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02-Mar-2024 I will make Kogi a nightmare for Criminals, Governor boasts

I will make Kogi a nightmare for Criminals, Governor boasts

Governor Ahmed Ododo of Kogi, has vowed that his Administration would flush out all criminal elements in the State.
Ododo said this on Friday in Lokoja during the Passing out Parade of 132 Rank and File of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

Represented by the State Security Adviser, Jerry Omodara, the Governor said there had been fight back by criminals since January 27 when his Administration came on board.

“Security is work in progress. Now that there is a new Government, we have realised that there is a fight back by criminals but we have a solid foundation as far as Security is concern in Kogi.

“That is the reason we quickly reviewed the Security Architecture of the State and every loopholes we needed to plug.

“We are already sniffing them out. We have issues of almost three kidnapped cases simultaneously along Obajana-Kabba Road that almost gave us another bad name.
“I can assure you today that the State has tackled them very well; we are determined to flush out criminals from our dear Dtate,” Ododo said,

The Governor promised his continued support for the Security Agencies, and urged them to work in synergy to ensure that Kogi remained safe.

Ododo assured of his determination to not only sustain the Foundation of Security Architecture inherited from the previous Government but also to improve on it.

He restated his commitment to continue to invest heavily on Technology and Human Intelligence, saying, “when we have the Security working as one body you will discover that we will achieve results.

“Insecurity is Community-based. We have also involved Security at the Grassroots

“We are carrying the Hunters along and reviewing the Kogi State Vigilante activities. We are bringing them to be a serious Fighting Force to make sure Kogi is kept safe”.

He commended the NSCDC Personnel for their role in protecting Lives and Properties in the Country and implored them to do more for the unity of Nigeria as a Nation.
Earlier, the NSCDC Commandant in Kogi, Paul Igwebuike, commended the Corps’s Commandant-General, Abubakar Audi, on his Policies in rejigging NSCDC, saying it has yielded positive results.

The State Commandant advised the newly recruited Officers to serve their Fatherland with sincerity to the Nation.

02-Mar-2024 Tinubu's emergence as Nigeria's President ordained by God, says Shettima

Tinubu's emergence as Nigeria's President ordained by God, says Shettima

Vice President Kashim Shettima says the emergence of Bola Tinubu as President is not by chance but a Divine blessing base on purity of his heart.


Shettima stated this on Friday when he hosted a Delegation of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC) on a Courtesy Visit at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.


”The Road that led to the Tinubu Presidency did not happen by chance. This is a man whose trajectory is characterised by making sacrifices for the good of the Nation.


“The President’s success is a Divine blessing which is a reward for the purity of his heart,” he said.


Shettima emphasised the need for Leaders to invest in building bridges, stressing that Tinubu’s contributions in providing an alternative Platform for the Nigerian Political System could not be underrated.


”President Tinubu made sacrifices and built bridges. He was a veritable sanctuary for Victims of Political witch hunts.


”When other Governors were struggling to have a Seat at the Dining Table with former President Olusegun Obasanjo way back then, he provided an alternative Platform for the Nigerian Political system,” he said.


Shettima therefore urged Nigerians that, the President not being a Leader by accident, they should be patient with him as he piloted the affairs of the Country to success.


Shettima urged the newly appointed Board of NCPC to demonstrate unwavering devotion to duty.


He reminded the Board Members of the importance of Religious commitment in addressing the challenges facing the Nation.


”All of you here were picked because of your Religious Devotion. We cannot condone what is taking place in the System.


”We must all strive to make a positive impact to attain the Nigeria of our dreams,” he said.


Earlier, the Executive Secretary of NCPC, Stephen Adegbite, expressed gratitude to President Tinubu for the opportunity given to them to serve on the Board.


He also commended the Vice President’s exceptional Leadership, recounting instances of support for the Church and efforts to foster peace and harmony in Borno State.


“Your antecedent and what we have known about you are immense.


“When we came to Maiduguri, Borno State, I was the Director of National Issues and Social Welfare at the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).


“The then CAN Chairman in Borno State said to us that they had an exceptional Governor, who supported Christians and rebuilt Churches destroyed by Boko Haram,” he said.


He added that Vice President Shettima stood with the Church and ensured that there was peace and harmony in the Church in Nigeria and with People of other Faith.


Adegbite also noted that the Commission’s Role goes beyond Pilgrimage as it extended to ensuring a harmonious Environment for the Nation.

01-Mar-2024 Tinubu slams Labour, says 'You are not the only voice of Nigeria'

Tinubu slams Labour, says 'You are not the only voice of Nigeria'

President Bola Tinubu says  the value of Democracy is measured in People-oriented outcomes, Projects and Programmes.

Tinubu stated this on Thursday in Lagos while inaugurating the Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT), Red Line Project.

The 37km Project is expected to reduce Travel Time and improve Transportation and Logistics in the State.

Tinubu said the Federal and Subnational Governments would strengthen their Collaboration to provide reliable, efficient, and affordable Transportation Systems for all Nigerians across the Country.

‘It is my singular pleasure to inaugurate the First Phase of the LRMT Red Line to the glory of God Almighty and for the benefit of the People.

”Today, I am seriously honoured that I am a Lagosian and the first to be President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

”My promise is not to let you down. We will arrive at the destination with joy, happiness, and prosperity; God willing,” he said.

The President said the Vision of a Modern and Effective Public Transportation System in the State was conceived during his tenure as the former Governor of Lagos State.

He described the Project as a dream realised and a fulfillment of years of hard work and dedication by successive Governments.

”I am very happy indeed that today is a day to remember in Nigeria’s Infrastructural History, particularly Lagos, the Center of Excellence.

“Today is evidence that it is good to dream, and it is a serious validation of Democracy as a Form of Government of the People, by the People, and for the People.

”When you put People at the center of your Vision and Planning, you will realise the Value of Democracy.

”Twenty-five years ago, I was elected to lead Nigeria’s Most Populous State.

“From the very beginning, my Team and I toiled day and night with a very bare cupboard and amidst pervasive deficiency to implement a Developmental Vision that will transform Lagos into an Economic Powerhouse.

”The momentum of greatness we kick-started a Quarter of a Century ago has become unstoppable progress. It is not a crime to dream and dream big. Just stay focused and make development a central focus,’’ he said.

Tinubu called on Nigerians to embrace change and work toward National Progress, stressing his Administration’s commitment to eradicating corruption and ensuring Industrial harmony.

”Some Labour Unions should understand that no matter how we cling to our freedom and rights, to call for strikes within the first nine months of a new Administration is unacceptable.

”If you want to directly participate in the Electoral Process, wait until 2027, if not, maintain the peace. Labour is not the only voice of Nigeria,” the President said.

Tinubu assured Nigerians that their Lives would become more enjoyable as Modern Amenities are built across the entire Nation under his progressive Leadership.

‘‘This is very efficient and comfortable, and I am happy. Our Transportation System must be all about the People. We have cut down Imports on PMS by almost 50 per cent.

“We need Mass Transit to complement the daily efforts of Citizens and make things easier for our People. And this is what this is all about. It is about the People. It is about Democracy. We are happy about it,’’ Tinubu said.

He commended the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), the Urban Transport Agency he established over 20 years ago, for its exemplary performance.

Tinubu implored LAMATA to sustain the momentum in completing all other phases of the Red Line Project, as well as the full execution of the broader Rail Blueprint of the State.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos, said the First Phase of the Project, executed by the State Government, spanned 37 kilometers and shared the track of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) Lagos-Ibadan Modernisation Project.

He explained that it is from Ebute Metta to Agbado with Stations at Oyingbo, Yaba, Mushin, Oshodi, Ikeja, Agege, and Iju.

According to the Governor, Phase One of the Project will transport 750,000 Passengers daily at inception and 1.1 million Passengers daily once it is fully operational.

”All the Stations are live and ready to receive Passengers,” Sanwo-Olu said.

The President also witnessed the signing of the Contract for Phase 2 of the LRMT Red Line project by the Managing Director of LAMATA, Abimbola Akinajo, and the Chairman of CCECC Nigeria Limited, Jason Zhang.

Tinubu embarked on an Inaugural Train Ride from the Ikeja Station to the Agege Station, accompanied by  Sanwo-Olu and his  Deputy, Obafemi Hamzat.

Others include some State Governors; Members of the Federal and State Executive Councils; Members of the Federal and State Legislative Assemblies and Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Cui Jianchun.

 

29-Feb-2024 Hardship: Why we chicken out, NLC defends suspension of Protest

Hardship: Why we chicken out, NLC defends suspension of Protest

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), said the day-two Nationwide Protest over Hunger and Economic Hardship was suspended due to alleged threats on the Leadership of the Congress.

Joe Ajaero, NLC President, said this at a News Conference on Wednesday in Abuja.

The National Executive Council (NEC,) of the NLC had called for a two- day Nationwide Protest against the crisis of survival and Hardship in Nigeria to be held between February 27 and February 28.

On the first day of the  peaceful Protest, NEC of the Congress suspended day-two of the Protest.

According to Ajaero, it is important that Members of the Public are made aware of the grievous threats against the Leadership of the NLC.

“This is aimed at intimidating and harassing us into abandoning our choice of Democratic Expressions through the Nationwide Protests.

“”We have been threatened with all manners of consequences that will be meted out to us if we went ahead with the Protest.

“We were not, however, deterred as lifting the heavy yoke of suffering upon Nigerian Workers and Masses left us with no other choice than to press on, ” he said

He said that during the Tuesday Rally in Abuja, we had hard evidence of the importation of Agent Provocateurs.

The NLC President said the Agent Provocateurs were mobilised to the Protest Routes and Grounds to cause violence and unleash mayhem against peacefully assembled and Protesting Nigerians.

“God is, however, always a step ahead of the Enemies of Workers and Nigerian People.

“That was also one of the reasons we had to restructure the second day of the Nationwide Protest.

“As we address this Press Briefing, all the Major Routes to our Headquarters here in Abuja have become militarised,” he said.

Ajaero said that this level of intimidation was designed to suffocate and muzzle the Voices of the Citizens so that we can surrender the Civic Space to Retrogressive Forces of the Society.

According to the NLC president, today is the 46th Anniversary of NLC.

“The recognition of that also conditioned our decision to rearrange our activities for day-two to allow us observe our Birthday in a solemn Assembly in our various Secretariats across the Nation,” he said.

Ajaero therefore, said the NLC would remain steadfast in its commitment to defending and promoting the
interests of Nigerian Workers and the Downtrodden.

NEC of the NLC also extended the Ultimatum to the Government by an additional seven days, which would lapse in March to implement all Agreements reached. 

 

28-Feb-2024 Hardship: There is light at the end of the tunnel, I take responsibility, says Tinubu

Hardship: There is light at the end of the tunnel, I take responsibility, says Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu says his Administration will ensure that Nigeria is reformed for greater efficiency towards fairness and equity in all aspects of National Life.

Tinubu said this while addressing Afenifere Leaders at the Residence of Reuben Fasoranti in Akure on Wednesday.

The President emphasised his commitment to leading Nigeria towards Economic and Social prosperity.

”Nigeria will survive the current Economic challenges. There is light at the end of the tunnel. I requested the Job, and I am not complaining about it. I take full responsibility.

”We are meeting our Obligations to the International Community. To lenders, we have not defaulted, and we are not going to default. We are navigating the twists and bends on the Road to Nigeria’s prosperity,” the President said.

On reforming Nigeria, Tinubu said he would emphasise Fiscal and True Federalism, as well as the broad-based manifestation of the Philosophy of “what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.”

He acknowledged the understanding and support of all Nigerians in the face of the tough but temporary Economic Conditions, assuring them that their patience and perseverance would not be in vain.

“The Economic challenges we have endured since assuming Office are not new to me. As the former Governor of Lagos State, I faced similar calls for my resignation. But, through perseverance, Lagos emerged as the fifth Largest Economy in Africa.

“We must manage this moment with wisdom and grow Nigeria responsibly. I campaigned for this Office to serve Nigeria’s interests, and I was elected.

“Some said I would not last in the Tribunal and came up with all sorts of predictions, but even when in Court, I remained focused.

“We cannot allow Nigeria’s Economy to be exploited. We cannot abandon our Economy to Marauders. I am determined to re-engineer our Finances and curb selfish interests permanently,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of Afenifere, Olu Falae, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, who read the address of Fasoranti, commended Tinubu’s commitment to Nigeria’s progress.

“You have kept your word to return to this place where we all prayed for you, and this shows that you are a man of your word,” the Elder Statesman stated.

Fasoranti urged the President to continue to be fair and courageous, declaring that such traits were the hallmark of the Afenifere Family.

“Today, you are carrying our Flag. We are noted for integrity, competence, fairness, and courage. Your performance so far has shown that you understand the full gravity of your Mandate, which is to show the Nigerian People that a good Government is possible,” he said.

28-Feb-2024 Economic Hardship: NLC backtracks on Street Protest

Economic Hardship: NLC backtracks on Street Protest

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) says it has suspended its Second Day Nationwide Streets Protest over Hunger and Economic Hardship in the Country.

Joe Ajaero, NLC President said this in a Communique jointly signed with Ismail Bello, Acting General Secretary of the Congress at the end of its National Executive Council(NEC) Meeting on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said the decision was taken by the National Executive Council of the NLC when it reviewed and assess the effectiveness of the Execution of the First Day of the Nationwide Protest.

“NEC-in-Session resolved to suspend Street Action for the Second Day of the Protest having achieved overwhelming success thus attained the key objectives of the Two-Day Protest on the First Day.

“”However, Nationwide Action continues tomorrow with simultaneous Press Conferences across all the States of the Federation by the State Councils of the Congress including the National Headquarters,” he said

Ajaero said the NLC had extended the Seven -Day Ultimatum given to Government by another seven days and would now expire on March 13.

He said the NLC expected the Government to implement all the earlier Agreement of  October 2, 2023 and other demands presented in their Letter at the Nationwide Protest.

He said the NLC would meet and decide on further lines of action if, on the expiration of the 14-day, the Government refused to comply with the demands as contained in the Ultimatum.

Ajaero said NEC commended Nigerians, its Affiliates, State Councils, Workers and Civil Society Allies for peacefully demonstrating their outrage on the Hardship imposed by the Government and its twin altars, the IMF and the World Bank.

He said NEC also deeply appreciated Nigerian Workers and Masses for sending a strong message to the Powers that be on their united resolve to demand accountability from those who occupy Positions of Leadership in our Nation.

He expressed NLC commitment to continue to defend and promote the interests and desires of Nigerian Workers and the Downtrodden Masses.

 

27-Feb-2024 Protests: Police place Men on red alert, warn NLC

Protests: Police place Men on red alert, warn NLC

The Police on Monday, said they have deployed Personnel and placed them on red alert ahead of the February 27 and 28 proposed Protests by the Nigerian Labour Congress.
 
The Force Public Relations Officer,  Olumuyiwa Adejobi said this in a Statement in Abuja.
 
He said the deployment was in recognition of  Peaceful Protest, in line with Extant Laws, as a Fundamental Right of Citizens.
 
Adejobi said the Idea was in line with the commitment of the Nigeria Police to ensure that the Rights and Freedom of Protesters were protected.
 
“In line with its Lawful Duty to maintain Law and Order, the Nigeria Police have deployed Personnel Nationwide and placed them on red alert to monitor the planned Protests.
 
 “All Commissioners of Police and their respective Supervising Officers have been briefed and instructed to coordinate the Officers on ground in ensuring the safety and security of all the Protesters.
 
“While recognising the importance of Peaceful Protest, the Force remains vigilant against any attempts to hijack such Protests by Individuals or Groups with sinister intents,” he said.
 
He said the Force was fully prepared to respond swiftly and decisively to unlawful activities or acts of violence targeted at threatening Public peace, safety and security.
 
According to him, it is vital to state that the Police has spread its tentacles Nationwide to curb any attempt by some Individuals who may want to leverage on the Nationwide Protests to create brouhaha.
 
He said the Police would not allow wanton breakdown of Law and Order, loss of Lives and Property as experienced, in some instances, in the past, in parts of the Country.
 
Adejobi said the Inspector-General of Police (I-G) Olukayode Egbetokun had called on the Protesters to conduct themselves peacefully and responsibly.
 
The I-G enjoined Organised Labour to adhere to the Principles of Non-Violence and respect for the Rights of
26-Feb-2024 FEC gives directive for implementation of Oronsaye Report

FEC gives directive for implementation of Oronsaye Report

The Federal Executive Council has adopted the Steve Oronsaye Report on the Reform of the Civil Service to cut Cost of Governance.

Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris disclosed this at the end of the Council Meeting on Monday in Abuja.

He said that some Ministries, Departments and Agencies would be scrapped, merged or subsumed into relevant Organisations of Government.

Idris, however, said that the aim was only to cut Cost and not throw Nigerians into the Labour Market.

The Minister, who said that details of the affected MDAs would be made available soon, disclosed that a Committee had been set up for its implementation.

Idris also revealed Council’s deliberation on the proposed Industrial Action by the Nigeria Labour Congress, urging it to shelve the plan.

He said that Government had fulfilled more than 85 per cent of the Agreements entered into with Labour in September 2023.

The Minister said that Labour should consider the efforts of Government in addressing the challenges and not allow Mischief Makers to hijack the situation at this critical period.

Similarly, the Council approved the continuation of payment to Vulnerable Households under the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP).

Minister of Finance, Wale Edun said that appropriate measures would be put in place to verify all Beneficiaries.

He said all Beneficiaries would be identified through their BVN, NIN and Account Numbers or Electronic Wallets even after the payment.

Edun said that the reintroduction of the NSIP was in line with the Administration’s desire of addressing the challenges faced by Vulnerable Nigerians.

He added that 12 million Households would benefit immediately from the payment of N25,000 NSIP Initiative.

25-Feb-2024 Presidency to NLC: You have hidden Agenda, most issues raised for your Protests settled
25-Feb-2024 NLC fingers FG in plans to attack its February 27, 28 Protests

NLC fingers FG in plans to attack its February 27, 28 Protests

The  Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), says the State has perfected plans to launch attack against the two-day Nationwide Peaceful Rallies it scheduled for February 27 and 28.
 
NLC President, Joe Ajaero made this known in a Statement he personally signed and made available to Journalists on Sunday in Abuja.
 
Ajaero in his Statement titled, “As the State Prepares to Unleash Violence on us” said that one of the Groups being primed to attack the Peaceful Rallies is by a nebulous name, Nigeria Civil Society Forum (NCSF).
 
“NCSF is one of the emergency Groups put together, funded, promoted and remote-controlled by Government to cause violence against our Members for electing to peacefully  protest against the hunger in the Land.
 
“We would want the State to know that the solution to our horrible Economic situation and hunger is not by  suppressing peaceful dissent or inflicting violence on peacefully protesting Citizens,” he said.
 
Ajaero insisted that the NLC  and Civil Society Allies were moving ahead with the Protest Rallies against Economic Hardship and Insecurity in line with the decision of the National Executive Council.
 
“As Citizens, we have a Fundamental Right to Peaceful Protest and History bears us Witness that our Protests are always peaceful except in instances of State-engineered violence.
 
“In light of this, we advise the State to put on its thinking cap and find solutions to the pains it continues to cause the People instead of further dehumanising them,” he said.
25-Feb-2024 Tinubu to ECOWAS Leaders: Let's put our People first

Tinubu to ECOWAS Leaders: Let's put our People first

President Bola Tinubu has expressed confidence in the possibility of lasting peace, security and prosperity in the West African Region.
 
He said this at the Extraordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of States and Government on the Political, Peace and Security in ECOWAS Region in Abuja,  on Saturday.
 
Tinubu said the complexities of the Issues facing the Body necessitated a comprehensive and collaborative approach.
 
He stressed the importance of engaging in constructive Dialogue, prudent judgment and unity toward Sustainable Peace, Security and Political Stability in the Region.
 
”I am confident that through our collective efforts and determination, we will navigate the challenges before us and chart a course toward a more peaceful, secure, and prosperous West Africa.
 
”Your presence today demonstrated your unflinching commitment to the sustenance of Regional Integration with all its ingredients for the promotion of Good Governance, Peace, Security, Stability and Socio-Economic Development.
 
”Once more, we are gathered here to address pressing developments in our Sub-Region surrounding Peace and Security as well as the Political Situations in the Republics of Niger, Burkina Faso, Guinea, and Mali. 
 
”We must approach these Issues with a sense of unity and commitment to the well-being of our People,” he said. 
 
The President said  the challenges warrant concerted efforts and a deep sense of History to ensure the spirit of Shared Vision, solidarity and collective responsibilities. 
 
He said that in spite of the Region’s challenges, he was buoyed by the spirit of collective resolve that defined the ECOWAS Community. 
 
”In the course of this Summit, therefore, we will receive a Memorandum from the ECOWAS Commission President on the Peace, Security and Political Situation in the Region. 
 
”The Memorandum will give us an update on the current situation in the Republics of Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali and Niger. 
 
”Our decisions must be guided by our commitment to safeguarding the Constitutional Order, upholding Democratic Principles, and promoting the Social and Economic well-being of the Citizens of the aforementioned Countries.”
 
He called for constructive deliberations to examine the actions taken by these Countries and ensure that the Citizens were not denied the benefits derived from Regional Integration Initiatives.
 
”Let me underscore that these challenges, though daunting, present an opportunity for ECOWAS to reaffirm its commitment to the Vision of our Founding Fathers and the Principles underpinning our commitment to Peace, Security, and Regional Integration.
 
”We must stand united in our resolve to promote Economic Integration, Democracy, and Human Rights, with a view to fostering Sustainable Development across all our Member States.
 
”Times like we currently face in our Sub Region demand that we take difficult but courageous decisions that put the plight of our People at the centre of our deliberations.
 
