Aug 1, 2008

Airforce Girls Comprehensive School to be Remilitarized

The Air Force Girls Comprehensive Secondary School Jos is to be militarized again. This was made known to news men by the Admin Officer of the school, Flying Officer I O Faniyi during the 2008 Speech and Prize Giving Day. The Air Force Girls Comprehensive School established in 1987 has been a military school until three years ago when the government of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo decided to de-militarize the school. According to Faniyi, the de-militarization of the school has led to a slight fall in standard and that if such a fall can be recorded in just three years, then what will happen in the next ten years. This was the observation of the school authorities that led to setting up of a committee to see into the possibility of reversing to the old order.

For those who have known the Air Force Girls Secondary School, it is a school noted for high moral and academic standards and opens its gates to the best from across the nation. The fear entertained is that if the moral standard falls it will inevitably lead to a fall in the academic standard too. This led to the decision to set up the committee.

Maureen Opara is one graduating student who has taken full advantage of the rare opportunity the school provides since she stepped her foot in the school in 2002. Maureen graduated as the best student of the school in 2008. According to Engr. U.C Opara Maureen’s father, his daughter has been the best student throughout her six years in the school. He said he gives thanks to God, the school and his wife, an educationist who has been partly responsible to the academic excellence of all his students generally. On her part, Maureen who wishes to study abroad said she was confident to carry on with her brilliant academic attitude and even coming out with a first class when she eventually graduates from a university in some years to come.

The Air Force Boys Military School located some six kilometers away had its own graduating ceremony the next day. The graduation ceremony was preceded by what is known as The Beating of the Retreat. The Beating of the Retreat is a military tradition to mark the passing out of officers from training. It is marked by the lowering of the flag and awards to deserving persons. Mamud Bwari came out as the best graduation student of the Air Force Boys Military School for the year 2008.

The Ngas-Kanuri Link

Sometimes in May this year some Ngas people in Bauchi hosted the Pus-Ngas cultural festival. Like most cultural festivals in Nigeria, Pus-Ngas is meant to educate younger generations of Ngas people and non-ngas alike about the culture and traditions of the Ngas ethnic nationality. Wherever the population of the Ngas people reaches a critical number, the people consider it necessary to celebrate the festival once a year, be it in Lagos, Kano, Abuja or Port-Harcourt. In Plateau, Kaduna, Bauchi and Taraba states however, there are Ngas who are indigenous these states contrary to the widely held belief that Ngas people are only indigenous to Plateau State.

The Ngas people trace their origin to the Kanuri people of Borno State. Wars and other instabilities compelled the people to start a kind of diaspora towards lands in the southwest of that original home. In the course of the journey, they sojourned at several locations and moved on after realizing that the location was not suitable for them. On arrival at Bauchi during the reign of the famous Yakubu, the reception was cozy leading to a decision by some of the migrating population to adopt Bogoro and Tafawa Balewa as home. The rest continued their journey, eventually arriving at Gyangyang in the present day Kanke. The need for proper vigilance against enemy fighters pushed some further to the hilly Pankshin. The rocky nature of their Plateau home made agricultural yield a mere handful. Others among them who wished to continue with agriculture migrated to Taraba and Kaduna States. A lot of them left home to take up careers in what later became the Nigerian military, dominating it especially from colonial times to the seventies. The glorious day of the Ngas people in the Nigerian Military was recorded in 1966 when an Ngas man, General Yakubu Gowon became the Head of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and reigned for nine years.

Ngas people however concur in their opinion that their ultimate home is Plateau State. This explains why the most prominent Ngas people at the Bauchi ceremony were from Plateau State. They included the Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly (PSHA), Honourable Emmanuel Go’ar, Senator Sati Gogwim, the Ngolog-ngas, HRH, Joshua Dimlong, former Secretary to the Plateau State Government, Nde John Gobak, Amos Gombi, Member of the PSHA representing Kanke, and the Advisory Committee Chairman of Kanke Local Government, Emmanuel Jatau. There were also District Heads from Pankshin and Ampang. These personalities gave the festival a strong effervescence.

