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PTDF,TETFUND, and other Nigeria overseas scholarship training schemes: why are we doing the training?



Abdelghaffar Amoka Abdelmalik, Phd
They say Africans are lazy to read. Please don’t be lazy. Try to read and comprehend before you make any comment.
Let me introduce myself again. My name is Abdelghaffar Amoka Abdelmalik, you can google that. I am of the opinion that we have the potential to change our narrative in Nigeria. It is not rocket science or quantum mechanics. All we need is just a little patriotism and the readiness to take certain decisions and do certain things differently.
To grow, you must learn from a person(s) that is/are better than you and plan on how to implement what you have learned from them. That is the rule of life. Several countries have sent their citizens for training to other countries to learn how they do things and bring the experience for the development of their country. On their return, the country gets value for the money spent on them. The stories are there, especially around Asia.
You can hardly find a country that funds its scholars for training and doesn’t care if they return or provisions are made for the utilization of the acquired knowledge except for Nigeria. We met some Chinese during our postgraduate training abroad. None of them that was on Chinese scholarship stayed back. They left back to their country as soon as they are done. Same as Malaysians.
But a very good friend and a PTDF scholar at both MSc and PhD and currently a Postdoctoral fellow in Norway have this to say: “Nigerian government should not stop the funding of overseas scholarships because the foreign-trained Nigerians are adding value to the national development even if they remain in the diaspora. They send billions of dollars in remittances back home”. That is the view of a Nigerian scholar in the diaspora.
The question then is: as a developing country, why are we training these scholars? To come back to use their knowledge to help develop the country or to remain in diaspora and remit dollars to the country to train and support their siblings at home? This is a very important question that we need to answer to evaluate the future Nigeria we want to create for the next generation.
A developing country doesn’t just wake up overnight to become developed. They set a path towards development. The education system, especially their universities that develop skilled workforces usually plays a great role in their development. When Malaysia started its revolution, education was one sector they refused to play games with. Not long ago, they had a 10-year plan with clearly set objectives for PhD training. They focused on the aim and objectives with periodic evaluation of the progress made.
The aim was achieved within a set time and Malaysian universities are now training PhDs, especially for Nigeria, and their universities now generate forex for the country. International students were reported to contribute an average of RM7.2bn (£1.4bn) to Malaysia per year via tuition fees and other living expenses. The expectation in 2020 was to hit a target of 200,000 international students in Malaysia to generate RM15.6 billion before the COVID-19 disruptions. So, where is our set path to progress? Continued funding of PhDs without any plan?
PTDF overseas scholarship scheme is about 20 years old. TETFUND scholarship scheme for academic staff is about 10 years old, and the two scholarship schemes alone have produced several Masters and PhDs degree holders over the last 20 years. A lot of them are back in our universities. No form of appraisal to evaluate how far we have gone with the schemes and the next step, but some colleagues who happened to be beneficiaries of one of these scholarship schemes said the overseas training should go on and that it is premature to stop it, and that after all those that refused to return are remitting dollars to the country to support their family in Nigeria.
We are trained as researchers and critical thinkers supposedly for the country. We are supposed to help the country think else why will they spend such an amount of public funds on us. To know the level of the prematurity of the schemes, we need to know how far we have come, where we are now, and where we want to be.
So, first, why is the country training PhDs? Where is the database of the trained scholars from these schemes? How many have the country trained? What are their areas of specialization? How many have returned? Are these scholars well-utilized or underutilized? What are the challenges responsible for the underutilization? How have we tried to address these challenges to ensure their effective utilization? What are the professional gaps? What are the critical areas we need to train more manpower?
You can’t convince me that we should keep training more if there is no evaluation process over the last 20 years to answer these questions. Meanwhile, what is your definition of prematurity? Scholars have been trained and some have returned and they have no basic facilities to train others and you insist we should keep sending people for training?
You blame ASUU for everything and insist that tuition should be introduced in our public universities because you think government cannot fund university education and again you feel the same government should still be funding overseas scholarships even if the people won’t return. Isn’t that a double standard? What exactly is your idea of a progressive Nigeria?
At the moment, we have several well-trained PhDs in our universities. If you want to see homegrown solutions to our problems, the fund for overseas scholarship should for example be divided into 3 parts. Two parts should be used to award the same scholarship to Nigerians in Nigerian universities and clearly define thematic area of national interest, while the remaining one part is used for overseas scholarships in areas we are lacking.
Do you seriously believe that we can’t train quality PhD in Nigeria? Pan African University’s Life and Earth Sciences (including Health and Agriculture) (PAULESI) is located within the University of Ibadan. They are producing funded international PG degrees. Their students are from across African countries. Some of the lecturers are from Nigerian public universities.
We have the African University of Science and Technology, Abuja. They are producing funded international PhDs. A number of their lecturers are from Nigerian public universities while some others obtained their first degree from Nigerian universities.
We have the African Centre of Excellence For Neglected Tropical Diseases and Forensic Biotechnology (ACENTDFB) in Ahmadu Bello University, a World Bank project. They are producing funded international PhDs. The students are from different African countries. A number of their lecturers are ABU lecturers.
While some of these centres located within the public universities are well funded and doing great, the research activities at the departments of these universities are not funded but by the students. We spend billions to train scholars that return and have no tools to work with and we are training more to come and join. Why not empower the returned trained scholars to train others?
In my opinion, we seriously need to consider the diversion of a large chunk of the overseas scholarship funds to the national scholarship funds for the already trained TETFund and other scholars to train others while overseas scholarship is focused on training PhDs on the identified areas that we have limited expertise in. We need to be specific.
We surely have an attitudinal problem in our universities and some of us have problems with financial discipline. But with proper monitoring and evaluation processes put in place, we can deal with that for effective utilization of such funds.
If we really want Nigeria to progress, we have to take some drastic measures to make our system prosper, irrespective of how it affects personal interests. People, most likely their patriots, make those countries so beautiful that we want to go there for PhDs and remain. We can also make our country that great. All it need is just a little effort from each and every one of us. And please, don’t just be an armchair critic from your homes or abroad, come and join us and let’s put hands together to mould the Nigeria of our dream. We can do it!