”Democracy is nothing more than the Political Framework and the path to addressing the Basic Needs and aspirations of the People.”
 
 
22-Feb-2024 Gowon pleads more time for Tinubu, says too early to expect result

Gowon pleads more time for Tinubu, says too early to expect result

Former Nigeria's Military Head of State and Elder Statesman, Yakubu Gowon has urged Nigerians to give more time to the  President Bola Tinubu-led Administration, toward resolving the various challenges confronting the Country.

He added that it was too early in the life of the administration to begin to resolve all the inherited crisis in different sectors.

Gowon said this after a Meeting with Tinubu at the Presidential Villa on Wednesday in Abuja.

“Well, I was telling him that no Nigerian Leader that get there and will not have all the Report of what is being said about him.

“But certainly, there’s no doubt from what one hears and what one sees on the various Media. I think the Government is trying its best to deal with the various problems of the Country.

“Don’t you worry,  you will get criticised but People who get there know better than you know.

“I think all what one can say is that Nigerians, we’ve got to give the President time to get things really done. And it is too early to say absolute result, perfect result will be achieved now.”

Gowon said  the Meeting with the President also centred on the issue of the challenges facing the ECOWAS Sub-Region, adding that it must be settled amicably.

“Being the surviving Leader, or Founding Fathers of the ECOWAS, I think we had to discuss some of his plans in order to see what can be done to bring the matter under control,” Gowon said.

He debunked claims on Social Media that he refused to attend an Event organised by ECOWAS, adding that this was probably due to miscommunication.

“I think there was a miscommunication but then, it gave the opportunity for the  President to call me so that we can discuss what I was to do.”

20-Feb-2024 Man killed by a Lion he fed, nurtured from birth at OAU Zoo

Man killed by a Lion he fed, nurtured from birth at OAU Zoo

Olawuyi Olarewaju, a Veterinary Technologist with Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun, has been killed by a Lion.
 
It was learnt that Olarewaju, who had been in charge of the OAU Zoological Garden for over a decade, was attacked by a nine-year-old Male Lion on Monday.
 
He was said to have been attacked while feeding the Lion at the Zoological Garden of the University.
 
Confirming the incident, Biodun Olarewaju, the OAU Public Relations Officer, said the Management of the University had been thrown into mourning following the incident.
 
Olarewaju, in a Statement in Ile-Ife, said that other Members of Staff of the University, who were at the Scene of the incident did everything within their powers to rescue the Deceased but the Wild Cat had already caused severe fatalities.
 
He said that saddened by the tragic Event, the aggressive Lion had been euthanised.
 
“On hearing the sad news, the Management Team, led by the Vice Chancellor,  Adebayo Bamire, abruptly ended an on-going Meeting for an on-the-spot assessment.
 
“The Vice Chancellor was informed on arrival by the Acting Director of the University Health and Medical Centre, Tirimisiyu Olatunji, that all First Aid and Medical efforts to save the life of the Victim failed.
 
“The Deceased has been taking care of the Lions since they were born on campus about nine years ago but tragically, the Male Lion killed the Man who had been feeding them.
 
“The University Management has sent a Delegation to the Widow and Children of the Deceased, imploring them to take solace in God who gives life and also has the power to take life,” he said.
 
Olarewaju said that the Management had ordered a comprehensive Investigation into the immediate and remote causes of the incident.
 
17-Feb-2024 EU to push €37m fresh Investment into Nigeria’s Power Sector

EU to push €37m fresh Investment into Nigeria’s Power Sector

The European Union (EU) says it is set to invest €37m into Nigeria’s Power Sector.

The EU Head of Mission to Nigeria,  Samuela Isopi said this when she visited the Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, on Friday in Abuja.

She was accompanied by the new Head of Cooperation of the EU, Luca Massimo and Godfrey Ogbemudia,  Programme Manager on Energy.

Isopi said that the money was apart from the about €200m Grants invested in the Sector since 2008.

Speaking on the EU’s various Intervention Programmes in the Power Sector, the Envoy said that the current support would cover Small Hydro-Power and Solar for Healthcare Facilities.

Other Areas to be covered in the current Intervention are the Rural Electrification with isolated and interconnected Mini-Grids Project, Circular Economy.

According to her, the projects will commence soon.

 Isopi also used the opportunity to invite the Minister to an upcoming Inauguration of two Projects funded by the EU and implemented by United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).

Responding, the Minister, who received the Ambassador in company of his Chief Technical Advisor, Adedayo Olowoniyi, expressed  appreciation to the EU for the support it has been giving to the Sector.

Adelabu said that more support was needed to address the enormous challenges in the Sector.

He said that the issue of Liquidity was the main problem that the Government is trying its best to resolve.

The Minister said that the Market would only be sustainable and run efficiently when there is a Cost Reflective Tariff in place.

According to him, he was pleased with the EU Programmes for the Sector and confirmed their alignment with the Ministry’s Strategy.

The Minister promised to work with the EU on its  Programmes especially  on Small Hydro and State Electrification Projects within the new Electricity Act.

 

16-Feb-2024 NLC wants action, not empty talks, begins Nationwide Protest February 27

NLC wants action, not empty talks, begins Nationwide Protest February 27

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC,) says it will embarked on a two-day Nationwide Protest from February 27 to February 28, over the mounting Economic Hardship and Insecurity in the Country.

Joe Ajaero, President of NLC said this at a News Conference at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) Meeting on Friday in Abuja.

Ajaero said that the NEC of the Congress met to discuss the State of the Nation,  and the non implementation of the Agreement reached with Government.

According to him,  NEC unanimously noted its deep disappointment and condemned the action of the Federal Government in refusing to implement the Agreements reached.

“NEC in Session follows its decisions that it stands to rectify the 14 days ultimatum issued to the Federal Government within which to implement the Agreement, and address the mounting crisis of the survival of Nigerians.

“That the 14 days ultimatum Notices expires on the midnight of February 22, that if on the expiration the Congress is not satisfied with  Government compliance with the Conditions of the Notice.

“Congress will be at liberty to take action that will compelled Government to implement the Agreement.

“NEC in Session declare a two day Nationwide Protest on February 27 and 28 to demonstrate outrage on the mounting Hardship and Insecurity across the Nation .

“If our demands are met after the Nationwide Protest, NEC will ensure to issue a seven day Notice that will expire on March 2, to the Federal Government, after which an Indefinite Nationwide Strike will commence,” he said.

He added that, Nigerian Workers and People are not interested in the empty talk but action.

He, therefore called on all its Affiliates, State Councils and Civil Societies to start mobilising across the Nation for effective action as February 22 approaches.

The NLC President said that there was need for urgent solution to address the continued suffering of the Nigerian People and Workers.

He said that NEC in Session calls for immediate action from the Federal Government to rectify this grievances, and restore faith in the Democratic  Process and Social Dialogue.

 

15-Feb-2024 60 Lawmakers press for Nigeria's return to Parliamentary System

60 Lawmakers press for Nigeria's return to Parliamentary System

Sixty Lawmakers at the House of Representatives, have commenced moves to return Nigeria to a Parliamentary System by 2031, by amending the 199 Constitution.

Abdulsamad Dasuki (PDP-Sokoto) a Spokesperson for the Group, said this at a News Conference at the National Assembly in Abuja on Wednesday.

Dasuki said the proposed amendment would significantly impact on the Nation’s Political Landscape.

He added that the Lawmakers were advocating a transition from the current Presidential System to a Parliamentary System at all Levels, including Federal, State, and Local Government Councils.

“Our Founders, in their wisdom and in a Political Atmosphere devoid of compulsion, considered the interests of their Native Peoples, and their desire to live together led them to adopt the Parliamentary System of Government.

“They considered a Country where truth and justice reign, where no Man is oppressed, and where all Citizens live in peace and plenty, and adopted the Parliamentary System of Government,” he said.

He said that the collapse of the First Republic and the long stretch of Military Rule culminated in the adoption of a new System of Government, fashioned after the U.S Presidential System.

“Over the years, the imperfections of the Presidential System of Government have become glaring to all, in spite of several alterations to the Constitution to address the shortcomings.

“The System has denied the Nation the opportunity to attain its full potential.

“Among these imperfections, are the high Cost of Governance, leaving fewer Resources for crucial areas like Infrastructure, Education, and Healthcare,” he said.

He said that the System had hindered the Nation’s developmental progress as it vested excessive Powers vested on the the Executives, who were Appointees and not directly accountable to the People.

“The Bills presented today seek a return to the System of Government adopted by our Founders, which made governance accountable, responsible, responsive, and ultimately less expensive.

“With the Presentation of these Bills, we hope to ignite and provoke a National Conversation about the future of the Nigerian Governance System.

“This will also ensure robust Public Debates, Stakeholder consultations, Expert analyses, and a thorough and informed decision-making process,” he said.

He stated that it was also to raise awareness about this significant development and encourage constructive Dialogue on the potential implications of the proposed Constitutional alteration.

Also speaking, Wale Raji (APC-Lagos) said the move was to start a National Conversation on the need for a transition from Presidential to a less expensive Parliamentary System of Government.

“The Process may not terminate with the current Administration; it may go beyond 2027, but we have set the ball rolling. The actual commencement may be 2031.

“We have initiated a Process, and History will record it that a Group of Lawmakers sought the need to reduce the Cost of Governance, and if a Group of Lawmakers scuttles it, History will record it,” he said.

 

14-Feb-2024 NLC: Most FG Workers not paid January Salary

NLC: Most FG Workers not paid January Salary

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on the Federal Government to consider Annual Review of National Minimum Wage because of Inflationary trend and Value of the Naira.

Joe Ajaero, NLC President made the call in Abuja at the 2nd National Labour Adjudication and Arbitration Forum, organised by the National Employers Consultative Association (NECA).

The Theme of the Forum is “Strengthening Tripartism and Social Dialogue (including alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms) for a Sustainable Industrial Relations System in Nigeria.

Ajaero said Government should have a rethink on the five year cycle of Minimum Wage because it was not favourable to the Nigerian Workers.

According to him, no matter the amount negotiated, it would have been eaten up by Inflation before the end of the five year cycle.

“There is a need to tinker with the Law providing for five yearly renegotiation of National Minimum Wage to allow for yearly adjustment of Wages based on the Rate of Inflation and Value of the Naira.

 “This is important because People have been coming up to say that if we increase Salaries, it will affect Inflation.

However, we cannot leave Salary to be constant while other variables continue to grow,’’ he said.

Ajaero said Workers were displeased with the poor implementation of the N35,000 Wage Award by the Federal Government.

The NLC President added that most Federal Government Workers were yet to receive their January Salary.

He therefore called on the Government to expedite the implementation of the 16 Points Agreement reached with Organised Labour to cushion the effects the Fuel Subsidy removal.

Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, commended NECA for collaborating with the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) to organise the Forum.

She said the forum would foster dialogue among Stakeholders and promote peaceful Industrial Relations.

Dike Plang, Chairman, Senate Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity, said the Event was apt and critical to sustainable Industrial Relations in Nigeria.

The Lawmaker assured that the National Assembly would ensure comprehensive review and amendment of existing Labour Laws to conform to International Labour Standards.

He also commended President Bola Tinubu for constituting the Tripartite Committee on the Review of Minimum Wage for Workers.

14-Feb-2024 Reps bicker over Bill on Minimum Qualification for Public Office Holders

Reps bicker over Bill on Minimum Qualification for Public Office Holders

The House of Representatives on Tuesday stepped down a Bill seeking to alter the Minimum Educational Qualification for the Offices of President and Vice-President from Primary School certificate to a University Degree.

The Bill was sponsored by Adewunmi Onanuga (APC-Ogun) at Plenary.

Presenting the General Principles of the Bill, Onanuga called on the House to look at the Educational Qualifications of Political Office Holders.

She said that Nigeria had passed the age of using School Leaving Certificate as the Minimum Requirement for Political Office.

She added that a University Degree or its equivalent should be made the Minimum Qualification.

Babajimi Benson (APC-Lagos) supported the Bill.

“I can’t believe that in this Modern Age, some People will say, don’t go to School, yet go and be President,” he said.

Julius Ihonvbare (APC-Edo) also spoke in favour of the Bill.

“We are in a World where Knowledge is Power, we see Leaders of other Nations who make excellent Presentations, but here we have Leaders dodging Debate.

“I don’t think this Requirement should apply to all Political Offices; for Local Government, it might not be required, but the President, Vice President and National Assembly Members should be required to own a Degree,” he said.

Leke Abejide (ADC-Kogi)  said the World had moved and Nigeria should not be left behind.
“If we put a Mediocre to head an important Political Office, we will end up in disaster.”

Alfred Iliah (APC-Plateau) said Educational Qualification remains very important and the bedrock of every Society.

“The Qualifications of every National Assembly Member should be looked into if the Country must make progress,” he said.

Mustapha Aliyu (APC-Sokoto) said the Bill was long overdue, adding that Education was the bedrock of the development of the Society.

“For those contesting for Executive Seats, they should have a Degree; however, the jump from School Leaving Certificate to a Degree is too wide. I will propose that there should be a middle course.”

Kingsley Chinda (PDP-Rivers)  also endorsed the Bill, lamenting the  decline in Standard of Education.
He reiterated the importance of backing the Bill wholeheartedly, saying "why do we say a Primary School Certificate Holder should be given. We should do the right thing."

Aliyu Madaki (NNPP-Kano) however, offered a different perspective, saying the Leadership quality of a Political Office Holder should not be determined by his Level of Education.

“I have an MBA in Financial Management, but restricting others with Qualifications will not carry all Nigerians along. All Nigerians should be allowed to participate and exercise their Leadership qualities,” he said.

Bashir Sokoto (APC- Sokoto) also opposed the Bill.
“We were privileged to go to University, but we have few privileged Nigerians who can not afford to go to the University.

“I propose that we allow the Minimum Requirement for Political Office Holders to remain Primary School Certificate.”

Ahmed Jaha (APC-Borno) said passing the Bill would negatively affect some Sections of the Country.

“Qualification alone is not a true taste of Knowledge. We are making Laws for good Governance and peace in this Country. We will not pass Laws that will favour only a small number of Nigerians.

“How many Nigerians are Degree Holders? The America that we refer to has done greatly in educating its Citizens’, but here in Nigeria, what have we done in improving our Education System.”

The Deputy Speaker of the House, Benjamin Kalu, who presided over Plenary stepped down the Bill after a heated Debate.

13-Feb-2024 FG, World Bank seek $3bn to expand Nigeria's Broadband Infrastructure

FG, World Bank seek $3bn to expand Nigeria's Broadband Infrastructure

The Federal Government and the World Bank are targeting $3bn to fund additional 120,000km Fibre Optic Cables to leap frog Broadband Infrastructure and Connectivity in Nigeria.

The Minister of Communications, Innovations and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, disclosed this in Abuja on Tuesday at a Stakeholders’ Engagement with the Theme “Realising a Nigerian Vision of Broadband for All”

The Event was organised by the Ministry of Communications in conjunction with World Bank.

Tijani, who expressed hope that the Funds would be raised in the next two or three years, said the Project involved Stakeholders from the Private Sector and it would be delivered in the next three years.

According to him, it has become imperative to seek Investments in the Nation’s Digital Backbone to facilitate access at affordable Prices to the Digital Space for all Nigerians.

“We are here with critical Stakeholders on how to attract Investments and fund our Broadband Infrastructure.

“I am sure everybody that is listening to me probably understand that now we cannot do without Technology on Internet; so, we all need quality access regardless of our location.

“There is need for us to invest in that Databank. So, it is the kind of thing that we call the Telecommunications Infrastructure, or in some cases, we call the Fibre Optic Cables.

“So, there is actually a Cable that helps us make it possible for Internet to happen,” the Minister said.

According to him, Nigeria has laid 3,035km Fiber Optic Cables, but 120,000km Fiber Optic Cables would be required for Nigerians to have quality and efficient access to the Internet and other Digital Services irrespective of their locations.

In his remarks, Franz Drees-Gross, the World Bank Regional Director, (Infrastructure) West and Central Africa,  said the First Phase of the Project would involve laying 95,000km Fiber Optic Cables across Nigeria.

Drees-Gross said it would improve access and Digital Services Content in the Country.

He described Nigeria Digital Ecosystem as vibrant, adding that the World Bank was deeply involved and interested in supporting Nigeria to raise the needed Funds for the Project.

“We plan to set up a Digital National Broadband Fund and to roll out about 95,000 kilometers of what we call Middle Mile Cable.

“That is the Terrestrial Cable in the Territory of Nigeria to bring Broadband to more parts of the Country.

”I think Nigeria has about 35,000 kilometers of Broadband Cable. The idea is to add another 95,000 and what we are discussing with the Government is what is the best way to finance that?

According to him, Nigeria has a very impressive and vibrant Digital Ecosystem in Lagos, adding that Nigeria can be the Hub for exporting Digital Services to West Africa.

 

13-Feb-2024 Access Holdings names Agbede as Wigwe's replacement

Access Holdings names Agbede as Wigwe's replacement

The Board of Directors of Access Holdings Plc has  appointed Bolaji Agbede as the Acting Group Chief Executive Officer of the Company.
 
The Company’s Secretary, Sunday Ekwochi, stated this in a Notification to the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) on Tuesday in Lagos.
 
Ekwochi said the decision followed the demise of the Firm’s former Group Chief Executive Officer, Herbert Wigwe last Friday.
 
Wigwe, Group Chief Executive Officer, Access Holdings, his Wife, Son and Abimbola Ogunbanjo, former Chairman of NGX Group died on Friday in a Helicopter crash in Southern California, U.S.
 
The Company’s Secretary said that the Appointment was subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
 
He said until Agbede’s Appointment, she was the Company’s most Senior Founding Executive Director in charge of Business Support.
 
According to him, Agbede has nearly three decades of Professional experience cutting across Banking and Business Consultancy Services.
 
She commenced her Professional Career in 1992 at Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) and served in various Capacities within the Commercial Banking and Operations Functions rising to the Position of a Manager in 2001.
 
The Acting Group CEO subsequenty served as the Chief Executive Officer of JKS Limited, a Business Consulting Outfit in 2003.
 
Agbede joined Access Bank Plc in 2003 as an Assistant General Manager and was responsible for managing the Bank’s Portfolio of Chemical Trading Companies.
 
She served as the Bank’s Head Group Human Resources between 2010 and 2022 and was appointed the Company’s Founding Executive Director, Business Support in 2022.
 
Agbede has a track record in Successful People Integration in Business Combination and Culture Transformation.
 
She holds a Bachelors Degree in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Lagos  in 1990 and a Masters of Business Administration Degree from Cranfield University, UK in 2002.
 
The Action Group CEO is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Management, UK and the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria.
 
Agbede has attended several Renowned Leadership and Professional Development Programmes including the High Performance Leadership Programme organised by IMD and the Strategic Talent Management Programme organised by the London Business School.
 
Commenting, Abubakar Jimoh, Chairman, Access Holdings said that the Appointment of Agbede is in alignment with the firm’s robust succession planning practices.
 
Jimoh said ” We are strongly convinced that Agbede, being the Company’s most Senior Executive with exceptionally rich, Professional and Leadership experience and understanding of the Access Culture, will provide the much-needed Leadership to steer the Company.
 
“This is towards the attainment of our Strategic Vision of building a Globally Connected Community and Ecosystem, inspired by Alice for the World.” 
 
13-Feb-2024 Wigwe's Staff: We have lost a Brother, a Brother’s Wife, a cherished Son

Wigwe's Staff: We have lost a Brother, a Brother’s Wife, a cherished Son

Staff Members of Access Holdings on Monday promised to uphold the Legacies of their late Co-Founder and Group Chief Executive Officer of the Access Holdings Group, Herbert Wigwe, who died in a Helicopter crash.
 
Wigwe died with his wife, Chizoba, and son, Chizi, alongside Abimbola Ogunbanjo, former Group Chairman of the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX Group), in the U.S. on February 9, 2024.
 
Speaking at the Access Bank Headquarters in Victoria Island, the Workers and Customers were in sober and pensive mood.
 
Though activities were going on smoothly at the Headquarters, a water-tight security was equally put in place within and around the premises.
 
NAN Correspondents, however, flipped through the Condolence Register opened in honour of the departed with a number of comments.
 
However, the Bank’s Security Operatives prevented the Correspondents from picking names of the Sympathisers in the Register.
 
The Security Operatives said they were under strict instructions not to allow anyone flip through the Register, insisting that Sympathisers could only ‘comment and leave’.
 
“We are not happy, this is not time for this,” one of the Security Operatives said.
 
Members of the Public and Staff arrived in droves to sign with some adorned in black Corporate Attires.
 
Some of the Workers who expressed their mood praised Wigwe’s mentorship and brilliance at impacting them to sharpen their skills, competencies and capabilities.
 
However, some Staff Members spoke on condition of anonymity while expressing their grief.
 
A Senior Official said the tragedy was a personal loss to Workers, who felt like Blood Relation of Wigwe, described as a great Boss that touched and impacted the Lives of many Workers directly.
 
The Workers promised that the Staff would use the deceased great Vision for the continued growth and development of the Bank.
 
The Official said Wigwe introduced Innovations that repositioned the Access Bank Holdings on a Global Pedestal.
 
“If Herbert had a dream, it was our Collective Vision, we will uphold his Vision and build on his Legacies.
 
“We have not only lost a good Boss but we have lost a Friend, his wife  was also involved. So, we have lost a Brother’s Wife and a cherished Son,” one of the Workers said.
 
