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21-Jul-2024 Obi, Supporters behind planned Protest against Tinubu, says Onanuga

Obi, Supporters behind planned Protest against Tinubu, says Onanuga

A Presidential Aide, Bayo Onanuga, has accused Supporters of Peter Obi, Labour Party’s Candidate in the 2023 Presidential Election, of planning protests across the country.

Onanuga, Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Information and Strategy, who was emphatic that Obi’s Supporters were planning to stage Nationwide Protests, said that Obi would be held responsible for whatever crisis that emanated from the Action.

“The Protest Planners are also the same People who were instigated by IPoB Leader Nnamdi Kanu to launch the destructive ENDSARS protest in Nigeria in October 2020,” Onanuga wrote on his Official X Account. 

“ENDSARS began as a genuine Protest by Youths against the Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad, notorious for its high-handedness.

“IPOB Members planning to extricate the South-East Region from Nigeria infiltrated the Protest and hijacked it for their own Agenda.

“Lagos still bears the scar of the malicious destruction until today,” Onanuga wrote.

He said that two years after ENDSARS, IPOB and the gullible Innocents joined the Labour Party in 2022 to support Obi, who he said was a Sympathiser of their cause.

“They are the People spreading the hashtags ‘EndBadGovernance,’ ‘Tinubu Must Go,’ and ‘Revolution2024.’ They are not Democrats but Anarchists.

“They are attempting to call out our People via Propaganda because their Messiah, Peter Obi, failed to win the Presidency in the 2023 Election.

“As bad losers, they don’t have the patience to wait for another Election in 2027; they would rather destabilise Nigeria by staging a Civilian Coup against President Bola Tinubu,” he said.

According to him, if they understood the meaning of their hashtags, they will realise they are clarion calls for Treason; wanting to end an Elected Government is High Treason, wanting Revolution is a call for a Coup d’etat, which is also High Treason.

“I have been on the trail of one of the Protest Planners, who is nameless but claims to have an Internet Radio Station, PTM100.88 Abuja.

“The Anonymous Person joined X in August 2022 and has 520 Followers today, among whom are FS Yusuf, another rabid Obi Supporter, and Pat Utomi, a Labour Party Chief, and a Guy on X who goes by the Pseudonym Peter Obi’s First Son.

“PTM’s Profile Image has someone holding the Inscription ‘Certificate Forger Not My President,’ with a Photo of Peter Obi as an Inset. Only Obi’s Supporters will be talking about Certificate Forgery long after the Supreme Court dismissed the allegation,” Onanuga wrote.

He said that in the past 24 hours, this X User had been whipping up the Gullible to join the Protest being planned and also posting the Activities of Obi.

In one of the Posts, he said a Video showed a Teenager, who was said to be in the North, printing T-Shirts emblazoned with “EndBadGovernance in Nigeria 2024.”

There is also a Retweeted Post by Babatunde Gbadamosi, who he described as a failed and frustrated Politician in Lagos. In it, he refers to his earlier Post urging People “to identify APC Members, Sponsors, Supporters, Enablers, Thugs, Promoters, and Appointees.”

Onanuga said the Police and DSS ought to have arrested the Man for making a brazen threat to Political Opponents.

He said there was also “General Oluchi,” a Woman by the Screen Name “A Field Marshall of the Han Dynasty.”

“She has been sending out Letters of Mobilisation. She even pinned a ‘Week 6’ Letter urging Nigerians to wake up and take control of their Country, using the Language of IPOB, Peter Obi, and his Supporters.

“Another Member of the malcontents is Brother Bernard, also known as Mikael C. Bernard. He is not based in Nigeria because he was once busted over Binance and fraudulent Crypto Businesses in Nigeria.

“Bernard was the man who once wrote that the Naira should go down to zero,” said Onanuga.

In a reaction to Oluchi, Bernard said the Protesters should remove the increase in Salaries for the Armed Forces as part of their demands.

“If they want an Increment in Salary, let them launch their own Protest. It is not our Job to fight for Enablers of Evil,” Bernard wrote on X, according to Onanuga.

However, an X User reminded Bernard that according to Nigerian Law, Men of the Armed Forces don’t protest.

“Security Agents should, by now, begin to interrogate these Agents of destabilisation.

“There is no Country in the World where People are not going through some Economic challenges and where the Cost of Living is not a major Issue.

“No Country is immune from Economic turbulence at the moment. Civilised and Democratic People wait for another Election to make Leadership Changes. They don’t trigger Mayhem in their Countries by staging Protests, the end of which nobody can predict,” said Onanuga.

He added that Nigerian Citizens must consider the Government’s attitude and concern about the Cost of Living Crisis when deciding whether to join the Protests.

“The Tinubu Government has not been found wanting in this regard. The Minimum Wage has been increased by more than 100 percent. Loans are being disbursed to Students in Tertiary Schools.

“A Credit Corporation has been launched to promote Consumption Credit. Palliatives, including the latest distribution of 740 Trucks of Rice to the 36 States and Abuja, are being rolled out.

“Businesses, such as Pharmaceuticals, are being assisted. The Federal and State Governments are investing heavily in Agriculture to produce more Food,” he stated.

According to him, the Economy is improving, Inflation is slowing, the National Debt has been reduced in Dollar Terms, and the FIRS has increased Revenue Generation to record levels.

“Investors are coming back to our Country. Our Stock Market is the best in the World, with a 33 per cent return on Investment.

“President Tinubu has a Four-Year Mandate to run his Agenda. Those calling for Protest should wait till 2027 to either Re-Elect him or Elect their Messiah, Peter Obi,” said Onanuga.

 

Credit NAN: Texts excluding Headline

18-Jul-2024 Uproar as FG rules out Varsity Admission for Under-18 Candidates from 2025

Uproar as FG rules out Varsity Admission for Under-18 Candidates from 2025

The Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman has vowed to enforce a Law mandating 18 years Admission Age for Entry into Tertiary Institutions from 2025.

Mamman was speaking at the 2024 Policy Meeting on Admissions into Tertiary Institutions, organised by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, in Abuja on Thursday.

The development was reached after Stakeholders’ deliberation to give Opportunities for Students who were not up to 18 years but partook in the 2024 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).

The Meeting was put in place to determine the Modality and Guidelines for Admissions into Tertiary Institutions for the 2025 Academic Session.

The Minister directed JAMB to admit only Students who have attained the Age of 18 years into Tertiary Institutions in its 2025 Admission Process.

“Information has revealed that the Enrolment of Underage Candidates is inflicting serious damage on the University and the Education system, hence, the need for enforcement of Extant Rules.

“When I was monitoring the just concluded 2024 UTME, I was alarmed at the participation of a large number of obviously Under-Age Candidates in the Examination.

“This necessitated my comment on the need to enforce the Extant Provisions of the Educational Policies which made provision for nine years of Basic Education and three years of Senior Secondary Education before entry into Tertiary Institution.

“It is clear that a Child who, as expected is enrolled in Basic School at the age of six and having undergone 12 years of Education would be around 18 years old when being enrolled in a Tertiary Institution,” he said.

He bemoaned the surge in Applications for immediate requests for a change of Age to reflect higher Age in anticipation of the imminent enforcement of the Age Policy.

“This again reflects dangerous games being played with the life and future of innocent Children by those expected to nurture them.

“Flowing from this, JAMB is hereby instructed to admit only Eligible Students’ i.e those who have attained 18 years.

“Universities are advised to avoid recommending Unqualified Children for Admission,” he added.

There was uproar during the Meeting when the Minister handed down the decision of 18 years entry limit for Admissions into Tertiary Institutions.

Vice Chancellors, Rectors, Provost and other Stakeholders at the Meeting protested their disagreement on the Minister’s Pronouncement.

The Minister, however, said that the 2024 Admission Criteria remained as approved, urging Institutions to adhere to the laid down Requirements for Admission Processes.

He warned that any Vice Chancellor, Rector and Provost, who infiltrated Admissions outside the Central Admissions Processing Systems (CAPS), would henceforth be sanctioned.

 

Credit NAN: Texts excluding Headline

17-Jul-2024 Alumni Association gifts FGC Kaduna Best Graduating Student N1.9m

Alumni Association gifts FGC Kaduna Best Graduating Student N1.9m

A Graduating SS3 Student of the Federal Government College, Kaduna, Udo Lilian Cletus has won a total of N1.9m in Cash and Gifts at FGCKADUNA's Speech and Prize Giving Day.

The Speech and Prize Giving Day which last held 11years ago was resuscitated by the present Alumni Exco led by Seyi Gambo, the Global President of the Alumni Association.

Since the inception of their Administration, efforts have geared towards Alumni reaching out to ensure the School continues to thrive as one of the leading Federal Schools in Nigeria. Just last year, over N200m was raised at the Endowment Funds.

The Administration was also at the forefront of ensuring that the School’s Landed Property were not forcefully acquired by the Kaduna State Government. 

The Guest Speaker at the Ceremony spoke glowingly about the journeys that many of the Alumni shared and what the Graduants will enjoy in the nearest future.

In an address Titled Navigating Life's Journey, Lessons from my Secondary School to University Experience, the Speaker, David Kevin reveals the need for the Students to appreciate the Education they are receiving, noting that only Education could bring lasting success. 

The Overall Winner, Lilian Cletus Udo attains the highest Scores in 11 Subjects to become the Overall Best Graduating Student.  The sum of N1m was donated by one of the Alumni Members, Abolore Solebo.

Cash Gifts and a Laptop totaling N1.9m were presented to the Winner at the Ceremony while Access Bank was on hand to open Accounts for all the Awardees.

The Alumni Global President, Seyi Gambo and his Executive Members expressed joy that the young ones who are excelling in their studies are being appreciated.

“We give God all glory and thank you all for your uncommon support. It is important that we channel the minds of our Youths to positive Issues knowing that if you excel in your Studies, the World will appreciate and love you. This is just the beginning as we hope to do much more in the future”

Parents, Awardees, Students and Teachers of the School also expressed happiness at the turn of event. Principal of the School, Benjamin Ochogwu appreciated the Alumni Association and requested more support to ensure the School continues to grow in the right direction.

17-Jul-2024 Tinubu inaugurates Student Loan, says it's key to fighting Poverty

Tinubu inaugurates Student Loan, says it's key to fighting Poverty

President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday inaugurated the Student Loan, saying it is key to fighting Poverty.

He said the Student Loan Scheme aligned with his Administration’s commitment to Inclusiveness and assured sufficient Funding to sustain the Programme.

“Democracy is all about Inclusiveness. Our target is to build a Society on successful Inclusiveness,” he said.

He added that Education was the greatest weapon against Poverty in any Society, which he said was essential for Vision, Development, and successfully combating Insecurity, including Terrorism and Banditry.

The President presented Cheques to Students from each of Nigeria’s six Geo-Political Zones.

Akintunde Sawyer, the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND), announced that N32bn was currently available for disbursement to kickstart the Programme.

He said that since the Portal opened on May 25, 164,000 Students have registered, with 103,000 applying for Loans.

He said the Initiative, which became Law on April 3, 2024, as the Student Loans (Access to Higher Education) Act, aimed at empowering Nigerian Youths by providing fair, transparent Funding and removing Financial barriers to Educational Opportunities.

“The effect of providing this Opportunity for the Neediest Nigerians, the People who probably will look after us, or whose decisions will impact on us in our Old Age, cannot be underestimated.

“And I’m sure you’ve all heard that fortune favours the brave and this courageous move will bring fortune not just to the President, but to the entire Nation,” said Sawyer.

Lucky Emonefe, President, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) said Nigerian Students were happy that the Student Loan, which was once a dream had become reality.

“It was first a Bill, then and Act and today the President has launched and disbursed it. We are very proud of this. We as Nigerian Students will call it a new dawn in the Education Sector.

“During the Presidential Disbursement today, you could see People applying; whatever background you belong to, you can assess the Loan.

“It is so transparent, once you apply you will get it, irrespective of your Status, your Age and your Class,” said Emonefe.

He said the Loan, like the President said, was a tool to fight Poverty. “And we can say that, yes, Nigerian Students now have access to Higher Education.

“We are proud of this. And this is a good Legacy and a good Investment in the development of our dear Nation.

“We are all excited, it is a new dawn in the Education Sector and we are very happy.”

 

Credit NAN: Texts excluding Headline

17-Jul-2024 World PR Day: APRA Advocates Ethical, Responsible use of AI

World PR Day: APRA Advocates Ethical, Responsible use of AI

The African Public Relations Association (APRA) has called on its Members to leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) Tools and Associated Technologies for insights towards transformation of Lives, the PR Industry and Contemporary Life, with a caveat for Ethical and Responsible use of AI.

This Advice came in a Message sent to Members of the Continental Body by its President, Arik Karani.

The Message which came in Commemoration of the 2024 World Public Relations Day (World PR Day) and resonates with the Theme of this year’s Celebration, “The Future of Public Relations in a Changing World”, noted that the unfolding reality of Contemporary World signaled ‘unprecedented change and opportunity’.

The President stated that Communication, Analyses and Strategies in PR such as “Sentiment Analysis, Predictive Analytics, Automated Content Creation” are Spheres where AI enhances the Human Agency and Capabilities of the Public Relations Practitioners and bolsters Capacity for improvement in Crisis Communication, Brand and Stakeholder Relationship Management and otherwise complex Issues.

In sounding a note of caution in AI Utilisation, Karani urged PR Practitioners in Africa to ensure that “the Principles of Transparency, Accountability and Inclusivity should guide our use of AI in Public Relations”, because PR Practitioners have a Duty to promote truth, bridge gaps and cultivate trust. He reminded all Members of APRA that those precepts are in congruence with the Vision of APRA and promised the Organisation’s dedication to advancing PR Practice to foster Promotional Development, promote Ethical Standards to enhance the contribution of APRA to Society through Sustainable Development of all Sectors to drive Social Impact.

Karani, who is also the President of the Public Relations Society of Kenya (PRSK), appealed to APRA  Members to be open-minded to explore the endless Opportunities of AI as a force for good in Public  Relations so the Profession can continue to play its central role in building Understanding, enable Dialogue and “creating a more connected and compassionate World”.

 

Credit NCC PR

16-Jul-2024 FG distributes 20 Trucks of Rice to each State, FCT to fight hunger

FG distributes 20 Trucks of Rice to each State, FCT to fight hunger

Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, says the Federal Government is taking additional Measures to ensure that the hardship experienced by Nigerians is drastically reduced.

The Minister said this while briefing State House Correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) Meeting on Monday.

He said the Council deliberated on the State of Affairs of the Country, especially the shortage of Food.

He said the Council took note of some of the complaints by Nigerians in terms of Transportation, Food Prices or Food shortages in many Homes around the Country.

“After exhaustive deliberation, the Minister of Agriculture was directed to ensure that Food is made available to Nigerians.

“And the understanding is that about 20 Trucks of Rice have already been supplied to each of the States of the Federation, including the Federal Capital Territory.

“Each of the Trucks of course is carrying about 1,200 25kg Bags of Rice,” said Idris.

He explained that this was part of the Measures the Government was taking, in addition to so many others, to ensure that the hardship experienced by Nigerians was drastically reduced.

“This is a first step and the Federal Government will continue to support all the State Governors and Local Governments, so that the hardship being experienced by most Nigerians in terms of shortage of Food Supply is reduced.

“It is expected that the State Governors will distribute the Food Items to the Most Vulnerable so that the hardship will be brought down significantly,” he said.

The Minister said the Distribution of Food Items was in addition to the effort that Government was making in terms of Fertiliser Supply.

“Recall that the Central Bank of Nigeria had earlier made available over 2.1 million Bags of assorted Fertiliser to the Ministry of Agriculture for onward distribution to the States. So that is also in progress,” he said.

On Transportation, the Minister said the Council directed the Presidential Committee on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), to expedite its Activities to supply Buses and make Conversion Kits available at affordable Costs to Nigerians.

“Already, they have started but the Council asked them to redouble their efforts so that Conversion Kits that we need for the CNG Initiative will be made available.

“Also, the Conversion Centres that have earlier been approved will also be significantly upgraded so that Nigerians will have more Conversion Centres,” said the Minister.

According to him, the Federal Government has directed that the compliance level of CNG should go up to reduce over reliance of Nigerians on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).

He said this would in turn aid the Transition from Fossil Fuel to Renewable Energy.

“Now, you are also aware that last week, the National Labour Congress met the President. This of course was part of the consultation that the President has agreed to carry out.

“Recall that he had met the Organised Private Sector (OPS). He had also met Sub-Nationals after the Tripartite Committee on Minimum Wage had submitted its Report,” he said.

He explained that the consultation was to ensure that there was a thorough analysis of the situation, so that Government would come up with a Minimum Wage that worked for all Nigerians.

Idris said the Federal Government had also directed the Ministry of Budgets to come up with additional support for the 2024 Budget.

He said this was to cover any differential or gaps in the 2024 Budget that was approved.

 

Credit NAN: Texts excluding Headline

15-Jul-2024 Samoa Agreement: FG takes Daily Trust Newspapers to the Ombudsman

Samoa Agreement: FG takes Daily Trust Newspapers to the Ombudsman

The Federal Government has dragged Daily Trust Newspapers before the National Media Complaints Commission (NMCC), otherwise known as the Ombudsman, over its story on the Samoa Agreement.

A Statement by NMCC has acknowledged receipt of the Federal Government’s complaint and added that Investigation into the Matter had commenced.

The Statement was signed by Emeka Izeze and Feyi Smith, Chairman and Interim Secretary of NMCC, respectively.

It said that the Federal Government’s Complaint, dated July 8, was signed by Ngozi Onwudiwe, Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation, on behalf of the Minister, Mohammed Idris.

The Government, according to the Statement, alleged that on July 4, 2024, the Newspaper published an Article “containing false and misleading Information that severely threatens National Security”.

The Statement said that in the Complaint, the Government alleged that “on July 4, 2024, the Newspaper published on its Front Page, a News Item titled ‘LGBT: Nigeria Signs $150bn Samoa Deal”.

“In the Report, it said that the Government had endorsed a European Union (EU) Partnership Agreement (referred to as the “Samoa Agreement”), with Member States of the Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS).

It said that the Agreement was signed “despite some Conditional Clauses that compel benefiting Nations to support the Agitations by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Community for recognition”.

The Government, according to the Statement, described the Report as “false and misleading”.

It quoted the Government as saying that, as a result of the alleged false Report, “Individuals and Government Officials have been subjected to Hate Speech, Threats, Intimidation, and Cyberbullying across Social Media”.

According to the Statement, the Government is, therefore, asking the NMCC to intervene in the Matter and, among other things, carry out a thorough Investigation of the alleged misleading Publication.

It also urged the Ombudsman to direct the Newspaper’s Management to publicly retract and correct the alleged false Information, with equal prominence as the original Article.

It also urged the NMCC to direct the Newspaper’s Management to issue an unequivocal Apology for “allegedly recklessly disseminating false Information and implement stricter Editorial Guidelines to prevent a repeat of such alleged unwholesome Report by any Newspaper in the future”.

The NMCC said it had sent a formal Acknowledgment Letter, dated July 10, and signed by its Interim Secretary, Feyi Smith, to the Ministry, informing it that the Complaint was receiving the attention of the Commission.

It said that the outcome would be duly communicated to the Government.

“The Management of Daily Trust will be contacted shortly for its response.

“As an Independent Media Regulatory Body, it is our Duty to promote Media adherence to the highest Standards of Professionalism and Ethical Conduct.

“We are also expected to ensure that the Media operate in a free and unfettered Environment,” the Commission said.

It said that in accordance with the Mandate and its established Procedures, it had commenced an Investigation into the Government’s allegations.

“We assure the Public that our Inquiry will be thorough and impartial.

“We look forward to receiving the full cooperation of all Parties involved and pledge to continue to ensure transparency throughout this Process,” it said.

The NMCC is an Independent, Multi-Stakeholder Co-Regulatory Body.

It was established by the Nigerian Press Organisation (NPO), made up of the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), and the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).

It works in collaboration with the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP) and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON).

The NMCC is tasked with providing the Public with an Independent Forum for resolving Complaints about the Press, resolving all Complaints quickly, fairly and free of charge.

It is expected to do so, maintaining High Standards of Journalism Practice, Journalistic Ethics and defending the Freedom of the Press and the Rights of the People to know.

 

Credit NAN: Texts excluding Headline

13-Jul-2024 FEC did not cancel inherited Road Projects, says Minister

FEC did not cancel inherited Road Projects, says Minister

The Minister of Works, David Umahi has debunked rumours in the Media claiming that the Federal Executive Council (FEC), stepped down inherited Road Projects.

Umahi during a meeting with Contractors in Abuja ,said that such Information was misleading adding that neither President Bola Tinubu nor FEC gave that Directive.

He said that the Ministry was only directed by the President to review all Projects in the Country to decide those that would be given priority based on availability of Funds.

Umahi said, “Some of these Projects were awarded 18 years ago, some 10 years ago, others five years ago.

“On the issue of new Projects, if we have Appropriation that has not been completed, at least, one kilometer, we are not going to carry out such Appropriation.

“That is what FEC is concerned about. We can’t have N500m on Budget but Procurement is supposed to be N50bn or N100bn and you go ahead to award such a Project. We have been directed not to do so.”

Umahi reiterated the determination of the Federal Government in bringing Funding and Budgeting Innovations that would fast-track Road Infrastructure Development Nationwide.

He said that FEC had directed the Ministry of Works to work with the Federal Ministries of Finance, Budget and National Planning to put forward proper Budgetary Estimates.

This ,he said ,was for the 2025 Financial Year for Projects that were not appropriately budgeted for but have attained probably 80 per cent completion so that such Projects would be completed and delivered.

He however, said that Projects with huge Procurement Costs with little Appropriation and with little completion milestones would be reviewed in line with Section 51 of the Special Conditions of Contracts.

“On Issues of Variation on Price (VOP), all Projects we awarded in 2024 will not attract any VOP.

“We have made it as a Policy that such Projects can not get any variation.

“However, within the course of the year and the Project Execution, if there are Issues changing the basic Market Prices of Construction Materials to a certain extent, we will revisit the issue of VOP and it will not be selective,” Umahi said.

The Minister assured Contractors of the Federal Government’s willingness to engage in Contract Review and Cost Augmentation on the inherited ongoing Projects.

This is in view of the geometric rise in Cost of Contract Elements caused by the inherited challenging Economy.

He said this would however be subject to Funds availability.

Umahi said that the decision for windows to review and augment the Cost of inherited ongoing Projects was borne out of the President’s magnanimity and commitment to completing all inherited Projects.

He added, “The President promised to look for ways to fund the Projects, even outside the Budgetary Provisions, through the National Assembly.

“What we are doing now is to review the Projects in line with availability of Funds and make a Proposal to FEC.

“If such a Project has attained about 80 per cent completion, then we will make a Proposal to FEC that in subsequent Appropriation, money should be made available, and such Projects should be made a Priority, so that it could be completed.”

Umahi directed that Contractors working on Projects with dualisation should as a matter of Policy concentrate and first complete one Carriageway and turn it over for Public Use before working on the other lane.

 

Credit NAN: Texts excluding Headline

13-Jul-2024 Tinubu to NDDC: Change your approach to transform the Niger Delta Region

Tinubu to NDDC: Change your approach to transform the Niger Delta Region

President Bola Tinubu says plans are underway to complete the Rehabilitation of the East West Road connecting Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom States.

Tinubu said this at the end of a Three-Day Stakeholders Summit, organised by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in Port Harcourt.

Represented by the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, Tinubu said that his Administration was supporting NDDC to deliver his Renewed Hope Agenda for the Niger Delta People.

“The NDDC Board will work to deliver my Renewed Hope Agenda, ranging from Food Security, Poverty Alleviation, Inclusivity, Job Creation, Anti-Corruption and Rule of Law, among others.

“I am aware of the many complaints about NDDC but I assure you that this time around we will change the Narrative for the benefit of the Niger Delta People,” he said.

The President emphasised the need for the Commission to change its approach in order to transform the Region.

“Therefore, we must be committed on how the Zone can be transformed in line with my Agenda for Sustainable Development of the Region.

“I am committed to ensuring the development of the Region and ensure that the East West Road would be tackled,” Tinubu said.

Akpabio, speaking as the Senate President, said that Tinubu had authorised NDDC to secure a N1trn Loan to complete all abandoned Projects in the Region.

He said that the President had also gave assurance that the Lagos to Calabar Coastal Highway Project would commence simultaneously from both States.

“The National Assembly is satisfied with what NDDC Management and Board is doing, and so, we will do everything possible to ensure that the East West Road is completed within our Tenure.

“It is no longer going to be the lack of Fund but a question of committing to spending NDDC Funds only in the Niger Delta,” he said.

The Chairman of the Summit and former President, Goodluck Jonathan, said that the NDDC was set up to provide Infrastructure, improve the Environment and enhance Livelihoods.

He said that the NDDC deviated from its purpose of developing the Niger Delta after the Tenures of its former Chairman of Board, Onyema Ugochukwu, and Managing Director, Timi Alaibe.

“Politicians took over the NDDC and its progress slowed down. People no longer felt the impact of the Commission.

“But since the inception of this Leadership, People of the Niger Delta have seen some light.

“I encourage the Political Class not to overstretch the NDDC Management and Board, so that they can perform the Mandate given to them,” he said.

The former President urged the Commission to focus on completing the scores of abandoned Projects scattered across the nine NDDC States.

Earlier, Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa appealed to the Federal Government to act quickly to end the sufferings of Commuters at the Okogbe Axis of the East West Road in Rivers.

He said the Trip to Port Harcourt for the Stakeholders’ Summit, which was expected to take one hour by road, ended up taking about four hours.

“It is chaotic, pathetic and unbelievable that this is happening to an Oil-Producing Area that lays the Golden Egg for our Country.

“The National Assembly should make the Issue of the uncompleted East West Road a matter of National Priority on the Floor of the National Legislature,” he said.

The Minister of Niger Delta, Abubakar Momoh, said that the Niger Delta Region must diversify to reduce the reliance on Fossil Fuel.

Commenting on the condition of the East West Road, he said that NDDC had engaged a Construction Firm to carry out some Remedial Work to reduce the hardship faced by Road Users.

Asuquo Ekpenyong, the Chairman, Senate Committee on NDDC, assured that the Committee would continue to work closely with the Commission to meet the yearnings of the People.

“Things are now looking different because for the first time in several years, NDDC will be working with a Budget approved by the National Assembly,” he revealed.

The former Governor of Cross River, Donald Duke, urged Collaboration between NDDC and State Governors to address several Issues plaguing the Region.

Duke said that close Collaboration between the Commission and Governors of the Niger Delta Region would help to end the existing conflicts over Project Ownership and Duplication.

The NDDC Managing Director, Samuel Ogbuku, assured Participants at the Summit that their Recommendations would be adopted to change the fortunes of the Region.

Notable dignitaries at the well-attended Summit include Governors Hope Uzodimma of  Imo and Alex Otti of Abia, represented by their Deputies.

Governor Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom, was also represented by his Deputy, while the Host Governor, Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers, was represented by the State Head of Service, George Nwaeke.

The Chief of Defence Staff, Christopher Musa, spoke on the need for Sustainable Peace and Security in the Niger Delta Region.

According to him, the Army has been working tirelessly to restore permanent Peace and Security in the Area.

 

Credit NAN: Texts excluding Headline

13-Jul-2024 LG Autonomy: Why we went to Court - Tinubu

LG Autonomy: Why we went to Court - Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu has welcomed the decision of the Supreme Court affirming the spirit, intent and purpose of the 1999 Constitution on the Statutory Rights of Local Governments.

Ajuri Ngelale, the President’s Spokesman, in a Statement, said Tinubu noted that a fundamental challenge to the Nation’s Advancement over the years had been, ineffective Local Government Administration,

According to the President, Governance at the Critical Cellular Level of Socio-Political Configuration was nearly absent.

Tinubu emphasised that the onus was now on Local Council Leaders to ensure that the broad spectrum of Nigerians living at that Level are satisfied that they are benefitting from People-oriented Service Delivery.

“The Renewed Hope Agenda is about the People of this Country, at all Levels, irrespective of Faith, Tribe, Gender, Political Affiliation, or any other artificial line they say exists between us.

“This Country belongs to all of us. By virtue of this Judgement, our People – especially the Poor – will be able to hold their Local Leaders to account for their Actions and Inactions.

“What is sent to Local Government Accounts will be known, and Services must now be provided without excuses,” he said.

The President said his Administration instituted the Suit because of its unwavering belief that Nigerians must have relief and the Judgement would ensure that it would be only those Local Officials Elected by the People that would control the Resources of the People

“This Judgement stands as a resounding affirmation that we can use legitimate means of redress to restructure our Country and restructure our Economy to make Nigeria a better place to live in and a fairer Society for all of our People,” Tinubu’ said.

He noted that the provision of some Essential Amenities and Public Goods, such as the construction and maintenance of certain Roads, Streets, Street Lighting, Drains, Parks, Gardens, Open Spaces, and other Residual Responsibilities, including Community Security, had tottered owing to the emasculation of Local Governments.

The President affirmed that the decision of the Apex Court to uphold the Constitutional Rights and Ideals of Local Governments as regards Financial Autonomy, and other salient Principles, was of historic significance.

He said, it further reinforced the effort to enhance Nigeria’s true Federal fabric for the development of the entire Nation.

Tinubu commended the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi for his diligence and patriotic effort on the important Assignment.

He assured that his Administration remained committed to protecting the Principles of the Charter, governing Citizens, Institutions of Government, Arms, and Tiers of Government, in furtherance of building an efficient and performance-driven Governance System that will work for every Nigerian.

 

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12-Jul-2024 Supreme Court stops payment of LG Allocations to State Governments

Supreme Court stops payment of LG Allocations to State Governments

The Supreme Court on Thursday held that henceforth, all Local Government Area Allocations should be paid directly into their Accounts.

Justice Emmanuel Agim, who led a Seven-Member Panel of Justices of the Apex Court, gave the Order while delivering Judgment in a Suit filed by the Federal Government against the 36 State Governors.

“Henceforth, no more payment of the Local Government Area Allocations to the State Government Accounts,” the Judge held.

The Court also barred the 36 Governors from receiving, tampering or withhold Funds meant for the Local Government

The Governors were also barred from henceforth dissolving Democratically elected Officials for Local Governments and that doing so would amount to a breach of the 1999 Constitution.

The Court agreed with the Attorney General of the Federationn, Lateef Fgebemi, that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria recognised Local Governments as the Third Tier of Government.

The Justices also agreed with him that some State Governors have in the past two Decades been using Nigeria’s Constitution to perpetrate Unconstitutional Acts.

The Argument of Fagbemi that the Constitution permitted Governors to receive money on behalf of Local Governments but did not permit them to spend such money on their behalf was upheld.

Among others, the Apex Court ordered the Federation Account to withhold Funds of Local Governments where Democratically Elected Officials are not in place.

It also barred the Governors, their Agents and Privies from embarking on dissolution of Democratically Elected Officials at the Local Governments Level.

According to the Justices, the Constitution did not make Local Governments Appendages of the State and that no Tier of Government should be subordinate to another.

Agim held that States were not subordinate to the Federal just as Local Governments should not be subservient to the States.

In all, all the request of the Federal Government were granted in line with the Provisions of the 1999 Constitution and as canvassed by the Justice Minister.

Fagbemi had on May 24 this year on behalf of the Federal Government dragged the 36 Governors before the Supreme Court over alleged misconduct in the running of Affairs of Local Governments in the Country.

The Attorney General instituted the Court Action against the Governors primarily seeking full Autonomy for Local Governments as Third Tiers of Government in the Country.

In the Suit marked SC/CV/343/2024, the AGF had prayed the Apex Court for an Order prohibiting State Governors from unilateral, arbitrary and unlawful dissolution of Democratically Elected Local Government Leaders for Local Governments..

In the Originating Summons, Fagbemi also prayed the Supreme Court for an Order permitting the Funds standing in the Credits of Local Governments to be directly channelled to them from the Federation Account in line with the Provisions of the Constitution as against the alleged unlawful Joint Accounts created by Governors.

He also sought Order of the Apex Court stopping Governors from constituting Caretaker Committees to run the Affairs of Local Governments as against the Constitutionally recognised and guaranteed Democratically System.

Besides, the AGF applied for an Order of Injunction restraining the Governors, their Agents and Privies from receiving, spending or tampering with Funds released from the Federation Account for the benefits of Local Governments when no Democratically Elected Local Government System is put in place in the States.

The Governors who were sued through their respective State Attorneys General, demanded dismissal of the Suit on the ground that the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction to adjudicate in the Matter and that the Suit did not disclose any reasonable cause of action against them.

The request for dismissal was however rejected by the Justices for being frivolous vexatious and lacking in merit.

The Suit is predicted on 27 Grounds among which are that the Nigeria Federation is a creation of the 1999 Constitution with President as Head of the Federal Executive arm of the Federation and has sworn to uphold and give effects to the provisions of the Constitution.

That the Governors represent the component States of the Federation with Executive Governors who have also sworn to uphold the Constitution and to at all times, give effects to the Constitution and that the Constitution, being the Supreme Law, has binding force all over the Federation of Nigeria.

That the Constitution of Nigeria recognises Federal, States and Local Governments as Three Tiers of Government and that the three recognised Tiers of Government draw Funds for their Operation and Functioning from the Federation Account created by the Constitution.

That by the Provisions of the Constitution, there must be a Democratically Elected Local Government System and that the Constitution has not made Provisions for any other Systems of Governance at the Local Government Level other than Democratically Elected Local Government System.

That in the face of the clear Provisions of the Constitution, the Governors have failed and refused to put in place a Democratically Elected Local Government System even where no State of Emergency has been declared to warrant the suspension of Democratic Institutions in the State.

That the failure of the Governors to put Democratically Elected Local Government System in place, is a deliberate subversion of the 1999 Constitution which they and the President have sworn to uphold.

That all efforts to make the Governors comply with the Dictates of the 1999 Constitution in terms of putting in place, a Democratically Elected Local Government System, has not yielded any result and that to continue to disburse Funds from the Federation Account to Governors for non existing Democratically Elected Local Government is to undermine the Sanctity of the 1999 Constitution.

That in the face of the violations of the 1999 Constitution, the Federal Government is not obligated under section 162 of the Constitution to pay any State, Funds standing to the Credit of Local Governments where no Democratically Elected Local Government is in place.

Fagbemi therefore asked the Apex Court to invoke sections 1, 4, 5, 7 and 14 of the Constitution to declare that the State Governors and State Houses of Assembly are under obligation to ensure Democratically System at the Third Tier of Government in Nigeria and to also invoke the same Sections to hold that the Governors cannot lawfully dissolve Democratically Elected Local Government Councils.

The AGF also prayed for invocation of Sections 1, 4, 5, 7 and 14 of the Constitution to declare that dissolution of Democratically Elected Local Government Councils by the Governors or anyone using the State Powers derivable from Laws enacted by the State Houses of Assembly or any Executive Order is Unlawful, Unconstitutional, null and void.

 

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12-Jul-2024 Tinubu's Meeting with Labour not Negotiation on new Minimum Wage, says Minister

Tinubu's Meeting with Labour not Negotiation on new Minimum Wage, says Minister

President Bola Tinubu on Thursday held consultations with the Organised Labour in furtherance of his Engagements with Critical Stakeholders toward arriving at a new National Minimum Wage.

Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, disclosed this while briefing State House Correspondents at the end of the Meeting on Thursday in Abuja.

Onyejeocha said: “the Meeting was a conversation between a Father and his Children, and not a Negotiation on the new National Minimum Wage.”

Also speaking, President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero, said there was no discussion in terms of what the new National Minimum Wage would be, and that the Status Quo remained.

“We didn’t discuss figures.

“The Status Quo remains, the Federal Government stands on N62,000 while labour is sticking to N250,000.

“We will be back after one week to continue the discussion,” Ajaero said.

President-General of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Festus Osifo, also said Labour presented the Issues bothering Nigerians to the President as part of his consultations toward arriving at a new Minimum Wage.

Osifo said the Meeting was an opportunity for Labour to let the President know how the Economic difficulties and the Value of the Naira have affected the Prices of Goods in the Market.

“We are all aware of what is happening in the Country, how the high Cost of Living has impacted the Ordinary Nigerians and Workers.

“So, it was necessary to let the President know the exact situation of things in the Country,” Osifo said. 

 

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12-Jul-2024 Minimum Wage: Cut your Coat according to available Cloth, Tinubu tells Organised Labour

Minimum Wage: Cut your Coat according to available Cloth, Tinubu tells Organised Labour

President Bola Tinubu says Nigerian Workers, as the driving force of the Nation, deserve improved Welfare, better Wages, as well as safe and enhanced Working Conditions.

The President stated this on Thursday in Abuja, while speaking with the Leadership of the Organised Labour led by the Presidents of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress  (TUC), Joe Ajaero and Festus Osifo, respectively.

Tinubu said he was concerned about the Welfare of Nigerian Workers and his Administration was prioritising their concerns.

“I pay attention to everything around me. A happy Worker is a Productive Worker, and  Society depends on the Productivity of the happy Worker,” the President said.

He, however, called for realistic expectations as regards the Minimum Wage question.

“You have to cut your Coat according to available Cloth. Before we can finalise on the Minimum Wage Process, we have to look at the Structure.

“Why must we adjust Wages every five years? Why not two or three years? What is a problem today, can be eased up tomorrow.

“There is much dynamism to this Process if we are not myopic in our approaches. We can take a surgical approach that is based on pragmatism and a deep understanding of all factors,” he said 

Ajaero emphasised the need for an upward adjustment to the Minimum Wage, noting: “Between Living Wage and Minimum Wage, we need to find a balance. Things are difficult for the Nigerian Worker.”

He congratulated the President on the Judgment of the Supreme Court affirming the Constitutional Rights of Local Governments as regards Financial Autonomy and other salient Principles.

“I have to congratulate you on the Issue of Local Government Autonomy. We have been on the Streets protesting for Local Government Autonomy. Now that there is light at the end of the tunnel, it will amount to ungratefulness if we fail to commend you.”

For his part, Osifo said Inflation had adversely affected the Value of the Naira and that the Measures initiated by the Government to address the rising Cost of Food and Transportation needed to kick in, to give Citizens relief.

He said the rollout of Compressed Natural Gas-powered Buses would help in checking the high Cost of Transportation, while the recent directive on the suspension of Duty on certain Food Imports would bring down the Prices of Food Items, if properly implemented.

“We commend you on the landmark Judgment of the Supreme Court. History will not forget what has happened today. 

“With this Judgement, we believe Nigeria will make progress,” the TUC President said.

 

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11-Jul-2024 ECOWAS Court to Nigeria: Pay #EndSARS’ Victims N2m Compensation each

ECOWAS Court to Nigeria: Pay #EndSARS’ Victims N2m Compensation each

The ECOWAS Court of Justice, on Wednesday, ordered Nigeria to pay N2m each to some Victims of the October 2020 #EndSARS Protests in Lagos.

The Protests were organised by Citizens against SARS, a Unit of the Nigerian Police Force at Lekki, Lagos, over its alleged brutality of Citizens.

Delivering Judgment, Justice Sengu Koroma, the Judge Rapporteur, held that Nigeria must pay each Applicant N2m as Compensation for violation of their 'Rights to Security of Person.’

The Court also ordered that Nigeria should pay the Victims the amount as Compensation for ‘violation of their Rights to Prohibition of Torture and Cruel, Inhuman, Degrading Treatment, Rights to Freedom of Expression.’

Other Grounds of the Compensation as ordered by the Court include violation of their ‘Rights to Assembly, and Association, failure of duty to investigate Human Rights Violations, and Right to Effective Remedy.’

The Court also ordered that Nigeria must adhere to its Obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, ACHPR, investigate and prosecute its Agents, who were responsible for the violations.

The Court further ordered that Nigerian Government must report to the Court within six months on the Measures taken to implement the Judgment.

Justice Koroma further held that Nigeria breached Articles 1, 4, 6, 9, 10, and 11 of the ACHPR.

The Law specifies  the ‘Right to Life, Security of Person, Freedom of Expression, Assembly and Association, Prohibition of Torture, Duty of the State to Investigate, and the Right to Effective Remedy.

According to the Court, there is, however, no violation of the Applicants’ Right to LIFE, adding that the Applicants filed their Claims in vitam.

It said that several Articles of the ACHPR were breached by the Nigerian Government, which culminated in the fundamental breaches of Human Rights Violation therein.

The Court declared that the Applicants were denied the Right to ‘Effective, Immediate Remedy,’ and ordered that the Respondent make Reparations to the Applicants for the violation of their Fundamental Human Rights.

Also on the Three-Member Panel were Justices Dupe Atoki, Presiding, and Ricardo Claúdio Gonçalves.

The Applicants, Obianuju Catherine Udeh, Perpetual Kamsi and Dabiraoluwa Adeyinka, had alleged that the violations occurred during the Peaceful Protests at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos State between October 20 and October 21, 2020.

The Protests, which were triggered by the alleged killing of Daniel Chibuike, aimed to address SARS’ incessant harassment and brutality.

The First Applicant’s Claims include that the Soldiers shot Protesters, resulting in deaths and injuries, which she live-streamed, and subsequently received threatening Phone Calls that forced her into hiding and eventual Asylum.

The Second Applicant, responsible for Protesters’ Welfare, had alleged that Soldiers began shooting after a Power Cut, leading to her hospitalisation due to Police Tear Gas.

The Third Applicant recounted narrowly escaping being shot, observing the refusal of Ambulance entry by Soldiers, and later witnessing inadequate Hospital Care for Victims.

She argued that she and her Colleagues took over the victims’ care, and she faced ongoing threats and surveillance, believed to be by Respondent’s Agents.

The Applicants had sought Declaratory Reliefs and Compensation from the Court for the alleged violations.

Responding, however, Nigeria had through its Counsel, denied all the Claims made by the Applicants, and argued that the Protesters unlawfully assembled at Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020, under the guise of protesting against SARS.

The Respondent also maintained that its Agents followed strict Rules of Engagement and did not shoot or kill Protesters.

It argued that the First Applicant incited the Crowd by playing Music and using her Instagram Page to stir disaffection against Law Enforcement, which was targeting Escapee Members of Boko Haram and Bandits.

The Respondent contended that the Second Applicant’s provision of Logistics and Welfare support indicated her support for the violent Protest.

It claimed that Soldiers were present to restore Peace until the Police arrived, denying any harm inflicted on Protesters and the refusal of Ambulance access.

The Respondent also denied that the Third Applicant’s presence was peaceful, asserting it was meant to escalate violence.

It argued that the treatment and care of the injured were managed by the Lagos State government, and submitted that the Applicants did not provide credible evidence to support their Claims, or the Reliefs sought. 

 

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09-Jul-2024 Wike is 'Rivers Enemy' vehemently against me, says Fubara

Wike is 'Rivers Enemy' vehemently against me, says Fubara

Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers, has expressed surprise at the prolonged silence of the Nigerian Police Force over the attempted detonation of Explosive Device beside the Presidential Hotel.
Fubara disclosed this after swearing in Emmanuel Frank-Fubara as the new Commissioner for Finance at the Government House in Port Harcourt.
Fubara noted that the Explosive Device was detonated by some Protesters demanding Elongation of Tenure of former Chairmen of Local Government Councils in Rivers.
The Governor maintained that if such was done by Supporters linked to him, Terrorism Charges would have been slammed on them swiftly without delay.
Fubara insisted that Rivers State with the current Political Crisis had one Enemy who vehemently opposed the current Administration, with others making frenetic efforts to sink the State.
Fubara recalled several Prayers upheld by his Predecessors, FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, that Rivers State was dedicated to God, and those who fought it would continue to experience inexplicable trouble and defeat.
Fubara said, “I am wondering after how many weeks now, the Nigeria Police is still not able to come out and make a Statement about the attempt by the Man that tried to detonate a Dynamite in front of Presidential Hotel, Port Harcourt.
“I am still wondering why it has not happened, but maybe, if it was any other thing that has to do with us, they would have charged the Person for Terrorism.
“But, you see, this God that I serve, we are serving genuinely. This God that Rivers State has been dedicated to by our Predecessors, because when they make Statements, they say: Rivers State belongs to God; and that is the God that is saving and lifting us,” Fubara stated.
The Governor pointed out that his Administration was satisfied with the Rivers State House of Assembly led by Victor Oko-Jumbo, saying that they were duly recognised by Law to carry on with its Legislative Duties.
Fubara charged the newly sworn-in Commissioner not to disappoint the confidence reposed in him.
He also urged him to use the Opportunity to touch Lives, while making the State proud with the quality of Service he would render.
According to him, it doesn’t matter how long or short I have known him. But within the short period of knowing him, he has proven himself to be a Gentleman.
Fubara promised that his Administration would continue to offer Services and deliver quality Development Projects that would truly advance the State on a progressive pedestal that will also translate to quality Living for the People.
“By the special grace of God, when we leave, there should be genuine positive things that People will see and say, yes, this Government meant well for the Good People of Rivers,” he added.
 
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08-Jul-2024 Tinubu seeks ECOWAS Standby Force for Security

Tinubu seeks ECOWAS Standby Force for Security

President Bola Tinubu has called on Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS to work toward the establishment of a Regional Standby Force for the Security and Economic Advancement of the Community.

He made the call during the opening of the 65th Ordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government on Sunday, in Abuja.

Tinubu, who is the Chairman of the Regional Bloc, also highlighted the expediency of a Standby Force in the face of growing Security threats.

”The Regional Action Plan against Terrorism has enhanced Cooperation on Training, Intelligence Sharing, and Humanitarian Interventions.

”In addition to this, the Ministers of Finance and Defence met recently in Abuja to raise Funds for activating the ECOWAS Standby Force to boost Counter-Terrorism efforts.

”Member Countries are also displaying their commitment to combating Insecurity by individually increasing their Defence Budgets in order to acquire necessary Equipment and ensure preparedness,” the President said.

He urged Member States to commit more to providing the needed Resources for securing the Region.

”Let me underscore that a Peaceful and Secure Society is essential for achieving our potential.

”As we move to operationalise the ECOWAS Standby Force (ESF) in combating Terrorism, I must emphasise that the success of this Plan requires not only strong Political Will but also substantial Financial Resources.

”We must, therefore, ensure that we meet the Expectations and Recommendations set forth by our Ministers of Defence and Finance, in order to counter Insecurity and stabilise our Region,” the President added.

Tinubu advised ECOWAS Leaders to leverage the Capabilities of Nigeria’s National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC), which has been widely acknowledged as one of the best on the Continent.

The President said his Government had decided to make the NCTC a Regional Centre to enable all ECOWAS Member States to benefit from Capacity Building and other related Opportunities it offers.

He also advised the Management of ECOWAS to re-align and reposition its Priorities by reducing Overheads and setting up In-Country Steering Committees.

”Difficult Economic Conditions and inconsistent payment of Financial Commitments to ECOWAS have contributed to the current plight.

”To ensure ECOWAS has adequate Resources for its Programmes and Activities, I urge all Member States to ensure full compliance with the Protocol on the Community Levy.

”Nigeria, under my Leadership, is committed to leading by example in remitting its Collected Levies to the Organisation,” he said.

He added that the ECOWAS Management must also reduce its Overhead Expenditures and focus on Programmes and Activities that directly impact the Lives of Citizens of the Region.

”I am aware of the Progress Report on the implementation of the ECOWAS Institutional Reforms.

”I, therefore, call on the President of the ECOWAS Commission to resume and expedite the conclusion of the Second Phase of the Institutional Reforms, aimed at reducing the Organisation’s Operational Costs,” Tinubu said.

He also welcomed a new Member of the Authority, Senegalese President, Bassirou Faye.

”Allow me to further extend warm congratulations to the Government and People of the Republic of Senegal for their steadfastness in the consolidation of Democratic Governance.

”Their recently concluded Presidential Election has been widely adjudged as free, fair, transparent, and credible.

”This achievement is a testament to our Region’s commitment to the Principles of Democracy, Good Governance, and Rule of Law,” the President stated.

Tinubu said the 65th Session would review the concerns in the Region, adding: ”We are aware of the enormous challenges, including Terrorist Activities and Violent Extremism threatening to spread from the Sahel Region towards the Coastal States.

”The Political Landscape still remains fragile in some Member States, especially those that witnessed Unconstitutional Changes of Government.”

While calling for unity within the Community, the President emphasised that to elevate the People from poverty to prosperity, ECOWAS must develop Innovative Approaches to unleash the Region’s vast Economic Potential.

”We must continue to identify and develop Partnerships that promote Investment in Key Sectors and promote Regional Trade.

”Furthermore, we must invest in our Infrastructure and cultivate a Conducive Business Environment to empower our Communities to stimulate growth and build resilience against external shocks.

”Together, we can pave the way for a prosperous future for all of West Africa,” the President said.

In his Remarks, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Omar Alieu Touray, thanked President Tinubu for his purposeful Leadership, affirming that ECOWAS should not be defined by Conflicts, Elections, and Coup d’états, but by Development.

Touray said the exiting of ECOWAS by Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger would affect Citizens of the Countries, and other ECOWAS Countries, following the need for Visas, and the Review of all Trade and Development Agreements, including ongoing ECOWAS Projects in those Countries.

 

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08-Jul-2024 ASUU: No Strike at hand if...

ASUU: No Strike at hand if...

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said that Strike is not imminent, if the Federal Government implements the Agreements reached, in the next two weeks.

Emmanuel Osodeke, President of ASUU said this on Monday.

It would be recalled that ASUU had threatened to embark on Strike over the non-implementation of Agreements reached with the Federal Government.

The Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman had on June 26, invited the Union for a Meeting to deliberate on the lingering Issues affecting Universities and to avert the planned Strike.

Osodeke said none of the Agreements reached with the Federal Government had been implemented.

“At the Meeting called by the Minister of Education, we agreed that after two weeks, we will meet to see the progress the Government has made.

“We will also see what we will do next, if Government fail to implement the Agreements reached.

“The Meeting in the next two weeks is to see what they have done which will inform our decision,” he said.

The ASUU President said some of the demands include, the non implementation of the 2009 Re-Negotiated Agreements.

He said the Agreements had lingered for over six years and Government was yet to implement them.

Osodeke said the Academic Allowances due to their Members had also accumulated for over six years and nothing had been done about it

On the issue of Revitalisation Fund, he said they agreed on the NEEDs Assessment Report to raise N200bn yearly, for five years.

“Since 2013, only one has been paid. We need Revitalisation Fund to upgrade our Universities to standard, so that we can be having Students and Lecturers from outside the Country,” he said.

Oshodeke added that the Government was yet to stop the proliferation of Universities adding that many new Universities were being approved without Fund to run them.

He said the Government was also yet to exit the University Salary Payment from Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System!(IPPIS) as approved by the Federal Executive Council in January

He said their Members were still being paid by IPPIS against the Directive by the FEC. 

 

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08-Jul-2024 ECOWAS re-elects Tinubu Chairman

ECOWAS re-elects Tinubu Chairman

President Bola Tinubu has been re-elected Chairman of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government.

The President’s Mandate was extended at the 65th Ordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, on Sunday in Abuja.

This followed the decision of the Leaders to ensure continuity and consistency in meeting Targets on Security, Reconciliation, and Development.

President Tinubu was first elected to the Position in Guinea-Bissau on July 9, 2023.

In his Acceptance Speech, the President said he would focus on consolidating the Values of Democracy and upholding the interest of the Regional Body, which would clock 50 years in 2025.

The Chairman of ECOWAS appointed the President of Senegal, Bassirou Faye, and the President of Togo, His Excellency, Faure Gnassingbé, as Special Envoys to Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger Republic.

“I have appointed the President of Senegal, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, to please become our Special Envoy to Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger Republic, along with the President of Togo, Faure Gnassingbé, to do around the clock work with our Brothers in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger Republic, and to coordinate with me and the ECOWAS Commission, where necessary.

“I have accepted to continue the Service to the great Members and the great Minds that are committed to Democratic Values and our journey in the Region.

“I will continue to serve our Interest and build on Democratic Values and the Structure that we inherited. Thank you very much,’’ the President said.

Tinubu had earlier called on Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS to work towards the establishment and sustenance of a Regional Standby Force for the Security and Economic Advancement of the Community.

The President emphasised the expediency of a Standby Force in the face of growing Security threats in the Region. 

 

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07-Jul-2024 Live up to expectation, Tinubu warns Public Servants

Live up to expectation, Tinubu warns Public Servants

President Bola Tinubu has implored Public Servants to live up to expectation by upholding Public Trust where they must all be accountable to the Citizens.

