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Anambra School Boys Win Bronze at World Tech Festival

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By James Eze

Four boys from St John’s Science and Technical College, Alor in Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State have won the Bronze Medal at the International Festival of Engineering, Science and Technology which took place in Tunisia.

The 9-day festival which took place in Monastir, Tunisia from 21- 29th March this year was organized for students aged between 14-24 years from 40 countries and featured a scientific competition in different areas aimed at developing the innovative skills of young scientists and encouraging them to apply their imagination and creativity in solving problems in their environment.   

To clinch the Bronze Medal, Ugwuishi Meshack Ogonna, Chuka-Umeora Onyedika Anthony, Nwachukwu Chukwualuka Daniel and Machi Chukwuagozie Dominic squared up to a stiff challenge from technologically advanced countries like Canada, Italy, South Korea, Turkey, China, Sweden, Ukraine, Malaysia, Brazil, Bosnia Herzgovina, Indonesia, Tunisia South Africa etc.   

The Anambra Boys were only bested by Daniil Sharoykin from Belarus who won the Gold Medal with a quality water control equipment and a representative of another country who won silver in the competition. The Bronze Boys of Anambra achieved their remarkable feat with a device they called the Adaptable Alternative Power Supply for Sub-Saharan Africa.

The boys with the State Deputy Governor

The device is an electric inverter with a solar panel that enables it to absorb energy from the sun, warehouse the energy in inverter and subsequently distribute it in households and offices as the case may be. 

The exploits of the Bronze Boys came barely seven months after five school girls from Regina Celi Secondary School Onitsha won the Gold Medal at the world technovation fair in San Francisco, USA.

St John’s Science and Technology College Alor is a public mission school which has benefitted immensely from the intense focus of the Anambra State Government under Governor Willie Obiano on education. 

Receiving the boys in his office on Tuesday, the Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr Nkem Okeke observed that the state was doing exceedingly well in education at the moment. “The progress we are making shows that if you focus on a sector and show some seriousness about what you are doing, put the right people in charge, the results will come in.”

The boys, the Deputy Governor and other State functionaries

Dr Okeke further observed that “It takes a lot for kids to leave the shores of this country and beat people that come from the developed countries; to stand up and defend what they have produced and to show what they can do if given the opportunity. Listening to these boys talk with such confidence about direct current and alternating current, it shows that they own this invention. They understand what they are doing. I think they need to be encouraged more to continue with what they are doing.”

Earlier in her opening remarks, the Commissioner for Basic Education, Prof Kate Omenugha had attributed the excellent results that the state has been recording in the educational sector to the huge investments made by the Obiano administration in education. 

“Our partnership with the church is working very well. We have imbued in our students that global competitiveness and a strong belief in themselves; which is very important. We have perfected what we call a “value-based education.” Umu akwukwo Anambra believe that nothing is impossible, absolutely nothing. And “Yes, We Can.” That’s our slogan. The belief that nothing is impossible. These are things we have taught them.  We have taught them our shared values too; that they must be the best in all they do. Today we are excited that again Anambra State has done Nigeria proud. That in a competition that featured over 31 countries, we came back with the bronze medal,” Prof Omenugha enthused.

GrassRoots.ng is on a critical mission; to objectively and honestly represent the voice of ‘grassrooters’ in International, Federal, State and Local Government fora; heralding the achievements of political and other leaders and investors alike, without discrimination. This daily, digital news publication platform serves as the leading source of up-to-date information on how people and events reflect on the global community. The pragmatic articles reflect on the life of the community people, covering news/current affairs, business, technology, culture and fashion, entertainment, sports, State, National and International issues that directly impact the locals.

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Gov. El-rufai Explains Why Kaduna Public Workers Were Been Sacked

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Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai on Tuesday said the due dwindling financial resources and higher wage bills prompted the government to lay off at least 4,000 workers.

The Kaduna state government had on April 6, disengaged 4,000 local government workers.

The state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) kicked against the decision, calling on the state government to reverse the decision and seek alternative means of running its affairs without inflicting additional pains on the public.

But in a statement signed by his spokesman, Muyiwa Adekeye, Governor El-Rufai insisted that the government was not elected just to pay salaries of public servants alone, but to also develop the state by building schools, hospitals, upgrading infrastructure and making the state more secure and attractive to the private sector for jobs and investments.