Why Social Media Policies Fall Short in Addressing Online Violence Against Women




Rahima Dokaji, Kano.

Hafsat Bahara, a dedicated journalist, experienced a distressing ordeal of Online Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) on Facebook. Initially, she innocently shared a profile piece about a respected religious leader through her organization’s social media channels. To her surprise, followers of the religious leader responded with offensive comments, threats, and discussions about causing harm to Hafsat.

Recalling the traumatic incident, Hafsat Bahara shared, “Threats and intimidation flooded the comments section. Some individuals even tracked me down on other social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter, persistently posting menacing threats of rape and violence towards me. It was an intense and deeply unsettling experience.”

The aftermath of this harrowing encounter had a profound impact on Hafsat’s life and mental well-being. Although she chose not to report the offenders to the social media platforms, they took it upon themselves to report her accounts, falsely accusing her and her organization of making offensive comments. The emotional toll extended to Hafsat’s family and loved ones, leaving her feeling violated and unfairly attacked.

A significant survey conducted by the International development and humanitarian organization Plan International revealed distressing revelations about the escalating online violence faced by girls and women. The survey highlighted that Facebook is the primary platform where these attacks are most commonly encountered, with 39% of respondents experiencing harassment, followed by Instagram (23%), WhatsApp (14%), Snapchat (10%), Twitter (9%), and TikTok (6%).

In the Northern Nigeria region, Facebook has emerged as a significant concern due to its association with abuse. The platform is often perceived as a hotspot for various forms of online mistreatment, including cyberbullying and hate speech. Its user-friendly interface has made it accessible to a wide range of individuals, including those with limited formal education or technological training.

NAPTIP advocates equal punishment for gravity of GBV Cases

The label of ‘the jungle’ reflects the perception that Facebook can sometimes resemble a chaotic and lawless virtual space, where users engage in aggressive behavior without considering the consequences. This characterization highlights the prevalence of abusive and harmful interactions, creating a hostile and distressing environment for many users, particularly women. Educated individuals often resort to alternative strategies, such as refraining from posting altogether or using English as a protective shield against local abuse and harassment.

