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Oye Protest: Ekiti Govt visits, condoles with families of slain students

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THE Ekiti State government has commiserated with the families of Joseph Okunofua and Kehinde Dada, students of the Federal University, Oye Ekiti, FUOYE, who lost their lives during Tuesday’s protest in Oye-Ekiti.

The government delegation comprising the Secretary to the State Government, Biodun

Oyebanji; Chief of Staff to the Governor, Biodun Omoleye; Commissioner for Women

Affairs and Social development, Moji Fafure; Commissioner for Environment,

Gbenga Ageyo; lawmaker representing Ido/Osi 1 at the State Assembly, Abiodun Fawekun,

and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs, Dr (Mrs) Enuice Oladimeji, visited the

two families in Ido-Ekiti and Usi–Ekiti on Friday afternoon.

The delegation led by Oyebanji visited Mrs Esther Okunofua, mother of Joseph, who was

a 300 level student of Biology Education in Ido -Ekiti and Mr and Mrs Adedayo Dada,

parents of Kehinde Dada in Usi Ekiti.

Oyebanji said the visit was at the instance the State Governor, Kayode Fayemi; who was

saddened by the unfortunate incident, adding that the visit was to demonstrate that the

state government share in their grief and to encourage them during the trying period.

“On the instruction of the governor, delegation of the government is here to condole with the families that lost their loved ones during the unfortunate incident that happened in Oye Ekiti. We are here to commiserate, encourage them

to take heart and to assure them that government is with them in this trying period,”

Oyebanji said.

The Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Moji Fafure, who also spoke

with the parents in Yoruba language urged the parents of the deceased to take solace in the

word of God as no amount of counselling can fill the vacuum created by the irreparable loss.

She also prayed for the families.

“The Governor and his wife sent their condolence messages. They share in your grief over the

unfortunate incident and they prayed that God in His mercies will not allow a reoccurrence.

The loss is painful but it is our prayer that the Almighty God will keep your remaining children safe. Never again will you bury any of your children,” she said.

At the resident of the late Kehinde Dada, the deceased’s elder brother, Bankole Dada thanked

the government delegation for sharing in their grief.

– Sept. 14, 2019 @ 12:35 GMT |

Air Peace chairman, a worthy Ambassador, say Ihiala LGA leaders

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THE leaders of Ihiala LGA of Anambra state have commended  the Chairman of Air Peace, Chief Allen Onyema, for lifting 187 Nigerians from South Africa.

In a letter to Onyema, the leaders described him as one of the greatest ambassadors of the local government area ever.

The signed by the member representing the Ihiala Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Ifeanyi Momah; the member representing Ihiala 1 in the Anambra State House of Assembly, Chidi Udemmadu; the Transition Chairman of the LGA, Greg Okafor; and Chairman of the Anambra South Senatorial Council of Traditional Rulers, Igwe Emmanuel Nnabuife, who is also Traditional Ruler of Isseke in Ihiala LGA, the leaders observed that Chief Onyema’s commitment to a life of public good has brought so much goodwill and honour to the people of his local government area.

“The large number of Nigerians he touches their lives daily pray for not just him, but also his people.

`We note in particular the lifting of 187 Nigerians stranded in South Africa in the face of renewed xenophobic siege free of charge last Wednesday night.

“It  is, therefore, with immense joy that we congratulate our outstanding son, the founder and Chairman of Nigeria’s biggest airline Air Peace, Chief Allen Onyema, for selflessly undertaking the unprecedented patriotic duty of bringing back free-of-charge Nigerians facing death in South Africa,

“His love for humanity stands him out as an uncommon Nigerian leader and patriot. He is without question a farsighted entrepreneur Nigerian who has over the years been working quietly to assist all kinds of people, particularly the needy,’’ ’’ they said.

They recalled that it was in recognition of his “profound commitment to the common good that all 10 towns in our local government came together four years ago to bestow on Chief Onyema the prestigious title of Ide (Pillar) of Ihiala LGA.

“He has more than lived up to the billing ever since, as he trains thousands of our people in schools in Nigeria and abroad, employs our people in massive numbers, sets up businesses for them and pays medical bills of a good number and assists some to build houses.

“In spite of his wealth which he uses generously for the benefit of people without regard to gender, language, religion or ethnicity, Chief Onyema, a successful lawyer in his own right, remains humble and easily approachable.

“He socialises with the mighty and the downtrodden, dining with the poor and dancing with villagers at local meetings. He participates actively in local functions where he frequently admonishes the young never to give up despite the vicissitudes of life.

“It is common to see our dear Ide at the airports, personally attending to customers, selling tickets to them and carrying their luggage.

“Even on the aircraft, he often stays quietly in the economy class,’’ they added.

The Ihiala LGA leaders recalled the powerful emotions which overwhelmed the Air Peace founder when he met the 187 Nigerians, who escaped from xenophobic attacks on landing at Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos on Wednesday.

According to Chief Onyema, I wept when Nigerians sang the National Anthem on their return from South Africa. I put together not less N280 million in order to bring these people back.

“Air Peace decided to bring them free of charge. Nobody paid us a dime, we decided to do it free of charge for our country and for our people.

“When I stepped inside the aircraft to welcome them, they mobbed me and started singing the Nigerian national anthem. There was nobody there singing about separation. They felt proud to be Nigerians. They rose in unison. That drew tears from me,’’ he said.

Calling Chief Onyema a pan-Nigerian pathfinder, the Ihiala LGA leaders asked other wealthy Nigerians to learn the virtues of solidarity and selflessness from the Air Peace chairman.

They added: “We will like to use this opportunity to align ourselves with the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, who has been calling on the Federal Government to make Air Peace the Nigerian national flag carrier.

“With some 40 aircraft in only five years, the airline has earned its place in history.’’

– Sept. 14, 2019 @ 12:35 GMT |

Alleged N6.2bn Fraud: Jang’s counsel disowns colleague in Court

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THERE was a mild drama at the continuation of the trial of a former governor of Plateau

State, Jonah Jang, on September 13, 2019 as his counsel, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, disowned

another defence counsel, over the line of questioning.

Jang is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC,

alongside Yusuf Pam, a cashier at the Office of the Secretary to the State Government,

SSG, for an alleged N6.2 billion fraud.

S.A. Oguntiyi, counsel for Pam, had while cross-examining the 11th prosecution witness,

Musa Sunday, an operative of the EFCC, queried the testimony of the witness, with regards to

monies paid to Jang.

While examining Exhibit P25, the account statement of the Office of the Secretary to the

State Government, OSSG, and Exhibit P28, the personal account statement of Jang,

Oguntiyi, had asked Sunday, “if there was anywhere that N500,000 was withdrawn on

March 30, 2015 from OSSG to Project One Account.”

Replying, Sunday, however, revealed more of the findings while investigating the alleged

fraud.

He said: “Although there was no withdrawal from the OSSG account, a cash deposit of

N500,000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) by the second defendant was seen on that

particular day.

“In the course of investigations, during one of the interrogations with the team of EFCC

detectives, the second defendant said the sum of N500,000 was a thank you gift and could

not be accountable for.

“In the statement, dated January 16, 2017 made by Pam, he had, however, denied any receipt

of any financial benefits from the Plateau State Government except salaries as a civil servant

which was less than N80,000 monthly; so where then did he get cash of N500,000?

“Not only the N500,000, the second defendant during the interview had disclosed that there

were several other monetary gifts passed to him by Jang. Moreover, more monies were seen

amounting to N71 million in Pam’s personal account statement, Exhibit P28.

“The charges against Pam were not exclusive, but based on what the legal team of the EFCC

considered appropriate and as a civil servant there was no other source of income accrued to

the second defendant, who is unable to prove the source of N71 million in less than four years.

“Sometimes allowances are paid in cash by the second defendant to officials of the Plateau State House of Assembly and such allowances can be over N1 million cash and in no particular order for sitting allowance, furniture allowance, domestic staff allowance, security allowance, and so on as sighted in the statement from Francis Bot, former Chief of Staff to the first defendant.”

At this point, however, Ozehome, rose up and expressed dismay at the line of questioning of

Oguntiyi, and promptly disowned him.

He said: “I urge the judge to dismiss this line of questioning as it only further supports the

investigation made by the EFCC and we are washing our hands off this mediocrity.

“If the documents are there why are you simply beating about the bush for hours on end?

“For lack of a better word, the judge must conclude the judgment on this case before his

retirement by ending 2019. We do not want to embark on a de novo.

“At this point we (the counsel for the first defendant) disassociate ourselves from this line of

questioning during cross-examination by the second defendant.”

Afterwards, counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, informed the court that he had wanted

to present the 12th prosecution witness, “but due to the listlessness and lack of valid substance

that the defence counsel took so much time, it is unfortunate that the witness may have to

appear at another trial date”.

However, Oguntiyi pressed on with his cross-examination, asking the witness if there were

Closed Circuit Television, CCTV Cameras, at the Government House, and whether there was

an investigation report on the case, wherein findings and recommendations were contained.

Responding, Sunday simply said: “The question about CCTV cameras cannot be answered by

me, but the officials of the Plateau State Government House,” adding that, “there was a

comprehensive investigation report, however, this is highly confidential and restricted for

the EFCC perusal.”

Justice Longji, thereafter, cautioned the counsel, noting that the questions being asked, were

mostly repetitions, and not necessary, wondering what Oguntiyi was trying to establish.

Continuing with the cross-examination, Oguntiyi thereafter inquired from the witness, if he

was aware that the N10 million found in the account of Pam, was a pay-off for his late

wife.

Expressing dismay, Sunday noted that he was hearing that for the first time, adding that:

“All the findings, supporting documents, including the memos requesting for the alleged

monies, the statement of account are before this honourable court as exhibit.

“And noting from EFCC records, between May 3, 2015 and April 11, 2015 Jang diverted

sum of monies amounting to N1.5 billion for the governorship and presidential elections.”

Judge Longji subsequently adjourned to September 30, 2019 for the defence team to close the

cross-examination of the witness and continuation of trial.

– Sept. 14, 2019 @ 12:35 GMT |

Anambra Govt partners Igbo union in Belgium on medical mission

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THE Anambra State Commissioner for Health, Vincent Okpala, says the state will continue to partner Igbo union in Belgium in providing quality healthcare service delivery in the state.

Okpala said this during a visit to Enugwu-Ukwu General Hospital, Njikoka Local Government Area, LGA, to monitor the free medical treatment on patients by a team of Belgian doctors on medical outreach.

The team had commenced a two-week free medical services sponsored by Igbo indigenes based in Belgium.

The commissioner commended the union for attracting the Belgian Doctors to offer free medical services to Anambra people.

He said he was elated over the union’s determination, commitment to ensure that the medical outreach was successful.

“It is a thing of joy and exciting to see you people in Anambra. I must say that Igbo spirit keeps running supreme anywhere you are in the world.

