Court Orders Uniform Admission Cut-off Mark Into Unity Schools
Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the Federal Government to apply a uniform cut-off mark to all candidates seeking admission into Federal Government Colleges, otherwise known as Unity Schools, irrespective of their states of origin.
Justice Tsoho, in his ruling, declared as unconstitutional the state-based admission inequality in Federal Government colleges.
A human rights lawyer and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Mr. Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, had instituted the suit against the Federal Government and the Minister of Education, challenging the prescribed different cut-off marks for different states, based on candidates’ gender and their states of origin.
Agbakoba argued that the decision of the defendants violates the candidates’ fundamental rights to freedom from discrimination guaranteed by Section 42(1) of the 1999 Constitution.
He had argued that Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution prohibits administrative or executive actions by the government that discriminate between Nigerians on grounds of ethnicity, gender, religion and place of origin.
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Agbakoba had asked the court to declare that the administrative act of the respondents, particularly the Minister of Education, which prescribes and applies different requirements including cut-off marks for candidates seeking admission into Federal Government colleges, based on gender, ethnicity, states of origin, among others, is discriminatory against applicant’s grandchildren and the group or class they represent, on grounds of ethnicity, states of origin, gender, etc. and therefore violates Section 42(1) of 1999 Constitution.
He also prayed for: “An order directing the respondents, particularly Minister of Education to apply uniform admission requirements, especially cut-off marks to all candidates seeking admission into Federal Government colleges, notwithstanding their gender, states of origin, ethnicity, etc.
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents, particularly the Minister of Education, whether by itself, its agents, servants, privies or otherwise howsoever from further acts of discrimination in admission to Federal Government colleges.”
In a 19-paragraph affidavit, Agbakoba had averred that since the inception of the Unity Schools, the Federal Government had maintained great disparity in admission requirements for candidates wishing to be admitted into Federal Government colleges.
In particular, he had argued that the Federal Government prescribed different cut-off marks for different states, based on candidates’ gender and their states of origin.
After hearing arguments from counsel for the parties, the court ordered that the Federal Government and the Minister of Education should apply a uniform cut-off mark to all candidates seeking admission into Federal Government Colleges, irrespective of their states of origin.
In July 2021, it was reported how the Federal Ministry of Education pegged cut-off marks for admission into the 104 unity schools nationwide at 134 on average for the five South-East states, while states in the North had cut-offs of 20 marks and even below.
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This cut-off is out of a total of 300 marks.
The cut-off lists released by the ministry for the 2020/2021 academic year, showed the huge disparity between the cut-off marks which candidates from South-East and South-West states should have and what the candidates from North should obtain.
According to the breakdown, Anambra had the highest cut-off of “139 marks for both males and females; Imo 138; Enugu 134, Lagos 133; Delta 131, Ogun 131, Abia 130 and Edo.”
Osun and Oyo were among the 10 top with the highest cut-off marks with both of them having 127 marks.
The least 10 cut-off marks for Unity Schools were all northern states: Gombe 58; Nasarawa 58; Borno 45; Jigawa 44, Bauchi 35; Kebbi had 9 for males and 20 for females.
Also, Sokoto had 9 for males and 13 for females; Zamfara had 4 marks for males and 2 for females.
Taraba and Yobe were the least states with Taraba having 3 for males and 11 for females while Yobe had 2 for males and 27 for females.
The cut-off marks were reportedly released by the National Examination Council.
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Arrest Interim Govt Plotters Now – Governors
Governors of the 36 states have asked the Department of State Services (DSS) to arrest and prosecute those involved in a plot to put in place an interim government as part of moves to truncate the nation’s democracy.
Condemning the move, the governors under the auspices of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum assured of their commitment to continue in the defence of Nigeria’s democracy as elected leaders.
In a statement on Friday by NGF Chairman and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal at the end of the 4th meeting of the Governors, he warned the DSS against issuing statements without arrest as that amounts to heating the polity.
Tambuwal said, “The Forum deliberated extensively on the alleged plot by some unscrupulous elements to install an interim government, as contained in the recent statement issued by the Department for State Services (DSS). Governors condemned in the strongest terms, any unconstitutional means of regime change and pledged its commitment to continue to defend Nigeria’s democracy as elected leaders.
“In addition, the Forum believes that issuing statements without arrests is akin to heating up the polity and causing unwarranted tension in the country. It called on the DSS to do its job by immediately arresting and prosecuting all those involved in the plot as a matter of urgency.”