Instagram, known for its platform catering to sophisticated and affluent individuals, has attracted a notable presence of high-profile celebrities. On the contrary, Twitter has gained a reputation as a space where individuals engage in playful banter and witty roasting. TikTok, on the other hand, has become a popular platform for creative skit makers, although it has also attracted users who may exhibit lower moral standards.

While social media platforms have implemented reporting mechanisms, community guidelines, and content moderation teams to address abusive and harmful content, Hafsat Bahara believes that current measures remain insufficient.

“In my opinion, social media platforms have strict policies on physical violence and other discriminatory acts involving children. However, their policy on sexual harassment and threats against women is not robust enough. Derogatory and mean-spirited content targeting women or cyberbullying often goes unflagged by these platforms as inappropriate, allowing perpetrators to go unpunished. On the other hand, if you were to post nudity or violence against animals, you would instantly be flagged,” she said.

However, Mrs. Bunmi Dipo Salami, a Gender Violence activist in Nigeria, emphasizes the crucial need for women to understand how social media protection settings work and how to effectively use them to ensure their safety on these platforms.

“We should all challenge harmful content by reporting material that perpetuates harmful stereotypes, victim-blaming, or supports Online Gender-Based Violence (OGBV). Promoting digital literacy and educating internet users about privacy settings, reporting mechanisms, and online safety is essential. Netizens must familiarize themselves with the different forms of OGBV and utilize their social media platforms to share accurate information, helpful resources, and support services,” Mrs. Salami asserts.

Section 24 of the Nigerian Cybercrime Act, enacted in 2015 by the National Assembly, addresses offenses related to OGBV through computer systems or networks, including transmitting communications involving bullying, threats, harassment, extortion, or harm to the reputation or property of any citizen. The act imposes penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment, with more severe consequences for communications inducing fear of death, violence, or bodily harm.

Alongside the existing legislation, Mrs. Salami urges the government to collaborate with non-governmental organizations and women’s rights groups to implement and monitor the Cybercrimes Act of 2015 effectively.

“I believe the issue lies not in creating another law when the Cybercrimes Act of 2015 already exists. The focus should be on engaging relevant stakeholders to understand the nuances of SGBV in the online space and identify challenges in enforcing the law. Furthermore, the government and civil society actors should collaborate to provide training for law enforcement personnel in dealing with digital evidence, allocating resources to law enforcement agencies for effective implementation and enforcement of the legislation. Public awareness campaigns should also be conducted to educate the public about the legislation, and specialized units within law enforcement agencies should be created to investigate online crimes, particularly SGBV cases on social media,” she adds.

Mrs. Salami also calls for synergy between traditional and new media outlets to raise awareness and effectively combat OGBV.

“To address OGBV, itis crucial to engage various stakeholders, including media organizations, to create awareness and promote responsible reporting. Traditional media outlets can play a significant role in shaping public opinion, challenging harmful narratives, and providing accurate information about online violence against women. Collaborations between traditional media and social media platforms can amplify the voices of survivors, hold perpetrators accountable, and foster a safer online environment for women,” she suggests.

This publication was supported by the Baobab for Women’s Human Rights funded by the MacArthur Foundation.

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Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim: A Tribute to the First Civilian Governor of Yobe State



Late Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim


By AbdurRaheem Sa’ad Dembo

Death is inevitable and whenever a soul is taken, it is usually a reminder about the vanity and futility of this world.It is also an indication that no one will live forever on this planet, called earth. It was on the 4th February, 2024 when I read it online that the first civilian Governor of Yobe State, Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim had passed on in Saudi Arabia. Innalillahi waina ilaihi rajiun!

He was an embodiment of humility and generosity. One cannot describe him enough, because of his progressive tenacity. You can’t talk about politics and progress in Yobe state without mentioning late Bukar Abba Ibrahim. He was a pacesetter and a pragmatic leader. Majority of the good people of Yobe State accepted him as a leader, because he was not autocratic but democratic and inclusive. It is a public knowledge whether under the sun or in the rain, and even across the length and breadth of Nigeria that he was the father of Yobe State politics.