“You keep thinking of your home; that defines an Igboman, I must commend you for continued partnership.

“Having our brothers here, coming together organising our people in Belgium and thinking about what they can give and they think about our great state.

“I know it must have been a lot of struggle to do this. I don’t think it’s because they have a lot, but because of the spirit of giving in you.

“We are very thankful to what you have done here. This is in line with the vision of Gov. Willie Obiano’s administration that is doing a lot in the health sector of the state,’’ he said.

The commissioner urged them to feel at home, that the state government would provide enabling environment for the medical team to have a good stay.

Okpala urged others in the Diaspora to borrow a leaf from this group and enjoined to key into the new Health Insurance Scheme of the state government.

He pleaded with them to adopt people in their communities into the health insurance scheme so that they would be provided sustainable healthcare interventions.

Ezeigbo, Igbo Union, Belgium, Eme-Owen Okechukwu, said the union decided to give back to the society starting with Anambra while other states would follow later.

Okechukwu said they were in the state to support and to complement the good works of Gov. Obiano, especially in the health sector.

Dr. Pol Collens, a General Practitioner from Belgium, said he was impressed at the warm reception accorded them by Ndi Anambra.

He assured that two of the doctors would stay back to monitor the progress of recovery of those that had undergone surgery.

Esther Ojiula, a beneficiary of the free service, affirmed that she did not pay anything for all the services she received.

She thanked the group for organising the outreach services, which helped those that could not afford medical bills to access quality healthcare.

– Sept. 14, 2019 @ 12:35 GMT |

African Development Bank launches US$ 2 billion 1.625% Global Benchmark due 16 September 2022

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THE African Development Bank, rated Aaa/AAA/AAA (Moody’s/S&P/Fitch, all stable), has launched and priced a $2-billion 3-year Global Benchmark bond due 16 September 2022, its first US$ benchmark of the year.

Launched on September 11, the bond issue is the Bank’s second Global Benchmark of 2019, following a EUR 1 billion 10-year priced in March 2019. With this transaction, the Bank has now raised US$ 4.4 billion in 2019 to date and executed 61% of its borrowing programme for the year.

The transaction received strong support from investors globally, with order books reaching $ 2.8 billion and 53 investors participating. The high quality of the order book is illustrated by the strong participation of Central Banks and Official Institutions, taking 64% of the allocations.

The African Development Bank decided to take advantage of favourable investor sentiment post summer break to access the 3-year tenor, in spite of volatile market conditions ahead of the Fed Meeting the following week. The mandate was announced on Tuesday, September 10, at 12:00 London time with Initial Pricing Thoughts of Mid-Swaps + 13 basis points (bps) area.

The transaction met strong interest from the outset, with Indications of Interest in excess of US$ 1.8 billion (excluding Joint-Lead Managers interest) when order books officially opened at 08:00 London time the following morning, with initial price guidance of Mid-Swaps + 13bps area.

Momentum continued throughout the European morning, with orders in excess of US$ 2.5 billion around 11:20 London time. At this time, final pricing was set at Mid-Swaps + 13bps. Following the close of the order book in the US, the size of the transaction was set at US$ 2 billion by 14:20 London time.

The transaction was priced at 16:24 London time with a re-offer yield of 1.679%, equivalent to a spread of 8.75bps vs UST 1.5% 15 September 2022, the issuer’s tightest print vs US Treasuries to date.

“We are delighted with this successful dollar Global Benchmark, and particularly pleased by both the very high quality of the order book and the solid participation of African Central Banks. The African Development Bank achieved its tightest ever spread to US Treasuries, and we are grateful to our investors across the world for this outcome, and the financing it will bring to the African continent.”

– Sept. 14, 2019 @ 12:15 GMT |

Nigerian Maritime reforms to encourage Foreign Direct Investment – Dakuku

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THE Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside, says that the policies of the Federal Government of Nigeria in the maritime industry are targeted at encouraging Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, into the sector.

Addressing delegates at the West African Shipping Summit, a side event of the ongoing London International Shipping Week, Dakuku disclosed that Nigeria was to set up an International Maritime Arbitration Centre in Lagos.

This, he explained, is to facilitate the timely resolution of disputes within the Gulf of Guinea area and significantly reduce ­the current trend where maritime players in the region head to London, Dubai or Singapore for arbitration on maritime issues.

He assured his audience, which included key players in the global maritime industry, that the reforms in the Nigerian maritime sector were opening up vast opportunities in the industry and invited investors to take advantage of them.

“I believe that the Nigerian maritime environment has the largest potential. With a population of about 200 million, which represents over half of the entire population of West Africa, potential in shipbuilding and ship repair are available.

“In the next five years, vessels built outside Nigeria will not be allowed to participate in Cabotage trade. So you are all invited to come and invest in the shipbuilding and ship repair industry in Nigeria,” he said.

Dakuku also disclosed that the Nigerian Ship registry was being reformed to make it more attractive by having provisions for both national and international players.

“We are also reforming the Nigerian ship registry. The bigger picture is that over time, we are going to have dual ship registry, which will effectively take care of national interest and international interest. It will make it more dynamic, more responsive and it will be one of the most business-friendly registries in the world,” he said.

On his part, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ette-Ibas, who was represented at the event by the Chief of Policy and Plans of the Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral Begroy Enyinna Ibe-Enwo, noted that the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Act recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari will surely curtail the activities of criminals on Nigerian waters.

“The anti-piracy bill signed by President Buhari will surely curtail the excesses of syndicates who profit from sponsoring criminalities in the Gulf of Guinea,” he said.

Ette-Ibas also declared that Nigerian waters were safe for investment and regional collaboration among navies in the region, saying the Yaoundé 2013 declaration has greatly enhanced patrol of the entire maritime domain in the Gulf of Guinea. He pointed to the steady decline of incidents of piracy in Nigerian waters over the past four years as a confirmation that Nigerian waters are safe for business.

CEO of the African Risk Compliance Limited, Micheal Wingtage, who said he was conversant with the Nigerian maritime domain, noted that the challenge of information management concerning security in the Gulf of Guinea was real.

Wingtage said, “Not all of Nigerian waters are unsafe. The challenges are there but in most cases it’s exaggerated, thus, creating a myth of insecurity. So much has been done by Nigerian government and the international community needs to appreciate this.”

Akabogu Law organised the West African Shipping Summit, in partnership with the London International Shipping Week, and it was attended by stakeholders from different countries.

– Sept. 14, 2019 @ 12:15 GMT |

Sanwo-Olu calls for collective efforts to tackle climate change

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GOV. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State on Friday called for collective efforts of stakeholders in tackling the issue of climate change.

Sanwo-Olu, represented by his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, made the call at the 6th Memorial Lecture in honour of late Dr. Olusegun Agagu.

The lecture took place at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island in Lagos.

He said that population migration was one of the key consequences of climate change, with a devastating effect on human beings.

“With a state like Lagos where the population rises by the minute due to the migration of people all over, the need to checkmate the effects of climate change is imperative.

“Increasing deforestation and excessive heat, especially in the northern hemisphere, is among the key consequences of climate change.

“This has continuously had devastating effect on the people’s means of livelihood, especially farming,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu said that there must be synergy between government and stakeholders in order to tackle the problem of climate change.

He said that with the persistent rainfall experienced in the state, all hands must be on deck to avert the devastating effects of flooding.

“We need to unite and solve the environmental challenges that stand as obstacles to socioeconomic development, which leads to population migration from one location to another,” he said

Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former Commonwealth Secretary General, in his welcome remarks, saidAgagu was an outstanding scholar, a patriotic administrator and a diligent public servant.

Dr. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, former President of the Republic of Mauritius, in her keynote address, said that climate change was the most threatening disaster which had caused the global community about two trillion dollars.

Gurib-Fakim said that the present generation must act boldly and swiftly in fighting the effects of climate change.

“Africa has been described as the continent which will mostly bear the brunt of the effect of climate change if swift action is not taken.

“Therefore, governments of the countries must work together to solve its effects by reducing emission by 40% and tackle the challenges of global warming,” she said.

Prof. Oye Ibidapo-Obe, a guest speaker, said as a result of climate change, there would be adverse effects on economy, food security, energy and infrastructure.

This, he said, will expectedly trigger change in population movement.

Ibidapo-Obe said to solve the problems of climate change and environmental degradation,  alternative sources of energy should be considered.

“It should be developed to reduce the risk of hydrocarbon.

“Government should invest more in education and health system,” he said.

NAN reports that Agagu was born in Okitipupa, Ondo State in 1948 and until his death, was a geological consultant.

He was the Deputy Gov. of Ondo State between January 1992 and November 1993, and later became the Governor from May 2003 to February 2009.

Agagu also served as a minister in the Federal cabinet and died at the age of 65

NAN

– Sept. 14, 2019 @ 12:15 GMT |

LASG seeks support on women empowerment

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THE Lagos State Government has called on the private sector, well-meaning individuals and organisations to support initiatives and ideas targeted at empowering women and young persons.

The Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs Bolaji Dada, made the call at a workshop on Personal Home Shopping Business for beginners.

The workshop was organised by Easy Shop Easy Cook Services Ltd, according to a statement issued in Ikeja on Friday.

Dada was represented at the event by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs Oluyemi Kalesanwo.

She said that such support was vital to the development of entrepreneurial initiatives among women in every sector.

Dada said that there was the need to engage women in profitable ventures.

The commissioner said that the workshop was aimed at providing training and mentorship to some 200 women on personal home shopping business, wealth creation, financial inclusion and job creation.

She urged the beneficiaries of the empowerment initiative to tap from the opportunities to engage in profitable ventures.

Dada said that this would enable them contribute to the socio-economic progress of the society.

She said that the state government had various empowerment initiatives and had a few days ago, flagged off a four-week, short term, skills acquisition training programme for some selected women.

”The four weeks, short term, skills acquisition training programme was for faith-based/cultural women organisations – Ansar-Ud-Deen women faithful, 1004 Anglican Community, Federation of Muslim women and Women from the Eastern part of the country,” she said.

The Commissioner also said that the ministry had skills acquisition programmes wherein women and young persons were trained and empowered in skills such as textile design, hairdressing and barbing.

She said that they were also trained and empowered on cosmetology, photography, shoe and leather works, fashion design, interior decoration, Ankara craft, among other skills.

Dada called on women, particularly those out of job, to avail themselves of the opportunity of learning and acquiring any of the identified skills free of charge.

NAN

– Sept. 14, 2019 @ 12:15 GMT |

Fashola says investment in human capital development crucial to poverty reduction

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WORKS and housing minister Babatunde Fashola has said that massive investment in human capital development was “very crucial” to poverty reduction.

“It is important to invest in the development of personnel; there are competing demands for government’s limited resources, but we shall continue to pay special attention to human capital development,” Fashola said on Friday.