“We are still in shock. He was a good Boss, a committed Achiever, we will build on his Legacies, it will live here forever”.
11-Feb-2024 Wigwe, wife, son, three others perish in US Helicopter crash

Wigwe, wife, son, three others perish in US Helicopter crash

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Saturday confirmed the crash of a Helicopter carrying six Passengers in a Southern California Desert near Las Vegas.

All the Passengers on Board are reported to have died.

Herbert Wigwe, the Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings and other Nigerians were feared to be in the Helicopter.

He was reportedly on Board with five others believed to be his wife, son and Abimbola Ogunbanjo, the Group Chairman of Nigerian Exchange Group Plc.

According to FAA, the crash occurred on Friday around 10 p.m. local time near Nipton, California.

However, the FAA has not made available the List of the Passengers involved in the accident as at the time of filing this Report.

The Family Members of some Nigerians suspected to have been involved in the crash did not respond to calls.

Tunde Moshood, the Specialist, Asset and Communications to the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, described Wigwe as a Leader with unwavering dedication to his Nation and his indomitable spirit serve as inspiration to us all.

“Though he may have left this World prematurely, his Vision and Values will continue to guide us as we strive for a brighter future.

“Adieu, Herbert Wigwe. Your presence will be sorely missed, but your Legacy will endure as a beacon of hope and progress,” he said.

Born on August 15, 1966 in Isiokpo, Port Harcourt, Herbert Wigwe has carved a niche for himself in the World of Finance.

He obtained a Degree in Accountancy from the University of Nigeria and further Education in Banking and Finance, Financial Economics, and an Executive Programme from Harvard Business School.

Wigwe’s impact was not limited to Banking. His passion for Philanthropy led him to establish the Herbert Wigwe Foundation, fostering Education and Entrepreneurship in Nigeria.

His dedication earned him the Order of the Niger (CON) and admiration from Peers and the Public.

10-Feb-2024 Lagos Government, Residents tackle Transportation challenges in Lekki

Lagos Government, Residents tackle Transportation challenges in Lekki

The Lagos Commissioner for Transportation, Seun Osiyemi and the Leadership Team of the Lekki Estate Resident and Stakeholders Association (LERSA), have taken steps to address the Transportation challenges across the Lekki Peninsula.

The President of LERSA, Sulyman Bello, on Saturday in Lagos, said the development would enhance the quality of life for Residents at the Axis.

LERSA is the Umbrella Association for Businesses, Residents and Stakeholders from 1004 Axis to the Epe Corridor.

Bello said the Meeting was critical to addressing and proposing solutions to the Transportation challenges affecting the Area.

He outlined key Areas for improvement in Traffic Management and Enforcement to mitigate Traffic Offences and enhance overall Transportation efficiency.

Femi Oke, Chairman of the LERSA Transportation Committee, emphasised the need for Specialised Enforcement Teams in Construction Zones and Peak Time Management Squads.

Oke also called for the deployment of Monster Trucks for towing obstructive Vehicles, especially in strategic Areas like the Lekki Port and Refinery.

Additionally, he urged for Zonal Patrol Units, an increase in Transportation Personnel, and the exploration of alternative Transportation methods such as Rail and Water Transport.

“It is also important to have the installation of Truck Barriers on the Jubilee Bridge and the use of Technology, such as Cameras, to monitor and penalise Traffic Violators,” he said.

In response, the Commissioner provided insightful feedback on each issue, detailing the State’s efforts to address these challenges and improve the Living Standards within the Lekki Peninsula and Lagos at large.

He restated his commitment to providing actionable solutions in line with the drive of the Governor of Lagos to making Lagos a Model State for others to emulate.

10-Feb-2024 FG to Organised Labour: We'll honour our Agreement with Workers

FG to Organised Labour: We'll honour our Agreement with Workers

The Federal Government has assured its commitment to expedite full implementation of the 16-Point Agreement reached with Organised Labour.

Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, Minister of State for Labour and Employment gave the assurance  at  a News Conference on Friday in Abuja.

It would be recalled that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), issued a 14- day ultimatum to the Federal Government to implement all the Agreement reached on October 2, 2023.

Reacting to the ultimatum, Onyejeocha said the Federal Government acknowledged the challenges faced by Nigerians and had demonstrated sincerity in its ongoing negotiations with the Trade Unions

“We wish to reassure Nigerians that this Government is fully committed to honouring its obligations to Workers and the Less Privileged in Nigeria.

“We will ensure the complete implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) we entered into with Organised Labour.

“Our word is our bond. I can confidently say that President Bola Tinubu Administration stands firmly with the People.

“The President is tirelessly working to ensure that everything is done to address the needs and concerns of the Nation,” she said.

The Minister also assured Government’s  commitment to maintaining open and constructive communication with Labour,

She said such communication would  foster positive Labour Relations and guarantee a supportive Working Environment for all Workers.

The Minister, however noted: “You will agree with me that negotiations are often a gradual process, with Resolutions unfolding in stages.

“For example, the N35,000 Wage Award agreed upon between the Government and Organised Labour is currently being implemented.

“However, we have received complaints regarding non-implementation in some Public Sector Organisations as well as the Private Sector.

“The Ministry is actively addressing these issues to ensure compliance across all Sectors”.

The Minister recalled that the  37-Member Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage had been inaugurated to recommend a new National Minimum Wage for Nigerian Workers.

She said the Government promptly effected the Statutory Obligation in order to mitigate the hardship the Citizens are facing.

“Amidst these developments, the Government is actively implementing its plan to go green with the implementation of the Presidential CNG Initiative.

“It is designed to alleviate the challenges arising from Subsidy removal and for the Country to gradually transit to cheaper, safer and more reliable Gas produced domestically for transportation,” she said.

Onyejeocha added that in line with Government ongoing commitment to improving the Welfare of Nigerians, provisions have also been made for an initial 55,000 CNG Conversion Kits.

She  said the take-off for the state-of-the-art CNG Conversion Centres Nationwide was also ongoing with the aim to deliver one million Converted Bi-Fuel CNG/PMS Vehicles.

To further ease transportation, the Minister said the Government, through the Ministry of Finance will procure about 11,500 CNG Vehicles including Buses and Tricycles in the next few months.

 

09-Feb-2024 Liquidity, Funding critical to survival of Nigeria's Power Sector, says Minister

Liquidity, Funding critical to survival of Nigeria's Power Sector, says Minister

The Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu has lauded Foreign Development Partners for their support to the Sector.

Adelabu, who said this during a Meeting with Foreign Development Partners operating in the Country, urged them not to relent.

This is contained in a Statement issued on Friday by his Special Adviser, Strategic Communication and Public Relations, Bolaji Tunji.

The Minister reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to continuous production, seamless transmission and impeccable distribution of Power.

He briefed the Partners on the Federal Government’s Transformation Master Plan under the Ministry to improve Power Supply across the Country.

“When we resumed here, we spent the first three months to diagnose and investigate issues that have affected development in the Power Sector.

“Why the Sector is still at the level it is today and the factors militating against the turnaround that is envisaged in the Sector.

“We consulted; we engaged all the Stakeholders. At the end of the Diagnosis and Investigation, we have a full understanding of the situation. We discovered that most of the problems in the Sector are not all Technical or Engineering-related,” he said.

The Minister said that the problem of the Sector had to do with Liquidity, Funding, Structural or Operational issues which anybody that has the commitment could resolve.

According to him, though they are simple issues, they are multiples, complicated and permeate all the Sectors in the Value Chain.

“We met as a Team to provide practical solutions and came up with a Timing Template on those issues that can be resolved in the short term, mid-term and those that can be resolved in the long haul.

“We capped these activities up in December 2023 when we had a Ministerial Retreat where we had the various Stakeholders across the Value Chain in attendance.

“We had serious discussions that lasted three days where we came up with what we have to do. We are focused on providing workable solutions to the various issues,” he said.

He said that the main problem of the sector was Liquidity and Funding, adding that the Sector was supposed to generate Revenue if allowed to operate a Commercial Model.

He further said that whereby all the Costs attributed to Generation of Power, Transmission and Distribution of Power were recovered through the Tariff while the Operators were given a good mark up.

He, however, said that the Sector was not allowed to charge a Cost Reflective Tariff, adding that Government promised Subsidy which was not a problem.

“Once the Sector suffers from Liquidity challenge, there will be no Investment in the Sector and that is why the Structures are dilapidated. It is important we resolve the Liquidity issue,” he said.

Adelabu also spoke on the pivotal Role of the States in the Power Sector, adding that the Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) as presently constituted, should be unbundled along State lines.

“We need to encourage the States to have their own Power Generating Companies, encourage them to establish Structures for Transmission and Distribution.

“Each State Government must also start showing interest in those in charge of Distribution in their States, while the Federal Government can track Generation and Transmission, the States should be able to track the Distribution Companies,” he said.

“We will ensure that the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) lives up to expectations by serving the underserved and the unserved Rural Communities that may not be commercially attractive to the DisCos.

“Also to focus on Distributed Power by intensifying efforts to raise the Volume of Renewable Energy to National Capacity, with focus on developing Small Hydro Power Plants along the 26 Small Dams in the County.

“We can hybridise this with Solar when the water level goes down,” he said.

He said that Solar option was being considered for the Northern Part of the Country including use of Windmills to generate Power Offshore, along the Coastal Part of the Country.

Responding, the Partners thanked the Minister for the comprehensive diagnosis of the challenges in the Sector including the Government’s Transformation Plan.

The Partners said they would need to further organise themselves in order to avoid overlap of Functions.

They also assured the Minister of. their continuous support since his briefing had given a clear direction on how to resolve some of the issues in the Power Sector Value Chain. 

09-Feb-2024 Organised Labour draws battle line with FG over 16-Point Agreement

Organised Labour draws battle line with FG over 16-Point Agreement

The Organised Labour has issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to implement their 16-Point Agreement.

The ultimatum begins on February 9, according to a Statement jointly signed by the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, and Festus Osifo, President, Trade Union Congress (TUC).

Organised Labour and the Federal Government reached a 16-Point Agreement on October 2, 2023 to address the hardship occasioned by Fuel Subsidy removal and other issues.

In their Statement on Thursday, the NLC and TUC expressed concern over the non-implementation of the October 2023 Agreement.

“In spite of the passage of time, majority of these Agreements remain unmet or negligibly addressed, indicating a disregard for the Principles of Good Faith, Welfare and Rights of Nigerian Workers and Nigerians.

“Government’s failure to uphold its end of the bargain is deeply regrettable and unacceptable to the Working People and the Citizenry.

“Recognising the imperative of ensuring and protecting the Rights and Dignity of Nigerians, the NLC and TUC hereby issue an ultimatum to the Federal Government to honour its part of the Agreement within 14 days.

“The ultimatum begins to count from February 9,’’ the Labour Leaders stated.

They noted that the Agreement focused on addressing the general harsh Socio-Economic consequences of the hike in the Price of Petrol and the Devaluation of the Naira.

They noted also that the dual Policies had dire Economic consequences for the Masses and the Nigerian Workers.

“Widespread hunger is now ravaging millions of Nigerians, with Workers’ Purchasing Power significantly eroded, while Insecurity has assumed an increasing dimension.

“Nigerians are left wondering where their next meals will come from and what tomorrow might bring.

“The level of panic and anxiety amongst the populace has become nightmarish,’’ they stressed.

The Labour Leaders demanded that everything must be done within the two weeks to avoid a situation where further proper appropriate steps would be taken to protect Nigerian Workers and the Masses.

“We call on the Federal Government to honour its commitments without delay. The time for empty promises and excuses has passed.

“The time for action is now. Our patience has worn thin and the situation has become unbearable for Workers and Masses all over the Federation.

“Further silence amounts to committing mass suicide and this remains the only feasible course of action left for us and Nigerians to compel remedial action by Government,’’ they also stated.

09-Feb-2024 Tinubu warns Traders hoarding Foodstuffs of dire consequences

Tinubu warns Traders hoarding Foodstuffs of dire consequences

President Bola Tinubu has directed the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to release about 42,000 metric tonnes of Grains including Maize, Millet and Garri.

Similarly, the Rice Millers Association of Nigeria has also committed to immediately release over 60,000 metric tonnes of Rice to the Public.

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, disclosed this after the Meeting of the Presidential Committee on Emergency Food Intervention on Thursday in Abuja.

He said that these were immediate measures taken by the Federal Government to reduce the hardships faced by Nigerians who are made to bear the brunt of high Prices of Food in the Market.

“These will be made available and we know that that is enough to take Nigeria in the next couple of weeks. One month, six weeks, perhaps up to two months.

“Now the whole idea of this is to crush the Cost of these Food Items. And these are measures that will happen immediately.

“Now, the third Item is that Government is also looking at the possibility of, if it becomes absolutely necessary and as an interim measure, to also import some of these Commodities immediately so that these Commodities can be made available to Nigerians,” he said.

Idris also said that the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security would further invest massively in the Farming Process to boost Production and ensure the Country’s Food potential are fully exploited.

He said that Government would appeal to Persons or Groups to stop hoarding these Products in order to maximise profit at the detriment of Ordinary Nigerians.

“Government of course is also looking at all those who are hoarding these Commodities, because actually, these Commodities are available in the Stores of many Traders.

“Government is appealing to them that they should open up these doors and make these Commodities available in the interest of our Nation.

“There is no point when the whole Country is looking for this Food you are locking up these Products where you make more money and then Nigerians suffer. Of course, Government will not fold its arms.

“If they don’t respond by bringing these Commodities to the Market, Government will take appropriate measures to ensure that these Products are made available to Nigerians.”

The Minister said that Government would also take measures to ensure that Food continue to be accessible and affordable to Nigerians.

“We ask that Nigerians need to be more patriotic; be our Brothers' Keepers. Sell this thing, of course at a margin but at a margin that is not also killing to Nigerians.

“This is an emergency situation. Every nation faces emergency situations. This is our own time to face this challenges.

“The President has directed that whatever it will take, Food will be available to Nigerians at a Cost that is also very reasonable,” he said.

 

07-Feb-2024 Reps to FG: Cost of Living killing Nigerians

Reps to FG: Cost of Living killing Nigerians

The House of Representatives has advised the Federal Government to address the rising Cost of Living in the Country, to tackle the hardship being faced by Nigerians.

This followed the adoption of a Motion by Isiaka Ibrahim (APC-Ogun) at Plenary in Abuja on Tuesday.

Moving In the Motion titled “Urgent Intervention on Reducing Cost of Living”, Ibrahim said that the rising Cost of Living in the Country was unbearable.

He said that the impact was deadly on Individuals and Families, adding that there was an urgent need for Government’s intervention to bring down the Cost of Living.

He said that the skyrocketing Cost of Housing, Food, Healthcare, and Education had led to increasing hardship in the Country.
“The current Inflation has eroded the Purchasing Power of individuals with higher Prices for Goods and Services.

“Stagnant Wages and limited Job Opportunities have also further exacerbated the Financial strain on Individuals and Families, making it increasingly difficult to make ends meet,” he said.

He said that the impact of rising Costs of Living was particularly severe for Low-Income Groups, who had been forced to make difficult choices among Basic Necessities.

He said the Financial burden had also led to increased stress and anxiety, contributing to a decline in the overall well-being of Nigerians.

Contributing, Ahmed Jaha (APC-Borno) said, “If we as Lawmakers are comfortable in our Comfort Zone, we should understand that our Constituents are not and so we are sitting on a time bomb.

“We don’t need Soothsayers to tell you that People are hungry; there must be a patriotic measure to bring back this Country.

“The Cost of Staple Food has increased by almost 500 percent. We have an issue in Nigeria with Capital Inflow to our Country, particularly the Diaspora.

“There must be a Conducive Environment created by the Government to encourage Investors, and this will be possible when we have security in place.”

Kingsley Chinda (PDP-Rivers) said, “With what we are facing in Nigeria today, can we truly say the Welfare of the People is the priority of the Government?

He said a lot still needed to be done because the People are living in penury.
“Our duty is to bring joy to Nigerians, as some of us find it difficult to go Home because of the current challenges.

“We must assist the Security Agencies to improve the situation in the Country; the Motion is a wake-up call for us. Let us not look at it from the angle of Partisan Politics.”

Adopting the Motion, the House appealed to the Federal Government to distribute Food from the National Food Reserve to Nigerians to cushion the effects on the current Food Inflation.

The House urged that Poultry Products, Meats, Beverages, Healthcare Products, and Pharmaceutical Products be imported from the top Exporting Countries in the World as a short-term measure.

The House also called for increased Food Production and improved distribution by ensuring adequate access to Fertilisers and Crop diversification. 

 

06-Feb-2024 FG meets to tame rising Food Prices, says some People behind it

FG meets to tame rising Food Prices, says some People behind it

President Bola Tinubu has directed the Presidential Committee on Emergency Food Intervention to work out immediate measures to check rising Food Prices in the Country.

Mohammed Idris, Minister of Information and National Orientation, disclosed this after a Meeting of the Committee on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said that the President was concerned about the accessibility and affordability of Food Items across the Nation.

“The Government is very concerned about what Nigerians are going through, especially what happened in Minna yesterday.

“Therefore Government is taking some actions to ensure that Nigerians have some relief in terms of the availability of Food on the Table.⁣”

Idris said that the Committee's Meeting would continue until Thursday, adding that certain significant measures are already being considered to ameliorate the deplorable situation.

“Now, some of these will involve unlocking the Foods that are available in most of the Storage Facilities (National Food Reserves) around the Country.

“The Government is also talking to major Millers and major Commodity Traders to also see what is available in their Stores.

“To open it up, so that Government will provide some intervention, discuss with them to provide some intervention to make this Food available to Nigerians.⁣”

He said that Government was aware that some Persons were creating the Food shortages because of its high Cost and the depreciation of the Currency.

“What I will tell Nigerians is that the President has directed that Government needs to step in to stem this tide.⁣

“Government will not fold its arms and see the way Nigerians are suffering in terms of the availability of these Food Items, so I want to plead with you to understand with the Government.

“By the time these Meetings are concluded, we’ll be able to issue a definite Statement on what the position of Government is in this regard.”

The Meeting was attended by the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, Central Bank Governor, Yemi Cardoso, Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, and the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu.

Others are Minister of Agriculture, Abubakar Kyari and that of Budget and Economic Planning, Bagudu Atiku as well as Ministers of State for Agriculture, Sabi Abdullahi and FCT, Mariya Mahmoud.

05-Feb-2024 My People are dying of hunger, Kano Governor cries out

My People are dying of hunger, Kano Governor cries out

Governor Abba Yusuf of Kano State says he will meet President Bola Tinubu over the economic hardship being experienced by Nigerians.

”I will personally meet President Tinubu to intimate him about the hardship the People of Kano State are encountering due to Inflation with a view to providing succour to the pPople,” Yusuf said on Monday in Kano.
The Governor stated this during a Meeting with the Business Community and other Stakeholders held at the Government House.
 
He noted that Inflation was on the increase alongside Prices of Foodstuffs while Prices of other daily needs are also very alarming, hence the urgent need to put heads together with a view to finding lasting solution to the Economic pangs.
 
“The purpose of this gathering is to finetune modalities on how to address the menace of high Inflation, because People are really suffering and we need to do something about this,” Yusuf said
 
He said that the State Government would do everything possible by providing Enabling Environment for the Business Community.
 
Yusuf however urged the Business Community to also reciprocate through adequate payment of Taxes, so that Government would generate Revenue to perform optimally.
 
The Governor expressed the desire to ensure that Kano attained the position of the most attractive Trade State.
 
This, he said, is clearly evident in the Programmes and Projects embarked upon by the State Government in order to attract more Investors from within and outside the Country.
 
“Our Administration as part of its dire need to change the outlook of Markets and also to enable them to compete favourably with International Markets came up with Policies and Programmes that would enhance Socio-Economic activities in all parts of the State.
 
“The cumulative effects of these Projects will be Economic Growth manifested in Employment Opportunities, Job Creation, and Income Diversification thereby reducing Poverty,” he further stated.
 
“We are begging you the Business Community to please shun hoarding of Foodstuffs in Warehouses, bring them out and sell to the Public to curtail their high increase, especially at this moment that Ramadan is fast approaching.
 
“I will personally meet President Tinubu to intimate him about the hardship the People of Kano State are  encountering due to Inflation with a view to providing succour to the People.”
 
03-Feb-2024 Minister to Aviation Workers: Your Welfare is top priority on my Agenda

Minister to Aviation Workers: Your Welfare is top priority on my Agenda

The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo says the Federal Government will prioritise the Welfare of Aviation Workers.

Keyamo who stated this on Friday in Abuja at the 10th Edition of the Aviation Workers` Week and Award, stressed that Workers` Welfare is paramount to development of the Aviation Sector.

“Workers are Strategic Partners in achieving the Aviation Roadmap because my Five Points Agenda cannot be achieved without the cooperation of Workers.

“President Bola Tinubu`s Government also placed high premium on Workers in all Sectors of the Nation`s Economy through  the Renew Hope Agenda,” he said.

Keyamo said the Theme of the Event “Workers as Strategic Partners in Achieving the Aviation Roadmap“ was timely as the Ministry deepened efforts to upgrade the failing Aviation Sector in the Country.

“I am fascinated by the Theme of today’s Event which centres on harnessing the potentials inherent in the aviation Roadmap.

“I recognise Workers as critical Stakeholders in the Aviation Roadmap Project,” he said.

The Minister reaffirmed that the active participation, collaboration and buy-in of all Aviation Workers both in the Public and the Private Sector would improve integrity of the Sector.

He assured that the Resolution of the Event would be given attention by the Ministry.

Hector Naadi, President of Joint Consultative and Negotiating Council (JCNC), said the critical roles of Workers in the Industry had not received the desired attention.

According to him, the Nigerian Aviation Industry had witnessed a series of Policy overhauls with moderate results.

