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NCC awards N336 million research grants to universities in 5 years – Danbatta

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EVC NCC

Nasiru Yusuf

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has awarded N336.4 million  research grants to Nigerian universities from 2015 to date.

Kano Focus reports that the Executive Secretary of the commission Umar Garba Danbatta, disclosed this at an interactive session with journalists in Abuja.

Mr Danbatta said NCC had continued to collaborate with academics to support the development of the innovative services and life-changing solutions with the use of information and communications technologies to promote indigenous content.

“The Commission has so far released N336.4 million as research grants to the academia and has endowed professional chairs in two Nigerian universities.

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“More importantly, we have empowered the Nigerian youth by promoting their ingenuity and innovation in the development of locally-relevant technology solutions.

“The latest of such was the 2020 NCC Virtual Hackathon, where we gave N9 million in grant to three top promising tech startups for solutions, aimed at addressing the impact of COVID-19 and diseases in thematic areas of health, community, productivity, economy and transportation.’’

Mr Danbatta revealed that the commission has remitted N362.34 billion into the Federal Government Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF), from 2015 to date.

He said that the revenue was realised through spectrum fees and operating surplus, which he noted helped to boost the revenue generation drive of the present administration.

Mr Danbatta said that the broadband penetration in 2015, when he first assumed office as Executive Vice Chairman, was six per cent.

Kano Focus recalled that when Danbatta first tenure ended, he was re-appointed in June and confirmed by the Senate on July 21.

According to Danbatta, the broadband penetration as at July is 42 per cent.

“This achievement is as a result of key policy initiatives to improve broadband penetration embarked upon by the Commission.

“These include increasing the number of licenced infrastructure companies (InfraCo), to six across the geo-political zones,’’ among others.

Mr Danbatta said that the Commission was currently finalising six InfraCo counterpart funding agreements to ensure the full rollout of broadband infrastructure on an Open Access Model.

He said that this would ensure there was Point of Access in all the 774 local government areas in the country.

The executive vice chairman said that the drive to boost broadband penetration yielded fruit as the subscribers’ base stood at 199.31 million as at June.

Mr Danbatta also said that teledensity rose to 104.41 while the sector contributed 14.2 per cent to the GDP in the second quarter.

On his focus for the next five years, Danbatta said that he hoped to deepen the broadband penetration drive.

“We hope to take the broadband penetration to 70 per cent to at least 90 per cent of the population by 2025 in line with new target in the National Broadband Plan (NBBP), 2020-2025.

“We want to continue to protect consumers and ensure they have value for their money.

“We want to continue to support and fast-track the digital economy drive of the Federal Government and this has led to the creation of a Digital Economy Department in the Commission,’’ Danbatta added.

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BUK begins online lectures next semester 

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BUK

Mukhtar Yahya Usman

The Bayero University Kano said all Post Graduate programs in the university especially at Ph. D level will be holding lectures online, beginning from second semester.

Kano Focus reports this was contained in a weekly bulletin released by the University on Friday.

According to the bulletin, the vice chancellor of the University Sagir Adamu Abbas revealed this on Monday when he went round to monitor the commencement of lectures and assess the level of compliance with the Covid-19 protocols by both staff and students.

Mr Adamu a professor of education said the Centre for Information Technology of the University is making frantic efforts to kick start the virtual learning.

He added that the University has secured a license for zoom meeting, as the management is putting adequate arrangement with a view to starting the online teaching beginning from second semester of the current academic session.

He also revealed that the license was the largest in the country amongst the tertiary institutions with the capacity of holding twenty parallel sessions simultaneously with about 500 participants.

The Vice Chancellor, acknowledged the quantum of challenges facing tertiary institutions especially in developing countries on how to conduct their academic activities in conformity with the protocols of Covid-19.

Particularly given the fact that the system was not designed for an online mode of conducting lectures.

 “However, as it is now, and for us to survive, it becomes imperative to devise a means to adapt to the new normal caused by the global pandemic of Covid-19,” He said.

He added that apart from the Ph.D degree programs, others that would be conducting their lectures via online mode are the General Studies Program (GSP) at undergraduate levels.

He said this was specifically introduced as part of the response by the government on the need for educational institutions to rise up to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic without making the students miss their lectures.

The Vice Chancellor noted that the virtual mode of lecture would be gradual.

He said it was hoped that in the very near future all courses and programmes would be taught virtually in which case all the needed facilities would be provided.

Professor Abbas charged students to observe all the protocols of curtailing the spread of the virus through wearing of face masks, social distancing, regular washing of hands and the application of hand sanitizers at all the times.

He said the University management would not hesitate to sanction any staff or student who refuse to obey the protocols.

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Blasphemy: Court orders retrial of Aminu Sharif sentenced to death

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Yahaya Aminu Sharif
Yahaya Sharif Aminu

 

 

Nasiru Yusuf

The Kano State High Court (Appeal Division) has) on Thursday quashed the conviction of one Yahaya Aminu Shariff, who was earlier in August last year sentenced to death by the Upper Sharia Court Filin Hockey presided over by Aliyu Muhammad Kani.