Before dwelling so much on his personality and sagacity in the realm of politics, it is imperative to take a brief look at his early life.

Bukar Abba Ibrahim was born in 1949 but according to Wikipedia, the exact date is shrouded in uncertainty. This is not new because we have so many of our aged parents who did not know their exact dates of birth. In fact, in Ilorin, my city, some old people would only tell you they were born during the reign of a particular Emir of Ilorin and they use that as a standard and yardstick to know their age. He began his primary school education in 1957. Ibrahim proceeded to Government College in Maiduguri for his secondary education in 1965 and got admission into the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1972. He obtained his certificate from the department of Quantity Surveying in 1975. Bukar Abba Ibrahim proceeded to the United Kingdom to undergo post-graduate professional training between 1981 and 1982 and that qualified him to become a member of the Nigeria Institute of Quantity Surveyors. From 1985 to 1988, he worked as a civil servant in Borno State and eventually became Commissioner of Works.

*His Political Journey*

In December 1991 a few months after Yobe State was created, he contested and won the gubernatorial election under the banner of the Social Democratic party (SDP).He held the position until November 1993, when the military took control of the government. On 5th of August 1993 Governor Ibrahim split the four Emirates in the state to thirteen. Although the move was reversed by the military regime of General Sani Abacha, it however got re-implemented under the civilian governorship of Bukar Abba Ibrahim on 6 January, 2000.

As Nigeria transitioned from military to civilian rule beginning in late 1998, gubernatorial elections were conducted in January 1999 and Bukar Abba Ibrahim was again elected governor under the banner of the All People’s Party (APP), and sworn-in to office on 29 May, 1999. This was the same time Late Governor Muhammad Lawal also became Governor of Kwara state under the platform of All People’s Party. May Allah grant the duo his mercy.

The APP was later renamed All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) due to a factional division. Ibrahim was re-elected in 2003 for a second four-year term.

*Some of his achievements as a Governor*

Governor Bukar Abba Ibrahim administration established the following higher institutions of learning in Yobe State: Yobe State University, Damaturu, School of Nursing Damaturu, College of Health Sciences, Nguru,
College of Legal Studies Nguru, Yobe State Polytechnic, Geidam,
College of Agriculture, Gujba, Yobe mosque and Islamic center (Mosque & School),
Unimaid Remedial Satellite campus in Damaturu,
Best Centers and
Teaching Service Board,

As a Governor his administration constructed the following housing projects:
Abba Ibrahim Housing Estate Damaturu,
Zannah Zakariyya Housing Estate Damaturu,
Waziri Ibrahim Housing Estate Damaturu,
Don Etebet Housing Estate Damaturu,
Obasanjo Housing Estate Damaturu,
Nyanya Housing Estate Damaturu,
Buhari Housing Estate Damaturu,
250 Housing Estate Damaturu,
Ali Marami Housing Estate,
3Bedrooms and
Furniture loan for civil servants

In 2007 he was elected as a Senator representing Yobe East and got re-elected in 2011 and 2015. He wanted to go for another term in 2019 as a Senator representing Yobe East, here is the evidence as published by Vanguard Newspaper of 10 August, 2018 . Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim said “Insha-Allah I will be seeking re-election back to the senate in the forth coming election and I do not see anybody as a threat. I have no problem with my constituency and the electorate. I have not been recalled by those who voted me to represent them and I am physically and mentally fit.”

Essentially, in a video I had opportunity to watch recently, he said a leader must be ready to make sacrifices. That was how he withdrew for the then Governor Ibrahim Geidam to contest for Senate in 2019 under the platform of All Progressives Congress. Here is what he said in the video ahead of 2019 general elections.

“..So this is our incoming Governor insha Allah.This is our incoming Senator for Yobe East Senatorial District Insha Allah.This small man here continues to be the father of Yobe politics. As a father it is my responsibility to keep the family going and when you are keeping a family going, you are bound to make sacrifices and bound to talk to your family collectively.” He was referring to the current Governor of Yobe State, His Excellency Mai Mala Buni as the incoming Governor, while he was also referring to His Excellency Governor Ibrahim Geidam as the incoming Senator. The duo were with him in the video.