He therefore, urged the Minister to walk his talk in giving priority attention to the Welfare of Aviation Workers.

“Our loyalty to your planned Vision for the Sector is, undoubtedly, unwavering.

“We shall help drive the 5-Point Agenda in line with the Renewed Hope of the present Government,“ he said.

Naadi said that a Team of Seasoned Professionals and Aviation Analysts were assembled at the Event to examine and highlight the Roles of Aviation Workers in actualising a prosperous Industry.

 

30-Jan-2024 Dust Haze: Exercise caution, NCAA warns Pilots, Airline Operators

Dust Haze: Exercise caution, NCAA warns Pilots, Airline Operators

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has warned Pilots and Airline Operators to exercise caution over a three-day Dust Haze lasting from Monday to Wednesday across the Country.

Acting Director General, NCAA, Chris Najomo, gave the warning in a Statement made available to Journalists in Lagos, on Monday.

The Aviation Chief said that the warning was imperative in view of the Weather Report of the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET) released on Sunday.

The Weather Report alerted the Public on the possibility of deterioration in visibility as a result of observed Dust Haze propagated into the Country.

NiMet’s Weather Outlook predicted moderate Dust Haze with horizontal visibility range from 2km to 5km over the North.

It envisaged moderate Dust Haze with a horizontal visibility range of 2km to 5km, and localized horizontal visibility of less than or equal to 1000m over the North Central.

The Agency forecast Dust Haze over the Inland of the South and the Coastal Region throughout the forecast period.

For Tuesday, moderate Dust Haze with horizontal visibility range of 2km to 5km is anticipated over the Northern Region.

The Statement also reads: “Moderate Dust Haze with a horizontal visibility range of 2kn to 5km, and localised horizontal visibility of less than or equal to 1000m is anticipated over the North Central.

The Inland of the South and the Coastal Region of the Country throughout the forecast period.

According to NiMet, thick Dust Haze is expected over the Northern Region throughout the forecast period.

The Agency anticipated moderate Dust Haze with horizontal visibility range of 2km to 5km.

It further anticipated localised horizontal visibility of less than or equal to 1,000m over the North Central, the Inland of the South and the Coastal Belt of the Country.

“Airline Operators are advised to get updated Weather Reports and Forecasts from NiMet for effective planning in their Operations,” it said.

The NCAA urged Passengers to exercise patience and understanding during the period, as their safety was of utmost importance.

The Regulatory Body’s warning to Airlines on safety comes days after it suspended the Permit of Mattini Airline Services Limited pending completion of Investigations into a Runway Excursion involving a Challenger CL 601 Aircraft, operated by the Firm.

The Private Jet operated by the Airline which had departed Abuja with 15 Persons on Board, overshot the Runway while landing at Ibadan Airport on Friday.

There was no fatality in the Incident.

NCAA, following the Incident, said it had also initiated a Safety and Economic Audit of all Private Jet Operations in Nigeria.

It assured the Travelling Public of its utmost commitment to safety and the entrenchment of Global Best Practices.

29-Jan-2024 Nigeria slams Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger for pulling out of ECOWAS

Nigeria slams Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger for pulling out of ECOWAS

Nigeria has expressed concern over the withdrawal of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

This is contained in a Statement issued by Francisca Omayuli, Spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Monday in Abuja.

According to the Statement, Nigeria stands with ECOWAS to emphasise due process and shared commitment to protect and strengthen the rights and welfare of all Citizens of Member States.

It said for half a century, ECOWAS has worked to promote peace, prosperity and Democracy in the Region.

Nigeria has worked sincerely and in good faith to reach out to all Members of the ECOWAS Family to resolve the difficulties being faced, the Statement read.

“It is now clear that those seeking to quit the Community do not share that same good faith.

“Instead, unelected Leaders engage in a Public posturing to deny their People the Sovereign Right to make fundamental choices over their Freedom of Movement, Freedom to Trade and Freedom to choose their own Leaders.”

According to the Statement, Nigeria remains open for engagement with Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger so that all the People of the Region can continue to enjoy the Economic benefits and Democratic values that ECOWAS embraces.

Nigeria further appeals to the International Community to continue to extend its support for ECOWAS and the Vision of closer Partnership, co-operation and integration.

Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger Republic on January 28 announced that they had quit their Membership of ECOWAS.

The three Countries, which are currently under Military Rule, said they ceased to be Members of ECOWAS as the Regional Body had allegedly “moved away from the Ideals of its Founding Fathers and Pan-Africanism”.

28-Jan-2024 Allegations of corruption against CNS unfounded, baseless, malicious, says Navy

Allegations of corruption against CNS unfounded, baseless, malicious, says Navy

The Nigerian Navy (NN), has denied the involvement of the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla in any fraud or shady deal.

According to Navy Spokesman, Rear Admiral Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, the allegation is a coordinated effort by disgruntled elements feeling the heat of the Navy’s renewed vigour to fight Crude Oil Theft and illegalities in the Maritime Domain.

In a Statement in Abuja on Saturday, Ayo-Vaughan said the malicious Publication would not deter the Navy from continuing the battle to curb Oil Theft and give Oil Thieves sleepless nights.

He said only the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), not the Navy, has the prerogative of awarding or overseeing Oil Bunkering Contracts.

Ayo-Vaughan described as unfounded, baseless and malicious, the Article published by an Online Medium alleging that the Naval Chief, was in trouble over Multibillion Naira Oil Bunkering and Contract-Splitting Fraud.

He added that the allegations that the CNS accepted over $170m bribe and was involved in Multi-billion Naira Contract Splitting Fraud in the last six months were untenable, baseless and untrue.

According to him, there are clear procedural requirements in the arrest, detention and release of any Vessel or Persons found culpable in the Maritime Environment.

“It is until these Processes are duly concluded that such Vessels are released to appropriate Prosecuting Agencies for further actions.

“Indeed, all arrested Vessels mentioned in the Publication that were involved in Crude Oil Theft and Illegal Oil Bunkering are being investigated and none of such Vessels has been released as alleged.

“Secondly, the CNS does not award or oversee Oil Bunkering Contracts; the award of such is the sole prerogative of NNPCL.

“Thirdly, all Contracts awarded by the Navy follow Due Process in line with the Laws of the Federation,” he added.

Ayo-Vaughan said the Nigerian Navy would remain guided by Extant Laws and Regulations, and discharge its role of monitoring Nigerian Maritime Domain and arrest of any Vessel that contravene the Law.

He said that the Launch of OPERATION DELTA SANITY has scared Oil Theft Cartels which hitherto believed no Individual could confront its Ranks.

“Fortunately, the recent achievements of the NN in this regard have put them on their heels hence the resort to cheap blackmail through immoral and compromised Online Media Publishers,” he added.

Ayo-Vaughan assured that the Navy would continue to ensure that legitimate Businesses in the Maritime Domain thrive seamlessly.

He added that the malicious Publication would in no way deter the Nigerian Navy in its resolve to confront criminals sabotaging the Nation’s Economy.

He said that the Security and Economy of the Nation was greater than any Group of Persons that think they must continue to drain the Country.

“Accordingly, Members of the Public are therefore enjoined to discountenance completely the malicious Publication.

“It is totally untrue and completely baseless, being a figment of the shallow imagination of the Writer, his Publishers, and their unpatriotic Sponsors,” he said. 

28-Jan-2024 Defence Ministry to probe Chief of Naval Staff for corruption

Defence Ministry to probe Chief of Naval Staff for corruption

The Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle, has pledged to investigate the corrupt allegations against the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla.

This is contained in a Statement by Henshaw Ogubike, Director, Information, Press and Public Relations of the Ministry.

According to Ogubike, Matawalle said this while responding to the allegation against the Naval Chief.

Matawalle noted that the Administration of President Bola Tinubu has a zero tolerance for corruption in the Public Service.

“Though these allegations might be mischievous, the Ministry of Defence is committed to upholding the highest standards of integrity and accountability within the Nigerian Armed Forces.

“The allegations leveled against Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla are serious,” he said.

He harped on thorough Investigation saying that it was imperative to emphasised the need for a thorough and impartial Investigation to ascertain the truth of the claims.

Speaking on the Source of Information, the Minister said “we respect the role of the Media in fostering transparency and holding Public Figures accountable.

“At the same time, we urge responsible Journalism that adheres to the Principles of Fairness, Objectivity, and Accuracy.

“Accusations of this nature can have far-reaching consequences on the reputation of Individuals and Institutions, and thus, it is crucial to avoid premature judgments.”

He further assured the Public that in the light of the allegation, the Ministry would collaborate fully with relevant Authorities to conduct a comprehensive Investigation into the matter.

“We remain committed to the Principles of Due Process and Fairness, ensuring that findings will be based on concrete evidence and Legal Standards.

“It is our collective responsibility to maintain the trust and confidence of the Nigerian People in the Institutions that safeguard our Nation’s Security.

“We call for patience as the Investigative Process unfolds and trust that justice will be served in accordance with the Rule of Law,” he further said.

An Online Media Platform had raised serious allegations against the Naval Chief.

The Medium had alleged Ogalla’s involvement in Multibillion-Naira Oil Bunkering, and Contract-Splitting Fraud. 

27-Jan-2024 Police declare 'war' on Hoodlums in Lekki, assure Residents of safety

Police declare 'war' on Hoodlums in Lekki, assure Residents of safety

The Lagos State Commissioner of Police (CP), Adegoke Fayoade, has assured Residents and Businesses across the Lekki-Epe corridor of a prompt response time of five minutes to Distress Calls.

Fayoade also promised 24 hours support to engender a safer Metropolis.

He made these known when the Leadership team of Lekki Estate Residents and Stakeholders Association (LERSA) paid a courtesy visit to the State Command on Friday.

The Lagos CP also pledged the total support of the Police Force in Lagos to face issues of Crimes with all the seriousness and passion necessary to make the State secure.

“Our response time should be very fast and not more than five minutes.

“I am assuring you of 24 hours support because Policemen must not sleep but be awake and alert at all times to attend to Distress Calls.

“We are committed to up our game and be more visible as we discharge our Duties in the State,” he said.

Fayoade commended the LERSA Executives on their selfless Service to ensure that the Communities are free of Crime and disorderly behaviour.

He noted that upon assumption of Office in December. 2023, he had observed the worrisome issue of Layabouts that loitered along the Lekki Epe Axis.

He said efforts to address the situation were underway, to provide safety and comfort that Residents and Businesses in the Area needed.

“This visit, and all your other efforts, is a good morale booster when Police are commended and celebrated. I am letting you know of my willingness to be a part of every Development for Lekki and Lagos at large.

“The issue of the influx of People on the Streets is understandably worrisome and as Nigerians and even Foreigners, people have the right to migrate.

“However, we have agreed to take steps to evacuate them off the Street and there is a Master Plan to work on the situation in the next few weeks.

“The Police are readily available to work with you as I understand we do not want a situation when an Area is taken over by Hoodlums.

“For us to have a Safer Community, the best move is to partner with the Community Members and the Association is a springboard for us to do that,” he said.

In his remarks, Sulyman Bello, President, LERSA, said the Commissioner’s disposition and readiness to work with the Residents and Stakeholders signalled a very productive Working Relationship.

Bello said the better handshake between the Police and Lekki Residents would boost confidence of Residents, Investors, Businesses and Stakeholders in the Area.

He noted that the major Population explosion in the Elite Neighbourhood meant an influx of security challenges as well, hence the need to partner with the Nigeria Police Force to safeguard Lives and Property.

The LERSA President commended the prompt response of the Police to security alerts last year.

He restated the Association’s commitment to acknowledging and celebrating the Police Force for every good Job well done.

“When People do well, we also should do well in return and it is important to acknowledge the support from the Police because any Phone Call they get from us, they respond almost immediately.

“We are working towards acquiring an Accommodation Complex/ a Sleeping Bay at Ogombo Area to support the Works of the Police Force.

“We would continue to fuel the wheel of the Police Force via Partnership to support and enhance their delivery to the Area.

“However, People are worried about the current security situation in the Area following the recent migration and People in the area are security conscious.

“To drive effective Policing of the Neighbourhood, we are ready to always provide first hand Information regarding happenings in the Locality.

He added that the Association was developing a Security Footprint, series of Security Summits and Stakeholders Sessions to find a lasting solution to major security challenges affecting the Area.

 

25-Jan-2024 Ibadan explosion: 10 still missing, Residents cry out

Ibadan explosion: 10 still missing, Residents cry out

Bodija Estate Residents Association (BERA) on Wednesday in Ibadan said about 10 People were still missing following the January 17 explosion in the Area.

“I think it is now more towards eight and nine persons now, or even 10, whom those in the Neighbourhood have talked about,” the Association’s President, Muyiwa Bamgbose, said after their Consultative Meeting.

“We took the Map of the Street to them (Government) and tried to account for (People) House by House to get accurate Information.

“If the Person was seen yesterday and was not seen today or you can’t find him again, then you need to get worried. But I believe it’s nearer 10 now,” he added.

BERA, an Umbrella Body of all Communities in Bodija, also called for massive assistance for Victims of the explosion to get back their lives.

It pointed out the need for continuous care and support for Victims whose Lives have changed unexpectedly since the Incident.

The President said there were a lot of People who paid for their Medical Bills out of pocket and did not go to the Designated Hospitals.

“I must also confess that some Hospitals, like Redeemers Clinic, were treating Victims free of charge without keeping records.

“The Hospitals contributed by treating People without asking for money, and some People who could afford it took themselves to their Private Hospitals,” Bamgbose said.

He however lamented improper organisation for Victims in accessing Hotel Accommodation the Government said it provided.

“Our fear is that Government may end up being shortchanged. Yes, it was a chaotic situation but there should have been some kind of order.

“Yes, this is the first in Ibadan and I must commend the Government’s willingness and response. But there is a difference between being willing and then having the ability.

“People have worked overnight without sleeping. Even the Federal Government has taken the issue serious as all its Security Apparatus were deployed.

“Then, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has been working with its Oyo state Counterpart. Everybody has collaborated but our best is still short of the word best,” Bamgbose said.

While commending the efforts of the Federal and Oyo State Governments, Bamgbose noted the need to learn from the explosion to better prepare for Emergency Operations.

“The response to the incident, though quick, was uncoordinated. This is what led to the various lapses still being experienced by victims,” he said.

He underscored the need to learn from the experience and improve on the gaps.

”This is necessary so as to improve on how to respond to Emergencies which could come in any form — flood, fire outbreak and so on — and improve on best practices.”

The BERA President also disclosed that the Bodija Community was from all records yet to find anyone who resided in the House where the explosion occurred.

“And that is another Area of deficiency and we have taken it upon ourselves as from this Meeting to know our Neighbours.

”Not just to know who is living in the House but the Owner as well, and what the Occupants do for a living and really know ourselves,” he said.

Bamgbose decried the lack of Demographic Records as a problem, adding that it might be difficult to trace it even from the Records of the State Housing Corporation.

“People have talked about some People running out of the House when the thing started, but now nobody knows whether they were caught up in the blast or disappeared under the radar.

“Nobody has good Record,” he said.

 

23-Jan-2024 Negotiation for new Minimum Wage a collective struggle, says NLC

Negotiation for new Minimum Wage a collective struggle, says NLC

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), says the negotiation and implementation of a new National Minimum Wage is a collective struggle for all and not just Organised Labour.

Joe Ajaero, NLC President said this at the “lnternational Lenin Centenary” Conference on Monday in Abuja.

Leninism emerged in a tumultuous period of history, marked by the Russian Revolution of 1917.

It sought to provide a Framework for the establishment of a Socialist State that emphasis on the Class Struggle and the need for a Revolutionary Vanguard to address the concerns of the Working Class remains relevant.

Ajaero therefore said that the only chance of escaping oppression and exploitation was building a collective power in unity.

He said this would further help in building a strong resistance to alleged forces fighting to deny every opportunity of changing the Society.

According to him, it is important that at this juncture that I invite all of us as we prepare to negotiate the National Minimum Wage this year not to see it as a struggle for the NLC and TUC but a collective struggle.

“I request that we all join hands together from the beginning of the negotiation to the end of it and to its ultimate implementation.

“This is so that we can overcome those who have already made up their minds to pay Nigerians a Starvation Wage.

“We seek for a Living Wage and it is only when we work together as Comrades that we can achieve this.

“Comrades remember, when we stand alone, our chances are slim but when we stand together, we are able to achieve our collective interests,” he said.

The NLC President, however, said there was the need to collectively restrategise politically to avoid the mistakes made since 1999.

He said there was the need to deepen vigilance in order to understand the nexus between Workplace complexities and diverse manifestations of class exploitations and subjugation in the wider Society.

“How can we change our Nation if we remain deeply divided unfortunately believing in the narrative and propaganda manufactured by our oppressors?

“How can we change our Nation if we do not speak with one voice and act with one purpose as a Group that are holding the wrong end of stick at all times?

“I ask why have we found it difficult to work together under one Political Umbrella to project our Ideals, build it and use it to creatively take over the Reins of Power in our Nation?

“This Celebration offers us the singular opportunity to rethink our political strategy as a Class and make it more practical to avoid the mistakes we have made since 1999,” he said.

According to Ajaero, I therefore ask today, are there Men and Women here who are willing to tread the same path Lenin followed?

”Are there Comrades here who are not Workers in the classical sense but understand that our interests are the same.

“Have they made up their minds to join the struggle for a better Nigeria which must begin by enthroning equity in our World of Work?

“In the spirit of Leninism, I invite you to join us. In remembrance of this great Framework, I invite all Men and Women who are prepared to be beaten for the sake of Workers and the Poor among others ” he said.

He said that the Celebration would be in vain if all do not arise and resolve to work together, determined and make a difference in the Nation .

Ajaero also called for meaningful contributions that would help in creating a more just and equitable World. 

 

23-Jan-2024 Tinubu to Nigerians: Don't make money your god

Tinubu to Nigerians: Don't make money your god

President Bola Tinubu says his Administration will not relent in addressing corruption and other vices.

He said that it was a sacred duty to ensure that the Country is set right for the prosperity of all Nigerians.

A Statement by Presidential Spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, said Tinubu made this known when he received a Delegation of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on Monday in Abuja.

Tinubu called on Christian Leaders to support the Administration’s ongoing fight against corruption by encouraging Nigerians to have a change of mindset on money-related matters.

“We have no other Country but Nigeria. If you do not preach the Sermon of understanding, tolerance, perseverance, and hope for Nigerians, you are doing damage to the Country, and nobody will help us repair it.

“Let us dialogue because Public condemnation of a Nation is not what makes any Citizen a good one.

“We must admonish Nigerians to have a change of mindset and not to make money our god or master. I believe we will get to the Promised Land, and Nigeria will flourish.”

Tinubu urged the Religious Leaders to always consult him if they noticed any inadequacies in Government Policies and Programmes.

On the reason for the large number of Cabinet, Tinubu told the Delegation that it was to allow for efficiency and effective service delivery to Nigerians.

“If you want efficient, mobile, and resourceful People, we have to give People a load they can carry. If you combine too many Ministries because you want to save money, you will have a future of non-performance and no results.

“Nigeria needs to turn the corner to grow, and we must give people challenges they can manage, and that is what we are doing,” the President said.

In his remarks, CAN President, Daniel Okoh, urged the President not to relent in his efforts to provide Good Governance by ensuring security, inclusivity, and peaceful co-existence in the Country.

“You have extended a hand of fellowship to us, and we embrace you and your Family with the love of Christ and promise to partner with you in Nation-Building, for the task is quite daunting.

“We believe that you have the sagacity to give Leadership in battling our challenges and in turning around the fortunes of our Nation, Nigeria, within a short time. You have shown that you are a Listening Leader, and we appreciate this.

“CAN has maintained an active presence at all levels from the National to the Grassroots, and we have remained Non-Partisan. You will always find our Association as a ready and willing Partner in Nation-Nuilding,” Okoh said.

 

22-Jan-2024 Lagos bans usage of Styrofoam Packs, to clampdown on Manufacturers

Lagos bans usage of Styrofoam Packs, to clampdown on Manufacturers

The Lagos State Government has announced a ban on the usage and distribution of Styrofoam and other single use Plastics within the Metropolis with immediate effect.

This is contained in a Statement by Tokunbo Wahab, Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, on Sunday in Lagos.

Wahab said the decision was reached following the menace single use Plastics, especially the Non-Biodegradable Styrofoam, was causing on the Environment.

According to him, most Drainage Channels in the State are daily clogged up by Styrofoam, through its indiscriminate distribution and use in spite of the regular cleaning and evacuation of the Drains with humongous amounts.

He stressed that the larger chunk of litter across Major Roads and Markets, which the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) contends with daily, was made up of Styrofoams.

The Commissioner added that the State Government would not fold its hands and watch the continued desecration of its Environment, especially for a Coastal City.

Wahab directed LAWMA and the Kick Against Indiscipline to commence the immediate implementation of the ban.

He also directed the two Agencies to clampdown on all the Production Companies and Distribution Outlets of Styrofoam in the State, to prevent further distribution.

He advised Producers, Distributors and End-Users of these Styrofoam Packs to take the ban seriously and find alternatives or risk heavy fines and other penalties, including sealing of their Premises.

Wahab warned that they could also be made to bear the Costs of the daily Cleanup of their Products from the Roads and Drainage Channels, which ran into into millions of Naira daily.

“Our State cannot be held hostage to the Economic Interests of a few Wealthy Business Owners, compared to the millions of Lagosians suffering the consequences of indiscriminate dumping of single use Plastics and other types of Wastes.

“If Government does not take action, the well-known consequences of Climate Change, Flooding and Diseases like Cholera, would consume the State,” Wahab said.