Tinubu, represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima, made the call on Saturday at the Nigeria Excellence Awards in Public Service (NEAPS) Ceremony held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He restated his Administration’s determination to creating an Environment where merit was rewarded, and where every Public Servant felt valued and motivated to give their best.

Tinubu urged them to always be guided by the fact that the Nation’s Public Institutions were not Personal Enterprises, and that, as Public Servants, they were Employees of the Nigerian People.

He said the Event was not just about the Awards Ceremony, but about embedding a Culture of Recognition and Reward in the ethos of the Country’s Public Service.

Tinubu noted that some loopholes were still being exploited by those saddled with the Nation’s Trust despite the Institutional Measures put in place to prevent any form of irregularities in the Public Service.

“More than ever, our Public Service must live up to its expectation as a Public Trust where every Official must account to the People, and ours is to create an Ecosystem where they not only stand out but stand apart from those who sabotage us.

“Even though we have set in place Institutional Measures to forestall any form of dysfunction in our Public Service, there are still cracks often exploited by those given the Trust of the Nation.

“But what we must never get tired of doing is reminding ourselves that our Public Institutions are not Personal Enterprises and, for that, each of us is an Employee of the Nigerian Citizen,” he said.

While underlining the significance of the Nigeria Excellence Awards in Public Service (NEAPS), a Private Sector Initiative in Partnership with the Office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Tinubu gave the Initiative his full support.

He said that it was strategic to inspire the bulk of the Nation’s Workforce to set benchmarks and create a ripple effect of positive change throughout our Society.

According to him, Reward and Recognition are the very Markers of every thriving Institution, and indeed, Nation.

He noted that the essence of any successful Entity, whether a Private Enterprise or Public Institution, was in its ability to honour those who work to uphold its Values and drive its Progress.

“Our Labour Force remains the ultimate reflection of our Principles, as practised by Men and Women who rise every day with a commitment to building a better future for all Citizens.

“We, therefore, owe these silent Architects of our National Progress more than just a debt of gratitude.”

The President, who showered praises on Nigerian Public Servants, maintained that their place must be remembered in order to motivate them to inspire others and make clear “that excellence is not an Orphan”.

Tinubu said NEAPS also played a crucial role of introducing more Role Models to a Nation in search of Mentors and to tell the Awardees that, “we see them, and the excellence with which they have served the Nation”.

“The 44 Persons we are here to honour set in motion a chain of actions to build a Culture of Hard Work and commitment to Noble Principles in our Public Service.

“We must also strive to make sure that the Values that have set them apart are deeply ingrained in our Culture.

“There’s no better way to water this forest of high Performance, Integrity, and Accountability than our collective refusal to underplay the efforts of those who labour day in and day out to hold our Nation together.”

George Akume, the Secretary to Government of the Federation, said NEAPS, a Private Sector-driven Initiative, recognised and rewarded Innovation, purposeful Leadership and Hard Work by exceptional Individuals and Organisations in the Country’s Public Service across all Levels of Government and the Private Sector.

He explained that the Process of Selecting the Honourees was based on empirical facts and figures that were verifiable.

The SGF assured that efforts would be made to ensure the Initiative was maintained as a regular feature in order to motivate and and encourage excellence in the Country’s Public Service.

He urged Recipients of the Awards not to relent in their efforts towards making Nigeria a more prosperous and progressive Country.

Among the 44 Persons who clinched the NEAPS were Abdulsalami Abubakar (Peace Building Award) and President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio (Parliamentary Excellence Award).

Others are: the Speaker, House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas (Parliamentary Excellence Award); and Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila (Leadership and Administration Award).

Also, the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President (Office of the Vice President), Ibrahim Hadejia, bagged the Administrator Par Excellence Award.

Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State was also recognised among others.

 

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07-Jul-2024 Samoa Agreement Report: FG vows to take Daily Trust Newspapers to Court

Samoa Agreement Report: FG vows to take Daily Trust Newspapers to Court

The Federal Government says it will drag the Daily Trust Newspapers to the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) over its Publication on the Samoa Agreement.

Mohammed Idris, Minister of Information and National Orientation, who gave this hint on Saturday in Abuja, said that the Federal Government would also approach the Court over the Report he described as “fake and mischievous.”

The Information Minister spoke at a Press Conference to react to the Report believed to have the potential to spark up Religious and Social tensions in the Country.

Idris addressed the Press along with his Budget and Planning Counterpart, Atiku Bagudu.

In the Report, the Medium had claimed that the Federal Government signed an Agreement with clauses requiring Nigeria to endorse the Rights of Lesbians, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex(LGBTQI+) People.

It also said that Nigeria would collect $150bn for endorsing the Deal.

The said Agreement, generally referred to as the Samoa Agreement, was signed at the Organisation of Africa, Caribbean and Pacific States(OACPS) Secretariat in Brussels, Belgium, on June 28.

Details of the Agreement indicated that the Partnership is between the European Union and its Member States on one hand, and members of OACPCS on the other.

Negotiations on the Agreement began in 2018 and was signed on November 15, 2018 by all 27 EU Member-States and 47 of the 79 OACPS States.

Reacting to the Newspaper's Report on the Matter, the Minister described it as gross falsehood.

He said it followed a pattern that Daily Trust had become used to since the Bola Tinubu Administration came on board.

While noting that Tinubu had maintained a good Relationship with the Media in line with his Philosophy as an avowed Democrat, he said it was “disheartening that some Elements are abusing this free Environment guaranteed by the Government.”

“We are alarmed by the level of reckless Reporting and Statements by some Media Organisations and Individuals that border on National Security and Stability.

“While we sometimes view and treat those occasional Reporting as part of Media’s Normal Work, we have now seen a pattern that is difficult to be wished away as Normal Journalism.

“The insidious and inciting Publications by the Daily Trust these past months have come across as nothing but a deliberate effort to brush the Government with a tar.

“On many occasions, we have restrained ourselves from believing that this was the case but the consistency of the mischievous Publications leaves us with no option.

“In the aftermath of the Coup in Niger Republic, Daily Trust championed a jaundiced Narrative that the Federal Government was driving the Country into a War and twisted it with Regional sentiment to cause disaffection.

“The same Newspaper gave a Banner Headline to a baseless accusation that the Government was working on siting Foreign Military Bases in the Country.

”Neither Daily Trust nor Originators of that imaginative allegation provided any shred of evidence.

“Then just two weeks ago, Daily Trust concocted and popularised a lie that the Federal Government had renamed the Murtala Mohammed Expressway in Abuja to Wole Soyinka Way.

“In all those instances, all that the paper depended on were falsehood and hearsays. They also showed no remorse or the humility to recant.

“We, however, did not envisage that Daily Trust and people behind it could decend to the reckless level of attempting to set the country on fire by falsely accusing the government of signing a deal to promote LGBTQI.

“We found that despicable and wicked because the allegation is nowhere in the Document signed.

“Surprisingly, the Paper put forward no evidence nor provided the Agreement allegedly signed to prove their point.

“The baseless and sensational Story unfortunately formed a basis for khutba (Sermons), by some of our respected Imams who were misled by the Story, thereby raising tempers,” he said.

He said, however, that Government would continue to toe the path of civility by restraining itself from seeking self-help or adopting draconian Measures.

“While past Governments clamped down on the Media for infractions much lower than this, we are, however, toeing the path of civility and the Rule of Law,” he said.

The Minister said that the Federal Government would drag the Medium to the NPAN Ombudsman “on this irresponsible Reporting.”

In addition, the Federal Government will use every Lawful means to seek redress in the Court of Law, he added.

Idris restated Government’s friendly Policy toward Ethical Media and Free Speech, but warned that it would not accept fake news and disinformation that could injure the Peace of the Nation and hurt National Security.

 

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06-Jul-2024 Rivers Governor: God has prepared me a table of blessings in the presence of my Enemies

Rivers Governor: God has prepared me a table of blessings in the presence of my Enemies

Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers has assured the People of the State of unwavering commitment to providing Critical Infrastructure required for the speedy development of the State.
Fubara gave the assurance while speaking to Journalists after the Inspection of the Reconstruction Work at the Zonal Hospital in Bori Town, Khana Local Government Area.
The Governor said that there was no cause to worry over the recent Pronouncements of the Appeal Court.
According to him, there is no cause to worry because God has prepared him a table of blessings in the presence of his Enemies.

“I know that a lot of you will be wondering what is going on and all that. Government has its own challenges. If you go to the Book of Psalm 23 Verse 5, in the Bible, it said that God prepares a table before you; it can be before anybody.

“But there is an underlined word that should be noted there: it said ‘in the presence of your Enemies’. So, it means that nothing comes easy.

“I want to assure everyone of you and the good People of Rivers State, that we are not deterred. We have made our promises, we will continue to give you Good Governance, no matter how difficult it is.

“But, like I said before, the worse is over. We are moving on to ensure that we continue to provide what is needed for the development of our State,” he said.

Fubara stated that Healthcare, Education, Agriculture among other Sectors would be his top priority and would be given uncompromised attention and optimal Services.

He explained that his Administration did not meet any Functional Zonal Hospital, stressing that Funds had been released to reconstruct and expand four Zonal Hospitals to ensure quality Healthcare Service Delivery.

The Governor expressed satisfaction with the progress of work done so far by the Contractor and urged the Construction Firm to deliver quality Job and on time.

Fubara said that the Hospitals, when completed, would meet the Healthcare Needs of the People within the Catchment Areas, and address key Issues in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Policy Objectives of his Administration.

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04-Jul-2024 EFCC to Parents: Warn your Children against Protest over our Operations

EFCC to Parents: Warn your Children against Protest over our Operations

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has urged Parents and Guardians to warn their Children and Wards not to partake in a planned Protest by a “Shadowy Group” against its Operations.

EFCC Spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, gave the warning in a Statement made available in Abuja.

According to him, the Group has been actively campaigning on Social Media, recruiting impressionable Young Nigerians, including Students, to take up Arms against the EFCC.

Oyewale said the planned Protest was aimed at resisting the Operational Activities of the Anti-Graft Commission, especially in Areas relating to Cybercrime.

“In the last couple of days, the Group has been actively campaigning in Social Media, recruiting impressionable Young Nigerians, including Students, to take up ‘Arms’ against the EFCC.

“This insidious Campaign is being promoted as resistance to the Operational Activities of the commission, especially in respect to the enforcement of the Laws on Cybercrimes.

“The Commission, while not averse to Protests by Citizens, is alarmed by emerging evidence that suggests a grand design by Corrupt Elements under Investigation or Prosecution by the Commission to exploit the so-called Protest.

“This is to orchestrate a National Uprising that may threaten the Peace and Security of our Dear Nation.”

According to Oyewale, as a responsible Law Enforcement Organisation, the Commission will not tolerate any breakdown of Law and Order anywhere in the Country, especially around its Office Locations across Nigeria.

“EFCC, working in concert with Sister Security Agencies, is therefore taking necessary Measures to deal with possible threats to the Peace and Security of Nigeria.

“The Commission, however, appeals to Parents, Guardians and Heads of Tertiary Institutions to take responsibility for ensuring that their Wards are not recruited as Cannon Fodder in a proxy war against the Commission by vested Corrupt Interests.

“The war being waged by the Commission against Corruption and Cybercrime is to protect the future of the Youth of this Country,” he added.

He said the future was imperilled if Nigeria degenerated further in the Global reckoning, as a Den of Fraudsters. 

 

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04-Jul-2024 UNIBEN grounds Academic Activities over Students' Protest

UNIBEN grounds Academic Activities over Students' Protest

The Authorities of the University of Benin on Thursday shut down Academic Activities in the Institution indefinitely.

The University in a Statement by its Public Relations Officer, Benedicta Ehanire, attributed the decision to the refusal of the Students to shift grounds on their demands.

The Students on Wednesday took to the Streets, blocking the ever-busy Benin-Ore Highway to protest weeks of Power Outage on Campus.

The Students, who had two weeks until their First Semester Examination, said the situation was severely affecting their preparation.

The Students also called for a downward Review of Transport Fare by the UNIBEN Shuttle Service, which was increased with effect from July 1.

The University was thrown into a blackout by the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) following the inability to reach Agreement over contentious Electricity Billings.

The Monthly Bill was said to have jumped from about N80m to between N200m and N280m, forcing the University to resort to Power Generators as well as rationalisation of Power on the two Campuses and Hostels.

The Protesting Students amidst heavy rainfall, were hellbent on continuing the Protest unless their demands are met.

But in the Notice of Closure, Ehanire described the Students’ demand for 24-hour supply of Electricity as unrealistic.

“Following the insistence of Students of the University of Benin to shift grounds on their demands for twenty four hours supply of Electricity and more, considered unrealistic by the University’s Senate, the University has shut down Academic Activities indefinitely.

“Students are to vacate the Hostels immediately while all the relevant Units of the University are to take note and comply.

“However, Non Teaching Staff and Staff on Essential Duties are not affected by the shut down,” said the University’s Spokesperson.

 

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03-Jul-2024 FG warns! Leak, disclose Official Documents 'and go to Jail'

FG warns! Leak, disclose Official Documents 'and go to Jail'

The Federal Government has warned that Unauthorised disclosure or leakage of Official Documents, capable of impacting the Country negatively, is a punishable offence.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), George Akume, gave the warning on Tuesday in Abuja, at a Workshop organised by the Bureau for Public Service Reforms (BPSR) in collaboration with the Office of the Government of the Federation (OSGF)

The Workshop is Themed: “Renewing Hope and strengthening of National Unity through effective communication and the role of the Official Secret Acts in maintaining Confidentiality and National Security.’’

Represented by Nnamdi Mbaeri, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the SGF, Akume said Unauthorised leakage of Sensitive Official Document constitutes Felony and there is no defence for such, either in the Constitution  or Freedom of Information Act.

Section 97 (2) of the Criminal Code Act of Nigeria, provides: “Any Person who, being employed in the Public Service, without proper Authority Abstracts, or makes a Copy of, any Document the Property of his Employer is guilty of a Misdemeanour and is liable to imprisonment for one year”.

Akume recalled that Government had devised Measures in the past to contain the leakage of Sensitive Official Information in MDAs through the Issuance of Service-Wide Circulars by the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation in August 2021.

“This was reinforced by the Issuance of another Service-Wide Circular in February 2024 on the Unauthorised Circulation of Official Documents with Information on Social Media.

“This was done to re-emphasise other Extant Regulations prohibiting Unauthorised disclosure or leakage of Official Documents.

“There is the need to regulate the Activities of the Civil Society Organisations who use the Freedom of Information Act to harass, intimidate and siphon Resources from Public Officers through the dissemination of fake and unfounded Information.

“This should be properly addressed by all the Practitioners in the Communication and Related Industries,’’ he said.

Akume commended the BPSR for organising the Workshop, saying its underlines the importance Government places on the dissemination of correct and truthful Information.

The Director-General of the Bureau, Dasuki Arabi, urged Participants to equip themselves with the Official Secrets Act and effectively communicate Government Policies and Programmes to the Public.

“Your role as Communication Managers in MDAs is crucial, especially in our increasingly complex Information Ecosystem.

“In today’s Environment, Communications and Platforms are highly fragmented. The Government cannot afford to be reactive.

“It must lead the Communication Landscape to prevent Misinformation and ensure that Citizens are all informed about the Activities, Objectives of Government and benefits of its Policies and Programmes to the Citizens of the Country.

“Accurate and prompt Information Delivery is essential and cannot be compromised as its impact on Service Delivery and Governance is profound,” he said.

Arabi tasked the Communication Managers to take advantage of the Training to use the Traditional and Social Media Platforms to ensure the Public is well informed about Government Initiatives, Programmes and Services.

 

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01-Jul-2024 Okuama Killings: EX-LG Chairman takes Nigerian Army to Court, demands N2bn

Okuama Killings: EX-LG Chairman takes Nigerian Army to Court, demands N2bn

A former Caretaker Chairman, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa, Lucky Okodeh, has sued the Nigerian Army for allegedly publishing his Photograph among those wanted in connection with the killing of 17 Soldiers in Okuama in Delta.

Okodeh, in the Suit filed before Justice Binta Nyako of a Federal High Court, Abuja by his Lawyer, Femi Falana, prayed the Court to award a N2bn in Damages against the Respondents for alleged violation of his Rights to Personal Liberty and Dignity.

Falana, in the Suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/590/2024 dated and filed on May 3, had sued the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and Chief of Army Staff (CAS) as 1st and 2nd Respondents.

The Applicant prayed the Court to set aside his declaration and award the fine as Compensation for Damages suffered over the action of the Defence Headquarters Abuja.

Okodeh averred that the action had affected his Political Career and made him to go into hiding.

It will be recalled that on March 14, 17 Officers of the Nigerian Army were murdered by Unknown Persons in Okuama in Delta, causing the Defence Headquarters Abuja to declare 8 Persons wanted.

Though Okodeh’s name was not published among the wanted list, his Photograph was posted on a name which was not his, which he also said no Member of his Family or Extended Family bears.

Okodeh, who was earlier the Chairmanship Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the April 11 LG Elections in the State, was forced to drop his name and substitute it with another Candidate following the Publication of his Photograph on the Wanted List.

Although the Matter was fixed for Mention on Monday, the case could not proceed due to the absence of Justice Nyako in Court.

The Judge was said to be on another Official Assignment.

Okodeh’s Lawyer, Falana, and the Respondents’ Counsel, Mike Ebah, were in Court.

The Matter was, therefore, fixed for October 17 for Mention.

Other Prayers sought in the Suit include an Order of perpetual injunction restraining the CDS and CAS from arresting him as he is a Law-abiding Citizen of Nigeria who had never had any Criminal Record right from Childhood.

He equally prayed the Court to order the Respondents to tender an Apology which should be published on both Print and Electronic Media, so that he could have his freedom to live his normal life.

 

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01-Jul-2024 Obajana-Benin Road Project: FG fires Contractors for non-performance

Obajana-Benin Road Project: FG fires Contractors for non-performance

The Federal Government has terminated its Contracts with Mothercat, RCC and Dantata & Sawoe for Non-Performance on the dualisation of the Obajana-Benin Road Project Sections Two, Three and Four.

The Minister of Works, David Umahi, made this known in a Statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Uchenna Orji on Monday in Abuja.

Umahi said that the Contracts were terminated due to delay leading to the expiration of the Contracts which were awarded since December 3, 2012.

”The Federal Ministry of Works has terminated Contract Numbers 6136, 6137 and 6138 with Mothercat Limited, Dantata & Sawoe Construction Limited and RCC Limited respectively.

”The Projects affected by this termination are the dualisation of Obajana – Benin Road and Section II, (Okene – Auchi) in Kogi/Edo.

”Others are the dualisation of Obajana – Benin Road, Section III (Auchi – Ehor) and the dualisation of Obajana – Benin Road Section IV (Ehor – Benin) both in Edo.

”The termination of the Contracts became necessary in view of the inordinate delay of the affected Companies on Job Performance,’’ he said.

Umahi said that it was also due to their failure, neglect and or refusal to fulfil their Contractual Obligations as required by the Standard Conditions of Contract.

”This has affected the timely completion of the Projects, which has resulted in the expiration of the Contracts by effluxion of time.

”The Projects which were awarded on December 3 2012 were advertently abandoned by the Contractors and no genuine commitment or good faith was shown towards executing the Projects after accepting the considerations offered by the Federal Government.

”This thereby is exposing the Road Users to untold hardship due to the deplorable condition of the Projects,’’ he said.

Umahi also said that Engineers in charge, have therefore been directed to take the necessary steps to do the needful and arrange with the affected Companies for a Joint Measurement of Work done so far.

”The Federal Ministry of Works under my watch will not condone acts of unseriousness and sabotage by Contractors whose plan is to become a clog in the wheel of progress of the Renewed Hope Administration.

”Going forward, the Government will not hesitate in terminating all Projects that are funded but are non-performing,’’ he said.

 

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30-Jun-2024 FG okays Degree-Awarding Public Relations Academy in Nigeria

FG okays Degree-Awarding Public Relations Academy in Nigeria

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, has welcome the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations and the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management, to establish a Degree-Awarding Academy for Public Relations Practice in Nigeria.

The Minister who recently attended the NIPR 60th Anniversary Grand Colloquium Themed: Public Relations Value Re-Orientation and Economic Transformation, has also applauded the election of a Nigerian, Omoniyi Ibietan, as the Secretary-General of the African Public Relations Association (APRA).

He said that Public Relations (PR) has now been designated as a Cadre in the Federal Civil Service, with effect from December 2023.

The Information Officer Cadre, according to the Minister has been re-designated 'Information and Public Relations Officer Cadre', and the Executive Cadre to 'Executive Officer (Information and Public Relations)'.

“The NIPR played a critical role in championing this, and deserves commendation,” he said while adding that Nigeria will continue to play a leading role in strengthening and elevating Public Relations Practice at Home and across Africa.

“Recently, when I received the President of the African Public Relations Association, Arik Karani, he commended Nigeria in this regard.

"Nigeria was, for the longest time, the only Country in Africa that had a Law that Professionalised Public Relations.

"It was Nigeria that started it on the Continent, and only last year did Zambia come out with its own Law. So now we have two Countries on the Continent, and only now in Kenya, the Bill for Professionalising Public Relations is at the Second Reading in Parliament."

The Minister described the Remarks by the APRA President as encouraging and gave assurance that the Administration of President Bola Tinubu will continue to provide the Enabling Environment for everybody within Nigeria's Communications Industry to thrive.

 

30-Jun-2024 NAFDAC says Tinubu's Executive Order will bring down cost of Medicines

NAFDAC says Tinubu's Executive Order will bring down cost of Medicines

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has commended President Bola Tinubu for recently signing an Executive Order (EO) to transformed the Country’s Health Sector.
The commendation is in a Statement by the Director-General of NAFDAC, Mojisola Adeyeye, issued to Journalists in Abuja.
Adeyeye stated that the Reform and Transformation Agenda to make NAFDAC a well-functioning, strong and stable Regulatory Organisation started when she assumed office six years ago.
She added that the effort she put into transforming NAFDAC has started paying off, “part of which is what paved the way to signing of the Executive Order to make Nigeria to manufacture its own Drugs.”
The Executive Order, she said, includes several Measures such as Zero Tariff and Excise Duties which exempts specified Pharmaceutical Machinery, Equipment, Goods and Accessories, as well as reduce Production Costs and make Healthcare Products affordable.
She noted that “the Executive Order also gives Special Waivers on Pharmaceutical Inputs like Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) and other essential Raw Materials, including those for Long-lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) and Rapid Diagnostic Kits.”
She added that all these Products would benefit from Zero Tariff, Excise Duties and Value Added Tax (VAT), as well as low Prices of Essential Medicines and Medical Supplies.
Adeyeye explained that the Executive Order would also shape and establish Framework Contracts and Volume to guarantee and stabilise Local Manufacturing of Medical Products.
According to her, it will also help in Regulatory harmonisation, expedient Approvals, develop harmonised implementation Framework to guide Regulatory Agencies in streamlining Approval Processes.
She stated that the Order would help in implementation and compliance, where Agencies like Nigeria Customs Service, NAFDAC, Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) would ensure swift implementation.
Adeyeye said “the Waivers and Exemptions are valid for two years. The Order is vital to the success of the Nigeria Health Sector Renewal Investment Initiative (NHSRII) and will encourage Local Manufacturing, create Jobs, stimulate Economic Growth and reduce dependence on Imports.
“It will ensure reliable supply of essential Healthcare Products, enhance Quality and Innovation, strengthen Health Systems by addressing Underinvestment and Regulatory challenges.
“The Executive Order will improve Service Delivery and Health Outcomes, and enhance resilience to future Health crises.”
The NAFDAC Boss noted that the President’s Executive Order underscores the Administration’s commitment to transforming Nigeria’s Health Sector.
According to her, the Executive Order aligns with the broader Objectives of the NHSRII and the Presidential Initiative on Healthcare Value Chain (PVAC) approved in October 2023.
She emphasised that by addressing core challenges and providing clear path for improvement, the Executive Order would set the stage for sustainable and high-quality Healthcare System for Nigerians. 
 
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28-Jun-2024 Senate denies approving request for Presidential Aircraft but...

Senate denies approving request for Presidential Aircraft but...

The Senate says there was no request from the Presidency to approve the purchase of a Presidential Aircraft.

Senate Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, during  Plenary, dismissed speculations that the Upper Chamber was debating approval of a Presidential Aircraft in the 2024 Supplementary Budget.

Opeyemi said: “Senate is aware of insinuations that the its President, Godswill Akpabio, either had at one time, indicated that we had a request for purchase of a new Plane to be approved for President Tinubu.

“And that President of the Senate had indicated that regardless of what Nigerians were going through, that it will be approved.

“As we sit here, a Section of the Social Media had also been circulating that we had gone into an Executive Session to discuss about the Presidential request for a new Plane and how we are going to approve it.

“Let me alert Nigerians that there is the presence of a Fifth Columnist and some other Propagandists who are doing everything possible to destabilise this Country and also destabilise the Parliament.

“I say for the record, as the Leader of this Senate, that there is no request before us on this as of yet.”

The Senate Leader added that there had not been a basis for the Red Chamber to debate whether to approve a Presidential Aircraft or not.

“It has never been discussed either on the floor of this Senate or among Individual Senators or at the Executive Session.

“There is no such request. If the request comes, it is not about the President of the Senate alone.

“It is for 469 Elected Representatives of the Nigerian People to discuss and take a position. 360 in the House of Representatives, 109 in the Senate.” he said.

Reacting, Akpabio said: “When you hear stories such as the death of the Vice President of Malawi as a result of a  defective Plane and then you hear stories such as the death of the President of Iran, as a result of defective Helicopter, we should never dream and allow such to be our portion, it will  not be.

“The Senate is responsible, the National Assembly is very responsible. We will look into Issues that will benefit the Governance of the country.

“Those speculating know very well that something like that may come in future, and if it is a necessity, the Senate will look into it. But there is nothing like that before us now,” Akpabio said. 

 

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28-Jun-2024 Minister: I have the Mandate of Tinubu 'not to lie to Nigerians'

Minister: I have the Mandate of Tinubu 'not to lie to Nigerians'

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, has said that President Bola Tinubu’ mandated him to bring back trust and honesty to Public Communication.
Idris stated this in Abuja at the 60th Anniversary Celebration of the National Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), with theme “Public Relations; Value Re-Orientation and Economic Transformation”.
I have the blessing and approval of my Principal, President Bola Tinubu, who appointed me, to say it as it is, but in a palatable manner.
“He directed that trust must be returned to public communication.
“That is the only way People or Citizens will respect and always want to listen to the Government.
“We will keep doing that till the end of my Job here,” Idris said.
According to the Minister, it is better to always tell the People the truth and for them to also recognise that you are telling them the truth.
“Trust and honesty must be restored in Public Communication.
“That is why, if I don’t have Information about something, I will rather keep my mouth shut, than to reproduce ignorance,” he stressed.
The immediate past Vice President of Republic of Liberia, Jewel Taylor in her Keynote Address narrated her journey through stigma, criticism and ability to change the Narrative and People’s negative perception of her.
Taylor commended NIPR, adding that the Life of Politicians revolve around Crisis Management, and therefore Public Relations remains an Effective Tool to address the challenges.
She added that Public Relations has been an activity in the Africa Society, even before the coming of the Colonial Masters where Drums of different categories were used to Communicate to the People.
Welcoming Guests at the Event, Ike Neliaku, the President and Chairman of Council of NIPR, said, to mark the anniversary Celebration, the Institute planted 60 Trees in each of the 36 states of the Federation to address Climate Change.
According to Neliaku, Public Relations is very important for Value Re-Orientation and Economic Transformation.
He emphasised the Institute’s commitment to creating a positive Narrative for Nigeria.
Also speaking, the Pioneer Chairman of NIPR, Mazi Okereke said the cause of some crises in the Country was breakdown of Communication between the Government and the Governed.
“Nigerian Government needs to put Public Relations on the driving seat. We are delighted that one of us is now Minister of Information and National Orientation”.
The Event attracted Stakeholders from Home and Abroad while a Panel of Notable fFgures discussed the Topic, “Leveraging Public Relations for Economic Growth”.
 
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27-Jun-2024 New Minimum Wage: Governors promise Workers better deal

New Minimum Wage: Governors promise Workers better deal

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has assured Workers of a better new Minimum Wage from the ongoing negotiations between the Government, Private Sector and Organised Labour.

The Governors gave the assurance in a Communiqué signed by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara, chairman of the forum after a meeting in Abuja on Wednesday.

The Forum promised continued Engagement with Key Stakeholders to reach a mutually agreeable solution.

“We remain dedicated to the Process and assure that better Wages will result from the ongoing Negotiations,” the Forum said.

It also expressed its willingness to continue to provide the much-needed support to the World Bank to ensure Programme effectiveness across the Country.

This, according to the Forum, followed a presentation received from the Acting Country Director of the World Bank, Taimur Samad and his Team.

The Presentation has to do with the Bank’s Programmes currently being implemented in States across Nigeria.

The Forum listed the Projects to include Nigeria Human Capital Opportunities for Prosperity and Equality, Food and Nutrition Security, and Nigeria For Women Project Scale Up (NFWP-SU).

Others include Nigeria Community Action (for) Resilience and Economic Stimulus Program (NG-CAREs), State Action on Business Enabling Reforms Program (SABER), and Sustainable Power and Irrigation for Nigeria Project (SPIN).

It said that the Governors also received a briefing from Taiwo Oyedele, Chairman, Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms Committee, highlighting the progress made regarding the ongoing Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms.

The Forum quoted Oyedele as seeking the input and support of the Governors on a number of Proposals that would directly impact the Sub-National Level of Government.

“Members pledged their support for the Committee to ensure the successful implementation of these Reforms and to collaborate closely in addressing challenges that may arise.

“The Forum received a presentation from the Minister of Women Affairs on the World Bank–Nigeria for Women Project Scale-Up, along with other Activities of the Ministry.

“Members noted the importance of the Project and emphasised the need to implement it at the State Level as initially conceived, as the States are the Primary Obligors of the Project.

“The Governors acknowledged the work and contributions of the Ministry of Women Affairs in promoting Gender Equality, empowering Women, and advancing Social Development across Nigeria,” it said.

Earlier in an interview with Journalists, Governor Dauda Lawal of Zamfara, said that  Governors would continue the discussion on Minimum Wage and Local Government Autonomy.

 

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27-Jun-2024 Shettima to Tinubu's Appointees: Let's salvage Nigeria together

Shettima to Tinubu's Appointees: Let's salvage Nigeria together

Vice-President Kashim Shettima has called on Members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and other Appointees of President Bola Tinubu Administration to rally round the President to salvage the Country.

The Spokesperson of the Vice-President, Stanley Nkwocha in a Statement, said Shettima spoke when he received a High-Powered Presidential Delegation in Kano to condole with him over the loss of his Mother-in-Law.

The Vice-President , who reiterated the President’s genuine Leadership, maintained that Tinubu meant well for the Nation.

He said, ”I want to register my sincere gratitude to President Bola Tinubu for sending such a High-Level Delegation to condole with us over the sad demise of our Mother. That portrays the purity of heart and empathy of the President.”

”I wish to call on all of us to rally round him and see to it that we salvage this Nation together.

”It’s not a game of apportioning blame. It’s a game of making this Country work and if Nigeria works, Africa works. No matter how long the night is, it must give way to the light of dawn.

”We are facing Security Challenges across this Country, but the President is determined to redefine the meaning and Concept of Modern Leadership and determined to address the problem of Insecurity facing the entire Nation.”

Shettima expressed profound gratitude to the Government and People of Kano State for hosting him and Members of his Family for the past three days.

“Everyone that has come here is welcomed by the Governor. We have gone beyond Politics. We are now in the Phase of Governance and what binds us together triumphs whatever that divides us,” he added.

On arrival in Kano, the Delegation led by Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, was received by Governor Abba Yusuf of Kano.

While delivering the President’s Condolence Message to Shettima, Gbajabiamila said Tinubu felt saddened about the passing of Shettima’s Mother-in-Law and sent his deepest sympathy and prayers.

Other Members of the Delegation include the Minister for Budget and National Planning, Atiku Bagudu; Minister of Transport, Sa’idu Alkali and the Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development,  Abdullahi Gwarzo,  among others.

 

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27-Jun-2024 Fubara: I am protecting Rivers against those who feel they own the life of others

Fubara: I am protecting Rivers against those who feel they own the life of others

Rivers Governor, Siminalayi Fubara says he was not fighting anybody.
“I am, rather, defending the State against Predators.
"I am protecting Rivers against those who feel that they own the life of others,” he said in Port Harcourt on Wednesday when the Senate Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation, paid him a Courtesy Visit.
Fubara stated that the failed attempt to detonate an Explosive Device at the Hotel Presidential, a Five Star Hotel in Port Harcourt, was a deliberate ploy to strengthen the call for a State of Emergency.
“It is the handiwork of detractors who want to undermine the State to achieve their evil plans,” he declared.
The Governor alleged that some youths were hired to engage in a Protest to demand for Extension of Tenure for former Local Government Chairmen who had served out their Statutory Three-Year Tenure.
“The Protesters and their Sponsors were aware that some Members of the National Assembly were Guests at the Hotel Presidential, that was their reason for the attempt to detonate an Explosive Device near the Facility.
“In fact, there was a plan to detonate Dynamite at the Hotel Presidential because you People were there. But, this God that we serve, it happened that the Man, who was trying to do it, detonated it, but just few seconds after, it blew his hands off.
“The idea was that as you were hearing State of Emergency, by the time they finish, when you return to have your sitting tomorrow, the Debate will be from somebody from this State who called you People to tell you not to come.”
Fubara wondered why the Law is silent or slow to take its course over Offenders because somebody appears to be bigger than the Law.
“Is there nowhere in the Country where Tenure Elongation for former Local Government Chairmen has been an Issue?” Fubara asked.
Fubara opined that there was no Governor in Nigeria who could take 10 percent of the abuse railed at him by former Chairmen of Local Government Councils.
“Is it that the Constitution that governs Nigeria is different from the one that operates in Rivers? These are the very pertinent questions we should ask.
“Why should it be that when it comes to the case of Rivers, the Law is always silent? Is it that there is somebody bigger than Nigeria? That is the question I want you to go back with,” Fubara said.
Fubara told Members of the Committee to factor in the interest of Rivers as they recommend the Privatisation and Commercialisation of Public Companies, saying that when the State buys Stakes in such Companies, they could be protected and supervised to be viable.
“I will also appeal to you that in this Process of Privatisation, anything that has to do with our own State here that needs to be Privatised, the Rivers Government will be interested.
“So, as a Committee, if there is anywhere you can support us; if there is anyone that is still available, let us know, and let us get the details so that we can own it.
“It is only when we own it that those Assets can be protected. It is only when we own it, that is when those Assets become viable to the State, and also become viable to the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he stated.
Committee Chairman, Orji Uzo Kalu had earlier said that the Team was in Rivers to carry out Oversight Duties on some Projects under its purview.
Kalu, who represents Abia North Senatorial District, commended Fubara for his love for peace and his determination to offer quality Governance.
He also commended him for keeping pace with providing the right Climate to engender Economic Growth.
Kalu urged FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike to shealth the sword and call his Supporters to order to
foster peace in Rivers.
“Wike must put the interest of the State above all considerations,” he said.
Kalu commended Fubara and his Team for the good things they were doing in the State, pointing out that it was good to have peace.
“I want to thank you because you look like a very peaceful Man. Your face shows a peaceful Man. Your laugh shows a peaceful Man. So, I want you to continue in that manner of peace.
“There is nothing like peace. Let People who are eating from this problem stop eating from it.
“We want to plead with you; continue to hold your People back because if your People demonstrate like the other People, we will have a State of Anarchy, and it is not good to have Anarchy.
“I want to plead with you to abide by the Rules of the Land. I plead with you to abide by what the Constitution says. I plead with you to also abide by the decisions of the Judiciary.
“Wait for every Judicial Interpretation and Act on Judicial Interpretation,” he added.
Kalu pledged the readiness of the Committee to work with the State Government to achieve mutually beneficial goals that would advance the interest of all Nigerians.
 
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27-Jun-2024 Tinubu not working against Northern Nigeria, says Shettima

Tinubu not working against Northern Nigeria, says Shettima

Vice-President Kashim Shettima says President Bola Tinubu is not working against the interests of Northern Nigeria.
Shettima spoke on Wednesday in Kano while receiving a Federal Government’s Delegation led by the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, on a Condolence Visit over the death of his mother-in-law, Maryam Abubakar.
Shettima praises Tinubu’s Goodwill toward the Region.
The Vice-President cited the Appointment of the two Ministers of Defence, the Chief of Defence Staff, and the Chairman of Police Service Commission, among others, all from the North, as evidence of the President’s commitment to the Region’s growth.
He, therefore, urged Nigerians to support Tinubu’s efforts to make Nigeria great, emphasising that Governance transcends Political Party Affiliations.
Shettima stressed that the Country’s unity and progress were more important than Party differences.
He cited the support he received from the Kano State Government, led by Governor Abba  Yusuf of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), during his time of bereavement.
Shettima said that the country has moved beyond politics and was now in the Act of Governance, emphasising the need for collective efforts to achieve greatness.
He reminded that Nigeria’s greatness was a collective responsibility, and that Political Party Affiliations should not be a yardstick for division and destruction.
The Vice-President called for unity and cooperation among all the Political Parties, saying that ensuring Nigeria’s greatness was a collective responsibility.
 
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26-Jun-2024 Lagos has strong Institutional ability to contain Cholera, says FG

Lagos has strong Institutional ability to contain Cholera, says FG

Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Muhammad Pate, says the Federal Executive Council has given approval for the upgrade of Key Infrastructure in the Country’s Healthcare System.

He said that the Council approved the engagement of a Transaction Adviser to develop a Public Private Partnership (PPP) to expand, modernise and refurbish six Teaching Hospitals’ Equipment.

The Hospitals are: University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, University College Hospital Ibadan, National Hospital Abuja, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital and Usmanu Dafodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto.

“That is a massive upgrade of Infrastructure. The Transaction Adviser will develop full Business Case and then come back to the Council for Approval for Mobilisation to execute the Contract over the next 12 to 20 months.

“The second Item is the expansion of the Pathology Lab and the Mortuary at the University College Hospital, Ibadan. The Contract was awarded, and it also includes building Hostels for Nurses and other Health Professionals. That is under a PPP Arrangement,” said Pate.

He gave an update on Diseases ravaging the Country, particularly Cholera, which he said was discussed extensively, in addition to the emergence of Yellow Fever in Bayelsa.

He said the National Centre for Disease Control was working with Lagos State, which has a very strong Institutional ability to be able to contain the Disease.

 

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23-Jun-2024 FAAN sets up Task Force to crackdown on Touting, Extortion at Airports

FAAN sets up Task Force to crackdown on Touting, Extortion at Airports

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), says it had set up a Task Force to eliminate Touting, Extortion and other Illicit Activities at Airports.

The FAAN Managing Director, Olubunmi Kuku, disclosed this while speaking with Journalists on Saturday, in Lagos.

Kuku expressed her worries over reports of harassment and extortion of Passengers at Airports.

She vowed to crackdown on Perpetrators of such Illegal Activities, emphasising her commitment to ensuring a seamless and pleasant experience for Travelers.

Kuku said that Henry Agbebire, Director of Special Duties at FAAN, was to spearhead the Initiative as the Chairman of the Task Force.

The FAAN MD also declared her intention to personally engage with all Government Agencies operating at the Airports to ensure compliance with the Anti-Touting and Anti-Extortion Measures.

Kuku said that strict disciplinary actions would be taken against anyone found engaging in Illicit Practices, stressing that it was no longer business as usual.

She highlighted the Administration’s Zero-Tolerance Policy towards misconduct.

Kuku announced that as Measures to ensure the Zero Tolerance Policy, Magistrate Courts would be established at International Airports to expedite the Legal Process for prosecuting Offenders.

“The Task Force has been mandated to enforce discipline among Airport Staff and maintain a Culture of Professionalism at all levels.

“In addition, Dedicated Phone Lines and QR Codes will be set up to provide Passengers with a means of providing feedback on their Airport experience.

“All Airport Personnel must prominently display their On-Duty Cards and Name Tags for easy identification and accountability,” she said.

The FAAN MD reiterated the Authority’s commitment to delivering exceptional Service and ensuring a safe and secure Environment for Passengers and other Airport Users.

 

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23-Jun-2024 Tinubu wants 'Ghost Workers' drawing Salaries from FG, HoDs severely punished

Tinubu wants 'Ghost Workers' drawing Salaries from FG, HoDs severely punished

President Bola Tinubu has directed that all Civil Servants who are drawing Salaries from the Government after relocating Abroad should be made  to refund the money.

The President also directed that the Supervisors and Department Heads of the Culprits must also be punished for aiding and abetting the fraud under their watch.

Tinubu’ gave the Directive on Saturday at the Award Night organised by the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HOCSF), to commemorate the 2024 Civil Service Week.

The Event was also to honour some Outstanding Civil Servants in Core Ministries.

Represented by George Akume, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), the President expressed dismay over the attitude of the Ghost Workers.

“During my recent Visit to South Africa, I kept abreast of the week’s Activities.

 “I was particularly struck by the Revelations shared by the Head of the Civil Service, regarding Employees who had relocated Abroad while drawing Salaries without formally resigning.

“It is heartening to hear that measures have been taken to address this Issue, but we must ensure those responsible are held accountable and restitution is made.

“The Culprits must be made to refund the money they have fraudulently collected.

“Their Supervisors and Department Heads must also be punished for aiding and abetting the fraud under their watch,” Tinubu said.

He reiterated that Government would take appropriate Measures to ensure they were punished and the money refunded to Government Treasury.

The President acknowledged the challenges in the Civil Service Sector and reiterated his commitment to address them for optimal performance.

“Our Administration acknowledges the challenges the Civil Service is facing.

“I want to give you the assurance that we are committed to ensuring the Welfare and Development of all Civil Servants to deliver optimal performance for the growth of our Nation.

“Over the past year, I have provided all the necessary support to the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation to ensure the continued stability of the Civil Service.

“I also supported the Office in implementing far-reaching Policies and Reforms capable of improving Efficiency and Service Delivery, ” the President said.

Other Activities to mark the Night was the Presentation of top three Prizes to the Winners and additional N500, 000 Cash Prizes to 40 Workers.

Making the Presentation, Folasade Yemi-Esan, the HOCSF announced the top three Prizes won by three lucky Officers at the Event.

“The Star Prize is a Brand New 2023 JAC JS4 Luxury Model SUV; the Second is a 2 Bedroom Semi-Detached Bungalow; and the Third top Prize is a Serviced Plot of Land measuring 400sqm.

“I am also pleased to announce that the Nigeria Customs Service has graciously committed to donating 6 Toyota Camry Cars in support of the 2024 Civil Service Week.

”The Office has started receiving the Vehicles, and these will be presented as Prizes to the next Set of Runner-Up Best Performing Officers,” she said.

Mercy Ilori, a Staff of Ministry of Transportation, who won the Star Prize, appreciates Yemi-Esan and the Federal Government on behalf of other Awardees for the gesture and the honour done to them.

 

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23-Jun-2024 Our Database not breached, says NIMC, dismisses 'misleading Reports'

Our Database not breached, says NIMC, dismisses 'misleading Reports'

The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has dismissed as misleading Reports insinuating breach of its Database.

This is contained in a Statement by Kayode Adegoke, Head, Corporate Communications of the Commission, on Saturday in Abuja.

He said the Data of Nigerians have not been compromised as being insinuated, adding that the Commission had not authorised any Website or Entity to sell or misuse the National Identification Number (NIN), and other Sensitive Information of the Citizens.


“The following Websites: idfinder.com.ng; Verify. Ng/sign in, championtech.com.ng, trustyonline.com, and anyverify.com are Data Harvesters not authorised by NIMC to access or manage Sensitive Data.

“NIMC urges the Public to disregard claims or services these Websites offer and should not give their Data as they are potentially fraudulent and Data provided by the Public on such Websites are gathered and stored to build the Data Services they illegally provide,” Adegoke said.

He said the Commission had adopted proactive Measures to safeguard the Nation’s Database from Cyber threats, and provide a secure, World-Class, Full-Proof Database.

According to Adegoke, the Commission’s Infrastructure meets the stringent ISO 27001:2013 Information Security Management System Standards, with Annual Recertification and strict compliance with the Nigerian Data Protection Law.

While advising Nigerians against giving their Data to Unauthorised and Phishing Sites, Adegoke reiterated commitment of the Commission to uphold Ethical Standards in Data Protection in line with Federal Government’s Directives and Data Privacy Regulations.

He also warned that Licensed Partners or Vendors could only verify NINs through Approved Channels and not authorised to scan or store it.
According to him, NIMC is currently working with Security Agencies to apprehend the Culprits for prosecution.

He, therefore, urged Nigerians to be vigilant against false Information and rely on verified Sources for accurate updates.
“The Commission remains committed to providing secure and reliable Identity Management and upholding the highest level of security for Systems and Databases, which are critical National Assets”.
 
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22-Jun-2024 FG okays N21bn for 11 DisCos to provide Meters for Customers

FG okays N21bn for 11 DisCos to provide Meters for Customers

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has announced the Approval of N21bn for 11 Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) to provide Meters for Customers.

This Announcement was made in NERC’s ORDER NO: NERC/2024/072 on The Operationalisation of “Tranche A” of the Presidential Metering Initiative Under the Framework of Meter Acquisition Fund.

”The Order signed by NERC Chairman, Sanusi Garba and Commissioner Legal,  Dafe Akpeneye, shall become effective From June 2024 and may be amended or revoked by subsequent Orders issued by the Commission.

“The Commission hereby approves the  sum of N21bn apportioned pro rata to contribution by the DisCos as Tranche A of the MAF Scheme.

”Attached to this Order as Schedule 1 is a breakdown of the Funds available for each DisCo for the purchase of end-use Customer Meters.

”All the Meters to be procured and installed under the MAF Framework shall be at no Cost to the Customers of the DisCos,” it said.

According to NERC, it introduced the Meter Asset Provider (“MAP”) Regulations 2018 and subsequently, the Meter Asset Provider and National Mass Metering (“MAP&NMMR”) Regulations in 2021 to address Metering Challenges in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (“NESI“).

NERC said that the Regulations provided several options for metering End-Use Customers but the interventions, though significant, had not resulted in the closure of the National Metering Gap which currently stood in excess of seven million Customers.

”The inability of Distribution Companies (DisCos) to raise Financing in the form of Debt or additional Equity was identified as the major constraint in the acquisition and deployment of End-Use Meters and other Capital Investments.

”The Meter Acquisition Fund (MAF) Scheme was therefore, developed and approved by the Commission, primarily to address the challenges of DisCos creditworthiness inhibiting the deployment of End-Use Meters in NESI.

”By creating a credible Revenue Stream from the Market Funds on the back of which Long Term Financing may be secured by the Utilities,” it said.

NERC said that the management of Fund Manager (FM) based on Terms and Conditions, negotiated by the DisCos and approved by the Commission.

According to the Commission, the Federal Government approved the Presidential Metering Initiative (PMI) with the overarching objective of closing the Metering Gap in the NESI within three years leveraging on Smart Metering Technologies for Data Analytics.

The MAF shall form one of the Revenue Streams for the repayment of the Long Tenor Financing for Metering.

The Order also revealed that the Commission approved the Deregulation of Meter Prices under the MAP Scheme vide Order NERC/2024/040 to ensure an efficient pricing of Meters while responding more quickly to changes in Macroeconomic Parameters.

“The Order provides that all Prices of Meters under the MAP Scheme shall be determined through a transparent and competitive Bidding Process by Eligible MAPs.

“A competitive Bidding Process was held on  May 21, 2024 based on the Provisions of Order NERC/2024/040 where a total of 24 ( MAPs participated across the 12 DisCos.

”A total of 44 Bids were submitted for 10meters Specifications,” it said.

NERC said the deployment of Funds under the MAF Scheme would accelerate the deployment of Meters and a closure of the current Metering Gap.

NERC also noted that while the NESI is expected to leverage on the Revenue Stream under the MAF Framework to raise substantial Capital Funding for Metering, there was an imperative to accelerate a closure of the Metering Gap for all Customers.

”Currently classified under Tariff Band A for the purpose of Revenue Protection and facilitating demand side Management for the affected Customers.”

NERC said that the DisCos should utilise the first tranche (Tranche A) of disbursement from the MAF Scheme based on contributions made by DisCos as at the April 2024 Markets Settlement.

It said that attached to this Order as Schedule 1 was to procure and install Meters for unmetered Band ‘A’ Customers within their Franchise Areas.

The Commission said DisCos shall, within 14  days from the effective date of the Order, conduct a transparent and competitive Procurement Process, for Meter Price Determination, Selection and Engagement of MAPs/LMMAs for the Metering of End-Use Customer Meters under the MAF Scheme.

”The Order also directed that a Report containing details of the Process undertaken for the selection of MAPs/LMMAs including Meter Price and Meter Specifications.

”And the list of Customers to be metered shall be sent to the Commission for approval, within 20 days from the effective date of this Order.

” Upon approval of the commission, the DisCo shall enter into contracts with selected MAPs/LMMAs on one of the following terms,”it said.

The Commission said that where an Advance Payment Guarantee (APG) issued by a Commercial Bank in the Country is provided by a qualifying MAP/LMMA, 30 per cent of the Contract Sum shall be paid by the FM on behalf of the DisCo to the MAP/LMMA.

 

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21-Jun-2024 Community to FG: Keep your promise on Lagos-Calabar Road Alignment

Community to FG: Keep your promise on Lagos-Calabar Road Alignment

The Okun-Ajah Community in Lagos State has appealed to the Minister of Works, David Umahi, to keep to his promise on the implementation of Gazetted Lagos-Calabar Coastal Alignment.

The Okun-Ajah Community made the appeal during a peaceful Protest in Lagos on Thursday in which they asked for the implementation of the Original Lagos-Calabar Coastal Alignment.

Speaking on behalf of the Protesters, the Community Lawyer, Bolanle Olugbani, begged President Bola Tinubu not to allow anybody to tamper with the Original Coastal Road Alignment.

The Protesters carried various Placards with Inscriptions “Mr Umahi, Keep to your words”, “Property Owners along the Gazetted Coastal Alignment should bear the consequences, do not encourage impunity”, “Illegal Construction on the Original Coastal Road should not be encouraged,” among others.

The Counsel begged the Federal Government not to deviate from the Original Alignment the Minister had agreed to follow.

He said: “I am here to support the Protest with regards to the Coastal Road Alignment which we are hearing from reliable Sources is about to be tampered with, after almost 30 years.

“The Coastal Road Alignment was passed into Law by the Lagos State Government in collaboration with the Federal Government almost 30 years ago. The Alignment designated a particular Corridor for the future which is now the present Coastal Road.

“People who bought Land in the Lekki Axis, particularly the Okun-Ajah, Mokun, Akinlade and its Environs, were advised to do their Due Diligence to avoid buying Land in an Area that is already committed for the Coastal Road.

“Many People didn’t comply, they bought Properties at a humongous amount, built Estates and invested heavily only for the Federal Government to decide to begin the Coastal Road 26 years after.

“So, those who do not conform with the Original Alignment deliberately bought Lands in Areas already designated for Coastal Road,” he pointed out.

Olugbani said the Community also had equal rights and they had conformed with the Original Coastal Road Alignment by not infringing on the committed and designated Coastal Road Corridor.

He pleaded with the Government not to change the Gazetted Alignment.

The Counsel urged the President not to allow the People who had conformed with the Gazetted Coastal Alignment to be made Victims.

Responding, the Federal Controller of Works, Lagos State, Olukorede Keisha, appreciates the Protesters for not taking Laws into their hands and opting for a peaceful Protest

“You have come as peaceful Protesters to bare your minds to the Government and this Government is a listening Government.

“The Honourable Minister has demonstrated on a number of occasions that he listens. I am sure as you are doing this, the Information is going to get to him.

“I have already informed him that People are complaining about the Alignment and he asked me to let you come last Sunday but I couldn’t because it was on Sallah Day. So he promised to come back in a week’s time.

“I believe the Minister does not look down on People. He listens. It is just that it is impossible to please everybody,” she said.