He spoke shortly after an inspection tour of the Electrical/Mechanical Training School, a training arm of the ministry located in Kuje, Abuja.

“We need to improve on the standards; we must acknowledge the vision of those who started this training school. Our desire is to improve it and maximise its potential.

“I think it is instructive that the interaction with the students is very fulfilling and revealing. They are learning new skills and human capacity development is being enhanced.

“People who have no jobs are also acquiring skills; people who have skills are certainly on their way out of poverty without a doubt.

“The more you know, the more skills you have, the better you will be; the more employment skills you will present if you are interviewed for a new job, the better you are if you are running your own business’’ Fashola said.

He added that apart from self-improvement, there was the potential benefit to the public service because the trainees would be better and more committed officers when they return to their offices.

On his observations after the inspection of the school facilities, the minister said that there was need to commit more resources to the school to improve its output.

“The quality of the learning environment is very important, so our directors, who are their supervisors, have taken note; we have also heard from the students who have demanded for more classroom space.

“So, we will deal with that, the Minister of State, Mr Abubakar Aliyu and I have had a little conversation, so he will see all of these places now in terms of the professional knowledge.

“The minister will help us to articulate what our standard workshop and standard classrooms for technical education engineering services should be.

“The students also said that they needed more learning aids, computers and machines. We will look at all of that and see what is possible within the limited resources of government,” he added.

He, however, advised the officers in charge of the workshops to pay attention to quality and structural integrity in their productions.

Mr Augustine Okwudiafor, Deputy Director, Zonal Workshop, who spoke on the challenges faced by the school, said that the ministry needed to recruit more artisans.

“We don’t have enough artisans because it is the artisans that are the skills men and they are the ones to be trained and they are the ones that do the jobs actually.

“Also, the engineers need more training and funding; with adequate funding, things will improve in the workshops,’’ Okwudiafor said.

On his part, Mr Elijah Idiong, Principal of the school, said that much was needed to improve the school, and expressed optimistic that the minister’s visit would impact positively on the school.

NAN reports that the Electrical/Mechanical Training School was established in 2018 to train low level manpower and personnel like drivers and mechanics to enable them have career progression in the civil service.

The school is equipped with workshops stuffed with different equipment such as lathe machines, milling machines, shaping machines, drilling and octagonal machines.

It also has a functional foundry workshop, classrooms, offices and a gymnasium.

NAN

– Sept. 14, 2019 @ 12:15 GMT |

Gov. Masari dissolves Katsina State Pilgrims Welfare Board

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GOV. Aminu Masari of Katsina State has approved the dissolution of the state Pilgrims Welfare Board with immediate effect.

A statement by Mr Ibrahim Kalla, the Special Assistant to the Deputy Governor, disclosed this on Friday in Katsina.

Masari directed the Executive Director of the board, Alhaji Muhammad Abu-Rimi, to handover the affairs of the board to the most senior Director in the board who would oversee the affairs of the board pending the appointment of a new Executive Director.

The governor appreciated the contributions of the Executive Director, Chairman of the board and other members of the board.

He wished them success in their future endeavors.

No reason was, however, given by the state government for the dissolution of the board.

NAN

– Sept. 14, 2019 @ 12:15 GMT |

Unilag worker dies after allegedly ingesting snipper

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THE University of Lagos has announced the death of one of its workers,  Mr Sunday Meshioye, aged 36.

In a statement issued on Friday night in Lagos, the university said the late Meshioye took his life, by ingesting a pesticide suspected to be snipper.

It noted that until his death, Meshioye was a transport supervisor attached to the Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences,

“It is indeed with a heavy heart that the management of the university announces the news of the untimely death of Sunday Meshioye.

“He was received as an emergency case at the Medical Centre of the university on Tuesday Sept. 10, where it was discovered and reported that he had ingested the pesticide, ‘Snipper’.

“He was administered first aid treatment before being conveyed in an ambulance to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital,  Idi-Araba,” the university  said.

It said the deceased before his untimely death, had been scheduled for a session with the Counselling Unit of the university.

The university said this was after several reported cases of attempted suicide.

On Tuesday, the deceased appeared before a panel of enquiry set up in accordance with the extant rules of the university to investigate the cause of fire that gutted a bus in his custody, the university said.

“His painful decision to end his life came even before the panel had concluded its investigations, as it had only sat once.

“The Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, on behalf of the entire university community, commiserates with the family of the deceased and prays that God grant the family the fortitude to bear the loss, ” the institution said.

The vice-chancellor had in a bid to check the rampant cases of suicide among the youth, especially students, decentralised the counselling unit of the institution.

Ogundipe had told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in an interview in Lagos that taking the unit to other sections of the university aside the Students’ Affairs Department would facilitate access to counselling.

He said the unit was taken to the Faculty of Education, College of Medicine and other key sections of the university so that students who might be undergoing some form of stress could easily reach out for help by talking to someone.

“Suicide is never the best way out to life’s challenges, seek help, talk to someone about whatever it may be, ” Ogundipe counselled.

NAN

– Sept. 14, 2019 @ 11:15 GMT |

Floods kills at least five in southeast Spain, thousands evacuated

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AT least five people have been killed and some 3,500 evacuated in two days of torrential rains in south-eastern Spain, with many roads, railways and an airport closed on Friday and emergency services rescuing people stuck in flooded highway tunnels.

Floods swept away cars and debris in the regions of Valencia, Murcia and eastern Andalucia.

Motorway tunnels in some areas were flooded almost up to the tunnel lighting, with some vehicles partly or fully submerged.

A man, who had been missing since leaving his home on foot earlier on Friday, was found dead in the village of Redovan in Valencia.

Another was found in Granada province after his car was swept off a motorway and a third man in Almeria, after trying to drive through a flooded tunnel, rescue services said.

Two siblings died on Thursday when torrential rain dragged their car away.

A total of 74 roads were closed, as was the entire Murcia regional railway service, and the Murcia airport.

The railway link between Alicante and Spain’s two main cities – Madrid and Barcelona – was shut, acting Interior Minister, Fernando Grande Marlaska, said calling the floods “a serious tragedy”.

Some affected areas saw record daily rainfall for the month of September and remained flooded throughout Friday.

“The situation is critical, the municipality is full of water,’’ Mario Cervera, Mayor of Alcazares, one of the most affected in Murcia, told Spain’s state-run TVE channel.

Rescue workers, including over 1,500 army troops, were using helicopters and boats in various areas.

“This man was holding onto a traffic sign.

“The officer and I jumped to take him out,’’ one emergency worker told Reuters.

In addition to some 1,500 people evacuated earlier, another 2,000 residents of Santomera in Murcia were removed from their homes pre-emptively due to a controlled release from a local dam to avoid its overflowing, the interior minister said.

“The forecasts are now more positive than around midday.

“We have reports that point to diminishing dangers and risks of further flooding,’’ he told reporters while visiting the affected areas, warning though that residents and authorities had to remain cautious.

Authorities have recommended citizens stay at home in the affected areas and avoid using their cars.

Tourists were left stranded in Alicante airport as many flights were delayed or cancelled.

“We’ve been in the queue here four or five hours, it’s very difficult to get to the toilet, impossible to get anything to eat,’’ Haydn Harding, a 78-year old diabetic tourist from Northern Ireland, said at the airport.

NAN

– Sept. 14, 2019 @ 11:15 GMT |

Center wants Kano state govt. to implement state disability law

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DAVID Anyaele, Executive Director, Centre for Citizens with Disability (CCD) has on called on Kano state government to start implementing the State disability law passed since December 2018.

Anyaele made the call in Kano during a stakeholder’s strategic workshop for People with Disabilities on corruption, Policy formulation and disability law.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, on Dec. 5,2018 signed into law the state’s disability bill, warning parents of children with disabilities to withdraw their children from the streets or be prosecuted.

He said the call has become imperative because the centre is committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure that all persons with disabilities can have full and equal enjoyment of their rights and fundamental freedoms.

Represented by Peace Ndubusi‎, Forcal Officer of the center is sensitising members of different clusters of PWDs on how to resist corruption, reporting any act of corruption have access to the law.

He said the fight has become important because the WHO 2011 World Disability Report indicated that not less than 15 per cent of Nigeria’s population or at least 25 million have a disability.

Anyaele said many of them face a number of human right abuses including stigma, discrimination, violence, and lack of access to healthcare, housing, and education.

He further stated that in view of the abuses CCD was committed to strengthening the capacity of organisations of persons with disabilities in Nigeria to contribute to the fight against corruption in Nigeria. ‎

Anyaele said the law must be implemented because it required State Government and its 44 local governments to provide for disabled persons, adequate standard of living, social protection, employment and empowerment opportunities as well mandating relevant authorities to ensure compliance with the Law.

The CCD Executive Director called on persons with disabilities to join forces with other relevant civil society organisations to stand against corruption through refusal to participate in corrupt practices; refuse to give or take bribe.‎‎

He said that the UK Aid funded programme through Actionaid, hopes to reduce corruption to the barest minimum in Nigeria.‎

‎Earlier, Hajiya Rabi Yusuf, National Women Leader of Joint National Association of Persons with Disability,‎ pledged cooperation with CCD to ensure full implementation of the disability law in Kano State and the National Disability Act

‎She, however, commended the center for organising the workshop and promised to share the knowledge acquired with others.

NAN recalls that Nigeria ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2007 and its Optional Protocol in 2010 and on Jan. 23, 2019 President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018.

NAN

– Sept. 14, 2019 @ 11:15 GMT |

Mugabe to be buried in new mausoleum in October – Mnangagwa

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The coffin of late former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe is put on display during a public funeral parade in Harare, Zimbabwe on Friday
The coffin of late former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe is put on display during a public funeral parade in Harare, Zimbabwe on Friday

A burial for Zimbabwe’s former president, Robert Mugabe, will be held at the National Heroes Acre sometime in October, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Friday.

It was previously agreed that there would be a symbolic burial on Sunday in the hilltop shrine in Harare, reserved for the country’s ruling elite, but family spokesman, Leo Mugabe, told reporters this plan had now been cancelled.

The body will now go to Mugabe’s hometown of Zvimba on Sunday for traditional funeral rituals to be carried out before the burial.

Mugabe will be buried in October after a mausoleum at the National Heroes Acre has been completed, Mnangagwa said.

The confirmation comes after disagreements between the family and the government about where the former leader should be buried.

The family initially said they would prefer to honour Mugabe’s wishes and have him buried next to his mother in his rural home in Kutama, about 85 kilometres from Harare.

They then agreed to the symbolic funeral on Sunday in the hope that the real burial would take place at a later date, giving them time to carry out the traditional rituals.

An official memorial ceremony is planned for Saturday at the 60,000-seater National Sports Stadium with a number of African leaders and former leaders expected to attend.

Mugabe’s body was returned to Zimbabwe on Wednesday from Singapore, where he died at the age of 95.