He urged Consumers and Residents to boycott Styrofoam Packs and single use Plastics, while imbibing the practice of using Reusable Food Containers and Water Bottles for their Food and Drinks.

“The convenience of single use Plastic comes at a huge Cost to the Society. We must all make small sacrifices for our collective well-being,” Wahab stated. 

 

22-Jan-2024 FG awaiting Investigation Report for next line of action, says Minister

FG awaiting Investigation Report for next line of action, says Minister

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, has stated that the Federal Government is awaiting the outcome of the Forensic Investigation into the Ibadan explosion, which occurred on January16, to determine its next action.

No fewer than five persons were reported killed, 77 injured and 58 buildings damaged by the explosion.

Alake said that the investigation would help in revealing the remote cause of the explosion, and guide the Federal Government on its next line of action.

He disclosed this in a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media, Segun Tomori on Sunday in Abuja.

“The Federal Government is now waiting for the outcome of Forensic Investigations that will determine the real cause of the blast, the explosives type that triggered it and the circumstances leading to the unfortunate Incident that led to loss of Lives and Property.

The Minister had announced on January 17, that he had directed Mine Inspectorate Officers on the Site of the explosion to collaborate with Oyo State Government and join ongoing Investigations to find out its remote causes.

“We have ordered detailed Investigation and our Officers will work and collaborate with the Oyo State to know the actual cause.

“If the explosion was caused by Mining Explosive Devices as earlier reported, the Ministry will double efforts to tighten the noose around those acquiring Explosives and storing them illegally,“ he said.

According to the Statement, the Mine Officers have been deployed to join other Security Agencies to unravel the cause of the explosion.

He assured Nigerians of Government`s determination to take appropriate actions regarding the situation, hence its resolve to await the outcome before making a definite pronouncement.

He urged Nigerians to allow Security Agencies and other relevant Officers to carry out their Assignments.

He added that sensitive situations such as the explosion could lead to speculations due to lack of necessary Information, hence the need to wait for the Investigation's outcome.

He added that the Investigation was aimed at preventing recurrence, adding that it would help in bringing the Culprits to book.

President Bola Tinubu had, on January 17, set up an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Insecurity hampering the growth of Nigeria’s Natural Resources.

The Committee will deliberate on modalities in producing a Blue Print to secure Nigeria`s Natural Resources.

21-Jan-2024 Ibadan explosion: Oyo ends Search-and-Rescue Operation

Ibadan explosion: Oyo ends Search-and-Rescue Operation

Oyo State has drawn the curtain on the Search-and-Rescue Operation at the site of Tuesday’s explosion in the state capital, Governor Seyi Makinde announced on Sunday in Ibadan.

At least five Persons were killed, while 77 others were injured when the explosion occurred at Bodija, a Residential Area of Ibadan.

The impact of the explosion was said to have been felt as far away as 15km from the Scene of the blast.

The explosion affected some Structures at the State Government Secretariat and many other Structures in the adjoining Areas.

It also destroyed at least 10 Cars and left about 30 Houses at different stages of destruction in its track.

Oyo State Government is interrogating a suggestion that the blast arose from Explosives stored in Bodija by Illegal Miners.

Governor Makinde stated on Sunday that 90 per cent of those injured in the explosion had been discharged from various Hospitals.

He added that the State’s Emergency Operations Teams headed by the Commissioner for Health, Oluwaserimi Ajetunmobi, were at two of the Hospitals attending to Victims, up until Saturday.

He stated also that a Clinical Psychologist had begun counselling Victims of the Incident at the Emergency Operations Centre located at the Oyo State Housing Corporation, Bodija, Ibadan.

Makinde said Security Agencies were still investigating the Incident and an update on their Investigation would be made public.

“Our Administration remains committed to supporting all Victims of this unfortunate incident and ensuring that everyone responsible is brought to book,’’ the Governor assured.

He expressed gratitude to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State for releasing Operatives of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency to support Oyo State.

“Let me seize this opportunity to thank the Nigerian Society of Engineers that had been carrying out Structural Integrity Tests on about 230 Properties around the Site of the explosion.

“The Integrity Tests will be carried out on 13 Houses within 50 metres radius of the blast Site and on 40 Houses within 100 metres radius.

“Similar Tests will be conducted on 122 Houses at 200 metres radius and 53 Houses within 250 metres radius of the explosion,’’ the Governor stated.

Makinde enjoined concerned Citizens to contact the Emergency Operations Centre on 07049948057 or 08147672009 on any issue related to the blast.

 

19-Jan-2024 FAAN relocates Headquarters to Lagos in 'the interest of Nigeria'

FAAN relocates Headquarters to Lagos in 'the interest of Nigeria'

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) says it is relocating its Headquarters from Abuja to Lagos its original Base in the interest of the Authority and the Nation.

This is contained in a Statement on Thursday by Obiageli Orah, Director Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, FAAN.

Orah said the decision was taken after wide consultations with Stakeholders which include Aviation Unions.

She said the Public had made inquiries regarding directive of the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, to return the Authority to Lagos, where it operated for decades until recently.

She listed reasons for reverting to include lack of Office Spaces for those that initially moved to Abuja hence their return to Lagos.

She added that the Returnee Staff were drawing out Station Allowances because their Postings were Abuja but they were working from Lagos thereby increasing Revenue losses.

“It was ill-advised in the first place to move the Headquarters to Abuja when there was no single FAAN Building in Abuja to accommodate all of them at once.

“Having returned to Lagos, the Authority would be liable to pay them DTA (Duty Tour Allowance) because technically they are working out of Station as their Official Posting is to Abuja.

“The Minister has decided to stop this waste of Public Resources and rip-off on the Public Purse.

“The other option open to the Authority was abandon the old FAAN Building in Lagos to rot away and to use its scarce Resources to rent an Office Space in Abuja for Millions of Naira of Public Money when in actual fact more than 60 per cent of its activities are in Lagos given the huge Passenger Volume of the Lagos Airports.

“The Stakeholders and the Minister decided against that and to save the Country this waste,” she said.

Orah said the Minister had begun plans to get Concessionaires to build befitting Offices for the Authority in both Lagos and Abuja.

She explained that upon completion of the Project, a final decision would be taken on the final location of the Corporate Headquarters.

She added that in the interim, FAAN will continue to manage its old Buildings in Lagos which could accommodate all its Directors and Senior Officials.

“Abuja continues to have full Operational Offices and the Authority has not scaled down Operations in Abuja one bit.

“It is just the technical decision of where the Authority has its ‘Corporate Headquarters’ that has been taken without affecting the Structure of Operations as they are for now in both Cities.

“In the near future, when befitting Corporate Buildings have been built for the Authority in both Lagos and Abuja, a final decision will be taken as to the location of the Permanent Headquarters, depending on the exigencies of the time.

“The Authority wishes to assure Members of the Public that it will continue to act in their best interest and that of the Country.

“The Honourable Minister is committed to taking decisions that are in the best interest of the Country, especially as it concerns public funds and will not yield to Ethnic or Sectional sentiments that will derail this commitment,” she said. 

 

18-Jan-2024 Death toll in Ibadan explosion rises to five

Death toll in Ibadan explosion rises to five

The number of those who died from the explosion which occurred at the Bodija Area of Ibadan on Tuesday evening has increased to five, an official disclosed on Thursday.

Temitope Alonge, who heads the Emergency Operations Centre for the evacuation and rescue of the explosion’s Victims, disclosed this while speaking with Journalists in Ibadan.

Alonge said two Corpses were recovered from the rumbles between Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

He said this was in addition to the three recovered between Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon.

Alonge however assured that Rescue Operations were still on as directed by Seyi Makinde, the Governor of the State, to ensure that everyone was accounted for.

“The State Government will continue to monitor and respond to the situation, as Investigations into the cause of the explosion are ongoing,” he said.

Governor Makinde had on Tuesday and later on Wednesday urged Residents of Oyo State to remain calm over the Incident.

He has implored Residents staying in any of the Houses within 250 metres from the Scene of the explosion to move out to accommodation provided by Government.

”This is until we check the structural integrity of the Buildings,” the Governor had said.

He equally warned Hoodlums who may want to take advantage of the Incident to carry out any form of looting to desist.

Governor Makinde stated further that all those involved directly or indirectly in bringing the tragedy upon the State would be brought to book.

18-Jan-2024 Ibadan explosion: I know Company using Building to store explosives, says Makinde

Ibadan explosion: I know Company using Building to store explosives, says Makinde

Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has called on the People of the State to remain calm over the explosion that occurred on Tuesday evening in Ibadan.

Makinde, while addressing Journalists on Wednesday in Ibadan, said that his government would do everything possible to provide succour to everyone affected by the explosion.

He said that three Corpses had so far been recovered at the Scene of the explosion.

According to him, two Corpses were recovered on Tuesday night, while one corpse was recovered on Wednesday morning, adding that a total of 77 People were injured in the blast.

Makinde said that Rescue Operation was still ongoing at the Scene of the incident and that his Government had provided alternative Accommodations for Residents of the affected Buildings.

The Governor implored anyone still staying in Houses within 250 meters from the Scene of the explosion to move out to the Accommodation provided by Government until the Structural Integrity of the Buildings was checked.

“Since yesterday, Security Agencies, Emergency Services and other relevant Agencies have been working diligently on Search-and-Rescue Operations,’’ he said.

He also warned Hoodlums who might want to take advantage of the Incident to carry out any form of looting to desist.

Makinde further stated that he had received Information regarding the Company that was using the Building to store explosives.

The Governor assured all that those who were involved directly or indirectly in bringing the tragedy to the State would be brought to book.

He thanked President Bola Tinubu for showing concern over the Incident, adding that he had called him and symphatised with the People of the State.

“The President approved the presence of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) at the Scene of the explosion.

“He also gave his Condolences to the People that have lost their loved ones to the unfortunate Incident and gave his assurance that he is with us at this trying period,’’ he said.

The Governor admonished the People of the State to refrain from spreading fake news and misinformation regarding the explosion which could cause panic.

Meanwhile, the Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mustapha Ahmed, has disclosed that 58 Buildings were damaged by the explosion.

Ahmed said this in a chat with Journalists at the Emergency Situation Centre set up by the State Government.

The NEMA Boss, who maintained that keeping Explosive Materials within Residential Areas was illegal, urged People to always provide Information to Security and other relevant Agencies if they suspected anything harmful within their Environment.

He described the Bodija explosion as unfortunate, saying that NEMA and other relevant Agencies would continue with the Rescue Operations. 

 

17-Jan-2024 'Uncommon explosion' rocks Ibadan as Oyo pleads for calm

'Uncommon explosion' rocks Ibadan as Oyo pleads for calm

The Oyo State Government Tuesday evening confirmed what it described as “an uncommon explosion” which rocked some parts of Ibadan around 8 p.m.

The State’s Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Dotun Oyelade, gave the Confirmation in a Statement.

He however acknowledged that there were various interpretations of the Incident.

“But it is important for us to state categorically that the State Government has taken over and in the full control of the unfortunate occurrence in order to mitigate the Incident,” the Commissioner said.

Oyelade disclosed that Security Service Chiefs, including those of the Para-Military, as well as Fire Service Operatives, have been deployed by the State Governor, Seyi Makinde.

”This is to rein in the spill-over from the explosion,” he added.

The Commissioner said Governor Makinde has implored Citizens to calm down and be rest assured that their interests are being looked after.

The explosion was said to have occurred at a Private Building at Dejo Oyelese street, Adeyi Area of Bodija in Ibadan.

Unconfirmed Reports say the explosion affected about four Buildings in the Area, with windows shattered and walls brought down and a number of injuries recorded.

The impact of the explosion was also said to have affected dozens of Buildings in nearby Areas such as Sango, Mokola, University College Hospital (UCH), Agodi and Ojoo.

Other Areas in Ibadan such as Eleiyele and Ologuneru also felt the impact of the explosion.

Already, Bomb Detectors of the Nigeria Police Force, as well as Men of the Nigerian Army, Fire Service and other Security Bodies are presently at the Adeyi Area.

Meanwhile, the City is awash with Reports that some Persons injured as a result of the explosion have been rushed to some Hospitals.

17-Jan-2024 Tinubu: Buhari did well for Nigeria, I will continue from where he stopped

Tinubu: Buhari did well for Nigeria, I will continue from where he stopped

President Bola Tinubu on Tuesday assured that his Administration would stamp out the remaining vestiges of Boko Haram, Banditry and Kidnapping Gangs in the Country.

He gave the assurance in Abuja at the unveiling of a Book entitled: ‘Working with Buhari: Reflections of a Special Adviser, Media and Publicity (2015-2023).

The Book was written by Femi Adesina, who served as Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to former President, Muhammad Buhari.

Tinubu said his Administration would not rest until `every Agent of Darkness` was rooted out of the country.

“My Government will stamp out the remaining vestiges of Boko Haram, Banditry and Kidnapping Gangs.

“We won’t rest until every Agent of Darkness is completely rooted out,” Tinubu said.

He thanked Adesina for using his Memoirs to reveal the challenging eight years of Buhari Administration and how he steered the Ship of State.

He recalled that Buhari assumed Office at a very difficult period of our National Life when the Economy was spiralling into Recession and Boko Haram had taken over some Territories in North-East.

“At a point, it appeared that even Abuja, the Seat of Government would fall into the hands of Boko Haram with the bombing of the United Nations (UN) Building, Banex Plaza, Nyanya and other locations.

“We cannot easily forget how our Armed Forces battled the Boko Haram Terrorists under the Leadership of Buhari to reclaim our Territory and push them to the fringes of Lake Chad where they no longer pose existential threat to our Sovereignty.

“I must say the Job of securing every inch of our Country is yet to be finished“, Tinubu said.

He said in spite of what Adesina recorded in his Book as Buhari’s Achievements, History would also be kind to him as a Leader who promoted Local Production of Goods to grow our Economy.

“It will be said glowingly of President Buhari that his eight turbulent years, marked by acute shortage of Revenue, Covid-19 Pandemic shut down the Global Economy for almost two years.

“His Administration embarked on the most ambitious Infrastructural Renewal for the Country.

“Buhari gave us the Second Niger Bridge, he revamped Lagos-Ibadan Expressway among others,” Tinubu said.

He also said Buhari completed Abuja-Kaduna Rail Line and Lekki Seaport as well as build brand new Airports among many other Landmark Projects.

He said whatever unresolved challenges faced by Buhari in his eight years, his Administration would endeavour to resolve them.

“As I said during the Campaigns, I inherited all his Assets and Liabilities.

“Our Administration will continue to work from where President Buhari stopped, to make our Country better, create a vibrant Economy and secure the Environment to bring more prosperity to our People,” he said.

Yakubu Gowon, former Head of State, was the Occasion’s Chairman, while the Co-Chairman was I.B.M Haruna, among other Dignitaries.

A Royal Delegation from Saudi Arabia led by Abdulaziz Bin Faisal Al Saud also attended, while Mohammed Indimi, Chairman, Oriental Energy Resources Limited, was the Chief Launcher.

The Book Reviewer was Shola Oshunkeye, CNN African Journalist of the Year 2006.

 

17-Jan-2024 NRC restores Narrow Gauge Networks

NRC restores Narrow Gauge Networks

The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has begun reactivating old Narrow Gauge Networks with the Eastern Line already at an advanced stage to resume Operations.

The Director, Mechanical Services and Signal Communication of NRC, Jerry Oche, made the disclosure in a Statement in Lagos  on Tuesday.

Oche said the Eastern Line from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri was one of the old Narrow Gauge Lines currently receiving attention of the Federal Government, being undertaken by the NRC.

He said that with completion of the Track laying, NRC had commenced the rehabilitation of Coaches and Locomotives ahead of the resumption of Operation on the all-important Route.

Oche said that personally, he had immediately swung into action to ensure that the Vehicles for Aba Port-Harcourt Train Services were ready within a week.

He said he was assisted by the District Manager, Port-Harcourt, Mohammed Ibrahim, to inspect the Vehicles for the Services.

Jerry also ordered an immediate commencement of repairs to enable Train Passengers from the Eastern Part of the Country to start enjoying Train Services.

“Vehicles undergoing immediate repairs are five SPs, one SPA, one  DRC and two BVAs.

“Some of the Vehicles in Enugu will be moved down to Aba to assist in receiving the anticipated overflow of Passengers and Goods, which is usually experienced on the Route.

“Also, NRC Civil Engineers are working on the Track, preparatory to the introduction of  the Jos Intra-City Mass Transit Train in Jos, Plateau.”

The Deputy Director, Public Affairs of NRC, Mahmood Yakub also disclosed that several Coaches had been rehabilitated to resume the Lagos-Kano Express Passenger Train.

The Coaches are currently at Zaria Carriage and Wagons Workshop, preparatory to the commencement of the Train Service, one of the Services suspended by the NRC.

“Also there are plans to introduce Kaduna Intra City Mass Transit Train.

“The Managing Director, NRC, Fidet Okhiria, while inspecting the newly completed Port Harcourt-Aba Track, had said:

“We are working in Phases, they have laid the Track up to Aba but we are so anxious to commence Operation and that is why the Minister has directed us to come and see, so that we can plan ahead to commence Operation.

“So we took Inspection from Port Harcourt to Aba. We have confirmed that the main Track has been restored.

“As we speak, we can put Locomotives and Wagons on the Track from Port Harcourt to Aba.

“We are working hard to ensure that very soon, the Operations will start. Signaling and communication will also be restored soon.

“The NRC Boss  said the Lagos-Kano Express Train Service will resume in the First Quarter of 2024, saying the NRC is working round the clock to restore the old Narrow Gauge Tracks,” Yakub said.

The NRC Spokesperson said the Corporation had made significant progress in its ongoing drive to bring back the hitherto abandoned Networks.

He said that Nigerians would begin to see Train movement in those abandoned places.

“We are also adding more Routes like the new Intra-City Train in Jos; the one in Kaduna, and several others.

“The Lagos-Kano which is 1,343 kilometers is coming back on stream and with the support of the Minister, a lot of these Train Routes are coming back,” he said. 

16-Jan-2024 US honours Nigeria's Williams with Presidential Lifetime Achievement Awards

US honours Nigeria's Williams with Presidential Lifetime Achievement Awards

Founder and President of the Boys Lead Foundation, Owolabi Williams, has been honoured with the U.S. Presidential Lifetime Achievement Awards.

This coincided with Martin Luther King (MLK) Jr. Day, a day symbolising Justice, Community Service, and Empowerment.

This is contained in a Statement signed by his Publicist, Ijeoma Thomas-Odia, on Monday in Lagos.

Williams is a Leader whose focus is on developing and empowering Boys and Young Men.

“As the Founder and President of the Boys Lead Foundation, Williams has been a Pivotal Figure in Youth Development, impacting Lives across seven Countries and 12 Cities.

“This Prestigious Award was in recognition of Williams’ unwavering dedication and significant contributions to nurturing the Younger Generation.

“His Organisation, Boys Lead Foundation, has become a cornerstone in fostering self-reliance, volunteerism, and confidence among Boys and Young Men, thereby equipping them to be Leaders,” said the Statement.

Williams was quoted by the Statement as saying that the Award was symbolic.

“The conferment of this Award on Martin Luther King Jr. Day is profoundly symbolic. It aligns with our Mission at Boys Lead Foundation and my Personal Vision.

“This Honour is a testament to the collective efforts of our Team Members across the Globe in empowering Young Minds and a commitment to continue this vital work.”

“Under Williams’ Visionary Leadership, Boys Lead Foundation, has expanded its reach, implementing various Programs that focus on Education, Mentorship, Leadership Training, and Community Engagement, thus making a tangible difference in the Lives of Young Men,” he said.

The Award highlights the necessity of nurturing Young Male Leaders and acknowledges the impactful Work of Individuals like Owolabi Williams in Communities around the Globe.

It serves as a beacon of inspiration, urging continued dedication to the cause of Youth Empowerment.

 

15-Jan-2024 Tinubu to Nigerians: Be patient, persevere, things would get better

Tinubu to Nigerians: Be patient, persevere, things would get better

President Bola Tinubu, on Monday, assured Nigerians that things would get better for the common good of the People with more patience, perseverance and consistency in Governance.

Tinubu gave the assurance at a colourful and well-attended Ceremony for the Inauguration of Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo for a Second Term in Office held at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri.

Tinubu, who earlier commissioned a Road leading to the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri, appealed to the People to endure the hardship occasioned by the removal of Fuel Subsidy.

He congratulated the People of the State on their resolve to vote Uzodimma, whom he described as “a very unique Individual that resonates with a Progressive Agenda”.

“I assure you here today that you have gotten a good and dependable Democrat, a hardworking Man, who will think and do,” he said.

The President urged Uzodimma to make further commitment towards Economic recovery and rapid development of the State.

“Before now, every one of us is enveloped with fear to come to Imo.

“Today, Imo is safe and happy and ready for Business.

“What we learnt from this is for us to work together, join hands and pay attention to our Internal Security,” Tinubu said.

He promised more robust collaborations between the Federal and Imo Governments in the Area of Security.

Earlier in a remark after taking the Oath of Office at exactly 3:22p.m., Uzodimma commended the People for their love and support during the Governorship Election of November 11, 2023.

He said his Oath Taking for his Second Term was a renewal of his Covenant with God and the good People of the State.

The Governor said that the past four years had been characterised by good management of Public Funds that had addressed the problem of Infrastructure deficit.

The Ceremony was attended by Eminent Nigerians, including former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Ganduje, Speaker, House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, some State Governors, the Clergy and Traditional Rulers, among others.

14-Jan-2024 Tinubu pledges total support for Niger Delta Development

Tinubu pledges total support for Niger Delta Development

President Bola Tinubu has pledged the Administration’s commitment to the Sustainable Development of the Niger Delta.