Professor P.L.O Lumumba when challenging long-term African Leaders said: “No matter how good you are, if you stay for too long you spoil it. A good dancer must know when to leave the stage.” I think this was in tandem with what Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim did as he left the stage then when the ovation was loud. It takes a courageous and selfless leader to take such a bold decision.

*His unwavering humility*

In the viral video I analysed earlier, the father of Yobe politics referred to himself as a small man.That is one of the traits of great men. They are synonymous with humility. When Vice President Kashim Shettima paid a condolence visit to the Governor of Yobe State at the instance of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, he referred to late Bukar Abba Ibrahim as an icon of humility. Similarly, a retired Director in the Yobe State Civil Service who craved for anonymity opined thus,
“Governor Bukar Abba Ibrahim was a very humble person and pioneer Governor that started the owner occupier of government quarters in the state. We also benefitted from the scheme”

There is no perfect government anywhere in the world but the Yobe State that Bukar Abba Ibrahim was their leader during his life time is not fairing bad. I was on my way to Maiduguri in December, 2023 , few kilometers to Damaturu, if one’s needle fell down one can pick it instantly, because of proper lightning aided by streetlights. Such can only be found in Abuja and Lagos.The old Gujba road has also been dualized kitted with standard streetlights.

In terms of education, the late Bukar Abba Ibrahim’s administration introduced free education and foreign scholarships. I knew that for sure that the Yobe State Government sent some people abroad for post graduate studies even as at the time I was there as a corper.

His interest in hockey was huge
and was the President and Board of Nigeria Hockey Federation.The association in their condolence message described him thus: “Late Bukar Abba was an icon in the game of Hockey, a reputable man who contributed to the growth and development of Hockey in Nigeria. Our sincere prayer is, may Almighty Allah grant the family left behind fortitude to bear this great loss.”

I have never met late Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim and even the late Governor Mamman Ali but I have seen Alhaji Ibrahim Geidam once, the former Governor of Yobe State, who is now the current Minister of Police Affairs. In 2007 I was at the Damaturu Stadium during the passing out parade for Batch B 2006/2007 when Alhaji Ibrahim Geidam, the then deputy Governor represented Governor Mamman Ali. Being the News Editor of NYSC Editorial CDS group in Yobe State; it gave me and other members the opportunity to be at the podium during the event.

I have tremendous affinity with the good people of Yobe State, because I did my youth service with Yobe Broadcasting Corporation, YBC Damaturu between 2007/2008 and that gave me a vantage to know about Yobe State politics. I served as a newscaster and co-presenter of news magazine at the radio house and I made a lot of friends there. May Allah grant Late Hajiya Aishat Ardo, my producer then, aljannah firdaus. Being a Fulani man from Ilorin we shared superiority jokes between Kanuri and Fulani within the Broadcasting house without any ill feelings.It was a long time joke I have grown to witness in Ilorin, so when I got to Damaturu I realised that it transcended my state.

Furthermore, One significant thing I have learnt about the political voyage and life of late Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim was his consistency. He remained an opposition politician nationally until APC won presidential election in 2015. If you are not consistent you cannot go far in the realm of politics. The reason is simple, consistency breeds trust; once you don’t have it you lose monumental confidence to navigate across different political opinions and emancipation.

There are high profile opposition politicians like Adamu Maina Wazir,the former Minister of Police Affairs under President Good luck Jonathan’s administration and others in Yobe State, but despite their political calculations and permutations over the years they have never succeeded in dislodging Bukar Abba Ibrahim political party from Yobe State Government House. He died as a political tactician and champion in Yobe state, North East and in the entire Nigeria political landscape. There must be something special about him which may not be far from being resilient, patient, tolerant, generous, pragmatic, sagacious, inclusive and goal-oriented.

I should not forget the ever green statement made by late Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim and it kept regurgitating in my thought. He said “Almajiri system is unislamic”

He was married to three wives: Hajiya (Dr) Maryam Bukar Abba-Ibrahim, Hajiya Aishatu Bukar Abba- Ibrahim and Hajiya Khadija Bukar Abba -Ibrahim, a former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Former member of House of Representatives under the platform of All Progressives Congress.

