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Nigeria: Lawmakers reject bill, insist public officers’ children can study abroad

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The House of Representatives which is the lower chamber of Nigeria’s bicameral National Assembly has again rejected a bill to prohibit public officials from sending their children and wards to schools abroad without approval of Minister of Education. The bill was sponsored by Sergius Ogun, a member of the main opposition in the country – People’s Democratic Party (PDP) representing Esan North-East federal constituency of Edo. Ogun had introduced a similar bill in the 8th Assembly, but the lawmakers rejected the bill.Mr Ogun argued that the bill will help to address the fallen standard in Nigerian public schools.“This bill is proposed against the background of fallen standards in our educational system and the need to bring the sector up to speed with global best standards.”“Unfortunately, as a result of the inability of the government to provide quality education in its public educational institutions, Nigerians have resorted to private schools and foreign schools for their education,” he said.Some members of the house argued that not all public officers control public funds and should not be prevented from giving their children the best education that they can afford.Nicholas Ossai from Delta State said the bill violates the individual rights of Nigerians. He requested that the bill should be withdrawn. “This bill when passed into law will engender the actualization of the provisions of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, to which Nigeria is a party”.The rejected bill also proposed that the Minister of Education shall conduct investigation to verify the authenticity of the documents submitted for approval. It also provides a fine of N1 million or three years’ imprisonment for breach of the law.The bill also highlights that “a public officer shall not send his ward or children oversea for studies without declaration of interest subject to approval.”“A public officer declaring interest in sending his ward or child abroad for further studies shall submit the following documents for consideration:Meanwhile, Lecturers in Nigerian universities under the umbrella of The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on 15, February commenced a four-week strike over failure of the Nigeria government to meet an agreement that dates back to 2009.

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Kenya’s Ruto sacks cabinet amidst protests in major win for protesters

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In response to pressure from widespread protests that have produced the greatest crisis of his two-year government, Kenyan President William Ruto dismissed his entire cabinet on Thursday, with the exception of the foreign minister.

After beginning peacefully, the youth-led demonstrations against the proposed tax increases descended into violence, resulting in at least 39 deaths during altercations with the police last month. A few protestors briefly invaded the parliament before Ruto decided against the new levies.

“I will immediately engage in extensive consultations across different sectors and political formations and other Kenyans, both in public and private, with the aim of setting up a broad-based government,” Ruto said in a televised address to the nation, adding that he would announce additional measures later.

In addition, he fired the attorney general but claimed that this had no bearing on the deputy president’s position.

Kenyans had been requesting significant cabinet changes, seasoned anti-corruption activist John Githongo told Reuters.

“Let us see what happens now if the new ministers deal with big issues around corruption and just the arrogance and excess of his administration and the fact that a lot of Kenyans died during the demonstrations,” he said.

“Hopefully this should temporarily calm things.”

Ruto finds himself torn between a beleaguered populace reeling from the rising expense of living and lenders like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) pressuring him to reduce deficits. He suggested borrowing more money and cutting spending in approximately equal proportions last week to close the nearly $2.7 billion budget deficit left by the removal of the tax rises.

Although the government has no outstanding debt, many claim that Kenya is likely to miss its IMF targets as a result of the tax rollback. For the fiscal year that began on July 1, the estimated budget deficit is currently 4.6% of GDP.

Dismissing so many cabinet members, according to Ojango Omondi, a community organizer from the Social Justice Centers Working Group in Nairobi, was a “move towards justice,” but activists would want to see who Ruto chooses to replace them.

“It’s one thing to dismiss, the second is to ensure that the people that will be chosen in the cabinet are accountable to the constitution and the rule of law,” Omondi said.

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South Sudan’s president dismisses 6th finance minister since 2020

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Four months into the position, South Sudan’s President, Salva Kiir, has fired the finance minister, the sixth person to hold the position since 2020, according to state-run television.

The report stated late on Wednesday that Kiir did not explain the dismissal of Awow Daniel Chuong, who was appointed in mid-March of this year. Economist Marial Deng has been selected to take over as finance minister in Kiir’s place.

Due to intercommunal violence, South Sudan’s economy has been under strain recently. Since the civil war that lasted from 2013 to 2018, revenue from crude oil exports has decreased, and more recently, export disruptions have occurred because of the conflict in neighbouring Sudan.

The governor of the central bank, James Alic Garang, declared in May that the foreign exchange reserves of South Sudan had reached all-time lows.

This year, the International Monetary Fund predicts that consumer price inflation will soar to 54.8%.

After South Sudan separated from Sudan in 2011, Kiir was elected as the country’s first president.

In December, the nation is scheduled to elect a president, members of the legislature, and regional delegates.

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