Tinubu said this when he met with Abubakar Momoh, the Minister of Niger Delta Development.

A Statement by Osigwe Omo-Ikirodah, Special Assistant to the Minister, in Abuja on Sunday, said the Meeting centred on providing a comprehensive update on the ongoing activities and initiatives within the Niger Delta Development Ministry.

He said that the Meeting was aimed at seeking the President’s support and commitment toward sustainable development of the Niger Delta.

“During the Meeting, Momoh highlighted the vital Projects and Initiatives undertaken by the Ministry to uplift the Socio-Economic Landscape of the Region,” he said.

Omo-Ikirodah said that the Minister presented a detailed overview of ongoing Infrastructure Projects, Community Development Programmes and efforts to address Environmental Concerns in the Niger Delta.

He added that Tinubu expressed keen interest and appreciation for the Ministry’s endeavors, acknowledging the critical role the Niger Delta plays in the Nation’s Economic and Social Fabric.

The President commended Momoh for the progress made and the dedication exhibited in addressing the unique challenges faced by the Region.

In a significant commitment to the Development of the Region, Tinubu pledged unwavering support and assistance to ensure the successful execution of Projects and Programmes that would bring about Sustainable Growth and improvement in the Region.

09-Jan-2024 Tinubu directs massive cuts in Entourage of Travelling Government Officials

Tinubu directs massive cuts in Entourage of Travelling Government Officials

President Bola Tinubu has directed a massive cut in the number of Officials on the Entourage

of Government Functionaries travelling within or outside the Country.

For Trips within the Country, the President shall have an Entourage of not more than 25 Officials.

When on Foreign Trips, the number of Accompanying Officials shall not be more than 20 Persons.

For the Vice-President, he shall have not more than five Officials accompanying him on Foreign Trips.

On Trips within the Country, the Vice-President shall have an Entourage of not more than 15 Officials,

The Wives of the President and Vice-President shall also not have more than five Officials on their

Entourage when travelling outside the Country.

The two Wives shall have a maximum of 10 Accompanying Officials each when they travel within the Country.

For Ministers, they shall have only four Accompanying Officials when travelling, while Heads of Agencies shall have two.

The President’s Media Aide, Ajuri Ngelale, told Journalists on Tuesday in Abuja that the decision aimed

at reducing massive Bills accruing from Official Trips of Principal Officers of Government.

He added that Security Outfits within States shall be the Security Masterminds for Visiting Officials.

“The reduction in the Size of Entourages will bring total sanity and prudence to the management of

the Commonwealth of our People.

“The President is insistent that the notion of Government wastage, excessive Recurrent Expenditure is over,’’ he said

Ngelale added that Officials would no longer be allowed to conduct Government Affairs in a way different

from what the latter was asking Nigerians to do by way of prudence and cost management.


08-Jan-2024 Alleged N585m Fraud: Tinubu suspends Edu 'with immediate effect'

Alleged N585m Fraud: Tinubu suspends Edu 'with immediate effect'

President Bola Tinubu has suspended the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu with immediate effect.

A Statement by Presidential Spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale said this was in line Tinubu’s avowed commitment to uphold the highest Standards of Integrity, Transparency, and Accountability in the management of the Commonwealth of Nigerians.

Ngelale said that the President directed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to conduct a thorough investigation into all aspects of the Financial Transactions involving the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, as well as one or more Agencies thereunder.

He said the suspended Minister was also directed to hand over to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry.

The suspended Minister was further directed by the President to fully cooperate with the Investigating Authorities as they conduct their Investigation.

Furthermore, the President has tasked a Panel that is headed by the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance to, among other functions, conduct a comprehensive diagnostic on the Financial Architecture and Framework of the Social Investment Programmes.

This is with a view to conclusively reforming the relevant Institutions and Programmes in a determined bid to eliminate all institutional frailties for the exclusive benefit of disadvantaged Households and win back lost Public Confidence in the Initiative.

 

08-Jan-2024 Alleged N585m Fraud: Tinubu to punish Edu if found culpable, says Minister

Alleged N585m Fraud: Tinubu to punish Edu if found culpable, says Minister

President Bola Tinubu has ordered investigation into alleged payment of Funds into a Private Account by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris disclosed this in a Statement issued on Sunday in Abuja.

In the Statement personally signed by the Minister, he stressed that the Tinubu Administration is committed to transparency and has zero tolerance for corruption.

“We are aware of the narratives circulating widely and wish to assure Nigerians that the Government takes these issues most seriously.

“The Federal Government, under the Leadership of President Bola Tinubu, is transparent and accountable to the People.

“It is committed to ensuring that Public Funds are allocated and utilised effectively and efficiently to address the Needs of Nigerians,” he said.

The Minister said the Federal Government was determined to unravel the truth as it related to the matter.

.Idris said that his Ministry acknowledged the concerns raised by the Public over the allegation.

He added that the Order by the President was to ascertain the accuracy and validity of the reported details.

Idris assured that appropriate action would be taken to ensure that any breaches and infractions were identified and decisively punished, in line with the Administration’s commitment to Public Accountability and Due Process.

The Minister, however cautioned against dissemination of unverified claims by the People

“The Ministry is committed to providing timely updates to keep Nigerians informed about the progress of the Investigation.

“We urge Nigerians to exercise patience as the Investigation unfolds. The Government is focused on ensuring a fair and unbiased Process,” he said

Idris assured that the findings would be communicated duly and transparently to the Public.

 

06-Jan-2024 I blocked Edu from moving N585m to a Private Account, says AGF

I blocked Edu from moving N585m to a Private Account, says AGF

The Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Oluwatoyin Madein has clarified that her Office does not make payments on behalf of Government Agencies.

Madein made the clarification in a Statement by Bawa Mokwa, Director, Press, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) in Abuja on Saturday.

According to Madein, the OAGF does not make payments for Projects and Programmes implemented by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government.

She was reacting to Media Reports concerning a request from the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, and Poverty Alleviation for payment of Grants to Vulnerable Groups in some States of the Federation.

She said that Allocations were released to self-accounting MDAs in line with the Budget, and such MDAs are responsible for the implementation of their Projects and payments for such Projects.

Madein said that, although her Office received the said request from the Ministry, it did not carry out the payment.

“The Ministry was, however, advised on the appropriate steps to take in making such payments in line with the established Payment Procedure,” she said.

She said that in such situations, payments were usually processed by the affected Miniseries as self-accounting Entities.

Maiden said that no bulk payment is supposed to be made to an Individual’s Account in the name of “Project Accountant”.

She said that such payments should be sent to the Beneficiaries through their verified Bank Accounts.

Madein reiterated her determination to uphold the Principles of Accountability and Transparency in the management of Public Finances.

She advised MDAs to always ensure that the requisite steps were  taken in carrying out Financial Transactions.

The clarification is connected with the current probe of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.

President Bola Tinubu recently approved the suspension and investigation of Halima Shehu, National Coordinator of the National Social Investment Program Agency (NSIPA), over alleged financial impropriety  of about N30bn.

Shehu, however, reportedly told her Investigators that that she moved the N30bn she is accused of embezzling to other Accounts because the Minister, Betta Edu, wanted to embezzle it.

She reportedly said that Edu had already misappropriated N585m by transferring the sum to a Private Bank Account.

In a letter that has since leaked to the Public, Edu asked the AGF to transfer N585m to the said Private Bank Account in UBA, belonging to one Oniyelu Bridget Mojisola.

Reacting, Edu said that the N585m Grant for Vulnerable Groups was approved, adding that the Funds were meant to be Grants for Vulnerable Groups.

She said that the transfer of the N585m followed Due Process.

According to the Minister, Mojisola, whose Bank Account was stated to receive the payment, is the Project Accountant for the Grants for Vulnerable Groups (GVG) Scheme.

 

06-Jan-2024 Failure not an option under my Leadership, Tinubu warns Security Chiefs

Failure not an option under my Leadership, Tinubu warns Security Chiefs

President Bola Tinubu has asked the Nation’s Security Chiefs to ensure that there is conclusive victory against the various security threats confronting the Country.

He gave the task while addressing the Security Chiefs and Heads of Intelligence Agencies at a Presidential Security Briefing at the State House on Friday in Abuja.

The President said while good progress was being made with the elimination of some security threats across multiple theatres, success would be defined by a final conclusion to the multi-dimensional menace.

“We have too many Investments that we need to make now in Soft and Physical Infrastructure, in Social Security, in MSME Empowerment, and other Growth Enablers. We are pursuing a $1trn Economy in the next few years, and our efforts will be undermined if we do not finally wrap up our progressive onslaught against Enemies of Progress. Be encouraged.

“The confidence of our People in your capacity is rising, and they are appreciative of the sacrifices of our Men and Women. The success you are recording is undeniable. Nigerians are seeing it, but the avoidable errors, as witnessed recently in Kaduna, are unacceptable and cannot be repeated.

“I am pleased that coordination between all Agencies has dramatically improved over recent months, but there is no room for celebrations until we can end this; until we can bring our Troops back to their own Localities, and until we can free up Resources for our critical Economic Expansion Programme,” Tinubu charged.

He emphasised that the Armed Forces must deliver on his Objective to ensure the Nation achieves a Sustainable Production of two million barrels of Crude Oil per day, including Condensates, within the First Quarter of 2024.

“I do not play with my Intelligence Reports. I have multiple lines of sight. The Navy and Sister Branches must step up their game to achieve our aims for the benefit of all Nigerians. All malign Actors will be aggressively uprooted from our midst.

“Those working against the National Agenda from within and without will meet Justice. Your task is clear. We will sustain our momentum. Failure is not an option under my Leadership,” the President declared.

He also commended the Commander of the Presidential Air fleet (PAF), the Commander of the Brigade of Guards (BoG), and his Chief Personal Security Officer (CPSO) for their dedication and commitment in the discharge of their Assignments.

The President gave the Commendation while decorating his Security Aides at the State House also on Friday.

Those decorated are the PAF Commander, Air Commodore Olayinka Olusola Oyesola, promoted to Air Vice Marshal; Commander, BoG, Adebisi Olusegun Onasanya, who is promoted from Colonel to the Rank of Brigadier-General; and the Police CPSO, Usman Musa Shugaba, who is now a Deputy Commissioner of Police.

Tinubu said he was impressed by the officers’ “loyalty and dedication to duty”.

“Nigeria calls all to serve. We are the Servants of the Country, not the Masters as you have seen. Your Stewardship as Leaders in your various Categories is reflected in the Assignments and Responsibilities you have undertaken.

“I hope that Nigeria will continue to recognise your Service to Motherland,” the President said.

The newly promoted Officers were decorated by the President who was assisted by the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar; the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja; and the Inspector General of Police, IGP Kayode Egbetokun, respectively, in the presence of the Spouses of the elevated Officers.

The event was witnessed by the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu; Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle; the Service Chiefs; Heads of Intelligence Agencies and Presidential Aides.

04-Jan-2024 FG: Free Train Rides to last till Sunday

FG: Free Train Rides to last till Sunday

The Federal Government has extended the Free Train Ride Initiative till Sunday, to further reduce financial pressure on Travelers heading to various Destinations after the Festive Period.

The Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiria, said in Lagos on Thursday.

He said that the decision, made in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Transportation, was to ease movement of Nigerians who had travelled during the Festive Period.

Okhiria urged Passengers to continue to book their Tickets Online to avoid Crowds at the various Terminals.

The NRC Boss urged Passengers to ensure they got their Tickets from appropriate Quarters at no cost, to enable them to gain access and enter the Trains.

Okhiria commended the Federal Government on the extension, adding that the gesture would to bring relief to Travelers on Transportation Cost.

Recall that the NRC had announced the commencement of the Free Train Rides on December 21, 2023 for all its Passenger Services, following the directive of President Bola Tinubu.

The Free Service was initially to end on Thursday, before the extension till Sunday.

The Chairman, Committee on Implementation of FG End of Year Transportation Subsidy Programme, Dele Alake, had on Monday given an overview of the Initiative in its first 10 days

Alake, who is Minister of Solid Minerals Resources, said the NRC conveyed 71,000 Passengers free of charge from December 21  to  December 31, 2023, under the Programme.

 

29-Dec-2023 Free Train Rides: NRC moves 63,000 Passengers in one week

Free Train Rides: NRC moves 63,000 Passengers in one week

The Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiria, has said that the Corporation moved over 63,000 Passengers on the Free Train Rides across the Country between December 21 and December  26.

Okhiria said this during the end of the year Media Interactive Session held in Lagos on Thursday.

He commended the Federal Government for coming up with the Free Train Ride for 15 days, adding that over 63,000 Passengers had benefited so far from the Initiative on all its Routes.

Okhiria encouraged People to key into the Government Initiative through the Online Platform, especially during and after the Festive period.

He also said the Corporation was working on some Rolling Stocks, to increase number of Coaches and trips from Lagos to Ibadan, amongst other Routes.

The Managing Director said that the Corporation was partnering with various Organisations on its Freight as well as ensuring safety of its Tracks.

“Our Minister has given us an assignment to ensure that we are able to move the Passengers and Freight Train between Lagos and Kano.

“We are working on it In-House and we are trying our best to ensure we complete the Tracks by the end of December.

”As we speak, a Locomotive and Wagon have arrived in Minna successfully, and by Saturday, December 30, will be able to move the Wagon to Kaduna.

“We have also moved the Wagon from Kano to Kaduna. We have some security challenges close to Kaduna; luckily, the Military and Police are supporting us to ensure that we are able to complete the Track between Minna and Kaduna in the next five days,” Okhiria said.

He said the Corporation would begin Skeletal Service round the Track and commence Train Movement in the Northern Part of the Country by January.

Okhiria said that they had issues with vandalism, adding that they just replaced the vandalised Clipper between Mokua and Kano on Wednesday.

“We had an issue with Warri-Itakpe Track earlier in the year, we were able to recover, and now we have commenced full Operation along the Axis,” he said.

He said that laying of Tracks from Port-Harcourt to Maiduguri was  ongoing.

“The Contractor told me that in 15 days time, the Track between Port-Harcourt and Aba will be ready.

”The Technical Department are working on the Rolling Track, by the time we occupy the Track, it will not be easy to vandalise again,” he said.

Okhiria said that NRC planned to increase the turn around time of the Standard Gauge Train between Lagos-Ibadan, Warri-Itakpe and Abuja-to Kaduna in 2024.

He said that there was no increase in Train Fare before and after the Fuel Subsidy removal as the Government ensured they gave succour to Nigerians.

Okhiria said that the Federal Government was supportive of the Corporation in ensuring more Train patronage.

He said that Train was the cheapest and safest means of Transportation.

“The Free Train Rides that we are running now, Government is providing money for Fuel, Security and other Logistics to ensure we meet the demands of Nigerians during the Festive period,” Okhiria said.

 

26-Dec-2023 Nigeria needs peace, stability to move forward, Tinubu tells Governors

Nigeria needs peace, stability to move forward, Tinubu tells Governors

President Bola Tinubu says the Federal and Sub-National Governments have the mutual responsibility of ensuring the Country’s Peace and Stability.

Speaking during a Meeting with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) at his Residence in Lagos on Tuesday, the President reiterated his condemnation of the latest killings in Plateau State.

Addressing the Governors, the President issued a stern directive to Security Agencies to halt the carnage in Plateau State and intensify the pursuit of those responsible for the recent tragic events in Bokkos and Barkin-Ladi Local Government Areas.

Condoling with the Victims, Tinubu emphasised the sanctity of Human Life and called for a paradigm shift among those with contrary beliefs, cautioning them about the inevitable consequences of their actions.

“Nigeria needs peace and stability to move forward. Nigeria belongs to all of us, and we have to take care of it,” he said.

The President acknowledged the presence of Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State at the Meeting, commending him for his efforts to peacefully resolve the Political challenges in the State.

“I thank you for your Statesmanship. I listened to your Broadcast and your emphasis on peace. It is only with peace that effective Governance can thrive, and Governance has commenced in earnest under my watch,” he said.

On the 2024 Budget proposals before the National Assembly, the President informed the Governors that he had a Review Meeting earlier in the day on certain elements in the Appropriation Bill with the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, and the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Atiku Bagudu.

He emphasised the need for joint responsibility and closer collaboration between the Federal and Sub-National Governments to foster rapid Infrastructural Development in every part of the Nation.

“I want us to discard Federal, State, or Rural Road Classifications. We must regard Development as a joint responsibility.

“Let us prioritise our children. The School Feeding Programme must return quickly, beginning from the Local Government to the State and Federal Governments.

“We must be ready to protect our children and prepare them for the future,” the President stated.

Chairman of the NGF and Kwara State Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, expressed solidarity with the Government and the people of Plateau State.

“May God be with the Souls of the Departed and bring peace to Plateau State. The Governor of Plateau State, we are with you; stay strong,” the NGF Chairman said.

Abdulrazaq reaffirmed State Governments’ support for the bold decisions and Reforms initiated by the Tinubu Administration.

“These are challenging times. It is not a walk in the park. Removing Fuel Subsidies had a great structural effect on the Economy of the States. But we are confident that we will overcome these challenges and bounce back better,” he said.

26-Dec-2023 Let's stay and fight our challenges together, CDS tells Nigerians

Let's stay and fight our challenges together, CDS tells Nigerians

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Christopher Musa, has called on all Nigerians to have love for and confidence in Nigeria and fight together for its peace and progress.

Musa made the appeal on Monday when he visited Ailing Personnel at the Defence Headquarters Hospital, Abuja, to mark Christmas and his Birthday.

He urged all to exhibit love for the Country, adding that running away is not a solution.

“We must stay and fight whatever challenge is.

“Those Countries they are running to stood back and fought and got to where they are.

“If they had ran away, they would not have achieved that for them to go and meet them.”

The CDS also called on Nigerians to take ownership of the challenges facing the Country, adding that the security challenge is not an Armed Forces challenge or Police or that of any Individual .

According to him, it is a collective effort for Nigeria and all Nigerians should put hands together.

“We cannot do it alone. We need the support of everyone. When you see something, say something, report as quickly as possible so that measures can be put in place adequately.

“We will continue to seek for support of Members of the Public to take ownership of our challenges.

“Nigeria is our own. If Nigeria succeeds, we all succeed, if Nigeria fails we all fail and we don’t want Nigeria to fail.

“So I call on all Nigerians to give us all the support,” he added.

Musa said the visit to the hospital was in tune with his Leadership Concept, which is People-Centric.

He said that the Outreach was to ensure that People, both the Security Agents and the Citizens, felt the impact of love being shared especially their Healthcare.

According to him, it is always good at this period of celebration to come around and see how those ones that are in Hospital who don’t have the ability to celebrate, how they are doing and to wish them well.

“It is for them to always know that we are always with them, we are praying with them and we want them to recover so that they can come back fully to life.

“We will continue to do that as we have been doing. So this is just not a one off thing, it is something we do regularly,” he said.

The CDS donated Hampers and Cash Gifts to all the Patients in the Hospital during the visit.

On arrival at the Hospital Wards, Patients were heard singing Birthday Song for the CDS, who later shared some words of encouragement with them before making the donations to them individually from bed to bed. 

 

24-Dec-2023 Mustapha: I did not withdraw $6.3m from CBN, allegation malicious

Mustapha: I did not withdraw $6.3m from CBN, allegation malicious

Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha has dismissed as outrageous insinuations alleging his involvement in an illegal withdrawal of $6.3m from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
 
In a Statement on Sunday in Abuja, Mustapha refuted the allegations, describing it as “outrageous and unsubstantiated”.
 
He said the allegation was a  malicious fabrication, and an orchestrated attempt to assassinate his character, and tarnish his reputation.
 
The former SGF said he lacked knowledge of the purported “Presidential Directive” being referred to, as justification for the withdrawal.
 
Mustapha said that he was never involved in discussions or transactions, relating to any payment for Foreign Election Observers.
 
He further questioned the timing of the allegation, pointing to the sensitive Pre-Christmas period as a deliberate attempt to exploit Public sentiment and sow seeds of doubt.
 
The former SGF called for a thorough and transparent Investigation into the matter, urging the Authorities to probe the Source of the fabricated Documents and expose those behind the smear Campaign.
 
He said the Report claimed that a Special Investigator, appointed by President Bola Tinubu, uncovered the alleged theft.
 
“It was said to have supposedly occurred on February 8, three weeks before the Presidential Election.
 
“The Report further alleged that along with the embattled former CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, I authorised the removal of the Cash from the Bank’s Vault, under the guise of funding Foreign Election Observer Missions.
 
“The Investigator’s Report, as quoted by the Publication, claimed CCTV Footage, captured how the money was moved out of the Apex Bank,” he said. 
19-Dec-2023 Tinubu to NNPCL Board: Perform or get out...

Tinubu to NNPCL Board: Perform or get out...

President Bola Tinubu has urged the Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) to immediately get to work, warning that non-performance would not be tolerated.

Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, in a statement, said Tinubu said this while inaugurating the Board of the NNPCL at the State House, on Monday in Abuja.

Tinubu also said that conducts suggesting a sense of entitlement would not be tolerated, warning that the Board could be dissolved without prior Notice to Members over non-performance.

“The challenge is Corporate Governance. Yes, we will improve the security situation. We are working very hard. Sincerely, the Chief Executive Officer, Kyari, is doing very well, and doing all that I know.

“But you could be suddenly dissolved if there is no sustained excellence in performance. It is my honour to inaugurate this Board, which has people of great integrity. I am honoured that we are doing this. I recognise all of you,’’ he said.

Tinubu said Corporate Social Responsibility for the Niger Delta must be taken seriously, considering the devastating effects of Oil Exploration and exploitation on the Environment.