He had been seeking treatment there for an undisclosed illness since April.

He was deposed in a 2017 coup after nearly four decades in power.

Still revered by some for his fight against white domination as a former liberation fighter, he is widely despised by others who see him as responsible for destroying Zimbabwe’s economy and violently oppressing any opposition.

NAN

– Sept. 14, 2019 @ 11:15 GMT |

Environmentalist calls for policy on tree planting in homes

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AN environmentalist in Kano, Malam Hadi Usman, has called on Kano state government to compel residents to plant trees in their homes as part of measures to fight global warming.

He made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday, saying that the measure would drastically assist in reducing heat resulting from climate change.

He explained that many residents had space and means of planting trees yet they lacked knowledge on the value of doing so.

“But if the government make a policy and embark on serious campaign, people will be left with no choice but to plant trees in their homes and working places,’’ he said.

Kano, he stressed had been amongst many states in the country that had serious ecological problems which effects were felt by the people.

The environmentalist further said that tree planting had remained a solution to many environmental challenges especially global warming, as it trapped the heat emitted from the environment.

Furthermore, he urged the state government to embark on massive awareness campaign and make policies to promote tree planting in homes.

NAN

– Sept. 14, 2019 @ 11:15 GMT |

10 PDP aspirants team up with Wada for victory in Kogi gov poll

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TEN PDP governorship aspirants, who lost the bid for the party’s ticket to contest the Nov. 16 Kogi governorship race, have declared their support for the winner, Mr Musa Wada.

The 10 aspirants, under the aegis of Kogi PDP 2019 G-12, declared their support for Wada at a press briefing held at the party secretariat on Friday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the aspirants who signed the text included Idris Wada, Emmanuel Omebije, Grace Adejoh, Dr Joseph Erico, Alhaji Kabiru Haruna, Adebayo Averehi, Mr Mohammed Tettes, and Aminu Sulaiman.

Others included AVM Salifu Atawodi (rtd), and Victor Adoji, whose signatures were on the list but who were not physically present at the briefing, with Tettes, who read the text, explaining that the duo had traveled out of the country.

“Atawodi and Adoji have traveled out of the country. But before they left, they declared their support for Wada as their preferred candidate,” he said.

NAN reports that the names of two other aspirants – Sen. Dino Melaye and Abubakar Ibrahim – were absent from the list

“We have all resolved to work with Wada in the interest of the party and the people of the state after undertaking a postmortem analysis and empirical review of the Sept. 3 primary election which led to the emergence of Wada as PDP candidate in the State.

“In the course of the review, the two major unforeseen events which nearly cast doubts on the integrity of the exercise were thoroughly considered and evaluated.

“We reviewed the two events – a  heavy downpour and a sudden outbreak of violence and gunshots – and sought advice from relevant professionals and members of PDP, including delegates to the primary.

“After extensive deliberations, the group resolved to accept the decision of the Chairman of the Elections Committee, Gov. Ahmed Fintiri, which produced Wade as PDP candidate.

“As members of the Kogi PDP 2019 G-12, the urgent need for intra-party cohesion and unity of purpose at this critical moment is recognised.

“It is for this reason that the candidacy of Wada is considered worthy of undivided support so that the task of rebuilding Kogi can start in earnest.

“The role of the National Working Committee of our great party, led by Prince Uche Secondus, in positioning the Kogi State chapter for victory in November, is fully acknowledged.

“The Kogi PDP 2019 G-12 is also aware of the various roles that have been played so far by various stakeholders in stabilising the political space in Kogi State.

“While some of these efforts to totally stabilise the party are still in progress, the Kogi PDP 2019 G-12 remains unflinchingly committed to the candidacy of Wada.

“Considering the reconciliation efforts of Wada and his preparedness to actively partner with 2019 PDP aspirants in Kogi State, this group, without reservation, accepts him as a partner in progress in the liberation struggle.

“We accept to work with him in the overall interest of the PDP and Kogi State,” he said.

Tettes notified leaders and coordinators of the various political structures of individual aspirants to forthwith make themselves available as willing ambassadors of PDP across the state and grassroots mobilisers for Wada.

Secondus, while commending the aspirants for their decision, pledged that the party was committed to a free, fair, credible and transparent election.

Secondus, represented by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, said that the people of Kogi were determined to ensure that the PDP emerged victorious during the governorship election.

“Kogi State is the natural home of the PDP; the people are ready and determined to make a
change in this election. The party will support INEC to ensure a free and fair, credible election.

“We are not deterred by all the rumour going around. The reconciliation process of the party continues.

“If there are one or two persons who should be party to your team, the party will engage such
individuals and aspirants to make sure that all the aspirants that ran the primary come together and support our candidate,” he said.

– Sept. 14, 2019 @ 10:15 GMT |

Police arrest 26 suspects over alleged public disturbance, culpable homicide in Sokoto

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THE Police in Sokoto state have arrested no fewer than 26 persons including eight members of Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) for alleged public disturbance in the state.

The state commissioner of Police, Mr Ibrahim Kaoje, told newsmen on Friday in Sokoto that the suspects were apprehended at various locations in the state.

Kaoje said that on Sept. 10, the proscribed Islamic Movement of Nigeria popularly known as Shiites, defied the Federal Government order and came to celebrate Ashura.

“They came out in Illela Local Government Area to observe Ashura festival of which they attacked Police and forcefully collected an AK47 riffle from a Police officer.

“On receipt of the information, the police attached to Illela division trailed the IMN members, arrested eight of them and recovered the riffle,” he said.

He said the command had also arrested two suspects, Saifullahi Aminu and Yusuf Maidamma for alleged criminal conspiracy, trafficking in woman and culpable homicide.

“On Aug. 31, one Sadiya Adamu reported against Saifullahi Aminu and Yusuf Maidamma that sometimes in May, that they conspired among themselves and lured her younger sister, one Khadija Adamu, aged 26.

“This is out of their home for immoral purposes (sexual escaped) at executive lodge located at No. 33 Kano Road, Sokoto.

“Sequel to this, they gave out the said Khadija Adamu to one Abdullahi Bafarawa (Aka Jakolo) and Shamsudden Lawal for such immoral purpose, during which they allegedly drugged her to a state of coma.

“She was rushed to specialist Hospital, Sokoto for treatment on Aug. 30, and died on Sept. 4, while receiving treatment.

“The suspects were arrested, while effort are being intensified to arrest the fleeing suspects,” he said.

Kaoje added that the command also apprehended one Baito Na’alti of Dalijan village, Kebbe Local Government Area, and his gang members following series of complaints of armed robbery and kidnapping against them.

According to him, the gang members which includes; Kiruwa Shehu, Nura Manu, Muhammadu Dangwanki, Nyako Male, Danairi Kebbe and Lawali Gairi conspired with Na’alti to commit various crimes.

“During investigation, they all confessed to the commission of the crime. They will be charged to court as soon as investigation is completed,” he said.

The commissioner also said that the command arrested one Kabiru Bello, having armed himself with a knife, hired a motorcyclist, Aliyu Usman, deliberately stabbed him to death and dispossessed him of his daylong motorcycle.

“The command also arrested Tukur Aliyu, Kabiru Muhammad and Yahaya Abubakar who criminally conspired among themselves, went to Koko road area, to steal Solar Batteries and were caught.

“One Mohammed Bello, who specialized in stealing generators and Abubakar Modibbo, who threatened to kidnap one Kasimu Sani and demand for a huge amount of money as advance ransom, were also arrested.

Also arrested were Yunusa Abdullahi, Bashar Mamman and Hussaini Abdullahi, for being in possession of Indian hemp, dangerous drugs, weapons and resistance of arrest by the police.

Others arrested were; one Abdulsalam Muhammad, who criminally lured a four-year-old child and forcefully had carnal knowledge of him against the order of nature and one John Anthony who deceitfully lured a 10-year-old girl into his room to have unlawful carnal knowledge of her,’’ the CP said.

– Sept. 14, 2019 @ 10:15 GMT |

Bwari council Speaker urges FG to provide social amenities at resettlement area

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ADAMU Julius, Speaker, Bwari Area Legislative Council in FCT, has appealed to the Federal Government to provide social amenities at the resettlement estate in Sherepe community.

Julius made the appeal during a visit to the community by a team from the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), and some members of the area council management on Friday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the resettlement area, located at Sherepe, was designed by the FCT administration to accommodate some natives of the FCT who had been relocated.

“The estate lacks basic social amenities while the structures are too little to accommodate a family of more than five members.

“Government needs to consider assisting persons in the resettlement estate. There is no access road and, as you can see, there is no water and electricity.

“There is also the need for a clinic to attend to the health needs of the people,” he said.

Earlier, the Executive Secretary, FCDA, Mr Umar Jibrin, had told newsmen that the purpose of the visit was to check the level of compliance by the contractors on some work in progress in the estate.

According to him, the FCT Minster, Mr Mohammed Bello, has directed that the people must be quickly relocated from the metropolis to the resettlement area.

“Actually, work on this site has been ongoing before now, but it got to a frenzy in the last two weeks because of the directive.

“The communities to relocate were initially seven, but that has increased to nine and the first one to move will be Jabi-Yakubu. It is for this reason that we are checking the level of preparedness so far.

“So far, progress made on the access road is slow, for the water supply, only two boreholes have been drilled for now. More work must be done within the next one week.

“Our team is already working on supply of electricity and will either tap from Bwari town or Mpape which is also close by,” Jibrin said.

The Executive Secretary also said that the contractors on site had been cautioned and given the opportunity to improve on their work rate or face the consequences.

He said that where the contractors failed to adhere to directives and their services considered not satisfactory enough, more capable hands would be invited to replace them.

Jibrin also said that quit notices had been given to the illegal occupants on the site to leave immediately, adding that the order would be followed to the later.

Also speaking, Mr Anthony Odigie, Managing Director, Department of Public Building, FCDA, explained that the project, which started since 2005, was designed to construct 2,276 houses.

He, however, said that only 1,400 were constructed by 2009 while others were at their various stages of completion, before the challenge of payment to contractors stalled the progress.

According to him, some of the contractors left the site then and some of the houses were vandalised, while those that were already completed began to deteriorate.

“However, in 2017, there was a move to rehabilitate the completed ones, so contracts were awarded to complete the work so that the communities involved can quickly be relocated,” he said.

– Sept. 14, 2019 @ 10:15 GMT |

Environmentalist underscores need for massive tree-planting in Gombe state

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YUSUF Danbayo, an environmentalist and coordinator of a tree planting campaign in Gombe, has appealed to residents of the state to plant trees in order to check desertification and erosion menace in the State.

Danbayo told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gombe on Friday that the evidence of desertification in the state had compelled him to mobilise groups and individuals to plant trees so as to protect the environment.

