Nigerian press highlights UN’s support for protesters’ agitation for social justice, good governance, others

The United Nation's support for the #EndSARS protesters' agitations for social justice and good governance and the demand by academics…

The United Nation’s support for the #EndSARS protesters’ agitations for social justice and good governance and the demand by academics and some other Nigerians for urgent review or scrapping of the nation’s quota policy in varsity admissions to promote equity and national development are some of the leading stories in Nigerian newspapers on Tuesday.ThisDay reports that the United Nations, UN, yesterday reiterated its support for the #EndSARS protesters’ agitations for social justice and good governance, describing the peaceful campaign, which later snowballed into violence when hoodlums hijacked it to loot and torch public and private assets, including police stations, as legitimate.

However, against the backdrop of the violent disruption of the #EndSARS peaceful protest, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday told youths who championed the #EndSARS demonstration that it is in their interest to keep the peace.

Answering questions from State House reporters after leading a UN delegation to a meeting with Buhari, Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, Ms. Amina Mohammed, said such agitations must, however, be pursued peacefully.

Mohammed, Nigeria’s former Minister of Environment, added that both the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Antonio Gutteres, and the entire organisation were alarmed by the weight of the protests and consequent level of destruction.

She said the UN supported Nigerian government’s efforts to meet the demands of the youths, adding that the reform of the security sector, which spurred the unrest has become compelling.

The Guardian says that the academics, among other Nigerians, have called for urgent review or scrapping of the nation’s quota policy in varsity admissions to promote equity and national development.

In a bid to ensure uniform development of the country’s educational sector, the Nigerian Government, 25 years ago, formulated a policy of granting preference to candidates seeking admission into universities across the country, from states considered to be educationally disadvantaged at the time.

Still justifying the policy in the context of today’s Nigeria, Head of Information at the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Dr. Fabian Benjamin, said the policy was designed to unite the nation by giving everybody from every state of the country, an opportunity to be educated and have a sense of belonging “because every Nigerian is a stakeholder in the polity.”

But former vice-chancellors, Femi Mimiko, Ayodeji Olukoju, Prof Adebayo Adeyemi; the Head, Department of Educational Foundation, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof. Ngozi Osarenren and Senior legal and Programme Officer, Human Right Law Services (HURILAW) Collins Okeke noted that the policy had been overtaken by 25 years’ events. They argued that quota system in university admissions has been misapplied and should, therefore, be discarded.

The Punch reports that Nigeria may face the scarcity of petrol in the coming days as oil workers have been ordered to down tools nationwide.

Oil workers under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria were ordered by the association to vacate their duty posts. It was, however, gathered on Monday evening that the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment reached out to the oil workers and invited the association’s leaders to a meeting in Abuja.

The order was issued in a letter, dated November 8, 2020, and signed by the General Secretary, PENGASSAN, Lumumba Okugbawa, which was also copied to the Central Working Committee members of the association.

Okugbawa said in Abuja that the strike was to kick against the failure of government to make any concrete move as regards the differences between PENGASSAN and government on matters bordering on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.

The newspaper says that the Nigerian Communications Commission says the trial of the fifth-generation mobile network shows that there is no health hazard associated with the use of the technology.

The commission in a draft consultation document on Deployment of Fifth Generation Mobile Technology in Nigeria published on Monday stated that the trial was conducted in six cities – Abuja, Lagos, Ibadan, Abeokuta, Kano and Calabar.

The regulatory body said the tests were conducted in accordance with the 1998 International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection guidelines for general public exposure to varying electromagnetic fields, which were in force at the time of the trials.

It said the results of EMF radiation indicated that the highest radiation at 26 GHz millimeter wave at 5m away from source was 4.3 percent and at 30m from the source was 0.14 percent. It added that the highest radiation at 3.5 GHz at 5m away from the source was 11.4 percent and at 30m away from the source was 1.9 per cent of ICNIRP specification of 61 v/m for frequency range 2-300 GHz.

The Sun reports that despite the release of N497 billion by the Federal Government to close the metering gap in the country, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has said that about 10,477,856 registered electricity customers have not been metered as at the end of the first quarter of 2020.

The commission, in its report, noted that only 4,231,940 (40.39 percent) have been metered, indicating that about 59.61 percent of the registered electricity customers are still on estimated billing which has contributed to customer apathy towards payment of electricity bills.

“In comparison to the fourth quarter of 2019, the number of registered and metered customers increased by 1.00 percent and 8.00 percent respectively.

The increase in registered customer population was due to the on-going customer enumeration by Distribution Companies (DisCos) through which unregistered consumers of electricity were brought unto the DisCos’ billing platform.

The Nation says that the Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR) has said Nigeria is expected to save huge import bill it spends annually on over four million metric tons of maize.

It also said farmers will reduce the use of pesticides as the institute is currently working on a new maize variety with capacity for pest resistance and drought tolerance.

The new variety, TELA Maize, builds on progress made from breeding work under the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA).

The project which was adopted in Nigeria in 2019 is currently being developed in six African countries including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Ethiopia and South Africa.

The principal investigator of the project at the Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR), Professor Rabiu Adamu explained that Nigeria lost about 80 percent of maize production annually to devastating impact of biotic and abiotic agents including army worm and droughts, adding that the proposed solution would eliminate farmers constraints and enhance maize value chain in the country.

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