“Niger Delta must be seen as the Goose that lays the Golden Egg, and we must treat that Region with the deserved respect and care. It is not asking for too much to ensure quality and constant Water Supply, Schools, Medical Facilities, and Roads.

“It is not about us. It is about the well-being of the entire Country and the Lifeblood of the Nation. We should care more about the Environment. We will do more for security to minimise stealing and vandalism,’’ he stated.

The President directed that more attention should be given to Gas as Nigeria transitions to Cleaner Energy, adding: “We need to show that we are committed to the Welfare of our Country.

“Take a look at the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), and know what the pitfalls are. The Cabinet Members and Board should decide what we can do differently for Production Increase, Profitability, and Governance. It is in your hands. I will work with you,’’ he said.

In his remarks, the Chairman of the Board, Pius Akinyelure, commended the President for the removal of Petrol Subsidy, noting that the nation would have drowned in Debt, but for his decisiveness.

“Our focus is to increase Production. We must address the problem of stealing and Pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta. We are aware of the efforts in the past, but we will do more,’’ he said.

 

14-Dec-2023 Tinubu: Having Akpabio as Partner, Abbas as Speaker, good for me to succeed

Tinubu: Having Akpabio as Partner, Abbas as Speaker, good for me to succeed

President Bola Tinubu says Nationhood and belief in one Country will put Nigeria on the right path.

Tinubu stated this at a Lecture/Colloquium in honour of the 61st Birthday of the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio on Thursday in Abuja.

The Theme of the Event was “Legislative Agenda for National Development”.

In his remarks, Tinubu described Akpabio as a man who is committed to the Value of National Development.

The President said: “The opportunity you (Akpabio) offered us to listen to the Lead Speaker and his Recommendations will be definitely looked into as a deeper Legislative activities and Collaboration with all of us.

“We will work together. While we consider the Affairs of this Country, the Nationhood and the belief in one Country will put us on the right path.

“Having you as Partner and Abbas as the Speaker, is good enough for me to succeed. Inshallah, we will succeed.

‘’I appreciate Godswill Akpabio, God will help you, God will guide you. I believe in the person of Godswill Akpabio; he is truly Godswill.

“I know him as a Governor, as a Commissioner in Akwa-Ibom. We share a Vision even though he was a Commissioner, he is extremely inquisitive.

“He transformed Akwa-Ibom tremendously. He built one of the most effective Drainage Systems in Akwa-Ibom. Today, up till now, no matter how heavy the rain is, you will never find casualties.

“All the other beautiful things you did, the Stadium, the Hotel, that are caring for the lives of the  People of Akwa-Ibom, are exceptionally great.”

Earlier, the Guest Speaker, former President, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), said that for the Country to tackle insecurity, peace and security must be developed.

“The first question is how we can find peace. Is it by Armed Forces. It will be by Executive and Legislative Processes.

“We can’t win, in my opinion, the War by Armed Forces. So I will suggest to the National Assembly to consider the possibility of inviting the Ethnic Nationalities, the Owners of Nigeria.

“The Traditional Rulers that are being ignored, I believe they have a hand in the Constitutional Process. If this is done we will achieve peace.

“Together with our Traditional Rulers who I think are being ignored in the Process, we might  be able to resolve these Boko Haram, IPOB.”

He further recommended the unbundling of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which he said “is doing far too much.

“INEC is doing far too much. In the Uwais Report, we recommended creating the Electoral Offences Commission. I urge the 10th National Assembly to simply enact the Recommendations.

”The Electoral Act makes a mockery of Democracy, so we can correct that by passing all the Recommendations of the Uwais Panel.”

For his part, Akpabio said that the Renewed Hope Agenda of the present Administration “is real and this Government is a Correcting Government.

“Our Legislative Agenda is going to be People-Centred,” he said.

He also said that the National Assembly would consider the recommendations spelt out by the Guest Speaker.

“We have taken note that we should unbundle INEC, we have taken note that we should involve our Traditional Rulers.

“We have taken note that most of the Colonial Laws are still in existence by virtue of the Constitutional Law given to us. We will work on these things,” he said.

Similarly, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Abbas Tajudeen said that Akpabio, throughout his Distinguished Career, showed valuable assistance, strategic thinking and innovative Leadership.

The Deputy Senate President, Jibrin Barau, who was also the Host of the Event, said that the Colloquium was the culmination of Events to mark the 61st Birthday of Akpabio.

He described Akpabio as a Leader par excellence who was always willing to give his Quota to the development of the Country.

“The time has come for us to draw attention to the critical Mandate imposed on the Senate and the National Assembly by the Constitution.

“(We will) engender an inclusive process of executing the Mandate by working with a broad section of our Society to design a Legislative Agenda for National Development.”

Barau further said that the National Assembly was in the process of reshaping the Constitution and Legal Frameworks that would make good Governance a way of life and Democratic consolidation the legitimate expectations of the People.

For the Chairman of the occasion and a former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim, Akpabio has a date with destiny.

“You have emerged as President of the Senate at a time so much dexterity is required to redirect the course of our Nation, reset our National Agenda, and re- envision our future as a People.”

Anyim emphasised the need to align Legislative Agenda with the Executive Agenda.

He said that the Agenda when properly aligned, would reset National Priorities, benchmark National Interest and redefine Development.

The Event attended by Dignitaries across the Country and the Diplomatic Corps including the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Ganduje and Traditional Rulers.

13-Dec-2023 FAAN, NCAA, others affected as Tinubu 'wields the big stick' in Aviation Sector

FAAN, NCAA, others affected as Tinubu 'wields the big stick' in Aviation Sector

President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday approved new Appointments in the Aviation and Aerospace Development Sector of the Economy.

His Media Aide, Ajuri Ngelale stated that the Appointments were part of the President’s determination to bring Nigeria’s Civil Aviation to World Class Standards for the wellbeing of Fliers and of Stakeholders.

While some Heads of Agencies in the Sector were replaced, one was suspended and awaiting investigation by the EFCC.

In the new arrangement, Olubunmi Kuku replaces Kabir Mohammed as Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria.

Umar Farouk replaced Tayib Odunowo as Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency.

Alex Badeh Jr. takes over from Akinola Olateru as the Director-General of the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau.

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency now has Charles Anosike as its Director-General. He takes over from Mansur Matazu.

The Rector of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Alkali Modibbo hands over to Joseph Imalighwe as the Acting Rector.

Imalighwe’s Appointment is pending the Appointment of a Substantive Rector in accordance with the NCAT Act (2022).

The Director-General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Musa Nuhu was suspended from Office to enable the EFCC to conduct an unfettered investigation into his activities as Director-General.

Other Senior Officials of the NCAA are also to be investigated by the EFCC.

Nuhu was replaced by Chris Najomo as the Acting Director-General.

The President also approved diligent process by the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development to recruit a Substantive Vice-Chancellor and other Principal Officers for the Abuja-based African Aviation and Aerospace University.

Tinubu anticipates that the new Leadership across the Aviation Sector will uphold the safety, convenience, and comfort of the Nigerian People as primary and sacrosanct in all of their Administrative Activities.

Ngelale stated that because of the cost of underperformance in the Sector, the President demanded immediate establishment of World-Class Policy Design, Implementation, and Regulatory Framework to reposition Aviation to align with his “Renewed Hope’’ Agenda.

He added that all of the President’s directives took immediate effect. 

13-Dec-2023 Minister: Powerful Nigerians involved in Illegal Mining behind Banditry, Terrorism

Minister: Powerful Nigerians involved in Illegal Mining behind Banditry, Terrorism

The Minister of Solid Minerals, Dele Alake has alleged that powerful Nigerians involved in Illegal Mining were the ones sponsoring Banditry and Terrorism in the Country.

Alake said this when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Solid Minerals for the 2024 Budget Defence in Abuja on Tuesday.

According to him, a lot of Banditry and Terrorism are sponsored by Illegal Miners; they are not People who pick Gold on the ground but powerful Individuals in the Country.

He said majority of the Illegal Miners were not Foreigners but added that Foreigners could be seen as symptoms.

“Nigerians are those powerful People behind them; we are identifying them with both Kinetic and Non-Kinetic means. We have encouraged those Petty Illegal Miners to form Cooperatives.”

He said the most disturbing aspect was that most of the Foreigners engaged in Illegal Mining in the Country had no proper Immigration.

He said for Mining to generate the requisite Revenue, there was need to have a Formal Structure that the Multinationals could deal with, just like the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited.

He, however, said the approach of the Ministry under his Leadership would be different from NNPCL, adding that the Structure being proposed for Nigeria Mining Cooperation would be primarily Private Sector driven.

He added that “Nigeria will also have its Equity, adding that this will mean that no Government after can destabilise the Structure.”

He said the conservative amount of Minerals Deposits in the Country was worth over $700bn, adding Nigeria had not even accessed a quarter of what it has.

He urged the chairman of the Committee to support the process, adding that this would help change Mining in the Country.

He also said  the Host Communities where Mining activities are taking place across the country would be engaged to forestall breakdown of Laws and Orders.

He pleaded with the Committee to consider the amount budgeted for the Ministry in the 2024 Budget Proposal.

“If we are given that amount of money, I can tell you that what the Ministry will contribute will outweigh other Ministries, including what we are deriving from Oil.

“We can return trillions to the coffers of this Country as Revenue if we are given such a Budget as proposed,” he said.

According to him, we have 44 Minerals in high demand but we have six that are in Global demand.

He said Nigeria had the potential to become one of the Destination Hubs of the World’s Economy through Solid Minerals.

He, however, said there was need to sanitise the Operating Environment for the Investors.

The Chairman of the Committee, Gaza Gbefwi (SDP -Nasarawa) said  the Solid Minerals Sector remained the last hope for the Country to attain the level of diversity it required.

He, however, said that the Funds appropriated to the Sector in the 2024 Budget were grossly inadequate.

He added that the Committee had taken proactive steps to put up Motions and Bills that would strengthen and reorganise the Sector.

 

12-Dec-2023 Avoid Tout at Airports, FAAN warns Passengers

Avoid Tout at Airports, FAAN warns Passengers

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN)  has warned Users of its Facilities against patronising Touts.

The Director, Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, Abdullahi Yakubu-Funtua, said this in a Statement on Monday, in Lagos.

He said that the Authority frowned at extortion and had gone an extra mile to engage Undercover Staff to observe and report acts of misdemeanours at the Airports.

“The Managing Director of FAAN at a recent event gave severe warning to Staff as well as all Government Agencies that operate at our Airports that FAAN will ensure that whoever is culpable is punished.

“Do not give bribes or encourage extortion.

“Respect Rules and Regulations in respect of carriage of prohibited Articles, Liquids, and Gel.

“We have Information Desks at all our Airports to assist you. Please make use of them,” he said.

Yakubu-Funtua said FAAN had adopted Measures to upgrade the Security Apparatus to ensure safety of Lives and Property of the Travelling Public .

He urged Nigerians to have the confidence to travel through the Airports during the Yuletide.

The official advised travellers to arrive at airports early to reduce rush and not miss their Flights.

“International Travellers must be at the Airport three hours before departure, while Local Travellers should arrive two hours to Flight Schedule.

“Ensure that you pack your Luggage by yourself.

“You must not assist anyone with his/her Luggage . If anyone needs help, he/she should call the attention of Airport Officials,” he said.

According to him, FAAN has expanded the Screening Area at the Airports in order to give Passengers a better flying experience.

He said that a Joint Task Force at the Land Side was working to ensure the free flow of Traffic.

“The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria wishes all Nigerians and our teeming Visitors a very pleasurable Holiday in and out of our Country,” he said.

 

08-Dec-2023 Lagos  begins fixing of damaged Pedestrian Bridge

Lagos begins fixing of damaged Pedestrian Bridge

The Lagos State Government on Friday said it would begin the immediate rehabilitation of the Alapere Footbridge in Ketu damaged in the early hours of the day by a Truck.

This is contained in a Statement by Shina Odunuga, Spokesman for the Lagos State Ministry of Works and Infrastructure.

The Statement said the Bridge had been cordoned off for safety of Residents as well as the strategic importance of the Infrastructure.

It said Eyewitness accounts said damage to the 11-year-old Infrastructure was caused by impact of a Container-laden Truck carrying load higher than the Headroom of the Bridge.

It said the dismembered Components of the Bridge had been cleared from the Highway for safety and necessary Signages and Visual Displays to alert Pedestrians installed and repairs process begun.

The Statement said the Bridge located on the ever-busy Pedestrian Point at Alapere/Estate Bus Stop on the Third Axial Road, had undergone inspection by Lagos State Officials.

The Statement said during the visit the Officials from the Ministry of Transportation, Office of Infrastructure, Material Testing Laboratory, and Public Works Corporation did checks to ascertain the level of damage to the Bridge.

The Commissioner for Transportation, Oluwaseun Osiyemi, said the Ascent to the Bridge had been cordoned off, and more Traffic Personnel would be deployed to aid Pedestrians crossing.

Osiyemi said Signages and Visual Displays at night would be installed for Pedestrians safety for the period Repair Works would last.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Infrastructure, Olufemi Daramola, said Integrity Test would be carried out on top of the Foot Bridge to determine the extent of the damage.

Daramola added that the Test would help to ascertain the amount of Reconstruction Works to be carried out on the Bridge to make it structurally fit for continued Public use.

Earlier, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Sola Giwa, visited the scene of the damaged Bridge to coordinate Traffic Response Activities and urged Commuters to exercise caution

Giwa said recalcitrant Drivers and their Vehicles would be prosecuted under the Extant Laws.

 

05-Dec-2023 Army Chief in Tudun Biri, apologises over massive accidental killings, donates N10m

Army Chief in Tudun Biri, apologises over massive accidental killings, donates N10m

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Taoreed Lagbaja, on Tuesday visited Tudun Biri Village in Kaduna State where a Drone attack by Troops of the Nigerian Army killed many Civilians on Sunday.

Lagbaja apologised to Members of the Community for the incident and donated N10m for the upkeep of those receiving treatment.

Lagbaja explained that the incident occurred while the Troops were conducting Armed Reconnaissance along Riyawa and Rimawa Villages where the movement of suspected Bandits was observed.

“Having trailed them for sometimes, the decision was taken to conducts a strike based on the observations of Tactics usually employed by Bandits.
“Unfortunately, the Report we got thereafter revealed that it was Innocent Civilians in Tudun Biri that the drone carried out the strike on,” the COAS added.

He said this made him to make the urgent and essential visit to the Village to commiserate with the Community on the unfortunate incident.
Lagbaja assured the Villagers that a thorough investigation had commenced on the matter even before the directive to that effect by President Bola Tinubu.

The COAS stressed that the Nigerian Army as a responsible Public Organisation, would support the Families of those who died and the ones injured, as well as the entire Community to alleviate their sufferings.

He urged Members of the Community not to be deterred by the incident in their support to the Nigerian Army and other Security Agencies battling to ensure peace and stability across the State and Nigeria as a whole.

Responding, the District Head of Rigasa, Aminu Idris, who received the COAS, described the Drone attack as unfortunate, adding that People in the Community had suffered attacks by Bandits.

Idris appreciated the COAS for the visit and urged Troops of the Nigerian army to do their best in protecting the Lives and Properties of Citizens.
He expressed the hope that the Nigerian Army would compensate Families of the Deceased to ameliorate their sufferings.

The COAS had earlier visited the Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital in Kaduna to commiserate with some of the victims of the attack receiving treatment. 
05-Dec-2023 FG: We only sponsored 422 Delegates to COP28 in Dubai not 1,411

FG: We only sponsored 422 Delegates to COP28 in Dubai not 1,411

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris Malagi, said  the Federal Government sponsored 422 Delegates to the ongoing COP28 in Dubai, not 1,411.

Idris made the clarification in a statement on Monday in Abuja.

COP28, the Convention of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, is the world’s pre-eminent Climate Change Conference.

The Minister said the clarification became necessary because of the Public conversation on the number of Delegates from Nigeria attending the ongoing Climate Summit in Dubai.

He explained that the Conference was being attended this year by over 70,000 Participants and Delegates from over 100 Countries.

According.to him, Nigeria’s Representation is very much in line with our status as Africa’s leading Sovereign Voice and Player in Climate Action.

“Parties to this Convention from Nigeria include Government Officials, Representatives from the Private Sector, Civil Society, the Voluntary Sector, State Governments, Media, Multilateral Institutions, Representatives of Marginalised Communities, and many others.

“It is imperative to point out that the overall Nigerian Delegation to COP28 comprises Government-Sponsored (Federal and State) and Non-Government-Sponsored Participants (from Private Companies, NGOs, CSOs, Media, Academia), etc.

“The Federal Government-Funded Delegation is made up of a total of 422 Persons, as follows: 32 Persons from National Council on Climate Change and 34 from Federal Ministry of Environment

“Others were 167 Delegates from all Ministries, 67 from the Presidency, 9 from the Office of the Vice President, 40 from National Assembly and 73 from  Federal Parastatals/Agencies,” Idris said.

The Minister further explained that, as the biggest Economy and most Populous Country in Africa, with a substantial Extractive Economy and extensive vulnerability to Climate Change, Nigeria had a significant stake in Climate Action,

“Therefore, our active and robust participation at COP is therefore not unwarranted”.

According to the Minister, COP28 presents an array of Investment and Partnership Opportunities for the various Sectors affected by Climate Change, and Nigeria is already benefiting from its ongoing participation.

“Nigeria and Germany signed an Accelerated Performance Agreement to expedite the implementation of the Presidential Power Initiative to improve Nigeria’s Electricity Supply.

“The Agreement was signed by Kenny Anuwe, the Managing Director and CEO of FGN Power Company, and  Nadja Haakansson, Siemens Energy’s Senior Vice President and Managing Director for Africa, at a Ceremony witnessed by President Tinubu and Chancellor Scholz.

“Also, President Tinubu hosted a high-level Meeting with Stakeholders and Investors on the Nigeria Carbon Market and the Electric Buses Rollout Programme on the margins of the COP28 Climate Summit. 

“Similarly, the President unveiled the Nigeria Carbon Market Activation Plan, Co-Chaired by the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Zacch Adedeji, and the Director-General of the National Council on Climate Change, Dahiru Salisu.

“The Electric Buses Programme is only the first step in a Series of Innovative, Clean, Modern, and Sustainable Initiatives across diverse Sectors, all aimed at simultaneously addressing Climate Change-related challenges,

“It also aimed at reducing Carbon Footprint, modernising Infrastructure Systems, and positioning Nigeria as an attractive Destination for Global Investments,” Idris said.

According to him, Nigeria stands to benefit from the Loss and Damage Fund established during COP27 in Egypt and formally operationalised at the Opening Plenary of COP28 in Dubai.

He added that the Fund would provide substantial Non-Debt Financing to support Countries most affected by the impact of Climate Change.

Idris disclosed that hundreds of millions of Dollars had already been pledged as contributions to the Fund.

“The President also met the President of UAE to concretise Engagements between the two Countries. This is aside from the Bilateral Talks held with several Countries and Multilateral Partners.

“However, it should be highlighted that, over the years, Nigeria has firmly demonstrated its Climate Action Credentials by being the first African Country to launch its Energy Transition Plan.

“We are the first African Country to issue a Sovereign Green Bond, and one of the first to pass National Climate Change Legislation.

“President Tinubu has been unequivocal in his position that Africa, which is battling problems of Poverty and Security and struggling to provide Education and Healthcare to her People, cannot be told to abandon its Primary Source of Income,

“And the Source of Income is mostly from Extractive Industries, without the West providing the Funding and Investment in Alternative and Clean Energy Sources,” he said.

The Minister explained that since assumption of Office, President Tinubu had been a vocal Champion for the African Continent on the Global Stage, whether at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the G20, or the ongoing COP28.

Idris further stressed that Tunubu had been supported by an equally active and engaged Nigerian Delegations at these various Fora.

“It is, therefore, essential to keep setting the records straight while assuring Nigerians that President Tinubu and other Officials on the Federal Government Delegation are in Dubai for serious business, not a jamboree”. 

02-Dec-2023 United Nigeria Airlines regrets suspension over Abuja Flight diversion to Asaba, apologises to Passengers

United Nigeria Airlines regrets suspension over Abuja Flight diversion to Asaba, apologises to Passengers

United Nigeria Airlines Company Limited on Friday said that the suspension placed on an aspect of its Operations, which affected one of its Aircraft, had been lifted.

The Airline’s Management, in a statement in Lagos, made available to Journalists, informed its Customers and also apologised to them for how they had been affected while it lasted.

The Airline was slammed with suspension of some aspects of its Operations on Sunday after the Airline’s Airbus diverted a Flight, NUA 0504, headed for Abuja to Asaba.

“We are pleased to announce the lifting of the suspension placed on our ‘Part G’ Operations. specifications which affected one of our Aircraft.

“We want to express our deepest gratitude to you for keeping faith with us and for your understanding during this period.

“Safety is at the core of United Nigeria Airlines’ Values and we take our commitment to Passenger Safety very seriously.

“We are aware that every time our Schedule is disrupted, it is usually a very painful experience for you and for us as well because we know and understand that it affects Travel Plans and diminishes your trust in the reliability of our Operations.

“We are deeply sorry for the inconvenience this has caused you and would want to reassure you that our dedicated Team is working around the clock to resolve the backlog of Flights Schedules because we understand the importance of your Travel Plans and the trust you place in us,” the Management of the Airline said in its Friday Statement.

The Airline said its Customer Support Team was always available to assist with any inquiries and provide Customers with all the support needed to make their Travel Experience seamless.

“Thank you for your unwavering support and be rest assured that you will continue enjoying quality Service from us.

We hope to see you soon,” it stated.