 

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21-Jun-2024 Fubara: Negative narrative about Rivers in crisis misguided, unpatriotic, mischievous

Fubara: Negative narrative about Rivers in crisis misguided, unpatriotic, mischievous

Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers has dispelled fears in some quarters that the State was under siege, saying that Rivers is peaceful.
Fubara made the Statement on Thursday during an Inspection Tour of the 14.6km Omodu-Eberi Road Project in Omuma Local Government Area.
The Governor said that Rivers People were enjoying a Peaceful Atmosphere, and that it was wrong to say that the State was in a crisis situation.
“Rivers People are living peacefully in their various Communities; Projects are ongoing without challenges.
“The negative narrative about the State being in crisis is misguided, unpatriotic and mischievous
“It is important for People to know that Governance is ongoing, movement of People is unhindered, Social and Economic Activities are going on smoothly.
“If there is any problem anywhere, I know that Nigerians know where the problem is coming from, it’s not from us,” he said.
He reiterated his Administration’s commitment to implementing People-Oriented Policies, and to enthrone Sustainable Development in the State.
“We shall continue to create the Enabling Environment for Investments, we are here to make the State attractive to Investors,” he said.
Fubara said that the Omodu-Eberi Road Project was delayed because of the Government’s decision to increase the length.
“It was an eight kilometre long Road, but we decided to increase it to 14.6km in order to link up with Abia,” he said.
 
 
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20-Jun-2024 Fubara to probe management of Public Funds by immediate past Rivers LG Chairmen

Fubara to probe management of Public Funds by immediate past Rivers LG Chairmen

Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers, has directed an immediate Audit of the Accounts of the 23 Local Government Councils in the State.

Fubara gave the Directive in Port Harcourt on Wednesday shortly after swearing-in Caretaker Committee Chairmen of Local Government Councils in the State.

He said that it was important for Rivers People to know how the Finances of the 23 Local Government Councils were managed in the past three years.

The Governor who demanded that the Auditing Process must be thorough, said that the Report should be submitted within one month.

“I officially mandate the Auditor-General to immediately commence the Audit of the 23 Local Government Councils in the past three years.

“This Auditing is very important, we need to know how Public Funds were managed in the Third Tier System in the past three years.

“This Process will help us to also keep those that are coming in on their feet. It is not business as usual,” he said.

Fubara urged the new Chairmen to ensure prudent management of Resources and delivery of Democracy Dividends to the People.

He further urged them to compute and pay outstanding Financial Benefits including Salaries meant for the outgoing Chairmen, Vice-Chairmen and Councillors.

“Avoid confrontation, endeavour to be Law-abiding all the time as you take full control of the Local Government System,” he said.

Fubara stated that the Tenure of the Caretaker Committees would not be long as efforts would be made to quickly conduct Elections into the Councils.

 

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18-Jun-2024 Access Bank breaks ground with additional  60 Classrooms in Kaduna

Access Bank breaks ground with additional 60 Classrooms in Kaduna

Access Bank PLC, one of Africa’s leading Financial Institutions, has continued to demonstrate its commitment to Education and Community development, breaking ground for the construction of 60 additional Classrooms in Maraban Jos, Kaduna.

This development, which took place on the sidelines of the 2024 Access Bank Charity Polo Tournament, builds on the Bank’s previous efforts having commissioned 30 Blocks of two Classrooms each at the Tournament in 2023.

Upon completion of the Project, Access Bank aims to double the number of Enrolees in the Access Bank Fifth Chukker School, which has seen about 14,000 Children benefiting from access to quality Education and Social Welfare.

Speaking at the Groundbreaking Ceremony, Roosevelt Ogbonna, FCA, CFA, Access Bank’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, stated that the Project is part of a broad mission to enhance Educational Opportunities for Underprivileged Children and ultimately alleviate Poverty across Africa.

According to Ogbonna, “Nigeria faces a profound challenge. Over 12 million of our Children are out of School, with a significant number residing in the Northern Region.

This unpleasant reality compels us to act, transforming despair into hope, and ensuring that every Child is afforded the Opportunity to dream and achieve.

“In line with our Mission to drive prosperity across Africa, we are proud to flag-off the construction of an additional 60 Classrooms that will soon echo with the laughter and choruses of our Young Minds learning.

“These Classrooms will serve as more than just buildings; they will be Sanctuaries of hope, where the dreams of thousands of Children will be nurtured, and futures will be forged.

“We will continue to work with our Partners to create a brighter, more equitable future for the African Child.”

The Executive Governor of Kaduna, Uba Sani, lauded the efforts of Access Bank, Fifth Chukker and UNICEF for their commitment to improving the levels of Education in the State.

He added that Kaduna will continue to do its part in fostering the goal to reduce the number of Out-of-School Children in the Region.

“Kaduna is happy to have Partners in Access Bank, Fifth Chukker and UNICEF as we work to ensure that our Children have access to quality Education.

“We believe that all Children have a right to Formal Education, and we look forward to more Groundbreaking

Projects,” Sani stated.

In previous Editions of the Tournament, Access Bank’s efforts have made a substantial effect, addressing the pressing need for Educational Facilities while helping to reduce overcrowding in Classrooms.

In addition to Nigeria, the impact of the Polo Tournament has also extended to South Africa. Yearly, donations are raised towards supporting Underprivileged Children in the Country through the Nelson Mandela Foundation

Children’s Fund.

 

Credit Access Bank PR

17-Jun-2024 Sacrifice to fulfill dreams of our Founding Fathers, Tinubu tells Nigerians

Sacrifice to fulfill dreams of our Founding Fathers, Tinubu tells Nigerians

President Bola Tinubu on Sunday said Nigeria needed Sacrificing Citizens to fulfill the dreams of its Founding Fathers.

Tinubu made the Remark while addressing Journalists after observing the 2024 Eid-el Adha Prayers at Dodan Barracks, Lagos.

The President emphasised the need for the People to follow the path of Sacrifice to make the Nation great.

“Being a very good Citizen comes with Responsibility, As Citizens, what do you do to be a very committed Member of our Society? Go and sacrifice. Love your Country, love your Neighbours, share what you have with one another and be thankful to Almighty God. That’s all,” said the President.

Earlier, while addressing the worshippers, Obafemi Hamzat, the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, harped on perseverance and patience.

Hamzat enjoined the Muslim Faithful to understand the reason for Eid, which he described as sacrifice and endurance.

He appealed to Nigerians to sustain the Peace in the Country and do what is right for themselves and their Neighbours.

“I urge you all to live in Peace and Harmony. Be patient and persevere in order to enjoy the Good of the Land.

“Also, let us be good Muslims and good Citizens of Nigeria. This is what almighty Allah expects of us.

“I pray that we continue to celebrate in one peace and that Nigeria continues to progress,” he said.

Delivering the Eid-el-Adha message, Chief Imam of Lagos, Suleiman Abou-Nolla, who made reference to the Qur’an chapter 3 Verse 102, said all Believers should fear God as He should be feared.

He said all Believers must not die except as a Muslim in total submission to Allah.

Abou-Nolla said all the Prophets of God sent to Mankind with their Messages from Adam to Noah, to Ibrahim, Issah and Mohammed (S.A.W.) came with the Message of Sacrifice.

According to him, it is all about Service to their God and Humanity.

He recalled that former Nigerian leaders from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Ahmadu Bello, Nnamdi Azikwe, Obafemi Awolowo, MKO Abiola, Funmilayo Ransom-Kuti and others sacrificed their Knowledge, Wealth, Sweat that led to the Growth and Development of the Country.

“All their activities and actions were passionate and geared toward Nation-Building; we must, therefore, ensure that their Labour and struggles are not in vain.

“It is, therefore, incumbent on us to follow their Footsteps in ensuring that this Nation, Nigeria, continues to grow in leaps and bounds.

“We are also to note that Allah forbids any act of Tribalism, Terrorism, and Hatred among his Servants but loves Cooperation, Unity, Compassion, Stability, Justice and Righteousness.

“As we celebrate Eid-el-Adha, let us shun all Acts of Indiscipline, Hate Speech, and Violence to ensure Peaceful Co-Existence and Progress of our Nation Nigeria,” the Imam said.

He prayed to God to forgive Nigeria’s sins, asking God to send Peace to every part of the country.

“We seek your Blessings and Economic prosperity of our Land, open the Doors of Opportunities and success to all Sectors of our Economy,” he said.

Praying for the President, Imam, who noted that Tinubu had the heart and passion for the People, asked God to grant him wisdom, strength and good health to govern the Country well.

“Surround him (Tinubu) with sound and wise Counsel to navigate our Country through all the challenges we are currently facing,” he prayed.

Other dignitaries observed their Eid el-Adha Prayers at the Venue are: Chief of Staff, Femi Gbajabiamila, Principal Private Secretary, Hakeem Muri-Okunola, former Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, Speaker Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, and Gbenga Ashafa. 

 

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16-Jun-2024 Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway: FG stops payment of Compensation to Property Owners

Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway: FG stops payment of Compensation to Property Owners

The Federal Government says it is withholding payment of Compensation to affected Property Owners from Kilometer Seven on the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway Project, due to alteration on the Plan.

The Minister of Works, Dave Umahi, said this when he  inspected ongoing Works on Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway and other Road Projects on the Lekki Free Trade Zone, Dangote Tax Credit Route and Eleko, among other axis, on Saturday in Lagos.

The Minister said that, to resolve most of the Compensation Issues where a lot of Critical Infrastructure were affected, the Government had reduced the entire Corridor from Phase Two, Section Two of the Coastal Route, to effective Pavements of 55km, including the 10 Train Tracks.

He said that the Government had released about N10bn so far in Compensations.

Umahi said, “We are going to withhold Compensation payment from Kilometer Seven because we have re-routed some of the Sections, like the White Sand Beach.

“I know the Indigenes have been praying very well. I think God has answered their prayers because we have also compressed the Corridor to 55 effective Pavements with the 10 Train Tracks.

“We reduced the 10 Tracks from 55 to 20, and we are taking it back also towards the beginning of this Project.”

The Minister said that after Review, Payment of the Compensation would  continue.

“For Section Two, we are going to have brand new Enumerators so that they will also give us their Opinions.

”It is going to be very, very fast,” the Minister said.

According to Umahi, many Property are going to be saved.

He said, ”We saved all those Cables and saved the whole Community of Okun Ajah, by not only re-routing, but re-routing entirely through a Swamp.

”I hear that some People are calling to protest that we are re-routing to the Swamp, that we should go to the Gazetted and then destroy the Cables.

“I wonder what kind of People we are dealing with. It is very funny.

”I believe that they will see reasons to be very reasonable.” 

 

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15-Jun-2024 Tinubu seeks Partnership with FBI to check Cybercrime, Terrorism

Tinubu seeks Partnership with FBI to check Cybercrime, Terrorism

President Bola Tinubu has called for stronger Collaboration between Nigeria’s Law Enforcement Agencies and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the fight against Cybercrime, Terrorism, and other related Crimes. 

The President made the call during a Meeting with FBI Director, Christopher Asher Wray, at the State House on Friday in Abuja.

Tinubu described the presence of the FBI Director alongside his Team in Nigeria as a recognition of the enduring Partnership between Nigeria and the U.S. in the fight against Financial Crimes and Terrorism. 

Security Chiefs who attended the Meeting include the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu; Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun and Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Magaji Bichi.

Also in attendance were the Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mohamed Buba Marwa and Chief of Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), Emmanuel Undiandeye.

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Olanipekun Olukoyede; and the National Coordinator of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), Adamu Laka, were also present.

Tinubu said it was an honour for him to receive Wray, the Leader of an Organisation that had demonstrated consistent procedural sophistication and a reputation for excellence over several years.

“Your Visit conveys the importance of Nigeria and Nigerian Partnership in the work of America’s Law Enforcement Institutions and vice-versa.

“For us, it is a recognition of what stage we are at, who we are, and the level of interest both Countries share in eliminating Crimes Locally and Globally.

“We cannot achieve this important feat of eliminating Crimes without Collaboration.

“Incidentally, as the Chairman of ECOWAS, Nigeria is also collaborating with other West African Countries to fight Economic and other related Crimes,” the President said.

He told the FBI Director that his Administration had prioritised Education as a tool against Poverty, which was generally believed to be a driver of Criminal Activities.

“We are working hard to eliminate Terrorism, Cybercrimes, Sextortion, and I am glad that we have a good number of Agencies that are involved in reducing these Crimes to the barest minimum, and they are also well represented at this Meeting,” said Tinubu.

Noting that no single Country could combat Financial Crimes in isolation, he called on the U.S. to support Developing Countries with the requisite Technology and knowledge transfer required to combat complex International Crimes.

In his Remarks, Wray said he was in the Country to enhance the “Outstanding Partnership” that existed between the Government of Nigeria and the Government of the U.S. 

He lauded Tinubu for supporting the growing Partnerships between various Agencies of Government and the FBI in order to protect the Citizens of both Countries. 

“We appreciate the President’s Vision in countering Terrorism in the Region, which is a dangerous threat, not only to the Countries in the Region but also to the United States. 

“We appreciate your Vision in re-engineering the Role of the Office of the NSA to effectively coordinate efforts on Counter-Terrorism, and this has already started to bear fruits in terms of the success you are recording against ISIS in West Africa and other Terrorist Groups. 

“We appreciate your support and Collaboration on Cyber-Enabled Crimes and Sextortion, which has unfortunately resulted in a few tragic deaths in the United States. 

“I want to assure you of our support whether it is on Counter-Terrorism, Cyber-Enabled Crimes, Kidnapping, Joint Investigations, and Intelligence Sharing. Our Relationship with Nigeria is a very important one,” the FBI Director said.

 

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13-Jun-2024 Permanent Secretary gets Query over alleged Sexual Harassment

Permanent Secretary gets Query over alleged Sexual Harassment

The Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF), has queried Ibrahim Lamuwa, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, over alleged Sexual Harassment.

Lamuwa, who served as Nigeria’s Ambassador to Senegal with Concurrent Accreditation to Mauritania before his Appointment as Permanent Secretary, is accused of sexually harassing Simisola Ajayi, who works in the Ministry.

Muhammed Ahmed, Deputy-Director of Communication in the OHCSF, confirmed Lamuwa’s Query in Abuja.

“Lamuwa was queried in accordance with the Civil Service Rules and Regulations.” 

According to him, the Query is to give the Accused a fair hearing.

“His response will set the path for further necessary action.”

He also hinted that there would be “unhindered Investigation into the alleged Case of Sexual Harassment”.

“We are following the Procedure in the Civil Service. The Case shall be fully investigated,” he said.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar had, based on a Petition by Ajayi, through her Legal Counsel, Femi Falana, Officially asked Folasade Yemi-Esan, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, to wade-in on the Matter.

His Letter asking her to step in on the Matter went viral on Tuesday.

Tuggar stated in the Letter: “Bearing in mind the gravity of the Matter, it has become necessary to draw your attention to it, while requesting the OHCSF to handle the Matter”.

The deadline for Lamuwa’s response could not be confirmed, but an unconfirmed Source said that he had been asked to step aside to avoid interference that could taint Investigation into the Matter.

 

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13-Jun-2024 Plane Crash: APRA commiserates PR Society, Government, People of Malawi

Plane Crash: APRA commiserates PR Society, Government, People of Malawi

The African Public Relations Association (APRA), has expressed heartfelt condolences to the Public Relations Society of Malawi (PRSM, an Institutional Member of APRA), the Government and Citizens of the Republic of Malawi over the tragic plane crash that claimed the lives of the Country’s Vice President, Saulos Chilima, and nine others on June 10, 2024.

In a Condolence Letter dated June 11, 2024, and addressed to Benson Linje, the President of PRSM, the Continental Association described the Incident as a “huge loss, not only to the People of Malawi but also to the African Continent.”

The Letter reads: “We write to express our profound shock and sadness at the tragic Plane crash that caused the death of H.E. Dr. Saulos Chilima, the Vice President of Malawi, and nine others on Monday, June 10, 2024.

“On behalf of the African Public Relations Association (APRA), we extend our heartfelt condolences to you, our Colleagues in the Public Relations Society of Malawi, and the great People of Malawi."

The letter also states, “As always and especially this time of National Mourning, we stand in solidarity with the People of Malawi.

“We share in the pain and the grief attending this huge loss, not only to the People of Malawi but to the African Continent."

“The Council and all Members (Institutional, Corporate and Individual) of APRA offer heartfelt sympathies and will continue to remember the great People of Malawi in our entreaties.”

APRA, in the Letter, prayed that the cherished Memories of the Departed would bring strength and that the support of Friends, Colleagues, Compatriots, other Pan-Africanists and Lovers around the World will help to bring PRSM and the People of Malawi comfort on the tragic Incident.

APRA also prayed that the Families, Friends, and Loved ones of the Deceased find strength and be comforted over this tragedy.

“Please rest assured that, as we mourn the passing of these Distinguished Personalities and Individuals, we also celebrate their Lives and contributions to the Republic of Malawi and our dear Continent. May their Souls rest in peace,” the Letter closes.

 

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13-Jun-2024 Minimum Wage: Fully Armed Soldiers surrounded us while negotiating with FG, says Labour

Minimum Wage: Fully Armed Soldiers surrounded us while negotiating with FG, says Labour

As Nigeria marks Democracy Day, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) says its demand for the new National Minimum Wage remains N250,000.

The Acting President of NLC, Adewale Adeyanju, said this in a Statement, while reacting to President Bola Tinubu Democracy Day speech on Wednesday, in Abuja.

The Federal Government had offered N62, 000 as the new National Minimum Wage, at the end of the Tripartite Committee Meeting, involving the Organised Private Sector (OPS).

According to him, the Union appreciates the President’s commitment to those fine Democratic Ideals which allowed the Work of the Tripartite National Minimum Wage Negotiation Committee to proceed unhindered despite some hiccups.

“Our demand still remains N250,000 only and we have not been given any compelling reasons to change this position which we consider a great concession by Nigerian Workers during the Tripartite Negotiation Process.

“We are, therefore, surprised at the submission of Mr President over a supposed Agreement.

“We believe that he may have been misled into believing that there was an Agreement with the NLC and TUC.

“There was none and it is important that we let the President, Nigerians and other National Stakeholders understand this immediately to avoid a mix up in the ongoing Conversation around the National Minimum Wage,” he said.

Adeyanju also noted that the Union had not seen a Copy of the Document submitted to Mr President and it would not accept any Doctored Document.

He, however, reaffirmed the Union’s belief that the President on whose Table the Tripartite Committee’s Report presently resides would prepare an Executive Bill which content would reflect the true demand of Nigerian Workers.

“We think that this is an opportunity for him to demonstrate his love for Nigerian Workers and Masses.

“That is by shunning the pieces of advice that may be coming from those whose intentions are continuously focused on hurting the Poor and Struggling Workers of Nigeria.

“Mr President should not allow these Individuals and Groups to sabotage his promise of lifting Nigerian Workers out of Poverty,” he said.

According to him, the President’s Advisers obviously did not tell him the truth that the Leaders of the Trade Unions were intimidated and harassed.

“It is, therefore, important that Mr President understands that we were threatened severally by his Operatives perhaps without his consent.

“Series of Media Propaganda calculated to intimidate and harass us were, and, are still being waged against the Trade Unions by Senior Officials of this Government.

“Fully Armed Soldiers surrounded us while we were in a Negotiation with the Government,” he alleged.

He added the NLC remained assured that the President’s Democratic Credentials will come to the fore in favour of Nigerian Workers and Masses.

He also noted that NLC never agreed on a five-year duration of the Minimum Wage Act though acknowledged that the President mentioned five years or less.

According to Adeyanju, the Union also agreed that Inflation should be pegged at a level for certain amount to be agreed as Minimum Wage. This is to bring clarity to what the Report should contain.

“Once again, we reiterate that it will be extremely difficult for Nigerian Workers to accept any National Minimum Wage figure that approximates to a Starvation Wage.

“We cannot be working and yet remain in abject Poverty.

“We seek justice, equity and fairness for all Nigerians and this we hope would also drive the actions of Mr. President who promised a Living Wage to Nigerian Workers.

“This is an opportunity to show that he listens to Nigerians as he promised,” he said.

 

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12-Jun-2024 Tinubu reviews Special Parade to mark 25 Years of Nigeria’s enduring Democracy

Tinubu reviews Special Parade to mark 25 Years of Nigeria’s enduring Democracy

As part of Activities to mark the 2024 Democracy Day, the Guards Brigade Nigerian Army on Wednesday led the Nigerian Armed Forces and Nigeria Police in a Special Parade.

Nigeria is also celebrating 25 years of unbroken Democracy.

The theme for the Democracy Day Celebration is “25 Years of Enduring Democracy: Prospects for the Future”.

The Parade was mounted by the Personnel of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and the Police who displayed a Colourful Event.

President Bola Tinubu, who is the Reviewing Officer for the Parade mounted the Special Military Parade Vehicle with his Aide de Camp to inspect the Parade at about 10.15 am.

Afterward, the Troops began the Match Past, first to salute the Dignitaries and seek permission to commence the quick Match Past.

This was followed by the Silent Drill Display by the Guards Brigade, Mass Bang and Cultural Troupes display and other important Activities

President Tinubu and his wife, Oluremi Tinubu arrived the Venue at exactly at 10.00 am heralding the commencement of the Programme.

The President of the Senate and Speaker, House of Representatives, Godswill Akpabio and Tajudeen Abbas as well as the Chief Justice of Nigerian and Secretary to the Government of the Federation arrived earlier.

Also present were Ministers, State Governors, Lawmakers and Security Chiefs.

Earlier in a Nationwide Broadcast, President Tinubu praised the Winner of the Annulled June 12, 1993, Presidential Election, Moshood Abiola and other Heroes of Democracy, including Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and Alfred Rewane, among others.

He acknowledged the Economic hardships in the Country and expressed his commitment to supporting the Citizens.

He said, “On this day, 31 years ago, we entered our Rites of Passage to becoming a true and enduring Democratic Society.

“Going through this Passage was hard and dangerous. During the fateful six years that followed, we fought and struggled for our Natural Rights as Human Beings put on this Earth by the divine hand of our Creator.

 

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12-Jun-2024 Ex- Minister to National Assembly: Cut down your Budget to reduce Cost of Governance

Ex- Minister to National Assembly: Cut down your Budget to reduce Cost of Governance

A former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, has called for a Review of the Budgets of the Senate and House of Representatives as a Strategy to reduce Cost of Governance.

Obanikoro made the call in commemoration of Nigeria’s Democracy Day.

Nigeria’s Democracy Day is now celebrated on June 12 to remember the acrifices of the Winner of the 1993 Presidential Election, Moshood Abiola.

It used to be celebrated on May 29 Annually, but was moved to June 12 by the Administration of Muhammadu Buhari.

Nigeria operates a Bicameral Legislature made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

“Democracy doesn’t have to be this expensive, that is one thing we don’t get right.

“It is expensive because we have made it so. Let me give you a good example because we borrowed this System from America.

“In America they don’t provide Accommodation for Lawmakers, they fend for themselves when it comes to that, they live basically on Salary and very small Fringe Benefits,” Obanikoro said.

He said that Nigeria could also work toward that, and make the Budget of the National Assembly more transparent.

“When the Budget is more transparent, and People can go Online and see what is allocated to every Member of the National Assembly and can also input into the Process, I do believe that will make the Process or the Institution less expensive,” he said.

Obanikoro added  that if the Budget of the two Legislative Houses would be made  transparent, the recent calls for Parliamentary System of Government would have been avoided.

”This clamour that the Bicameral System of Legislature should be jettisoned will reduce if the Budget is reduced, because the idea is that there are some Budgetary Provisions that should never be in our Books and we must be bold enough to expunge them.

“We cut the Budget size of the National Assembly to a reasonable level that an average Nigerian can live with,” Obanikoro, also a former High Commissioner to Ghana, said.

On immortalising Abiola, Obanikoro said that the Federal Government could do more.

“Let me say this, Government has really tried, because there was a time that Government did not even want to acknowledge the contributions of MKO.

“To have moved from denial to the reality that Abiola  contributed and sacrificed his Life for this Democracy is a welcome and commendable development.

”However, I believe more can be done. Democratic Institutions can be named after him, and we have declared today Democracy Day, not MKO day.

“Some people can say it is synonymous but I will want more Landmark Buildings in Nigeria named after him across the six Geo-Political Zones.

“That way, at every corner of the Country you look, you can visibly know how we got to where we are,” he said. 

 

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12-Jun-2024 Tinubu: If you are not counted among their Elite, your life will be small, it’ll no longer be owned by you

Tinubu: If you are not counted among their Elite, your life will be small, it’ll no longer be owned by you

President Bola Tinubu has vowed to preserve Democracy and protect the Rights, Freedom and Liberty of Citizens.

Tinubu said this in a National Broadcast to mark the 2024 Democracy Day and the 25th year of uninterrupted Democratic Rule in the Country.

The President said that as a Beneficiary of the historic efforts of the Heroes of Democracy, he was morally bound to preserve the present Form of Government.

“I stand uniquely placed in this regard. I was among those who took the risk to midwife the birth of our Democracy. I am now a direct and obvious Beneficiary of the fruits of those historic efforts.

“As President of this Nation, I am morally and constitutionally bound to preserve this precious Form of Governance.

“I vow to do my utmost best to protect your Rights, Freedoms, and Liberties as Citizens of Nigeria.

“Even more than that, I pledge to do whatever is necessary to cement Democracy as our Way of Life,” he said.

The President expressed gratitude to Nigerians for the Opportunity to lead the Country and promised not to turn his back on them.

He urged Nigerians to beware of those trying to exploit the current challenges in the Country to undermine and destroy the Democracy for which so much had already been given.

According to him, as Nigerians, we must remind ourselves that no matter how complicated Democracy may be, it is the best Form of Governance in the long run.

“We must also be aware that there are those among us who will try to exploit current challenges to undermine, if not destroy this Democracy for which so much has already been given.

“These People do this not to make things better but to subject all other People and things to their control and dominance until the point that, if you are not counted among their Elite, then your life will be small and no longer owned by you,” he said.

Tinubu added that “I understand the Economic difficulties we face as a Nation.

“Our Economy has been in desperate need of Reform for decades. It has been unbalanced because it was built on the flawed Foundation of over-reliance on Revenues from the Exploitation of Oil.

“The Reforms we have initiated are intended to create a stronger, better Foundation for future growth.

“There is no doubt the Reforms have occasioned hardship, yet, they are necessary repairs required to fix the Economy over the long run so that everyone has access to Economic Opportunity, Fair Pay and Compensation for his Endeavour and Labour,” he said.

Tinubu said  his Government was aware of the proper way forward to move the Country and would take it.

He acknowledged those who laid down their Lives, sacrificing everything to pave the way for the Nation and pledged to do all that was necessary to cement Democracy in the Country.

 

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11-Jun-2024 Shettima to Youths: Once we engage you, all the madness pervading Nigeria will stop

Shettima to Youths: Once we engage you, all the madness pervading Nigeria will stop

The Vice President, Kashim Shettima, has restated the commitment of the Bola Tinubu Administration to supporting Nigerian Youths to reach their potential and contribute to the Growth and Development of the Country.

Shettima’s Remark was contained in a Statement by Stanley Nkwocha, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Communications, Office of the Vice President.

He said Shettima made the Remark when he received the National Executive Council of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), led by its President, Sukubo Sara-Igbe Sukubo, on a Courtesy Visit to the Presidential Villa.

Commending the Council for its support of the Programmes and Activities of the Tinubu Administration, Shettima said:

“We cannot thank you enough for keeping the hope alive for the Nigerian Youth.

“We identify with you, we empathise with you because the future of this Nation belongs to you. We are one of the Youngest Nations on the Planet and the Youth constitute nearly 75 per cent of our Population.

“Once we engage the Youth, once we give them hope for a better tomorrow, all the madness pervading this land will dissipate.

“Sixty years for an Organisation to remain vibrant and still stand on its feet deserves commendation. I want to thank you for believing in the Nigeria Project.

“A lot of Members of your Generation have left the Country but you resolved to stay on, and together we are going to salvage the Ship of this State,” he added.

On plans of the Tinubu Administration for Young Nigerians, the Vice President noted that President Tinubu created a Ministry for the Youth under the current Dispensation.

He added that the President also appointed two Young People to head the Ministry, while the Vice President had complemented that by appointing a lot of Young Persons into Key Positions in his Office.

Assuring the NYCN Delegation that the Administration is aligned with their aspirations, Shettima said, “We hold you in the highest esteem.

“We have a series of Opportunities lined up for you such as the iDICE Project that will create Digital Jobs, including the ones in the Creative Industry.

“So, let’s hope for the best, let’s believe in Nigeria because this is our Country.”

Earlier, Sukubo had expressed the Council’s readiness to collaborate with the Federal Government in addressing Oil Bunkering.

“We have decided to see how we can help this Country in Areas of Oil Theft that have been ravaging this Nation,” Sukubo stated.

He added that, “the NYCN has decided that it’s a collective effort, and we are ready to partner with the Government to address this illegality.”

Sukubo announced that the NYCN, which was established on August 28, 1964, in Lagos, was gearing up to commemorate its 60th Anniversary in November.

On behalf of the Council, he extended an Invitation to the Vice President to Officially unveil the Anniversary Events expected to draw Participants from across the Country.

“This year, we are celebrating our 60th Anniversary, and we want you to Officially unveil the Anniversary Events.

“The Events will have nothing less than 100,000 Participants across the Country, and that is the day we want to give insight into the Activities of this Government,” Sukubo said.

Acknowledging the Administration’s efforts in appointing a significant number of Young People to Government Positions, the NYCN Delegation also appealed to the Federal Government to construct a Youth House.

Also speaking, Rikki Nwajiofor, the National Deputy Secretary General of the NYCN, highlighted the Council’s Role as the Apex Youth Body representing all Youth Organisations in Nigeria as stipulated in the National Youth Policy.

“NYCN is made up of 104 Affiliate Member Youth Organisations, a 27-Member National Executive Council, 36 State Chapters and an FCT Chapter, as well as 774 Coordinators in all Local Government and Area Councils in Nigeria.

“That is why the NYCN is the Vehicle through which the Government passes its Policies to the Grassroots,” Nwajiofor explained.

 

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10-Jun-2024 Akinsowon: The Accountant grilling to Guinness World Record

Akinsowon: The Accountant grilling to Guinness World Record

All Roads lead to Eric Kayser Restaurant, Bishop Aboyade Cole Street, Bendel Close, Victoria Island, Lagos this weekend as another Nigerian plans to break Guinness World Records.

Akinsowon Faderera Edwin, an Accountant and a Chef, will be making an attempt to become the World Record Holder in Grill-A-Thon Berbeque for 82 hours.

An indigene of Ondo State, the Parents are Retired Civil Servants. When successful, he will put the 48-year-old State on the World Map.

Akinsowon is a passionate Griller and aspiring World Champion, with a background in Accounting and a deep love for the Culinary Arts.

His journey from an Arts Student to a record-breaking hopeful is a story of perseverance and unwavering belief in the power of dreams.

With a burning passion and an unyielding spirit, Faderera, an Accountant-turned-Restaurant Staff, is set to embark on a remarkable journey to break the Guinness World Record for the longest Barbecue Marathon.

Drawing from his diverse background and motivated by a deep-seated belief in achieving the extraordinary, he aims to grill for over 82 hours, surpassing the current record of 80 hours.

 Inspiration and Motivation

When asked about the inspiration behind this ambitious attempt, he shared, “Motivation is an inner drive that pushes you beyond expectations. I’ve always believed that nothing is impossible.

“Though I was an Arts Student in Secondary School and later studied Accounting in Higher Education, I found my true calling in the Restaurant Business.

Learning to grill from my Grandfather in Ondo City ignited my passion for Barbecue.”

Preparation and Planning

His journey towards this record-breaking attempt began two years ago.

“From childhood, I envisioned myself as a World Champion. Working in a Restaurant solidified my dream of achieving greatness through Grilling,” he explained.

To ensure his success, he enlisted the help of an Expert Trainer last year, who dedicated a month to honing his Grilling Skills.

However, the path has not been without challenges.

“Financial constraints and a demanding Work Ethic have been significant hurdles,” he admitted.

“But my determination to succeed keeps me going.”

Details of the Attempt

According to him, to break the Record, I must grill for over 81 hours in a Public Area, adhering to specific Guidelines set by Guinness World Records.

“I plan to grill for more than 82 hours, using only Charcoal as Modern Grilling Machines are not permitted. The Event will be open to the Public, and I’ll have a Medical Certificate to ensure the quality and safety of the Food.”

Logistics and Support

Managing rest breaks and staying active throughout the attempt will be crucial.

“Guinness allows only rest breaks, not sleeping time. I aim to remain active for the full four days,” he stated.

The Lagos State Government is providing Emergency Services to ensure safety, and all Foods prepared will undergo Government Approval to maintain high Standards.

Personal Experience and Impact

Staying motivated during such a demanding task requires strong personal support.

“My Mother has always motivated me. Her encouragement keeps me focused, and I want to make her proud,” he shared.

Professionally, he hopes to establish a Global presence in the Grilling Business and inspire others through his journey.

Community Response and Future Plans

 Despite the lack of widespread support, he remains hopeful.

“It’s challenging to get support, but I’m determined. If successful, I plan to build a Grilling Empire alongside my Comedy Ministry,” he revealed.

He also intends to share his Experience and Techniques with others, drawing on his Teaching Background from his Institution days.

Celebration and Advice

When asked about celebrating the record-breaking achievement, he smiled and said, “Let the day come first, and you’ll see.”

His advice to aspiring record-breakers is simple yet profound: “Never lose hope. Start planning and believe in your dreams. Even when the odds are against you, your belief will make it happen.”

“My determination to break the Guinness World Records for the Longest Barbecue Marathon will be a testament to my dedication, resilience and unshakable belief in my dreams.

“The Event promises to be an inspiring showcase of skill, determination and community spirit, featuring free barbeque, free drinks, games, music and entertainment, give away and lots more.

“I solicit for Public support, Private and Public Company support, Federal and State Government support as I will be embarking on the journey starting from 1am on Saturday 15th of June till I break the Record.

“We are inviting everybody to come and experience greatness at the venue, beside Eric Kayser Restaurant, Bishop Aboyade Cole Street, Bendel Close Victoria Island, Lagos”.

 

09-Jun-2024 FG goes tough on Vandals, says 'our eyes on Third Mainland Bridge'

FG goes tough on Vandals, says 'our eyes on Third Mainland Bridge'

The Federal Ministry of Works says it is working with the Police to tighten Security and stop Vandalism on the Third Mainland Bridge to save the Public Infrastructure.

The Federal Controller of Works, Lagos, Olukorede Kesha, gave the assurance in an Interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday.

Operatives of the Rapid Response Squad of the Police Command in Lagos State had on Friday arrested a Suspected Vandal removing LED Road Stud Lights on the newly-renovated Third Mainland Bridge.

According to the Police, the Suspect had already removed 10 of the Lights before he was caught by Policemen on Patrol.

 

Kesha said that the the Ministry would not tolerate any Vandalism on Public Infrastructure.

She said that Police Trucks had been stationed on the Bridge to allow Officers to quickly respond to Incidents and check Vandalism.

She said: “We have written to the Commissioner of Police to ensure more surveillance on the Third Mainland Bridge, and we have stationed Police Trucks on the Bridge.

“Police Officers now patrol the Bridge more frequently; this increased Security Measures have led to the arrest of a number of Miscreants, who were vandalising Public Property.

“We saw that the Cat Eye Lights were vandalised, and the Vandals were promptly arrested and taken into Police Custody.

“More Miscreants were also arrested for Vandalism even on Monday. This shows a strong response from the Authorities.

“Our eyes are on Third Mainland Bridge.”

The Cat Eye Lights are Small Reflective Markers on the Road that help with visibility at night.

 

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09-Jun-2024 Lagos inspects Road Projects, vows to complete Alapere Pedestrian Bridge in 3 months

Lagos inspects Road Projects, vows to complete Alapere Pedestrian Bridge in 3 months

Lagos State Government has embarked on a Road and Bridge Project which will link Sangotedo in Eti Osa with Ito-Omu creek in Ibeju Lekki and Epe.

The Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Infrastructure, Olufemi Daramola, gave the assurance on Saturday, during an Inspection of some Projects across the State.

”Today, we are at the Omu Creek Road which is one of the Strategic Projects that is ongoing.

“It is a Road of about five kilometres and about 600 metres Bridge.

”It is about 1.1 kilometres from the Lekki-Epe Express Road. What we have witnessed today is really a big progress, there has been a lot of Soil Reclamation, a lot of Soil Replacement has gone on.

”We will be able to get to the point where the Bridge work will start, a lot of Soil Investigation is going on, the progress is very commendable,” he said.

The special adviser also inspected the Ketu Alapere Pedestrian Bridge Reconstruction. Daramola said that the Project would be completed in few months.

 

The Bridge, which was constructed 11 years ago, was damaged  by impact of a Container-Laden Truck which attempted to manoeuvre under the Bridge.

“Reconstruction of the damaged Alapere Pedestrian Bridge is ongoing.

“There was a lot of work on the Alignment. The Federal Government was working on the Third Mainland Bridge, and we had to synchronise the work.

”There is good progress, the Foundation is done, the Cast elements are all being set, the Headroom will be improved, and in another couple of months – two, three months  – I am sure that the Project will be completed,” he said.

Daramola also said that the State Government had  embarked on rehabilitation of some Link Roads in the Ikoyi Axis.

“The State Government is also working on a Network of Roads in Ikoyi, Oyinkan Abayomi, MacPherson, Ilabere. Site visit shows that there is improvement.

“Contractors are on site, and we are having good milage.

”Some Sets of Roads were done in Ikoyi previously, and this Set will add more connectivity. The progress of work  is very commendable,” he said.

The Special Adviser said that the Ilabere Link Road, Ikoyi, project was 70 per cent completed.

”None of the Roads has been completed because it is a Network.

”In Lagos as a whole, there is quite a number of Projects going on, we visit these Sites from time to time.

”I can assure you in Alimosho we have ongoing Projects such as Babafemi Daada, Abaranje Road.  In Badagry, we have Hospital Road, Samuel Ekundayo Road. In Kosofe, we have St. Finbarrs Road in Akoka and all the Contractors are on Site.

”The Governor has given us support maximally, you will see more progress,” Daramola said. 

 

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08-Jun-2024 Tinubu commissions N21bn Residence for Vice President, says it's a matter of convenience

Tinubu commissions N21bn Residence for Vice President, says it's a matter of convenience

President Bola Tinubu has inaugurated the N21bn Official Residence of the Vice President, abandoned since 2015.

Tinubu, represented by the Vice-President Kashim Shettima at the Event, reaffirmed the unwavering dedication of his Administration to the Principles of Accountability, Transparency and efficient utilisation of Resources for the betterment of the Country.

He stated that a provision of suitable Residence for the Vice President was not merely a matter of convenience, but a symbol of respect for the Office and the Individuals occupying it.

Tinubu added that the completion of the Project was a testimony to the respect and affection that the President had for the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

”President Bola Tinubu deserves special commendations. We have seen how Vice President were treated in the past.

”However, with the present dispensation, it is a different ball game,” he said

The President said that the decision to complete the Project after going through the required due process was highly commendable.

According to him, “it is not a secret that the Project has faced numerous challenges over the years, including delayed and abandonment by the previous Administration.

”However, rather than dwell on past shortcomings, we have chosen to take this opportunity to demonstrate our resolve to confront obstacles, head on.

“We also resolved to deliver on the promises made to the Nigerians, in line with our Renewed Hope Agenda which has, completion of inherited Projects, as one of its cardinal objectives.

”As we commission this State-of-the-Art Edifice,  we are fulfilling a long standing commitment and reaffirming our unwavering dedication to Accountability, Transparency and efficient utilisation of Resources for the betterment of the our Nation.

“I hold a very strong opinion that abandoning Projects after substantial Expenditures has been incurred is inherently wasteful.

”It is in the best interest of the Government and the Public, to see them through to completion,” he said

Tinubu expressed gratitude to the FCT Administration for taking up the responsibility  to complete the Project to avoid wastage of Taxpayers’ money.

Earlier, the FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, said that the Project was awarded in 2010 at the cost of N7bn, but was abandoned in 2015.

”It was in January this year (2024), that we had to review the Project to N21bn, from N7bn, that means additional N14 billion.

”For a Vice-President Residence to take 14 good years and then Mr President, within a year, made it a reality; this is what is called, renewed hope,” he said.

Wike recalled that when he came on board in August 2023, the Project Site was a bush.

“I, therefore, went to the  President and told him Criminals had taken over the place and the President directed that I should make sure that the Project is completed,” he said.

The Minister thanked the President for supporting the completion of the Project and ensuring his Vice lived in a comfortable Environment.

 

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08-Jun-2024 Minimum Wage: We can't even afford to pay N60,000, say Governors

Minimum Wage: We can't even afford to pay N60,000, say Governors

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) says though a new Minimum Wage is due, the proposed N60,000 is not sustainable.

NGF’s Acting Director on Media and Public Affairs, Hajiya Halima Ahmed, in a Statement on Friday in Abuja, sympathised with the Labour Unions in their push for higher Wages.

Ahmed, however, urged all Parties to consider the fact that the Minimum Wage Negotiations also involved consequential adjustments across all Cadres, including Pensioners.

“The NGF cautions Parties in this important discussion to look beyond just signing a Document for the sake of it; any Agreement to be signed should be sustainable and realistic.

“All things considered, the NGF holds that the N60,000 Minimum Wage Proposal is not sustainable and cannot fly.

“It will simply mean that many States will spend all their Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) Allocations on just paying Salaries, with nothing left for Development purposes.

“In fact, a few States will end up borrowing to pay Workers every month. We do not think this will be in the collective interest of the Country, including Workers,’’ she said.

Ahmed, on behalf of the Governors appealed to all Parties involved, especially the Labour Unions, to consider all the Socio-Economic Variables.

She urged the Stakeholders to settle for an Agreement that was sustainable, durable, and fair to all other Segments of the Society, who had legitimate claim to Public Resources. 

 

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08-Jun-2024 Minimum Wage: FG offers N62,000 as Labour pushes for N250,000

Minimum Wage: FG offers N62,000 as Labour pushes for N250,000

The Federal Government said it has offered Organised Labour N62, 000 as the new National Minimum Wage for Workers in the Country.

Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State said this while addressing Journalists at the end of Tripartite Committee Negotiation Meeting on Friday in Abuja.

Uzodimma who is also the Chairman of Governors' Forum, spoke on behalf of the Governors that there was progress in the Negotiation of the new Minimum Wage.

According to him, we are almost there because we are just about to sign the dot and there will be a complete closure. Every other thing will follow.

“The Committee has worked so hard and the Committee has reach an Agreement. The Tripartite Committee is made up of three Parties -the Government, the Organised Private Sector(OPS) and the Organised Labour.

“In the wisdom of the Committee, it has put together a Recommendation that will be forwarded to Mr President for further action

“The Organised Private Sector and the Federal Government have agreed on N62, 000 while the Organised Labour is asking for N250, 000.

“At the end of the day what is important is that we are talking. There is no hostility anymore. And the National anxiety is going to be relaxed as soon as this is made Public,” he said.

Also, Festus Osifo, President, Trade Union Congress (TUC) noted that the OPS and Federal Government have recommended N62, 000 as the Minimum Wage.

“But for us we felt that with the current Economic hardship and the difficulty in the Land, the sum of N250, 000 should be what will be okay for the Minimum Wage.

“We are going to sign a Report and forward this position to Mr President. This Committee is to make recommendation to him.

”So we will forward it to him and Mr President will forward it to the National Assembly.

“We will keep pushing to ensure that we have a Wage that stands the test of time in Nigeria,” he said.

Speaking, Goni Aji, Chairman of the Tripartite Committee on the National Minimum Wage, said the Recommendation that they had was as a result of a deep Dialogue and consensus reached at the Tripartite level.

According to him, the situation that we are recommending to Mr President, some how, is repeating itself because it happened in the 2018 Exercise.

“In 2018, it was the other way. The Organised Private Sector and the Organised Labour recommended N30, 000 as Minimum Wage while the Government side recommended N24, 000.

“Two figures were recommended to the then President for his consideration and onward transmission to the National Assembly for it to become a Law. That is exactly where we are,” he said.

He added the Mandate of the Tripartite Committee is to recommend. It has no powers to approve but to recommend.

He said that the Recommendation reached came as a result of deeper understanding and studies of all the Economic Indices, current Inflation and state of the Economy.

He noted that the Organised Private Sector and the Government have agreed on a figure which N62,000 while the Organised Labour is asking for N250.000.

“At the end of the day what is important is that we are still talking ,” he said.

 

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05-Jun-2024 Tinubu to Minister: Give me Cost Implications of new Minimum Wage in 24 hours

Tinubu to Minister: Give me Cost Implications of new Minimum Wage in 24 hours

President Bola Tinubu has issued a Directive to Minister of Finance and Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, to come up with the Cost Implications of the proposed new National Minimum Wage.

The President gave the Directive at a Meeting with Members of the Federal Government’s Negotiation Team, which briefed him on the outcome of its Engagement with the Organised Labour.

After the Meeting on Tuesday night, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, said the Minister of Finance had been given till Wednesday(today)to provide the figures that would guide the Federal Government on the issue of the moment.

“It’s been quite challenging, but we thank God that we’re at this point. We thank Labour that true to their words last night, they have suspended their Strike early this morning.

“Government on its side, you can see that the President has just summoned a Meeting of all those who negotiated on behalf of the Federal Government, led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

“The Minister of Finance was there, the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, myself, the Minister of Labour, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC.

“We were all there to look at those Issues and then the President has directed the Minister of Finance to do the numbers and get back to him between today and tomorrow so that we can have some figures ready for Negotiation with Labour”, he said.

The Minister of Information emphasised that the President was committed to an acceptable and sustainable new Minimum Wage realistic for Nigerians, involving not just the Federal Government, but also States and the Organised Private Sector.

He said that Federal Government was not opposed to Wage increment, but that it wants to ensure that any Agreement reached is sustainable and realistic, given the Economic realities on the ground.

“Let me say that Mr President is determined to go with what the Committee has said, he’s also looking at the Welfare of Nigerians.

“Like I said earlier, Government is not an Opponent of Labour discussions, it’s not an Opponent of Wage increase, but what is there is that Government is desirous of ensuring that there is balance between what its pronouncement is and what realities are on ground, therefore we’ll work assiduously to ensure that whatever we do, whatever promises Government makes will be kept. That’s the idea of this Meeting.

“The President has given a Marching Order that all those who have negotiated on behalf of Government and those who are Representatives of other Sectors, the Organised Private Sector and the Sub-Nationals, come together so that we can have a new Wage Award that is acceptable, sustainable and also realistic for Nigeria.

“A Wage Award is not just that of the Federal Government. Like I mentioned, the Sub-Nationals are involved, the Organised Private Sector is involved, the Labour is involved.

“It was Labour that staged a walkout during those Proceedings, now that we’ve come back to the Negotiating Table, all of us will work together again, assiduously, within the next one week to ensure that we have a new Wage for Nigeria that is acceptable, sustainable and also realistic for all Nigerians”, Idris said.

He said the Meeting, also attended by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume, the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Atiku Bagudu, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, and the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mele Kyari, was aimed at finding a balance between the Government’s pronouncements and the Economic realities on the ground.

05-Jun-2024 Labour: We only suspended Strike for one week to allow continuation of Negotiation

Labour: We only suspended Strike for one week to allow continuation of Negotiation

The Organised Labour says it has relaxed the Indefinite Nationwide Strike declared on Monday, for one-week, to allow continuation of Negotiations.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) made this known in a Communique issued at the end of a Joint National Executive Council Meeting on Tuesday in Abuja.

It would be recalled that Labour had declared an Indefinite Nationwide Strike, midnight of June 2, to press home its demands of  non conclusion of National Minimum Wage Fixing and non reversal of hike in  Electricity Tariff.

The Communique was jointly signed by Joe Ajaero, NLC President and Festus Osifo, President of TUC.

Ajaero said NEC relaxed the Indefinite Strike, following the resolution by the Federal Government to offer more than the N60,000, it put forward to the Tripartite Committee.

According to Ajaero, in view of the deliberations, the NEC-in-Session resolved that there is a greater need to create the right ambience for Negotiation to continue unhindered.

“The Indefinite Nationwide Strike Action is therefore relaxed for one week from today to allow the Federal Government commit to a concrete and acceptable National Minimum Wage.

“Also to take definite steps to reverse the Electricity Tariff hike back to N66/kwh and abolish the discriminatory Classification of Electricity Consumers into Bands.

“The NLC and TUC National Leadership are mandated to continue to maintain open Channels of Communication with the Federal Government to negotiate and secure favourable outcomes for Nigerian Workers and People.

“All Affiliate Unions and State Councils are therefore, directed to relax the Indefinite Nationwide Strike and return to their respective Workplaces immediately,” he said.

Ajaero added that the NEC-in-Session expressed profound gratitude to Nigerian Workers and the General Public for their unwavering support and solidarity in this critical struggle for improved Living and Working Conditions.

He said that the NLC and TUC remained committed to “pursuing all necessary actions to protect the Rights and Welfare of all Nigerian People and Workers as we urge all to await further Directives while the Negotiation continues.”

 

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04-Jun-2024 State Police: We'll go by the decision of FG, says I-G

State Police: We'll go by the decision of FG, says I-G

The Inspector-General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun says the Force will abide by whatever decision the Federal Government will take on the Issue of State Police.

Egbetokun disclosed this in Lagos, through the Coordinating Deputy Inspector-General of Police, South-West, Abiodun Alabi, who was on a Working Visit to the State.

He said the Force decided to explain its stand in view of many Opinions and Views the matter had generated.

The Police Chief advised Officers and Men to continue in their Job as stipulated by the Nigerian Constitution.

Egbetokun charged the Men to be disciplined, hard working, respect Human Rights, and carry out their Duties in the best Professional ways.

He warned the Personnel against misuse of Firearms, stressing that such should be used responsibly in strict accordance with the Law.

On the Mental and Physical Health of the Men, the I-G said the Officer in Charge of Police Medical had been given Orders to carry out Mental and Psychological Test on Personnel for better performance.

Egbetokun said the Force was already working with some Consultants on befitting Accommodation for the Officers and Men, stressing that very soon, the Personnel would access their own Homes.

The Police Chief warned his Officers and Men against rivalry with other Security Agents, stressing that Nigeria Police alone cannot provide the needed Security for Nigerians.

He charge them to always work harmoniously with other Security Agencies, with a view to providing  good security for all Nigerians.

On Cultism in Lagos State, Egbetokun urged the Men to be proactive by reaching out and engaging the Youths in the Areas of their Command to lecture them on the dangers of Cultism.

Earlier, the Commissioner of Police in Lagos, Adegoke Fayoade, who welcomed the DIG to the Command, said  all  Security Architecture put in place in collaboration with Stakeholders had brought down Crime rate in the State.

“It is, however, gratifying to note that since the introduction of People Centered, Collaborative and Co-operative, Crime Prevention Strategies by the Commissioner of Police, Crime and Criminal Activities in the State has reduced drastically.

“The Strategies adopted include: Prevention Strategies e.g. (Intelligence Raids of Criminal Hideouts, Cordon and Search) etc. Intelligence led Policing.

“Use of Modern Technology Device(s) (Scientific Aid) to track down dangerous Criminals e.g. Kidnappers, Armed Robbers, Car Hijackers etc. Extensive and Intensive Patrol and Community Policing Strategy amongst others,” he said.

The Police Boss in Lagos re-assured the visiting DIG that the current tempo in Crime Fighting would be sustained until the State is rid of all Criminal Elements.

The DIG was in the command in Lagos, as first State in the  South-West on his Working Visit.

He will be visiting six States in the Region, a visit ordered by the I-G for all DIGs to carry out On-the- Spot Assessment in all Commands.

 

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04-Jun-2024 New Minimum Wage: FG ready to offer higher than N60,000 in 'National Interest'

New Minimum Wage: FG ready to offer higher than N60,000 in 'National Interest'

The Federal Government says, in the National Interest, it is ready to offer higher than N60,000 National Minimum Wage it earlier proposed to the Tripartite Committee deliberating on the Issue.
The Government's decision was disclosed at a Meeting of the Committee convened Monday night by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, after the Organised Labour embarked on Indefinite Strike to press its demand on the National Minimum Wage.
In a Circular jointly issued by the Committee Members at the end of the Meeting, and made available to Journalists, it was disclosed that President Bola Tinubu expressed his commitment to a National Minimum Wage that is higher than N60,000”
“Arising from the above, the Tripartite Committee is to meet everyday for the next one week with a view to arriving at an agreeable National Minimum Wage”
”Labour in deference to the high esteem of the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria’s commitment in above undertakes to convene a Meeting of its Organs immediately to consider this commitment.
“The Committee also resolved that no Worker will be victimised as a result of the Industrial Action,” the Circular read in part
In attendance at the Meeting  were: Mohammed Idris, Minister of Information and National Orientation, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, Minister of State for Labour and Employment.
For the Organised Labour: Joe Ajaero, President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Festus Osifo, President, Trade Union Congress (TUC).
It will be recalled that following the Negotiation by the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage  and subsequent withdrawal of Labour from Negotiation and its Indefinite Strike, the Government had convened the Meeting with Labour.
 
