestic violence victims in Edo State as well as seeking justice against the perpetuators of the act in the State.

This was contained in a release made available by the Edo Indigenous Publicity and Research Committee (EIPRC). The movement strongly condemned the rising cases of rape and domestic violence in the State and called on the state government led by Governor Godwin Obaseki to brief Edo Indigenes on the measures or actions currently in place by his administration to put an end to curtail the spread of the menacs.

The movement condemned the rape and murder of Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, a 22-year-old microbiology student, in a Church in Benin City, Nigeria, and called on the Police to fish out perpetrators of the act.

“Authorities in Nigeria have not done enough to combat sexual violence. The method the state has been using over the years, clearly has not moved with the intensity required to deter rapists and potential rapists and to protect women and girls. EPIA is going to do everything possible to upturn this ugly trend”, the release said.

“Gang-rape is now a common problem in Nigeria with most cases affecting the poor socio-economic class. It is on increase in Edo State. Gang rape cases in the state has created so much negative impact on the legal outcome.

“There is a need to provide a holistic support to the victims and to review Nigerian laws on sexual offences for the good of all. This is why we are offering free pro bono to victims and seek legal action against perpetrators”, the release said.

Extrajudicial Killings: Civil Society Groups Move Against Edo Police

Special Report by Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku

On the 6th day of March, 2020, Hamilton Osarhenrhen Obazee, 44, father of four children took his phone to a nearby hotel, known as Megon Guest House in Benin City, Edo State capital to charge it.

A few days prior to his untimely death in the hands of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Benin, there had been frequent power outages. Whilst at the Megon Guest House charging his phone, members of SARS raided the hotel and arrested everyone there including Hamilton.

After two days of searching for him, his sister, Lady Mercy Obazee got wind of the release of those who were arrested at the hotel, but Hamilton was not among them.

According to her, the owner of the hotel was able to ascertain the whereabouts of all of his staff who were arrested by the SARS through a tracking device attached to one of his employees’ phones.

Armed with this knowledge of the whereabouts of her younger brother, Lady Obazee then went in search for him at the State headquarters of the Nigeria police in Benin City.

At the entrance to the police premises, Lady Obazee said, she was made to part with a princely sum of money before gaining entrance. While there, the police refused to have any dealings with her, insisting that her brother’s matter was already in court.

Armed with this information, she procured the services of a lawyer to defend her brother against whatever charges that may have been levelled against him.

Lady Obazee told journalists that while at the state police headquarters, a policeman appealed to the lawyer not to reveal to his clients that Hamilton was already dead, and his body deposited at a private hospital, known as Osula Hospital in Benin City.

Her personal investigations revealed that while in police custody, Hamilton was alleged to have been severely tortured for two days, with his hands and feet tied, and was denied food and water.

Lady Obazee has since then taken up the fight to bring justice to her brother – in the form of police taking responsibility for the burial of Hamilton Obazee and further upkeep of the four children he left behind.

The ages of the children range from 12, 8, 6 and 2. But justice has been elusive for Obazee. Till date, she has employed three lawyers, each asking for sundry sums to send letters of petition to the police high command.

The Obazee case, and indeed several other cases of alleged extrajudicial killings have caught the attention of respected civil society groups in Benin City.

One such organization, the One Love Foundation, an NGO in the vanguard of the protection of the human rights of Nigerians recently embarked on a peaceful protest against police brutality and sundry cases of killing of innocent Nigerians.

On Tuesday June 9, 2020, together with some other Civil Society groups, including the Talakawas Parliament, headed by Mr. Kola Edokpayi, One Love Foundation marched to the Police headquarters where Hamilton was allegedly tortured and killed by the police.

Part of the contents of a letter delivered to Johnson Kokumo, the newly redeployed commissioner of police during the peaceful demonstration said: “in recent times, a few examples of heinous crimes in our state include the rape and gruesome murder inside a church of a 22-year old Miss Vera Omozuwa, 100 level Microbiology undergraduate of the University of Benin, the kidnap and murders of Bar Osobase Iyoha, Hope Ediagbonya, a former Edo State Commissioner of Youth & Sports.”

In another strongly worded statement during the peaceful demonstration, One Love founder, Patrick Eholor who addressed police representative, Valentine Kanayo Uzuegbu said that cases of extrajudicial killings in Edo State were becoming too frequent.

