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National census to be conducted April 2023 – NPC

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Census

The Director-General of the National Population Commission, NPC, Nasir Isa-Kwarra, says the National Council of State has okayed the national population census for April 2023 after the general elections.

Mr Kwarra disclosed this to State House Correspondents after a meeting of the Council of State presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday.

He also said the NPC would be conducting a pilot census from June 2022 after political parties must have concluded their pre-general elections activities.

Mr Kwarra said: “It is very crucial because I have highlighted that the census is a very important exercise for the nation.

“Because through census we generate the data that we use for policymaking, for planning, for development, by the three tiers of government, and the private sector, they all need this.

“If you are a private sector, you’re producing something, certainly, you need to know the population of an area if you want to create a market there.

“So census data is very crucial, very important. Because, the data we’ve been using are just projections, estimation. And are sort of obsolete, we need the actual census data to use for our planning.“

The Council of State is an organ of the Federal Government saddled with the responsibility of advising the executive on policy-making matters.

Members of the council include: President Vice President, past presidents, Senate President, House of Reps Speaker Chief Justice of Nigeria, serving and past.

Others are the Attorney General of the Federation, all State Governors and the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, FCT.

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Catholic Church suspends Priest for joining politics

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The Catholic Church of Gboko Diocese has suspended its priest, Rev. Fr Hyacinth Alia from celebrating public eucharistic mass.

Rev. Fr Alia has joined the All Progressives Congress (APC) and contesting governorship in the state.

In a letter titled, “Suspension of Revd Fr Hyacinth Iormem Alia from Sacred Ministry” and signed by the Bishop, William Avenya, a copy made available to our correspondent, explained that the suspension was as a result of the priest joining politics.

The bishop further explained that the church frowns at clerics involving in politics.

The statement read in parts, “The mother church does not allow her clerics to get involved in partizan politics on their own.”

“You are aware that my son, your brother and your priest has purchased the party forms to contest for the office of the governor of Benue State under the platform of the APC which is totally against our vacation.

“Therefore, to respond to the spiritual and pastoral needs of the church in the Catholic Diocese of Gboko, I have suspended him from the exercise of sacred ministry.

“This canonical suspension takes effect from the moment it is communicated to him and lasts until he ceases from contumacy.

However, in a swift response, the priest  said that the suspension was  a normal practice of the church.

He recalled that the a former governor of the state, Rev Moses Adasu of blessed memory was so suspended when he ventured into politics.

According to a statement issued by his head of Media and Publicity, Kula Terso said that the governorship aspirant was only suspended  from celebrating public Eucharistic Masses.

“The Benue APC frontline gubernatorial aspirant for 2023 general polls, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Iormem Alia, wishes to inform members, stakeholders and leaders of the APC family in Benue State that the suspension order pronounced on him by His Lordship, the Bishop of Gboko Catholic Diocese, William Avenya, is a normal practice of the church.

“He is implicitly officially freed to go on fully with his strides to rescue Benue from total collapse.

“Recall that Rev. Fr. Moses Orshio Adasu of blessed memory who served as the second Executive Governor of Benue State went through the same process. His footprints are visible for all to see.

“He said that as stated clearly in the letter of suspension, he is only suspended from celebrating  from celebrating public Eucharistic Masses, but he remains a priest of the Catholic Church forever. After his tenure ends in public civil service he shall resume his public Masses and ministry.

“From the day I took the decision to answer the overwhelming calls of my people to contest the Governorship of Benue with the aim to rescue our people from the shackles of maladministration, I was fully aware of the sacrifice I was going to make.

“And am convinced that it is worth the cause I am fighting to serve the souls of Benue people and the State. I have a freer leverage to give more time to achieving this pursuit.

“I remain resolute and please don’t be anxious either because I am well prepared and focused. More importantly, I am more charged because I have seen the genuineness in the agitations for me to step in and help salvage the already sorry situation the state has found itself for sometime,” the statement read in parts.

The Rev. Fr called on all his supporters, fans and admirers to remain steadfast, continue to pray and work in order to actualize the ‘Alialization 2023 project’.

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Teachers without TRCN certification are unqualified, FG insists as 9,204 sit for qualifying exams

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THE Teachers Registration Council, (TRCN) has rescheduled its Batch A of the 2022 teachers’ Professional Qualifying Examination (PQE) in Sokoto and Zamfara states over recent security concerns while a total of 9, 204 candidates sat for the exercise nationwide on Saturday.

This is just as the Federal Government has insisted that all teachers who have failed to register with the TRCN and get certification after sitting for the PQE are not qualified to teach in classroom in Nigeria.

Acting Director of Certification and Licensing, TRCN, Dr Jacinta Ogboso, while supervising the examination at SASCON International School in Abuja, disclosed that a total of 9,480 candidates registered to participate for the exercise.

She, however, explained the Council in its wisdom shifted the examination in Sokoto and Zamfara as a result of the recent security concerns.

Ogboso noted that 125 candidates registered for the exercise in Sokoto while 151 candidates registered in Zamfara state, adding that the examination in the two states will be rescheduled as soon as the situation is better. More than 663 candidates sat for the examination in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.

“We have to reschedule the exams for Sokoto and Zamfara states because we want to be sure of the situation. So those two are not writing today. They are going to either write online or we find another time,” she said.

She noted the conduct of the examination was smooth and hitch-free across the country, adding that since TRCN started the examination in 2017, it keeps improving on the processes.

On fighting malpractice in the conduct of the exercise, she said TRCN has put in place a process of accreditation through a platform that the ICT department has developed, which is able to detect the actual people registered for the examination to avoid impersonation of candidates.

According to her, every candidate is expected to go to the area where he registered to be accredited, and that candidates were not allowed into the exam hall with phones or any banned item to ensure that nobody does anything funny.

“Inside the exam hall, we have our officers who go round to check each person to the computer that is being used to ensure that the photograph of that person is the same with the person writing that examination.

Ogboso disclosed that the examination has been reduced to two diet per year due to reduction in applications, adding that the surge in applications earlier experienced at the peak of the PQE was due to the rush to meet the deadline for implementation of government’s policy of ensuring that only professionally qualified teachers were in its school system.

“In 2019, 2020, we recorded 69,000 and in in a year we were recording over 100,000; that was at the peak of the registration when TRCN wanted to enter into the implementation of unqualified people leaving the classroom as had been mandated by the federal ministry of education,” she said.

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. David Adejo, who also monitored the exercise at SALSCON International School, said teachers who have not registered to write the PQE were not teachers as far as Nigeria is concerned.

“For instance, in the medical profession, after your university, there is a compulsory exam you must pass before you are a doctor; and for a teacher, you must pass through this compulsory exam before you are a teacher.

So, those who have not pass through this process are only at best to be said to be impersonating, and government cannot allow that going forward; we need to standardise the teaching practice; this exam is one of things that will so that,” Adejo said.

He praised the conduct of the exercise noting that the processes of accreditation, examination, and resetting of the systems for the next set of people to come into the hall was great as everything went peacefully and orderly.

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