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03-Jun-2024 Nigeria in total darkness as Labour shutdown National Grid

Nigeria in total darkness as Labour shutdown National Grid

The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), says that the Labour Unions have shut down the National Grid, resulting in blackout  Nationwide.
Ndi Mbah, TCN’S General Public Affairs Manager, said this in a Statement in Abuja on Monday.
Mbah said that the National Grid shut down occured at about 2.19 a. m this morning.
She said at about 1:15 a. m, the Benin Transmission Operator under the Independent System Operations Unit of TCN reported that all Operators were driven away from the Control Room.
Mbah said that Members of Staff that resisted were beaten while some were wounded in the course of forcing them out of the Control Room and without any form of control or supervision, the Benin Area Control Centre was brought to zero.
”Other Transmission Substations that were shut down by the Labour Unions include the Ganmo, Benin, Ayede, Olorunsogo, Akangba and Osogbo Transmission Substations.
”Some Transmission lines were equally opened due to the ongoing activities of the Labour Unions,” she said.
Mbah said that Power Generating Units from different Generating Stations were forced to shut down some Units of their Generating Plants.
She said that the Jebba Generating Station was forced to shut down one of its Generating Units while three others in the same Substation subsequently shut down on very high frequency.
Mbah said that the sudden forced Load Cuts led to high Frequency and System Instability, which eventually shut down the National Grid at 2:19 a. m.
”At about 3.23 am, however, TCN commenced Grid Recovery, using the Shiroro Substation to attempt to feed the Transmission Lines supplying Bulk Electricity to the Katampe Transmission Substation.
”The situation is such that the Labour Union is still obstructing Grid Recovery Nationwide.
”We will continue to make effort to recover and stabilise the Grid to enable the restoration of normal Bulk Transmission of Electricity to Distribution Load Centres Nationwide,” she said.
 
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03-Jun-2024 Minimum Wage: Meeting with Lawmakers deadlocked as Labour insists on Strike

Minimum Wage: Meeting with Lawmakers deadlocked as Labour insists on Strike

The Leadership of the National Assembly and Organised Labour made up of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), and Trade Union Congress (TUC), on Sunday night engaged in a crucial Meeting ostensibly to forestall a Nationwide Strike on Monday.

thenewsroom.ng however learnt that the Meeting ended in a deadlock as Leaders of Organised Labour insisted on their demand of N494,000 as new National Minimum Wage. 

The Labour Leaders left the Meeting with a resolve to take the position of the National Assembly Leaders to their various Organs for deliberations. 

Also in attendance at the Meeting are some Ministers and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

“We are discussing issues related to the Minimum Wage and the proposed Industrial Action by Labour,” a top Source at the Meeting told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), craving anonymity.

The Meeting, conveyed at the instance of the NASS Leadership, is in connection with the proposed Industrial Action by Labour Unions over the yet-to-be agreed new Minimum Wage for Workers.

Present at the Meeting are the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, Speaker, House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abass, and other Principal Officers of both Chambers.

 

Others from the Executive side are the Secretary to Government of the Federation, George Akume, Ministers of Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, Finance, Wale Edun and Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris.

Also present are Budget and National Planning Minister, Atiku Bagudu, Science and Technology Minister, Uche Nnaji, Agriculture and Food Security Minister, Aliyu Abdullahi, and Head of Service of the Federation, Folasade Yemi-Esan.

Akpabio, in his remarks, said the Meeting was at the instance of the National Assembly Leadership, following the proposed Indefinite Strike by the Organised Labour.

He said that the National Assembly was not taking over the Responsibility of the Executive and the Labour Unions.

“The Meeting was called to hear the Positions of both Parties on the Minimum Wage Issue.

“The National Assembly is on the part of the People and the Government; what affects the People also affects the Lawmakers.

“The Nigerian Government is keen on providing a Living Wage for its Workers which is why it constituted a Tripartite Committee to negotiate a new Minimum Wage .

“There is need to be mindful of collateral damage that may result from the Wage to be reached at; we must avoid a situation where Workers will be retrenched on account of Employers inability to pay the new Wage,” he said.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abass, corroborated Akpabio, saying that NASS was on the side of the People and Government.

He thanked the Ministers and the Labour Leaders for honouring the Meeting, saying that their presence was a testament of Labour and Government’s commitment toward ensuring a lasting solution to the Issue of Minimum Wage.

President of NLC, Joe Ajero, in his remarks, said that what the NLC was demanding for all Nigerians was a Living Wage and not a Starvation Wage.

He said the Workers were the Brothers and Sisters of the Lawmakers and the Ministers and needed to work for Nigerians.

President of TUC, Festus Osifo, said that the current situation in the Country was difficult for Nigerians, especially in the last one year.

This, he said, has also resulted in the difficulty in negotiating a new Minimum Wage for Workers.

He said Nigerians were waiting for the new Wage to meet their Basic Needs of Life “and not to build House or buy Cars”.

 

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31-May-2024 Tinubu to ACF: Summon your Governors, I am doing my very best to grow Nigeria's Revenue

Tinubu to ACF: Summon your Governors, I am doing my very best to grow Nigeria's Revenue

President Bola Tinubu has appealed to State Governments to prioritise the needs of Local Communities by ensuring accountability and effectiveness in the Administration of Local Governments.

The President made this known at a Meeting with the Leadership of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“We are running a Constitutional Democracy. I will appeal to you to summon the Governors. I am doing my very best to enhance the Revenue Base of the Country.

“They must equally be sympathetic, and they must urgently consider the needs of the Local People. People who reside in the Local Communities. That is where they work, farm, and live.

“If the Local Governments are not effective in delivering Services; as Leaders, we must not hang on to the numbers. We have 774 Local Government Areas, but are they truly effective? Do they solve problems for Nigerians?

“Do they coordinate Development Programming with the State and Federal Governments? Who is being held accountable for the performance of the 774 Local Governments? Maybe we should look at recalibrating.

“What was good four years ago may not be good today. When we want the Votes, we go to the Locals; when we get the Votes, we move to and focus on Abuja,” the President said.

Highlighting the significance of Education in Nation Building, the President described the situation of Out-of-School Children in parts of Nigeria as unacceptable.

Tinubu said that Education is a Tool against Poverty and Social Mobility, adding that Education should be used to serve the People and improve their Conditions.

He said that Educational System is the backbone of the Economic Development of the Country, noting that the Administration will collaborate with Stakeholders to curb Out of School challenge.

“We are still building Nigeria, and I am glad that you have emphasised the need for Development. The Infrastructure decay is unacceptable, and the level of Poverty in the North is unacceptable. We must eliminate the Source of these trends,” he said.

On Security, Tinubu said: “Everybody wants to be secure, and we need to invest more in Technology. We will do it, I promise you. We will put our heart and soul into ensuring that Nigeria is secure and its Citizens are protected.

“The AKK Project, the dredging of the River Niger, and improving Port Access and Infrastructure Nationwide, in order to shorten Travel Time, will make us more prosperous as a Nation. We have to fight Insecurity so that People can make a decent Living anywhere they live.”

The President also addressed Economic Development and Livestock Management, stating: “Animal Husbandry has been a huge problem for Nigeria. Dairy Farms can grow our Economy significantly.

“Talk to the Governors and tell them to make more Land available. Talk to Herders to collaborate with the States. The lands are with the States.

“We are ready to put Funds in place to help the Herders. We can do it, and we will be able to do it. If the Brazilians and the Dutch are doing it, we can also do it,” the President said.

The President also used the occasion to appeal for National Unity and continued support for his Government as it solves decades-long challenges confronting the Populace.

“As long as we are together, and we have to be together, there is strength in our diversity. Our strength and opportunity are built into our Population.

“I thank the Cabinet Members for their efforts, but I will relieve any of them of their duties anytime I feel that they are failing Nigerians,” the President affirmed.

The President directed the establishment of a Committee to follow up on the Issues raised at the Meeting and assigned the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume, to lead the follow-up efforts.

“We must tick the boxes on all that we must quickly do,” Tinubu said.

The Leader of the Delegation and Chairman, Board of Trustees of ACF, Bashir Dalhatu, congratulates Tinubu on his first year in Office and expressed the Forum’s appreciation for his Achievements and Service to the Country.

‘’Your Excellency may wish to recall the Invitation extended to you, which you graciously honoured and which led to a robust Interactive Conference at the Arewa House on the 19th of October, 2022.

‘’We make bold to say that Your Excellency’s vigorous, firm, and credible commitments and assurances to Northerners, made at that Meeting and during the course of your Election Campaign, proved to be a game-changer.

“Your tireless support for and collaboration with Northerners that helped many to win Elections into various Positions, including that of the Presidency in the past, has consolidated the love and trust in the hearts of Northerners for you, as confirmed by the pattern of voting in the last Presidential Election,’’ Dalhatu said.

The ACF BOT Chairman further highlighted several Achievements within the President’s first year in Office, including the prioritisation of Funding for Agriculture and Education, as well as the maintenance of good Relations with Nigeria’s Neighbours.

The ACF applauds the President for the Sokoto-Badagry Highway and the Trans-Saharan highway and his implemented measures to fast-track the completion of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex.

‘’With these developments, we feel greatly motivated and even more confident that Your Excellency will look upon the North with even greater sympathy and strive harder to alleviate the dire Economic and Social pains in Northern Nigeria,” the Leader of the Delegation said.

 

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30-May-2024 Midoil/Serenecity Staff Housing Project: Level of work so far impressive – Abdullahi

Midoil/Serenecity Staff Housing Project: Level of work so far impressive – Abdullahi

The desire of Midoil Refining and Petrochemicals Company Limited to see to the smooth construction of its Refinery and Serenecity Projects, was further strengthened when the firm, in company of contractors and stakeholders, undertook yet another inspection tour of the sites at Ererufu Community and the Sekungba Axis.

Led by the Chairman of Serenecity Staff Housing Estate, Amina Abdullahi, the Tour Team supervised the fencing of the secured sites, and gave impressive reviews of the work done so far.

"I am certainly impressed; they have done a good job," Abdullahi declared.

The Team of SereneCity Project Consultants which was led by Architect Jane Udokpo, included Surveyors, Civil and Structural Engineers, Mechanical/Electrical Engineers and Security Experts, thoroughly inspected and deliberated on works done so far on the clearing and fencing of the sites of SereneCity and Midoil Refinery.

Speaking with Journalists shortly after the inspection, Abdullahi, who is an Architect and Retired Seasoned Public Servant, said she was impressed at the work done to bring to fruition the Midoil Refinery and the SereneCity Vision. She noted that when completed, the Midoil Staff Housing Project would be another Banana Island, but with more distinct features that would surely set it apart from the regular estates.

 

"We would say we want it to be a better version of Banana Island. We have noticed the lapses in other highbrow estates, and would love to improve on what they have in those places to produce something that is better here," she said.

She further informed that one of the new features of the Serenecity Staff Housing Project, lacking in other highbrow estates, is the presence of double entrance gates to cater for the movement of both residents and visitors differently, noting that the initiative will reduce unnecessary traffic build-up to the barest minimum.

"We are at the beginning, and you can see that we have started the fencing of the whole land, there will come a time we will do the gate house into the SereneCity. You will find that we are going to have a different entrance for visitors and a different entrance for residents because visitors need to be cleared," she informed.

She added that apart from the fire service station, police posts and educational institutions that would be strictly constructed to modern standard, the Serenecity Project will also be endowed with a helipad to facilitate fast movement of dignitaries from the airport to the facility with the use of helicopter.

While acknowledging initial harassment from a few of the traditional settlers (omo Onile) of the community, which has been remarkably curtailed owing to the efforts of the Executive Chairman of Midoil, Elizabeth Akintonde, she appreciated the Lagos State Government for their cooperation so far.

 

"Lagos State Government is very cooperative. You know State government wants the development of Lagos in every phase.

"For now, it is exclusively for Midoil Refinery Expatriate, Senior, Middle and Junior Staff Quarters.

She appreciated the various consultants and stakeholders involved as well as host communities for their understanding and cooperation as the project progresses.

Also speaking after the inspection, the Consulting Architect and Project Manager of the SereneCity Project, Jane Adaku Udokpo, expressed delight at the foresight of the Management of Midoil Refinery in coming up with the gigantic project.

"Looking at it, the project is going to be huge. You know every ocean starts with a rain drop. We are starting with a secluding area, and from there to building the main city. So, it is massive.”

Udokpo promised to ensure that all the safety rules and regulations would be applied in the construction of SereneCity disclosing that Midoil has assembled the best of professionals for the project.

On the company’s community relations strategy, Udokpo said, Midoil has applied the best of human relations strategies to guarantee mutual relationship with the host communities and the land owners.

 

It would be recalled that on March 17, 2024, at the cozy environment of Sheraton Hotels and Towers, Ikeja, Midoil Executive Chairman, Elizabeth Omolara Akintonde organised a reception for representatives of the host communities of Sekungba, Arogbo and Ererufu.

The event featured the signing of the agreements with and release of cheques to the communities. There was also the launch of Midoil 3-in-1 Investment Opportunities for Midoil.

Akintonde had hinted that the ground breaking ceremony of the Refinery Site will be held on July 12, 2024.

The Refinery, when completed will produce at a capacity of 100,000bpd.

29-May-2024 New Minimum Wage: Be considerate on your demands, FG tells Labour

New Minimum Wage: Be considerate on your demands, FG tells Labour

The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, has appealed to the Organised Labour to be considerate and patriotic in their demands in the ongoing Negotiation for a new National Minimum Wage. 

Onyejeocha made the Appeal in a Statement signed by Olajide Oshundun, Director of Press and Public Relations in the Ministry on Wednesday in Abuja.

The Federal Government had during the Tripartite Committee on the Minimum Wage Negotiation Meeting on Tuesday, offered Labour N60,000 as the new Minimum Wage for Workers.

The Organised Labour had also presented N494, 000 as the new National Minimum Wage for Workers in the Country.

The Minister said that the Federal Government had been consistent in taking steps to secure a fair and realistic Wage for Nigerian Workers.

She therefore, urged Labour to recognise that the Nation’s Economy was still on the path of recovery from the effect of the Pandemic and other Economic Distress.

“We appeal to Organised Labour and indeed, other relevant Stakeholders to be considerate and patriotic in their demands, recognising that our Economy is still recovering from the devastating effects of the Pandemic and other Global Economic Shocks.

“We are committed to putting the People first and ensuring that our Economic Policies benefit all Nigerians, not just a select few.

“The Government remains dedicated to prioritising the Well-being of our Citizens and its want to urge all relevant Parties to demonstrate patriotism and understanding.

“This is particularly during this critical period when the President, Bola Tinubu, is working diligently to revitalise the Economy,” she said.

The Minister therefore said the Government recognised that the Economic challenges faced by Nigerians were complex and multifaceted, and called for collective effort of all Stakeholders to overcome them.

She added that the Meeting with Organised Labour was a significant step in our ongoing efforts to secure a fair and realistic Wage for Nigerian Workers.

“As a Government, we recognise the importance of ensuring that our Citizens receive a decent Standard of Living, and we are committed to making this a reality.

“After hours of intense Negotiations, Labour Leaders took a recess to consult with other key Stakeholders and have pledged to return to the Negotiating Table for further discussion.

“We welcome this development and are optimistic that our continued Engagement will yield a positive outcome.

“In light of the current Economic Conditions, we have made a concessionary move from N57,000 to N60,000,” she said.

She noted that the increase was a demonstration of Government willingness to listen to the concerns of Labour and work towards a mutually beneficial Agreement.

According to her, we understand that the current Economic Landscape is challenging, and we are doing everything in our power to mitigate its effects on our Citizens.

“This is the path that this Government has chosen to pursue, and we will not deviate or stray from the course.

“President Tinubu has been tireless in his efforts to revitalise the Economy and improve the Standard of Living for all Nigerians.

“His commitment to creating Jobs, stimulating Economic Growth, and reducing Poverty is genuine, and we appeal to all to support him in this endeavour.

“As we move forward, we will continue to engage with Organised Labour and other Stakeholders to ensure that our Economic Policies are inclusive and beneficial to all,” she added.

 

Credit NAN: Texts excluding Headline

29-May-2024 Budget Padding Remarks: Senate recalls Ningi from suspension

Budget Padding Remarks: Senate recalls Ningi from suspension

The Senate has recalled Abdul Ningi (PDP-Bauchi) who was suspended for three months over Budget padding remarks.

This followed the Adoption of a Motion by Senate Minority Leader, Abba Moro and Co-Sponsored by Senate Deputy Minority Leader, Olalere Oyewumi and Senate Minority Whip, Osita Ngwu at Tuesday’s Plenary, titled “The unconditional recall of Senator Abdul Ningi”.

Moving the Motion, Moro said that Ningi, the former Chairman of the Northern Senators’ Forum was suspended for three months following a Media Interview he granted the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Hausa Service on March 9.

“He alleged that about N3.7trn representing over 10 per cent of the 2024 Budget was illegally inserted into the 2024 National Budget.

“Ningi was asked to address his allegation of Budget padding against the National Assembly, following a Motion of Urgent National Importance moved by Solomon Adeola, Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriations.

“And failing to address the allegation, the Senate resolved to suspend Ningi for three months for violating Legislative Rules, misconduct and unethical behaviour for the Interview he granted on BBC Media.

“The said Ninigi, being under suspension, has spent over two months outside the Precincts of the National Assembly Complex and needs to return to continue with his Legislative Activities as the Senator representing Bauchi Central Senatorial District.

“Flowing from the above, the Senate Minority Leadership takes full responsibility for the actions of our Colleague Ningi and apologises on his behalf,” he said.

Seconding the Motion, Deputy Senate President, Jibrin Barau said “This Senate is the highest Assembly in our Sovereign Land of Nigeria. A Senate that is composed of Men and Women of wisdom.

“I commend the Minority Leader and his Team, the entire Minority Caucus and the entire Leadership of the Minority Caucus.

“This is because I know they acted based on the prompting of the Members of the Caucus for going in-between and for making sure they got to where we are now and by bringing forth this Motion in a way that the resolution of the issue of Ningi’s suspension is resolved finally.

“It is something they need to be commended for because they have gone to meditate and they are apologising on his behalf.

“I urge the Senate, the Leadership having apologised on behalf of Ningi, we should accept this apology so as to strengthen our spirit of brothers that we are known for.”

In his Remarks, President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio supported the claim.

“Let me thank the Majority Leadership for this Initiative.

“And also note that it was this same Senate that set up a Committee for you to mediate and then you were the Chairman and then of course, this decision by the Minority Leaders and the entirety of the Minority in the Senate seems to have superseded the area and decision of the Senate.

“So, I agree with you. He is a very Resourceful Senator and one of our own and the Senate is a Family irrespective of the Political divide, irrespective of the Religious divide and irrespective of Languages.

“This happening today is in tandem with the spirit of what the National Assembly, both the Senate and the House of Representatives have done by bringing back our own National Anthem which simply says that though Tribes and Tongues may differ, in Brotherhood we stand,” he said.

Akpabio added: “The decision of the Senate today is clear evidence that this is one Family and though we may come from different Constituencies and different States, in Brotherhood we stand.

“I congratulate the Senate for this decision and I agree that to err is Human and to forgive is Divine. Our Distinguished brother, Abdul Ningi is hereby recalled to the Senate to participate in all activities.”

 

Credit NAN: Texts excluding Headline

27-May-2024 OGTAN commends Seplat Energy’s Outstanding National HCD Scholarship Scheme

OGTAN commends Seplat Energy’s Outstanding National HCD Scholarship Scheme

Seplat Energy, leading Indigenous Energy Company in Nigeria has been recognised by the Oil & Gas Trainers’ Association of Nigeria (OGTAN) for its Outstanding National Human Capital Development (HCD) Scholarship Scheme.

OGTAN, at its 2024 Annual HCD Awards Ceremony Themed ‘Consolidating Human Capital Development Through Domestication of Skills’, commended Seplat Energy for building Human Capacity through its Scholarship Programmes, which have been sustained over the years across Nigeria.

The Ceremony was held in Lagos with Industry Operators, Regulators, the Academia, and Media, amongst others, in attendance.

Since inception, OGTAN has continued to enhance Human Capacity Development in the Oil, Gas and Energy Sector by interfacing with all Industry Stakeholders to build Local Human Capital Capacity in Nigeria.

OGTAN was issued with a 15-Point Mandate by the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB) on creation in 2010. This 15-Point Mandate can be summarised as: Supervision, Standardisation and Certification of Training Bodies, Curriculum and Methods of Training Delivery in the Oil and Gas Industry.

The Seplat Energy National Undergraduate Scholarship started in 2014 for its Host Communities, States, and the Nation. Since then, the Programme had provided Scholarships to several Federal and State University Undergraduate Students.

The Scholarship Scheme is the Company’s Educational Programme to assist Indigent Students in Federal and State Universities fulfil their Educational Aspirations.

The Scholarship is open to Students from their Second Year of Study and above, who have scaled a Pre-Set Criterion in Selected Courses of Study. A Scholarship Grant is disbursed yearly to successful Applicants till they graduate, so long as they maintain the Set Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA).

The Chairman, Board of Trustees, OGTAN, Afe Mayowa, whilst presenting the Award for Outstanding National HCD Scholarship Scheme to Seplat Energy, said the Company has distinguished itself in the Area of Human Capital Development and has demonstrated Leadership amongst its Peers in the Industry.

“We are here to recognise excellence and reward the same. Seplat Energy is a trailblazer as far as this is concerned; and for us, the Award today is aimed at encouraging the Company, and further propel it to do more,” Mayowa said.

Seplat Energy was represented at the ceremony by Akinyemi Akinyoade, Senior Manager, Process, Planning & Performance Management, Supply Chain Management; Stanley Opara, Manager Corporate Communications; and Simeon Ogari, Lead Nigerian Content.

Responding, Akinyoade thanked the Association for its commitment to the growth of the Energy Sector and for the recognition of the contributions of Seplat Energy in Nigeria.

“Sustainability is embedded in our Strategy and is the driving force behind our Operations and Investment decisions, our Management and Culture. We will continue to nurture Talents from the School level till they are ripe to join the Workforce and contribute to National Development,” he added.

 

Credit Seplat Energy PR: Texts excluding Headline

27-May-2024 Protesting Host Communities vow to stay put on SPDC Facility in Bayelsa

Protesting Host Communities vow to stay put on SPDC Facility in Bayelsa

The seven protesting Communities occupying Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Estuary Area (EA) in Bayelsa have indicated to maintain a peaceful occupation of the Facility while awaiting favourable mediation.

Timothy Geregere, Chairman of Bisangbene, one of the Host Communities, disclosed this at Bisangbene.

The Communities in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa took the protest to the EA Oilfields, off the Atlantic Coastline last Tuesday.

The Protesters arrived at the Facility on Speedboats chanting solidarity songs in the Ijaw Dialect.

Geregere says although they have received appeals to vacate the Facility, they would rather stay back but maintain a peaceful disposition until the matter is resolved.

According to him, they have assured they will remain peaceful, keeping vigil and helping the Military to secure the Cacility.

He said this would continue until the Oil Firm reverts the Composition of the EA Host Community Development Trust (HCDT) to seven in reflection of the Cultural Affinity of the People.

He maintained that the plot by SPDC to foist five other Communities in the HCDT was unacceptable.

The Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021, he says, mandates Oil Firms to set aside three per cent of their Operational Expenses for Community Development to be managed by HCDT.

Geregere regretted that they were compelled to resort to a peaceful protest having made efforts to no avail to resolve the dispute on the Negotiating Table.

The Community Leader said it was regrettable that despite making the position of the seven Settlements clear in several Letters to the Company, SPDC ignored them.

“We have been compelled to go this far by mobilising the Communities to draw the attention of all Stakeholders to our simple demand; we want to be treated separately in the EA Oilfield and have written several Letters to SPDC.

“We have come here to draw attention to the delay tactics of foisting ‘strange bedfellows’ together, which is a grand plan to retard Development.

“We will not allow divide-and-rule in our Communities, so we are telling the world that we should be allowed to operate a separate Trust.

“We will remain here until our demand is met, and earnestly hope they will not push us to shut down the Facility,” he said.

He explained that the separation became necessary because the twelve Communities in the EA, including five other Communities, could not work together.

The seven Communities that have resolved to work together are, Bisangbene, Amatu I, Amatu II, Letugbene, Orobiri, Ogbintu and Azamabiri.

According to the Community Leader, four different Clans initially operated the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) before the advent of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) in 2021.

He said when the PIA came, SPDC indicated intentions to merge the different clusters but that the seven Communities rejected the proposal of adding five other Communities with them.

They insisted on having a separate Trust from the five other Communities, which are Bilabiri 1, Bilabiri 2, Ikeni, Izetu, and Agge.

When contacted, SPDC Spokesperson, Michael Adande, said the matter was already in Court.

“The EA Host Communities Development Trust is a subject of Intra-Communal Litigation, the outcome of which is being awaited before any further steps by the SPDC.” 

 

Credit NAN: Texts excluding Headline

27-May-2024 Tinubu: Gbagada-Apapa-Oshodi Expressway will enhance access to the Ports, boost Businesses

Tinubu: Gbagada-Apapa-Oshodi Expressway will enhance access to the Ports, boost Businesses

President Bola Tinubu on Sunday inaugurated the newly reconstructed Apapa-Oworonshoki-Ojota-Oshodi Expressway.

It is a 36.02km Expressway connecting Nigeria’s Premier Ports – Apapa and Tin Can Island – to larger parts of Lagos State.

Tinubu, who performed the symbolic unveiling of the Plaque of the Concrete-Paved Road at the Gbagada stretch, also virtually inaugurated the recently rehabilitated Third Mainland Bridge.

Tinubu said that the Expressway would enhance access to the Ports, boost Commercial Activities, and spur Economic Development.

A Statement by Presidential Spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, on Sunday in Abuja, said Tinubu was represented at the Inauguration of the Projects, executed by the Federal Ministry of Works, by Senate President ,Godswill Akpabio.

Originally constructed between 1975 and 1978, the Road had deteriorated significantly over the years, causing severe delays in the evacuation of Goods from Apapa Wharf.

The Reconstruction of the Road was executed in Four Sections, using Continuously Reinforced Concrete Pavement (CRCP), by Dangote Industries Limited, under the Tax Credit Method of Infrastructure Funding, with Hitech Construction Nigeria Limited as the Subcontractor.

The Rehabilitated Third Mainland Bridge, the longest of three Bridges connecting Lagos Island to the Mainland, spans about 11.8km.

It was inaugurated by President Shehu Shagari in 1980 and completed by Ibrahim Babangida in 1990.

The Bridge recently underwent significant Rehabilitation to improve its Structural Integrity and extend its Lifespan.

“This is a great feat by any standards, and it is all for Nigeria. I congratulate the Ministry of Works and the Contractors for the great work.

“It is not only in Lagos that these good things are happening.

“From the Presidential Villa in Asokoro to the AYA Roundabout in the Capital City (Abuja), you will notice a great deal of work and some of these Projects will be commissioned this week,’’ the President said.

The Minister of Works, David Umahi, explained the reason for the use of Concrete Technology in constructing the Road, noting its durability as well as the rising Cost of Bitumen used in making Asphalt.

“We want our Contractors to migrate to the use of Concrete Technology for Road Construction,’’ the Minister said, while describing the Inauguration of the Road as another plus on the utility of Tax Credits in the Country.

On the Third Mainland Bridge, the Minister explained that the Project went beyond mere Rehabilitation.

“We had to replace all the Expansion Joints, and we also noticed that over the years all the maintenance on the Bridge was only for the surface and that created a lot of super elevation, pot holes, and increased the dead load on the Bridge resulting in increased deflection,’’ he said.

In his Remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Works, Yakubu Kofarmata, announced that Tinubu had directed the Ministry to complete the Abuja-Kano Road within one year.

He assured Nigerians that Makurdi-Enugu Expressway was on the verge of completion and that other Federal Road Projects across the Country are receiving attention.

According to the Permanent Secretary, the Minister of Works has saved Nigeria a total of N1.19trn through Renegotiations of some ongoing Road Project Costs across the Country.

“What we are witnessing today is Nigeria working under the Renewed Hope Agenda of this Administration, and the determination to have a better Nigeria where Infrastructural Facilities are functioning,” he said.

The Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Femi Hamzat, commended the President and the Federal Ministry of Works for fixing the Roads, adding that it would reduce Travel Time from 7 hours to 1 hour and 15 minutes.

“About two years ago, a lot of Companies on the Apapa-Oworonshoki-Ojota Road moved from this Axis because of the deplorable state of the Road.

“We are grateful to Mr President, the Ministry of Works, Dangote Group and Hitech Construction Limited for the current state of the Road and also for the Third Mainland Bridge,’’ Hamzat said.

 

Credit NAN: Texts excluding Headline

27-May-2024 Lagos-Calabar Highway: Today is my day to boast, the deal is done, the dream is realisable, says Tinubu

Lagos-Calabar Highway: Today is my day to boast, the deal is done, the dream is realisable, says Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu on Sunday inaugurated the Construction of the 700km Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway, saying it would revolutionise Transportation in Nigeria and boost unique Economic strength of each Zone.

The President spoke from the Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos end of the Project, which would traverse nine States along Nigeria’s Coastal Shoreline.

Presidential Spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, in a Statement on Sunday in Abuja, said it would link the A1, A2, A3, and A4 Highway Corridors vertically crossing the Western, Central and Eastern Regions of the Country, North to South.

Starting from Lagos and terminating in Cross River, the Coastal Highway will include a spur to the North-Central part of the Country.

From Victoria Island, Tinubu also performed the Virtual Inauguration of the Design and Procurement for the 1,000km Sokoto-Badagry Highway.

This Project is expected to connect Sokoto to Badagry in Lagos State and pass through Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, and Oyo States.

In addition, Tinubu virtually Inaugurated the Design and Procurement for the 461km Enugu-Abakaliki-Ogoja Road, which will traverse Benue, Kogi, and Nasarawa States, terminating at Apo in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The President, who is in Lagos to inaugurate Projects as part of activities marking his Administration’s First Anniversary, also performed the Virtual Inauguration of the Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of 330 Roads and Bridges across the six Geo-Political Zones of the Nation.

The President commended the Minister of Works, David Umahi, for being diligent and for his efforts toward the qualitative execution of the strategic Coastal Highway Project.

He also applauded the Chairman of Hitech Construction Company, Gilbert Chagoury, and Ronald Chagoury, whose Company is handling the Project, for being worthy Stakeholders and for believing in the future of Nigeria.

“Together, we worked to tame the Atlantic, and we turned a disaster into a great Asset of Value. We lost weight and took insults, but eventually, we tamed the Atlantic.

“We achieved our goals,” the President said, recounting how the Indigenous Company successfully executed a Project to prevent the Atlantic Ocean from encroaching on critical Sections of the Lagos Shoreline.

“Today is my day to boast. The deal is done. The dream is realisable. The determination to build a Nation of prosperity is possible. We said we would build this Road, and we are determined to do it.

“Do not be afraid. We will do this Road, and it will be a success for Nigeria, and we will do even more of this,” the President said.

Tinubu said the Project would ensure that Future Generations have a good Landmark and Memory to treasure while serving as a good precedent set for others to follow in the timely provision of World-Class Infrastructure.

“We have a Road that will outlive all of us here. That is how to build the future. This Project is more than a mere Road. It is a symbol of hope, unity, and prosperity.

“It will connect Communities, bring prosperity to People, and create Opportunities for millions of our People. For our Nation to excel, we just have to be bold and courageous in our endeavours,” the President said.

Listing the benefits and Opportunities to be created by the Construction of the 700km Road, the President said it would provide direct Employment for thousands of People and indirect Jobs for tens of thousands.

He added that it would open Economic Opportunities for millions of People, fast-track Economic Development, provide 30 million People with improved access to Production and Marketing Centres, and facilitate the free movement of People.

He said the Project would also complement the expansion of the Country’s Maritime Industry in the wake of the recent decision by the United Nations to grant Nigeria an extension of its Continental Shelf by an additional 16,300 square kilometres.

“We must take advantage of these Opportunities,” the President said, adding that the establishment of more Export Processing Zones along the Coastal States must be a priority for the Country.

Umahi announced that the President had directed that Sections 3 and 4 of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway project should commence from Akwa Ibom and Cross River States respectively.

Emphasising that Due Process was followed in awarding the Contract for the transformative Project, the Minister described Tinubu as a Visionary and Courageous Leader.

Umahi disclosed that over 40 new Projects are ongoing across the Country and that all Compensations up to kilometre 6 of the Lagos-Calabar Project have been paid.

The Oniru of Iruland in Lagos State, Oba Abdulwasiu Lawal, whose Domain the Road will course through, assured the President that the Community would ensure the removal of all bottlenecks.

He stated that his People have made painful sacrifices for the Project to materialise and called for adequate Compensation for them.

In separate Remarks, three Governors – Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos; Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara, and Hope Uzodinma of Imo described the wide-ranging support from Sub-Nationals as a vote of confidence and support for the Landmark Project.

 

Credit NAN: Texts excluding Headline

27-May-2024 Nigeria showcases Digital Social Investments at APRA 2024

Nigeria showcases Digital Social Investments at APRA 2024

Various Digital Social Investments in Nigeria, through the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) were on showcase at the just-concluded 35th Annual Conference of the African Public Relations Association (APRA) in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.

Through a Presentation by the Head of Media Management Relations at the NCC, Omoniyi Ibietan, who later emerged as the Secretary-General of APRA after an Election at the Event which took place from 13th to 17th May, 2024, Participants had a glean into some of the Digital Social Investments and Infrastructure expansion happening in Nigeria, through Regulatory efficiency of the Commission.

In his Presentation with the title: “Digital Inclusion as Arbiter of Accessible PR: A Case of the Nigerian Communications Commission,” Ibietan highlighted some 36 Initiatives of the Commission within and beyond its immediate Regulatory Mandate, implemented to promote Infrastructure expansion, support SMEs, empower Educational Institutions, advance Innovation and promote Digital up-skilling of Nigerian Youths.

These include the Advanced Digital Awareness Programme for Tertiary Institutions (ADAPTI); Campus Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIEP) Programme; e-PAD Project for 232 Institutions; Digital Appreciation Project (DAP) for 247 Secondary Schools; Digital Literacy Training for Teachers (DLT); Digital Integration Programme (DIP) for MSMEs; and the E-Accessibility Programme targeted at Persons with Disabilities.

Others include the Nigerian Girls Can Code Competition; the Build A-Thon, aimed at enabling Young Persons to pitch and enhance their Skills and new Learning experience; Tertiary Institutions Digital Centre (TIDC) for 250 Institutions; 2,291 Digital Nigeria Centers (DNC) Online/Offline Educational Resources; Local Application and Content Deployment Programme; and up to 72 Rural Broadband Initiative Projects, among others.

According to him, the NCC through its component Special Purpose Vehicle, the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) has undertaken several Digital Infrastructure Projects, Programmes and Collaborative activities with Stakeholders.

“These Interventions have caused a shift in Digital Literacy, fundamentally shrank the Digital divide and opened the floodgates of participation in Political, Economic and Social Processes, and enabled accessible Digital Public Relations in Nigeria,” he said.

While over 20 Papers were presented at the APRA Conference to expound its Thematic Focus of “One Africa, One Voice: Bridging Africa’s Communication Divide”, Ibietan’s Paper was the only Presentation that showcased Digital Infrastructure Investments by any African Country, even though many Papers advocated the centrality of adequate Broadband Infrastructure in enhancing Digital Culture on the Continent.

Ibietan emphasised that Digital Inclusion is the ability of Individuals and Groups to access and fully participate in the Digital Society, particularly in the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) such as the Internet, Computers, and Mobile Devices.

He submitted that Digital Inclusion encompasses not only access to Digital Technologies but also the Skills, Knowledge, and Resources needed to effectively utilise them.

He also emphasised that the phenomenon of Digital Inclusion is desirable for Economies that aspire to grow and develop in remarkable and measurable sense.

He said: “This is because Digital Inclusion promotes Social and Economic Opportunities, enhances Civic Engagement and Participation, supports Education and lifelong learning, fosters Digital Literacy and Skills development, encourages Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and helps to bridge the Digital divide and reduce inequalities.”

He referenced that the COVID-19 Pandemic and its fallouts proved the significance of Digital Infrastructure to the Economy.

Luckily, he said: “Nigeria’s Investment in Broadband Infrastructure partly explained why the Nation was able to cope with the outbreak of the COVID-19 Virus because availability of Digital Infrastructure helped Individuals, Businesses and the Government to migrate their Social and Economic activities to Digital Platforms in order to mitigate the devastating effect of the Pandemic.”

He recommended constant and seamless Communication among Stakeholders to ensure efficiency in the management and proper harvest of derivable benefits, Social Investment and Infrastructural Projects.

 

Credit NCC PR: Texts excluding Headline

27-May-2024 Access Holdings celebrates Africa’s greatness, innovations, achievements

Access Holdings celebrates Africa’s greatness, innovations, achievements

In line with the Theme for the 2024 Celebration of Africa Day, “Educate an African Fit for the 21st Century: Building Resilient Education Systems for Increased Access to Inclusive, Lifelong, Quality, and Relevant Learning in Africa”, Access Holdings is celebrating the positives across the Continent.

This year’s Theme is a poignant reminder of Africa’s diversity and the need to address the Educational challenges faced across the Continent.

Africa is a vast and complex Continent of over 1.2 billion People speaking more than 3,000 Languages across 54 Countries.

Despite shared challenges, each Nation contributes uniquely to the continent’s rich Cultural and Historical Mosaic. Unfortunately, Education remains a significant hurdle.

According to UNESCO and the African Union, over a quarter of School-Age Children in Africa were out of School in 2023, and 90 per cent of Children were unable to read or write by Age 10.

This stark reality underscores the need for urgent Educational Reforms to equip Future Generations.

In alignment with this Educational drive, Access Holdings will once again host the Access Bank/UNICEF Charity Shield Polo Tournament starting from the Children’s Day Anniversary on May 27, 2024, in Kaduna.

This Event, which will culminate at the Fifth Chukker Polo and Country Club on June 9, will bring together over 150 School Pupils and their Teachers for a day filled with Sports, Art activities, and messages promoting Child Welfare, such as “Stop Child Abuse” and “Childhood Isn’t Meant to Be a Nightmare.”

As the largest Charity Polo tournament in Africa, this Event highlights Access Bank’s commitment to supporting underprivileged Children, having donated over N700m towards building Schools and providing Social Amenities for surrounding Communities in the past seven years.

Beyond Education, there are numerous aspects of African heritage and achievements that deserve celebration:

 

  1. Angola: Known for its vast Oil Reserves, Angola is also Home to the Ancient Tchitundo-Huluvilo Caves, a significant Cultural Landmark showcasing, Prehistoric Art.
  2. Botswana: Celebrated for its stable Democracy established by Sir Seretse Khama, Botswana is also renowned for producing World-Class Athletes like Amantle Montsho, a former World Champion Sprinter.
  3. Cameroon: Home to the towering Mount Cameroon and the Legendary Musician Manu Dibango, Cameroon has made significant contributions to Global Music and boasts rich natural beauty.
  4. Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): Known for its rich Copper Reserves and the majestic Congo River, the DRC is also the Birthplace of Patrice Lumumba, a pivotal figure in Africa’s fight for Independence.
  5. Gambia: Famous for its beautiful Beaches and vibrant Culture, Gambia is also making strides in Education and Tourism, becoming a notable Destination in West Africa.
  6. Ghana: A beacon of Democracy and Economic Growth in West Africa, Ghana is also celebrated for its rich History, including the Ashanti Kingdom and significant Cultural Festivals.
  7. Guinea: With its rich Mineral Resources, particularly Bauxite, Guinea is also known for its vibrant Music and Dance Traditions that play a crucial role in Cultural Identity.
  8. Kenya: Renowned for its breathtaking Landscapes and Wildlife, Kenya is a Leader in Environmental Conservation and Home to World-Renowned Long-Distance Runners.
  9. Mozambique: Known for its stunning Coastline and rich Cultural Heritage, Mozambique is also recognised for its vibrant Arts Scene, including Music and Dance.
  10. Nigeria: Africa’s most Populous Nation, Nigeria is celebrated for its diverse Cultures, Nollywood Film Industry, and significant contributions to Literature and Music, including figures like Chinua Achebe and Fela Kuti. Nigeria is also Home to Dangote Petroleum Refinery, the Continent’s largest Petroleum Refinery.
  11. Rwanda: A symbol of resilience and progress, Rwanda has made remarkable strides in Economic Development and Technological Innovation, becoming a Model for other African Nations.
  12. Sierra Leone: Known for its rich History and Natural beauty, Sierra Leone is also making progress in Education and Healthcare, contributing to a brighter future for its Citizens.
  13. South Africa: Famous for its stunning Landscapes and diverse Cultures, South Africa is a Global Leader in Mining and a Symbol of freedom and reconciliation, epitomised by Nelson Mandela.
  14. Zambia: Renowned for its spectacular Victoria Falls, Zambia is also making significant strides in Economic Development and Conservation efforts.

Access Holdings is proud to operate in these African Nations contributing uniquely to the Continent’s narrative, from Historical Landmarks to modern achievements in various fields.

As we continue to consolidate the discourse around the 2024 Africa Day Theme, the Group calls on Africans to unite, invest in our incredible Human Resource even as we work to take our rightful place on the Table of Deliberations of Global significance.

 

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26-May-2024 Development cannot be guaranteed in unsecured Environment, says Tinubu

Development cannot be guaranteed in unsecured Environment, says Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu has pledged to continue supporting the modernisation of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to bolster National Security.
Tinubu, represented by Vice-President Kashim Shettima, said this at the 60th Anniversary Ceremonial Parade of NAF, on Saturday in Kaduna.
Other Events included an Aerial Display and Flying- Out Parade for the Members of 37 and 38 Regular Courses, out of which 30 were AVM’s and nine were of the Rank of Brigadier-Geneneral.
The Theme of the Celebration is ‘NAF at 60: Leveraging Strategic Partnership in Aerospace Innovations for Regional Security’.
He said that in the Federal Government’s pursuit of Regional Peace and Security, the NAF has given it a sense of pride and optimism with its capabilities and sense of projection in employment of Air Power.
Commending on the NAF’S quality of Aerial Display and Combat Readiness at the Occasion, Tinubu said it attested to their dedication to Duty.
Restating Security as a top priority of his Administration, he said that Development cannot be guaranteed in an unsecured Environment.
This, he stressed, formed the Federal Government’s idea to continue supporting the NAF and the Armed Forces in general for the development of the Nation and its Regions.
 
 
Describing the NAF as being built on Advanced Technological Assets, Tinubu said the Federal Government was poised to supporting them.
The President said,” This is never too ambitious for any Service that is passionate about discharging its Mandate for the Nation’s overall development.
“We have made substantial Investment in procuring state of the art Multi-Role Combat Air Attack Helicopters and other Platforms that will enhance the NAF’s Capabilities.”
Tinubu listed  some of the Platforms to include: Surveilance Aircraft, T129 Attack Helicopters, Augusta 109 Multi-Role Helicopters, Diamond 62 Surveillance Aircraft and M46 Attack Aircraft, among others.
Speaking further, he disclosed that other Platforms would be  coming in shortly.
According to him, the best way to understand contemporary security challenge is to adopt a whole of societal approach.
Tinubu promised to continue supporting the NAF and the Armed Forces in general for the realisation of the Nation’s quest for sustainable Peace and Security.
He congratulated the NAF on its 60th Anniversary, while praying for the repose of the Souls of those who died in Active Service to the Nation.
 
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26-May-2024 Tinubu arrives Lagos for Roads Inauguration to mark First Year in Office

Tinubu arrives Lagos for Roads Inauguration to mark First Year in Office

Ahead of the first Anniversary of his Administration on May 29, President Bola Tinubu departed Abuja on Saturday for Lagos to begin Inauguration of Projects completed under his Administration.

This is contained in a Statement by Bayo Onanuga, Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, on Saturday in Abuja.

Onanuga said that the President would inaugurate the Concrete-Paved Road to the Nation’s Major Ports in Apapa and Tin Can Island on Sunday.

He said that the Reconstructed Road, which began under the Muhammadu Buhari Administration, was financed by the Dangote Group, using its Tax Credits.

On the same day, Tinubu will Virtually Inaugurate the refurbished Third Mainland Bridge, which has drawn Public acclaim for its excellent finishing and aesthetic furnishing.

He will also Virtually Inaugurate the Rehabilitation of 330 Roads and Bridges across the Country.

The highpoint of the President’s Engagements on Sunday will be the Inauguration of the Lagos-Calabar Superhighway, estimated to cost about N15tn.

Work has begun on the Legacy Project that will connect nine Coastal States, with Section Two already awarded to Hitech Construction Limited.

The President will return to Abuja on Tuesday to begin another round of Inaugurations with the Southern Parkway, which the Nyesom Wike-led FCT Administration named after him.

On Wednesday, the President will attend the National Assembly Dialogue Series, after which he will unveil the National Assembly Library Complex, named after him.

Tinubu will leave the National Assembly to Relaunch the Commercialisation of Abuja Light Rail, also known as Abuja Metro and symbolically join the Train Ride to the City Centre.

The Abuja Metro was completed in 2018 by the Buhari Administration.

It was put into Commercial Use up till 2020, but with the onset of COVID-19, the Train Service was abandoned while Vandals descended on the Facility, putting it out of use.

FCT Minister Wike, after spending $15m and building Access Roads to the various Stations, has refurbished it for Commercial Service.

After the Train Ride, the President will also Inaugurate the Wuye Flyover-Link Bridge and the Defence Intelligence Agency Headquarters.

On May 31, Tinubu will Commission the NASENI-Portland Compressed Natural Gas(CNG) Reverse Engineering Centre at Utako.

 

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25-May-2024 NSIB orders Review of Dana Air Standard Operating Procedure

NSIB orders Review of Dana Air Standard Operating Procedure

The Nigeria Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) has directed Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to review Dana Air Limited’s Training Program and Standard Operating Procedures.

The Bureau said the Review should be done with a view to highlighting Crew Resource Management (CRM) and Threat and Error Management (TEM) as Tools in management of Abnormal or Emergency Operations.

NSIB Directives is contained in four Incidents and Accidents Reports and 20 Safety Recommendations released at a Virtual News Conference.

The News Conference was  jointly addressed by NSIB’s Director- General, Alex Badeh, and Director of Transport Investigation, Abdullahi Babanya

“The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) should ensure that Dana Air Limited adheres to Standard Phraseology in communicating Indication Malfunctions during Abnormal or Emergency Operations.

“NCAA should ensure Dana Air Limited comply with timely use of Checklist / Quick Reference Handbook particularly at critical Phases of Flight when dealing with Abnormal and Emergency Situations in line with Standard Company Operating Procedures.

”Nigeria Airspace Management Agency should ensure that Air Traffic Controllers always insist on communication of specific Malfunction with Standard Phraseology, in this instance, the use of `Indicated System Malfunction rather than `Gear Disagree,” the Bureau recommended.

The Recommendations were sequel to Preliminary Report “on serious Incident involving MD-82 Aircraft operated by Dana with Nationality and Registration marks 5N-BKl which occurred at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on April 23.

The NSIB also released Aviation Incident Final Reports of Incident involving Embra 145 LR Aircraft operated by Air Peace Limited with National and Registration marks 5N-BVD which occurred in Kaduna (Civil) Airport on January 14, 2021.

The second Aviation Final Report was Onground Collision between Lavatory Service Truck with Fleet Number 9/5 operated by Skyway Aviation Handling Company Plc (SAHCO) and a parked Boeing 737-300 Aircraft with National and Registration Marks 5N-DAB.

According to the Report, the incidence that occurred in November  21, 2021 involved the Aircraft owned and operated my Max Air Limited.

Bade said that the Publication of the Reports served as a testament to NSIB’s commitment to Safety and underscored it’s Mission to prevent similar occurrences in the future.

 

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25-May-2024 Turkish Airlines back to business, resumes Lagos Flight Operations after disruption

Turkish Airlines back to business, resumes Lagos Flight Operations after disruption

Turkish Airlines has announced that it would on Saturday, May 25, resume its Flight Operations in Lagos, which were suspended following the disruption of its Operations in the State, four days ago.

“Due to actions at our counter at the  Lagos Murtala Muhammed International Airport that jeopardised our Flight Safety and continued for four days, we had to cancel our Scheduled Flights to Lagos as of Tuesday, May 21.

“Turkish Airlines, prioritising the safety and security of its Passengers and Crew, will resume Flights to Nigeria on  Saturday, May 25, as it has done since 2006.

“As long as the NCAA and FAAN Authorities take the necessary precautions and maintain  safety of Flights, Crew, Turkish Airlines Lagos Personnel, and Passengers at the Airport, we will continue to operate with the same sensitivity,” the Airline stated on Friday.

It explained that the decision to resume Operations was taken after holding Meetings with Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Officials, and evaluating its request.

According to the Airline, the decision is also informed by the fact that NCAA and FAAN have issued a Joint Press Release announcing that additional Security Measures will be taken to prevent  reoccurrence of such Incidents.

The Airline also said that the FAAN General Manager shared a Written Statement with it, committing to taking unprecedented Measures to ensure safety of its Operations.

“We want to thank the Authorities for the assurance they provided, and we will like to emphasise that Turkish Airlines is the Airline flying to more Countries than any other in the World.

“We adhere fully to the Laws and Regulations of the Countries we operate in and act in accordance with International Business Ethics Principles.

“We have informed the relevant Authorities that we will not be able to carry out the Scheduled Flights until our Flight Safety is guaranteed and requested assurances from them,” the Airline added.

The Airline on Thursday described as illegal, the picketing of its Lagos Office by the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), which forced Flight cancellations.

It explained that the National Industrial Court (NICN) had on April 30,  issued formal Notices of Injunction restraining NUATE and its Affiliate Unions from embarking on any Industrial Action to disrupt its Business.

NCAA on Thursday,  also waded into the matter, paving way for an amicable resolution of the Issues, and for the Airline to resume full Operations, albeit without a definite resumption date. 

 

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24-May-2024 Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway: Your buildings will not be demolished, FG assures Lagos Community

Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway: Your buildings will not be demolished, FG assures Lagos Community

The Federal Government has reassured Residents of Okun-Ajah Community, Lagos, that their Properties would not be demolished for the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway Project.

The Minister of Works, Dave Umahi, dismissed their fears at an Engagement with Representatives of Communities within the alignment of the Road between Eko Atlantic(Chainage Zero) and Eleko inside(Chainage 47.4klm, on Thursday in Lagos.

The Meeting also discussed the payment of Compensations and Environmental Issues as it affects the Projects.

The Minister said that the Construction around the Axis would follow the Original Gazetted Route by the Federal Government.

Umahi said, “We have our Proposal here and we have the Old Alignment; to the glory of God, to solve MTN, 2Africa, Okun-Ajah Community, we are diverting completely from the New Alignment, from the Old Alignment to a New Alignment at kilometer 25.’’

The Minister emphasised that the decision to avoid demolitions was not due to pressure or conflict from the Communities.

According to him, the President’s intervention prioritised minimising the negative impact on Residents.

He assured the People of the President’s firm stance, saying the Government won’t change the Route for Section One, but Residents could still voice concerns about the Project’s impact on their Properties within the chosen path.

Umahi stressed that Government was open to addressing concerns outside Section One, where adjustments might be possible.

Besides, he invited all the Stakeholders to join him to receive President Bola Tinubu, on May 26, as he will be flagging off the 700 kilometers Coastal Roads.

Earlier at the Meeting, Iliasu Gashingbaki, GMD, Meca Group, in Okun-Ajah, had called on the Government to be sensitive to the Global Facility, highlighting how a Submarine Cable belonging to MTN that cut across 33 Countries in Africa was tampered within the course of the Road Construction, thus, shutting Internet Access to some parts of Africa a few months ago.

About 11 People, whose Properties were affected by the Construction of the Coastal Roads, received compensations.

 

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23-May-2024 NCAA Spokesman: Turkish Airlines Country Manager engaged our D-G in shouting match banging his table

NCAA Spokesman: Turkish Airlines Country Manager engaged our D-G in shouting match banging his table

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has said that it would not hesitate to invoke relevant Sections of the Organisation’s  Regulations to sanction Turkish Airlines over mistreatment of Nigerian Passengers.