“Edo people are peaceful and law abiding, and therefore the police must not take this peace-loving disposition for granted. Over here in Nigeria, our lives matter just like it does in the case of George Floyd.”

“We are therefore here as well to tell the police that there are too many killings. They are getting too many please. Part of our message to the police is that henceforth, if they kill any one Edo person again, they would have to kill us all thereafter.

“Enough of the police brutality and oppression. If the police are not being trained, equipped and given the incentives to do their job, Edo people are not the cause. We are tired of the police transferring their frustration on Edo people,” Chief Patrick Eholor said.

Even though police representative Uzuegbu promised to look into the issues being canvassed by the protest, Lady Mercy is not convinced. “The police are not our friend. They killed my brother who was in their custody and without informing us, sent his body to the mortuary.

“What kind of police tortures and kills those it arrests and hides their bodies? After they killed my brother, they asked me to come make a statement. Can you imagine that? I wish I could just jump on that policeman who was making those statements during the protest and tear him to pieces,” she said in tears.

Less than a month from this protest, Alltimepost.com published a story relating to the extra judicial killing of suspects in police custody. In that story, SARS operatives arrested two robbery suspects and allegedly had them summarily executed.

When the Edo state government heard about this, it summoned the former police commissioner Tanko Jimeta, who claimed that the suspects were still alive.

Alltimepost.com correspondent, Mike Osarogiagbon, doubling as a freelance journalist for the Nigerian Observer, who covered the story was also invited to government house to give ‘clarifications’ on the source of his story.

Mike was ‘detained’ in government house for five hours, and subsequently suspended by The Observer who working with the authority in one of the worst media cover-up of the 21st century.

Part of the issues that Alltimepost.com sought, inter alia, to unravel with the alleged summary execution of the suspects in that case included the following:

Why did the Observer retract the story of the alleged killing of the suspects when the police could not show proof that the allegation of extra-judicial killing slapped on them was false?

Prior to publishing this story on the latest alleged police extrajudicial killings, Alltimepost.com made spirited efforts to get both the Police image maker, Chidi Nwabuzor and the newly posted police Commissioner Babatunde Kokumo to either refute or confirm these weighty allegations.

None of them picked up their calls. Mr. Nwabuzor did not respond to text messages from Alltimepost.com, lending weight to strong suspicions that the police are indeed perpetrating an organized pogrom on members of the public and systematically working to undermine the rights of citizens under the law.

Many are of the view that newly-posted Edo State Commissioner of Police, Johnson Kokumo knows his onions in Edo State, having first served from 2017 to 2019. Kokumo assumed duty as new CP last week.

This latest allegation of extrajudicial killing is unequivocally another test of his integrity in his second coming, even though it happened prior to his redeployment.

While the June 9th 2020 protest lasted, he sent a lieutenant instead of using the opportunity to personally assure Edo citizens of his resolve to put an end to the subject of the protest.

After US police knelt on the neck of George Floyd for nearly nine minutes, leading to his death, international outcry has seen police kneeling down publicly to try to mollify American citizens.

In Edo state, and with the rampant cases of extra-judicial killings, the police would do well to heed the warnings of the convener of the protest, Patrick Eholor, that it is only a matter of time before citizens take to the streets enmasse to take the laws into their own hands if they continue with their brazen disregard for human life.

Copyright, Alltimepost.com

PHOTOS from the protests:

Man murders cousin over N2m land deal in Edo State

Usman Abdul Lateef a native of Akpekpe, Auchi Edo State who has been missing since Wednesday (13th of May) has been found dead and buried in a bush by his cousin.The deceased was said to have left home on Wednesday with his cousin simply identified as Koma to the Guarantee Trust Bank’s Automated Teller Machine for a transaction but never returned.Koma was however taken in by the police for investigation as he was the last person Lateef interacted with on the day he went missing. He was however released after questioning.While search by the Azomode Age Grade members and investigation by the Police of the Auchi Divisional Headquarters was ongoing, the family of the deceased had contacted the Auchi GTBank branch and notified his account manager about the development.Noticing an activity on the account, the bank promptly notified the family of an attempt of a withdrawal on Lateef’s account on Tuesday, May 19th while the transaction was ongoing at GTB Auchi.This led to the recapture of Koma who confessed to have killed his cousin over a 2million naira land deal and buried him in a bush in Igarra road with the intent to withdraw the cash since he already had the ATM card and pin of Lateef.The body has been recovered by a joint effort of the Police and Auchi Vigilante Squad led by Koma and has been buried at 7:10pm according to Islamic rites while further enquiry on the matter continues.