The court presided over by Justice Nura Sagir Umar, the Chief Judge of Kano State, ordered in its judgment read by Justice Nasiru Saminu, that Mr Shariff be tried afresh by another Upper Sharia Court.

He stated, “On Yahaya Aminu Sharif, the court set aside the trial for some procedural irregularities.

“But the case has been remitted back to the sharia court for a retrial”.

Justice Saminu also said the defendant must be provided with legal representation during the retrial.

He said it is mandatory where anyone is standing trial for a capital offence that may result in death penalty, such a defendant is entitled to a legal representation.

Justice Saminu relied on section 269 (3) and (4) of the Kano State Administration of Criminal Justice Law, ACJL, which says any person standing trial in capital offence shall be entitled to legal representation, which must under any circumstances be provided even if it entails the court appointing a lawyer for the defendant, what is known as ‘Dock Brief’.

It may be recalled that on August 10, 2020, the Upper Sharia Court Hausawa Filin Hockey convicted and sentenced Mr. Sharif under section 382B of the Kano State Sharia Penal Code (2000) for insulting Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in a voice note he shared to a WhatsApp group called Gidan Umma Amina.

Similarly, the court also discharged and acquitted another blasphemer, Umar Faruk Bashir who was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.

The court set aside the sentence passed on Mr Bashir and declared the entire Upper Sharia Court’s judgment a nullity as the said Umar Faruk is a minor whose admission of guilt is inadmissible in law.

It could be recalled that the duo of Yahaya Sharrif Aminu and Umar Farouq Bashir were said to have sometimes early last year committed blasphemy against the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and making derogatory statement against Almighty Allah respectively.

The defendant through one Kola Alapinni appealed against the death sentence and 10 years imprisonment at the Kano State High Court (Appeal Division).

Reacting to the Thursday’s judgment, Mr Alapinni described the judgment as bitter and sweet.

He said, “Today, we have a bitter-sweet judgments as Umar Farouq has been set free completely because he was a minor that was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.

“On the issue of Yahaya Aminu Sharrif which was a death sentence and that really shocked the whole of the country and international community. It also made us a laughing stock before the international community where someone will say something which was regarded as being disrespectful in a religion and he will be sentenced to death.

“He was sentenced to death without legal representation. It is unacceptable. And the court found in our favour that there were procedural irregularities. We were hoping that the court will set him free but unfortunately that didn’t happen and the matter has now been remitted back to the Shari’a court and it will be heard by another judge. And will be with proper guidance and legal direction. We will defend this robustly even up to the Supreme Court.”

On the constitutionality of the Shari’a penal code, he said, “we will go back and study the judgment and decide if we want to go to the court of appeal and Supreme Court thereafter. We want to know if the Shari’a penal code is in conflict with the Section 10 of the Nigerian Constitution which says the Federal or state government must not be seen to be promoting any religion. That is what Kano State is doing.”

On his part, the State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Musa A. Lawal said on one hand the judgment was a victory for the people of Kano especially that the court reaffirmed that the Shari’a penal code law has come to stay in the state.

“Constitutionally, the courts are created so that people can go there to get justice. The court today, reaffirmed that the Shari’a penal code law in Kano state is here to stay because in the appeal, the appellant clearly claimed that the law is contrary to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the court says no that the Shari’a penal code is a law that is here to stay in the state. So of course, this is a victory for the people of Kano state on one side.

“On the second part, if you look at the second case which was a minor, what the court says is that he is a minor and so cannot be tried as he has not attained the age or incurring liability. That is the reason why he was discharged and acquitted not because the Shari’a penal code law was unconstitutional or for any other reason.

“To buttress that fact, the second case was ordered for retrial under the said law. And the only reason given there was based on the constitutional provision especially when you are charging someone with a capital offence you need to get him a lawyer. There was no legal representation on his part. So if you look at the two cases it is a victory for the people of Kano state and victory for the Shari’a penal code,” Mr Lawan stated.

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KAROTA intercepts 172 parcels of Indian hemp

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KAROTA

Nasiru Yusuf
Kano Road and Traffic Agency, KAROTA has intercepted a motor vehicle conveying 172 parcels of l Indian hemp worth N30 Million into the state.

A statement issued on Thursday by the spokesperson of the agency Nabulisi Kofar Na’isa said the operation which took place around 3:30 am on Wednesday led to the arrest of the diver along Gwarzo road while other suspects believed to be the owners of the consignment managed to escape.

He however said the Agency has handed over the exhibits to the state office of National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA for further investigation.

The statement quoted the Managing Director of the agency Baffa Babba Dan’agundi calling on people to assist the agency with credible information that would lead to the arrest of any person or group of persons engage in any form of crime in the state especially on the state roads.

Kano was rated among the states with highest record of drug abuse in Nigeria. This among many other factors led to the state government to constitute a task force on drug abuse comprising personnel of NDLEA, Police, Civil Defence, KAROTA personnel and Hisbah (Moral police).

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