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Press focuses on 12m traumatized children, afraid to go to school, others

The statement by President Buhari that the persistent attacks on educational facilities and abductions of students and teachers have left more than 12 million children currently traumatised and afraid of going to school, especially the girl-child is one of the trending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Wednesday.The Guardian reports that President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed that the persistent attacks on educational facilities and abductions of students and teachers have left more than 12 million children currently traumatised and afraid of going to school, especially the girl-child.

This is just as children are making a series of demands to world leaders, including requesting they deny armies access to schools and ensure paths to schools are free of explosives, in a Children’s Manifesto launched yesterday.

Authored by 300 children across 10 countries, the manifesto was launched as world leaders met for the fourth International Conference on the Safe Schools Declaration in Abuja, the first time it is being held in Africa, and more so, at a time the continent is experiencing some of the highest rates of attacks on education in the world.

Recall that 112 countries are signatories to the Safe Schools Declaration protocol and Nigeria was among the first 37 member states of the United Nations (UN) that endorsed it in 2015.

The Declaration is an inter-governmental political commitment to ­protect students, teachers, schools and universities from the worst effects of armed conflict.

The Children’s Manifesto paints a grim picture of how children face threats and violence while at school, and focuses on the intense fears felt by children in response to these attacks.

In the Manifesto, the children wrote: “Children are scared when armies come to schools, arrest children or fire live or rubber bullets at them and when tear gas is used. Children are scared when there are no shelters in their schools or when they are not big enough to protect everyone.”

The newspaper says that the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, yesterday, insisted that the country must return to the 1963 Constitution to be on the right path.

It emphasised that restructuring must take place before the 2023 general elections.

In a communique made available to journalists by its National Publicity Secretary, Jare Ajayi, the organisation stated this at the end of its meeting held at the house of the Acting Leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, at Sanya-Ogbo, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State.

Adebanjo presided over the meeting, while participants came from all the states in the South-West, as well as Kwara and Kogi states.

The meeting deliberated on social, political, security and economic situations of the country, lamenting that the country is going through a lot of trauma.

The group also deliberated on the consistent advocacy by Dr. Ahmed Gumi on the government to pardon terrorists and to even compensate them in various ways.

ThisDay reports that in the first 24 hours after it was unveiled, the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), also known as the eNaira has continued to attract the interest of Nigerians with about 200,000 wallets downloaded in less than one day.

A breakdown of the figures obtained by THISDAY yesterday, showed that in less than one day after the digital currency was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari 156,700 consumer wallets have so far been set up, while 23,650 merchant wallets have been open, which was a reflection of the strong interest the innovation has continued to attract.

It is expected that in the coming days, the amount would rise as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) intensify awareness on the eNaira.

Buhari had said with the eNaira, the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was projected to rise by $29 billion in the next 10 years. He had stressed that Nigeria was the first country in Africa and one of the first in the world to introduce digital currency. The president stated,

“Indeed, some estimates indicate that the adoption of CBDC and its underlying technology, called blockchain, can increase Nigeria’s GDP by US$29 billion over the next 10 years.

The Punch says that the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Cui Jianchun, has said Nigerian banks will soon commence operations in China and that he is working hard to make this a reality.

Jianchun said to boost trade and commerce between China and Nigeria, he was equally taking the necessary steps that would lead to the setting up of Chinese financial institutions in Nigeria.

Responding to questions from The PUNCH on the currency swap between the two countries at a news conference in Abuja on Tuesday, he explained that the framework for the N750bn initiative was being expanded by the Chinese and Nigerian central banks.

He said, “The agreement is being implemented by the two central banks; the framework would be expanded. I believe it is already working, and I’m working to have Chinese banks here in Nigeria and also for Nigerian banks to operate in China.”

Jianchun, who expressed the desire for closer collaboration between the Chinese lawmakers and their Nigerian counterparts, disclosed that the eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation would be held in Senegal in late November.

The Sun reports that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, has announced that complete deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry would commence next July 2022.

The Minister, who stated this on Monday at a panel session during the 27th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES#27) in Abuja, said the Federal Government would cater for subsidy on petrol only in the first six months of 2022.

Her words: “In our 2022 Budget, we only factored in subsidy for the first half of the year; the second half of the year, we are looking at complete deregulation of the sector, saving foreign exchange and potentially earning more from the oil and gas industry,” she said.

Also speaking at the session, Doyin Salami, Chairman of the economic advisory council (EAC), said he had argued for a long time that the subsidy needed to go. He said that the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) made the payment of subsidy of petrol illegal.

The newspaper says that President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed hope that the recently launched eNaira would buoy and reposition Nigeria’s economy to attract investors.

He also said the Treasury Single Account (TSA), Bank Verification Number (BVN), and National Identification Number (NIN) initiatives have reinforced his administration’s efforts in tackling corruption.

Speaking at the fifth edition of Future Investment Initiative Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Buhari assured that his administration would encourage public and private initiatives that increases investments in health, education, capacity building, youth empowerment, gender equality, poverty eradication, climate change and food security.

“e-Naira, the electronic version of our national currency, which puts us on track to become the first African country to introduce a Central Bank Digital Currency was launched on October 25th, 2021. We believe this and many other reforms, will help us increase the number of people participating in the banking sector, make for a more efficient financial sector and help us tackle illicit flow of funds.

“To further strengthen our anti-corruption drive, increase accountability and transparency, we have centralised government funds through a Treasury Single Account, and ensuring that all Nigerians with a bank account use a unique Bank Verification Number (BVN).”

Published on 05.05.2023

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