Dearth of Teachers in Edo Schools and the Fallacy of Obaseki’s EdoBest By Osehobo Ofure

The location was Igbanke in Orhionwon and the event was social but the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, just a few months into office, was present, officially. Reason was that such events was one avenue to be deployed in making a policy statement about the direction of his government, even if such policies were going to be denied, forgotten or buried in a matter of time.

True to expectations, Governor Obaseki did make a promise and said that his administration has set machinery in motion to address the problem of shortage of teachers in some schools in the state. He had acknowledged that the teachers in some if not most Edo schools were inadequate. He even said the shortage of school teachers was not peculiar to Igbanke and declared his commitment to revamp basic education in the state.

If nothing else, guests at the occasion felt fulfilled that they did not waste their time. They went home with this news. The three schools in Igbanke like in many communities across the 192 wards were however hard hit. The Igbanke Grammar School; Igbanke Mixed Secondary School and Omolua Mixed Secondary School had no Mathematics and Science teachers.

Some of the guests at this event, parents, teachers and guardians, were confident that the governor would deliver on his promise as they however recalled that Mr Adams Oshiomhole just few days to handing the baton of authority as Governor over to his successor,, Mr Obaseki, told Edo people that the state government needed to employ more teachers to ensure that quality education is given to students in public schools in the state. Oshiomhole left a legacy of state of the art classrooms in red roofs across the state.

He said, ready was the list of qualified Mathematics teachers, English Language, English Literature, Geography, Science teachers and Arts teachers, for which, “We have already done the interview; we will select a number and we will post them to your schools next week before the end of my tenure”. But since his government could not do that because of time constraints, the former governor was confident that his successor would follow through.

Oshiomhole’s words, ” the next governor will continue from where I am going to stop. You know that government, as they say, is a continuum. One governor and one government cannot finish everything. But if the next governor does as much as we have done, and I know that the next governor will do even more than what we have done.” But His successor had no such dreams. And it did not take long to show this to Edo people.

Interestingly, all over the world, education remains the key driver of development and societal growth. Education and work is believed to be capable of determining the livelihoods of nearly a billion people in the sub-saharan Africa and drive growth and development in generations to come. Little doubt that the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ or UNDESA, in one of its World Population Prospects 2 report, submitted that the solution to Africa’s education has to be scalable in order to address the problem awaiting the continent by 2050: that Africa will have the fastest growing workforce and numbers of school age children.

Its conclusion is that Nigeria, being the most populous country in Africa, will contribute significantly to these numbers, hence the need to build a nation with an educated and skilled workforce that is stable, prosperous, and competitive. Obviously as education is the catalyst, teachers are the people who set the tone for society’s growth and development. It is the teachers who will impact on the quality of education in Africa; so the ability to have enough of them, train and support them with technology will determine the future of the children and continent.

There was no doubt that the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) smelt a rat with Governor Obaseki not following through with the many plans of his predecessor in office, close to two years in office, in 2018, and so they sought to remind him. They decried the lack of manpower personnel in the public schools, and urged the Government to commence the process of recruiting of about 9,000 and 3000 new staff to fill the vacant positions in both primary and secondary schools before the commencement of the next academic session. They gave a strike notice.

The other demand of the NUT was the immediate implementation of the new minimum wage approved by the Oshiomhole-led State Government of which Obaseki was a part in May, 2016. The new pay was for all its workers (including all primary school teachers), with all the arrears. The union had appealed to all well-meaning citizens to prevail on the State Government to urgently meet the demands of the Union to averting what it described as imminent darkness that was about to envelop the education sector in the State.

Although the NUT later put its strike on hold, with the Governor promising Basic Education reforms they were confident that his administration’s commitment to reforms would help to address what he called root causes of problems in the state’s educational system. Sooner than later, the Governor mooted EdoBest or the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation programme, as his flagship policy to solve all the problems.

The programme simply put involved getting classroom teachers in selected public schools to using digital lesson notes prepared and send to their tablets to teach classes. For Governor Obaseki, “Every teacher wants to teach and children desire to learn, which is why our ability to provide an enabling environment for learning is key, adding that 75 per cent of schools in Edo State now deployed the digital teaching tools under the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (Edo-BEST) programme”.