He said he sponsored the planting of thousands of trees in Gombe, because environment is the common heritage of the people that should be preserved by all means.

“Flood has affected so many places and it is still affecting them.Therefore, we will use our knowledge, our strength and the limited resources we have to preserve our environment through afforestation,” he said.

The environmentalist said trees contribute to their environment by providing oxygen,improving air quality and climate amelioration among other things.

He also said trees provide additional necessities such as shelter,and the value of tree continues to increase and more of its benefits are being discovered.

Danbayo stressed the need for religious leaders to  participate actively in the tree-planting campaign by advocating the importance of trees in the environment threatened by desertification.

According to him, failure to plant trees massively in Gombe was posing a lot of environmental challenges, especially during rainy season when flood destroys many lives and property.

– Sept. 14, 2019 @ 10:15 GMT |

Former speakers back states assembly autonomy

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THE Conference of Former Speakers of State Houses of Assembly (COFSSHA) has thrown its weight behind the call for autonomy of state houses of assembly in the country.

Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau, who is also COFSSHA Chairman, said that the autonomy would enhance checks and balances among three arms of government.

Lalong spoke on Friday at the COFSSHA award ceremony and dinner to honour members of the association who had been elected governors and deputy governors and those appointed ministers.

“We cannot shy away from making our contributions to national discourse such as the one relating to strengthening the State Houses of Assembly.

“It should be done in a manner that they will work independently but in collaboration with the executive and judiciary to ensure good governance and development in our states.

“All of us have supported the issue of autonomy for State Houses of Assembly, but beyond the call for autonomy, there should be synergy, checks and balances.

“Collaboration between all arms of government is what we should strive to build because of the interest of our people,” he said.

The governor said there was synergy and collaboration among the arms of government in Plateau because of his experience as a former speaker and now a governor.

He added that he had supported the House of Assembly to function without any interference and in turn it had supported the executive to deliver on its mandate.

Lalong recalled that COFSSHA was established to ensure the reservoir of knowledge and experience acquired by the former presiding officers of State Legislatures was not wasted.

Mr Friday Itula, Chairman organising committee, said the election of COFSSHA members as governors, deputy governors and ministers was in recognition of their contributions to national development.

Itula commended Lalong for an outstanding leadership that had contributed towards achieving the objectives of the association.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that awards were given to Lalong, Gov. Ahmed Fintiri of Adamawa and Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation.

Others awardees include, Mr Ude Chukwu, Deputy Governor of Abia, Sen. Adeleke Mamora, Minister of State Health and David Iho, former speaker, Benue State House of Assembly.

– Sept. 14, 2019 @ 10:15 GMT |

Obi pays Tribute to late Prof.  Okonjo 

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Prof. Chukuka Okonjo
Prof. Chukuka Okonjo

PETER Obi,  presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Friday mourned the passing of renowned academic, Prof.  Chukuka Okonjo, traditional ruler of Ogwashi Ukwu, describing him as one of the best intellectuals ever to come out of Africa.

He spoke shortly after the news of the death of the 91 years old Prof. Okonjo was announced by her daughter, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, former Minister of Finance.

Paying tribute to the immediate past Obi of Ogwashi Ukwu, Delta State, Obi said in a statement issued by his Media Office: “Though not my biological father, he was one of those that nurtured me in all the meanings of that word.  Throughout his stay in Ghana, I was visiting him every week.  He was one of the best intellects from Africa. Ever desirous of contributing to the development of humanity he deployed his deep knowledge of mathematics and economics to the emancipation of humanity.

“He capped his thirst for community and human development by being the traditional ruler of his town, Ogwashi Ukwu, wherein he gave a very good account of himself through his achievements.”

Obi prayed to God to grant the immediate family of Prof.  Chukuka Okonjo and all those that are grief-stricken by his death the fortitude to withstand the shock and trauma.

Border Closure: Nigerians groan amidst food scarcity

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Buhari
Buhari

The partial closure of land borders has resulted in food scarcity and high food prices in Nigeria. The federal government needs to take drastic measures to avert a national food crisis, which may be only weeks or months away

By Anayo Ezugwu

UNLESS the federal government takes drastic action, Nigeria may soon experience major food crisis. Since the border security exercise began across the country, which led to partial border closure, the prices of some basic food items have skyrocketed with traders and consumers groaning in the midst of economic challenges.

A market survey carried out by Realnews in some major markets in Lagos showed that the hike has not only affected foreign goods, but also influenced the prices of locally produced goods. Some of the items affected include rice, frozen foods, groundnut oil, okra, stockfish and beverages.

At Ajuwon Lagos, a 50-kg bag of foreign rice, which was selling for between N15,000 and N16,000 prior to the closure, is now going for between N20,000 and N22,000, while the locally-produced brand goes for N16,500. Similarly, 25 liters of refillable groundnut oil, which sold for N8,000 and N9,000, now costs N13,000 while non-refillable costs N10,800.

Frozen food is the most affected in Lagos as 1 kg of frozen chicken, which sold for N900 now costs N1,400, while 1kg of frozen turkey now goes for N1,700. A carton of frozen turkey, which sold for N13,000 before the border closure now sells between N19,000 and N20,000, while a carton of chicken, which was sold for N9,500, now goes for N14,000.

Further findings by Realnews revealed that other staple foods like spaghetti, crunches, beans, and pastries were affected. The survey also showed that the prices of salt, sugar, palm oil and seasonings were not affected by the closure.

Tawa Ibrahim, a trader at Alaba Rago market Ojo area of Lagos, said the border closure was affecting his business. “Lake Rice (locally produced rice) would have been a better alternative for us, but we are not getting it to buy. Even the quantity of okra needed by consumers cannot be produced in Nigeria. We rely so much on Benin Republic for okra. That is why its price has also shot up since the border was closed. A big basket of okra, which sold for N4,000 or N5,000, is now N8,000,” Ibrahim said.

Zainab Ahmed
Zainab Ahmed

At Mile 12 Market, Chike Emodi, who sells frozen foods, complained that the commodities are scarce in the market. “I have exhausted my stock and I don’t know where to get the products. A customer, who usually buys four cartons of Croker fish for the weekend has now decided to buy small fish called ‘’Panla” due to the scarcity of the items.

In Ikorodu, Ovie Elizabeth, another trader, urged the federal government to lift the ban. ‘’Nigeria is not self-sufficient. Our government should let us have enough local foods in stock before coming up with the restrictions,” she said.

Joke Akinwumi, who sells second hand clothing at Supa, said she used to buy directly from Cotonou, but since the closure, she now patronises the dealers at The Arena at very high cost. How are those dealers getting their wares? Akinwumi said it is “By Direct’’.

She explained that it’s a term only understood by traders. Throwing more light, she explained that “they book their market in advance with Cotonou agents and settle customs officials very well. That way their goods are allowed to pass through the border”.

Michael Itoro, a big time dealer in men’s second hand shirts at The Arena, said: “There is no market to sell because we did not receive goods from Cotonou. At the moment, it is very expensive to bring in goods from Cotonou. Traders are wary. We are waiting for things to normalise at the borders.”

At Balogun and Oke-Arin markets in Lagos, the stories are the same. Speaking with Edwin Nnamdi Onye, immediate past president general of Oke-Arin Traders Association, he said “there is no market to sell because traders cannot bring in anything through the border. “We are selling only old stock.”

But Hameed Ali, comptroller general, Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, said Nigeria’s borders would remain closed until the country and its neighbours agree on existing Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS protocol on movement.

Ali, who spoke on Wednesday, September 11, at Maigatari/Niger border, Maigatari local government area of Jigawa State, said: “But there is no specific time for opening the borders. However, if they agree with us tomorrow on the existing laws, then we sign and update the existing protocol of transit, that’s all. And we are looking forward to meeting with them and there are moves to sit with them to make them understand why we are doing what we are doing and what we want to achieve by doing what we are doing,” he said.

Ali said by closing the borders, Nigeria was able to completely block the importation of contraband. “We are able to completely block the influx of illicit goods, and most importantly, stopped the exportation of petroleum products, which is the biggest problem we have.”

According to Ali, through the measure, the importation of foreign rice has stopped and the market for local varieties has risen. “We’ve also stopped the influx of rice and our rice is now selling. Even those selling garri that have been abandoned because there was cheap rice are making brisk business. This is because people are now buying garri as food. So, I think the economy is now picking up and we are grateful for that,” he said.

Likewise, Bismarck Rewane, managing director, Financial Derivatives Company Limited, said the closure of the border has forced the price of petrol down to N144 per litre. Rewane in a report he presented at the monthly Lagos Business School’s executive breakfast meeting for September, said the closure had blocked smuggling of petrol to the neighbouring countries.

He said the development showed that part of the nearly 60 million litres of petrol said to be consumed daily in Nigeria were smuggled to the neighbouring countries. He revealed that diesel price has also crashed to N210 per litre from N250/litre.

Apart from the closure of the borders, security challenges facing the country have impacted negatively on food production. Unchecked insecurity is threatening food security. Millions of Nigerian farmers, mostly in the north can no longer go to farm for fear of attacks by either the herdsmen, kidnappers or bandits. As a result, farmlands across the country are increasingly becoming battlefields.

Smallholder farmers, who brave the odds daily are uncertain if they will make it home alive. Some big farmers, who have invested millions are weighing their options to abandon their farms, while several others have suspended operations. Consequently, it is estimated that 22.7 million Nigerians in the north are at risk of food crisis if the state of insecurity worsens.

Ironically, the security situation in Nigeria is unlike that of Yemen, the Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Syria and South Sudan. Yet Nigeria is ranked along with them as countries expected to face the most severe food crises in 2019, according to the 2019 Global Report on Food Crises. The country was ranked among the top eight countries that saw many of its citizens go hungry last year. In 2018, 5.3 million Nigerians in 16 northern states experienced acute food crisis.

That millions are facing, and more will face, severe food shortage in a country with over 82 million hectares of arable land, young and large population, a tropical climate and soil that supports vast array of crops is scary. What is scarier is that the World Bank has raised the alarm that the country’s food crisis has assumed a frightening dimension, blaming the development largely on poor policies of successive administrations in the country.

It regretted that the most populous black nation has fallen from its enviable position of producer and exporter of produce in the early 60s and 70s to world’s largest importer of food. The global lender stated that the nation was “tragically living on borrowed times and being unable to feed its citizens, who are now very hungry, angry and war-threatened.” Adetunji Oredipe, senior agricultural economist for the World Bank, said Nigeria was reaping the price of lack of sustenance of investment in agriculture, adding that to reverse the ugly trend; the country must henceforth invest at least seven percent of its national agriculture budget to Gross Domestic Product, GDP, in the sector.