El-Rufai pointed out that what it has been receiving from the federal allocation committee since the middle of 2020, like most other sub-nationals, can barely pay salaries and overheads, adding that in the last six months, personnel costs have accounted for between 84.97% and 96.63% of FAAC transfers received by the Kaduna State Government

The statement reads: ’In November 2020, KDSG had only N162.9m left after paying salaries. That month, Kaduna State got N4.83bn from FAAC and paid N4.66bn as wages. In March 2021, Kaduna State had only N321m left after settling personnel costs.”

The statement pointed out that ‘’that month, the state got N4.819bn from FAAC and paid out N4.498bn, representing 93% of the money received.

‘’This does not include standing orders for overheads, funding security operations, running costs of schools and hospitals, and other overhead costs that the state has to bear for the machinery of government to run, for which the state government taps into IGR earnings.”

While the Kaduna State Government believes that the overall wages of the public sector are still relatively low, it noted that their current levels are obviously limited by the resources available to the government.

The government further argued that the public service of the state with less than 100,000 employees (and their families) cannot be consuming more than 90% of government resources, with little left to positively impact the lives of the more than nine million that are not political appointees or civil servants, adding that it is gross injustice for such a micro-minority to consume the majority of the resources of the State.

In addition, it pointed out that the measures which the government took to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic have shown clearly that the public service requires much fewer persons than it currently employs.

The statement recalled that ‘’in September 2019, Kaduna State Government became the first government in the country to pay the new minimum wage and consequential adjustments. The state government followed this up by increasing the minimum pension of persons on the defined benefits scheme to N30,000 monthly.

‘’This step to advance the welfare of workers significantly increased the wage burden of the state government and immediately sapped up the funds of many local governments.”

According to the state government, “what each public servant earns might be puny in comparison to private-sector wages, but the total wage bill consumes much of the revenues of the state.

‘’Therefore, the state government has no choice but to shed some weight and reduce the size of the public service. It is a painful but necessary step to take, for the sake of the majority of the people of this state.”

While justifying the job cut, the statement however described it ‘’as a painful but necessary step to take, for the sake of the majority of the people of this state.’’

The Governor further said that the rationalisation exercise will also affect political appointees, stating that its purpose is to save funds and ensure that a strong and efficient public service exists to use those resources to implement progressive programmes and projects for the people, and thereby develop the state.

‘’The public service is an important institution, and it should therefore maintain only an optimum size,” the statement said. “Faced with a difficult situation, the Kaduna State Government is persuaded that it cannot refuse to act or act in ways that only conduce to populist sentiment, without solving the fundamental problem.”

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Southeast Governors Seek Legal Backing For Security Ourfit, Ebube Agu

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The Southeast Governors have started making moves to ensure a legal backing for the newly formed security outfit, Ebube Agu.

Grassroots reported earlier when Governors from the Southeast region formed the security outfit to combat with the rising cases of criminality and insecurity.

The Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Ebonyi State, Uchenna Orji, while speaking to newsmen in Abakaliki, said each of the five states in the zone would enact a similar law to establish the outfit in its area of jurisdiction.

According to Orji, although the law would be similar, each state government would still be in charge of the operatives in his state.

He said, “There will be commonality and similarity of law across the states but it would still be manned by the state governors individually. Ebonyi State will also join other states to enact a law to legalise the operation of the outfit in the state.”

The governors of the region had in a communiqué issued on Sunday after a meeting in Owerri, announced the setting up of the regional security outfit to battle the rising insecurity in the zone.

Meanwhile, security experts had attributed the clamour for the regional security outfits in the country to the neglect by the police and the Federal Government.

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CBN Denies Printing N60bn As Alleged By Governor Obaseki

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has refuted reports that Nigeria printed billions of naira last month to settle its financial trouble.

This was after the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, alleged that Nigeria printed N60bn to augment what the three tiers of government shared in March.

Obaseki reportedly stated on Thursday that Nigeria was in huge financial trouble, alleging that the Federal Government printed N60bn in March as part of federal allocation last month.

The Edo governor also expressed worry over the country’s increased borrowing, saying it was wrong to continue borrowing without a tangible plan for debt repayment.

When contacted to comment on the development, the spokesperson of CBN, Osita Nwanisobi, told PUNCH that he was not aware of any N60bn that was printed.

“I am not aware of that N60bn printed by government,” he said on Saturday.

Similarly, when contacted to speak on the N60bn that was allegedly printed in March 2021, the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning said enquiries on the matter should be directed to the governor who made the allegation.

The media aide to the finance minister, Yunusa Abdullahi, said the Edo State governor or the CBN should be contacted.

“Please direct your questions to the governor who made the claim or the CBN,” he said.

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