He added that the comprehensive Edo-BEST programme was a programme moving to the next phase of teaching, which will ensure education in Edo moves closer to what obtains in the western world. By this he meant that pupils in Edo state public schools will be grouped, based on level rather than grade-they will be graded into reading, writing, critical thinking and numeracy.

While the NUT in Edo was grappling with the reforms by the state government awaiting the employment of more teachers, the National Headquarters of the union was honouring Mr Obaseki as Nigeria’s Most Education Friendly Governor at the 2019 World Teachers Day. It however said that in giving the Governor a plaque to this effect it was due to his roles in improving basic education and teachers’ welfare in the state.

Notwithstanding, the governor like most Edo people knew however that even with EdoBest, the state’s 8, 700 teachers trained and equipped with ICT devices while less than 7,000 of them actually possess them is like a drop in the ocean and had no way of radically impacting the lives of millions of Edo children across the over 1,500 public schools, not to mention the over 1,000 private schools, with or without digital tools, especially in the face of lack of electricity, internet facilities, which the devices rely on, mostly in rural areas.

Osehobo Ofure, a journalist, writes from Benin

Covid19: Group Reject Chinese Gifts to Governor Obaseki

A Civil society group, Concerned Nigerians in Edo state, have condemned the action of the Edo state governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki in accepting so-called health packages from China, home of the dreaded Covid19.

This follows the Governor’s announcement that the
Yongxing Steel Company, a nail factory which operates at Utesi, in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area (LGA) of Edo State gave the state government:
*350,000 facemasks
*10,000 pairs of medical gloves
*18,000 pieces of test kits
*200 cartons of disinfectant
*40 pieces of decontamination equipment.

The governor who said the items were worth over N120 million from the management of Yongxing Steel Company argued that it, ” is one of the largest contributions we have received in the fight against COVID-19″.

He also said that the donation, “will further bolster our efforts as a government at curtailing the spread of coronavirus in Edo State”.

But Concerned Nigerians in Edo state in a press statement by it’s Chairman, Don Pedro Obaseki Jnr. said the action of the Governor is anti-people at a time citizens are apprehensive about China and its products.

“Edo is a state governed by law and order and unconstitutional acts like this must be condemned by all and sundry. The state is protected by law and the governor swore to protect the lives of all citizens, but this is a wrong decision as the lives of Edo people is now at stake”.

The group called on the state governor to as a matter of urgency stop any attempt to distribute any of the items because the public will reject them as unhealthy and dangerous.

What has a Chinese company which manufacture nails got to do with face masks and test kits for Covid19? If they wanted to help Edo people they should have donated the money instead”.

The group also said, “What we are witnessing today is a failure of leadership in Edo state. Governor Obaseki is very insensitive and in his desperation to remain in office is ready to mortgage the lives of Edo people by exposing them to Chinese products and China is the origin of Covid19″.

“It is also pertinent to say that the state governor will do well as a matter of urgency to destroy all the items from the Chinese or return them to the donors and ask for cash instead. Anything short of this is unacceptable to us and to the generality of Edo people”.

DSS, Police, thugs storm residence of Edo Gov’s ex-Chief of Staff

…abduct personal staff, cart away personal belongings, including children’s papers

A team of the DSS, Police and thugs suspected to be under the instruction of the embattled governor of Edo state, Godwin Obaseki, has stormed the residence of his ex-Chief of Staff, Taiwo Akerele, and arrested his domestic staff(names yet unknown) and Personal Assistant, Jasper Olowojoba, while also carting away his personal belongings including documents such as driver’s license and certificates of his children.

Taiwo Akerele announced his resignation as Chief of Staff to the governor yesterday on ‘administrative and governance’ grounds. The press quoted him to have said he decided to part ways with Obaseki based on principles, a claim that immediately cast a shadow on the actions of the government, especially with increased accusations trailing the administration on the management of resources and abuse of office.

Sources in the government house say Akerele’s resignation is also connected to the seizure of machinery of government by Obaseki’s volatile Deputy, Philip Shaibu and SSG Osarodion Ogie, both of whom have instigated and insisted on a political war in the state as a means to gain unfettered access to the state treasury knowing that the politically-limp governor relies on them for survival.

Akerele’s constant call for peace and focus on matters of governance was said to have angered both actors who connived to usurp powers of his office and isolate him as a disloyal member of the administration.

