By Leadership Newspapers on Apr 19, 2013Many electricity consumers in the Kaduna metropolis on Friday besieged offices of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) over what they described as crazy bills sent to them.
By Leadership Newspapers on Apr 18, 2013There was a palpable tension, yesterday, in Kaduna, following the killing of two policemen by unknown gunmen in Tudun Wada area of Kaduna metropolis. The gunmen had, Tuesday night, opened fire on the police patrol team along Musawa Road, killing two an...
By Leadership Newspapers on Mar 16, 2013
The 70-man Peace and Reconciliation Committee set up by late Gov. Patrick Yakowa of Kaduna State in January 2012 on Friday failed to submit its report due to the inability of some members to sign it.
The Co-chairman of the committee, Rtd. AVM Ishaya Shekari, made the explanation while addressing newsmen after meeting Gov. Ramalan Yero.
Shekari said the failure of some members to sign the final report was not due to a major disagreement but because they did not receive the information in time.
`` We want to make sure that those that did not get chance to travel here today to sign the report should be given enough time to come and sign. We wanted to sign all the copies and there are many copies involved.
`` I am not aware of disagreement, these are speculations. Until we have the last day we cannot say somebody has refused to sign. We expect everybody to sign.
`` Not all members were able to get the message to come here (Government House) today.
And for that reason, it is not fair to present the report without letting everybody know that it was meant to be presented today.’’
On his part, the other Co-chairman, Alhaji Abbas Sambo, said that not all the members of the committee had signed the report, adding that the reasons were best known to them.
"I have signed the report but some members have not signed, they said they are waiting for the members who are yet to sign.
“We have done our work but whoever refuses to sign does not want peace for the state and God would not forgive them."
According to him, the committee has carried out its mandate and has brought the report to the governor.
He said that for some to refuse to sign the report showed that such members did not participate fully in the committee.
`` Anybody that does not sign, he did not participate well enough as a committee member,’’ he said.
When contacted, the Director-General of Media and Publicity to the Governor, Alhaji Ahmed Maiyaki, declined to make comment on the reason for the failure of the committee to submit its report as scheduled.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that late Gov. Patrick Yakowa inaugurated the committee in January 2012 .
Part of it terms of reference was to identify on issues that have fuelled the recurring ethnic-religious crises in the state and proffer solutions.
The committee is to continue with the process of pursuing full and genuine reconciliation in the state, irrespective of sectional, religious, ethnic or political affiliations.
It is also ``to advise government on issues of peace and unity with the aim of achieving full reconciliation and communal harmony in the state.
``To advise government on any issue that will assist to give lasting peace and enhance the unity and development of the state’’, late Yakowa added.
Members of the committee include the Wazirin Zazzau, Alhaji Ibrahim Aminu, the Wazirin Birnin Gwari, Alhaji Abdulkadir Jibril, the CAN chairman, Dr. Sam K. Kujiyet, Mr Nuhu Bajoga (now state Deputy Governor), Alhaji Sule Buba, Sen. Babale Maikarfi, Sen. Zego Azeez and rtd. Maj-Gen. Zamani Lekwot.(NAN)
By Leadership Newspapers on Mar 6, 2013The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) has advised the 49 applicants that expressed interest in Afam Power Plc and Kaduna Distribution Company to comply with the terms of Request for Proposals.
By Leadership Newspapers on Feb 7, 2013The Kaduna State Government has denied engaging incompetent contractors for the ongoing 31 road projects across the state.
The Commissioner for Works and Transport, Alhaji Suleiman Richifa, also denied the rumour that some of the contractors had abandoned work on the roads.
Richifa told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Kaduna that the government was meticulous in the selection of the contractors.
He said the contracts, awarded in November 2012, were given to tested contractors who had undertaken similar road projects in the state.
Richifa said no contractor had abandoned site, saying:``as at today (Feb. 7) contractors were all working on various sites and they have achieved various percentage of the projects.''
The commissioner said the state had only paid 25 per cent advance payment to the contractors.
Richifa blamed the recent protest by youth affected by the Romi- Karatudun road project, on misinformation.
``The consultant ordered the contractor on the Romi-Karatudun road project to stop work, but all rifts had been resolved and work is going on at the site,” he assured.