NCAA’s Director, Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, Michael Achimugu, disclosed this to Journalists on Wednesday in Lagos.

Achimugu said that President Bola Tinubu had directed NCAA, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and relevant Agencies, to ensure that the Rights of Nigerian Passengers were protected at all times.

He said the NCAA was currently mediating on the feud between the European Carrier and Aviation Labour Unions, who picketed the Airline’s Operations at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

According to him, the Agency will not hesitate to roll out stiff penalties and sanctions to Turkish Airlines as Nigerian Passengers, are still stranded at the Airport, following its failure to airlift them to Istanbul.

Achimugu said the Federal Government and its Agencies would spare no effort to call to order any Airline that violates the Rights of Nigerian passengers.

According to him, the Director-General of NCAA, Chris Najomo, had in a Virtual Meeting on Tuesday from the United Kingdom initiated reconciliatory moves between the Country Manager of Turkish Airlines and the Unions.

He, however, said the Representative of the Airline exhibited some traits of impudence, which the Regulator deemed amounted to lack of regard for the System.

Arising from the Infraction, Achimugu said the Federal Government would not hesitate to look deep into the impasse with the possibility of extracting the right punishment if the Carrier is found culpable.

The Federal Government, he said, would take every step to ensure the Rights of Nigerian Passengers are not trampled on by any Carrier, including Foreign Airlines, in taking the right steps to address any infractions on their Conditions of Operations into the Country.

He confirmed that over 300 Passengers had been trapped in the imbroglio involving the Turkish Airlines, and Aviation Unions, as the Carrier had canceled Flights out of and into Nigeria until Thursday.

Achimugu said that, though, the Carrier claimed to have communicated with Passengers through Electronic Mail on the on-going hitch concerning its Operations into and out of the Country, some Passengers still turned up at the Lagos Airport.

He said: “The NCAA is currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the inability of Turkish Airlines to operate Flights out of Lagos Airport, due to the picketing of its Operations by Aviation Unions.

“We will ensure that the Rights of Nigerian Passengers are not violated.

“President Bola Tinubu has directed the NCAA, FAAN and relevant Agencies to ensure that the Rights of Nigerian Passengers are protected.

“Currently, the NCAA is engaging Officials of Turkish Airlines, but we have observed some degree of insolence of the Country Manager, who engaged our D-G in a shouting match, he was even banging the table.

“This behaviour to the NCAA is unacceptable. At the end of our findings, if the Airline is found culpable, we will invoke the relevant parts of our Regulation Part 17,  to met out the right punishment,” he said.

Achimugu on Wednesday evening visited the stranded Passengers at the new Terminal of the international Airport, where he conveyed the message of the D-G to them, saying that the Authority would not rest until they were transported to their various destinations.

One of the stranded Passengers, Obiekwe Ngozichukwu, a Guttenberg, Sweden Resident, said he was afraid of losing his Job as a top Official of one of the Hotels in that Country, because the Company had been calling him to resume work.

He said he visited Nigeria for his Mother’s burial, but could not go back because of the cancellation of his Flight, and had been sleeping on the floor at the Airport for two days.

“We don’t know when we are leaving here, I appeal to the Authorities to intervene and save us from this  experience.”

Another Passenger, a Germany based Construction Worker, Charles Ifeanyi, also appealed to the Federal Government to intervene, to save the situation, lamenting that the Authorities must not allow Nigerians to be maltreated anywhere in the World anyhow.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had began the picketing of Turkish Airlines in Lagos.

The picketing is to ensure that the Carrier reinstates Staff, who were dismissed, forced to abandon Duty or forced to resign under duress, including those victimised for their Union Membership in 2020. 

 

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22-May-2024 Sacked Dana Air Workers protest unpaid Salaries, Gratuities, outstanding Pensions

Sacked Dana Air Workers protest unpaid Salaries, Gratuities, outstanding Pensions

No fewer than 100 sacked Employees of Dana Air, on Tuesday in Lagos, picketed the Head Office of the Airline over alleged Unpaid Salaries and Outstanding Pensions, among others.

The Protesters were seen carrying placards with various inscriptions, such as: ‘Expatriates not paid for three months’;

‘Pension Deductions not remitted since 2008’; ‘Say No to tyranny’ and ‘7 Aircraft, only one serviceable’, among others.

The Airlines’ former Training and Cabin Services Manager, Magdalene Onyeukwu, who was also among the Protesters, expressed dismay over the laying-off of the Workers, accusing the Airline Management of lack of empathy.

Onyeukwu also accused the Management of not making adequate Settlements before relieving the Workers of their Jobs.

“I have been working with the Airline since 2008 and I participated in the Demo Flight which got them their Air Operator Certificate (AOC).

“I and others like me have been dedicated, even in the face of challenges. When Salaries were not paid, we were committed until the Runway Incident of April 23.

“It is normal for Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to audit the Airline but before we knew it, we got WhatsApp Messages that our Services were no longer required.

“The Chief Executive Officer of Dana Air, Jacky Hathiramani, should address us. We want our Gratuities, while our April Salary and one month in Lieu of Service should be paid,” she said.

Another Protester, Eze Chidi, a former Aviation Security (AVSEC) Supervisor, condemned the action of Management of the Airline on the Workers, describing it as uncalled for.

Chidi urged the Federal Government to intervene on the alleged victimisation, enslavement, exploitation and unaccountable management, among other acts.

Dana Air Management Officials were, however, not reachable for comments.

NCAA had, on April 24, suspended the Airlines’ AOC, following a Runway Skid of its MD-82 Aircraft, with Registration Number 5N-BKI on April 23.

The suspension of the AOC was to allow NCAA to carry out a comprehensive Audit of the Company.

Consequent upon the ongoing Audit, the Airline had, in a Statement on May 11, stated that some of its Employees had been ‘temporarily disengaged’.

 

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22-May-2024 NCC commences enquiry on Review of Guidelines for Telecoms Industry

NCC commences enquiry on Review of Guidelines for Telecoms Industry

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has begun a Public Enquiry on the Review of three key Guidelines/Regulatory Instruments for the Telecoms Industry.

The Executive Vice-Chairman (EVC) of the NCC, Aminu Maida, said this on Tuesday while meeting with all Mobile Networks Operators (MNOs) and other Stakeholders in the Telecoms Industry in Abuja.

Maida said the Review of the Guidelines aimed at providing a clear and transparent Mechanism for resolving conflicts within the Telecoms Sector, adding that it would promote timely resolution and ensuring that all Stakeholders are treated fairly.

According to him, it will also shape the future of the Industry in line with contemporary challenges of Digital Age.

He said the Guidelines for Procedures of granting Approval to disconnect Telecoms Operators and the Guidelines for Dispute Resolution in the Industry were being reviewed as Telecoms Networks Interconnection Regulations.

The EVC, who described the Guidelines as vital to the growth and development of the Telecoms Industry Ecosystem, said the Commission held a Public Enquiry to ensuring transparency and accountability.

“The NCC is an Independent Regulatory Authority for the Communications Industry in Nigeria, we are committed towards accessible and competitive Telecoms Industry.

“The Public Enquiry we are conducting today is a testament to the commitment and dedication to transparency and inclusivity towards ensuring that the Voices of all Stakeholders are heard and considered”, Maida said.

“These Regulatory Instruments have played a vital role in driving our Telecommunications Landscape and it is essential that we revisit and revise them to address emerging challenges, trends and Opportunities in the Industry.”

He said Guidelines being considered were vital to ensuring that the Communications Sector meets the demands of the Digital Age.

He added that the Contributions of all Stakeholders would shape the future of the Industry and make the Telecoms Sector more innovative and competitive.

The EVC said the Telecoms Networks Interconnection Regulation played significant role in seamless Communications between two different network and facilitating the growth of the Telecom Industry in Nigeria.

“This Review is crucial to keep pace with Technological Advancements, foster competition, protect Consumers’ Interest and align with International Standards and improve Regulatory efficiency in the Industry.

“The second is the Guidelines for Procedures of granting Approvals to disconnect Telecoms Operators.

“As the Industry continues to evolve there may be instances where the disconnection of Operators becomes necessary.

“These Guidelines are Procedural Framework through which such approval are granted to ensure that they are carried out in a transparent and accountable manner.

“Lastly, we will be reviewing the Guidelines for Disputes Resolution. Disputes are inevitable part of any Industry, There should be a robust Framework for Disputes Resolution.

“The Guidelines aim to provide a clear and transparent Mechanism for resolving conflicts within the Telecoms Sector, promote timely resolution and ensuring that all Stakeholders are treated fairly.

“As this needs arise we must evaluate and review the Guidelines to ensure they are effective in resolving conflicts and promoting a stable Telecoms Ecosystem,” Maida asserted.

 

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21-May-2024 Minimum Wage: Labour insists on May 31 deadline, threatens FG, NERC

Minimum Wage: Labour insists on May 31 deadline, threatens FG, NERC

The Organised Labour has reiterated its May 31 ultimatum for the Federal Government to finalise the new National Minimum Wage Fixing Process for Workers.

The Position was contained in a Communique issued at the end of a Joint Emergency National Executive Council (NEC) Meeting of the Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) on Tuesday in Abuja.

In the Communique jointly signed by Joe Ajaero, NLC President and Festus Osifo, President of TUC, the Organised Labour said its NEC had thoroughly deliberated on the Issue and considered the current realities as they affects Nigerian Workers and Masses.

Labour noted that NEC appreciated the efforts made thus far, but,  emphasised the urgency of reaching a fair and equitable Agreement.

“We need an Agreement that will genuinely reflect the true Value of Nigerian Workers’ contributions to the Nation’s Development and the current crisis of survival facing Nigerians as a result of Government’s Policies.

“The NEC affirms its commitment to ensuring that the Interests and Welfare of Workers are adequately protected in the Negotiation Process.

“The NEC-in-Session therefore reiterates the ultimatum issued by the NLC and TUC to the Federal Government, which expires on the last day of this month,” the Communiqué read.

Also in the Communiqué the Organised Labour directed all State Councils whose State Governments were yet to fully implement the N30,000 National Minimum Wage and its Consequential Adjustments to immediately issue a joint two-week ultimatum to the culpable State Governments to avert Industrial Action.

It also reaffirmed its demands for an immediate reversal of the Tariff hike and the “vexatious Apartheid Categorisation into Bands to alleviate the suffering of Nigerian Workers and Citizens”.

Labour also gave the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the Federal Government May 31 ultimatum to meet the demands.

“In the event that the Government fails to meet the demands outlined within the stipulated timeframe, the NEC authorises the Leadership of the NLC and TUC to take appropriate actions.

“This including, but not limited to the mobilisation of Workers for peaceful Protests and Industrial Actions, to press home these demands for Social Justice and Workers’ Rights,” the Communiqué read in part.

The Organised Labour emphasised the non-negotiable nature of the demands and urged the Government to prioritise the resolution of the issues in the best interest of Industrial peace.

It called on all Affiliate Unions, and Workers including Civil Society Organisations across Nigeria to remain united and steadfast in solidarity during the critical period. 

 

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19-May-2024 Development Indices in many Nigerian States below Global Standards, says Shettima

Development Indices in many Nigerian States below Global Standards, says Shettima

Vice-President Kashim Shettima has urged State Governors to prioritise Human and Capital Development Programmes to fast-track Sustainable Social and Economic Development in the Country. 

Shettima stated this at the Inauguration of the remodeled Government House, Bauchi, constructed by the Bala Mohammed Administration.

He said that State Governments were vital for Human Development and Social Change, to address challenges like Healthcare, Education and Security.

“Development Indices in many Nigerian States lag behind the Global Standards and effective Value driven Political Leadership is necessary to improve.

“By promoting right Values across Schools, Institutions and Government Agencies, State Governments can lay a Solid Foundation for future progress.

“It is incumbent upon all of us in Positions of Authority to take Interventions in developing Governance Infrastructure as a catalyst to harmonise and supervise our Policy Making Process in the Country,” he said.

Shettima, who inaugurated the Project, lauded Mohammed for his resolve to reconstruct the Government House.

He said that Mohammed devoted his time, life and energy towards repositioning the State by embarking on Development inclined Projects.

“This Edifice will In-Sha-Allah stand the test of time, and posterity will judge you kindly for devoting your time, energies and Resources towards the development of Bauchi State,” he said.

The Vice-President also commended the North-East State Governors for their comradeship, sense of purpose,  commitment, and urged them to be more united so as to face the challenges of Underdevelopment in the Sub-Region.

Earlier, Mohammed said that before contesting for the Office of the Governor, he considered the old Government House as an affront to the State.

He said that his Administration’s goal was to establish Legacy Projects capable of sustaining the ambitious Developmental Needs of the People of the State.

“We believe we can do it and to the glory of God, the remodelled Government house has been done,” he said. 

Shettima is in Bauchi to inaugurate the 15th Edition of the North-East Domestic Trade Fair and other Projects executed by the Bala Mohammed Administration.

The Event was attended by Governors Babagana Zulum, Inuwa Yahaya, Ahmadu Fintiri, Mai Mala Buni and Agbu Kefas of Borno, Gombe, Adamawa, Yobe and Taraba States.

 

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19-May-2024 Minister to newly-elected APRA Executives: Congratulations, leverage on your Expertise

Minister to newly-elected APRA Executives: Congratulations, leverage on your Expertise

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, has felicitated the newly-elected Executive Council of the African Public Relations Association (APRA), elected at the 35th APRA Annual Conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM), which was held in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire from May 13- 18, 2024.

The Minister, also a Fellow of APRA, acknowledged the significance of the election for the advancement of Public Relations across Africa, adding that while it is a pivotal moment for APRA, the collective Expertise, and Leadership of the newly-elected Executive Council would be instrumental in attaining the long-term Vision of the Association. 

The new APRA Executive Council comprises Arik Karani from Kenya as President, Dr. Michele Mekeme from Cameroon as Vice President, and Dr. Omoniyi Ibietan from Nigeria as Secretary-General.

Idris urged the new Executive Council to "continue the Trajectory of Reforms in APRA," stressing the importance of expanding the Democratic Space by encouraging greater participation of National Public Relations Institutions across the Continent.

He highlighted the need for Inclusivity and Collaboration to strengthen the Public Relations Profession in Africa.

The Minister also called on the Executive Council to work closely with the African Union Commission and the Council of Ministers to ensure that Public Relations remains central to Policy Formulation, Programme Execution, and Project Implementation.

"Public Relations should be at the heart of Policy, Programmes, and Project Implementation," he stated.

He also extended his salutations to Dr. Omoniyi Ibietan, the Head of Media Relations at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), on his emergence as the Secretary-General of APRA. 

“Dr. Ibietan is a thoroughbred Journalist, Public Relations Expert, and Author, who is expected to bring his enormous wealth of experience to bear on APRA positively,” Idris said. 

 

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18-May-2024 Tinubu's engagement to sell Nigeria as an Investment Destination is serious, says Minister

Tinubu's engagement to sell Nigeria as an Investment Destination is serious, says Minister

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, says the Economic situation in the County will soon improve and impact positively on the Lives of Nigerians.

Idris stated this at the high level Dialogue on delivering the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Tinubu on Friday in Abuja.

The Dialogue is Titled, “Leveraging International Cooperation to enhance Trade, Investment and Sustainable Development in Nigeria”

It was organised by Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on International Cooperation and Bank of Industry.

According to Idris, the day is for both reflecting on the last one year and looking ahead at the next three, with special emphasis on the Role of International Cooperation in achieving Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

“Tinubu’s determination to engage on the Global Stage to position and sell Nigeria as an Investment Destination is something he takes seriously, both at Home and Abroad.

“He is the Chief Marketing Officer of the Country and always goes the extra mile to fulfill this Role with boldness and determination.

“He gave the Approval to constitute a National Communications Team, to harmoniously engage with Nigerians, and showcase our journey as a Government determined to leave a lasting Legacy of reset and reform in every facet of National Life.

“I want to assure you that you will see a lot more of our work as a Team as we enter this second year of the Administration.

“We will continue to engage with Nigerians, Home and Abroad regarding our work, prioritising truth, credibility and impact.

“I want to express my clear and unshakable belief that things will get better in Nigeria. A lot of the work that was put in during the last 12 months is just now crystallising into reality.

“I am indeed very optimistic about what this second year that we are going into will bring, and I invite you all to share in this enthusiasm,” Idris said.

He said that some of the efforts of Tinubu include, the Consumer Credit Corporation, Nigeria Education Loan Fund, Presidential Compressed Natural Gas Initiative, the Presidential Grant and Loan Scheme.

Others are, Dry Season Farming, Fertiliser Distribution, Renewed Hope Infrastructure Development Fund, Electricity Sector Reforms, Tax and Fiscal Policy Reforms, and National Minimum Wage Negotiations.

“All of these and many more are Policies and Programmes that will directly touch and improve the Lives of Nigerians.

“These will go a long way to bring Prices down, reduce the Cost of Doing Business, put more money into the pockets of Nigerians and bring more Electricity into our Homes and Industries.

“They will also spur Domestic and Foreign Investments and push the Country further towards the path to true and lasting prosperity,” he  said. 

 

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18-May-2024 APRA elects Nigeria's Ibietan Secretary-General

APRA elects Nigeria's Ibietan Secretary-General

Head, Media Relations at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Omoniyi Ibietan, has been elected the Secretary-General of the African Public Relations Association (APRA) at the ongoing 35th Annual Conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM) taking place in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. 

Ibietan was elected into a Three-Man Executive Council. The other two members are Arik Karani (Kenya), President, and Dr. Michele Mekeme (Cameroon), Vice President. 

Ibietan, a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) and APRA, has promised to work with other Members of the Executive Council to continue the Trajectory of Reforms in APRA, expand the Democratic Space by encouraging greater participation of National Public Relations Institutions on the Continent.

He has also expressed his readiness and commitment to working more closely with the African Union Commission and Council of Ministers to put Public Relations at the heart of Policy, Programmes, and Project implementation.

Ibietan, a Journalist, Writer, and Author works at NCC where he oversees aspects of the Public Communication Strategy of the National Regulatory Authority for Telecommunication in Nigeria.

Earlier in Nigeria's Fourth Republic, he was Special Media Advisor to the Federal Minister of Information and Communication. He has over 20 years of Experience in Media and Communication Scholarship and Practice, spanning Journalism, Academia, Policy Discourse, Communication Strategy, Regulation, and Stakeholder Relations. 

Ibietan earned BA and MA in Communication Arts and Communication and Language Arts from the Universities of Uyo and Ibadan in Nigeria, respectively, graduating atop his Classes.

Earlier, he obtained a diploma in Journalism with Distinction from the Moscow-Based International Institute of Journalism.

He holds a Ph.D. in Communication from the North-West University in South Africa, with Specialisation in Political Communication. He is a IP3 Certified Regulation Specialist and holds an MBA in Telecommunications from NEOTELIS in Paris.

He is also a Member of the African Council for Communication Education (ACCE), an Associate Registered Practitioner of Advertising (ARPA) and Member of the International Institute of Communications (IIC), the World's only Policy Debating Platform for the Converged Communications Industry. 

As a Scholar, he focuses on Patterns of Political Communication through New Media; Media and Culture Studies; and Theoretical and Normative Foundations of Communication in relation to Democracy and Freedom.

He is on the Faculty of the Nigerian Campus of Italy-based Rome Business School (RBS), where he teaches Doctoral Students PR and Advertising and Media Management and Communication Strategy. He also facilitates Learning to Students in the Master of Corporate Communication Programme at RBS. 

His first Book, Social Media, Social Demography, and Voting Behaviour in Nigeria, was published by Premium Times Books in Washington in May 2023. He has travelled extensively in Africa, North America, Europe, and Asia.

 

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At the ongoing Conference, Ibietan presented the First Paper at the commencement of Business Sessions Titled: Digital Inclusion as Arbiter of Accessible Public Relations: A Case of Nigerian Communications Commission. 

Using Castells' Theory of the Network Society and the Knowledge Gap Theory, and based on the actions of the Nigerian Government through the activities of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Ibietan advanced a Thesis that Digital Inclusion is the Arbiter of Digital Public Relations. 

Through implementation of Laws, Policies, Guidelines, Developmental Regulation, Collaborative Partnerships, Social Investments, Operational Efficiency and Ancillary Actions that are consequential and quantifiable, and using copious Pictorial Evidence, Ibietan discoursed a perspective that NCC's Digital Inclusion Programmes, Projects and Activities are foundational to Digital Economy.

He argued that this is because Investment in and Coordination of Expansion of Digital Infrastructure, demonstrating their affordances and enhancing People's access to such Resources, constitute the building blocks and raison d'être of Digital Economy and inherently Digital Public Relations. 

APRA, the Successor to the Federation of African Public Relations Association (FAPRA), instituted in Nairobi in 1975, exists to foster unity of Africans and their Global Allies through interactions and exchange of meaning. This year’s Theme is 'One Africa, One Voice: Bridging Africa's Communication Divide'.

APRA Côte d'Ivoire 2024 is endorsed by the Government of Côte d'Ivoire, the Holding Opinion and Public (THOP), and major Global PR Associations, namely the International Public Relations Association (IPRA), The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO), the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management (GA), the African Union Commission (AUC), and PR national associations across the continent. 

Additionally, the conference featured the Eight Edition of the Innovation Summit (IN2SUMMIT) and included the Seventh Edition of the SABRE Awards Africa, holding tonight.

The APRA Secretariat is in Nigeria, and the body maintains an Observer Status with the African Union.

 

Credit NCC PR

17-May-2024 Labour to FG: Do not tamper with Workers’ Pension Funds

Labour to FG: Do not tamper with Workers’ Pension Funds

The Organised Labour has frowned at the Federal Government’s plan to utilise the N19.66trn Pension Funds for Infrastructure Development.

This is contained in a Joint Letter signed by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), which was addressed to the Minister of Finance on Thursday in Abuja.

The Letter, which was signed by Joe Ajaero, NLC President and Tommy Etim-Okon, TUC Deputy President, was entitled “Leave our Pension Fund Alone: Do not Tamper with Workers’ Funds”.

According to Ajaero, the announcement has ignited deep apprehension and unrest among Nigerian Workers, who are the Primary Contributors of these Funds.

“We, therefore, urge the Government to reconsider its plans to tap into Pension Funds and instead explore sustainable Financing options that do not compromise the Retirement Security of Nigerian Workers.

“Organised Labour will resist any action that seeks to undermine the Retirement Savings of Nigerian Workers,” they said.

The Letter, however, noted that the Government had allegedly accessed nearly 70 per cent of the entire Pension Funds, adding that it was not merely alarming; it was unacceptable.

It said that Nigerian Workers had entrusted their hard-earned Savings for Retirement Security, and not for Government Projects.

“It is imperative to halt any further plans to tap into these Funds, especially given the lack of transparency and accountability in past Government borrowing practices.

“Your proposal to further leverage these Funds for the purported betterment of Housing and Infrastructure raises serious concerns about Fiscal prudence and responsible governance,” it said.

According to Labour, where does the Government intend to source the additional N20trn it seeks to acquire, especially considering the ambiguity surrounding previous borrowing practices from.

It said the lack of clarity on the matter only fuels skepticism regarding the feasibility and sustainability of the Initiative.

“Nigerian Workers demand assurances that their Retirement Funds will not fall victim to further Federal Government borrowing.

“This is especially when the PENCOM Board has not been constituted as enshrined in the Statutes.

“One is left to wonder which Board superintends over such discussion with the Government. Seeking to borrow from the Fund is not backed by the Pension Act,” it said.

It said that this was in spite of the Government’s assurances of widespread consultation with major Stakeholders in the Pension Industry.

It said it was disheartening to note that the NLC and TUC, representing the Owners of the entire Pension Fund Contributions, were not consulted nor informed about the Government’s intentions.

“This lack of transparency undermines the sanctity of Pension Funds, which should be treated with utmost reverence and protection at all times.

“It is incumbent upon the Government to prioritise alternative Sources of Funding that do not imperil the Financial Security of Nigerian Workers.

“We insist that any Initiative aimed at leveraging Pension Funds for National Development must be executed with utmost transparency, accountability, and respect for the Rights and Interests of Workers.

“Furthermore, we strongly oppose the notion of the Government engaging in fierce competition with other Users of Funds in the Pension Fund Market.

“We remain resolute in our commitment to safeguarding the Welfare and Interests of Workers across the Country,” it said.

 

Credit NAN: Texts excluding Headline

16-May-2024 New Minimum Wage: Labour's withdrawal from Negotiation unfortunate, says NECA

New Minimum Wage: Labour's withdrawal from Negotiation unfortunate, says NECA

The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has urged Organised Labour to return to the Negotiation Table on the planned Minimum Wage Review.

NECA’s appeal came following the decision of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) on Wednesday, in Abuja, to pull out of the National Minimum Wage Committee.

The development came after Representatives of  Government and the Organised Private Sector made an Offer of N48,000 and N54,000 Wage respectively.

The two Labour Centres had earlier proposed a sum of N615,000 Minimum Wage for Federal Workers, giving Evidence and Data to substantiate their Proposal.

Reacting, the Director-General, NECA, Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde, in a Statement issued on Wednesday, in Lagos,  described Labour’s pull out as unfortunate

Oyerinde urged Labour to reconsider its position and return to the Negotiation Table in the interest of its Members and National Development.

“As it is seen Globally, a major feature of all Negotiations is for all Parties to present their opening positions, which was done by all Social Partners.

‘’The expected follow-up action is the actual Negotiation with attendant Counter-Negotiations, alignment and realignment of positions among others.

“The action of Labour to walk out, even when Negotiation has not started, even when it is within its right to do so, has the potential to delay the Assignment of the Minimum Wage Committee, ” he said.

Oyerinde said that the Organised Private Sector remained absolutely committed to the Review of the current National Minimum Wage, to a new one that was fair and sustainable.

He said that it was for one which took due cognisance of the Country’s  current Economic situation. 

 

Credit NAN: Texts excluding Headline

16-May-2024 New Minimum Wage: Organised Labour withdraws from Negotiation, says 'FG taking Nigerians for a ride'

New Minimum Wage: Organised Labour withdraws from Negotiation, says 'FG taking Nigerians for a ride'

Organised Labour says it has pulled out from the ongoing Tripartite Committee on the new National Minimum Wage Negotiations Meeting for Workers.

The Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) at a Joint News Conference stated this on Wednesday in Abuja.

The Organised Labour had said that the Government ‘s proposal of N48,000 as new Minimum Wage for Workers was not just a “mockery but an insult to Nigerians' dignity’.

Labour walked out in the middle of the Negotiations due to the turn of events as they had proposed N615,000 as the new National Minimum Wage.

Also, the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) had announced that the least Worker in the Private Sector should be paid N78,000.

NECA later turned around to propose N54,000 as the new National Minimum Wage.

Joe Ajaero, NLC President and Tommy Etim-Okon, TUC Deputy President, in a Joint  Statement entitled “Minimum Wage: Government Presents Wage Reduction”, had expressed disappointment at the turn of events.

Ajaero said Labour was disappointed at the unfortunate and the apparent unseriousness of the Government to engage in reasonable Negotiation with Nigerian Workers.

“Despite earnest efforts to reach an equitable Agreement, the less than reasonable action of the Government and the Organised Private Sector (OPS) has led to a breakdown in Negotiations, he said.

“The Government’s Proposal of a paltry N48,000 (forty-eight thousand Naira) as the Minimum Wage does not only insult the sensibilities of Nigerian Workers but also falls significantly short of meeting our needs and aspirations.,” they said.

The Statement also noted that in contrast the Organised Private Sector (OPS) proposed an initial offer of N54,000 though, it was worth noting that even the least paid Workers in the Private Sector receives N78,000 per month as clearly stated by the OPS.

It noted that this highlight the stark disparity between the proposed Minimum Wage and prevailing standards further demonstrating the unwillingness of Employers and Government to faithfully negotiate a fair National Minimum Wage for Workers in Nigeria.

It also said that the Federal Government’s failure to provide any substantiated Data to support their offer exacerbates the situation.

According to the two Labour Centres, this lack of transparency and good faith undermines the credibility of the Negotiation Process and erodes trust between the Parties involved.

“As Representatives of Nigerian Workers, we cannot in good conscience accept a Wage Proposal that would result in a reduction in Income for Federal-Level Workers.

“The Workers, who are already receiving N30,000 as mandated by Law, augmented by Buhari’s 40 per cent Peculiar Allowance (N12,000) and the N35,000 Wage Award, totaling N77,000 only.

“Such a regressive step would undermine the Economic Well-being of Workers and their Families and is unacceptable in a National Minimum Wage Fixing Process.

“In light of these developments, and in order to prevent the negotiation of a Wage deduction, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have taken the decision to walk out of the Negotiation Process.

“We remain committed to advocating for the Rights and Interests of Nigerian Workers and will continue to engage in reasonable Dialogue with the Government if they show serious commitment to find a fair and sustainable resolution to this impasse,” it stated.

It therefore called on the Government to reconsider its position and come to the Negotiation Table with clear hands that reflects the true value of the contributions made by Nigerian Workers to the Nation’s Development.

 

Credit NAN: Texts excluding Headline

15-May-2024 Nigerian Universities being run without Governing Councils, ASUU laments

Nigerian Universities being run without Governing Councils, ASUU laments

The Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU), National Executive Council (NEC), has called on the Federal and State Governments to address all outstanding issues with the Union.

Emmanuel Osodeke, President, ASUU said this in Abuja while briefing Journalists on the outcome of the ASUU-NEC Meeting held at Obefemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife from May 11 to May 12.

Osodeke said that the Union had rejected all the ongoing illegalities and flagrant violation of University Autonomy in Public Universities as a result of non-reinstatement and reconstitution of Governing Councils.

He said that NEC observed with dismay the continued erosion of Autonomy of Public Universities, contrary to the Provisions of the Universities Miscellaneous Act (1993, 2012).

He said, “The dissolution of Governing Councils by the present Administration has paved way for all manner of illegalities in the Nigerian University System.

“University Administrations now place Advertisements for the Appointment of Vice-Chancellor without Authorisation from the appropriate quarters – the Governing Councils.

“Outgoing Vice-Chancellors, working in cahoots with the Federal and State Ministries of Education, are illegally running the Universities on daily basis.

“They routinely usurp the Powers of Governing Councils to recruit and discipline Staff as well as manage University Finances in manners bereft of transparency and accountability.”

He said that for the past 11 months, Universities were being run without a Governing Council which had given room to all sorts of illegalities in the Universities System.

Osodeke said the Union undertook a dispassionate and comprehensive Review of the Status of its Engagements with Federal and State Governments on how to reposition Nigeria’s Public Universities for Global reckoning and competitiveness.

The President also said that the Meeting took a critical look at the worsening Living and Working Conditions in Universities and the Nation at large.

“The Meeting received alarming Reports on the failed promises of the Federal and State Governments towards addressing the lingering issues that forced the Union to embark on the Nationwide Strike of February-October 2022.

“As our Union has consistently stated, Salary Awards are no substitutes for a Negotiated Agreement.

“Each Negotiated Agreement between the Federal Government of Nigeria and ASUU is a comprehensive package that captures not the just Salary Component.

“But also a gamut of requirements for benchmarking a competitive University System designed for addressing the developmental challenges of Nigeria.

“ASUU’s demand for Negotiated Salary and other Conditions of Service is anchored on the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Convention No. 98 which underscores the Principle of Collective Bargaining.

“The last FGN/ASUU Agreement was in 2009. Consequent upon the Union’s Advocacy spanning almost one Decade, our Union went into the Renegotiation with the FGN as in 2017,” he said.

Osodeke said that NEC shall reconvene after two weeks from the date of the NEC Meeting to review the situation and take a decisive action to address the Issues.

On the Issue of the Indefinite Strike in University of Abuja, he said they were fully in support of the Action.

 

Credit NAN: Texts excluding Headline

14-May-2024 NRC seeks link of Itakpe Corridor to Abuja, bags Lagos NUJ Award

NRC seeks link of Itakpe Corridor to Abuja, bags Lagos NUJ Award

The Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiria, has urged the Federal Government to link the Itakpe Corridor to Abuja to speed up Development in the Country.

Okhiria made the call in Lagos when the Leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State Council, led by the Chairman, Adeleye Ajayi paid him a Courtesy Visit.

He explained that linking the Itakpe Corridor directly to Abuja would help the Country cover up about 75 per cent of the entire Country in Rail Transportation.

According to him, this move is necessary to fast-track Development across Regions in Nigeria.

“I wish to reveal that there have been great Developments, especially in States where we are very visible. Ibadan, for example, is springing up Development in Areas that are closer to the Rail Station, while Lagos is fast becoming a Tourism Site.”

The MD reiterated the commitment of the Corporation to scaling up the level of work done in different Corridors across the Country.

He noted that there had been a decline in the level of vandalism across the Country’s Rail Lines, as Operations had fully begun in most of the Stations.

Okhiria disclosed that Security Surveillance around the Rail Coaches would be scaled up for effectiveness and efficiency.

He commended the Media for being a Partner in Progress in promoting the Operations of the NRC.

“Nigerian Railway Corporation has received the attention it deserves through the Media, and we are grateful for this,” he said.

The MD admitted that Nigeria stood a better chance to grow and develop if all hands were on deck.

“Against this backdrop, State Governments of Borno, Kaduna, Plateau and Ogun are already partnering with the NRC to build an efficient Railway System in their respective States,” he revealed.

Ajayi, commended Okhiria for repositioning the NRC, saying that Nigerians were aware of the giant stride made by the MD in the Corporation.

He added that it was a testament to his background and wealth of experience, having worked in all seven Districts of the NRC.

“As a Member of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, Institute of Management, Vanguard Society of Engineers, among others, one cannot expect less from a Professional like you who has a track record of success,” he said.

He also commended the Corporation for the Professionalism it displayed in executing the Directive of President Bola Tinubu over the 100 per cent discount on Train Trips for Nigerians who travelled to celebrate Christmas and New Year with their Families.

He applauded the selfless service of the NRC to the Nation as no fewer than 163,000 Nigerians benefited from the Exercise via the three Routes being serviced by the Corporation which include Lagos– Ibadan, Warri – Itakpe and Abuja– Kaduna.

“We are equally delighted to hear about the Corporation’s plans to boost Cargo movement across the Nation as moves are underway to enhance Rail Links between Lagos, Kaduna and Kano.

“No doubt, the completion and operationalisation of these Rail Corridors, especially Lagos to Kano will facilitate optimal use of the Dala Inland Dry Port for movement of Cargoes by Rail from Lagos to Kano.

“It is believed that this Initiative will reduce the Cost of Doing Business, reduce the menace of Road Traffic Accidents, and boost the GDP of our Country,” he said

Ajayi later presented an Award of Excellence for Outstanding Performance as the Managing Director of Nigerian Railway Corporation to Okhiria, on behalf of the Lagos NUJ.

He said the Award was long overdue, stressing that the Lagos Council of the NUJ would continue to promote the activities of the Corporation around the clock.

He also solicited Partnership with the NRC, particularly in the Area of Capacity Building for Journalists covering Transport Beat.

 

Credit NAN: Texts excluding Headline

12-May-2024 My Men have given everything for Nigeria to remain one, says CDS

My Men have given everything for Nigeria to remain one, says CDS

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Christopher Musa, says the happiness of his Men remains paramount to him in discharging his Responsibilities as Defence Chief.

Musa expressed this view while addressing Journalists on Saturday during the Novelty Volleyball match in honour of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan, who are on Private Visit to Nigeria on the invitation of the CDS.

He said it was his desire to celebrate the Wounded Soldiers and Veterans that prompted the Invitation of the Royal Prince to come to Nigeria and celebrate with the Injured Veterans.

According to him, it is a great privilege and honour and it shows that People all over the World understand what it is to sacrifice for one’s Nation.

“These Guys have given everything they have just to make sure that Nigeria remains one.

“These Individuals have Families and People that depend on them but we will never allow the situation they are in, to keep them out.

“That is why, for me particularly, it is very important for the Morale of my Men.

“For me, I cannot function if my Men are not happy and I will do whatever it takes for me to make sure that they are happy.

“That is why we are acknowledging what they have done and we are commending them and we appreciate the sacrifices they are making,” he said.

The Defence Chief  said the Nigerian Armed Forces was committed to investing in Invitus Game which commenced in 2014, adding he was wondering why Nigeria delayed in taking part in the Game.

He promised that the Nigerian Team would go all the way to build up the Capacity of the Personnel to be able to continue to win Laurel for Nigeria.

The Vsitor, Harry interacted with Members of his Invictus Foundation and urged them to keep up the good work.

He also cheered up the Injured Soldiers and Veterans who participated in the Novelty Game.

The Visitors had on arrival on Friday had a Closed Door Meeting with the CDS after a visit to a school in Wuse, Abuja.

They later proceeded to 44 Army Reference Hospital Kaduna where they interacted with Wounded Soldiers who are currently receiving treatment.

At Kaduna, they also met with Governor Uba Sani and top Government Functionaries. 

 

Credit NAN: Texts excluding Headline

11-May-2024 Dana Air sacks Workers amidst probe of Runway incident

Dana Air sacks Workers amidst probe of Runway incident

Dana Air on Saturday announced  disengagement of some of its Workers  amid ongoing Operational Audit of the Airline.

This is contained in a Statement issued in Lagos by Kingsley Ezenwa, Head of Corporate Communications of the Airline.

According to Ezenwa, Dana Air has made a decision to temporarily disengage some Staff Members pending  conclusion of the Audit.

“The Audit, currently underway, is a collaborative effort between Dana Air and the Authorities to ensure compliance with all necessary Standards and Regulations.

“Dana Air reaffirms its commitment to full cooperation with the Authorities to facilitate a smooth and expedited resolution of the Audit Process.

“In the light of the ongoing Audit, Dana Air has made the decision to temporarily disengage some Staff Members pending the conclusion of the Audit.

“This decision has been made to ensure efficient management of Resources and to facilitate a thorough review of Operational Procedures.

“The Management of Dana Air extends its sincere appreciation to all Staff Members for their resilience and dedication during this period of uncertainty,” he said.

According to him, the Airline recognises the difficulties the Staff have had to endure.

He gave the assurance that efforts are being made to provide updates.

“Dana Air remains committed to providing updates and support to its Staff throughout this Process.

“While these challenges are being addressed, Dana Air has commenced talks with Lessors and are currently engaging Stakeholders on the progress made so far.

“Dana Air, therefore, urges for calm and understanding from our very dedicated Staff.

“The Management is working diligently to address any concern and is preparing a Re-Start Plan that will ensure  safe and efficient resumption of Operations,” he said.

According to him, Dana Air is confident that, with continued support of its Staff and other Stakeholders, it would overcome the challenges.

On April 23, the Airline’s Aircraft with Registration Number 5N BKI, which took off in Abuja, veered off the Runway while landing at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Ikeja.

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, on April 24, issued a Letter to the Airline informing it of suspension of its Operations and initiation of Investigation to ascertain the cause of the incident.

 

Credit NAN: Texts excluding Headline

11-May-2024 Societal Welfare: NNPC, First E&P JV give N53.4m to NGOs

Societal Welfare: NNPC, First E&P JV give N53.4m to NGOs

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Limited) and First Exploration and Production Limited (First E&P) Joint Venture (JV), have donated the sum of N53m to Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in Nigeria.

This is as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Initiatives, according to a Statement issued on Friday by Olufemi Soneye, Chief Corporate Communications Officer, NNPC Limited.

Under the JV’s Impact First Initiative, the donation, targeted towards enhancing Societal Welfare, would address Areas such as good Healthcare and Well-being, quality Education as well as Economic Growth within the Nation.

Speaking during the Cheque Presentation Ceremony, NNPC Limited’s Chief Upstream Investment Officer (CUIO), NNPC Upstream Investment Management Services (NUIMS), Bala Wunti, expressed gratitude to First E & P for initiating the laudable Programme.

Represented by the Deputy Manager, External Relations, NUIMS, Edith Lawson, Wunti highlighted NNPC Limited’s belief in the power of CSR, stressing that the Company remains committed to working with its Partners to impact the Lives of the Less-Privileged.

Wunti said under the Initiative, Projects and Programmes executed include the provision of Classrooms, ICT Centres, Laboratories and other Infrastructural Intervention Projects, Scholarships, Quiz Competitions, Skill Acquisitions, and Economic Empowerment, a testimony to NNPC Limited's dedication to fostering Sustainable Development in Nigeria.

Wunti described First E & P’s foresight and Leadership as commendable, adding that the Partner has spearheaded the Initiative towards meaningful change that will ensure a better future for all Nigerians.

Among the Beneficiaries of the donation were the Irede Foundation, which provides Custom-Made Artificial Limbs to Child Amputees aged 0-18 and Human Development Initiative (HDI), which focuses on tackling fundamental Issues of Poverty, injustice, neglect, deprivation, and equality among Vulnerable People.

Others were the OISA Foundation, which transforms Lives through Interventions in the Education and Healthcare Sectors; Cerebral Palsy Center, which renders support to Families with Children with Cerebral Palsy as well as the Niola Cancer Care Foundation, which organises Awareness Talks and screens Communities for Colon Cancer.

 

Credit NNPCL PR: Texts excluding Headline

10-May-2024 Rep denies receiving $140m bribe from Binance Executive

Rep denies receiving $140m bribe from Binance Executive

Dominic Okafor (APGA-Anambra) has denied receiving $140m bribe from Nadeem Anjarwalla, the Binance Executive, who escaped from detention.

Okafor, who represents the Aguta Federal Constituency at the National Assembly, said this at a News Conference on Friday in Abuja.

An Online Media had alleged that he received $140m bribe from Anjarwalla who was being investigated over suspected involvement in Tax Evasion and Terrorism Sponsorship.

But, Okafor denied the allegation, threatening to take action against the Organisation.

He denied knowledge of such Transaction with the Company, describing  the Report as an attempt to tarnish that Image and integrity I had  built over the years.

Okafor said that he moved a Motion in the House to call for an Investigation into the escape.

“Shortly after I moved that Motion which was well received and a lot of People were calling to commend me; I started getting calls from my friends all over the World saying I collected bribe from this very Company.

“I did a Letter to them which I copied the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Clerk, Inspector General of Police, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Department of Security Service (DSS)

“I asked them to retrieve the Information within 24 hours if not I will take Legal Action against them. I am here to exonerate myself from such accusations aimed at tarnishing my Image which I have earned over the years,” he said.

Okafor said that he joined Politics from the Private Sector and had been a Member of Rotary International Club for over 25 years.

He said that the Motion which prayed for Investigation and a re-arrest of the Executives was for the interest of the Country and nothing more.

“For the the Online Media Man that accused me of collecting $140m I do not think that it is something we would sweep under the carpet. I am discussing with my Legal Team to know the right action to take,” he said.

Anjarwalla and his Colleague at Bianace, a Cryptocurrency Platform, escaped from detention on March where they were being held for alleged Tax Evasion and Terrorism Sponsorship.

 

Credit NAN: Texts excluding Headline

10-May-2024 Tinubu receives new Envoys from Egypt, Greece, Pakistan, seeks Economic Cooperation

Tinubu receives new Envoys from Egypt, Greece, Pakistan, seeks Economic Cooperation

President Bola Tinubu says Nigeria will continue to play strategic roles in the affairs of the African Continent at all times.
Tinubu said this on Friday while receiving the Letters of Credence from the Ambassadors of Egypt, Pakistan and Greece in Abuja.
He said that Nigeria would continue to play its role as the stabiliser on the Continent towards ensuring lasting peace and progress.
Receiving a Letter of Credence from the Egyptian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mohamed Ahmed, Tinubu said both Countries would emphasise on Global peace and stability through Collaboration within International Organisations, such as the UN.
The President noted that since establishing Diplomatic Relations in 1961, Nigeria and Egypt had collaborated on key International priorities, including promoting Regional Peace, Security, and Stability.
Acknowledging Egypt’s role towards a truce in the crisis in Gaza, Tinubu said: ‘’We need to do more. Stability in the Region is of paramount importance.’’
Ambassador Ahmed conveyed President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s willingness to bolster Economic Partnership with Nigeria, emphasising Egypt’s interest in increasing Trade and Investments between the two Countries.
‘’We need to complement each other on Investments. Many Egyptian Companies are interested in coming to Nigeria to invest,’’ the Egyptian Ambassador said.
In discussions with Sohail Khan, High Commissioner of Pakistan, Tinubu described the Ambassador’s Military background as invaluable for exchanging Ideas to expand Security and Defence Cooperation.
‘’We must do more to stop Extremists. We need to enhance our Collaboration and exchange of Ideas and knowledge in these Areas.
‘’As a Government, we will keep an Open-Door Policy with Countries and Development Partners on enhancing Cooperation on Security, Economy, Education, and the Information and Communication Technology Sector,’’ the President said.
The High Commissioner of Pakistan noted the Demographic similarities between the two Countries and expressed a desire to elevate the Relationship to new heights.
‘’Pakistan has the fifth largest Population in the World while Nigeria is the sixth largest. We have a significant Youth Population, and our National Flags are similar.
“I would like to take our Relationship to a new level, from strength to strength,’’ the High Commissioner said.
In a separate Meeting with Ambassador Athanasios Kotsionis of Greece, Tinubu reiterated his Administration’s commitment to an Open-Door Policy that encouraged Collaboration and progress.
He restated Nigeria’s commitment to strengthening Bilateral Relations with Greece and building bridges of Cooperation to address common challenges.
The President assured the Greece Ambassador of Nigeria’s commitment to creating an Environment conducive to Socio-Economic Growth and Development.
‘’Nigeria and Greece have good Historic Ties. We have shared priorities, including promoting Democracy, and there is room to expand Cooperation.
‘’The Economic situation in Africa and Europe is still very unbalanced. We should build on the Opportunities from our challenges and strengthen Relations between the two Countries.
‘’What I expect is an improvement in the Relationship between both Countries, and I look forward to us working on that.
‘’Our Government is about Renewed Hope. Nigeria will continue to play its role as a Stabiliser on the Continent,’’ the President said.
Kotsionis outlined Greece’s efforts to finalise Agreements with Nigeria in the Areas of Tourism, Scientific Exchange, Technology, and Maritime.
‘’We are ready to sign the Agreements with Nigeria as soon as they are ready.
“There is a lot to be done between the two Countries, and we will need the support of your Government.
“We hope to achieve incredible things in Nigeria during my stay,’’ the Ambassador said.
 
Credit NAN: Texts excluding Headline
08-May-2024 NCC supports Digital Communications of Disabilities Commission with 50 laptops

NCC supports Digital Communications of Disabilities Commission with 50 laptops

The Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), has donated 50 Sets of HP Computer Laptops to the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, (NCPWD)
The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Aminu Maida, made the donation when a Delegation from his Establishment paid a courtesy visit to NCPWD Headquarters in Abuja.
Maida, represented by a Deputy Director in the Commission, Tijani Munguno, said the provision of the ICT Equipment was borne out of the NCC’s conviction that Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) required the Tools.
He said the Equipment would boost Digital Communications Expertise of PWDs to enable them compete favourably in ICT Market
Maida said that besides building the Digital Capacity of PWDs, the Equipment would support the Commission in its determination to achieve its Mandate.
He added that strengthening Digital Communications for PWDs would boost Skills and ensure Inclusivity.
”We recognised that in today’s World, access to Digital Technology is essential to providing quality output and efficiency.
“With these Laptops, we hope we can make significant impact on the Disability Community,” he said.
The Executive Secretary, NCPWD, James Lalu, thanked the Delegation from the NCC for the donation and support to PWDs.
He expressed commitment to partner with NCC to advance the Digital Communications Skills and knowledge of PWDs.
Lalu presented National Accessibility Manuals to the Delegation to enable NCC get acquainted with the Accessibility Standard Guidelines in their various Offices.
 
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08-May-2024 Fare thee well, thank you, Lekki mourns Mbelu, late Chairman of VGC

Fare thee well, thank you, Lekki mourns Mbelu, late Chairman of VGC

Lekki Residents and Stakeholders have paid tributes to the late Chairman, Victoria Garden City Property Owners Residents Association (VGCPORA), Gihan Mbelu.

They described him as a Community Developer, an Environmental Sustainability Enthusiast, a Visionary Leader with deep passion and commitment of Youth Development and Community Advancement.

They spoke during a Night of Tributes organised for him on Tuesday in Lagos, following his shocking demise on April 26.

Mbelu, until his passing, was not only the Chairman, VGCPORA, but was Vice President, Lekki Estate Residents and Stakeholders Association (LERSA).

Mbelu, aged 42, was reportedly found dead in his Car within the Community after purchasing Water and Soft Drinks.

His Corpse has since been deposited at the Mortuary for Autopsy.

Noheem Adams, Majority Leader representing Eti-Osa Constituency 1, described the late Mbelu as the driving force that brought Government down to the People of VGC and the People to Government.

He said the late VGC Chair expended every efforts to addressing obstructions at the Canals and stood for the truth in all things.

“The Shoes he is leaving behind are too big to be filled and today would be recorded as the saddest day in 2024 for me.

“The kind of Person he was, I had envisioned that he would one day be one of those to lead the Country due to his immense Leadership Capabilities,” he said.

Sulyman Bello, President, LERSA, said his contributions to the Discourse surrounding the development of the Lekki Region was always very compelling.

Bello said relating with Mbelu would leave one in awe and wonder as he dished out facts, data and incontrovertible point of view without being combative, all for the development of VGC and the entire Lekki-Epe Region.

“As long as it was for humanity, Gihan would give it a try as he was a very oriented problem solving Individual.

“His type is not very available in every Generation or even a Lifetime and he would be sorely missed by us all,” he said.

Idunu Oyebelu, Chairperson, Board of Trustees, VGCPORA, said his passing left profound gap in the hearts of everyone.

She said throughout his Tenure as Chairman, his Visionary Leadership and tireless efforts was very instrumental in shaping the VGC Community.

According to Oyebelu, under Mbelu’s Stewardship, VGC witnessed tremendous transformation, Infrastructural Development and made giant strides in Environmental Sustainability.

“Mbelu’s Leadership was marked by a deep sense of purpose and compassion.

“May his Memory serves as a Source of comfort and make us uphold the Values that he embodied particularly his Spirit of Service.

“We will continue to build on the Foundation he laid,” she said.

Morufat Yusuff, General Manager, VGCPORA, stated that the late VGC Chair did everything to ensure a Drug Free Environment within the VGC Community.

She listed some of the achievements during his Tenure to include fostering a Safer and Healthier Environment, the installation of efficient Energy Feature Lighting, the VGC Recycling Hub to drive Environmental Sustainability.

“He also facilitated efficient access control, identified Opportunities to optimise expenses and was deeply committed to the safety and wellbeing of all VGC Residents.

“He increased Security Surveillance and we had commenced installation of CCTV Cameras with 150 installed and 64 ongoing to be commissioned in August.

“He forged Partnership with Government Entities to resolve Issues, mitigated Flood risks and this is such a sad occurrence that our hearts cant fathom. He would be sorely missed,” she said.

Jane Phillip-Odey, Secretary, VGC, said the late VGC Chair though gone, left impacts, developmental activities and Legacies that would never be forgotten.

“Let us honour his Memory, cherish the time we had with him as we pay tribute to him who would forever be in our hearts and memories,” she said.

Adejo Adehi, Head, VGC Basketball Community, said the late Mbelu ensured that the Youth were engaged in Sporting Activities to take their minds off Drugs and any other vices detrimental to Mental Health and general wellness.

He said his passing would leave a great void but his Legacy, Dedication and Vision would continue to inspire the Youth to build a thriving Community of lasting impact.

“You would be deeply missed but your Memory would live on and we pray you find comfort that your Legacy would continue to flourish,” he said.

Ishan Mbelu, brother of the Deceased, lauded the entire VGC Community for giving a Youth the opportunity to lead and serve.

“On behalf of the Family, I would like to thank you all again and I want to say we are proud of the Community and love you all,” he said.

 

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06-May-2024 Faulty Aircraft: Shettima aborts US trip on advice of Presidential Air Fleet

Faulty Aircraft: Shettima aborts US trip on advice of Presidential Air Fleet

Vice-President Kashim Shettima who was scheduled to represent President Bola Tinubu at a Summit in Dallas, Texas has aborted the trip following a technical fault with his Aircraft.

Shettima was to represent the President at the 2024 US-Africa Business Summit organised by the Corporate Council on Africa.

Stanley Nkwocha, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Communications, Office of The Vice-President, disclosed this in a Statement on Monday in Abuja.

Nkwocha said the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, will represent the President at the Summit, as Shettima could not make the trip

He stressed that the technical fault forced the Vice President to make a detour on the advice of the Presidential Air Fleet.

According to Nkwocha, the Vice President will carry on with other National Duties.