“These anticipated rewards and positive changes will only happen if Africa’s farmers and agribusinesses undoubtedly can receive expanded access to more capital outlays, uninterrupted electricity, modern technology and well-irrigated areas to cultivate high-value nutritious foods. For Nigeria, it is a great window of opportunities to harness the countless openings that exist in the agricultural value chain towards building a sustainable economy that creates hope for the realisation of our much-desired national development and sustainable food security.

“To maintain its share of the continent’s agriculture GDP by 2030, Nigeria will need to grow its agriculture sector revenues by a compounded annual growth rate of 4.7 percent. To ensure this is achieved, a national agriculture budget to GDP would have to be sustained by at least seven percent annually,” he said.

Consequently, Oredipe advised the federal government to articulate a clear vision towards achieving a hunger-free Nigeria through an agricultural sector that grows income, accelerates food and nutritional security, generates employment and transforms the nation into a leading player in global food markets.

Agriculture is seen as the one-way ticket to diversifying the Nigerian economy. But insecurity is threatening this aspiration. If farmers, farmlands, roads and markets are unsafe, the vast non-oil income expected from agriculture will remain unchanged. It will make nonsense of all the incentives (and billions of naira) the central bank has laid out for the 10 commodities identified as potential foreign exchange earners and job creators.

It is reckoned that the impending food crisis may be a few months away. The looming food crisis can be averted, but it requires a totally different approach to national security.

– Sept. 13, 2019 @ 18:45 GMT |

Former finance minister loses father

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Prof. Chukuka Okonjo
Prof. Chukuka Okonjo

THE father of the former minister of finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is dead. Prof. Chukuka Okonjo who lived a decent life died at the age of 91 in Lagos soon after he arrived from a trip to the United States and Ghana. Before his death, he was the immediate past obi of Ogwashi-Uku, Delta state.

Announcing her father’s death Okonjo-Iweala said, “We are immensely grateful that his last moments were peaceful and that he died the same way he lived his life – with quiet dignity. “Daddy was an accomplished man on so many levels – a highly respected academic, international public servant, university administrator, intellectual and traditional ruler.

“He held: BSc Mathematics, London, UK; Msc Mathematics, Erlangen, Germany; MSc Economics, Erlangen, Germany; Phd Mathematical Statistics, Cologne, Germany.

“My father touched so many lives personally and professionally. “Having witnessed the ravages of war, he was committed to unity and peaceful coexistence of all,” she said. “From his marriage of 66 years to our mother, Professor Kamene Okonjo to his dedication to duty, he was exceptional.” – Vanguard

– Sept. 13, 2019 @ 18:45 GMT |

Why Lagos is rated worst city to live in – The Economist

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Lagos traffic
Lagos traffic

By Anayo Ezugwu

DESPITE the desire to turn Lagos State into a mega city, the city of Lagos is one of the most unliveable cities in the world. Lagos is ranked 139 with 38.5 points out of 140 after war torn Syrian city of Damascus as the most unliveable city in the world with 30.7 points.

The Economist Intelligence Unit, EIU, the research and analysis outfit of the London based The Economist magazine, in its latest liveability survey report released recently, stated that Lagos got 20 points on Stability, 37.5 points on Healthcare, 53.5 points on Culture and Environment, 33.3 points on education and 46.4 points on Infrastructure.

The survey rated Vienna, the Austrian city as the most liveable city in the world. The liveability report assesses 140 cities around the world that provide the best or worst living conditions. The cities are assessed on five broad categories: Stability, Healthcare, Culture and Environment, Education and Infrastructure.  Each category is assessed on 100 points.

Ten most liveable cities
Ten most liveable cities

On the stability category, the researchers allocate lower points to cities with high petty crime rates, violent crime, threat of terror, threat of military conflict and the threat of civil unrest or conflict. The healthcare indicator measures the quality of private and public healthcare facilities, and the availability of over-the-counter drugs.

The culture and environment indicator looks at the average weather conditions of a city, the prevalence of corruption, whether there are social or religious restrictions, censorship, availability of sporting facilities, Food and drinks, and consumer goods and services.

For the category on education, the researchers based their findings on the availability and quality of private and public education. The infrastructure looks at the quality of road network in the city, public transportation, availability of good quality housing, quality of energy provision, quality of water provision and quality of telecommunications.

The report says Vienna is the most liveable of the 140 cities surveyed by The EIU, displacing Melbourne, which was the best city to live in 2018. Melbourne, the Australian city, came second this year after being at the top spot for seven consecutive years. Vienna scored 99.1 out of 100 points, while Melbourne scored 98.4 points.

Ten least liveable cities
Ten least liveable cities

The survey found the war torn Syrian city of Damascus as the most unliveable city in the world with 30.7 points. It finished 140. Surprisingly, Lagos came next in the ranking of unliveable cities, taking the 139 position out of 140 with 38.5 points.

For Vienna, which is rated as the best city in the world, it got 100 points in all the categories, including Stability, Healthcare, Education and Infrastructure except Culture and Environment. It got 96.3 points on that indicator.

The points represent the standards of each of the categories. Any of the categories with 80 to 100 points mean there are few, if any, challenges to living standards in the city. But 50 points and below means that living standards are severely restricted.

– Sept. 13, 2019 @ 18:17 GMT |

NERC optimistic about stable power supply

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Prof. James Momoh
Prof. James Momoh

THE Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, has promised that the agency will deliver stable power supply in the country. Prof. James Momoh, chairman, NERC, said this would take place when the metering situation in the country improves within the next two years through the current Meter Asset Providers’ scheme as well as when renewable energy is allowed in the country.

Momoh, who stated this during an interview on Channels Television, said the commission was committed to improving the quality of lives of Nigerians. “We are committed to improving the quality of lives of Nigerians every day and every minute. The target is that by the time we have improved metering, within two years that will improve the quality of service all over the country.

“By the time we allow renewable energy before 2030, a lot will be done. Formerly, I am saying do we have a target when all Nigerians will be powered? Hopefully, in our lifetime it will happen. What do I mean? It is going to happen because there is a big need for power supply to run businesses in Nigeria, and Nigeria wants to be the number 20 in the world,” he said.

Momoh clarified the electricity tariff situation in the country, saying the commission has not increased tariff contrary to what had been making the rounds since it published what he called, “a minor review” last month.

“We have not increased tariff at the moment. What we have done is, ask the big question: When do we get this thing right given that the Discos say we need cost-reflective tariff to be able to provide services that we actually should do? So we did a minor review, which is a review that takes into account the exchange rate, gas availability, availability of capacity generation, network availability, to make sure there is meter available to customers.

“So looking at these, NERC therefore said look, we would have to take advantage of this opportunity given to us as a regulator to make sure we have a third party investor to provide meters, which is called Meter Asset Providers. That allows customers now to have access to meters,” he said.

Momoh explained that the review was done to make sure all macroeconomic indicators were put in place in terms of exchange rate, to make sure there was enough gas. “With all these put together, we now have to ask the question: do we now have meters available to customers? Do we have quality power supply?

“What we have sent out was an order that says what we must do to get the business right, that if the Discos recognise that they have to provide quality power, they have to make sure customers are metered, we also have to make sure all the indicators are right, then we can say we have done the review that was lacking before.

“Mind you, the review was not done since 2015. There were a lot of reasons why it wasn’t done. The review was done to alert the Discos of their key responsibilities and the responsibility of customers and the expectation of customers, so that when they do the Performance Improvement that we asked them to do in terms of making sure the network is strong, making sure all the different equipment are working, and also making sure that the losses are reduced, they will get it right.

“Then, the reaction that will follow is that with engaging the customers at the end of the day may be by next year, we will be able to now agree on what should be the appropriate cost,” he explained.

– Sept. 13, 2019 @ 18:15 GMT |

Ikeja Electric begins e-bills for customers’ convenience

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Ikeja Electric
Ikeja Electric

THE Ikeja Electric Plc has introduced electronic billing platform that will enable customers to receive electricity bills promptly and conveniently. The Disco said the customers would receive the bills through SMS, USSD, email, IE Bill portal and IE mobile Application.

The e-billing initiative is part of the firm’s desire to leverage innovation and technology to improve customer experience. It is designed to deliver electronic bills directly to the customer thereby eradicating challenges such as misplaced bills or delayed delivery and other issues which are associated with distribution of physical bills. The company said very soon, e-bills would be the dominant mode of bill delivery considering its numerous advantages, as well as the company’s mass metering of customers across its network.

Felix Ofulue, head, corporate communications, Ikeja Electric, said: “What we have done with e-billing is to create different platforms through which post-paid customers can easily access their bills. As a forward thinking organisation, we understand that a critical element of product development is customer convenience and ease to access.

“This is what we intend to achieve by providing post-paid customers with easier options of receiving monthly bills via SMS, e-mail, USSD, IE Bill Portal and IE mobile app. We believe that our customers appreciate innovative services that offer convenience, eliminate hitches and also fit their lifestyle; which is what e-billing guarantees. Therefore, this initiative was driven largely with interest of customers at the heart of our business.”

Ofulue further pointed out that from an environmental perspective, e-billing will help IE take a step towards greater environmental sustainability, and for customers, e-bills will help reduce unwanted clutter and strenuous filings. The e-bills will also enable customers’ access historical data of their bills, including consumption patterns.

“The e-billing service is free. The SMS is delivered to the registered phone numbers of customers while PDF bills are delivered to emails submitted by customers. PDF can also be downloaded via the website. The App is available on Android and will soon be available on other operating systems. There is also a billing portal which customers can access to download their bills on a monthly basis.

“Customers can update their contacts by visiting the company’s website, Customer Care Unit or the nearest IE service centres. For customers who do not have contact details on IE website, account managers will ensure all bills delivered to valid contacts provided by such customers.

“With the introduction of e-billing system, bills are delivered faster, it helps customers to reduce unwanted clutter of papers in their home, it eliminates manual printing and distribution of bills with all its attendant challenges, the risk of bills being lost in transit or affected by bad weather is also avoided, while it offers electronic tracking of bills delivery.  In addition, the e-billing initiative is a step towards greater environmental sustainability. The e-billing initiative is the first in the industry and complies with regulatory requirements,” he said.

– Sept. 13, 2019 @ 18:07 GMT |

Mugabe: Africa’s freedom fighter, but poor reformer

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Mugabe
Mugabe

By Anayo Ezugwu

ON Saturday, September 14, Robert Mugabe, former President of Zimbabwe will be buried in a state burial. Leo Mugabe, nephew of the late president, said his body will lie in state at the National Heroes Acre Monument in Harare.

Mugabe died on Friday September 6 in Singapore at the age of 95. He ruled Zimbabwe from 1980 to 2017, but overthrown by military coup. Mugabe has been described as a freedom fighter by his people, but not a good reformer.

A freedom fighter may also be a good reformer. But in Mugabe’s case, the two didn’t mix. Only few African leaders possessed the credential of Mugabe as a freedom fighter.