Meanwhile, Richifa has said that the state government was yet to conclude plans to ban the operations of commercial motorcyclists, also known as ‘Okada riders’ in the state.
The commissioner said the government had not presented the bill to ban their operation to the state House of Assembly for legislation.
He said, however, that the government had purchased 700 tricycles, which would be distributed to the commercial motorcyclists, once the issue was concluded.
Richifa also assured residents that the 50 buses purchased by the state government would soon be inaugurated, to reduce transportation difficulties in the state. (NAN)
By Leadership Newspapers on Jan 22, 2013
The Kaduna State Police Command has arrested 40 suspects, who were allegedly involved in armed robbery and other crimes, in an early morning raid on Tuesday in Kaduna.
The command's Public Relations Officer, DSP Aminu Lawal, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna that all the suspects were arrested along Danmaliki Street and Nnamdi Azikwe Express way, following a tip-off.
Lawal said the police had recovered two sets of Army camouflage uniforms, two laptop computers, four unregistered motor cycles and a Toyota Siena bus.
``Other items include house breaking instruments and a large quantity of dry leaves suspected to be Indian Hemp.``
He said the suspects were being interrogated and those found wanting would be arraigned in court.
`` We shall continue with the raid on the identified hot spots until we rid the city of criminals.
``We urge the good people of the state to report any suspicious persons or movement around their areas.`` (NAN)
By Leadership Newspapers on Jan 18, 2013
Kaduna State Government is to spend over N11 billion this year to improve health care services, the Commissioner for Health, Mr Turaki Kalik has said.
Kalik said while defending the budget at the State House of Assembly on Friday that, N4 billon of the amount would be spent on capital projects while N6.1 billion would be for recurrent expenditure.
Kalik said part of the amount would be used to upgrade some primary health centres, as well as the Barau Dikko Specialist Hospital being upgraded to a teaching hospital.
He said the recurrent budget size when compared to 2012, had risen from N5.5 billion to N6.7 billion, due to plans to recruit more doctors, nurses and other health workers.
He said the ministry had established a monitoring and evaluation department to supervise health workers and healthcare facilities.
He added that the state had provided N1 billion to fund the new free health services programme for children and pregnant women.
The Chairman, House Committee on Health, Alhaji Shehu Adamu expressed satisfaction with the ministry's presentation.
Adamu assured that the assemby would appropriate the funds requested in order to enhance healthcare delivery in the state.
In a related development, the state government said it would spend N5.6 billion on the digitisation of its broadcast stations, and an additional N341 million for other works on the state radio.
The Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Saidu Adamu said while defending the budget of the ministry at the assembly that the aim was to fully equip the stations to provide quality services to the people. (NAN)
By Leadership Newspapers on Jan 15, 2013The Deputy Speaker of the Kaduna State House of Assembly, Dr. Dogara Mato, is to be remanded in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC). A Federal High Court sitting in Kaduna yesterday gave the remand order over an alleged fr...
By Leadership Newspapers on Jan 15, 2013
The Rector, Kaduna Polytechnic, Dr. Muhammed Bello Ibrahim, in this interview with ISAIAH BENJAMIN, speaks about the challenge of running the institution, his relationship with the unions and his programme for internal revenue generation. He contends that turning the instituion to a university will bode well for technical education in the country.
How has the journey so far been as the rector of Kaduna Polytechnic?
I would not say tough. But it is really quite a challenging journey. Here, you have an institution that came through crisis. We all know what happened to Kaduna Polytechnic over the years, specifically the crisis it went through, and for nine months the institution was closed down - no academic activities. The union and every sector of the institution was practically affected, in between, we had acting capacities. There were two instances and I just came in to actually serve. Within that period of crisis, the management was dissolved also the council. There was a white paper recommendation and things like that. So when we came in, actually, the last regime managed to stabilize the institution. But we came in to inherit a great deal of challenges especially expectations from staff as well. Ever since we came in, our idea was that of maintaining peace and order and actually building on what we met so that the institution is fully stabilized. We specifically went into confidence building mechanisms that will actually bring about peace, harmony and understanding among the staff and equally also those measures that will actually reinforce assurance to staff that they have the people who can oversee the affairs of the institution justly and fairly too in all our activities. I think, so far, if you take time and interact with staff, I think we are actually making substantial head way. It may not necessarily be that it has not been easy, because the stress in is there. You have to work from morning. You have to stay till evening and at times late at night with meetings all the time. That’s the challenges. But apart from those challenges is essentially that of meeting up with the demands of our unions.
