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The ‘unique’ Malian school accessible only by boat

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In the heart of Bamako, the bustling capital city of Mali, sits a “unique” school nestled on the shores and islands of the Niger River, and can only accessible by boat.

With a pupil population of 218 children, the school is located in the Dialogun Island with a small pirogue with a straw roof, and was granted public school status only in June 2022, but has continued to draw attention as the pupils have to navigate the dangerous river to and fro every day.

The school’s coordinator, Marie Garnier, said it was set up in response to a lack of schooling facility for children living in the Island.

“It was built to guarantee a place of study for young people not attending school,” Garnier said.

10-year-old Rokia Koumaré is one of the pupils of the unique school and she narrates the experiences of commuting to the school and back every day in the quest to get educated.

Every morning, at around 7:00 am, she and dozens of her classmates would head for the banks of the River Niger and boat the wooden boat that would take her to school.

“I’m not afraid of crossing the river by pirogue, as I’m already used to it,” Rokia said.

The school itself has a few classrooms protected by small walls or in tents, and are set up in the middle of a wooded area.

The school’s principal, Broulaye Konaté, is however, proud of its modest growth as he talks about it in glowing terms.

“I’m in charge of the management and two classes, which means there’s a teacher problem. There are also problems with tables. Sometimes, we’re obliged to carry out outdoor activities so that everyone has a space to work.”

“But we are proud of what we do here. We are impacting knowledge in the children,” he said.

Metro

Zambia: Apex Court sets July 8 to rule on Lungu’s eligibility for elections

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Zambia’s apex court, the Constitutional Court, has reserved ruling on a petition challenging the eligibility of former President Edgar Lungu to stand for future elections to July 8 following a request by the government not to dismiss the case as demanded by his lawyers.

The State which was represented by Attorney-General, Mulilo Kabesha, Solicitor-General, Marshal Muchende, and other advocates, had argued that the petition filed by a Lusaka resident, Michelo Chizombe, had not been finalised, contrary to Lungu’s claims.

During the hearing of the case on Friday, the State also sought a review of an earlier decision declaring Lungu eligible, contending that the matter was neither finalised nor time-barred and therefore, the petition should be heard on its merits.

Lungu’s legal team led by Makebi Zulu and Jonas Zimba, who had requested for the case to be dismissed, questioned the motive behind the repeated petitions, urging the court to end what they described as an abuse of process.

They further argued that Lungu should not be repeatedly summoned to court over the same eligibility issue, noting the recent summon marked the fifth time the issue had been brought before the court.

“A judicial decision must be accepted as correct. They have refused to accept your decision, meaning they had recourse to the decision and simply do not agree with you. If this is allowed, there will be no end to litigation,” Makebi told the court.

However, Chizombe’s counsel, Michael Moono, who countered Lungu’s lawyers, contended that the issue could not be “res judicata” as the petitioner was not a party to the four previous petitions.

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Despite hardship, Nigerian lawmakers push for new jets for Tinubu, Shettima

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Despite the hardship and pervasive hunger Nigerians are going through occasioned by the drastic economic policies of the President Bola Tinubu-led administration, members of the National Assembly are pushing to purchase new presidential jets for the President and Vice President.

The recommendations for the purchase of the new jets, according to reports, were made by the Committee on National Security and Intelligence in the House of Representatives and is expected to get the nod of the Presidency for the purchase of the planes to sail through.

An exclusive report carried out by a reputable media outfit during the week had revealed that the committee made the proposition in a report issued after its technical subcommittee conducted a hearing on the status and airworthiness of aircraft in the Presidential Air Fleet (PAF).

The committee report which was signed by its chairperson, Ahmed Satomi, and the clerk, Makwe Eric, showed that it had already been forwarded to the presidency for action.

“The Committee is of the strong and informed opinion that considering the fragile structure of the Nigerian federation and recognising the dire consequences of any foreseen or unforeseen mishap that may arise as a result of technical/operational inadequacy of the Presidential Air Fleet, it is in the best interest of the country to procure two additional aircraft as recommended,” the report read in part.

Further investigations reveal that plans to buy new aircrafts for the president and vice president began as early as February this year despite the hues and cries from Nigerians due to the pains and agony they have been subjected to since the present administration came into power in 2023.

The investigation also revealed that the federal government was tired of spending humongous amount of money in maintaining the aircraft in the fleet as the maintenance of the presidential fleet between the routine maintenance and purchase of parts, the aircraft had been guzzling huge amounts of money.

It was gathered that Tinubu had put a hold on the move due to anticipated backlash that would follow any move to buy new aircrafts for the presidential fleet considering the economic downturn in the country, as millions of citizens battle every day to feed owing to impacts of some of the reforms of the current administration.

However, while justifying their call for new aircraft for Tinubu and Shettima, members of the House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence said their recommendation was based on available facts.

“This will also prove to be most cost-efficient in the long run apart from the added advantage of providing a suitable, comfortable and safe carrier befitting of the status and responsibilities of the office of the president and vice president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the committee said.

The panel said a new aircraft befitting the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should be procured, taking into consideration the country’s leading role in the West African, African, and global scheme of affairs.

“That for ease of administration and in order to guarantee a secure and dedicated main and backup fleet for the office of the president at all times, it is recommended that a new aircraft akin to Air Force Two of the USA be procured for the office of the vice president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the subcommittee added.

“This can also serve the office of the presiding officers of the National Assembly, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, etc., as appropriate.”

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