Born on February 21, 1924 without an aristocratic background, Mugabe defied the odds which typically limited many Africans at the time to subservience and acquired the education which equipped him to wrestle political power from the white minority in 1980.

In freedom fighting, Mugabe has the same stature as Nelson Mandela, the South African freedom fighter. But Mandela only ruled his country for a term of five years. Mugabe remained in power for 37 years, even when the economy progressively got worse.

The army had to oust him in 2017 at the age of 93, when it became obvious that his wife, Grace Mugabe, was the de facto president. So, unlike Mandela, Mugabe lacked the quality of a reformer.

A reformer improves a system, and makes things work well. But Mugabe only made them worse when he attempted to implement land reforms. And instead of acknowledging the fault, he blamed the country’s economic problems on western nations

Zimbabwe had maintained positive economic growth throughout the 1980s (5 percent GDP growth per year) and 1990s (4.3 percent GDP growth per year). The economy started declining from the 2000s when Mugabe expelled white farmers.  From 1999–2009, Zimbabwe saw the lowest ever economic growth with an annual GDP decrease of -6.1 percent.

The downward spiral of the economy was largely triggered by the eviction of more than 4,000 white farmers and corruption by the political class. To demonstrate how bad things were, in late January 2013, the Zimbabwean finance ministry reported that they had only $217 in their treasury and would apply for donations to finance the coming election that is estimated to cost US$107 million.

As at June this year, inflation in Zimbabwe stood at 175 percent. The gloomy economic picture which Zimbabwe represents gives the impression that it is a barren land. But it is not.

Zimbabwe is rich in minerals, including gold. The mining sector remains very lucrative, with some of the world’s largest platinum reserves being mined by Anglo American plc and Impala Platinum.

The Marange diamond fields, discovered in 2006, are considered the biggest diamond find in over a century. They have the potential to improve the fiscal situation of the country considerably, but almost all revenues from the field have disappeared into the pockets of army officers and ZANU-PF politicians.

In terms of carats produced, the Marange field is one of the largest diamond producing projects in the world, estimated to produce 12 million carats in 2014 worth over $350 million.

Zimbabwe’s problem is its leadership. Emmerson Mnangagwa, the man who took over from Mugabe in 2017, may not do any better as he was among the old brigade that superintended the country’s economic failure under Mugabe.

– Sept. 13, 2019 @ 17:59 GMT |

Drop in price of cooking gas excites consumers

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Cooking gas
Cooking gas

By Anayo Ezugwu

NIGERIANS are happy about the drop in price of cooking gas or Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG. They also expressed satisfaction that the product is available everywhere.  Some of people told Realnews that the drop in the price of the commodity was a relief to them, considering the economic difficulties the country is passing through.

The magazine checks at some filling stations and gas plants across Lagos showed that the 12.5kg of cooking gas, which sold for N4,000 in June now sells for between N3,200 and N3,400. While the six (6) kg, which sold for N2,000 in June now goes for N1,600.

Regina Onuze, who uses cooking gas at Ikotun Lagos, expressed happiness over the drop in the price, saying that it is a big relief to her family. “The situation is quite different now; there is no longer much financial pressure or stress searching for the product from one gas plant to another. In the last three years, the least you can get cooking gas was N4,500; but I was astonished when I refilled my gas cylinder with N3,200 in July, and also paid the same amount on Saturday, August 25, to refill my second cylinder,” she said.

Another cooking gas user, Chidimma Okolo, a resident of Enugu, acknowledged that the price is dropping, but added that as an essential commodity, the price is still N3,400. “More efforts should be made by the government to make it affordable to an average Nigerian,” she said.

It is not only the consumers, who are happy about the drop in the price of cooking gas. Retailers and dealers are also rejoicing because they are recording more sales now unlike when the product was scarce and was selling at higher prices.

A retailer at Ajuwon Lagos, who gave his name as Chinedu, also attributed the drop in the price of cooking gas to improved supply and distribution of the product. He observed that the product is readily available at the gas plants anytime of the day.

“The price has dropped and I’m happy about it because some of my customers that had stopped patronising me are back now. The most important thing for me is that my customers are enjoying the drop in price and if the price continues to drop I’m sure more people will start using gas. And that means more business for us,” he said.

But the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, in its July 2019 cooking gas price watch,  indicated that the price of the commodity increased. The NBS said the average price for the refilling of a five kg cylinder of cooking gas increased to N2,024.80 in July from N1,995.38 in June. It said the price of refilling a five kg cylinder increased by 1.47 percent month-on-month and 0.71 percent year-on-year in the period under review.

According to the bureau, states with the highest average price for the refilling of a five kg cylinder gas are Adamawa N2,492.50, Bauchi N2,487.78 and Borno N2,375.

It also said that states with the lowest average price for the refilling of a five kg cylinder for cooking gas were Abuja N1,778.33, Osun N1,776.56 and Enugu N1,733.25.

“Similarly, average price for the refilling of a 12.5 kg cylinder cooking gas decreased by -0.23 per cent month-on-month and -0.66 per cent year-on-year to N4,216.29 in July from N4,226.04 in June.”

The report said that states with the highest average price for the refilling of a 12.5 kg cylinder cooking gas were Akwa Ibom N4,657.22, Benue N4,600.67 and Bayelsa N4,588.89. The NBS added that states with the lowest average price for the refilling of a 12.5 kg cylinder cooking gas were Lagos N3,878.95, Oyo N3,836.11 and Kano N3,800.

To ensure that that the price does not increase again and smooth distribution of the product, the federal government has begun the clampdown on illegal gas plants and roadside retailers of cooking gas. Bassey Nkanga, operations controller, Port Harcourt Zone of the DPR, said the government had in May stopped customers’ ownership of cylinders as well as barred the refilling of gas cylinders by the roadsides and other unauthorised places.

The policy, he said, would require that the ownership of LPG cylinders rest solely with the dealers and distributors. According to him, the department had held several meetings with operators of gas plants and LPG retailers to introduce them to standard minimum requirements acceptable in the industry.

“The new model by government; decanting (transferring from one gas cylinder to another) is not allowed, trans-filling is also not allowed. That is why we are encouraging, enlightening, and engaging them (retailers) to adopt the new methodologies, whereby, somebody would have to drop (empty cylinder) and pick another one with gas.

“The era of decanting, trans canting and transferring from one cylinder to the other is no longer going to be allowed. So, we have been talking to them (retailers) and they even formed a union to register for the Category D licence. A lot of them have turned up, and so many are yet to turn up,” he said.

– Sept. 13, 2019 @ 17:35 GMT |

Why 7.5% VAT is necessary – FG

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Zainab Ahmed
Zainab Ahmed

THE federal government has defended its decision to increase Value Added Tax (VAT) from 5 to 7.5percent. There have been loud cries from many quarters kicking against the planned VAT increase based on the recommendation of the Presidential technical advisory committee.

But a statement from the Federal Ministry of Finance signed by Yunusa Tanko Abdullahi SA Media and Communication to the Finance Minister maintained the increase was justified.

The nation’s VAT rate, it said “will still be at about half the African average and amongst the lowest in the world, thus sub national governments get 85%.”

The benefit of an increase in VAT, it added is that it will be “more beneficial to state governments and Local Government Areas(LGAs) in the country, many of which are already facing difficult conditions. The proposed increase in VAT is therefore expected to create additional fiscal space.

“The proposed increase is however subject to legislative intervention by the National Assembly who will have to amend the revenue Act to reflect the proposed increase,” he said.

The existing VAT Act exempts the basic necessities such as food, medicines and education which therefore minimises the impact on the poor and vulnerable segments of the Nigerian society from the burden thereof. It is expected that the exemptions will be maintained in the amended Act.

Yunusa Tanko Abdullahi noted that “the VAT increase, if correctly implemented, could bring in huge revenues, which would actually reduce the fiscal deficit burden.”

“The government’s borrowing programme could then ease and certainly the financially affected states and local governments could later focus on issues like poverty reduction, healthcare and power generation and transmission” he explained.

Yunusa Tanko Abdullahi quoted industry experts, who he said have agreed that “VAT increase, if enforced properly, forms part of the fiscal consolidation strategy for the country. It could, in fact, help address the fiscal deficit problem and the revenues estimated to be collected could actually mean lowering of the fiscal deficit burden for the government across board.” – The Nation

– Sept. 13, 2019 @ 17:45 GMT |

Oyo Deputy Gov, Olaniyan, gets nine aides

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THE government of Oyo State, on Thursday, approved the appointment of nine aides for the office of the Deputy Governor, Rauf Olaniyan.

According to a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor,  Taiwo Adisa, the appointments were conveyed in separate letters signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Olubamiwo Adeosun.

The appointments took effect on 5 September.

Omoetan Omolere was appointed as Senior Special Assistant to the Deputy Governor on Media, while Lateef Adebayo Yusuf and Adesola Yaqub were appointed Senior Special Assistant (Political Matters) and Personal Assistant respectively.

The new SSA Media to the Deputy Governor, Omoetan, an indigene of Ilaje in Ondo State, has many years of experience as a journalist and Public Relations Consultant.

Yusuf, the newly-appointed SSA on Political Matters to the Deputy Governor was a former Executive Director (Finance and Administration) at the Ogun-Oshun River Basin Development Authority.

The new Personal Assistant to the Deputy Governor, Yaqub, hails from Igboho in Oorelope Local Government and has about 13 years of field experience in the Nigerian ICT/Telecoms space.

An Information Communication Technology, ICT, expert and leadership development coach, Yaqub holds a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the University of Jos and a Postgraduate Diploma in Information Technology from the National Open University of Nigeria.

Other appointments made were those of Aliu Taibat Adetutu (Special Assistant on Domestic); Lawal Olaniyi Lateef (Special Assistant on Project Monitoring);  Timileyin Badiru (Special Assistant on Photography); Bukunmi Oyewole (Special Assistant on Online Media); Jelila Nike Bidmus (Special Assistant on Administration) and Salawu Abisola Mariam (Special Assistant on Technical Projects).

-Sep 13, 2019 @17:05 GMT |

KAL Launches Kalignite Hypervisor – a Game-Changer for ATM Hardware Upgrades

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MARKET-leading ATM software company KAL is launching Kalignite Hypervisor, a game-changing new product for the retail banking industry that solves the long-standing, billion-dollar problem of enforced ATM hardware upgrades.

Kalignite Hypervisor uses Red Hat Virtualization to decouple the ATM PC core from the ATM operating system. This means software drivers that are unsupported under new Windows operating system versions can now be supported by the hypervisor’s software drivers instead.

The Kalignite Hypervisor breaks the straitjacket of unsupported hardware when migrating ATMs to Windows 10. It gives banks the freedom to upgrade software and hardware at a time that suits them. Better still, it is not only a solution for today. OS upgrades are set to happen more frequently in the future in the form of Windows LTSC and SAC packages ‒ which Microsoft plan to release regularly – resulting in hardware obsolescence occurring at a quicker pace. Not only is Kalignite Hypervisor important when migrating to Windows 10, it will become essential when managing these new software upgrades.