Most importantly,I appeal to His Excellency Governor Mai Mala Buni, Minister of Politice Affairs, Senator Ibrahim Geidam and other members of late Bukar Abba Ibrahim political family to sustain his legacy of good governance in the interest of the state and her good people. Dividends of democracy should continue to percolate and penetrate across the people in villages and towns of Yobe State. Good education, provision of road infrastructure, security and scholarships for the indigent students should continue.

Let me end this piece with a quote by Henry Wadsworth L. “Lives of great men all remind us, we can make our lives sublime, and departing, leave behind us, footprints on the sands of time. Indeed, the father of Yobe State politics has left a footprint that will stand on the sands of time. May Allah forgive his shortcomings and grant him aljannah firdaus (ameen).

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Zubaida Muhammad Musa: The Industrious, Generous, and Research Connoisseur



Zubaida Muhammad Musa





True respect, genuine loyalty and unadulterated allegiance are some good qualities that are neither traded nor acquired by force and never buy with money, but rather acquired through honesty, good character, temperament, integrity and simplicity. This is quite rightly believed to be true and justified to a productive, energetic and self assertive woman ZUBAIDA MUHAMMAD MUSA, a daughter, a sister, a mother, a mentor to her students and a pride to vulnerable and needy people. Zubaida Muhammad is a Teacher, a counselor, a researcher and a facilitator in many human development programmes within and outside the country. A very responsible personality I know as far back as my childhood. One thing that makes me to write this piece is her total dedication in serving the humanity which in essence has influenced the welfare of many and touches lives of many souls in a positive way. Respect to elders and level headed to all irrespective of social status are what make her to stand and become prominent and enviable to many people that come to term with her particularly her students of the Department of Adult and Non Formal Education, Sa’adatu Rimi University of Education Kano Nigeria, who always cherished her style and method of teaching and impacting knowledge, it is on this backdrop that number Non-governmental organizations and other corporate bodies recognized her as excellent and proficient facilitator/instructor/tutor in many advocacy, mobilization, workshop, seminar and sensitization programmes. As an experienced researcher who participated in many projects assessment in various sector, he served as a Research Assistant in the EDOREN Teachers Recruitment and Deployment Research which eventually led to the recruitment of 1,119 Female Teachers in Kano State by the immediate past administration after dissemination of her Research Findings (this is indeed an overwhelming and quite fascinating achievement)
Her commitment and steadfastness in education more especially her area of expertise, specializing in Adult and Non-Formal Education earned her so many National and International recognition where she obtained various educational certificates e.g B.Ed Adult Education and Community development, M.Ed Adult Education (Adult and Non-formal Education), Ph.D (in view) Adult Education (Adult and Non-formal Education) all from the prestigious Bayero University Kano. She also attended and obtained many Certificates from various institutions at home and abroad more importantly from University of Miami Florida USA and Julius Maximilian University Wurzburg, Germany.
Zubaida Muhammad Musa is now a comrade as she ventured into unionism as requested, he engaged in unionism as extra curriculum with the aim of contributing her inputs for the betterment and welfare of staff. She is currently the Secretary College of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), Sa’adatu Rimi University of Education Kano.

I can recollect some moments of childhood we share with Hajiya Zubaida (though she is a senior sister to me but we fall within the same age bracket), she was very kind and jovial to her younger ones, we used to respect her and she also respects us in reciprocal as ‘Yan Kanne (Juniors). This gesture and qualities are still with her as depicted by her contemporary lifestyle. This proved that her spirits of humanitarian and kindhearted dispositions are inalienable.
I write this piece to show my accolade to Hajiya Zubaida courtesy of her kindness, simplicity, benevolence and her generosity. I pray you will not relent in your efforts toward salvaging the general welfare of the needy especially women and children as well as your uphill struggle to deliver selfless service to humanity.

I wish you a very successful career in civil service and also a fruitful tenure as Secretary College of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) Sa’adatu Rimi University of Education Kano.

Mudassir Could be reached via mudassiray@gmail.com.

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