He stated that the high-profile Summit, taking place at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, would bring together Political and Business Leaders from across Africa, the United States, and other Regions.

Nkwocha added that the Summit would features high-level Dialogues, Networking Sessions, and Plenary.

He said that the African Leaders expected at the Summit include, the President, Republic of Liberia; Joseph Boakai, President, Republic of Malawi; Lazarus Chakwera and the President, Republic of Angola, Joao Lourenço.

Nkwocha said other African Leaders that would grace the Summit are the President, Republic of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi, President, Republic of Cabo Verde, José Maria Neves, and the Deputy Prime Minister, Kingdom of Lesotho, Nthomeng Majara.

He said that the US-Africa Business Summit is expected to foster Economic Cooperation and explore Investment Opportunities between the United States and African countries.

 

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06-May-2024 APC: Organising rented crowd, miscreants against Minister will end in embarrassment

APC: Organising rented crowd, miscreants against Minister will end in embarrassment

The Zamfara Chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC), has dismissed a recent Protest against Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle as the handiwork of Political Rivals rattled by his rising Political Profile.

A Statement issued in Abuja by the State APC Spokesman, Yusuf Idris, said those orchestrating the Campaign of Calumny against Matawalle were driven by envy and vendetta.

He said that organising “rented crowd and miscreants” would only end in embarrassment to those sponsoring the Protests, meant to push the EFCC to investigate the former Zamfara Governor.

“Unfortunately, the issue being raised is an overflogged one. In fact, if the claims were true, the EFCC would have since made the details available to the Public,” he added.

According to him, the Protesters and their Sponsors are ignorant of National Laws, Constitutional and Judicial Process in the Operations of Anti-Graft Agencies against Suspects.

He appreciated the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for telling the Protesters that the Commission “is not driven by Personal vendetta, Political differences and Tribal sentiments, but focused on upholding the Rule of Law and combating Financial Crimes without fear or favour”.

Idris said that the aim of those sponsoring the Protests was to distract Matawalle from carrying out his assigned National Responsibility for the progress and development of the Nation.

“At the Party Level, we know these People and we know their antics and Political strength (if they have any) and we want to assure them that their envy against Matawalle will lead them nowhere.

“The Minister who is the APC Leader in Zamfara, has since moved on with his Life and has always shown readiness to work with anyone for the progress of Zamfara and Nigeria.

“The Party Leadership at all Levels is with him, and ready to defend the Policies and Programmes of President Bola Tinubu at all Levels,” the State APC Publicity Secretary added.

He said that the APC in Zamfara implored the Minister to continue with the efforts to achieve peace and security throughout Nigeria, to enable Citizens go about their Legitimate Businesses without fear.

“He should not be distracted by the Anti-Progressive Elements who don’t mean well for Zamfara and Nigeria,” Idris added.

 

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06-May-2024 Governor: I am still looking for the Airport for which Abia money was looted

Governor: I am still looking for the Airport for which Abia money was looted

Governor Alex Otti of Abia has said that he initiated Forensic Audit of the State Government’s Account to recover stolen Government Funds and not to witch-hunt anyone.
Otti said this on Sunday during an Interactive Session with Constituents of Isiala Ngwa South State Constituency, in Nvosi, Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area.
The Governor said that upon assumption of Office, he established an Audit with the primary objective of recovering stolen Government Funds and not to send anyone to jail.
He said that the Report of the Audit revealed that “a lot of money was looted and stolen brazenly” for non-existing Projects which include the Abia Airport Project.
“I am looking for the Airport for which Funds were moved from the Coffers of the Government for.
“The People concerned with the act of moving the Airport Project Funds in question went to the Media and  began to say all manner of things.
“If you are following the happenings in the Media Space, you will see these things there.
“The problem with lying is that when you tell one lie, you will need another one to cover the first lie and need three more lies to cover the second one.
“We are looking for our money and we must find our money.
”If we don’t find the Airport, then they will refund our money,” he added.
According to him, the Government will not relent in improving the Welfare of the Citizenry through various progressive Initiatives that facilitate Socio-economic growth.
He said that the Government was determined to recover the Funds and utilise it for the development of the State.
Otti commended the House of Assembly Member representing Isiala Ngwa South State Constituency, Roland Chinwendu, for playing “Politics of no bitterness”.
“Immediately, after the Elections he  came to me to make it clear that as the Member representing my Constituency, he would work with me to move Abia forward.

“It is worthy of note that he is a Member of the Peoples Democratic Party and I commend him for that,” he said.
Earlier, Chinwendu said that the emergence of Otti as the Governor was an indication that the Citizens desire good Governance.

“The Elections are long over and I was elected to deliver effective Representation and not elected to play Politics of Opposition or bitterness.
“We have a Governor whose dictum is Practical Government and good Governance and I have no reason not to identify with him,” he said.

He assured the Governor of the unalloyed support of his Constituents and urged him to extend his Infrastructural Development to every part of the Constituency.

Also, a Chieftain of Labour Party, Darlington Nwokocha, commended the Lawmaker for reaching beyond Party affiliations to support the Labour Party-led Government in Abia.
He said that the present Administration was poised to reposition the State through Governance.
 
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06-May-2024 FG Faults Naira Devaluation for high Cost of Medicines, vows to 'do something'

FG Faults Naira Devaluation for high Cost of Medicines, vows to 'do something'

The Federal Government has pledged to bring down soaring Cost of Medications to make it affordable to Nigerians.
Mojisola Adeyeye, the Director-General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), stated this in a Statement on Sunday in Abuja.

The Statement disclosed that Adeyey gave the assurance at a Webinar Lecture organised by The Cable Newspaper, to celebrate its 10th Anniversary with the Theme: “Addressing Costs of Medicines’’.
According to Adeyeye, the current high Cost of Medicines in the Country will become a thing of the past as the Agency is working in Partnership with Pharmaceutical Industries to bring down the Cost of Drugs.

She identified rejuvenation of the Local Pharmaceutical Industries as a panacea for high Cost of Medicines in the Country.
The D-G said that Locally Manufactured Medicinal Products would be more accessible and affordable compared to the Imported Drugs if Local Pharmaceutical Industries are rejuvenated.

According to her, the Devaluation of the Naira accounted largely for high Cost of Production locally as the high Exchange Rate made procurement of Raw Materials and Equipment imported for Production extremely high.

She said that due to difficulty associated with procurement of Dollar, Cost of the Imported Drugs has hit the roof, adding that the two Multinationals Industries that left the Country also amounted to the high Cost of some Medicals.

Adeyeye also disclosed that NAFDAC under her Leadership started the “5 plus 5” Regulatory Scheme which entail Companies importing Drugs that could be produced by Local Pharmaceutical Industry to get a Last Five-Year Renewal.

She said that during the Five-Year Renewal period, the Importer must migrate to Local Manufacturing or partner with Local Manufacturer, adding that this was an outcome of a Study.

She said that over 30 per cent of new Companies in Nigeria sprung up as a results of the “5 plus 5” Initiative, adding that it had encouraged many Importers to build their Companies

Adeyeye stressed that some of the NAFDAC Initiatives were aimed at reducing the Cost of Drugs, adding that Local Manufacturing cannot start without strengthening the Regulatory Process.

The Statement also quoted the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Ali Pate, as saying that the Policy Measures put in place by President Bola Tinubu would soon begin to reflect on Essential Medical Commodities. 

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05-May-2024 Katsina Governor: Yar’adua brought me into Politics, was my Mentor, he shaped my life

Katsina Governor: Yar’adua brought me into Politics, was my Mentor, he shaped my life

Governor Dikko Radda of Katsina State on Sunday unveiled a Book written on the former President Umaru Musa Yar’adua, titled “What Yar’adua told me and taught me”.
The Book written by the former Executive Secretary, Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Muttaqa Rabe-Darma, has over 600 Pages.
It was made Public after a Prayer Session for the repose of the Soul of the late President, at his 14th Remembrance and Prayer day in Katsina.
The Prayers were offered by different Scholars at Katsina Government House to seek for Allah’s forgiveness to his gentle soul, and grant him Al-jannah.
In his Remarks, Governor Radda said that Yar’adua was a Man with humility, dedication and discipline qualities.
He said that it was Yar’adua who brought him into the timeline of Politics, and was his Mentor who shaped his life.
Radda said that on several occasions, the late former President spoke on Moral Authority, saying that any Leader who wanted to succeed must have it.
Also speaking, the former Governor of the State, Ibrahim Shema, said that Yar’adua was a Leader par excellence who chose to be Servant of the Nation and its People.
“He was the Leader who after taken Oath of Office, declared that his Election has some faults and sets up the Justice Uwais Committee to make some corrections,” he said
Shema said that the late President was a Man of God and dedicated for taking such decisions.
He therefore urged People to continue to pray for the repose of his soul.
“He is my boss, my father, my mentor, my Governor and my President,” he said.
Also speaking, his younger brother, Abdulaziz Yar’adua, said that he grew up under the care of the late President Yar’adua, and learnt a lot of things from him.
One of his children, Shehu Umaru Yar’adua, said that their Father could be remembered for what he had been telling them to “always fear Allah and search for Knowledge.”
He urged People to continue to pray for the repose of the soul of their Father.
 
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05-May-2024 Kebbi Governor laments gang up by 'Prominent Personalities'

Kebbi Governor laments gang up by 'Prominent Personalities'

Kebbi Governor, Nasir Idris, has decried a gang-up by some prominent Personalities against his Administration to sabotage his developmental goals for the State.
Idris made this known on Saturday at the Uhola Festival and Agricultural Show in Zuru Local Government Area of the State.
Idris, who was the Special Guest of Honour, declared that he would refuse to be distracted by their antics in achieving his targeted goals of Social and Economic prosperity of the People.
“Your Royal Highness, you spoke about the bad Roads in urgent need of repairs in your Domain.

“It might be of interest to note that I have submitted the rehabilitation of the dilapidated KoKo-Dabai Road to the Federal Ministry of Works for quick action.

“But to our surprise, someone went and changed the submission from KoKo-Dabai Road to Bui-Kangiwa-Kamba Road up to the Border with Republic of Niger,” he lamented.

According to him, KoKo-Dabai Road is in need of urgent attention more than the Bui-Kamba Road which is still motorable.

“What I am pursuing now is the revocation of the Contract from the Contractor by the Federal Government for incompetence, and re-award it by allowing Kebbi State Government to execute the Contract for quick result and job satisfaction.

”I have already captured the Construction of the Road in the 2024 Budget, whether the Federal Government reimburses Kebbi or not, my People are the Beneficiaries.

“I feel sad whenever I come to Zuru, because all the three Roads linking the Town to other places are in bad shape and an eyesore,” he said.

Idris revealed that he would gather Prominent Personalities from Zuru Emirate including Traditional Rulers to meet President Bola Tinubu in Abuja for a rapid solution to the disturbing issue.

On Security, Idris announced that his Administration expended N500m monthly on Security Matters, adding that the amount covers Logistics and other necessary things in equipping Troops alongside Vigilante Groups to effectively tackle Insecurity in the State.

This, he said, was with a view to enabling Farmers anywhere in the State return to their normal Business of cultivating their Farmlands.
The Governor also gave an order for immediate solution to the problem of Water Supply to Zuru Town from the Dam Site.

On Uhola Festival, Idris told the Crowd that the staging of the Festival had now become an unstoppable Annual Event to be financed by the State Government.

“We will make it a deliberate Policy thrust of this Administration to promote Culture for Economic Growth and Social Integration,” the Governor assured.

The Emir of Zuru, Muhammad Sani-Sami, thanked the Governor for providing moral and material support towards the successful hosting of the Festival.

He requested the Federal Government to also provide Funding for the Festival.

The Emir announced that a permanent Uhola Village would be constructed that would contain a Secretariat, Sporting Facilities, Motel and Amphitheater for the development of Tourism. 
 
 
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04-May-2024 Lagos Government: Lekki will not experience Apapa 'Go Slow'

Lagos Government: Lekki will not experience Apapa 'Go Slow'

The Lagos State Government has assured that Lekki will not turn out to be another gridlock-prone area like Apapa in the future.
Olufemi Daramola, Special Adviser (SA) to Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Infrastructure, gave the assurance on Friday, during the 2024 Ministerial Press Briefing held at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.
The Ministerial Briefing, which began on April 23, will run until May 28, as part of activities lined up to commemorate Sanwo-Olu’s First Year in Office for the Second Term.
“With the rapid development of Infrastructure at the Lekki Free Trade Zone and its Environs, Government will ensure provision of adequate Infrastructure to ensure that Lekki does not turn out to be another gridlock-prone area like Apapa in the future,” he said.
He said the focus on Lekki in terms of Infrastructural Development was to ensure that it was prepared for the influx of activities that would take place in the near future.
“This Administration is not selective; we’re however strategic. We have the Deep Sea Port, Dangote Refinery and the Airport. There’s need for major Infrastructure to be put in place.
“We need to be proactive, we don’t want to have another Apapa, we need to find alternative routes to reduce travel time on that Road. So, this is not the matter of grade A or grade B Locations.
“We have to move at a fast pace because of all the ongoing Projects in this Axis. This is not to say other Areas are neglected.
“We strike a balance, every Resident of Lagos State deserves the best,” he said.
Daramola said that Projects were supervised round-the-clock across the State as part of the Governor’s Vision of making Lagos a Mega State through a consistent Project Development drive.
He said this was aimed at positioning the State as an Economic Destination with functional Infrastructure.
“Some of the Projects ongoing to achieve such feat include the Lagos Lagoon Highway, the 7th Axial Road, the construction of Taiwo Street, by China Town, Ojota, the construction of Shasha Link Bridge part of Union Road, Shomorin, Mortune Avenue, Adama Dania/Mohammed/behind Airport Roads.
“Others are the construction of Ayetoro, Ashipa, Parent’s Choice Ayobo-Igando Link Bridge, Alhaji Shekoni Street, Construction of Ijegun-Ijeagemo Road to link LASU Iba Road.
“Also, construction of Okota/Apapa-Oshodi Expressway [Lord’s Chosen Road with link Bridge], the construction of the Awodi-Ora, Olodi Road with link Bridge, among others.
“Since the inception of Governor Sanwo-Olu and his Deputy, Obafemi Hamzat, the Public Works Corporation has intervened in a total of 2,702 Roads, covering approximately 431.32 km using an average Carriageway width of 7.3m,” Daramola said.
He said he and his Team had successfully completed all inherited Projects and embarked on new Strategic Projects that would stand the test of time in spite of the Global Economic Downturn.
“Furthermore, this Administration has continued to deliberately invest in Infrastructure as a critical Development Driver of the State’s Economy, and along the line providing hundreds of Jobs for Residents as well as bringing immediate and impactful succour to Commuters,” Daramola said.
He announced the completion of 172 Roads translating to 177.93km and further execution of 253 Projects which on completion would translate to 298.22km at the end of the Administration as a tall stride that would give Lagosians true Dividends of Democracy.
“It is also important to note that we have completed 2.510Km Bridge (2510m) while 3.13km (3132 meters) is currently ongoing at different parts of the State,”he said.
Similarly, the Special Assistant on Works, Oluyinka Adekunle, noted that during the Inauguration of Sanwo-Olu-led Administration, Government promised to complete all inherited Projects and embark on new ones.
He said that was the bedrock of the ‘T.H.E.M.E.S Plus Agenda.
“Our government has continued to deliberately invest in building Infrastructure as one of the Platforms used for discharging the Social Contract we signed with Lagosians.
“Through our Projects, we have continuously provided Jobs for hundreds of our People and provided impactful Economic succour to those living in the State.
“We are also equally aware of the attendant impact of building resilient Infrastructure, which will not only generate a strong Economic Base for the Productivity of our People, but will also increase Employment and foster Innovation,” he said.
According to him, one of the important methods adopted to bridge the Infrastructure gap in the State is to deliberately improve both the maintenance and management of existing Infrastructure Assets in a way that would preserve the quality of the Assets.
“To achieve this, we have put in place Policies and Structures for the renovation and management of the existing Portfolio of our Infrastructure Assets.
“Government emphasises a two-pronged approach by ensuring routine maintenance of existing Assets to ensure that Infrastructure operate as initially intended in a long-lasting manner and the continuous rehabilitation and upgrade of new iconic Infrastructure,” he said. 
 
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03-May-2024 Onayiga is NUJ's 2024 Press Freedom Award Winner

Onayiga is NUJ's 2024 Press Freedom Award Winner

Prominent Nigerian Journalist and a Senior Member of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Gbenga Onayiga has been nominated for the Press Freedom Award 2024.

The occasion scheduled to hold on Friday, May 4, 2024 in Abuja, was made known by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Freedom Awards Selection Committee.

The United Nations General Assembly had dedicated the day under Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

World Press Freedom Day, which is celebrated on the 3rd of May every year, acts as a reminder to Governments of the need to respect their commitment to Press Freedom. 

“It is also a day of reflection among Media Professionals about Issues of Press Freedom and Professional Ethics”, the Committee said.

The Seasoned Journalist and former Political Editor, Network News, of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), as part of his struggles to ensure that Freedom of the Press is respected, as Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the Students Union of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ), in 1984, led a peaceful protest by students to Dodan Barracks, Ikoyi, the Seat of Government, to protest the trial and eventual incarceration of former Editors of the Guardian Newspapers, Tunde Thompson and Nduka Irabor, by the Military Regime of General Muhammadu Buhari, for allegedly contravening Decree 4 of 1984’.

Onayiga also led the struggle for the Introduction of a Special Salary Scale for Media Workers in Nigeria, and as Representative of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) on the Ministerial Technical Committee, set up by former Information Minister, late Dora Akunyili where he and other Members succeeded in making the Government approve the payment of Weighing and Peculiarity Allowances for Federal and some State Media Workers.

The renowned Media Practitioner received his dose of brutality from the Security Agency, when, as Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Correspondents’ Chapel in Abuja, was attacked while trying to ensure the release of Cameras seized from Photo Journalists, who were taking shots of Moshood Abiola, the acclaimed Winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election.

This happened when Abiola was stepping out of the Courtroom and entering the Black Maria, at the commencement of his Trial at the Abuja High Court on September 14, 1994. Onayiga’s resilience led to the eventual release of the Cameras.

The Nominee in a related manner, was detained by Soldiers during the General Ibrahim Babaginda Coup d’etat in 1985.

“I was on early morning duty on Newspaper Review Desk in Radio Nigeria, Ikoyi, and not aware that there was a Coup. On my way to Broadcasting House, Ikoyi, I was arrested by Soldiers near CMS in the Official Car at about 4.30am.

“After being released at about noon, when the Military Men were sure that the Coup was successful, I still proceeded to the Office to complete my Job but stern-looking Soldiers sent me back at the gate’, Onayiga recalled.

Onayiga was Chairman, Safety Fund for Journalists (NUJ) ­­from April 2013 to July 2016; Member, Monitoring Network on Safety of Journalists from September 2014 to July 2016; Member, Committee of Experts on Voter Education from November 2014 to March 2015; Member, Ethics and Disciplinary Committee, Governing Board, Nigerian Press Council from 2010 to 2012 and Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Insurance Committee.

He also served on the Governing Board of the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and is the current Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Committee on Milestone Recognition for Media Icons in Nigeria.

02-May-2024 Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway: Community threatens to 'fight dirty'

Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway: Community threatens to 'fight dirty'

The Okun-Ajah Community in Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos, has called for the need to maintain the 2006 Coastal Plan designed by the State Government for Lagos-Calabar Road Project.
The Community on Wednesday in Lagos, pleaded with President Bola Tinubu to prevail on the Minister of Works, David Umahi, in that regard.
The Baale in Council of the Community, Saheed Ologunro made the call after the Compensation Payment Ceremony for the affected Property Owners by the Minister of Works, David Umahi.
Ologunro explained that the new alignment in the plan would affect the existing Community which had been residing there for 200 years.
The Baale said: “As at 2006 when we moved in there, the Routes for the Coastal Road was already demarcated.
“There is a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) that covers where most of the Landlords in the Okun-Ajah built their Structures.
“Surprisingly, there is a deviation from the approved C of O from the initial Coastal Road.
According to him, if nothing is done after the appeal, then the Community will not allow the Government to demolish Structures in the Community.
Another Resident, Augustine Nwabueze, said: “Are we saying the C of O is no longer valid.
“We are appealing to the Federal Government because many of us have invested all we have in our life there.
Umahi had earlier said that the Federal Government would pay Compensation to Property Owners affected by the demolition necessary for the construction of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway.
He explained that the Project would mark a major milestone in the Renewed Hope Roadmap of Tinubu for Economic Diversification.

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02-May-2024 New Minimum Wage takes effect April 1, 2024, FG assures Labour

New Minimum Wage takes effect April 1, 2024, FG assures Labour

The Federal Government has assured Workers in the Country that the implementation of the new National Minimum would still take effect from April 1.

Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, gave the assurance during the Commemoration of the May Day Celebration, on Wednesday in Abuja.

The Theme of the 2024 May Day Celebration is ’People First’.

Onyejeocha recalled that on January 30, 2024, the Federal Government took a decisive step towards enhancing the Welfare of Nigerian Workers by inaugurating a 37-Man Tripartite Committee on Minimum Wage.

According her, this Committee was tasked with the critical responsibility of recommending a realistic National Minimum Wage that aligns with our current Economic landscape.

“Since then, the Committee has been working tirelessly alongside Labour Leaders to reach an Agreement on a new National Minimum Wage that reflects the Country’s Economic realities.

“Although the Committee could not reach a consensus at its last Meeting before the May deadline.

“We want to reassure Nigerian Workers that we are working diligently around the clock with Organised Labour to conclude Negotiations and ensure a successful outcome.

“Our commitment is unwavering and the Nigerian Workers should be rest assured that in spite of the short delay, the new Minimum Wage will take effect on April 1, 2024,” she said.

According to her, this Government is receptive to the Committee’s suggestion of transitioning beyond a mere Minimum Wage to a Living Wage that truly reflects the Value of Workers’ contributions.

Onyejeocha said it was unacceptable for any Worker to toil tirelessly and still struggle to make ends meet, hence, the ongoing efforts by the Federal Government to pay Wage Award to Workers and Review of the National Minimum Wage by a Tripartite Committee.

She further said this was to ensure that every Worker received a fair Living Wage that would enable them to live with dignity, provide for their families, and contribute to the growth of the Economy.

The Minister also affirmed Government’s commitment to placing the Needs and Aspirations of Workers at the forefront of the National Agenda.

She said this was through the provision of fair and just Working Conditions which were not just ideals but basic Human Rights.

“This is because every Worker deserves to work in an Environment free from exploitation, discrimination, and oppression.

“We must, therefore, strive to create Workplaces that foster dignity, respect, Job Security and Inclusivity for all,” she said.

She urged all Stakeholders to embrace a spirit of cooperation, understanding, and patriotism, coupled with diligence and increased Productivity.

She added that by working together, we could lift our Nation out of Poverty and usher in an era of prosperity for Workers and Citizens alike.

“Rest assured that this Government empathises with the struggles of Workers and Citizens and will not falter in its commitment to their well-being.

“I urge Organised Labour to foster a Conducive Environment that promotes constructive Engagement and collaborative problem-solving for the benefit of all Stakeholders and the Nation as a whole,” she said.

 

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02-May-2024 Labour gives FG May 31 deadline, threatens showdown over Minimum Wage

Labour gives FG May 31 deadline, threatens showdown over Minimum Wage

Organised Labour has given the Federal Government till May ending to finalise the Process of implementing the new National Minimum Wage for Workers.

The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero, made the demand on Wednesday in Abuja at this year’s Edition of the International Workers Day.

This year’s Celebration focuses on Ensuring Safety and Health at Work in a Changing Climate.

Ajaero said the Process of fixing a new National Minimum Wage was still ongoing and had witnessed robust Engagements.

“All Parties in the Tripartite Process are well represented and the Engagement has been robust.

”We have placed our demand of N615, 000 only before our Social Partners while we await their offer.

“If, however, the negotiation of the Minimum Wage is not concluded by the end of May, the Trade Union Movement in Nigeria will no longer guarantee Industrial peace in the Country,” he said.

Ajaero also said Labour had placed a demand that the new Act would have a two-year life span with an Agreement for automatic adjustments in Wages any time Inflation exceeded 7.5 per cent.

He said the Union further demanded that every Employer with up to five Workers should pay the new Minimum Wage.

Ajaero called for the strengthening of Monitoring and Compliance Mechanisms in order to penalise Non-Complying State Governments.

He said that Nigerian Workers deserved to have a National Minimum Wage that approximated to a Living Wage.

“Our figures are based on objective realities around the Nation and not based on some fantasy; but on what confronts us as Workers around the Nation.

“We want to be able to buy Foodstuff, Housing, among others.

”Any wage that is below this Living Wage condemns Workers to starvation, ”he said.

Ajaero, however, urged Workers to remain vigilant as the Negotiations were approaching conclusion.

”We must not let our guards down but be alert so that together, we can assist Government take the right decision and pay Workers a Living Wage as promised by Mr President.

“We will not allow our interest to sabotage the desire of the President concerning a Living Wage for Workers,” he said.

The NLC President also said that there was a need to review the Contributory Pension Scheme.

He noted that there had been complaints about the Scheme such as delay or Non-Transmission of Contributed Money to Pension Fund Administration among others.

Ajaero also called for reactivation of Gratuity to Public Servants.

He further called for the upward Review of the Retirement Age in the entire Public Service from 60 to 65 years and 35 years to 40 years in Service just as was done for Teachers and Judges.

 

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02-May-2024 Tinubu assures Workers of commensurate Wages, better Working Conditions

Tinubu assures Workers of commensurate Wages, better Working Conditions

President Bola Tinubu has congratulated the Nigerian Workers on the occasion of Annual May Day Celebration by Workers Globally.

This is contained in a Statement by Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, on Wednesday in Abuja.

The President saluted Nigerian Workers for their fidelity to the peace, progress, and development of the Nation evident in their tireless efforts and patriotic zeal to keep the National Engine running.

He stated that his Administration remains committed to improving the Welfare of all Workers, citing the various Relief Programmes, including the Wage Award and the imminent Minimum Wage Review.

“President Tinubu celebrates Nigerian Workers across all spheres – from the Clerical Officer who ensures the proper Documentation and Distribution of Correspondence and the Security Officer who remains ever dutiful through all Seasons.

“The Teacher who secures the future of our Nation by imparting knowledge to the Next Generation; the Doctor who works relentlessly to save precious Lives, and to all Nigerian Workers who keep the candle aflame.”

Tinubu said that the Custodians of the Nation’s Machinery deserved a fair Wage and enhanced Welfare, adding that “a Labourer is deserving of not just any Reward but fair and commensurate Wages”.

The President assured Nigerian Workers of his determination to improve their Welfare, enhance their Working Conditions as well as provide the necessary Tools for them to succeed.

The Federal Government on Tuesday announced Increase in Salary of some Categories of Nigerian Workers by 25 per cent to 35 per cent

The Labour Unions, however, are waiting for a new National Minimum Wage, which has expired by April 1 by Constitutional Provision.

Joe Ajaero, the Nigeria Labour Congress President had called for a Review of the five years Renegotiation of the Wages of Workers in the Country due to Inflationary trends of the Economy.

“There is a need to tinker with the Law providing for five yearly Renegotiation of National Minimum Wage to allow for yearly adjustment of Wages based on the Rate of Inflation and Value of the Naira.

“This is important because People have been coming up to say that if we increase Salaries, it will affect Inflation,” he had said at the 2nd National Labour Adjudication and Arbitration Forum in Abuja.

 

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02-May-2024 TUC: Harassment, intimidation of Informal Workforce heart wrenching

TUC: Harassment, intimidation of Informal Workforce heart wrenching

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) on Wednesday said the harassment and exploitation faced by Workers in the Informal Economic Sector is unacceptable and should be addressed by the Government.

The TUC President, Festus Osifo, made the call on Wednesday in Abuja at the 2024 Workers’ Day Celebration with the Theme  “People First”.

Osifo said, in spite of the Informal Sector’s vitality and contributions to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP), it operated on the margins of legality, leaving Workers vulnerable to exploitation.

“The level of harassment and intimidation of the Workforce here is heart wrenching yet the Workers remain resourceful and resilient.

“The level of exploitation and outright extortion is deep and leaves the soul weeping.

“The toiling and exasperation and the violence meted out on them by Operatives of the Government is better left to imagination.

“It is like all Hawks in Government descend on them daily for what they call Revenue Generation,” he said.

The Labour Leader added: “They bear the brunt of Government Operatives, yet efforts are not made to address their Basic Needs.

“We, therefore call on the Government at all levels especially those at the State and Local Governments to immediately check the over- Taxation through Multiple Levies imposed on the Men and Women who eke out their Living within the Informal Economy.

“The drive for increasing Internally Generated Revenue should not be a burden borne solely by the exploited Masses whose Businesses thrive in the Informal Economy”.

Osifo said that addressing the Needs of Nigeria’s Informal Economy is crucial to Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development.

He said deliberate Policies should be made to formalise and integrate Informal Enterprises, providing Legal recognition, access to Financial Services and Social Protection.

The Labour Leader added that Gender-Specific Interventions were also essential to tackle challenges faced by Women, such as, Gender Based Violence and Unequal Pay .

He added that empowering the Informal Workforce would unlock their potential as drivers of Economic Growth, fostering a more equitable and prosperous future in Nigeria..

Osifo also called on the National Assembly to expedite action on the Passage of the National Research and Innovation Council (NRIC), for improved Funding of Researches in the Country.

He said that the call was imperative because Research is key to the development of any Nation.

“The gross underdevelopment of Nigeria despite the abundance of Natural Resources is attributable to negligence of Research Development and Innovation by Successive Governments.

“We demand for the implementation of the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy and its Provisions for the NRIC for improved Funding of Research.

“We call on the National Assembly to expedite the Passage of the NRIC Bill and for the President Bola Tinubu to give Assent thereafter.

“Research Development and Innovation is a sure route to overall National Development, Job Creation, Poverty Alleviation, Food Security, Diversification of the Economy, reduction in over-reliance on Imported Goods, among others,” he said.

 

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02-May-2024 Pay rise not Minimum Wage, Senior Civil Servants clarify

Pay rise not Minimum Wage, Senior Civil Servants clarify

The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has clarified that the 25 per cent and 35 per cent Increase in Workers’ Salary announced by the Federal Government is not Minimum Wage.

The President of the Association, Tommy Okon, made the clarification while fielding questions from Journalists on Wednesday in Abuja.

Okon, who is also the Vice President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), said that the approval of the salary increase was to close the salary gap that existed in some Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

“Other Sectors have benefitted from these Increases, it is only the core Federal Civil Service. So, it is a good development no doubt, but the People need to be informed.

“Some even saw it as if the Government had ambushed the Labour Unions and then come out unilaterally to increase the Minimum Wage to that amount. Whereas, it is not the Minimum Wage.

“The Minimum Wage is ongoing, what the Government did was to correct some gaps that existed among the Pay of those in the Sectors listed,” he said

Okon said the clarification was important for the generality of Workers and the Masses at large that the Salary Increase was to bridge Wage gap in the Civil Service.

The Federal Government on Tuesday announced Increase of between 25 per cent and 35 per cent in Salary of Civil Servants on the remaining six Consolidated Salary Structures.

They include Consolidated Public Service Salary Structure (CONPSS), Consolidated Research and Allied Institutions Salary Structure (CONRAISS) and Consolidated Police Salary Structure (CONPOSS).

Others are Consolidated Para-Military Salary Structure (CONPASS), Consolidated Intelligence Community Salary Structure (CONICCS) and Consolidated Armed Forces Salary Structure (CONAFSS). 

 

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01-May-2024 Senate President assures Nigerian Workers Living Wage

Senate President assures Nigerian Workers Living Wage

President of the Nigerian Senate, Godswill Akpabio, has assured Nigerian Workers that the National Assembly and the Executive will work together toward giving them a Living Wage and better Working Conditions.

This is contained in a Statement signed by Eseme Eyiboh the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Senate President in Abuja on Wednesday.

He extolled the sterling qualities that stood out the Nigerian Worker, saying that a Nigerian Worker was noted for his patriotism, hardwork, resilience, and dedication to Duty.

“I am happy to be associated with the Nigerian Worker as in the last 25 years and I can attest to the fact that everywhere you go, the Nigerian Worker’s Spirit resonates profoundly.” he said .

Akpabio assured that the National Assembly under his Leadership was more than committed to ensuring the best Working Conditions for the Workers .

“No Nigerian Worker will again be allowed to work under Inhuman Conditions, we will do everything to give you the best because you deserve the best.”

Akpabio said the Theme, “Ensuring safety and health at Work in a changing Climate,” was apt and in tune with International Best Practices, assuring that Nigeria will never be left behind,” he said.

He said the 10th National Assembly was fully committed toward providing the required Laws aimed at protecting the interest of the Nigerian Worker by creating a befitting Working Environment and a reasonable pay that takes them home.

“On behalf of the Senate and the entire National Assembly and indeed, my Family, I wish to join the World in wishing the Nigerian Worker a happy International Labour Day” he said.

”We are celebrating patriotism, hardwork, commitment and dedication exhibited by the Nigerian Workers.

”I want to assure you that your sacrifices would never be in vain, the tough times will not last forever, in fact, the challenges would soon be over,” Akpabio said.

 

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01-May-2024 FG okays pay rise for Civil Servants, Pensioners

FG okays pay rise for Civil Servants, Pensioners

The Federal Government has approved 25 per cent and 35 per cent of Salary Increase for Civil Servants on the remaining six Consolidated Salary Structures.

The Head of Press, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC), Emmanuel Njoku, said this on Tuesday in Abuja.

“The Federal Government has approved an increase of between 25 per cent and 35 per cent in Salary Increase for Civil Servants on the remaining six Consolidated Salary Structures.

”They include Consolidated Public Service Salary Structure (CONPSS), Consolidated Research and Allied Institutions Salary Structure (CONRAISS) and Consolidated Police Salary Structure (CONPOSS).

“Others are: Consolidated Para-military Salary Structure (CONPASS), Consolidated Intelligence Community Salary Structure (CONICCS) and Consolidated Armed Forces Salary Structure (CONAFSS).

“The Increases will take effect from January 1,” he said.

According to Njoku, the Federal Government has also approved Increases in Pension of between 20 per cent and 28 per cent for Pensioners on the Defined Benefits Scheme.

He said this was in respect of the above-mentioned six Consolidated Salary Structures and would also take effect from January 1.

He said the move was in line with the Provisions of Section 173(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

The Official recalled that those in the Tertiary Education and Health Sectors had already received their Increases.

“This involves Consolidated University Academic Salary Structure (CONUASS) and Consolidated Tertiary Institutions Salary Structure (CONTISS) for Universities.

“For Polytechnics and Colleges of Education, it involves the Consolidated Polytechnics and Colleges of Education Academic Staff Salary Structure (CONPCASS) and Consolidated Tertiary Educational Institutions Salary Structure (CONTEDISS).

”The Health Sector also benefitted through the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) and Consolidated Health Sector Salary Structure (CONHESS),” Njoku said.

 

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30-Apr-2024 Flight Disruption: NCAA vows quick settlement of Air Travelers

Flight Disruption: NCAA vows quick settlement of Air Travelers

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has assured Air Travelers of prompt payment of Compensation for any Flight disruption and Baggage Issues.

Michael Achimugu, NCAA Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection gave the assurance at a News Conference on Monday in Abuja.

According to him, the NCAA would ensure prompt resolution of Customers’ complaints and compel default Airlines to act immediately.

He said the Authority had been rebranding its Consumer Protection Department for Public awareness and effective Service Delivery.

He further said that efforts had been made towards ensuring better Passenger Experience for Nigerian Passport Holders flying Foreign Airlines.

Achimugu stated that a lot had been accomplished within the four months stewardship of Chris Najomo as NCAA Acting Director General.

He said the engagement of NCAA in February with Foreign Airlines had resulted to the Airlines unblocking their Inventory Fares and making cheaper Fares available.

Listing other achievements of the Agency, Achimugu said with the efforts of the Federal Government, Air Peace has commenced Lagos-London Operations.

`Base on the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo and NCAA Ag. DG`s sojourn to the UK, buoyed by the commitment of Mr President, Air Peace was able to finally commence the Lagos-London Operations,’ he said.

“A complete re-evaluation of Holders of Permit for Non-Commercial Flight (PNCF) is on-going to ensure Holders are adhering to the Terms and Conditions of their Permits.

“Relocation of the Procurement Department from the Director-General’s Office to the Directorate of Corporate Services to promote transparency and accountability in Procurement Matters,” he said.

He said the Authority had been able to pay off the backlog of Housing arrears to all Members of Staff that had accumulated from 2019 till date.

He added that a Ministerial Approval was secured for Inter-Directorate Deployment, to open up bottlenecks in Structure and subsequent Promotion of stagnated Workers from Grade Level 14 to 15 as General Welfare.

Achimugu said the Management had been operating Open-Door Policy and regular Engagement with the Unions to ensure peace and stability in the Workforce.

He said the NCAA would take Legal Action against Media Houses that publish false Information about the Organisation.

 

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30-Apr-2024 We have 'more than enough' to battle Petrol scarcity, says NNPCL

We have 'more than enough' to battle Petrol scarcity, says NNPCL

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited has assured Nigerians that the ongoing Fuel scarcity and queues will be cleared out Wednesday, May 1.

Olufemi Soneye, Chief Communications Officer, NNPCL, said on Tuesday in Lagos.

According to Soneye, the Company currently has an availability of Product exceeding 1.5 billion Litres, which can last for at least 30 days.

“Unfortunately, we experienced a three-day disruption in distribution due to Logistical Issues, which has since been resolved.

“However, as you know, overcoming such disruptions typically requires double the amount of time to return to normal Operations,” he said.

He said: “Some folks are taking advantage of this situation to maximise Profits.

“Thankfully, Product scarcity has been minimal lately, but these folks might be exploiting the situation for unwarranted gain

“The lines will be cleared out between today and tomorrow,” Soneye assured.

Similarly, Hammed Fashola, the National Vice President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (lPMAN), expressed hope that the queues in Lagos and Ogun would ease off this week, relying on the words of the NNPCL.

Fashola, however, stated that the queues in Abuja might tarry a bit due to the distance to Lagos.

“The Information available to us from the NNPCL was that there was a Logistics problem, and when that happens, it will disrupt the Supply Chain.

“That might be a delay in the movement of Ships from the Mother Vessel to the Daughter Vessel before it gets to the Depot Tanks.

“Before we can correct that, surely it will take some days. I think by Tuesday or Wednesday, there will be more Products available for lifting by Marketers.

“It might take time before it can ease off in Abuja, considering the distance to Lagos and the bad Roads; Lagos might be calm this new week,” Fashola assured.

Stranded Motorists and Commuters have expressed concern over frequent Fuel scarcity in Lagos Metropolis and across the Country.

This has resulted in a few Commercial Vehicles, leading to a hike in Fares.

The situation within Lagos Metropolis showed that only a few Filling Stations were selling, with long queues in most parts.

The few Filling Stations that dispensed Petrol in the Lekki Axis, had long queues of Vehicles stretching some meters.

 

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30-Apr-2024 NERC spikes competition, deregulates Meter Prices

NERC spikes competition, deregulates Meter Prices

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), has announced Deregulation of Meter Prices under the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) Scheme for End-User Customers.

This is according to a Statement by the Commission in Abuja on Monday signed by Garba Sanusi, the Chairman of NERC and Dafe Akpeneye, the Commissioner Legal, Licensing and Compliance, NERC.

The Statement said: ”Effective from May 1, the new Order will introduce a competitive Bidding Process, allowing Customers to choose from a variety of Authorised Vendors.

”This will mark a significant shift from the previously Regulated Pricing Structure.*

According to the Order, all Prices of Meters within the MAP Scheme will be determined through Competitive Bidding.

The Commission said that the move was expected to foster transparency and reduce Prices as Customers would have the freedom to select their preferred Meter Providers among those authorised under the Scheme.

”The Deregulation lifts previous restrictions allowing all MAP Permit Holders to provide Services across all Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) in Nigeria, provided they meet specific requirements.

”This broader Operational Scope is anticipated to increase competition among MAPs, potentially leading to better Services and Innovations in Metering Solutions,” it said.

The Order said that DisCos had been mandated to ensure that Smart Meters provided by MAPs were seamlessly integrated into their Head-End Systems and Meter Data Management Systems.

”Furthermore, they must provide a publicly accessible Online Portal displaying their Technical Specifications and Commercial Terms for MAP participation.

”This is to ensure a standardised approach to Meter Installation and function across board,” it said.

According to the Order, thorough testing and confirmation process for new Meters have been outlined.

”With DisCos required to complete these Evaluations within 20 working days from when a MAP meets all specified requirements.

”Meters that fail the Confirmation Test must be promptly reported to the MAP with details on the failure points,” it said.

The Commission said that the Deregulation also introduced flexibility in the types of Meters available under the MAP Scheme.

”DisCos can now offer basic Electronic Meters, Internet of Things (IoT) Meters, DIN Rail Meters, and Current Limiters, depending on the Customer’s Energy Consumption Profile.

”While deregulating Meter Prices, NERC will oversee the submission of Price Offers from MAPs to ensure fair competition.

”This includes a requirement for MAPs to hold a Minimum Stock of 2,000 Units of Meters as an eligibility criterion for participation in the Bidding Process.

The Commission said that End-Use Customers now have the sole right to choose their preferred MAP and Meter types, which align with their specific Energy Needs.

It said that additionally, stringent measures have been placed to ensure timely installation of Meters with penalties for MAPs that fail to meet installation deadlines.

 

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30-Apr-2024 FG to Consumers: Don't pay if you're not receiving 20 hours Electricity daily

FG to Consumers: Don't pay if you're not receiving 20 hours Electricity daily

The Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu says the Federal Government requires $10bn Investment yearly, to revive the Power Sector for the next 10 years.

Adelabu said this in Abuja on Monday, at a one day Investigative Hearing on halting the Electricity Tariff increase by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) organised by the Senate Committee on Power.

“For this Sector to be revived, Government need to spend nothing less than $10bn Annually in the next 10 years.

”This is because of the Infrastructure requirement for the stability of the Sector, but Government can not afford that.

“And so we must make this Sector attractive to Investors and Lenders.

“So for us to attract Investors and Investment, we must make the Sector attractive, and the only way it can be made attractive is that there must be Commercial Pricing,” he said.

Adelabu added:“If the Value is still at N66 and Government is not paying Subsidy, the Investors will not come.

“But now that we have increased Tariff for a Band, there are interest been shown by Investors.”

The Minister said the major challenge in the Sector was absence of Liquidity, saying that the Sector had been operating on a Subsidised Tariff Regime, given the absence of a Cost Reflective Tariff.

He said that the Subsidy had not be funded over the years as huge Liabilities was being owed the Generating Companies ( GenCos) and the Gas Companies.

Adelabu said the inability of the Government to pay the outstanding N2.9trn Subsidy was due to limited Resources, hence the need to evolve measures to sustain the Sector.

He appealed to the Lawmakers to support the process of paying the Debt owed Operators across the Value Chain of Generation, Transmission and Distribution.

“The increase is based on Supply, saying that any Customer that do not receive 20 hours Power Supply will not be made to pay the new Tariff,” he said.

He said the Government was committed to ensuring sustainable Reform in the Sector, saying that there was need to clear the outstanding Debt owed GenCos and Gas Companies.

To improve Power Supply, he said Government was investing in Hydro Electric Power, adding that construction of 700 Mega Watt Power Plant in Zungeru had commenced, while Kashimbila Hydroelectric Power Plant of 40 Mega Watt was awaiting evacuation to improve Generation.

The Minister said there was also an on going Investment of 26 Small Hydro Power Dams to boost Electricity Production across the Country.

However, Members of the Committee in their separate Remarks decried the experiences of Nigerians on Electricity Supply over the years, despite the unbundling of the Sector.

Lola Ashiru, the Vice-Chairman of the Committee said Nigerians were paying for inefficiency of Power Sector Operators.

Ashiru said there was a lot of inefficiency across the Value Chain of Generation, Transmission and Distribution.

He said Poor Nigerians must be protected, adding that there was need to consider a reversal of the Tariff increase.

Solomon Larlong said there was no consultation, before the increase, adding that issues of Palliative should have been discussed and provided before the Tariff increase.

Enyinnaya Abaribe, the Chairman of the Committee said what Nigerians wanted was a solution to the Issues and ways to ensure Liquidity in the Sector.

He also decried the non appearance of a Company “ZIGLAKS” over the failed Agreement to provide Prepaid Meters for Nigerians.

He alleged that the Company had received N32bn in 20 years to meter Nigerian Electricity Consumers.

Adamu Alero said due consultation was not made before the Tariff increase saying the Public was not at peace with the increase of over 200 per cent, hence the need for a reversal.

Stakeholders at the event include the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (NAN), Association of Power Generation (Gencos) and Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos).

 

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26-Apr-2024 Air Peace denies Emergency Landing at Lagos Airport, explains Incident
25-Apr-2024 Petrol 'scarcity' hits Abuja as long queues return

Petrol 'scarcity' hits Abuja as long queues return

Motorists in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), have expressed worry over the long queues being presently experienced due to scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) known as Petrol.

Long queues were seen at Fuel Stations due to scarcity of the Product.

In the City Centre, long queues were seen at TotalEnergies, Wuse, Zone 3, TotalEnergies by Audit House, Cornoil and TotalEnergies, opposite the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) Towers and all NNPC Limited Retail Outlets.

Along Kubwa Expressway, the NNPC Limited Retail Outlets opposite Salbas, Shema, AA Rano and Salbas Fuel Stations as well as Evergreen Station inside Kubwa had long queues.

Along Airport Road, Rimaco Fuel Station and NNPC Limited Retail Outlet had long queues.

The Independent Marketers sell between N680 to N700 per Litre, while the NNPC Limited Retail Outlets maintain its Pump Price of N617 per Litre.

The Black Marketers were also seen along the Roads and in front of Fuel Stations making brisk business, selling at N1,000 per Litre of Fuel.

Some of the Motorists expressed sadness at the inconsistency and unavailability of Fuel and its associated high Price in the Country.

They appealed to the Federal Government to resolve whatever the issues were.

However, an Official of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), said there was no PMS distribution challenge in the FCT.

He said almost every Fuel Station had PMS to sell and that the few Stations with queues were those selling cheaper than others, especially the NNPC Limited’s Retail Outlets.

“I drove round the City Centre and there were no queues except at the NNPC Retail Station,” he said.

Maigandi Garima, the President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), said there were queues because people prefer to buy Fuel from NNPC Retail Stations that sell below the Rate of Independent Marketers.

“That is the reason for the long queues but if you go to the Independent Marketers such as IPMAN, Major Energy Marketers Association of Nigeria (MEMAN) and Depot and Petroleum Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (DAPMAN) you will not see much queues.

“The Independent Marketers sell higher because of the Rate they buy from Private Depots while those that buy from the NNPC Limited Depots sell cheaper.

“The Ex-Depot Price for Private Depot is between N650 and N690, while the Ex-Depot Price for NNPC Limited Depot is N555 per Litre,’’ he said. 

 

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25-Apr-2024 Minister restates commitment to efficient Aviation Industry

Minister restates commitment to efficient Aviation Industry

The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, has restated commitment to ensuring a modern, inclusive, efficient and sustainable Aviation and Aerospace Industry.

Keyamo said this at the Global Transport Policy (GTP) Intermodal Transport System Annual Roundtable held on Wednesday in Lagos.

The Minister was represented by Henry Agbebire, Director of Special Duties, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

He said that the Ministry had a pivotal role to play in promoting Sustainable Development and enhancing Transportation Infrastructure in the Country.

Keyamo noted that Transportation is one of the Cardinal Pillars of the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Tinubu, which he said underscored the importance of a robust and efficient Transportation System in driving the Nation toward Sustainable Development and prosperity

The Minister hoped for an Aviation Sector in Nigeria that is Environmentally friendly, sustainable and inclusive.

Speaking further, Keyamo said that his Five-Point Agenda was to accelerate the existing Aviations Road Map envisioned to ensure efficiency, effectiveness and better Service Delivery, with a view of generating Revenue for Government for Infrastructural Development of the Sector

He said his Five-Point Agenda was in sync with the Renewed Hope Agenda, with Infrastructural Development as a key component.

He said they include to: ”Ensure strict compliance with Safety Regulations and continuous upward movement of Nigeria’s Rating by ICAO.

“Support for the growth and sustenance of Local Businesses whilst holding them to the highest International Standard in the Aviation Industry.

“Improvement of Infrastructures in the Aviation Industry; Development of Human Capacity within the Industry; optimising Revenue Generation for the Federal Government”.

He said that the Ministry had also taken other Strategic Policy Interventions to foster Economic Growth.

The Global Transport Policy Bilingual Magazine was also launched at the Event.

The Event, with the Theme: “Transport Infrastructure and Strategic Policy Intervention: Building Blocks for Economic Growth’ had in attendance Stakeholders and Industry Players in the Transport Sector”.

 

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25-Apr-2024 NCAA suspends Dana Air from flying over Runway Excursion

NCAA suspends Dana Air from flying over Runway Excursion

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has written to the Management of Dana Airlines, informing it of the suspension of the Airline’s Air Operator Certificate (AOC), effective April 24.

This is contained in a Letter to Dana Airline, signed by the NCAA Acting Director-General, Chris Najomo on Wednesday in Lagos.

Najomo said that the suspension was in accordance with Section 31 (7) of the Civil Aviation Act 2022.

He said sequel to the Runway Excursion involving a Dana Aircraft MD-82, with Registration Number 5N BKI on Tuesday, the Authority had imposed a suspension on Dana Airline’s AOC with effect from April 24 at 23:59.

Najomo, however, said that the Authority was awaiting the Preliminary Report of the Investigation launched by the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB).

“While the NSIB is conducting the Safety Investigation, the NCAA has initiated an Inhouse Compliance assessment of this occurrence taking into account previous occurrences involving Dana Air Aircraft.

“This is in a bid to establish any trend which must be nipped in the bud in the interest of the safety and well-being of our Citizens and Travellers.

“Furthermore, the Honourable Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development in sharing the concerns of the Authority has thrown his weight behind the need for swift measures to be taken to address pertinent Safety and Economic Issues that may underpin some of these occurrences.

“As precautionary step, and in accordance with Section 31 (7) of the Civil Aviation Act 2022, the Authority has imposed a suspension on your AOC with effect from April 24 at 23.59 p.m. to allow for a thorough Safety and Economic Audit,” he said

In the Letter addressed to the Management of Dana Airlines, Najomo said the Safety Audit will entail a Re-Inspection of the Organisation, Procedures, Personnel and Aircraft as specified by Part 1.3.3.3 of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations.

While the Economic Audit will critically examine the Financial Health of your Airline to guarantee its capability to sustain Safe Flight Operations.

 

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24-Apr-2024 Dana Runway Incident: We took prompt emergency action, says FAAN

Dana Runway Incident: We took prompt emergency action, says FAAN

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has notified the Public and all Stakeholders that Runway 18L/36R has been reopened for Flight Operations.

This is contained in a Statement signed by Obiageli Orah, Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, FAAN on Tuesday in Lagos.

Orah said the development followed the earlier closure of the Runway on Tuesday morning due to an incident involving a Dana Air Aircraft, with Registration Number 5N-BKI, which overshot the Runway during its Landing Sequence.

She said prompt actions were taken by FAAN’s Emergency Response Team to evacuate and recover the Aircraft from the Site.

Subsequently, comprehensive Clearing Operations were conducted to ensure the Runway was free of any Foreign Object Debris (FOD) that could impede Flight Safety.

She added that the FAAN Operations Division and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) had jointly conducted a thorough Inspection of the Runway Surface and deemed it safe for the resumption of Operations.

Also, an appropriate Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) has been issued in this regard.

“We acknowledge the area affected by the overshoot was significantly muddy.

“A concerted effort was made for the thorough and efficient cleaning of the Area to facilitate the swift resumption of Operations on Runway 18L/36R.

“FAAN wishes to express its gratitude to the Traveling Public, our Airline Partners, and all Stakeholders for their patience, understanding, and cooperation during the temporary closure.

“We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this incident may have caused.

“Ensuring the safety and security of our Passengers, Staff, and Airport Operations remains our top priority.

“FAAN is committed to providing a safe, secure, and efficient Air Transport Environment for all Users of our Airports”.

The Authority appreciated everyone for their continued support and understanding.

 

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24-Apr-2024 Ribadu to African Nations: Let's fight Terrorism, share Intelligence together

Ribadu to African Nations: Let's fight Terrorism, share Intelligence together

National Security Adviser (NSA), Nuhu Ribadu, has called for enhanced Collaboration among African Countries to enhance Intelligence Sharing to effectively address the menace of Terrorism.