KAL CEO Aravinda Korala said: “Kalignite Hypervisor solves the upgrade conundrum. It eliminates the need for enforced hardware upgrades caused by Windows upgrades. Banks can stay completely up to date and run the latest versions of all software on their ATM network – bringing them freedom at last from the enforced hardware upgrade cycle, and allowing them to focus on enhancements that matter to their customers.”

Red Hat Cloud Platforms vice president of products Joe Fernandes said “Using open, software-defined virtualization platforms like Red Hat Virtualization, banks are able to manage the upgrade cycles for their hardware and software separately. This gives them greater flexibility and control over the process and enables them to be more strategic in how they upgrade their ATM PC cores.”

Kalignite Hypervisor is available to banks directly from KAL. Alternatively, banks can ask their current software vendor about an OEM version of the KAL product. This is specially designed with open APIs for ATM hardware and software vendors that wish to integrate KAL’s hypervisor technology with their own software stacks.

-Sep 13, 2019 @17:05 GMT |

EFCC, NAPTIP to collaborate in fighting Human Trafficking, Money Laundering

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THE Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu has pledged the Commission’s collaboration with the National Agency for Prohibition of Traffic in Persons, NAPTIP, in the discharge of its duties.

The Acting Chairman stated this on Thursday, September 12, 2019, when the NAPTIP Zonal Commander, Nduka Nwanwenne, and his team paid a courtesy visit to the Benin Zonal Office of the Commission.

Magu, who was represented by the Zonal Head, Mukhtar Bello, said the Commission would collaborate with NAPTIP as some of those involved in human trafficking also engage in money laundering.

“Sometimes in discharging our duties, we stumble on information which link human traffickers with money laundering. They sometimes use these people as channel to move money,” he said.

Earlier, the Zonal Commander, Edo State, Nduka Nwanwenne, in his remarks said they were in EFCC to seek collaboration with the Commission in curbing human trafficking in Nigeria.

“We need the collaboration of other stakeholders in curbing  human trafficking. When we come across issues of financial and economic crimes, we refer it to EFCC,” he said.

-Sep 13, 2019 @17:25 GMT |

Tokyo 2020: Super Falcons to regroup for Cote d’Ivoire

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Falcons
Falcons

AHEAD of the second round of the African qualifying series of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics women’s football tournament, a total of 30 home-based professionals will arrive at the Super Falcons’ hotel camp in Abuja on Sunday to kick-start preparations for the clash with the Senior Women National Team of Cote d’Ivoire.

Seven overseas-based professionals will join the group before the trip to Abidjan for the first leg.

Already, world football –governing body, FIFA has directed that both legs of the qualifying fixture must be concluded between September 30 and October 8, 2019.

The Nigeria Football Federation has already picked Sunday, October 6 for the return leg match, slated for the Agege Stadium, Lagos. The venue hosted the return leg of Nigeria/Algeria in the earlier round, with the Falcons winning by a lone goal to push out the Algerians on a 3-0 aggregate.

Cote d’Ivoire also emerged 3-0 aggregate winners, eliminating Mali from the series to set up a clash with nine –time African champions Nigeria.

Asisat Oshoala, scorer of the lone goal against Algeria in Lagos on 3rd September, heads the list of the overseas-based professionals that also includes defenders Osinachi Ohale and Chidinma Okeke, midfielders Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene and Chinaza Uchendu, and forwards Francisca Ordega and Rasheedat Ajibade.

Midfielder Osarenoma Igbinovia heads the list of 30 home-based professionals.

All invited home-based players are expected to arrive at the Chida Hotel, Abuja on Sunday, September 15 2019.

HOME-BASED PROS

Goalkeepers: Christy Ohiaeriaku (Delta Queens); Tochukwu Oluehi (Rivers Angels); Onyinyechukwu Okeke (Bayelsa Queens); Chiamaka Nnadozie (Rivers Angels)

Defenders: Glory Ogbonna (Ibom Angels); Opeyemi Sunday (Sunshine Queens); Abidemi Ibe (Bayelsa Queens); Ugochi Emenayo (Nasarawa Amazons); Margaret Etim (Rivers Angels); Maryam Ibrahim (Nasarawa Amazons); Mary Ologbosere (Rivers Angels); Blessing Edoho (Ibom Angels); Tosin Dimeyin (Sunshine Queens)

Midfielders: Osarenoma Igbinovia (Bayelsa Queens); Ihuoma Onyebuchi (Sunshine Queens); Folashade Ijamilusi (FC Robo); Suliat Abideen (Sunshine Queens); Josephine Mathias (Rivers Angels); Amarachi Okoronkwo (Nasarawa Amazons); Regina Otu (Edo Queens); Cecilia Nku (Rivers Angels)

Forwards: Adejoke Ejalonibu (Nasarawa Amazons); Rafiat Sule (Rivers Angels); Tessy Biahwo (Bayelsa Queens); Alice Ogebe (Rivers Angels); Aloko Abdulkareem (Nasarawa Amazons); Gift Monday (FC Robo); Lola Philips (Nasarawa Amazons); Titilayo Aweda (Confluence Queens); Cynthia Aku (Rivers Angels)

OVERSEAS-BASED PROS:

Rasheedat Ajibade (Avaldsnes, Norway); Osinachi Ohale (CD Tacon, Spain); Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene (Eskilstuna DFF, Sweden); Francisca Ordega (Shanghai Zyhongyuan, China); Asisat Oshoala (FC Barcelona, Spain); Chinaza Uchendu (SC Braga, Portugal); Chidinma Okeke (Madrid CFF, Spain)

-Sep 13, 2019 @17:25 GMT |

LASTMA cautions motorists against reckless driving, unruly behaviour

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LASTMA
LASTMA

THE Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) has charged motorists to be cautious on the roads to avert emergencies during the last quarter of the year.

The Deputy General Manager of LASTMA, Mr Isaac Adetimiro, gave the charge while addressing top management staffers of the authority.

Adetimiro’s charge was contained in a statement issued by Mr Olumide Filade, the Assistant Director, Public Affairs of the Authority on Friday, in Lagos.

He called on motorists and commuters to be cautious in order to avoid accidents that could lead to loss of lives and properties usually associated with the last quarter of the year, popular called ‘ember months’.

“It is pertinent to urge the motoring public to be cautious and careful on the road as so many people ignorantly attach myths to the ’ember’ months, thereby raising needless alarm and causing anxiety.

“This narrative can be averted if we all obey and adhere strictly to traffic laws and ensure that our vehicles are well maintained,” he said.

Adetimiro also advised traders not to sell their wares on the roads, while urging buyers to maintain the law by refusing to buy on the road so as to discourage the traders.

He urged motorists to check the condition of their vehicles and ensure that their vehicle documents were up to date before embarking on any journey in order not to fall victim of the law.

According to him, ignorance of the law is no excuse in law, as driving against traffic otherwise known as ‘one way traffic’, failure to use seat belt and disobedience to traffic light indicators, among others, should be avoided for safety and sanity on the road.

“All motorists, especially commercial vehicle operators, are advised to shun all forms of reckless driving, unruly behaviour and any other form of disorderliness on the road as we begin these ‘ember months”.

“Violation of traffic laws will attract penalties when convicted by the court and penalties range from fines to forfeiture of vehicles and imprisonment in the case of assault on LASTMA officials.

“Commercial motorcyclists and tricycle operators are also not left out in this campaign for safety and sanity on Lagos roads.

“We cannot wish away the fact that the growing population of Lagos residents on a daily basis is one of the reasons we are faced with traffic challenges.

“While this reality humbles us, our officials have been trained on civility, politeness and protocol of arrest with emphasis on respect for members of the public who violate traffic rules and regulations,” he said.

On the ongoing reconstruction of the Berger-Kara Cattle Market portion of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway which has resulted in partial closure of the highway, the LASTMA chief called for patience on the part of the motorists. (NAN)

– Sept. 13, 2019 @ 17:32 GMT |

State funeral for Mugabe: Osinbajo to represent Nigeria

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Osinbajo
Osinbajo

VICE President Yemi Osinbajo will represent President Muhammadu Buhari at the state funeral for former President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement in Abuja, said the vice president would depart for Harare, Zimbabwe on Friday for the state funeral scheduled for Sept. 14.

Osinbajo will be joining other African leaders and Heads of State expected at the occasion scheduled for the country’s National Stadium in Harare.

Heads of State expected to attend the funeral include President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya.

Mugabe, who was Zimbabwean Prime Minister and later President for 37 years altogether, up until 2017, died on Sept. 6, at the age of 95 in a Singaporean Hospital.

The vice president, who will be accompanied on the trip by senior government officials, is expected back in Nigeria on Saturday. (NAN)

– Sept. 13, 2019 @ 17:29 GMT |

Man bags 10 years jail term for $179,000 fraud

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JUSTICE Mojisola Dada of the State High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos has convicted and sentenced one Lawrence Maduagwu to 10 years imprisonment for $179,000 fraud.

A statement by Wilson Uwujaren, head, media and publicity of the EFCC,                                                                                         said that the convict was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Lagos Zonal office, on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 on a two-count charge bordering on stealing and obtaining by false pretence to the tune of $179,000.00.

Maduagwu was introduced to the complainant, PMC Industry Limited, a Chinese company, through its Nigerian representative, Ohio Ileogben, as a businessman, who deals in calcium chloride chemicals.

He, however, failed to pay for the 500 metric tonnes of calcium powder valued at the sum of $179,000, after taking delivery of the items and efforts to get him pay for the goods were unsuccessful.

According to the statement, count one reads: “That you, Lawrence Maduagwu, sometimes in 2013, at Lagos within the Ikeja Judicial Division, with intent to defraud, induced PMC Industry Limited, China to confer a benefit on you by supplying you 500 metric tonnes of calcium chloride powder valued at $179, 000.00 (One Hundred and Seventy-Nine Thousand US Dollars) on the understanding that you will pay for the goods .But up till now, you have refused to do so.”

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge, thereby leading to his full trial.

In the course of the trial, the prosecution counsel, S.O. Daji, called five witnesses and tendered several exhibits that were admitted in evidence by the court.

The defendant, however, testified for himself and also called two other witnesses.

During the sitting on June 19, 2019, parties adopted their final written addresses respectively.

Delivering her judgment on September 11, 2019, Justice Dada convicted  and sentenced the defendant to seven years imprisonment on count one and three years on count two.

Both sentences are to run concurrently from the date of his remand (February 28,  2018) by the court.

The Judge also ordered that the convict make full restitution of $179,000 (One hundred and seventy-nine thousand dollars), which the EFCC must employ all legal means to ensure compliance.

-Sep 13, 2019 @17:05 GMT |

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