One of the challenges that paralyzed the academic activities in the institution for three months was the allegation of financial misappropriation against the then management by ASUP. You promised, when you came on board, to use all powers available to you to block all financial leakages; to what extent have you achieved this aspiration?
Very well, I think,. I can say with confidence that, so far, we have blocked substantially, all ways by which all monies are even lost or being siphoned away. We are looking for other ways, including the use of ICT and sophisticated technologies that we can muster within our powers and it is very important to do that, considering the meager resources that the institution receives and the large number in terms of population of both of staff and students. As you may know, the institution is the largest in West Africa, south of the Sahara; your guess is as good as mine that you need a lot of money to run an institution like that. So the little you get, certainly you have to jealously guard it. Our major revenue is essentially is from what we get from student registration, consultancy services and other affiliations we do. So we focus on all these and it has paid so far. We are not recording losses because we know what we are expecting. We compute these things and go on with mental arithmetic; on daily and weekly basis, we compile all financial and audit reports on what we have, every now and then. We don’t leave things to chances. What we want is to have a system. It is when you have a system that is self accounting, and then automatically, the people that will man the system will equally be watched so that there are no rooms for any leakages.
What is your working relationship with the unions, particularly with ASUP, NASUP and SSANIP?
I am a unionist myself. We were the first group that introduced the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP). I was first executive from Kaduna Polytechnic. So I know the demands of the staff. Over the years that has gradually resulted in crippling the institution. It is a very painful thing. Nobody is happy to see where he is working crippled to standstill. But thank God we came out of it. We have actually substantially been engaging them. The first we did was to engage all the unions the academic ASUP, SSANIP and the NASUP. We are constantly engaging and going into dialogue and discussion with them - in the office, at home, elsewhere when we meet. Any opportunity, we get, we discuss issues with them. As far as I am concerned, there is no barrier. If you were here yesterday, you would have seen us, almost three hours when we were together with NASUP. We were discussing areas the institution could assist them; the same thing with SSANIP. What I always tell them is that, fundamentally; we need to have the institution first before we have the union. We need to have a Kaduna Polytechnic first, before we can have the NASUP, ASUP, and SSANIP. So first and foremost, our target is to make sure that the institution is there; not only that we have a Kaduna Polytechnic, but to serve as leadership to other polytechnics in the country. Our target is actually to make sure that we come out of the crisis. And we provide the leadership. So as far as relationship with union is concerned, it is excellent. There were some outstanding allowances. The first thing, I looked at a critical period, so before Sallah, we targeted to pay them. In fact, they did not believe that it will be possible to pay them. We did it. We put all resources together and made sure that allowances for the evening classes, particularly which was ASUP, were paid and that was the money most of them used to buy their sallah rams and other things for sallah preparations. At the same time, before the Christmas and New Year, we packaged other allowances. That has actually made the union completely come to terms with the management on grounds of good relationships. They know actually we mean what we say and we follow it with action and the action is carried out within the stipulated time we give to ourselves. I can assure you that all the unions are happy. Now we want to focus our attention to development of infrastructure in the institution and targeting our attention to making life conducive to our students who are our valued customers. You know without the students, there is no institution. We equally take them very seriously. We try to see that all their problems, and complaints are equally attended to as much as possible and within the confines of our limited resources.
You also gave the assurance that you will pursue vigorously the conversion of Kaduna Polytechnic to a university; to what extent have you gone about the conversion?
The conversion issue is a federal government decision actually. Ours is actually to put pressure and the pressure may not necessarily be in the open. Everything is in shape. I think that was actually the first comment by the minister. Now that it is the substantive institution to the extent of having a rector, hopefully the conversion issue will eventually pick up and we will make effort to actually put pressure directly or indirectly to the people that matter in the issue. The conversion is a good process. You know the institution has come a long way in terms of history. I think it is older than second generation universities. In actual fact, it falls in line with first generation universities. In terms of size, facility and infrastructure, very few universities in actual fact can compete with what is on ground in Kaduna Polytechnic. You have a population of staff of about 2,600, very young and energetic. We have a total of PhD holders numbering about 270 or there about of those either finishing or already on ground. I can assure you; this is a figure that not every university can boast of. Most importantly too is the history and unique nature of the institution, its position vis-à-vis technical education in Nigeria, I can assure you, it has everything it takes. If given the opportunity, Kaduna Poly will take this country to greater height in terms of technical innovation and sophistication. It is something that if the federal government sticks to it and allow its realization will bring tremendous development to the institution and to the country in general considering the history, size and opportunity abound within the institution.