Ribadu made the call at the round off of the two-day High-Level African Counter-Terrorism Meeting, on Tuesday in Abuja.

The Meeting had as the Theme, ‘Strengthening Regional Cooperation and Institution Building to Address the Evolving Threat of Terrorism in Africa’.

The Meeting was organised by Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and UN Office for Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT).

Ribadu said that such Collaboration should include investing in Cybersecurity Capabilities to combat the increasing Digital Recruitment by Extremist Groups and circulation of their Propaganda.

He also urged all to work towards a cohesive Framework for Regional and International Regulations to facilitate Operational Coordination and support Capacity Building in critical areas such as Forensic Science, Legal Frameworks, and Counter Terrorism Financing.

The NSA said there was need to developing Community-based solutions with the backing of Local and International Partners, to make them sustainable and impactful.

“Reflecting on the Outcomes of our Discussions, it is clear that while the challenges are daunting, they are surmountable with a holistic approach that encompasses reverse Security Measures and Comprehensive Strategies aimed at tackling the root cause of Terrorism.

“In closing, let us depart from here together with a renewed sense of purpose and determination.

“The road ahead may be found with challenges, but it is also bringing opportunities for progress and transformation.

“We must continue to analyse the promotion of Peace, Security and Justice for all, building a future where the Scourge of Terrorism is but a distant memory and the promise of prosperity and peace prevails,” he said.

In his Remarks, the Under Secretary-General, UNOCT, Vladimir Voronkov, said the Meeting had sent a strong “Message of Unity” on the Counter-Terrorism Agenda in Africa.

Voronkov said that supporting African Member States in their Counter-Terrorism efforts and responding to their needs, were among the top priorities of UNOCT, adding that the high-level Meeting had kicked off the Abuja Process.

He said the Process would be guided by African-led and African-owned solutions against Terrorism; enhanced Regional and Sub-Regional Cooperation.

Others, were a comprehensive approach at addressing conditions conducive to the spread of Terrorism, and strengthening capacities of affected Member States.

“The UNOCT will continue to support the Government of Nigeria, the African Union, and Regional Organisations as well as all African Member States during the Abuja Process.

“It is also important that International Partners enhance their Counter-Terrorism support to African Member States.

“The sharing of Experiences, Expertise and Resources is critical for the success of our common endeavors in the Continent,” he added.

In an interview with Journalists, Nigeria’s Minister of Defence, Muhammad Badaru, said the meeting had reinforced the commitment of African Nations to work together to fight Terrorism.

Badaru said the Nations had resolved as Africans to develop means and strategies that was African to tackle Terrorism with the support of the International Community.

According to him, the Delegates encouraged the thinking that the time is now to end Insecurity and have resolved to work together as a Continent.

“We will get a lot of Intelligence on the Source of Funding and Source of Arms for Terrorists and we are also collaborating with other Countries to protect the movement of Terrorists from one Country to the other.”

For her part, Emanuela Del Re, European Union Special Representative for the Sahel, reiterated the commitment of the EU to support the Counter-Terrorism efforts of the African Countries to end the menace.

She said the Meeting was an African led Programme, adding that the EU would support African ownership.

According to her, the EU has a lot of Projects in several hundreds of millions of Dollars of which 72 per cent of all its Investments in Terrorism go to Africa.

“This shows, of course, how much we are involved and committed.

“I really want to praise President Bola Tinubu, the NSA and of course, Nigeria for taking the Leadership.

“I think this is brave on the part of Nigeria because it is a very difficult issue that is trying to take the Leadership off.

“I think that from now on, with this particular Event, when the Abuja Process started, I think we will have more Opportunities to work together to tackle the situation.

“Especially, as regards Terrorism, which is probably one of the most horrible Events that affect the Continent,” she said. 

 

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24-Apr-2024 African Leaders, UN adopt Abuja Declaration in fight against Terrorism

African Leaders, UN adopt Abuja Declaration in fight against Terrorism

African Leaders including Heads of States and Government, Ministers of Defence, National Security Advisors, and Representatives of Regional Organisations, UN and others have adopted the Abuja Declaration in tackling Terrorism in Africa.

The Declaration made at the end of the High–Level African Counter–Terrorism Meeting, held on Monday and Tuesday in Abuja, was presented by the National Coordinator, National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC), Adamu Laka.

The Event has the Theme: “Strengthening Regional Cooperation and Institution Building to Address the Evolving Threat of Terrorism in Africa”.

The Declaration among other things recognised the continuing relevance of the Instruments adopted by the African Union, including the Communiqués of the African Union Peace and Security Council and the United Nations Security Council as well as relevant normative Frameworks of all participating Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms.

These, according to the Declaration are aimed at addressing the Scourge of Terrorism and Violent Extremism on the African Continent.

They recalled in particular the desire of the AU to silence the Guns on the Continent by the year 2030 and note the fact that the spread of Terrorism and Violent Extremism in different parts of the Africa poses a significant threat to its peace, security, and stability.

They also acknowledged that Terrorism had hindered progress being made towards the achievement of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and African Union Agenda 2063.

According to the Declaration, African Leaders acknowledge that the growing activities of Terrorist Groups and the lethality of their attacks particularly in parts of West Africa and the Sahel, Central, Eastern and Northern Africa, is exacerbating Insecurity in these Regions.

“Note that Terrorist Groups with affiliations to Al-Qaeda and/or Da’esh capitalise on Local grievances, frequently rooted in inequalities, poor Governance, lack of Development, violations and abuses of Human Rights, as well as the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons, to forge extensive Operational Networks and disseminate radical Ideologies.

“Further notes that these Groups exploit instability and conflict to escalate attacks across the Continent and expand their Zone of influence and control

“We also acknowledge the need to adequately address the root causes and structural drivers of Terrorism, Violent Extremism in Africa and emphasise the imperative for greater collective action in addressing the challenges of Terrorism and Violent Extremism on the Continent given its spiral effects,” it said.

The Declaration emphasised an African-led and African-owned approach to countering Terrorism; strengthening Regional and Sub-Regional Cooperation; encouraging prevention and effective counter measures to address the spread of Terrorism; and build Capacities of Member States critically challenged by Terrorism and Violent Extremist tendencies.

They declared to undertake to expressly reaffirm their collective commitment to strengthening the Security of African States in line with the Common African Defemce and Security Policy and within the spirit of finding African solutions to Africa’s Security challenges.

They condemn in particular, increasing Terrorist threat against Vulnerable Targets, including critical Infrastructure and Public Places in some parts of the Continent.

They urged International Partners to similarly affirm zero tolerance for Terrorism regardless of the motives, and to take appropriate practical measures to ensure that their respective Territories are not used by Terrorists for the Organisation and or financing of Terrorist acts to be committed against other States or their Citizens.

They paid tribute to all African Citizens and Peace Keeping and Peace Enforcement Personnel who paid the ultimate sacrifice combating Terrorist Groups on the Continent and beyond.

In countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism, the Leaders underlined the need to promote the meaningful participation, Leadership, and Representation of Women, Youth, Victims of Terrorist activities and/or People in special situations in decision-making Processes related to Counter-Terrorism;

They urged all UN and AU Member States to enhance Cooperation and Collaboration in fighting the Scourges of Terrorism, Radicalism and Violent Extremism.

They also called for Joint Operations, signing Extradition Agreements, as well as establishing Platforms for sharing their experiences, best practices and lessons in preventing and combating Terrorism, Radicalism and Extremism.

They also emphasised the need to address Terrorist Propaganda based on Inter–Religious tensions and the clash of Civilisation Narrative.

They expressed respect for all Faith and Belief Systems noting that distorted narratives based on the misinterpretation and misrepresentation of Religion to justify violence are often leveraged to recruit Supporters, particularly Foreign Terrorist Fighters, mobilise Resources and garner support from Sympathisers of terrorism groups and activities.

They called upon all External Actors to cease support(s) to Terrorist Groups on the Continent and reiterate the request for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs) from the Continent.

“We thank the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Organisers of the High Level African Meeting on Counter Terrorism as well all Member States, International and Regional Organisations and Civil Society Groups and International Partners who participated in this Event and contributed to the discussions.

“Given that our objective is to make the Process beneficial for all critical situations on the Continent, we decide that the dates and venue for the follow-up meetings of this Process will be made known in due course.

“We request the African Union Peace and Security Council to consider and endorse this Declaration and to recommend same to the United Nations Security Council for appropriate action,” they said. 

 

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23-Apr-2024 Jonathan insists on State Police as Tinubu 'pushes for reform'

Jonathan insists on State Police as Tinubu 'pushes for reform'

President Bola Tinubu has pledged his Administration’s resolve to reform the Nigeria Police Force and enhance National Security Architecture.

Tinubu made the pledge on Monday at a One-Day National Dialogue on State Policing with the Theme, “Pathways to Peace: Reimagining Policing in Nigeria”, held at the Abuja Continental Hotel.

Represented by the Vice-President Kashim Shettima, the President observed that the Idea of State Policing was  not just a mere Policy Proposal, but a potential milestone in the Evolution of the Nation’s Law Enforcement Framework.

He said that State Police would create the opportunity to fashion Law Enforcement in a manner that would closely address the various demands of Communities across the Country.

Tinubu said that his Administration was much aware of the complex Security Issues confronting Nigeria, as such, was continually developing, refining its Strategies and Methods to address the challenges effectively.

He said,” the Commitment of my Administration to reform the Police Force and enhance Security at both the National and State Levels is unwavering.

”We view the outcomes of today’s deliberations as crucial inputs that will guide the Government’s actions towards reforming the Institution of the Police and achieving a safer and more secure Nigeria.”

Tinubu implored the Participants of the Dialogue to look at the Idea of State Policing from multiple angles

”In our deliberations, let us consider the implications of State Policing from multiple perspectives.

”We must evaluate its potential to improve response times to Emergencies, adapt to specific Local challenges, and increase accountability.

”At the same time, we must address concerns related to the standardisation of training, oversight, and the safeguarding of Civil Liberties.

”Our Dialogue today should also be seen as an opportunity to listen, understand, and propose solutions that bridge gaps.

”It is essential that this forum is not the end but the beginning of an ongoing conversation on the Issue of Police and Security Sector Reform in our Country,” he added.

The President expressed delight that the 10th House of Representatives under Speaker Tajudeen Abbas had keyed into the Idea of State Policing.

He said that the involvement of the Legislature in Executive Reform Proposals ensured continuity and synergy.

Tinubu urged, “Let us use this opportunity to engage and explore every option with the seriousness and diligence they demand.”

The former President, Goodluck Jonathan, commended the Organisers of the Event, saying, ” the Issue today is not whether to establish State Police but how it should be operated.

“There is no need to debate about State Police. The Issues of State Police and Coast Guards were accepted at the 2014 National Conference.”

According to him, the Nigeria Customs Service and other Agencies at the Border were not trained to deal with Criminal Gangs.

He urged the Government to concentrate on how to manage the State Police in a way that it would not be hijacked by the Political Class.

Jonathan recommended that the Act establishing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should be rejigged so that the Police were not used for Election Malpractices and stuffing of the Ballot Boxes in states.

Also, former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar maintained that in order to make peace and ensure a safe Society, Governors must be transparent, responsible, and honest as well as make the Citizens go about their normal businesses.

He said the Government should make Laws to provide for an Orderly Environment, urging the Citizens to stop destroying or vandalising Public Properties.

He also advised that the Traditional Rulers should be given Roles to play and be engaged in maintaining peace and order in their respective Domains.

 

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23-Apr-2024 TCN to Senate: Help us with more money to complete ongoing Projects

TCN to Senate: Help us with more money to complete ongoing Projects

The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), has appealed to the National Assembly (NASS) for more Funding to enable it complete ongoing Projects.

The Managing Director of TCN, Sule Abdulaziz, made the request when the Senate Committee on Power, led by its Chairman, Eyinnaya Abaribe, paid an Oversight Visit to the Company in Abuja on Monday.

Abdulaziz stated that TCN had over 100 ongoing Projects, adding that when completed, the National Grid would be completed.

According to him, some of the Projects were started since 2001 with the problem of Funding stalling their completion.

”TCN is focusing on Grid expansion because of the increasing demand for Electricity; it does this through rehabilitation and reinforcement Projects.

”Currently, TCN has more than 100 ongoing Projects Nationwide.

”Most of the Projects cannot be completed due to Fund constraints and we appeal to the Committee to help TCN source Funds to complete them,” he said.

The Managing Director also emphasised that there were other challenges like Right of Way Issues and vandalism of Transmission and Installations

Responding, Abaribe, said that in spite of the huge sums of money injected into the Power Sector, there were still a lot of challenges.

He, however, assured TCN that the Committee would report to the Senate as requested by the TCN Management, and examine the possibility of reviewing its Annual Budget for improved Service Delivery.

 

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23-Apr-2024 FG targets 6,000 Megawatts of Electricity Generation

FG targets 6,000 Megawatts of Electricity Generation

Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, says the Federal Government plans to increase Power Generation from 4000 Megawatts to 6000 by the end of 2024.

Adelabu said this in Abuja when Members of the Senate Committee on Power visited the Ministry.

The Minister said the Federal Government plans to achieve the 6000 Megawatts of Power using the Hydro and Solar Plants to increase Supply of Electricity to Households and Businesses.

He described as unfortunate and sad, a situation where the highest Electricity currently being generated stood at only 5800 Megawatts.

“The Infrastructure are lying there, without adequate maintenance, the Turbines are rusting away.

”With proper Investment put in place, we can generate 6000 Megawatts before the end of 2024,” he said.

The Minister also said that the Federal Government was going to transform the Electricity Distribution Companies, (DisCos) adding that they were the last mile in the Power Supply Industry.

According to him, if they don’t perform, it means the entire Power Sector is not performing.

“We are putting pressure on the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to ensure that the DisCos sit up and if they have to withdraw their Licenses for not performing, why not?

“We are unbundling the DisCos along State Lines as some of them are too big for efficiency and effectiveness.

“Some of them are serving so many States, so we are rearranging and restricting the DisCos along State Lines, so that each State Government will know the Distribution Company responsible for their States,” he said.

The Minister said it was time the Federal and State Governments started exercising their Rights in the Management and Operations of the Power Sector.

“We have left it for the Private Sector for too long and they have messed it up.

“We also plan to Franchise the DisCos so that we can have smaller DisCos that are ready to invest,” he said.

Earlier, Eyinnaya Abaribe, Chairman of the Committee, had said that they were in the Ministry for an Oversight Function.

Abaribe said that the Oversight Visit became necessary to find out the challenges that had led to poor Supply of Electricity to Nigerians and also the reasons for the consistent collapses of the National Grid.

He said the Committee, in pursuant to the Rules and Regulations of the National Assembly, had already invited the Ministry of Power and its Parastatals for an Investigative Hearing on the increase in Tariff by April 29.

Abaribe said, “This is with regards to payment for Power by Nigerians, so, we won’t want to discuss that before the date.”

”’The Committee has already invited the Minister and his Agencies to discuss the issue of increase in Tariff extensively with the Committee,” he said.

 

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22-Apr-2024 NAMA laments challenges of Air Traffic Controllers at Nigeria's Airports

NAMA laments challenges of Air Traffic Controllers at Nigeria's Airports

Many Airlines are avoiding Nigeria’s Airspace because of difficulties encountered in communication with Air Traffic Controllers, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) confirmed in Lagos.

Its Managing Director, Farouk Umar, told Journalists at Ikeja that the Agency was consequently eyeing more Investments to rejuvenate the Communication System to match emerging Air Traffic trends.

He explained that there was the need to improve the weak Communication System, which had been demand-saturated as the Industry grew and more Routes were opened.

He said huge Investments were required of the Federal Government as more Routes opened needing more Stations to have Signals to cover the entire Country.

He added that the Presidency recently budgeted N40bn to address some of the issues at the Airports, but the money had not been accessed.

Umar assured that as soon as money was made available, the agency would tackle critical safety challenges at the various airports.

“The entire Communication Network has been re-designed to ensure that every blind spot is covered because if one System fails today, Air Traffic Controllers would not notice.

“We realised also that our Radios are working well and well-positioned and we have addressed the challenges we met on ground, but then, we are still having issues.

“The issues have nothing to do with our Radios, but with Electricity Supply which had been a national challenge that Government had been working assiduously to fix.

“We have decided to deploy Solar Energy at some of our Facilities to complement Electricity Supply from the National Grid and from Generators so that they can function well,’’ he said.

Umar noted that the International Civil Aviation Organisation frowned at even a second’s blackout at any Airport and Nigeria could not afford to flout the Regulation.

“For an average Electronic System, the Lifespan is about 10 years. Most of the Communications Electronics at the Airports have been working for the past 15 years to 20 years. Their performance would be below standard, expectedly.

“We are replacing some of the Equipment and we have done almost 80 per cent. The Contractors are still working, however,’’ he assured.

Umar also told Journalists that Terminal Control Centres (TRACON) were still having challenges because since 2014, there had not been enough Spare Parts to fix the obsolete Equipment there.

“The Federal Government has approved the modernisation of the TRACON System. 15 per cent of the Fund has been paid and we are hopeful that more installations will start soon.

“We are also hopeful that at the end of it all, the System will go back to optimal performance,’’ he said.

Umar lamented that NAMA had been charging Airlines N11,000 as Navigation Fee per Flight since 2008 when Fares for Local Flights were N16,000, whereas Airfares had risen to N150,000. 

 

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22-Apr-2024 Tinubu to roll out CNG for Mass Transit in May

Tinubu to roll out CNG for Mass Transit in May

The Presidential Compressed Natural Gas Initiative (PCNGI) is set for initial rollout to the Public by the end of May, a Presidential Aide has revealed.

Bayo Onanuga, Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, announced this in a Statement in Abuja.

The Initiative is part of the Palliatives put in place by President Bola Tinubu on May 29, 2023 when the Fuel Subsidy was removed.

To actualise the Programme, the President launched the Presidential CNG Initiative in October 2023 to deliver cheaper, safer and more Climate Friendly Energy.

The CNG Initiative is designed to deliver Compressed Natural Gas, especially for Mass Transit.

Onanuga said it was part of the many Intervention Programmes to reduce the burden of increase in Pump Price on the Masses.

He added that Government had provided N100bn (part of the N500bn Palliative Budget) to purchase 5,500 CNG Vehicles, 100 Electric Buses and more than 20,000 CNG Conversion Kits, alongside spurring the development of CNG Refilling Stations and Electric Charging Stations.

“With necessary Tax and Duty Waivers approved by President Tinubu in December 2023, the PCNGI Committee is partnering with the Private Sector to deliver the promise on the Initiative.

The Private Sector has responded with more than $50m in actual Investments in Refilling Stations, Conversion Centres, and Mother Stations.

“Also, a Safety Policy Document on 80 Standards and Regulations that must be strictly adhered to by Operators has been developed and approved to ensure CNG Conversions are done safely and reliably,” he said.

Onanuga said that the deployment of CNG Buses and Tricycles and the vision to get at least one million Natural Gas propelled Vehicles on the Roads by 2027 would mark a major Energy Transition in the Country’s Transportation Industry.

He said that the use of more expensive Diesel and Petrol would gradually be phased out, when many Vehicles, including Trucks, run on Natural Gas, adding that 30 of the 36 States had the Gas in abundance.

“Remarkably, the Tinubu Administration, in driving the Nation to the desired destination, has flagged open a new Industry, along with thousands of new Jobs.

“Four Plants owned by JET, Mikano, Mojo, and Brilliant EV located in various parts of the Country are involved in the assembly of the Semi Knocked Down (SKD) Components of the CNG Buses.

“JET, which has received the SKD Parts, is coupling the Buses in Lagos and is working towards delivering 200 Units before the First Anniversary of the Tinubu Administration.”

Onanuga said that Brilliant EV would assemble Electric Vehicles meant for Kano and Borno, which would not have access to CNG for now as well as in key Nigerian Cities and University Campuses.

“In all, over 600 Buses are targeted for Production in the First Phase that will be accomplished this year.

“A new Plant on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway will assemble thousands of Tricycles.

“The SKD Parts, manufactured by the Chinese Company LUOJIA in partnership with its Local Partner to support the Consortium of Local Suppliers of CNG Tricycles, are set for shipment to Nigeria and expected to arrive early in May.

“About 2,500 of the Tricycles will be ready before May 29, 2024.”

He said that thousands of Conversion Kits for Petrol Powered Buses and Taxis that want to migrate to CNG are also ready with CNG Cylinders.

The Presidential Aide added that the Federal Government intended to provide them at subsidised rates, especially for Commercial Vehicle Drivers, to bring down the Cost of Public Transportation.

Onanuga said that the PCNGI was working with 22 other Agencies, including the Standards Organisation of Nigeria and Nigeria Automotive Design and Development Council, to deliver 80 Natural Gas Vehicle Conversion and Associated Appliances Standards for the Country.

He added that an App MYCNG.NG to embed the Nigeria Gas Vehicle Monitoring Systems would show CNG Conversion and Refilling Sites in the Country.

“The Tinubu Administration is an Enabler of the evolving CNG Industry.

“In collaboration with the Private Sector, the PCNGI is set to deliver 100 Conversion Workshops and 60 Refilling Sites spread across 18 States before the end of this year.

“The Vision of Mr. President to deliver one million Gas Vehicles cannot be possible without the Private Sector, including the RTEAN, NARTO, NURTW, and Players in the Downstream Sector of the Transportation Chain and Financiers.”

 

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18-Apr-2024 Threaten Nigeria's Sovereignty, be ready to pay a big price, Tinubu warns

Threaten Nigeria's Sovereignty, be ready to pay a big price, Tinubu warns

President Bola Tinubu has reiterated his administration’s commitment towards ensuring comprehensive Economic Security for all Nigerians.

Tinubu said this would be achieved through addressing Foundational challenges and creating a fair and equitable System.

He said this when he received Members of the Afenifere, the Yoruba Socio-Cultural organisation, on Wednesday at the State House in Abuja.

The President said his Administration was re-engineering Nigeria’s Finances, boost the purchasing power of Citizens, and spread prosperity down the line.

He said that the Administration was instituting a Credit System where the element of Cash would not be an impediment to a significantly enhanced Standard of Living for all Citizens.

‘’We are committed to the Economic survival of our Country. To re-engineer the Finances of our Country, we must start in earnest.

“So first, retool, revamp the Economic Opportunities available, and resolve to continue taking the firm and steady baby steps that are necessary.

‘’We have seen the problems Parents face in training their Children in School; it is the reason why we established the National Student Loan Programme, which is taking off well.

‘’We are equally examining what to do with the high degree of Unemployment. We must help Vulnerable People by providing Social Security. We are looking at how to provide Allowances for the Unemployed.

“We are developing ways to boost the purchasing power of Citizens with the Consumer Credit Scheme.

“If we remove the Cash upfront element to buy a Car or a House, we will reduce the propensity for Fraud and Corruption across the Land,’’ he said.

On Security, the President declared that those who threaten the Sovereignty of Nigeria would pay a heavy price.

‘’I am irrevocably committed to the unity of Nigeria and Constitutional Democracy. Constitutional Democracy is reflected greatly here since we assumed Office. What we face now is the challenge of Terrorism.

“Security of Life and Property is very necessary for Development. I can tell you we are achieving success. We have degraded Terrorism to a level that they cannot threaten the Sovereignty of Nigeria any longer.

‘’Banditry and Kidnapping will be defeated. And there is no payment of Ransom whatsoever. We are taking the battle to them. We are getting results more rapidly than before. We are working hard on Intelligence Gathering.

“Those who think they can threaten the Sovereignty of Nigeria will have themselves to blame. They have a price to pay. And we are not going to relent,’’ Tinubu added.

In his remarks, Olu Falae, commended the President for his courageous decisions, the rehabilitation of the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos and other critical ongoing Projects.

He urged the President not to relent in ensuring fairness and equity for all Nigerians while noting the importance of Constitutional Amendment to devolve more Powers to States.

‘’Mr President, you are the Leader of Nigeria now and the most important Political Figure in Africa, we expect you, in view of your Legacy and Pedigree, to lead our Country with knowledge, courage, and integrity.

“We have no doubt that your Tenure will mark a turning point in the History of our Country, under your Leadership, Nigeria will be repositioned.

‘’We will stand by you as you make all efforts to change the Nigerian Story for the better.

“Be assured Afenifere will not abandon you in fair or foul weather, as long as you remain faithful to the Principles of fairness, integrity, and courage that is expected of you as the Leader of Nigeria, we will stand by you,’’ Falae assured.

The Delegation, led by Afenifere Leader Reuben Fasoranti, includes other Eminent Citizens from the South West.

 

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16-Apr-2024 You're not Robots, Tinubu tells Police, declares 'April 7 Police Day'

You're not Robots, Tinubu tells Police, declares 'April 7 Police Day'

President Bola Tinubu has declared April 7 as National Police Day.

Tinubu, represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima, made this known on Monday night during the Maiden Edition of the Nigeria Police Awards and Commendations Ceremony held at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.

He identified a complete overhaul of Institutional Mentality and Memory of Police Officers as fundamental in his Administration’s ongoing bid to transform the Force into a Modern, Professional and Accountable Institution.

He said that his Administration had initiated wide-ranging Reforms to revitalise the Nation’s Police Force since assuming Office in 2023.

He, therefore, stressed the need to engage Men and Women of the Force in Training and Capacity-Building to equip them with the Expertise required to carry out the arduous task of Modern Policing.

He also disclosed that the Federal Government had approved the first week of April as Police Week and the last day of the week as the National Police Day.

“Distinguished ladies and Gentlemen, in our Tradition of honouring the Police Force in the life of this great Nation, we have approved the adoption of the first week of April as Police Week.

“Furthermore, the last day of the week, the April 7th, is hereby declared National Police Day in Nigeria.

“Tonight, I must remind you that we don’t see you as just the Shields of the Nation, we don’t see you as Robots.

“This is why we are here; we are here to humanise you.

“At a time in Nigeria’s History, when the Nation’s Security Architecture is being stretched beyond elastic limits, the Citizens have been able to endure in the face of security threats as well as attacks on their Lives and Livelihoods due to the commitment of the Police.

“Your exemplary valour doesn’t only represent the pinnacle of patriotism that binds us but also instills confidence that brighter days lie just beyond the horizon.”

The President listed part of the comprehensive Reforms by his Administration to rejuvenate the Police Force to include investment in Training and Capacity-Building.

“My Administration will ensure that Police Officers are equipped with the Knowledge, Skills, Values and Expertise required to tackle the complex challenges of Modern Policing.”

He also gave assurance that the Government would upgrade Equipment and Technology of the Force to enhance its Operational effectiveness and efficiency.

“This includes acquiring Fit-for-Purpose Equipment, Weapons, Ammunition and Armoured Carriers to provide cover and protection for Officers in Combat Situations.

“These endeavours will be supported by suitable measures to enhance the Status of our Officers and Personnel both during their Service and after Retirement,” President Tinubu said.

Earlier, President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, commended the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Kayode Egbetokun, for recognising the hard work, resilience and patriotism of the Officers and Men of the Police Force.

He expressed his delight and that of the National Assembly for celebrating the well-deserved Officers of the Force.

The Senate President stressed that the decision to celebrate the Nation’s Unsung Heroes would pave the way for a new Police Force in the Country.

“The Leadership of the Police understands the role of the Police Force in a Democratic Dispensation.

“I commend the Inspector-General of Police and I commend the Police Officers for the work of sacrifice and for maintaining peace and order in our Communities.

“As we commend the good Officers, let us weed out the bad ones among the Police Force as, to whom much is given, much is expected,” Akpabio said.

15-Apr-2024 Minister laments dirty state of Epe Tourism Sites

Minister laments dirty state of Epe Tourism Sites

Minister of Tourism, Lola Ade-John, has called on Residents of Epe in Lagos State to take conscious efforts in maintaining the Tourism Sites within the Local Government Area.

Ade-John made the call during her vist to some Tourism Sites within the Community, some of which were; Oju Alaro Shrine, the Marina Waterfront, Palace of Oloja of Epe and some iconic Colonial Buildings.

The Minister, who was quite elated over the ennormous Tourism potential within the Town, expressed displeasure that the Tourist Attractions were not properly maintained.

She said the Community Members must begin to see Tourism as a money spinner which could engage them positively.

He urged the State and Local Governments to constantly sensitise Epe Residents on the need to maintain those Sites.

“The Local Government must work on sensitising the Locals to always ensure these Sites are neat and tidy, it won’t attract Tourists if they are left like this.

“I have just seen that Epe has more Colonial Buildings than Lagos Township, I urge you to keep what you have, treasure and nurture these Sites.

“Epe is a beautiful place to be, with beautiful Beaches, Mangroves, Seafoods and all; these are what the Backpackers want to see.

“We are going to help you advertise what you have so that People can visit Epe more than ever before but the Sites must be made neat,” she said.

The Minister urged the Lagos State Government to build a proper Fish Market capable of attracting Tourists.

“I was at Makoko Fish Market to get some Fishes for myself as early as 6.30a.m, I was surprised to see lots of Foreigners and different types of Seafoods, honestly, we are indeed blessed.

“I think the State Government need to build a more attractive Fish Market to further promote Tourism, so that People can travel here to see and buy.

“The Mangroves we have in Epe here can be made to be like the Amazon Forest in Brazil where Tourists pay hugely to watch.

“It is painful that we do not appreciate what we have, we need to help People change their mindsets,” she said

In a response, Tobun Abiodun representing Epe Constituency 1, at the Lagos State House of Assembly, promised to work on the sensitisation for the Community Members.

He said “We will work on all the complaints and we assure you that very soon we are going to start competing with other Local Government in the State and ensure Epe takes the lead in terms of Tourism.”

 

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14-Apr-2024 Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano Gas Pipeline, Mambilla Power Project not abandoned, says FG

Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano Gas Pipeline, Mambilla Power Project not abandoned, says FG

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, says President Bola Tinubu is committed to the improvement of the overall well-being of Nigerians.

Idris stated this on Saturday when he featured  in the Flagship Live Phone-In Programme of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Kaduna,’ Hannu da Yawa’.

Speaking on Agriculture, Idris said that Tinubu Administration was keen towards ensuring Food Security and it had rolled out Measures and Programmes that were targeted directly at the actual Farmers.

This, he said, was a turn from the previous Practices and Programmes which usually ended up in the hands of People who capitalised on such Programmes for their selfish interests.

“Before President Tinubu Administration, Farmers were not the Beneficiaries of Funds made for Agricultural activities.

“President Tinubu has put more effort in ensuring productive outcomes in dry season farming, a lot of measures have been put in place in restructuring loans and other interventions for agriculture,”he said.

Speaking on alleged abandoned projects in the Northern parts of the Country, Idris said that no responsible government can abandon Projects which funds had already been put into.

The Minister explained that the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline and the Mambilla Power Project, among numerous Projects in the Northern Parts of the Country, were still in existence.

He, however, said People always criticise Governments without facts, adding that the Projects may experience delay, but they have not been stopped.

Also speaking on the Security of Lives and Properties, Idris said that talks were ongoing about the creation of State Police as being revived by the President due to its importance.

Idris said this was to ensure Economic Growth and Development especially as it affects Farming and other activities, which could improve Livelihood.

He frowned at a Section of the Public, especially the Media who tend to promote more the activities of Criminals and Terrorists, while playing down the successes hugely recorded by the Armed Forces and other Security Agencies.

Answering a question on Fuel Subsidy removal, Idris reminded the Public of Tinubu’s provision  of Wage Allowances, among other Palliatives for the Poor and Vulnerable Households, which were aimed at shielding the effects on the People.

He disclosed that the Conversion Centres of Cars using Petrol to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) would soon be inaugurated by Tinubu across the Federation, all in the  bid to cushion the effects of the Fuel Subsidy removal.

The Minister restated Tinubu’s commitment to the fight against corruption, while urging the Public to shun Fake News and other comments aimed at discrediting the Government.

Idris also urged the Public to be patient with Tinubu Administration, stressing that a lot of viable Programmes and Measures would be rolled out to make the People live better.

 

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14-Apr-2024 Sanwo-Olu to Nigerians: Change for good, stop talking bad about Nigeria

Sanwo-Olu to Nigerians: Change for good, stop talking bad about Nigeria

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos, has called on Nigerians to refrain from speaking ill of the Country but pray for its betterment.

Sanwo-Olu gave the advice at the 2024 Eid-el-Fitr Celebration on Saturday at the Lagos House, Ikeja.

The Celebration had the Theme: “Allah will not Change the Way of the People until they Change What is in their Hearts”.

The Governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Obafemi Hamzat, urged Nigerians to change their thoughts and speak positively about the Country.

According to him, God will not change anything for any Society until the People would decide to change  their minds for good.

Sanwo-Olu added that the Citizens should stop cursing the Country so that God would change it for the better.

He, therefore, urged Nigerians to believe in their current Leaders and pray for them and the Country.

“Almighty God will not change anything for any Society until they change what is in their minds.

“Our collective intent should be to keep praying for Nigeria and the Leadership to do the right thing.

“That is when Allah will intervene in the present situation of our Country.

“It is, therefore, important for us to desist from talking ill about the Country,” he said.

The Governor also charged the People to be empathetic toward one another, adding that they should be their brothers’ keepers.

He appealed to Parents to guide their Children and Wards right.

Sanwo-Olu harped on Children being respectful while reiterating that it was the responsibility of Parents to raise their Children in the way of God.

In her address of welcome, the Wife of  Lagos State Governor, Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, urged Nigerians to emerge from Ramadan not only as Individuals who had undergone personal growth but as Agents of Change within their Communities.

She advised them to commit to fostering a Society built on the Principles of Justice, equity and compassion.

“Let us remember that true change begins within the depths of our hearts.

“The joint Ramadan and Lent experienced this year should remind everyone of the universal value of Humanity that unites all regardless of Religious Belief, Background, or Ethnicity,” she said.

She advised Nigerians to reject bigotry and prejudice in all its forms and work toward building a more Inclusive Society where everyone would be valued and respected.

Justice Abdulrraheem Ahmad of the Sharia Court of Appeal, Kwara State, said that the current situation in Nigeria was not vested upon the People by Allah but was a creation of the People’s handiwork.

He advised Nigerians to have a change of mindset and speak positively about the Country.

Ahmad also urged the People to be righteous, as well as fair and kind to one another irrespective of Religion, Race or Tribe.

 

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13-Apr-2024 Witness: How I collected $3m Cash for Emefiele 'without being given a Kobo'

Witness: How I collected $3m Cash for Emefiele 'without being given a Kobo'

A Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Employee, Monday Osazuwa, told an Ikeja Special Offences Court how the former Apex Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, on different occasions, directed him to collect $3m Cash in tranches.

Osasuwa, while being led in Evidence by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, said he was a Dispatch Rider in Zenith Bank in 2001 before he joined the CBN in 2014.
Osasuwa said he joined the apex bank as a senior supervisor in 2014.

He said Emefiele was the Managing Director of Zenith Bank Plc while he was working as a Dispatch Rider in the Bank.

The Witness said he knew Emefiele, who was his Boss, while in Zenith Bank and that he later joined him at the CBN.

The Witness said he was later appointed  as a Senior Supervisor (full time) in Recording and Filing of Documents while working in the CBN Governor’s Office in Lagos.

“I was still working in the CBN Governor’s Office while I was appointed as a Full Staff Member and we usually communicated through WhatsApp and Email.

“I function as a Senior Supervisor, Recording  and Filing with other Official Roles.

“I recall that in 2020, when he was outside Lagos, he called me that he would give me a number that a Man had something I should collect from him and that the Man would give me the number of another Person.

“When I got to the Man’s Office, I was given an Envelope. I  counted the money and the Man said I should give it to my Boss,” he said.

The Witness further told the Court that the First Defendant used to collect money by himself  anytime he was in Lagos but anytime the Defendant was not around, he would tell him to give the money to the Second Defendant.
Osazuwa added that Emefiele sent him to MINL Limited when he was with Zenith Bank.

“This Company is situated at Isolo, the First Defendant did send me to collect Cheques from the Company from Mr Monday and when I collected the cheque from Mr Monday, I would give it back to Emefiele and he would lodge the money into Dumies Oil and Gas.

According to him, Emefiele’s Co-Defendant, Henry Isioma-Omoile, lived in the Residence of the former CBN Governor.
He stated that when he collected money for his Boss, he would take it to his Residence at Iru Close, Ikoyi.
“Whenever I received the money and take it to my Boss’s Residence, Emefiele would tell me to give it to the Second Defendant whenever he was not at home.

“I did not keep a record of transactions because the instruction he gave me was that I should collect the money and bring the money to his house.

“The highest amount I collected was one million dollars all in Cash and some weeks later, the Businessman also called me to collect $850,000, $750,000 and $400,000 Cash in tranches.

“I have never been rewarded, paid or given anything because I am doing it out of faithfulness and he knows it but he has never for once said, ‘take this’,” he said.

Under Cross-Examination by the Defence Counsel, Abdulakeem Labi-Lawal, the Witness confirmed  to the Court that he had been working with the Defendant since 2002.

According to the Witness, Emefiele passed instructions to him through the Second Defendant and that he had been collecting Cheques for Dumies Oil and Gas.

He, however, told the Court when he was made to confront the Second Defendant during Investigation but the Second Defendant failed to admit it.

“I started collecting Cheques for Dumies Oil and Gas when I was in Zenith Bank.

“I cannot calculate the exact year I have been collecting the Cheques but it all started when the First Defendant was the Managing Director at Zenith Bank and I was working at Zenith Bank,” he said.

The EFCC on April 8 arraigned Emefiele on 23 Counts bordering on Abuse of Office, accepting Gratifications, corrupt demand, receiving Property fraudulently obtained and conferring corrupt advantage.

Emefiele’s Co-Defendant was arraigned on three Counts bordering on acceptance of Gift by Agents.

The Defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the Charge.

Earlier, Oshodi had declined the Oral Application for adjournment moved twice by the Defence Counsel.

The Judge adjourned theCcase until April 29 for Trial and Hearing of Application for Closed-Session.

 

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13-Apr-2024 Tinubu to Governors, Lawmakers: Let's 'unite and work together'

Tinubu to Governors, Lawmakers: Let's 'unite and work together'

President Bola Tinubu has called for unity of purpose and more collaboration among the Federal, State Governments and Members of the National Assembly to achieve National Development Goals.

The President made the appeal while receiving State Governors and the Leadership of the National Assembly in Lagos on Friday.

Led by Vice-President Kashim Shettima, the Delegation includes Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, House of Representatives Speaker, Tajudeen Abbas as well as Governor of Kwara State and Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq among others.

Speaking on behalf of the President, Shettima expressed optimism about Nigeria’s Economic resurgence and called for collective efforts to propel the Nation forward.

He urged unity and collaboration among all Stakeholders to achieve shared prosperity and promised a brighter future for the Nation.

“Let us unite, rally around our Leader, and catapult this Nation to a greater pedestal. By December, I hope we will have cause to celebrate. Let us coalesce to take the Nation to a greater pedestal,” Shettima said.

Emphasising Tinubu’s role as a unifying Leader transcending Ethnic and Religious lines, the Vice-President noted that the gathering of 27 Governors in Lagos, along with the Leadership of the National Assembly and some former Governors, bears the testimony of a detribalised Leader.

‘’This gathering cuts across Ethnic, Religious, and Political lines. Here, we have Eno of Akwa Ibom and Hyacinth of Benue, and as the President was seated, he was asking, ‘Where is Wammako, where is Yari’?

“That is the hallmark of true Leadership. What binds us together supersedes whatever it is that may divide us.’’

‘’The future of the Black Man rests on Nigeria to make or mar. Our Economy has turned the corner. By the coming months, the Economy will roar back to glory,’’ the Vice-President said.

Akpabio commended the State Governors for emulating Tinubu’s Leadership Style, characterised by listening to Diverse Voices and consulting widely with the People, irrespective of Political Affiliations.

“The Governors are doing well. I can say so because I have been there before,” Akpabio said.

Expressing confidence in the President’s Leadership, Akpabio noted that Tinubu enjoys the broad support of Nigerians across Political Divides.

“As you coast home to victory for a Second Term, may all the Governors seated here also coast home to a Second Term victory in their States,” the Senate President said.

In his remarks, AbdulRazaq expressed support for the 700km Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway, describing it as a huge Project that would have a significant impact on the Nation when completed.

He commended the President’s efforts in stabilising the Economy and improving Living Conditions, highlighting the positive developments in the Country, which include the Stabilisation of the Exchange Rate and decreasing Food Prices.

He attributed these improvements to the President’s Initiatives and also lauded the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare’s funding for 8,800 Primary Healthcare Centres.

“We commend your efforts because the Ship is gradually turning. We have seen how the Exchange Rate of the Naira against the Dollar is coming down.

“The Cost of Food is coming down. The Dry Season Harvest is commencing soon. Things are getting better, and there is light at the end of the tunnel,” the Governor said.

The Governor also expressed gratitude for the support provided by the Federal Government to States, particularly in distributing Grains to alleviate Food shortages.

‘’We are here to support you, and we also thank you for the support that you are giving to the Sub-Nationals. Trucks are wheeling up across the Nation, distributing Grains. I have received, and most of the States have.

‘’Because of what you are doing, those who are hoarding Food Items are releasing them, and that is why the Prices of Food are coming down,’’ he said.

AbdulRazaq reiterated the Governors’ commitment to supporting the President’s Initiatives and pledged to continue complementing the efforts of the Federal Government in driving progress and prosperity across the Nation.

 

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12-Apr-2024 Sanwo-Olu threatens demolition of any Lagos Building that fails Integrity Test

Sanwo-Olu threatens demolition of any Lagos Building that fails Integrity Test

Lagos State Government has reiterated its resolve to demolish Buildings that fail its Integrity Test.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu reassured of the step as 14 Buildings in close proximity to the two that went up in flames at Dosunmu Market on the Lagos Island on Tuesday caved in to the fire.

“A lot of Residential Apartments have been turned to Warehouses. I am saying without any iota of doubt that more Buildings will go down.

“I just finished the Assessment of a very unfortunate, but preventable disaster.

“Access was denied to the First Responder to the fire for a couple of hours. This fire started more than 48 hours ago and is still alive.

“At the last count we have about 14 Houses that have been affected and more may go down after the extensive Test.

“What I have seen here is what could have been prevented; we do not have a Full Report yet, so I do not want to speculate.

“From the Initial Report, it was gross carelessness,’’ he said at the site of the fire.

Sanwo-Olu added that the Dosunmu Market would be closed indefinitely, but that Government would assist those to be affected.

“We will bring down any Property that does not conform to our Rules and Regulations of Construction.

“We cannot allow anyone to put the Lives and Property of others and the Environment at risk.

“We will support those affected by the fire so they can get back on their feet, however.

“There are more progressive things we ought to be doing than to be spending scarce Resources on avoidable Accidents,’’ the Governor lamented. 

 

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12-Apr-2024 Inflation will lead to Cost review of Coastal Road Project, FG warns

Inflation will lead to Cost review of Coastal Road Project, FG warns

The Minister of Works, Dave Umahi, has projected a Return on Investment (ROI) of around N1.67trn in 15 years on the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway Corridor.

The 700km Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway Project is designed to connect Lagos to Cross River, passing through the Coastal States of Ogun, Ondo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, and Akwa Ibom, before culminating in Cross River.

Umahi gave the estimate while addressing Journalists and Stakeholders during a Meeting on Lagos-Coastal Highway Projects, at the Eko Hotel, on Thursday in Lagos.

The Minister gave the total estimates based on the Classification of Vehicles to be tolled when the Project is completed.

”I ran the figures this morning. That is if the 47.47km Phase I is completed and I toll on the two Sections, I give an average of 50,000 Vehicles, the big Vehicles will be charged about N6,000, the small ones will pay between N1,000 and  N1,500.

“Lets make it that an average of N3, 000 would be charged, In fact, when I rounded the figures, I will have about N1.67trn in 15 years. So, the ROI will be huge,” he said.

The Minister said that the Total Cost of the Coastal Road Project could not be fixed, saying if Inflation hits, the Project would have to be reviewed.

“Some People say we paid N1.067trn, the answer is No. We paid money according to the Procurement Act and according to the Policy of the Federal Ministry of Works.

Umahi noted that the Project would boost Economic Activity, improve Transportation, and create a more enjoyable Travel Experience.

He said, “along the Corridor, Tourism will be developed, there will be increased Economic Activity with Estates, Factories, etc., Transportation Network will improve, and Train Stations will increase activity and there will be faster Water Transportation.’’

Umahi said that the Project, which aims to make Road Travel more attractive than Air Travel, would have Amenities along the Corridors such as Solar Lighting, Toll Stations, Filling Stations, Hotels, and CCTV Cameras for improved security and faster response times to incidents.

The Minister, who acknowledged that the Coastal Road’s importance was a National Asset with the potential to attract Foreign Investments, noted that it required acquiring Land which might be problematic for some Property Owners.

He used the Proverb “you can’t make an Omelette without breaking Eggs” to acknowledge the potential hardship caused by Land acquisition.

He said that the Government prefers a negotiated settlement with Property Owners instead of relying solely on Legal Processes.

The Minister acknowledged the Government’s ultimate authority over Land Ownership.

He however, appealed to Property Owners for their cooperation and avoid confrontational approach.

Stakeholders at the Meeting  including Royal Fathers, Politicians, Land Owners and Estate Developers, described the Projects as laudable, raised issues about having a reasonable amount as Compensation and pleaded that it be timely, among others. 

 

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12-Apr-2024 FG to compensate Property Owners on Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway Route

FG to compensate Property Owners on Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway Route

The Minister of Works, Dave Umahi, has assured Property Owners along the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway Route that a fair and transparent Compensation will be paid to those affected.

Umahi said this at a Press Briefing/Stakeholders Meeting on Lagos-Coastal Highway Projects, at Eko Hotel, on Thursday in Lagos.

The Minister said that the Compensation Process, which would be based on Government-Approved Rates, would ensure payment of a standard, non-negotiable amount.

“By next week Wednesday, we will know how much Compensation will be paid, and it will be paid according to the Rate gazetted by the Federal Government.

“ From Wednesday, I will appoint a Committee that is going to review the Remuneration to be sure that what is on paper is what is on ground.

“So, we are going to call People as much as possible, starting from Monday, to come and know if this is your Property, this is how much you are getting and so on and so forth,’’ he said.

Umahi said that a One-on-One Engagement Process would take place over 30 days to verify Property Ownership and Claims.

“So, we will try to fast track it because the One-on- One Engagement is going to be for 30 days, and I said that you will all be paid within the 30 days; the moment you are verified and you sign, you are going to get your money in 30 days,” he said.

The Minister pledged his commitment to upholding the Nigerian Constitution, which guarantees fair Compensation.

He said, “I swore to uphold the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that Constitution has not changed; so whatever the Constitution says in terms of Rate is what we have to pay.’’

The Interstate Highway is proposed to traverse about nine States along the Coastal Shoreline of the Country.

The 750km Highway, handled by Hitech Construction Africa Limited, will start from Lagos and terminate in Cross River, with a spur to the North Central Part of Nigeria.

 

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10-Apr-2024 Tinubu to fix Borno Power Supply problem soon, says Shettima

Tinubu to fix Borno Power Supply problem soon, says Shettima

Vice-President Kashim Shettima has reiterated the determination of President Bola Tinubu Administration to address Power deficit in Maiduguri, Borno.

Shettima gave the assurance in Maiduguri on Tuesday when he hosted Members of the Borno Elders Forum, All Progressives Congress and other Stakeholders to Ramadan Iftar (Breaking of Fast).

He also emphasised the commitment of the Federal Government to boosting Nigeria’s Infrastructural Needs.

According to him, President Tinubu has his eyes on the basic needs and requirements of the Nation.

Shettima, therefore, called for continued support for the Tinubu Administration by all Nigerians.

The Vice-President said the Government’s Policies would be immensely beneficial to all and sundry in no distant time.

He specifically cited the Power Supply challenge in Maiduguri and some parts of Borno as having caught the President’s attention.

”The directive issued by President Tinubu is for the situation to be immediately addressed.

”We owe it to this President to be loyal and Law-abiding Citizens; He has a total grasp of the situation, challenges and, indeed, the prospects we have as a Nation.

”A careful look at our Nation’s Economy will show a gradual bouncing back on most frontiers.

“This is a testament that, indeed, our Investment of our Votes and trust in this Leader will pay off at the end of the road.

”So, let us continue to pray for him, commit ourselves to peace, unity and development of the Nigerian Nation and we shall definitely be the winners for it,” he said.

The Chairman, Borno Elders Forum, Gambo Gubio, thanked the Vice President for the Invitation, expressing deep belief and trust in the Capacities of both the President and his Vice.

The Secretary of the group, Bulama Mali-Gubio, who acknowledged the commitment of the Tinubu Administration to the Nigerian Project, said the President deserved support from all Nigerians.

Some of the Guests at the Event were, Senator representing Borno Central, Kaka Lawan; Member representing Maiduguri Federal Constituency, Abdulkadir Rahis, Umar Kyari, and Ibrahim Umar.

 

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09-Apr-2024 Supporters of Lagos Council Boss stage counter Protest, say 'he did not steal N1.9bn'

Supporters of Lagos Council Boss stage counter Protest, say 'he did not steal N1.9bn'

Some Residents of  Eti-Osa East Local Council Development Area(LCDA) on Monday staged a protest at  the Lagos State House of Assembly Complex against what they called false allegation of Funds misappropriation levelled against the Council Chairman, John Ogundare.

The Protesters, numbering about 1000, carried Placards with inscriptions dismissing the alleged N1.9bn  misappropriation.

The Protesters, who also chanted songs in support of the Chairman, were received by some Lawmakers.

A different Group of Residents had on Thursday staged a  Protest at the same Complex, demanding the suspension of Ogundare over the allegation.

Segun Williams, who led the earlier Protest, said the Council Chairman had been indicted by an Investigative Report of the Local Government’s Legislative Council, and urged Members of the State House of Assembly to act swiftly on the Matter.

Olusoji Fagbuda ,who led the Protest on Monday, described the N1.9bn misappropriation allegation against the Council Chairman as unfounded.

He said those who staged the earlier Protest, demanding the suspension of the Council Chairman, were blackmailers and that they were not known in the Council Area.

“We do not know these People who came on Thursday to protest. I am a Resident and APC Member, so I can say that these People are not known in our Area.

“The Protesters are hungry People who just want to survive. The allegation against our hardworking Chairman is unfounded, it is baseless.

“Those who allege should be able to prove, even the Councillors and Supervisors have told us that every allegation against the Chairman has been settled. So, the allegation is baseless,” he said.

Also speaking, Chairman, All Progressive Congress (APC) in  Eti-Osa East LCDA, Adekunle Odunuga, said they staged the Protest to dismiss the misappropriation allegation against the Council Chairman and to clear his name.

“We are here this morning to counter a Protest staged last Thursday to blackmail our Chairman.

“I am here with my People and Party Chairmen from various Wards are here with me. The Women Leaders from various Wards are here too. The Ndigbos, the Hausas, the Traders, Executives of  CDAs are all here with us. We are here to support our Chairman.

“We do not know the Protesters in the Council Area, they are not Residents of Eti-Osa East. So, we are here to counter their Protest because their allegation against the Chairman is unfounded.

“If they want to get details on how things are being done at the Council, they should have come to the Council instead of staging a Protest in order to damage the image of the Chairman,” he said.

Receiving the Protesters, Desmond Elliot, Lawmaker representing Surulere Constituency I, assured the Protesters that the Matter would be deliberated  by the House.

Elliot said the Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa  and other Principal Officers, would advise accordingly.

“We have accepted what you have said and it will be taken in for further Investigation by the House.

“We have listened to all Parties present here and I believed last week, there was a Group that came here too. The Group met my Colleagues here and they addressed the Protesters.

“Today, you have also come to counter their Protest and we have listened and we will take your Protest and your Petition to the House.

“By the grace of God, when the next Plenary is called, we will raise it at the Floor of the House and it will be duly deliberated,” he said.

The Lawmaker appealed to the the Protesters to be peaceful and not do anything that could create tension in Eti-Osa.  

 

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09-Apr-2024 EFCC recovers N30bn from Edu's probe, investigates 50 Bank Accounts

EFCC recovers N30bn from Edu's probe, investigates 50 Bank Accounts

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has so far recovered N30bn in the ongoing probe of Suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu.

The Chairman of EFCC, Ola Olukoyede, said this in the March Edition of the Commission’s Monthly E-Magazine, EFCC Alert, released on Monday.