Recall that the DSS had on Wednesday confirmed rumours that a section of the political class was planning for an interim government in order to truncate the result of the recently-concluded general elections.
The Spokesman for the DSS, Dr. Peter Afunanya in a statement said that the agency had identified some key players in the plot for an Interim Government in Nigeria but did not give the names of the masterminds.
The agency had said that the planners of the interim government had already held several meetings, during which they weighed many options to actualize their plot including sponsoring endless mass protests across Nigerian cities, securing a warrant to declare a state of emergency or a court injunction to stop the inauguration of the executive and the legislature at the federal and state levels.
BREAKING:Lagos Govt Arraigns Chrisland School, Principal, Others Over Death Of Pupil Whitney Adeniran
The Lagos State government has arraigned Chrisland School, Opebi, its principal, vice principal and two other employees over the death of one of the school’s pupils, 12-year-old Whitney Adeniran.
On Wednesday, the government of Lagos State had filed charges against Chrisland School and four others over the death of the 12-year-old pupil, Whitney Adeniran.
The school and its workers were accused of involuntary manslaughter and reckless and negligent acts.
The workers who were arraigned before Justice Oyindamola Ogala of the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja include Ademoye Adewale, Kuku Fatai, Mrs Belinda Amao, Nwatu Ugochi Victoria and Chrisland School Limited.
The school principal, Mrs Belinda Amao, broke down in tears while in the dock as the court and counsel tried to agree on a date for the commencement of the trial.
Whitney died during the school’s inter-house sports competition at Agege Stadium in Lagos on February 9.
Blessing Adeniran, her mother, had accused Chrisland of negligence over her daughter’s death.
The school’s management, however, dismissed insinuations that there was foul play in the death, saying she slumped in public.
Chrisland also argued that Whitney complained about “not-too-buoyant health” a few days before she died.
However, an autopsy conducted at the Lagos State University Hospital (LASUTH) confirmed that the deceased died from “asphyxia and electrocution”.
In the charges filed on behalf of the state government by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Babajide Martins, who disclosed that their negligence killed Whitney because they failed to ensure her safety.
The charge also disclosed that they all acted in a reckless and negligent manner that endangered human life.
The offences are contrary to Sections 224 & 251 of the Criminal Law, C17, Vol.3, Laws of Lagos State, 2015
If found guilty, the offences carry a penalty of life imprisonment and two-year jail terms respectively.
On Tuesday, the state government granted access to Chrisland High School, Opebi branch, to open for physical learning ahead of the school’s forthcoming examination after parents’ appeal.
The state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu had ordered that the school be shut down on March 3, 2023, following the investigation into Whitney’s death.
Sanwo-Olu through the state Ministry of Education said the closure of the school would pave the way for unhindered investigation and afford all stakeholders, including parents, students, staff and friends of the deceased, time to grieve.
The reopening followed an appeal by the Parents of all Chrisland School Units who visited the Ministry of Education on Monday to seek the government’s understanding for “the sake of 500 plus students some of whom also have terminal examinations.”
The management of the school had tendered an apology over Whitney’s death.
BREAKING: Abacha’s Ex-chief Of Staff Oladipo Diya Dies
Retired Lt.General Donaldson Oladipo Oyeyinka Diya, the former Chief of Staff in General Sani Abacha’s military government, is dead.
His death was confirmed by Prince Oyesinmilola Diya. He said the former military administrator of Ogun State passed on to glory in the early hours of 26th March 2023.
Born on the 3rd of April, 1944, Diya was military Governor of Ogun State after the Buhari-Idiagbon coup of December 31st, 1983.
Diya joined the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna and fought during the Nigerian Civil War.
He later attended the US Army School of Infantry, the Command and Staff College, Jaji (1980–1981) and the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru.
While serving in the military, Diya studied law at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he obtained an LLB degree, and then at the Nigerian Law School, where he was called to bar as Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
He held other top military posts like GOC, 82 Division and finally the Chief of General Staff (military Vice President) to Gen Sani Abacha
The statement read: “On behalf of the entire Diya family home and abroad; we announce the passing on to Glory of our dear Husband,Father, Grandfather,brother, Lt- General Donaldson Oladipo Oyeyinka Diya (Rtd) GCON, LLB, BL, PSC, FSS, mni.
“Our dear Daddy passed onto glory in the early hours of 26th March 2023. Please keep us in your prayers as we mourn his demise in this period. Further announcements will be made public in due course.
“Barrister Prince Oyesinmilola Diya, on behalf of the family.”
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