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Nigeria’s NECO Releases Common Entrance Exams Results

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The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu has announced the results of the just concluded National Common Entrance Examination (NCEE) with 24,416 candidates scaling through, scoring a minimum of 66.

Adamu, who announced the results at a news conference in Abuja on Monday, said that the total carrying capacity of the 110 unity colleges which stood at 26,625 had added additional 720 slots.

He said that the overall best student is Umeonyiagu Crucifixio, an indigene of Anambra, who scored 199 out of 200.

He said that Onwuamanan Udochukwu from Imo scored 198 and Aderemilekun Salaam from Ogun scored 197.

“As has been the tradition for decades, the admission criteria include 60 per cent on merit, 30 per cent based on states’ representation in the unity colleges and the remaining 10 per cent covers other sundry considerations.

“Consequently, in this year’s admission, the 60 per cent merit-based admission will come first, followed by the 30 per cent equality of states and 10 per cent discretion.

“I have, therefore, directed that within 72 hours of the receipt of the results, all principals are to complete both the merit-based (60 per cent) and the 30 per cent of equity of states’ admission.

“ The selection meeting to be held at a designated date and venue will deal with the shopping and swapping of candidates to meet the 30 per cent states representation as much as possible,’’ Adamu said.

The minister directed the selection committee to adhere strictly to the COVID-19 protocols by following the carrying capacity of each school without exception.

According to him, this will help to avoid the congestion of the classrooms thereby not rendering the children vulnerable to the pandemic.

Prof. Godswill Obioma, NECO Registrar, while presenting the result to the minister said that the examination was conducted under the supervision of external auditors.

Obioma said that 16,714 candidates were absent for the examinations due to the EndSARS protests.

“Everything was monitored, supervised by external auditors.

“I will like to say that a total of 93,929 candidates registered for the examinations out of which 70,580 sat and 16,714 were unavoidably absent.

“Following the profile of grading of marking, we will like to inform the minister that we have done the analysis based on states of domicile, origin and other considerations,’’ he said.

The NECO boss said that generally speaking the national merit cut off mark is 142 and the least score is two.

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Ethiopia, UN Strike Deal for Unimpeded Humanitarian Access To Tigray

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The United Nation on Friday announced that an agreement has been reached with the Ethiopian Government to allow “unimpeded, sustained and secure access” for humanitarian supplies to reach those in need across areas now under its control in Tigray.

The UN Headquarters in New York confirmed the details of the deal through its spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric.

Dujarric said that the safe passage of aid supplies and staff also extends to the Ethiopian regions of Amhara and Afar, bordering Tigray, where fighting between federal and regional forces, has impacted around six million people during the past month.

A UN statement said until now, no supplies have been allowed into the conflict zone, which has displaced thousands, many across the border into Sudan.

UN humanitarian coordination office (OCHA) spokesperson based in Nairobi, Saviano Abreu, said earlier that the first mission to carry out a needs assessment would begin on Wednesday.

He added that the UN was committed to engaging with “all parties to the conflict” and ensuring that aid was distributed “strictly based on needs”.

Dujarric said that all aid distribution would be carried out “in compliance with the globally-agreed principles of humanity, impartiality, independence and neutrality. This includes working to ensure that people impacted by the conflict are assisted without distinction of any kind other than the urgency of their needs”.

Many Ethiopians have also been internally displaced from Tigray, seeking refuge in Afar and Amhara, and the UN needs assessment would aim to reach those affected by the conflict, added Mr. Dujarric.

On Monday, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) appealed to Ethiopia for urgent access to assist around 96,000 Eritrean refugees in Tigray camps, who it was estimated had essentially run out of food.

Spokesperson in Geneva, Babar Baloch, said concerns were growing “by the hour, with hunger and malnutrition a real danger”.

Communications to the Tigray region continue to be severed, along with transportation routes, and the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, has reportedly rejected dialogue with Tigray’s regional leaders who are said to be on the run, after the regional capital was entered by federal forces last weekend.

The UN estimates that some two million are now in need of assistance in and around Tigray and some one million have been displaced by the fighting, including more than 45,000 who have fled across the border into Sudan.

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#EndSARS: Traders Association Pleads For Release Of Arrested Members

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The Market Traders Association of Nigeria (MATAN) has appealed to the state and Federal Governments to release some of its members arrested during the #EndSARS protest which was hijacked by hoodlums.

The President of MANTAN, Alhaji Jamilu Abbas made the appeal while speaking in an interview in Abuja on Thursday.

Abbas said some traders, who were moving their goods from one part of the country to another to sell, were caught in between the crisis and were arrested and detained.

He noted that the plea became necessary because the detained traders were hardworking and contributing their quota to the economy of the country.

He, however, stated that the activities of hoodlums during the #EndSARS protest had caused a lot of havoc to members that were already affected by the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

According to him, before the #EndSARS protest, the impact of COVID-19 pandemic has taken a lot of traders out of business.

The president, however, pleaded with the government to compensate the affected traders with a view to support them to bounce back to business.

Meanwhile, Abbas also enjoined the Federal Government to find a lasting solution to the plight of Nigerian traders in Ghana whose shops were destroyed while others were shut down.

He appealed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs not to relent efforts in resolving the misunderstanding between Nigerian traders and the Ghanaian authorities.

He emphasised the need for the Foreign Affairs Minister to sit with the Ghanaian Ambassador to Nigeria and have robust engagement with him with a view to resolve the matter once and for all.

The president noted that the action of Ghanaian authorities was not in conformity with the ECOWAS treaty which allowed free trade among member countries.

He said Nigerians in Ghana should be allowed to do their lawful businesses as Ghanaians and other foreigners were allowed to carry out their legitimate business activities in the country without hindrance.

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COVID-19: Namibia To Revive Economy Using Fiscal, Monetary Interventions – President Geingob

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Namibia’s President Hage Geingob on Thursday said there was a need to stabilise the country’s fiscal position in order to reduce economic damage caused by the effects of COVID-19.

Speaking at the opening of a two-day cabinet retreat, Geingob said Namibia would administer fiscal and monetary interventions to revive the economy.

“Our economy has plunged into the deepest recession since independence. As we craft a set of interventions with ambitions to induce a recovery, it is imperative to bear in mind that this can only be achieved through a holistic approach,’’ he said.

President Geingob added that it was only once these preliminary steps had been taken to stabilise the country’s fiscal position, that the country can begin to craft and implement a transformative portfolio of policy interventions.

According to the president, Namibia has so far injected 1.3 billion Namibian dollars ($85m) into the health sector accompanied by 8.1 billion Namibian dollars stimulus package and the 500 million Namibian dollars SME loan scheme to help the economy recover.

Namibia’s economy is forecasted to contract by 7.8 per cent in 2020 before recovering to positive growth of 2.1 and 2.7 per cent in 2021 and 2022, respectively, the central bank has projected.

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