The actions of the Deputy and SSG nonetheless, the resignation of Taiwo Akerele came as a major blow to Obaseki and further solidified his image as a weak governor incapable of maintaining discipline within his ranks or exert authority in his own administration.

Worse, it came at a moment when the governor is swimming in allegations of fraud and incompetent management of the coronavirus disease in the state.

In a clear act of retribution, the governor is reported to have, today, mobilized a team of the DSS, Police, and thugs who stormed the private residence of his ex-Chief of Staff today and effected the arrest of his cook, gateman, and Personal Assistant, Jasper Olowojoba.

The property has been sealed and taken over by this team, after making away with some of the private belongings of Taiwo Akerele.

Comrade Eholor tasks Senator Urhoghide on educational devt, accountability in political service

Fiery social rights defender and business man, Patriot Patrick Eholor has filed a proposed bill to the Senator representing Edo South Senatorial Zone, Senator Matthew Urhoghide in order to achieve accountability and transparency in governance.

Eholor also enumerated bills aimed at improving educational excellence in Edo State and Nigeria, in order to build a stronger ‘next generation of Nigerians’, who will take revolutionary action in order to build a stronger human society of the country.

“One finds it hard to know where to start in trying to talk about Nigeria”, Eholor began, while responding to questions regarding the proposed bill.

Patrick Eholor

“No doubt, Nigeria has become a failed state. It wasn’t to long ago that Nigeria seemed to have greater potentials than South Korea. In South Korea, thieving politicians go to prison. In Nigeria they are hailed. We have only been led by thieves with no vision. There must be a revolution of some sort. Otherwise, our future is bleak. The days of glory as an oil producing nation are over. The thieves with their ill gotten wealth will continue to control our democracy. We must figure out how to keep them from participating in our democracy, and hold those of them in service accountable “.

The five-point legislative proposal of Patriot Patrick Eholor, proposed for major improvements in the national education sector, as well as means of checkmating the excesses of elected politicians with regards to corruption.

Eholor had written to the senator under the caption “Proposal of Vital Bills for Passage Consideration by the National Assembly of Nigeria”, and proposed that:

A bill abolishing acceptance fee as a condition for gaining admission into tertiary institutions be totally abolished,

Another bill to criminalize sex-for-grades on students by lecturers, with a penalty of not less than 15 years in jail for offenders,

A bill making the voters card a prerequisite for admission into tertiary institutions, scholarship opportunities, NYSC posting and employment in order to encourage electoral participation among youths,

A bill mandating instant award of full scholarship for students who emerge best in their fields of study,

And last but not the least, a bill prohibiting salaries and all forms of allowance payments for political office holders who are convicted of corruption.

The proposal focuses attention on the welfare of students and youths alike, by seeking their protection from selfish and greedy lecturers and educational systems which seek to exploit them.

For instance, Eholor argues in the first proposal argues that once a student passes examination into higher institutions, he is qualified to study in that school and does not need to pay again for admission.

He also frowns at the ignoble trend of male lecturers to manipulate female students into succumbing to their sexual desires in order to graduate. The social rights crusader is of the opinion that very stiff sentences be handed down to offenders to serve as a deterrent to others.

“Many lives and future have been ruined by these randy lecturers. Do you know how many brilliant students failed to graduate because they will not give in?

“Do you know how many girls have contracted sexual-related diseases, or forced into abortions leading to permanent injuries and deaths because these men won’t tame their wild desires?”, Eholor fumed.

He also is seeking automatic free education in form of scholarship for all best students, just to encourage them to live their dreams.

Ultimate Equals, as he is fondly called, also seeks to empower the young people through political consciousness.

That was why he also proposed that the Voters Cad be made mandatory for them.

“With your voters card, you can decide who your leader will be, and it’s best if our youths begin early to participate actively in politics. When voters card is made compulsory, they will know of its impotence in their afffaird snd can them decide who rules them.”

Nigerian National Assembly

In his response, Senator Urhoghide commended the patriot for the bills proposal, and enumerated efforts that have already been made by the 9th Assembly of the Senate to address some of these issues.

He also explained his own personal contributions in the area of bursaries and scholarships for students in Edo South;

“My sincere position on each of the suggested bills is as follows:

On Bill 1: This is a good suggestion only for operation at the Federal level. Education is on the concurrent list in our operating 1999 Constitution as amended. This means legislation by the National Assembly applies only to federal government owned institutions. The states are not bound by such legislation. Only their State House of Assembly that can legislate on the bill, pass it and assented to by the governor that can it law in that state.