Olukoyede said the Commission had also placed 50 Bank Accounts under Investigation over alleged Fraud that involved Halima Shehu, suspended Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the  National Social Investment Programme Authority (NSIPA).

President Bola Tinubu had in January,  suspended both Edu and Shehu over alleged payment of N585m Humanitarian Funds meant for Vulnerable Groups in Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Cross River and Ogun States into a Private Account.

The President also suspended Social Investment Programme and, thereafter, asked the EFCC to take over the case and probe both embattled Officials,  including anyone involved.

Olukoyede said the Anti-Graft Agency was making progress on the Investigation, emphasising the magnitude of the Case and the need for Nigerians to exercise patience.

“With respect to this particular Case, we have recovered over N30bn, which is already in the Coffers of the Federal Government. It takes time to conclude Investigations; we started this Matter less than six weeks ago,” he said.

According to him, there are Cases that take years to investigate. There are so many angles to it. And we need to follow through with some of the discoveries that we have seen.

“Nigerians should give us time on this Matter; we have Professionals on this Case and they need to do things right. There are so many leads here and there.”

According to him, as it is now, the Commission is investigating over 50 Bank Accounts that we have traced money to.

“That is no child’s play. That’s a big deal. And again, we have thousands of other Cases that we are working on.

“Nigerians have seen the impact of what we have done so far by way of some People being placed on suspension and by way of the recoveries that we have made. You have seen that the Programme itself has been suspended,” he said.

He said  the Commission was exploring so many discoveries that it had stumbled upon in its Investigation.

“If it is about seeing People in jail, well let them wait, everything has a process to follow.

“So, Nigerians should wait and give us the benefit of the doubt,” Olukoyede stated.

 

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06-Apr-2024 Nobody can steal LG Funds under my watch, says Abia Governor

Nobody can steal LG Funds under my watch, says Abia Governor

Governor Alex Otti of Abia, has said that Local Government (LG) Funds cannot be hijacked under his watch.

 

Otti said this on Friday during the monthly Media Parley at Government House, Umuahia.

 

The Governor said that he was intentional about ensuring that Funds meant for the Local Governments would be utilised to facilitate balanced Socio-Economic Growth in Abia.

 

He said: “Local Government Funds cannot be hijacked under my watch and if you see what is happening in the Local Governments, you will know that the Funds are working.

 

“So anybody who says Funds have been hijacked needs to tell us who hijacked the Funds and we can now begin to pursue the Hijackers, but to the best of my knowledge, it is impossible to hijack Funds under my watch.”

 

Otti also said that the State Government had developed a robust Strategy to reposition Education in Abia.

 

“We have looked at the Curricula, Teaching Staff, the Infrastructures and we are in the process of enumerating the Civil Servants we can redeploy to the Schools,” he added.

 

Otti said that Government was making concerted efforts to make the Teaching Profession very attractive.

 

He also said that Government had commenced its Retrofitting Programme in 171 Primary Schools and 54 Secondary Schools to upgrade the Selected Schools to be of high quality Standard.

 

“We have what we call the Minimum Standard, if you get into a Primary School that we have touched you will understand.

 

“There are Facilities that must be there in the Schools like Libraries, Laboratories, Students Hostels, and Principals’ Quarters among others,” Otti said.

 

He further said that his Administration has been able to cut down the Cost of Governance by ensuring that only absolutely necessary Expenditures were undertaken by the Government.

 

Otti said: “it’s tough but we have to do it, we have been managing our Expenditures in such a way that we are able to live within our means as much as possible.”

According to him, as at the time his Predecessor took over, the State was owing N34.5m and as at the time he took over, the Debts had reached over N192.2m.

 

He expressed dismay over the fact that these Funds could not be accounted for.

 

Otti said that some of the Debts had  already been paid off, because they were Commercial Bank Overdrafts at very high Interest Rates.

 

He said that since he became Governor, he had always ensured that Security Vote was judiciously utilised in enhancing Security in Abia.

 

Otti added that Security remains top priority in the State Government’s Agenda because of its Role in Development. 

06-Apr-2024 FG: Electricity Subsidy 'only for a short while'

FG: Electricity Subsidy 'only for a short while'

The Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, says the Federal Government will continue to subsidise Electricity for Nigerians to guarantee stable and reliable supply.
 
Adelabu said this at the Ministerial Press Briefing Series organised by the Ministry of Information and National Orientation on Friday in Abuja.
 
He said that the recent increase in Tariff affected only a small  percentage  of the Country’s  Population, adding that majority of  Nigerians would continue to enjoy Government’s  Subsidy.
 
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had announced an increase in Electricity Tariff paid by Band A Customers from N68/KWh to N225KWh.

Band A  Customers are those who enjoy Electricity Supply for 20 hours per day.

‘”From the latest Statistics, we have about 12 million Customers in the Sector and this (Tariff increase)will only affect  about 1.5 million Customers.
 
 ”The remaining 10.5 million Customers will continue to enjoy Government’s Subsidy which is almost 70 per cent  of the Population
 
”This review is in conformity with our Policy thrust of maintaining a subsidised Pricing Regime in the short run or in the short term with a Transition Plan to achieving a full Cost Reflective Tariff for the Sector over a period of three years,” he said.
 
The Minister said that before the Tariff increase, Government was subsidising the Cost of producing and transmitting Electricity in the Country by more than 50 per cent.
 
 Adelabu said the Government decided not to migrate to a Cost Reflective Tariff or remove Subsidy 100 per cent because it was sensitive to the pains being experienced by Nigerians presently.
 
He said removal of Subsidy would be a journey rather than destination and that it would be a gradual migration from Subsidy Regime to a full Cost Reflective Tariff Regime.
 
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06-Apr-2024 Abuse of Office: Fresh trouble for Emefiele as EFCC arraigns former CBN Governor in Court

Abuse of Office: Fresh trouble for Emefiele as EFCC arraigns former CBN Governor in Court

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will on Monday (April 8) arraign the embattled former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, before Justice Rahman Oshodi of the Special Offences Court, for alleged Abuse of Office.

Emefiele will be arraigned alongside one Henry Omoile before Oshodi on a 26-Count bordering on  Abuse of Office, accepting Gratification, accepting Gifts through Agents, Corruption, and Fraudulent Property Receipt.

The former CBN Governor was also alleged of conferring corrupt advantage on his Associates contrary to the Corrupt Practices Act of 2000.

The Charge Sheet, marked ID/23787c/2024, was dated April 3 and was filed by Rotimi Oyedepo.
One of the Counts stated that Emefiele allegedly committed Abuse of Office between 2022 and 2023, in Lagos, an offence punishable under Section 73 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.

Another Count alleged that Emefiele directed to be done in Abuse of the Authority of his Office, as the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, an arbitrary act, to wit: allocating Foreign Exchange in the aggregate sum of $2.2bn without bids.

Also, it was alleged that Emefiele abused the Authority of his Office  by allocating Foreign Exchange in the aggregate sum of $291m without bids, which act was prejudicial to the Rights of Nigerians.

Emefiele’s Co-Defendant was alleged to have acted as an Agent and accepted from Raja Punjab through Monday Osazuwa, the total sum of $110,000, for the ex-CBN Governor as a reward for allocating Foreign Exchange by the Central Bank in favour of Raja Punjab’s Employer.

 

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06-Apr-2024 FG expresses commitment to transparency in Public Communication

FG expresses commitment to transparency in Public Communication

The Federal Government has restated commitment to transparency in Public Communication as a deliberate Policy to build trust between Government and its Citizens.
 
The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris re-emphasised this during his Opening Remark at the Fourth Ministerial Briefing Session on Friday in Abuja
 
He said the Vision for his Ministry include; restore Public Trust in Public Communications and amplify Policies and Programmes of the Federal Government, as well as inspire Nigerian Narratives.
 
Idris said the Ministry will place emphasis on National Values, deepen the Social Contract between Government and Citizens, modernise Technology and Talent in the Federal Government’s Information and Communications Systems.
 
He assured that the Government would create an Enabling Operating Environment for the Media in Nigeria, through favorable Policies and Incentives.
 
“We understand that transparency is not just a Principle to be upheld but a Foundation for Good Governance.
 
“Therefore, we are committed to ensuring that our Communication Channels remain open, accessible, and informative.
 
“We strive to provide accurate, timely, and relevant Information to the Public on Matters of Governance, Policy, and Programme,” he said.
 
The Minister said the Administration had recorded some salient achievements in the Economy through the implementation of some Macroeconomic Reforms.
 
“Our Foreign Exchange Market has stabilised and our beloved Naira is getting stronger daily,” Idris said.
 
He said the recent establishment of the Presidential Economic Coordination Council and the Economic Management Team Emergency Task Force underscored President Bola Tinubu‘s commitment to fostering a unified strategy for Economic Management.
 
He said the establishment of the Teams would leverage on the expertise and insights of key Stakeholders from both the Public and Private Sectors.
 
According to him, the Teams would serve as platforms for robust discussions, analysis, and decision-making to drive Sustainable Economic Growth, Job creation, and prosperity for all Nigerians.
 
“The Launch of the Renewed Hope Infrastructure Development Fund aims to raise about N20trn for Investment in critical Sectors such as the Real Sector of the Economy, Transport, Social Services, Agriculture, and ICT among others.
 
“The Fund seeks to support Projects that promote growth, enhance Local Value-Addition, create Employment Opportunities, and promote Exports.
 
“The Projects to be targeted by the Fund include the construction of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway, which kick-started recently.
 
“Others are, the Sokoto-Badagry Expressway, Lagos-Kano Expressway, the Eastern Rail Lines and the modernisation of Ports and Aviation Facilities across the Country,” Idris said.
 
He said, the Progressive Policy in the Power Sector and many other review were strategic steps toward a more sustainable, efficient, and equitable Electricity Sector.
 
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05-Apr-2024 Residents want Lagos Council Boss out of Office for 'stealing N1.9bn'

Residents want Lagos Council Boss out of Office for 'stealing N1.9bn'

Residents  of Eti-Osa East Local Council Development Area (LCDA) on Thursday staged a protest at the Lagos State House of Assembly Complex over alleged misappropriation of N1.9bn by John Ogundare, the Council Chairman.

The Protesters, numbering about 500, carried Placards with various inscriptions, calling for the suspension of the Council Chairman.

Segun Williams, who led the Protest, urged Members of the State House of Assembly to act urgently on the Matter.

Williams said Ogundare had been indicted by an Investigative Report of the Local Government’s  Legislative Council, adding he did not  deserve to remain in Office.

“Therefore we are seeking  his suspension pending the conclusion of the Matter before your noble chamber(Lagos House of Assembly).

“The allegations are contained in a Report dated December 19, 2023, sent to the Chairman since last year.

“In the Report, signed by the Leader and Majority Leader of Eti-Osa East LCDA, the Chairman was indicted for diverting funds earmarked for critical Sectors, including Health and Education.

“Among the allegations are failure to pay Running Costs to various Departments of the Council based on the 2023 Budget; neglecting Balance Payments to past Political Office Holders against Governmental advice;

“He was also indicted for unauthorised Project Execution and Contract Awards without Legislative Approval, non-adherence to the 2023 Budget for Schools and Primary Health Centres’ Construction/Renovation.

“Also failure to comply with Legislative requests for Income and Expenditure Records. He has perpetually approved Contracts above his limit of N35m,” he said.

Williams alleged that the Chairman had ignored the invitation of the State Assembly on  March 25 and April 3, and had been bragging that he had enough Funds to influence the State’s Lawmakers.

He said the Assembly needed to act and “clear itself from this mess.”

Receiving the Protesters, Adebola Sabi, representing Lagos Mainland II, said the Assembly under the Leadership of Mudashiru Obasa, would see to the Matter.

Sabi thanked the Residents  for their peaceful demonstration.

“I am saying it categorically that, on behalf of the Speaker, you will get justice.

“We are here for the People of Lagos State and we will give you justice. We will deliver your message to the Speaker and I am aware that the Chairman was invited because I was part of the Ad hoc Committee that was to investigate him.

“You voted us to come here to serve you and we are going to serve you well. So, please go back home peacefully and don’t allow anybody to torment you,” he said.

Other Lawmakers that received the Protesters include Abiodun Orekoya (Shomolu I), and Bonu Solomon (Lagos Mainland I.)

 

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05-Apr-2024 Tinubu to GAVI: No Child will be left behind when it comes to Vaccination against preventable Diseases

Tinubu to GAVI: No Child will be left behind when it comes to Vaccination against preventable Diseases

President Bola Tinubu has called on Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to collaborate with potential Nigerian Vaccine Manufacturers to ensure equitable access to life-saving Vaccines for Children and Adults.

Tinubu made the call at a Meeting with a Delegation of GAVI led by its Chief Executive Officer, Sania Nishtar, at the State House, on Thursday in Abuja.

He said that the Partnership on Local Vaccine Production had become necessary owing to the challenges faced by Developing Countries, especially during the COVID-19 Pandemic and other Infectious Disease outbreaks.

‘’We have capable and talented People who can make the necessary contributions to the Production of Vaccines in Nigeria and the rest of Africa,’’ the President said.

The President assured the GAVI Delegation of Nigeria’s commitment to fulfilling its outstanding Counterpart Contributions for routine Vaccines for the year 2023.

He directed the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Muhammad Pate, to work with the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, to ensure the release of necessary Funds for Vaccine procurement.

‘’We intend to contribute to the Development of our Healthcare Programme, and we are committed to partnering with GAVI,’’ the President said.

Tinubu stated that his Administration was focused on ensuring that no Child is left behind when it comes to Vaccination against preventable Childhood Diseases.

‘’GAVI’s commitment to Humanity is recognised throughout the World. Thank you for the impactful commitment to Humanity, and we welcome the Collaboration to save our Children from preventable Diseases.

‘’We as a Nation are committed to your Values, and we believe that no Child should be left unprotected,’’ he said.

Tinubu acknowledged the invaluable perspective shared by the GAVI CEO and emphasised the importance of leveraging her experience for the benefit of Children’s Health.

He also commended Nishtar for her visit and support for the Administration’s Health-Sector Initiatives.

The President, who pledged to prioritise Investments in Health Sector Renewal, noted the importance of Coordination and Collaboration among Federal, State, and Local Governments.

In her Remarks, the GAVI CEO congratulated the Nigerian Government on its innovative Health-Sector Initiatives, including increasing Budgetary Allocations to Health to 4.6 per cent and commitment to providing HPV Vaccines for Adolescent Girls, among others.

She expressed readiness to collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to leverage Policy Instruments and Technical Expertise to advance Health outcomes.

Nishtar announced GAVI’s commitment to providing $250m Grant support to Nigeria, as well as its dedication to addressing Vaccine inequity in Africa through Initiatives like the African Vaccine Manufacturing Accelerator.

She said that for the Initiative, it had earmarked $1bn to support the sustainable growth of Africa’s Manufacturing Base for Vaccine Production.

‘’Nigeria is a very Special Country. It is a very Special Country in Africa. It is a Special Country in the World and it is a very Special Country for us in GAVI.

“There is a dictum in GAVI that says, ‘there is no success for GAVI without success in Nigeria’,’’ she said.

The GAVI CEO also informed the President that the GAVI Board would be meeting in the coming weeks to decide on Policy Decisions to impact the way Nigeria receives support from the Organisation, beyond 2028.

She added that her visit to the Country was for discussions with Nigeria’s Health Managers.

 

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04-Apr-2024 Tinubu pens Students Loan Bill into a Law

Tinubu pens Students Loan Bill into a Law

President Bola Tinubu has signed the Students Loan Bill into Law on Wednesday in Abuja.

The Students Loan is part of the implementation of the Access to Higher Education Act, 2023.

The Act,  popularly known as the Students Loan Bill seeks to provide Loans for Indigent Nigerian Students to pay Fees in Nigerian Tertiary Institutions.

At the signing, Tinubu commended the efforts of the Members of the National Assembly for the expeditious handling of the Bill.

He said that this action showed the Administration’s priority towards encouraging Education among Nigerian Youths as a tool to fighting Poverty.

“We are determined to ensure that Education is given the proper attention necessary for the Country including Skills Development Programmes.

“This is to ensure that no one, no matter how Poor their background, is excluded from quality Education and Opportunity to build their future.

“We are here because we are all educated and we are helped. In the past, we have seen a lot of our Children dropped out of Colleges and given up the Opportunity,” he said.

Tinubu said that the Loan would ensure that the Standard and Control of the Scheme are applied without discrimination against a Nigerian Citizen.

The Act establishes the Nigerian Education Loan Fund which is expected to handle all Loan Requests, Grants, Disbursement and Recovery of the Loans provided.

NELFUND, according to the Act, is to be funded from multiple streams and will engage in other productive activities.

Its Sources of Funding as dictated by the Act include; one per cent of all Profits accruing to the Federal Government from Oil and other Minerals.

It also include one per cent of Taxes, Levies and Duties accruing to the Federal Government from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and Nigerian Customs Service (NCS); Education Bonds and Education Endowment Fund Schemes.

The Loan will also be funded through Donations, Gifts, Grants, Endowment and Revenue accruing to the Fund from any other Source, according to the Act.

 

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01-Apr-2024 EFCC: We're battling 'Mega and Lower Thieves' in our war against Corruption

EFCC: We're battling 'Mega and Lower Thieves' in our war against Corruption

The EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, has pledged to lead a broad-based and holistic Anti-Graft war that would not spare anyone linked with any form of Economic and Financial Crimes.

Dele Oyewale, EFCC Spokesperson, in a Statement issued on Monday quoted Olukoyese as having said this during a Concert in Abuja.

The Anti-Corruption Concert was organised to create awareness and Public involvement in the fight against Internet Crimes.

Olukoyede reaffirmed his commitment to an all-embracing, fully-integrated war against Corrupt Practices.

“We will not spare anyone.  We will not spare the mega thieves.  As we are doing the mega, we will also do those at the lower end.

“In the last two months, we have arraigned  two former Governors.  So, it is not true that we are only focused on Internet Fraudsters.

“Of course, Internet Fraud is bad enough but our focus is on every form of Economic and Financial Crimes”, he said.

He cautioned Youths against indulging in Internet-related offences,  pointing out that the consequences of being convicted for such Crimes are grave.

“Youths need to know that being Ex-Convicts has Career limitations.  Ex-convicts can’t run for Public Offices, the stigma alone is even terrible.

“I urge you to avoid Internet crimes by all means.  Your future is more important than any immediate gains from such crimes,” he said.

Olukoyede said EFCC under his watch was deeply interested in giving Youths a glorious and sustainable future.

To this effect, he said, a Cyber Crime Research Centre was being planned at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Academy.

“The Centre will involve Youths in indepth Research about the Issue of Cybercrime. Their energies will be deployed toward profitable engagements,” he said.

Olukoyede charged the Youth to embrace hard work and diligence,  stressing that the path to success was hard work and dignity.

“There is dignity in Labour. Let’s come together. All of us must come together and agree that Corruption is evil. Don’t’ leave the fight to EFCC alone,” he said.

The Minister of State for Youth Development,  Ayodele Olawande, enjoined Youth across the Country to support the EFCC in its Crusade against Economic and Financial Crimes and other acts of Corruption.

“Nigeria is supposed to have progressed more than this. We will not allow corrupt People to destroy our future, that is why we need to come together and fight this evil in our Society.

“That is why we need to continuously run this Campaign because I am convinced that everyone of us have a part to play, without you, there is little or nothing EFCC can do.

“Let’s show the World that Nigeria's Young People are determined to change the narrative,” he said. 

 

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01-Apr-2024 TCN faults low Gas Supply, vandalism for constant Grid collapse

TCN faults low Gas Supply, vandalism for constant Grid collapse

The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN)  says  it remains committed to managing the National Grid and ensuring its stability amidst ongoing challenges.
 
The Company, in a Statement signed Ndidi Mbah, General Manager, Public Affairs, in Abuja, identified the challenges to include the persistent low Gas Supply affecting Power Generation into the Nation’s Grid.
 
She said that the Company’s diligent Grid Controllers work tirelessly day and night to balance the Grid and prevent any kind of disturbance amidst challenges.
 
Mbah said the Grid disturbance on March 28 was promptly managed by the Company’s Operators, with Power restoration achieved in some Areas within 21 minutes of the disturbance.
 
”We acknowledge the collaborative efforts of the Federal Government, particularly the Minister of Power, who has been working hard to address the root causes of low Gas Supply.
 
”The Minister held meetings with Generating Companies (GenCos) and Gas Companies (GasCos) to secure a higher Volume of Gas Supply and consistency for enhanced Power Generation.
 
”As efforts to stabilise Gas Supply progress, TCN emphasises the importance of consistent Gas availability to sustain optimal Power Generation.
 
 ”It is a fact that low Power Generation substantially increases Grid fragility,” she said.
 
Mbah said that in addition to Gas Supply challenges, TCN faces various Sector-specific hurdles.
 
“Some impact other Players in the Value Chain, but invariably affect Grid stability,” she explained.
 
She said that vandalism was a persistent challenge, as clearly seen in the First Quarter of 2024 in which five significant  incidents disrupted Transmission Operations, necessitating emergency repairs.
 
”In some cases, we effect complete Tower reconstruction or Transmission Line replacement due to acts of vandalism.
 
”This highlight the critical need for increased Community support and vigilance in protecting Transmission Infrastructure.
 
”TCN urges heightened vigilance for now, particularly in the Zuba Area, following alerts of a planned attack on TCN Facilities in the Area,” she said.
 
She said  that the Company implored Residents to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities around Power Facilities in the Area.
 
”We urge everyone, especially those living close to TCN Towers Nationwide, to join hands with the Company in safeguarding Power Transmission Towers and Cables,” she said.
 
 
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31-Mar-2024 Benue least developed in the North, Hyenas biting us, says Governor

Benue least developed in the North, Hyenas biting us, says Governor

Benue Governor, Hyacinth Alia says the State is the least developed among the 19 States in the Northern Part of Nigeria.

Governor Alia made the declaration on Friday when he broke Ramadan Fast with Muslin Faithful in Makurdi.

He vowed, however, that the situation must change as his Administration was determined to embark on Developmental Projects that would put Benue in a pride of place among other States in the Country.

“Out of the 19 Northern States, Benue is one of the very least developed. It is just now that we are even installing Solar Street Lights.

“As we started work, Hyenas came out to bite. They are demanding that we should not construct Roads, build Schools, pay Salaries and provide Streets Lights and I am saying: `no’.

“The Poor Masses of Benue voted for me in an unprecedented manner. It is better I work for the Masses.

“Today I invite the Young Generation to go to the Farms. Let us go to the Farm. Join Cooperatives and we will support you. The State Government will give you the Capital to farm.

“Nigeria should not be talking about Food Insecurity. Benue alone can feed Nigeria if crises are stopped and Farmers are able to return to their Farms,’’ he said.

He admonished Nigerians to unite to be able to confront common Enemies like Bandits, Kidnappers and Corruption among others.

The Governor stressed that Nigerians needed unity in diversity to make meaningful progress in the Comity of Nations.

“We are all one. And this is why we have Inter-Marriages. My Sister is married to one of you (Muslims) and I find a lot of love in her Home.

“All our Holy Books speak about peace and love. Why do we create divisions and hatred?

“The one who created us all desire that we are peaceful and love one another,’’ he said.

Alia also enjoined Nigerians to change their perception about Government; about themselves and about Religion, stressing that none of the Holy Books talked about picking tents against one another.

“We were living together peacefully for decades until the bad Guys, Bandits and Gunmen came killing us.

“They are not our Friends. They don’t want peace. They are against us and we must unite to stop them.

“We are the ones to prevent Insecurity. The Police and Military can only help us to succeed. So no bad egg should hide under our good shield to cause us harm,’’ he said.

He noted that President Bola Tinubu meant well for Nigeria and especially for Benue and needed the collective support of the People to succeed.

“Pray for President Tinubu. He means well for Nigeria and for Benue,’’ Alia admonished.

Earlier in his Sermon, the Chief Imam of Benue, Umar Garba said the Muslim Community in the State was at peace with the Benue Development Agenda.

Garba, a member, Benue Advisory Council on the Prerogative of Mercy said any Society that God desired to bless, He would first bless with a God-fearing Leader.

“We ask God to bless Governor Alia and bless Benue People. Any Society that God wants to bless, He usually blesses it with a God-fearing Leader.

“God did not make a mistake by making Alia the Governor of Benue,’’ he stressed.

 

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31-Mar-2024 FG approves N25bn for Healthcare Infrastructure in States

FG approves N25bn for Healthcare Infrastructure in States

The Federal Government has approved the disbursement of N25bn through the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) to bolster Healthcare Infrastructure in States.

Muhammed Pate, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, made this known on Saturday in Abuja at the sixth Meeting of the BHCPF Ministerial Oversight Committee.

Pate said that the Funds were designated for Direct Facility Financing and Workforce Incentives across States.

The Minister said that the Initiative was in line with President Bola Tinubu’s Agenda and commitment to improving Healthcare outcomes for Nigerian Women, Children, and Vulnerable Populations. 

He said that the disbursement would be facilitated through gateways including the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).

“This substantial Investment underscores our dedication to enhancing Healthcare Infrastructure and supporting our Healthcare Workforce.

“In addition to Direct Facility Financing and Workforce Incentives, a portion of the Funds will be allocated by the NHIA to provide Financial protection for the Poorest and Most Vulnerable Populations, further ensuring equitable access to Healthcare Services,” he added. 

The Minister announced the establishment of a dedicated Reporting Mechanism for Citizens to report any misuse or deviation from Guidelines regarding the disbursement of the Funds. 

“An Email Address and Reporting Line will be made available, enabling Citizens to actively participate in monitoring Fund Implementation.

“We are committed to ensuring that Healthcare Resources are utilised effectively and transparently. 

“Regular monitoring and oversight will be conducted to uphold the Fiduciary Integrity of Healthcare Systems, ensuring that Nigerians benefit from these Resources,” Pate said. 

Oyebanji Filani, who spoke on behalf of Commissioners for Health and Human Services, pledged that all the States would prioritise the quality of care provided Nigerians even after leaving Hospital. 

Filani highlighted their Plan to strengthen Public Health Units and ensure Frontline Health Workers and Civil Servants receive necessary support.

“We are committed to ensuring that every Nigerian has access to good quality Healthcare Services. 

“By bolstering Resources at the State Level and fostering stronger Collaboration with the Federal Government, we aim to significantly improve the quality of Healthcare Services in the near future,” he added. 

He expressed optimism about the potential impact of these efforts.

“With a focus on enhancing Healthcare Delivery Nationwide, Stakeholders anticipate tangible improvements in Health Services across the Country,” Filani said. 

In his comment, Muyi Aina, the Executive Director, NPHCDA, announced series of Initiatives aimed at ensuring accountability and enhancing Service Delivery. 

Muyi emphasised the importance of transparency in Expenditure and announced the establishment of a dedicated Call Line for Whistleblowers to report any discrepancies or malpractices observed in the field.

He said that the Government would leverage Software Technology to track Expenditure at the Facility Level, and ensure Funds allocated are utilised appropriately. 

“Our goal is to ensure that every Nigerian has access to the basic Services they need,” he said.   

Kelechi Ohiri, Director-General of NHIA,  underscored the importance of ensuring Financial access to Healthcare for all Nigerians by reducing out-of-pocket payments for Healthcare Services.

 

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30-Mar-2024 Contractor's failure to meet deadline forces postponement of Port Harcourt-Aba Train Service

Contractor's failure to meet deadline forces postponement of Port Harcourt-Aba Train Service

The Federal Government has postponed the Launch of the Port Harcourt-Aba Train Service to April from the initially planned start date at the end of March.

The Minister of Transportation, Saidu Alkali, disclosed this to Journalists after inspecting the reconstructed Railway Tracks in Port Harcourt on Friday.

Alkali expressed disappointment over the delay and stressed that the Contractor had given assurances of the Project completion in April.

“This is my second time Visit to Port Harcourt to inspect the progress of the (Port Harcourt-Aba) Railway Line since assuming Office as the Minister of Transportation.

“The Contractor initially committed to a March start date, but during Track Inspections, they made some observations necessitating the extension of the start date to April.

“The Contractor has now committed to an April Launch for the Port Harcourt to Aba Railway Services,” he said.

Alkali said that measures were also being taken to connect both Port Harcourt and Onne Seaports to the Port Harcourt to Aba Rail Track.

“We are not satisfied over the failure of the Contractor to deliver the Work on the agreed deadline.

“The Contractor promised delivery of the Project by March, but if they can deliver it in April, then I think that we can manage that.

“We started with the 15 per cent Component in fixing the Port Harcourt to Aba Rail Section, but we now, focussing on linking the Line to Port Harcourt and Onne Ports,” he explained.

The Minister assured of President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to completing all ongoing Projects across the Country.

Regarding the Calabar-Enugu-Abuja Gauge Rail Line awarded by the previous Administration, Alkali mentioned ongoing efforts to finalise Project Financing.

“We are currently making all arrangements for the Finances, and as soon as the Finance is ready, the Project will commence.

“We are dedicated to delivering all Projects in all Parts of the Country,” he affirmed.

Alkali noted that Work on the Ibadan to Abuja Standard Gauge Rail Line was progressing, urging Public patience and support for successful Project Delivery. 

 

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30-Mar-2024 Killing of 17 Military Men: Police hand over wanted Delta Monarch to Military

Killing of 17 Military Men: Police hand over wanted Delta Monarch to Military

The Police Command in Delta has handed over Clement Ikolo, the Traditional Ruler of Ewu kingdom in Ugheli South Local Government Area of the State to the Military Authority.
 
The Spokesperson of the Command, Bright Edafe, confirmed the development to Journalists on Friday through a terse message in Warri.
 
The embattled Royal Father, who had surrendered himself to the Police Command on Thursday in Asaba, was consequently handed over to the Military Authority on Friday.
 
King Ikolo was among the eight Persons declared wanted by the Military Authority over the alleged recent killing of the 17 Soldiers in Okuama Community in Ughelli South.
 
The Soldiers were allegedly ambushed and slain on March 14, 2024 while on a Peace Keeping Mission to Okuama Community.
 
Also declared wanted alongside the Royal Father were the President- General of Ewu, Arthur Ekpekpo, Andaowei Bakriri, Akevwru Omotegbono, Akata David, Sinclear Oghenerukevwe, Reuben Baru and Igoli Ebi.
 
The Ewu Traditional Ruler had earlier on Thursday before surrendering himself to the Police, claimed his innocence in the incident.
 
He expressed shock that his name as the king of the Ewu Kingdom would appear on the List of Wanted Persons.
 
“I have no hand in the killings, I have no hand in encouraging anybody to kill anybody, it is against my Philosophy as a Human Being and my Faith as a Catholic.
 
“It is a serious Crime against Humanity and they need to look at the appropriate places and do thorough Investigation to know all those who have committed this Crime and bring them to book.
 
“I am not a party to this and I have said earlier, the State Government is aware of the turbulence I have been going through.
 
“As I speak, an arrangement was made by the Government to invite those who are fighting me in the Kingdom to reconcile the differences before this recent happenings.
 
“I barely know anything right now, I have no Information, I know nothing, I am only just in the process of setting up a Structure to enable me rule in the Kingdom,” Ikolo said.
 
 
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29-Mar-2024 Stop cursing Nigeria, Tinubu warns Religious Leaders

Stop cursing Nigeria, Tinubu warns Religious Leaders

President Bola Tinubu has called on Religious Leaders to refrain from vilifying or denigrating the Nation in their Sermons.

Tinubu said this during Ramadan Iftar with Traditional Rulers and Religious Leaders at the State House on Thursday in Abuja.

The President stressed the significant Role of Religious Leaders in shaping Public Opinion and fostering a sense of unity among Citizens.

He urged the Leaders to be more constructive in their criticism of those in elective Positions, adding that his Administration was determined to turn Nigeria’s challenges into prosperity.

He urged Traditional and Religious Leaders to forge a strong bond with the Government to defeat Terrorism, Banditry, Kidnapping, and other forms of Criminality in the Country.

‘’The love of the Nation is in your hands. Pray for our Country. Educate our Children. The Sermons we preach to the Members of our Churches and Mosques are important.

‘’Do not condemn your own Nation. As a Yoruba man and as our Fathers will say, ‘no matter how slippery the bottom of your Child is, you must leave the beads there.’

‘’Leave the beads there. This is your Country; do not condemn it in Sermons, do not abuse the Nation. Leadership is meant for changes.

‘’Yes, this Leader is bad, fine. Wait until the next Election to change him, but do not condemn your Country. Do not curse Nigeria. This is a beautiful Land.”

The President, who acknowledged the Birthday wishes and goodwill extended to him on the Occasion, reminded the Leaders that his Birthday on March 29 coincided with Good Friday.

‘’I have earned the honour of having my Birthday fall on Good Friday, and I pray that on this Maundy Thursday, you all shall return to your Homes safely.

“May God guide and keep you and your Families in good health, and lift your spirits,’’ the President said.

Also speaking, Vice-President Kashim Shettima emphasised the pivotal Roles of Religious and Traditional Rulers in promoting peace and unity, urging them to continue to ‘‘build bridges that transcend Ethnic and Religious divides.’’

The Vice-President expressed delight that the Nation’s Economy is on a rebound, noting the strengthening of the Naira against the Dollar.

‘’The President means well for the Nation, and he has continued to redefine the meaning and concept of Modern Leadership.

‘’For many years, Fuel Subsidy was an albatross. The President took a bold decision from day one, and he hit the ground running. Now the Economy is turning the corner,” the Vice-President said.

Speaking on behalf of the Traditional Rulers Council of Nigeria, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, assured the President of the unwavering support of Traditional Rulers.

Ogunwusi commended the Government’s efforts to address the hike in Food Prices and the Security challenges.

‘’You are not alone, Mr. President. The Prices of Food Items and Goods are gradually coming down.

“You are doing your best on Security, and we cannot allow you to do it alone. We will join hands to support your Vision to the betterment of our Nation,’’ the Ooni said.

Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli, the Emir of Zazzau, speaking on behalf of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), highlighted the significance of Ramadan as a period of reflection, empathy, and unity.

On the Security situation in the country, Bamalli, who represented the Sultan of Sokoto and President General, NSCIA, expressed optimism that the Country would return to peace and stability.

‘’I am happy to see Representatives of Muslim and Christian Communities in this Room. I pray God Almighty blesses the President for him to do more to take the Country to the Promised Land,’’ the Emir said.

Samson Fatokun, General Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), noted that the Ramadan Dinner with Religious and Traditional Leaders, coincided with Maundy Thursday.

It is the Thursday before Easter, observed in commemoration of Jesus Christ’s Institution of the Eucharist during the Last Supper.

Fatokun, who delivered the Address of CAN President, Daniel Okoh, commended Tinubu for fostering a harmonious Relationship between the State and the Church.

‘’We are encouraged that your Administration has shown great determination in tackling the challenges of Kidnapping and Banditry and bringing to justice the Perpetrators of this dastardly act.

‘’We shall continue to show our support to your Administration so that you can execute your noble intention for the Nation,’’ he said.

 

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28-Mar-2024 Tinubu: We'll find those who killed our patriotic, brave, gallant 'Officers and Men'

Tinubu: We'll find those who killed our patriotic, brave, gallant 'Officers and Men'

President Bola Tinubu has described the 17 Officers and Soldiers killed in Okuama on March 14 as patriotic, brave and gallant Nigerians.

He said that the Deceased gave their lives to defend and protect the Nation against internal and external threats.

At the Burial Ceremony of the Officers and Soldiers on Wednesday in Abuja, Tinubu said that their death serves as a rallying point for Nigerians to condemn Crime and Criminality.

“They went as Peace Makers and Peace Keepers, seeking to bring an end to the hostilities between the two Communities.

“They didn’t go with Tanks, Machine Guns and other Weapons. They were on a Mission of Peace.

“The Officers and Soldiers who lost their lives that day were Patriots, Brave and Noble Men who gave their lives to defend and protect our Nation against internal and external threats,” he said.

The 17 Military Personnel killed include Lt.-Col. Ali, Maj. D.E Obi, Maj. S.D. Ashafa, Capt. U. Zakari, Staff Sgt. Yahaya Saidu, Corporal Danbaba Yahaya, Corporal Kabir Bashir, Lance Corporal Abdullahi Ibrahim, Lance Corporal Bulus Haruna, Lance Corporal Sole Opeyemi, and Lance Corporal Bello Anas.

The rest are Private Alhaji Isah, Private Clement Francis, Private Abubakar Ali, Private Adamu Ibrahim, Private Hamman Peter, and Private Ibrahim Adamu.

Tinubu said that the Deceased have all been awarded Posthumous National Honours.

“The four gallant Officers have been awarded Member of the Order of Niger (MON). And the 13 courageous Soldiers who also lost their lives have been Awarded Federal Republic Medals.

“As Commander-In-Chief, I do not take the contributions of Members of our Armed Forces for granted. I recognise your valour and bravery.

“I honour your unflinching commitment to making our Country safe from Criminals, Bandits, Kidnappers and Insurrectionists.”

The President urged the Officers and Men of the Military not to be deterred by this setbacks and be prepared to continue to work for peace and harmony.

Tinubu also called on Nigerians to rededicate themselves to rebuilding Communities and making them places where love, tolerance and harmony reigns.

“Leaders at all levels, especially Community Leaders and Traditional Rulers, must work to strengthen the bonds that unite us. We must end the cycle of violence and bloodletting.

“I want to make it clear, once more, that those who committed this heinous crime will not go unpunished. We will find them and our departed Heroes will get justice.

“The Elders and Chiefs of Okuoma also have a duty to help the Military in fishing out the Gunmen who committed the barbaric Crime against our Men.”

The President commended the Armed Forces for their restraint in choosing not to carry out any reprisal attacks in Okuoma or its Neighbouring Communities.

“We must all ensure that the innocent People of Okuoma are not made to bear the punishment of the guilty and wicked among them.”

He said that Government would provide a House in any part of the Country to each of the Families of the four Officers and 13 Soldiers.

Tinubu added that all the Children of the Deceased would enjoy a Federal Government Scholarships up to  University level.

The President also directed the Military to within the next 90 days, ensure that all the Benefits of the Departed are paid to their Families.

 

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27-Mar-2024 Kidnappers are Terrorists, Cowards, Tinubu talks tough

Kidnappers are Terrorists, Cowards, Tinubu talks tough

President Bola Tinubu says Individuals involved in Kidnapping of innocent Citizens must be treated as Terrorists.

Tinubu, at a Ramadan Dinner with Members of the Federal Judiciary, also condemned the reprehensible acts perpetrated by Kidnappers across the Country

Hosting the Judicial Officers, led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Olukayode Ariwoola, the President reiterated Government’s resolve to defeat Banditry.

The Dinner was attended by Serving and Retired Judicial Officers, including two former CJNs, Justice Mahmud Mohammed and Justice Walter Onnoghen.

He said that those who resorted to kidnapping Children are Cowards, incapable of confronting the might of the Nigerian Armed Forces.

‘’We must treat Kidnappers as Terrorists. They are cowardly. They have been degraded. They look for soft targets. They go to Schools and kidnap Children and cause disaffection.

“We must treat them equally as Terrorists in order to get rid of them, and I promise you we will get rid of them,’’ the President said.

On the review of Salaries of Judicial Officers, Tinubu pledged that his Administration would continue to implement necessary Reforms to improve the Welfare and Working Conditions of Judicial Officers.

‘’I recognise that the Judiciary has one of the most unrewarded Responsibilities. They are yet to modernise Equipment and Recordkeeping, and their progress towards improvement is slow.

‘’When you look at the Career path of a Judicial Officer, they cannot practice the Vocation for which they were trained after Retirement.

‘’While the Framers of the Law may have their reasons, I perceive this differently and see this from a fair Compensation angle that should benefit all,’’ the President said.

Tinubu expressed gratitude to the Judiciary for its dedicated Service to the Nation, acknowledging its role in upholding the respectability of the Judicial Arm of Government.

“We will continue to support one another and bring Nigeria to that glorious dawn,’’ the President stated.

Responding, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ariwoola, commended the President for hosting Judicial Officers to a Ramadan Dinner, his commitment to Judicial Reforms, and for improving the Welfare of Judicial Officers.

“May the Lord continue to bless you and your Administration. Let your Ship land and berth beautifully. We shall continue to pray for your Administration because there are many good things in the pipeline for Nigerians,” he said.

Ariwoola commended the Administration for achieving an unprecedented milestone by appointing a full complement of 21 Justices to the Supreme Court.

Lateef Fagbemi, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, expressed gratitude to the President for forwarding the Executive Bill, Titled, “Judicial Office Holders, Salaries and Allowances, etc, Bill 2024” to the National Assembly.

Highlighting the stagnant State of Judges’ Salaries and Emoluments since 2007, Fagbemi commended the President’s courage, determination, and compassion in taking the decisive action.

‘’It takes a man with a great heart, determination, and consideration to do what the President did. More than 300.3 per cent salary increase has been given to the Judges. The President has done his own part, never mind that the Bill is still with the National Assembly.

‘’In my short stay as the Attorney-General, I have come to observe that anything that concerns the Judiciary, you are very much interested in it, and I thank you for your abiding interest in the Judiciary,’’ he said. 

 

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26-Mar-2024 Nigeria goes after escapee Binance's 'Big Man'

Nigeria goes after escapee Binance's 'Big Man'

The Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) has confirmed the escape from Lawful Custody of Nadeem Anjarwalla, a Suspect in the ongoing Criminal Probe into the activities of Binance, a Cryptocurrency Exchange Company.

Zakari Mijinyawa, Head, Strategic Communication, ONSA, said in a Statement on Monday in Abuja, that Anjarwalla escaped on Friday.

Mijinyawa however said ONSA has taken immediate steps in conjunction with relevant Security Organisations, Ministries, Departments and Agencies, as well as the International Community to apprehend the Suspect.

He said the Security Agencies were also working with Interpol for an international Arrest Warrant on the Suspect.

According to him, preliminary Investigation shows that Anjarwalla fled Nigeria using a smuggled Passport.

The ONSA Spokesman said that the Personnel responsible for the Custody of the Suspect had been arrested as Investigation continues to unravel the circumstances behind his escape.

Mijinyawa said the Nigerian Government, like others round the World, has been investigating Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Transactions perpetrated on the Binance Currency Exchange Platform.

Anjarwalla, who holds British and Kenyan Passports, is Binance’s Africa Regional Manager and has been under a 14-day Remand Order by a Court in Nigeria.

”He was scheduled to appear before the Court again on April 4.

”We urge the Nigerian Public and the International Community to provide whatever Information they have that can assist Law Enforcement Agencies apprehend the Suspect,” he added. 

 

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26-Mar-2024 NCC slams Criminal Charges against MTN, others for Copyright Infringement

NCC slams Criminal Charges against MTN, others for Copyright Infringement

The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), has filed criminal charges against MTN Nigeria Communications Limited and four others over alleged Copyright infringement.

The charge with Number FHC/ABJ/CR/111/2024 filed in the Federal High Court, Abuja Division was obtained by by Journalists on Monday.

The four other Defendants in the case are; Karl Toriola, the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria,  Nkeakam Abhulimen, Fun Mobile Limited and Yahaya Maibe.

In the Three-Count Charge, NCC alleged that the Defendants, between 2010 and 2017 “offered for sale, sold and traded for Business’’, Infringed Musical Works of an Artist, Maleke Idowu Moye without his consent and authorisation.

The Commission alleged that the Defendants used Musical Works and Sound Recordings of Maleke with Subsisting Copyright, as Caller Ring Back Tunes, without the authorisation of the Artiste.

The Musical Works and Sound Recordings of the Musician allegedly infringed upon included; 911, Minimini-Wanawana, Stop Racism, Ewole, 911 Instrumental, Radio, Low Waist, and No Bother.

The Defendants were also alleged to have distributed the Musical Works to their Subscribers, without authorisation, thereby, infringing on the Rights of the Artiste.

In the Third Count, the Defendant were alleged to have in their possession, other than for their Private or Domestic Use, the Musical Works and Sound Recordings of the Artiste.

According to NCC, the alleged offences are contrary to and punishable under Section 20 (2) (a) (b) and (c) of the Copyright Act, Cap. C28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

The case is yet to be assigned to any Judge and no date has been fixed for Mention. 

 

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26-Mar-2024 We did not pay a dime for the release of abducted Children, says FG

We did not pay a dime for the release of abducted Children, says FG

Federal Government did not pay ransom to secure the release of Children abducted in Sokoto and Kaduna States earlier in March, Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, said on Monday in Abuja.

He said at the end of a Federal Executive Council Meeting that President Bola Tinubu had made it clear that no ransom should be paid to Bandits and Kidnappers so as not to encourage them.

The Minister reassured that the Children had been reunited with their families safely and in good health as directed by the President.

He said that Tinubu had also challenged Security Agencies to ensure that abductions and kidnappings were brought to an end in Nigeria.

Idris said Government was prepared to work with those ready to give advice that could end the dastardly acts, but would not spare those found complicit.

“Mr President and Cabinet Members are happy to note that as promised, the Children were rescued and reunited with their Families and no ransom was paid.

“The Federal Executive Council and Mr President are very grateful to, especially the National Security Adviser, Service Chiefs and Security Agents who participated diligently in ensuring that this kidnapped Children are reunited with their Families.

“Government is determined to protect the Lives and Property of Nigerians. Mr President has also charged Security Agencies to ensure that these kidnappings are brought to a halt finally in this Country,’’ Idris said.

He added that Tinubu had charged Cabinet Members and other Government Functionaries to fast-tract the delivery of Government’s Relief Programmes such as the Consumer Credit Scheme, Students Loans and other Social Programmes.

In his remarks, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun said the President had approved the setting up of an Economic Management Team Task Force.

The Team would work for six months on Economic Revitalisation Programmes of the Administration, he said.

Edun said Nigeria was already getting offers of Euro Bond to finance Government Programmes, but no decision had been made on the offer.

 

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25-Mar-2024 Tinubu: Birthday Celebrations? No, not for me 'at this time'

Tinubu: Birthday Celebrations? No, not for me 'at this time'

President Bola Tinubu has said he would dedicate his 72nd Birthday to the task of building a more stable, secure, prosperous and united Nigeria.

He also asked Friends and Associates wishing to celebrate him to donate such monies to Charity Organisations of their choice in his name, instead of placing Adverts in Newspapers or Radios.

A Statement by Bayo Onanuga, Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, said that Tinubu would mark his Birthday on Friday, March 29.

“During an auspicious occasion as this, it is customary for Family Members, Friends and Associates to celebrate him in different ways.

“President Tinubu, in deference to this challenging time, said he will not host any Birthday Event and does not want any of his Associates and numerous Well-Wishers to organise any Celebratory Event on his behalf or in his name.

“President Tinubu appreciates the honour of being the Leader of Africa’s Leading Nation at this time and he is working very hard to make life better for the generality of our People,” Onanuga said.

He said that the manner of Celebration was the President’s responsiveness to the present mood of the Nation and recent killing of Officers and Men of the Army and Police in Delta.

He said that it was also due to the recent spate of Security breaches by Criminal Elements in different parts of Nigeria.

“There should be no form of Birthday Event and placing of Birthday Goodwill Advertorial Messages in Newspapers. Goodwill messages should not be placed on Radio and Television Stations too.”

 

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24-Mar-2024 Tinubu promises safe, secure Schools, not 'Lairs for abductions'

Tinubu promises safe, secure Schools, not 'Lairs for abductions'

President Bola Tinubu has assured Nigerians that his Administration will ensure that Schools become safer and secure for teaching and learning.

This is stated in a Statement by Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, on Sunday in Abuja.

Ngelale said that the President reiterated the pledge when he received the news of the release of the Kuriga Schoolchildren in Kaduna State.

Bandits on March 7 abducted 287 Pupils and Teachers at Local Government Education Authority Teachers Primary School, Kuriga, in Chikun Local Government Area of the State.

The Bandits had on Tuesday demanded for N1bn Ransom for the release of the Children through a Contact.

Security Agencies have, however, been on their heels since Tinubu directed the immediate release of the Victims safe and without any Ransom.

The President emphasised the importance of Collaboration between the Federal Government and States for expected outcomes, especially on Matters of Security.

Tinubu commended the National Security Adviser, the Security Agencies, and the Kaduna State Government for the dispatch and diligence with which they handled the situation.

He noted that urgency, meticulous attention and tireless dedication are critical to optimal outcomes in Cases of mass abductions.

“President Tinubu also welcomes the release of Pupils of a Tsangaya School in Sokoto State, commending all the Parties to the feat for their valiant effort.

“The President assures Nigerians that his Administration is deploying detailed strategies to ensure that our Schools remain safe Sanctuaries of learning, not Lairs for wanton abductions,” Ngelale said. 

 

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24-Mar-2024 Let me as your Wife be a Signatory to your Overseas Account with $1.3bn, Mohammed laments danger of Fake News

Let me as your Wife be a Signatory to your Overseas Account with $1.3bn, Mohammed laments danger of Fake News

Lai Mohammed, immediate past Minister of Information and National Orientation, has recounted how Fake News peddled on Social Media almost crashed his 40-year old Marriage.

 

The ex-Minister gave the account in Lagos at an Event to commemorate the 90th Birthday Anniversary of Wole Soyinka, Africa’s First Nobel Laureate for Literature.

 

The Text of Mohammed presentation at the Event, on the Topic, “The Media in the Age of Disinformation”, was made available to Journalists on Saturday.

 

Mohammed, the Managing Partner of Bruit Costard, a Lobbyist and Public Relations Firm, recalled that one of the pressing challenges he faced in Office as Minister was  the spate of Fake News, Misinformation and Disinformation.

 

Speaking specifically on how the menace almost ruined his Marriage, Mohammed stressed that the consequences of Fake News, Disinformation and Misinformation were far-reaching.

 

“Permit me to share publicly with you today for the first time, how Social Media threatened the Foundation of my 40-year-old Marriage.

 

“It was sometimes in 2018 when I came to Lagos from Abuja for an Official Assignment.

 

“As usual, I retire to bed about midnight, but about 3 a. m., my Wife gently roused me from my slumber.

“At first, I panicked, fearing that there had been a Security breach, but my Wife’s mien belied that possibility, for she was calm and composed,” the Ex-Minister said.

 

He continued: “Solemnly, my Wife asked me if I was fully awake as there were some serious issues to discuss.

 

“I could not fathom what was that urgent or serious to warrant being woken up at this time of the night.

 

“My mind immediately did a kaleidoscope of my rascalities and escapades in the last few months”.

 

Mohammed said that the accusation from his Wife was “a bombshell” and was narrated to him in Yoruba Language.

He presented the narration as follows:

 

“Daddy, death can come knocking at any moment, please let me also, as your Wife, be a Signatory to your Overseas Account in Ali Financial which contains $1.3bn.”

 

The former Minister said he could not believe that his Wife could take, hook, line, and sinker the Fake Story in circulation crediting humongous sums of money in Overseas Accounts to Government Functionaries/Ministers under former President Muhammadu Buhari Administration.

 

“I spent the next two hours or so, sweating to convince my Wife that there is no iota of truth in the allegation.

“I had to fetch a Calculator and reproduce the Federal Appropriation Act for 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 in the middle of the night and explain to her why it is simply preposterous for me to have $1.3bn in a Foreign Account.

 

“I explained to her that there is no year my Capital Budget exceeded N5bn, which  then, at about N400 to a Dollar, was just $12.5m.

 

“I explained that, even if I managed to divert every Kobo of it to my Personal Account, it will take at least, 104 years to save the sum of $1.3bn being peddled that I stole,” he said.

 

Mohammed added: “My Wife insisted that the whole World believed the Story and that her Friends had, as a result, besieged her with all kinds of requests.

 

“She said every effort on her part to deny the existence of this Foreign Account only succeeded in depicting her in the Minds of her Friends as a selfish, greedy and uncaring Friend.

 

“Is my Wife truly convinced of my innocence? The answer is in the wind!.“

 

Mohammed reiterated that Social Media remained the Platforms of choice for the Purveyors of Fake News, Anti-State Groups, Anarchists, Secessionists, Terrorists and Bandits.

 

He recalled that while in Government, his Ministry uncovered 476 Online Publications that were dedicated to spreading Fake News against the former Administration of Buhari.

 

Mohammed specifically recalled the Fake News that the former President had died while receiving treatment in a London Hospital and was replaced by a clone called “Jubril from Sudan”.

 

According to him,  the challenge of Fake News continued up to the Campaigns leading to the 2023 General Elections where President Bola Tinubu became a target, when Videos and Speeches attributed to him were manipulated and distorted.

 

He said the Purveyors of Fake News were relentless in their efforts to de-market the laudable Policies and Programmes of the Tinubu Administration.