Other tribes that share the same origin with the Ngas are the Jarawas, also found in Bauchi and Kaduna States, Gomai, Jukun in Taraba State, Mwaghavul, and Gbogom in Nassarawa State. These other tribes are not only invited to any Ngas cultural festivals but any installation of the Ngolong-ngas. The question arises thus: If the Ngas descended from the Kanuris now in Borno State, some elements of the Kanuri culture ought to have been preserved in the present-day culture and traditions of the Ngas people. The Ngas people say that one such element has managed to endure till today. It is the spectacular tribal marks on either sides of the face which run from the base of the temple, across the checks down to the base of the lower jaw. The Kanuris have multiples of such marks on either sides of the cheeks

Nanle Dashe Computerizes Land Titles

The Geographic Information System (GIS) in Nigeria was first heard of during the administration of Nasiru El-Rufai as the Honorable Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja. The Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS) is a computerized documentation of all the land titles in the FCT.

In view of the success of the GIS, the Honorable Commissioner of Land, Survey and Town Planning in Plateau State, Athanasius Nanle Dashe, has resolved to do same in Plateau State. Dashe explained that the compilation of land titles for the Plateau Geographic System (PLAGIS) will involve the use of modern surveying technologies that automatically process some aspect of the data that previously involved manual labour. The data will then be used to compile PLAGIS which is the computerized documentation of all issued land titles in the state. This will be made available on the internet to be referred to by the mere click of a button.

Until now, processing land titles involved the use of obsolete technologies that demand a lot of manual effort in field data acquisition. The processing of the data also goes through the same painful ordeal of dealing with huge number of files from one office to the other. The result is that land titles often take months to process. With the present method however, it will take just days to process. Since files get missing at times, it has become the same reason why there could be duplication of land titles. It also creates room for fraud. PLAGIS, when fully operational, will take care of all these problems. It will also enable authorities to know the exact number of issued land titles and will thus help the authorities to effectively administer taxes on these land titles. In a nut-shell, it will boost the revenue base of the Plateau State Government.

The ministry has already concluded plans to acquire the modern surveying equipments to be used in data acquisition. Its staffs are also to be trained in the FCT, the Nigerian originator of the GIS to prepare them for the challenge ahead.

Plateau First Lady Launches MDG Awareness Campaign

Besides malaria, certain common diseases such as cholera, diarrhea and typhoid have remained the bane of the level of global health standard the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) aims to attain. Luckily these diseases can be avoided easily through simple sanitation and hygiene practice. Thus the United Nations Organization has declared 2008 as the International Year of Sanitation and Hand Washing. The aim is to use the year to create awareness on the imperativeness of good sanitation and hand washing to the attainment
of the goal by 2015

In Nigeria, the First Lady of the Federation, Hajiya Turai Yar’adua first launched the awareness campaign at Abuja on the 20th May. Yesterday 29th July, the Plateau State First Lady Ngo Talatu Jang launched the Plateau version of the programme at Tablong village in central Plateau State. Clean drinking water come through the provision of treated water, boreholes and toilet facilities. Toilets are easy sources of germs that cause the common diseases. Hence the need to wash hands using soap or ash and water after the use of the toilet. At Tablong Mrs. Jang commissioned a borehole and toilet facilities in a primary school.

The programme prefers first ladies as mothers and children are more vulnerable to these diseases. They undertake the domestic chores that bring them to contact with these diseases.

The choice of Tablong, a very remote village, is based on the reasoning that rural areas by virtue of their remoteness often miss vital information needed for their improvement and face, more than any other person, the scarcity of good drinking water and health facilities.

Finangwai Dreams Big for Plateau State

Dr Hosea Finangwai. Source Dr Finangwai There is that saying that “the things that people desperately seek are always with them.” If ...