“So to make it law in Nigeria, the NASS and all the different State Houses of Assembly must pass the bill. Be reminded also that universities and other higher institutions owned by them are not bound by an act of the NASS unless such a state legislature has been taken over by the NASS.

Also speaking on the sex-for-grades demand by lectures or teachers in schools in Nigeria, he replied;

“this bill was sponsored in the 8th Senate by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege. Unfortunately, it was not assented to by the President before the closure of the 8th Assembly on the 4th of June 2019. In this 9th Senate, the bill was sponsored again by Omo-Agege, has passed second reading and been referred to the committee on Tertiary Education and TETFUND for further Legislative action, which involves public hearing and other Committee considerations before the final report is sent to the Senate at plenary for final consideration and passage.

“After the third reading and passage by the Senate, it is sent to the House of Representatives for concurrence. After consideration by the House, it will be sent by the Clerk of the NASS to Mr President for assent. Be informed also that the penalty on conviction is as harsh as you have proposed if not even harsher”.

Senator Clifford Ordia, representing Edo Central Senatorial Zone

On using Voter’s card as precondition for admission into Edo schools, he stated “I am afraid that this legislation is only in the purview or the exclusive preserve of Edo State House of Assembly”.

Continuing, he said “Bill for instant award of scholarship, bursary to best graduates in Nigeria, I wish to observe that this already exists. Apart from federal government which is through the Federal Ministry of Education and its scholarship board, other agencies dedicated to scholarship are PTDF for all Nigerians, NDDC for the 9 states that make up the Niger Delta region including Edo State. Virtually all state governments that appreciate the value of education in development of society have automatic scholarship programs(undergraduate and postgraduate) for indigenes. So bringing a bill like this to an Assembly usually does not enjoy popular support because their citizens are not hindered at all by lack of sponsorship when it comes to graduate or postgraduate education. Virtually all states in the north have automatic scholarship for their students. They even pay their WAEC and NECO examination fees.

“In the south, states like Lagos, Rivers, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Delta, Oyo, Akwa Ibom, Cross-River etc have automatic postgraduate scholarship programs for their indigenes. Only very few states like Edo that have not deemed it wise to prioritize award of scholarship to their indigenes. In fact since 1999, it is on record that no government of any party coloration has given scholarship or bursary to our students in institutions of higher learning. Not even payment for WAEC and NECO exam fees as a way of helping their indigent parents or guardians.

“This is what informed my decision to give scholarship to indigent students in public schools in Edo South Senatorial since 2015. Today I have 244 of them. 89 university students, and 155 secondary school students. These are the children of the poor who on account of the circumstances of their birth would not get the benefit of education.

“From 2015, I pledged to do this with my salary/allowance as the Senator representing Edo South. All the benefiting students are from Edo South including all the tribes resident in Edo South. The award for 2019 is going to be considered shortly but for the Covid 19 pandemic.

“The Senator Matthew Urhoghide Scholarship Scheme(MUSS) is suprintended by a Board made up of men of distinction, who have not been partisan or exhibited unfairness in the award”.

On the bill prohibiting the payment of salaries, allowances or any form of benefits for former office holders who are convicted for corruption or any other felony during or after their tenure, Urhoghide pointed out;

“I wish to say that we already have this in our previous legislations, statutes including or Penal and Criminal Codes. Just like they are barred from holding public office, they are also barred from benefiting from public funds”, the Senator elaborated.

BREAKING! Gunmen kidnap Edo Commissioner, kill police orderly

Gunmen suspected to be kidnappers have reportedly abducted Edo state Commissioner for Science and Technology, Barrister Emmanuel Agbale.

His police orderly was also killed by the gunmen before taking him to their custody.

The incident occurred Friday evening on his way to Ekpoma, along Benin/Auchi highway, at Okhuo River, by Heartland palm plantation.

His driver however escaped unhurt.

The State Commissioner of Police Lawan Jimeta, who confirmed the incident, assured that the police will do everything possible to ensure that he is released unhurt.

He said: “The Commissioner was kidnapped yesterday and our officer with him was killed.”

Jimeta added that operatives of the command has been combing the bush in search of the Commissioner.