Recently, you were quoted to have lamented the flight of PhD holders of lecturers from the institution; if this conversion to university becomes a reality, how do you think this will affect the institution?
Positively, if it becomes a reality and it is converted to a university. It means those running away to other polytechnics, not that they are going to other polytechnics, in most cases they rush to universities - because it is only logical that when you get a PhD the next thing is for you to attempt for is the desire to become a professor. I told you, there are young people with energy in them. You don’t expect them to stand by watch their own mates move to the very peak. It is expected that by the time we get the conversion, it means therefore we will be in position on our own actually, because I guess there are many around who would have been professors if it were to be a university, because what it takes actually is to carry out effective supervision of projects then convert those items for promotion. It is not that you have to go back to classroom where you supervise and it is adjudged that you have made the minimum requirement for becoming a professor. This is history where actually, given the upper hand of the university over the years, one would have been a professor or associate professor. It is just that it does not exist within the polytechnic system and that explains why as soon as people get PhD they rush out to universities. It is not good because here also we need them to supervise quality research that will actually be used for developmental purposes for industries to patronize our research works. The conversion could translate into positive benefit to the institution. It means we want to retain them. I told you we have over 50 of them over a year. If that is the case, we have about 250 or more and some training abroad. If we can retain these ones and others, then I can assure you, in not too distant future, we will be able to compete with any university around, especially with our plans on ICT and stuff like that.
What measures are you putting in place to ensure the security of the students, staff as well as infrastructure of the institution?
That is the area I don’t play with. Having stayed for 10 years in Niger Delta, I know what security means; I know what protection of lives and property is. The first thing we did on my coming into office is that we re-invigorated all machinery in respect of security. We meet constantly. We have what we call rapid response committee that actually deals with any emergency situation that could be of security threat. Only this (that) morning I called a meeting of all the security heads and we discussed how to continue to secure our boundaries and fences in making sure that our own students and staff are not unduly taken advantage of by hooligans or by anybody for that matter. So what I demand everyday is that the acting chief security officer should present a situation report of security around our campus, so that I go through it every morning; in fact that is the first tea or coffee that I take. Until when I realize that everything is calm, then I attend to other mails of the day, otherwise I make it a duty to know what is happening before I start any day’s work. We have a security consultant - a retired colonel, and he has a lot of experience in intelligence gathering and we have the SSS on ground which gives us security reviews. Everyday we communicate with them. We try equally to secure the environment of the institution to make sure our property is equally protected.
Any plans to improve welfare packages for the staff?
Yes. You know everything borders on generation of internally generated Revenue (IGR). If I have my way, I would have introduced a salary like it is obtainable in the oil industry. My target actually is to see an institution with a robust revenue base. I even want a situation whereby we shouldn’t be waiting for government to pay us salary. From our own consultancy works, the industry that we intend to actually set up. We actually intend to set up a situation in which we should be able to take care of our problems. When we came into office, our table water was selling at N30,000 per week, now it is about N170,000 per week. Our bread was making about N3,000, now it is about N17,000. We have other outfits like block industry which we intend to re-engineer to make sure that major construction work are actually carried out properly. They come to buy our blocks. We intend to establish skill acquisition centre where we intend to train our youth in partnership with government, and in such manner we help to generate revenue for the institution and help in addressing institution’s problems in Kaduna town and the state in particular and the north in general. Our target actually is tomake billions in terms of IGR so that we should be able to compete with some of the state governments in terms of revenue generation. When we do that, we should be able to get special packages for out staffers. We have the capability to establishing automobile mechanic village, industrial park, where you can repair machines, vehicles, just like the Mandilas and other private companies. We intend to go into private practice seriously and ownership of companies.