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FG to ensure Nigeria returns to UNESCO Governing Board



(Photo: Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris and Hajo Sani, the Permanent Delegate of Nigeria to UNESCO during her visit to the Minister on Wednesday in Abuja.)

The Federal Government says it will do everything humanly possible to ensure that Nigeria returns to UNESCO Governing Board.

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris gave the assurance when the Permanent Delegate of Nigeria to UNESCO, Dr Hajo Sani and her team visited him on Wednesday in Abuja.

According to Idris, his Ministry is key in the activities of UNESCO, adding that it will participate fully and effectively.

The minister said he was keen to see Nigeria take advantage of full opportunities made available to Nigeria’s membership at UNESCO, urging that the ministry should always be communicated on any opportunity.


“We will put up our strategy and strengthen our engagements with other member nations to see that Nigeria returns to that seat on the board.

“If there are only 58 members, I don’t see why Nigeria should not be there. I know that we stepped out so that others could participate in the spirit of unity and togetherness.

“But now that we had that holiday, we will go back to that seat at UNESCO. The Ministry will put its thinking cap and engage member nations. We will step up our engagement activities before the time.

“We are very confident that you too will get there, this is because, it is for the good of Nigeria and Africa as a whole,” Idris said.

The minister further said that his ministry was actively involved in media information literacy, promotion of freedom of information, media independence, pluralism and inclusive knowledge.


He added that there was need to have a responsible freedom.

“Even though the government is desirous of ensuring free press and free flow of information, it also requires that those who are in the business of information dissemination do that responsibly.

“Fake news have no place in our culture and existence. This is an appeal to those who practice journalism. It is important to put out only what you know is true,” the minister said.

Speaking, Sani said that the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientations involved in the works of UNESCO in the Communication and Information (CT) Sector.

She stated that Member States work through the Intergovernmental Committees, adding that there are two main Intergovernmental Committees in which Nigeria has been active as expected.


According to her, they are; Intergovernmental Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) and the Intergovernmental Council of the Information for All Programme (IFAP)
“Nigeria is presently a member of the Intergovernmental Council of the IPDC, until December, 2023.

“Nigeria is also very much involved in the Sector’s programmes under the Committee Programme on the Freedom of Expression, Programme on the Safety of Journalists and the issue of impunity Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Programme.

“There is also a programme to provide a framework for international co-operation and partnerships aimed at building inclusive and sustainable Knowledge Societies.

“UNESCO supports the development of MIL for all to enable people’s ability to think critically and click wisely.The Organization particularly strives to enhance the capacities of policymakers, educators, information, media professionals and others.

“We are also looking forward to the adoption of the Abuja Declaration on Global Financing for Media and Information Literacy,” Sani said.


She also hinted that the 2023 Global MIL Week in Amman, Jordan, from 24-31 October 2023 had been cancelled due to the current crisis in the Middle East, adding that a new date will be announced in due course


President Tinubu Seeks Senate Approval For Fresh $8.6billion, €100million Loans



The president made the request through a letter to the Senate, read during the plenary by the Senate President, GodsWill Akpabio, on Tuesday, noting that the fund was to execute critical projects in different sectors.

The President Bola Tinubu-led administration has sought the approval of the Nigerian Senate for $8.6billion and €100million borrowing plan.

The president made the request through a letter to the Senate, read during the plenary by the Senate President, GodsWill Akpabio, on Tuesday, noting that the fund was to execute critical projects in different sectors.

The request was said to be part of the federal government 2022-2024 external borrowing plan approved by former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, according to the letter.

Tinubu explained that the projects to be funded with the loan cuts across different sectors of the economy, and were selected based on economic evaluation and the expected contribution to the country’s development.


The letter reads in part;, “I write in respect of the above subject and to submit the attached the federal government 2022-2024 external borrowing plan for consideration and early approval of the National Assembly to ensure prompt implementation of the projects.

“The Senate may wish to note that the past administration approved a 2022-2024 borrowing plan by the federal executive council (FEC) held on May 15, 2023.

“The project cuts across all sectors, with specific emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, water supply, roads, security, and employment generation as well as financial management reforms.

“Consequently, the required approval is in the sum of $8,699,168,559 and €100 million.

“I would like to underscore the fact that the projects and programmes in the borrowing plan were selected based on economic evaluations as well as the expected contribution to the social economic development of the country, including employment generation, and skills acquisition.


“Given the nature of these facilities, and the need to return the country to normalcy it has become necessary for the Senate to consider and approve the 2022- 2024 external abridged borrowing plan to enable the government deliver its responsibility to Nigerians.”

In August, the National Assembly approved President Tinubu’s request for over $800 million loan to finance the National Social Safety Network Programme.

The National Assembly had also approved the 2022 Supplementary Appropriations Act of N819 million “for the provision of Palliatives to Nigerians to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal”.

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5,000 Federal Civil Servants May Not Get November, December Salaries



There is anxiety among federal civil servants as about 5,000 of them may not get November and December salaries.

The National President of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), Dr Tommy Okon, who disclosed this in Abuja, urged the Federal Government to resolve the issues swiftly.

He explained that out of the 17,000 who were delisted from the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) in October 2023 are on course to receive their salaries, only those who had earlier completed their verification exercise but were mistakenly delisted have had their salaries restored.

According to him, 5,000 civil servants still have discrepancies on their date of first appointment and date of birth. A total of 2,772 have been verified and forwarded to IPPIS for payment because there were no issues.”

While advising affected civil servants to constantly check the Head of Service of the Federation website for regular updates so as not to be caught unawares, he hinted that six teams are working to ensure that the exercise is completed on time.


“It is advisable for a public servant to develop the habit of checking the HOS Website for regular updates. We have confirmed that the salary for November 2023 is concluded. Therefore, those affected will not get their salaries for November,” Okon stated.

However, he assured that some of the affected workers might likely get their salaries for December, including the arrears from September.

Okon appealed to the Federal Government through the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation to expedite action to ensure that December salaries are not delayed while urging members of the union to exercise patience as everything is being done within the ambit of the laws to ensure that the issues are resolved expeditiously.

On the recent promotions examination for Directors aspiring to the office of the Permanent Secretaries, Dr Okon said such examinations will increase the efficiency of civil service being the engine room of government policies.

Indeed, the Public Service Rule (PSR) states that the selection shall be through a competitive examination process including but not limited to written examination, test of ICT proficiency and oral interview and Resource persons from the Civil/Public Service and Private institutions may be involved in the selection process.


Okon added: “It is expected that when you rise in your career as a director, you have gotten to the pinnacle of your career. Hence, the position of Permanent Secretary is another kettle of fish, which requires greater responsibility and a broader scope of competence. We are yet to understand how government projects and activities are to be driven effectively without having in place the best hands and brains.”

He lamented that over time, the Civil Service has suffered exponential decadence of its pool of highly skilled and knowledgeable officers, saying, “We cannot continue to pay lip service to the need to scale the quality of the civil servants especially those at the senior level who are expected to demonstrate impeccable character and capability to drive government projects and programmes.

“A situation where only 20 candidates out of 85 demonstrated the requisite knowledge and skill at the written examination and 18 candidates from that number made it to the final stage of the recently concluded selection exercise for the appointment of permanent secretaries leaves little to be imagined about the state of the quality of officers in the Civil Service.”

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