02-Dec-2023 Nigeria, Germany 'put pen to paper' on Siemens Power Project

Nigeria, Germany 'put pen to paper' on Siemens Power Project

President Bola Tinubu and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz were Witnesses to the signing of an Accelerated Performance Agreement in Dubai on the Siemens Power Project in Nigeria.

The Agreement was signed on the side-line of the on-going 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP28 by Kenny Anuwe, Managing Director of FGN Power Company on behalf of Nigeria.

Nadja Haakansson, Siemens Energy’s Senior Vice-President and Managing Director for Africa signed on behalf of the German Company.

Speaking after signing the Agreement, Anuwe highlighted Siemens Energy’s effective delivery of crucial Equipment worth more than 63 million Euros to Nigeria since the commencement of the Project.

This includes 10 units of 132/33KV Mobile Substations; three Units of 75/100MVA Transformers, and seven Units of 60/66MVA Transformers, currently being installed by FGN Power Company at various Sites.

The Dubai Agreement was signed to expedite the implementation of the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) to improve Nigeria’s Electricity Supply.

The PPI, formerly known as the Nigeria Electrification Roadmap Initiative, was the outcome of the visit by former German Chancellor, Angela Merkel to Abuja in August 2018.

An Agreement was signed between the Governments of Nigeria and Germany in 2019 to improve Nigeria’s Power Sector.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, stated on Friday in Abuja that since assumption of Office, Tinubu had advocated the accelerated realisation and expansion of the PPI.

To achieve this, the Project has been a major focal point in three rounds of Bilateral Discussions at Meetings between President Tinubu and the German Chancellor in New Delhi, in Abuja and in Berlin.

The Dubai Agreement will facilitate the modernisation and expansion of Nigeria’s Electric Power Transmission Grid with full supply, delivery and installation of Siemens-Manufactured Equipment within 18 to 24 months, Ajuri stated.

It will ensure project sustainability and maintenance with full Technology Transfer and training of Nigerian Engineers at the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), he added.

The Project will also focus on identified Load Demand Centres with particular emphasis on Economic and Industrial Hubs Nationwide and the execution of new 330kV and 132/33KV Substations in target Load Centres with Economic priority.

These are in addition to thousands of kilometres of Overhead Transmission Lines to connect new Substations with existing ones, Ajuri also stated.

 

30-Nov-2023 FG raises the alarm over surge in Food Importation, says over 88million Nigerians hungry

FG raises the alarm over surge in Food Importation, says over 88million Nigerians hungry

The Federal Government says there is an alarming surge of over 80 per cent in Food Importation between 2019 and 2023.

Kingsley Uzoma, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Agribusinesses and Productivity Enhancement (SSAP), disclosed at the National Policy Dialogue on Thursday in Abuja.

The Policy Dialogue is tagged “Deepening Partnership for Scaling-Up of Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) for Smallholder Farmers in Nigeria.”

It was organised by the Federal Government, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the National Information and Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

He said that no fewer than 88.5 million Nigerians were faced with insufficient Food Consumption while the figure was projected to increase by six million in December.

Uzoma said the Federal Government was committed to reversing the trend.

The Senior Special Assistant identified decline in Agricultural Capacity as a major contributor as the Country was being forced to rely heavily on Food Imports.

He said the Country had the highest Rate of Stunted Children Globally adding that 70 per cent of the Population lived below Poverty Line and Food Inflation stood at 31.52 per cent in October.

“This escalating dependence on External Sources further intensifies the challenges within the Domestic Food Landscape all of which have resulted in the declaration of State of Emergency in Food Security by Mr President.

“The IFAD-Financed Programme such as Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) and Livelihood Improvement and Family Enterprises Project for the Niger Delta (LIFE-ND), aim to enhance Incomes and Food Security through sustainable practices and integration of ICT4D.

“These Programmes involve tool such as the Mini-weather Station (Nimet) and Agriculture Market Information System (AIMS) to benefit Farmers.

“However, challenges in Data Access, Gender Equality, Infrastructure and Technical Support still exist,” he said.

He identified sustained efforts at Digital Literacy and Collaboration by Agencies and Private Sector as critical in ensuring greater Technology adoption by Smallholder Farmers.

Uzoma said such efforts could translate to improved Productivity, extensive Technical upscaling, promote Best Practices, increased Trade Competitiveness and Market Access.

The Presidential Aide said it was essential to apply a twin approach of developing critical Technology enabling Infrastructure in partnership with the Universal Service Provision Fund and Mobile Network Operators while driving low Technology solution as USSD and WhatsApp to increase accessibility.

“Increased Collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and the NITDA is necessary to implement the National Digital Agriculture Strategy to further leverage Technology for advancement of the Agricultural Sector.

“These aligned with the Mandate of my Office under the Leadership of the Vice President which encompasses a multifaceted approach rooted in Technology and Innovation to ensure transformative change in Nigeria’s Agricultural Sector.

“This includes empowering one million Women, Youths and Minorities to achieve Food and Nutritional Sovereignty, ensuring Food Security and heightened Agricultural Production.

“It is also to achieve a $22bn Import Substitution of High-Value Crops like Wheat, implement Sustainable Agricultural Practices to promote Environmental Conservation and mitigate Climate Change.

“Moreover, the Mandate seeks to generate two million Direct and six million Indirect Jobs with a focus on Youth and Women while simultaneously addressing and minimising Farmer/Herder crises,” he said.

Dede Ekoue, IFAD Country Director, said the Dialogue was aimed at strengthening Partnership for enhanced access of Smallholder Farmers to Digital Solutions.

According to her, the solutions will enhance their Livelihoods, contribution to Food Security, Nutrition, Poverty Reduction, Economic Growth and Job Creation.

28-Nov-2023 Lagos to clamp down on Illegal Real Estate Developers in 2024

Lagos to clamp down on Illegal Real Estate Developers in 2024

The Lagos State Government on Tuesday vowed to clamp down on illegal Real Estate Practitioners operating within the State by year 2024.

The Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Housing, Barakat Odunuga-Bakare, said this at a day Stakeholders’ Engagement and Interactive Session organised by the Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA) in Lagos.

Odunuga-Bakare stated that it was mandatory for Developers, Agents and other Players in the Real Estate Business to register or renew their yearly Subscription with LASRERA before they could operate.

She said: “Next year is not going to be business as usual for those in the Real Estate Business that are not registered with LASRERA because they are practicing illegally.

“We will not also spare those who registered and do not renew their yearly Subscription with the Agency.

“If you registered before and do not renew your Certificate, you do not have the right to practice Real Estate in Lagos state.

“If the LASRERA’s Enforcement Team discovers any Realtor that is advertising their Companies without the Logo of LASRERA alongside theirs, such Organisation will be brought to book.’’

Odunuga-Bakare said in achieving its Mandate of sanitising the Real Estate Sector in the State, the Agency planned to open Satellite Offices in each Local Government in the State.

She explained that this would ease the Process of Registration for the Real Estate Practitioners and also helped the Agency to have a comprehensive Data of Practitioners within the State.

Odunuga-Bakare urged Victims of Real Estate fraud to channel their Complaints and Petitions to LASRERA under her Leadership for necessary action.

She assured Lagos state Residents and Stakeholders in the Housing Sector of her commitment to support and collaborate with them as they navigate the Real Estate Terrain in the state.

“Our Government appreciates and value your critical contribution to our Economy through your Real Estate Development Enterprise,” she said.

In his address, the Permanent Secretary, Land Bureau, Lagos State, Kamar Olowoshago, said that the State Government was working toward digitising the Process of acquiring Land in the State and would launch it soon.

Olowoshago explained that the aim of the digitisation was to reduce the bureaucracy of acquiring a Land and also authenticate the status of a Land to prevent being defrauded.

“The digitisation is a work in progress and will be launched very soon, as the Governor is passionate about it.

“I can assure you that in a couple of months, Land Administration in Lagos State is going to be different,” he said.

In his remark, the Chairman, Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), Bamidele Onalaja, lauded the Special Adviser for hosting the crucial Stakeholders’ Engagement.

Onalaja described the Engagement as a testament to the collaborative spirit between the Public and Private Sectors, which was essential for the sustainable development of a vibrant Real Estate Industry.

“The significance of this gathering cannot be overstated.

“Our Industry plays a pivotal role in shaping the Landscape of Lagos, a City that is not only the Economic Heartbeat of Nigeria but a key player on the Global Stage.

“As Real Estate Developers, our responsibilities go beyond constructing Buildings; we are integral Partners in building Communities, fostering Economic Growth and enhancing the overall quality of life for the Residents of this great State.

“Together, we can create an Environment that attracts Investments, encourages responsible Development and ensures that the Real Estate Sector continues to be a driving force in the Economic prosperity of Lagos.

“As Stakeholders, we are committed to aligning our goals with the Vision of the Lagos state Government,” he said.

Onalaja urged Developers within the State to ensure that they follow Due Process of laid down Regulations before going into Construction of Buildings and also build Standard Houses.

He advised the State Government to ensure full compliance to Building Laws, to discourage the Construction of Sub-Standard Houses.

28-Nov-2023 Minister on Nigeria Air: Nigerians would soon be informed of its circumstances

Minister on Nigeria Air: Nigerians would soon be informed of its circumstances

The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, says the Nigeria Air Project has been suspended and a Report submitted to President  Bola Tinubu on the next line of action, adding that he would not want to preempt the decision of the President on it.

He disclosed that various issues surrounding the deployment of the Airline were appropriately tabled in the Report to the President.

Keyamo who made this known at the end of the Federal Executive Council Meeting on Monday in Abuja, said at the right time, Nigerians would be informed of the circumstances of the Airline and when a new one would take off.

The Minister also revealed that the Federal Government is to procure Customised Explosives and Narcotic Detection Screening System with Remote and Dual View for five International Airports in the Country to reduce the stress encountered by Passengers.

He  said the Contract was coming on the heels of the Administration’s concern for the long delay and complaints by Passengers using Airports across the Country.

Keyamo said the Machines worth  N3.28bn would be installed in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Port Harcourt and Enugu Airports, adding that it had a completion period of 12 months from date of payment.

‘’Since I came to Office, we have been inundated with the harrowing experience that Passengers go through at the Airports where they have to physically search their Bags.

”You see various Agencies lined up and they will be dipping their hands into your Bags.

‘’We thought we should do something like you have the TSA in America where you have Detection Machines so when you pass your Bags through their Machines, they detect Explosives and any other thing and that’s the end of the search,’’ he said.

Keyamo also said that the council ratified the Bilateral Air Service Agreement with the Republic of Guyana, which was signed in 2014.

He said that the Agreement would bring about lesser Air Travel Time for Passengers going to European Countries.

23-Nov-2023 No Petrol scarcity in the next three months, NNPCL tells Senate Leadership

No Petrol scarcity in the next three months, NNPCL tells Senate Leadership

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL), Mele Kyari has assured that in three months the Country would not experience Fuel Queues.

Kyari said this when he paid a Courtesy Visit to the Leadership of the Senate.

He said that the Passage of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) had ensured that Energy Supply was stable and creating cheaper Energy for Nigerians .

”And I guarantee you your Excellency that we will not see any shortages in our Country.

“You may see a number of scattered Reports of Filling Stations that People will call Queues. They are not,” he said.

While linking the challenges in the Sector to Oil Theft and Pipeline Vandalism, Kyari said that the Country had recovered up to N1.7 million Barrels of Crude Oil following increased monitoring by the Independent Pipeline Security Companies, and the Military.

“In the last 5-6 months Government Security Agencies and Private Security Companies have done things differently, and it has yielded results.”

He said that NNPCL was resolute at meeting its targeted contribution to the Budget.

He assured that the NNPCL would restart the Port Harcourt Refinery in December, to be followed by the Warri Refinery in the First Quarter of 2024.

This, he said would be complimented by Small Scale Refineries.

Keyari said that the Corporation had recorded a N274bn Profit in 2021, a growth from 2018.

He said that the NNPCL may post Profit in excess of N2trn in 2023; adding that in 2024 Nigeria would be a Net Exporter of Petroleum Products.

President of Senate , Godswill Akpabio, tasked the Management of the NNPCL to seek ways of deepening the consumption of Locally Produced Petroleum Products.

He also called for the establishment of Modular Refineries, as well as the renovation of existing ones to create a multiplier effect which would include creation of Jobs for Youths, and more security for the Country.

He said the senate was supporting the efforts to end Oil Theft and Pipeline vandalism which, according to him, was resulting in Revenue losses to the Nation.

The Senate President said that the Senate would partner the NNPCL in creating Legislations that would smoothen Ease of Business for Stakeholders in the Oil and Gas Sector.

He commended the Corporation for ensuring an end to the Fuel Subsidy Regime and called for Capacity Building for Legislatures to ensure proper Legislative Input in the Sector.

“Nigerians want to hear good news and you came with a very good news. And this is good news.”

 

23-Nov-2023 Petrol Tanker Drivers say no to Strike, seek harmonious relationship with FG

Petrol Tanker Drivers say no to Strike, seek harmonious relationship with FG

The Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) has restated the Association’s resolve to negotiate with the Federal Government on issues instead of embarking on Strike.

Lucky Osesua, the National Chairman of PTD, gave the assurance at a News Briefing on the crisis rocking the Association through its Parent-Union, the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG).

“Remember that one of our Mantras is not to in any way work against the progressive and seamless Policies of the Administration of President Bola Tinubu, or be an attack dog to the Federal Government,” he said.

Osesua noted that in spite of the arrest of the top Executive Members of the PTD, the Association had resolved to toe the line of peace, and not strike, on issues concerning its Members.

It would be recalled that some Members of the PTD, an affiliate of NUPENG, are kicking against the decision of the Union to allegedly jettison the laid down Guidelines governing smooth Elections in order to impose Leaders on them.

“My Executive and I, assure you that we are free and granted Bail by the respectable Court of Records, and we shall continue to keep to the Terms of the Bail and shall prove our innocence in no distant time.

“We call on all National Executive Members, both past and present, to unite and come together towards ensuring an amicable resolution and smooth sailing of the PTD, as without peace and unity, the Association will not move forward.

“We humbly appeal to Members to be calm and loyal, Law-abiding and go about their daily business without fear of Police harassment, intimidation from other Security Agencies, as my Executive is working tirelessly to resolve the Leadership crisis.

“Again, we appeal to you to sheathe your sword and not embark on a Strike, as we are working and shall resolve the Leadership tussle soon,” Osesua said.

According to him, time has come for Petroleum Tanker Drivers to be liberated from all manner of intimidation, blackmail, rascalities and unrealistic promises.

“This is a time for the PTD to stand on its own and focus on the primary objectives of the Association, which are the delivery of Petroleum Products to all the States and Locations within the Federation.

“My Team is ready to work with everyone and we offer an olive branch to the Opposition to contribute their quota to the growth of PTD.

“PTD shall remain focused and drive its core objectives without causing commotion to the Country’s Economy or hardship to the People,” Osesua added.

21-Nov-2023 Rivers State is under siege, says Speaker

Rivers State is under siege, says Speaker

The Rivers State House of Assembly said the state was currently under attack by Individuals who did not want the Legislature to deliver on its Constitutional Mandate.

The Speaker, Martins Amaewule, and his 26-Member Faction, unanimously condemned the burning of the Assembly Chamber during Plenary on Tuesday.

Members, therefore, called for arrest and prosecution of Individuals found to be involved in the act.

According to Amaewule, whenever the Legislature of any State or Nation is under attack, that State or Nation is under attack too.

‘’Members of the Legislature are Representatives of the People but currently in Rivers, there is a problem because the Legislature is under attack by some Individuals who do not want it to perform its Constitutional Roles.”

The House, also during the Sitting being the 83rd Legislative Session, made a First Reading on the State House of Assembly Funds Management (Financial Autonomy) Bill, 2023.

The Bill, sponsored by 27 Members, including the Speaker, was presented at the Floor by Enemi George (PDP – Asari Toru II).

Explaining expectations of the Bill, George noted that the Bill sought to cater for the management of Funds accruing to the Assembly from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State.

He said the measure was to ensure accountability and efficient utilisation of Funds and other related Matters.

George also noted that Passage of the Bill would promote Independence of the Legislature, accountability and efficient Funds utilisation.

The State has two Factions of the Assembly following the crisis that erupted on October 30, resulting to the burning of the Hallowed Chamber of the House.

The aftermath of the crisis led to the division in the Assembly, with Speaker Amaewule leading 26 Members while Edison Ehie (PDP-Ahoada 11) leading four Members as a Speaker. 

21-Nov-2023 Sanwo-Olu: My hands are clean, nothing to hide over Lagos Procurement Process

Sanwo-Olu: My hands are clean, nothing to hide over Lagos Procurement Process

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos, says controversy surrounding the Procurement Process in the State is misrepresented truth.

Sanwo-Olu said this on Tuesday, while inaugurating the newly built Operational Headquarters of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) in Ikeja.

He said the controversy generated by the Letter written by an Opposition Politician was unnecessary, as the State had nothing to hide in its Public Expenditure.

According to him, his Administration will continue to value objective criticism.

The Governor said some Critics hid their malicious intentions under the guise of playing Political Opposition to misrepresent the truth.

”Over the weekend, we saw on Social Media how some People can politically turn around all of our attempts to be responsible, transparent and committed to Good Governance.

”We don’t have a problem with any Individual. We, indeed, acknowledged that this is the way it should be. We appreciate the fact that people can look at us in the face and say you need to do well in this area.

”We don’t have a problem with the Originator of the Open Letter; in short, we like him and we thank him. Indeed, if we are seen as the Government that is transparent and responsible, we should not be shy of criticism.

”But, it is only when criticism is malicious and is misrepresenting the truth, that is when there will be a problem.

”Officers in Lagos State have come out to show that there could be mistakes on some Lines of Items. There was a particular issue where an Item was meant to be N2m, but was written as N2bn.

”There are many discrepancies which have been corrected by PPA. We are not going to join issues with anyone on Social Media. All we are committed to is continuous Service to the People of Lagos,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu said Lagos had maintained Open Books for check and balances, adding that the State had judiciously appropriated Funds to Projects and Services that benefited the Residents.

”I lead a Team of dedicated Public Officers, Civil Servants and a self-motivated Team of Officials that will always stand tall with anyone across the World.

”The Building we are opening today is a testament to our commitment to responsible Public Service.

”This is a Building that has been built on time within the Budget and judicious Expenditure. This is what we stand for in Lagos,” he said. 

21-Nov-2023 FG cancels 1,633 Mining Licences over default in payment of Service Fees

FG cancels 1,633 Mining Licences over default in payment of Service Fees

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, on Tuesday announced revocation of 1,633 Mining Titles for defaulting on payment of Annual Service Fees.

Alake made this known at a News Conference in Abuja on Tuesday.

According to him, in compliance with the Law, the Mining Cadastral Office (MCO) on October 4, began the process of revoking 2,213 Titles.

“These included 795 Exploration Titles, 956 Small Scale Mining Licences, 364 Quarry Licences and 98 Mining Leases.

“These were published in the Federal Government Gazette Number 178, Volume 110 of October 10 with the Notice of Revocation for defaulting in the payment of Annual Service Fee.

“The Mandatory 30 days expired on November 10. Only 580 Title Holders responded by settling their Indebtedness.

“With this development, the MCO recommended the revocation of 1, 633 Mineral Titles as follows: Exploration Licence, 536; Quarry Licence, 279; Small Scale Mining Licence, 787 and Mining Lease, 31.

“In line with the powers conferred on me by the NMMA 2007, Section 5 (a), I have approved the revocation of the 1,633 Titles,” the Minister said.

He said that the Titles would be reallocated to more serious Investors.

He warned the previous Holders of the Titles to leave the relevant cadaster with immediate effect.

He said that Security Agencies would work with the Mines Inspectorate of the Ministry to apprehend any Defaulter found on any of the Areas where Titles had been revoked.

“We have no doubt in our mind that the noble goals of President Bola Tinubu to sanitise the Solid Minerals Sector and position the Industry for International Competitiveness are  alive and active.

“We appeal to all Stakeholders for their co-operation in achieving these patriotic objectives and encourage those who have done Business in this Sector the wrong way to turn a new leaf.

“Ultimately, the Nigerian People shall be the winners,” he said.

According to Alake, It is indeed very unconscionable for Corporate Bodies making huge profits from Mining to refuse to give the Government its due by failing to pay their Annual Service Fee.

“It is indeed a reasonable conjecture that such a Company will even be more unwilling to pay Royalties and honour its Tax Obligations to the Government.

“The Amount the Companies are being asked to pay is peanut compared to their own Revenue Projections.

”For example, the Holder of an Exploration Title pays only N1,500 per Cadastral Unit not exceeding 200 Units. Those holding Titles covering more than 200 Units pay N2,000 per Unit, In short, the larger the Area your Title covers, the more you pay.

“This Principle was applied to ensure that Applicants do not hold more than they require to explore.

“With a Cadastral Unit captured as a square of 500 metres by 500 metres, any Law-abiding Title Holder should not hesitate to perform its Obligations,” he said.

The Minister said that every Sector required a Governance System that regulated the conduct of its Participants, the Procedures for entry and exit, the Obligations of the Government to Participants and the Penalties for non-compliance.

He said that the Philosophy of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act 2007 was to establish a rational System of administering Titles transparently and comprehensively to ensure a seamless transition from Reconnaissance to Exploration and from Exploration to Mineral Extraction.

“The Principal Agency for the administration of Titles is the MCO, which receives Applications, evaluates them, and issues Titles with the approval of the Office of Minister of Solid Minerals Development.

“Although the MCO has tried to improve its efficiency by adopting new Application Administration Technology, it continues to face challenges in monitoring the compliance of Title Holders,” he said.

He warned Illegal Mtiners to desist from their illegal activities as their “days were numbered ”. 

20-Nov-2023 Guterres to Developed Countries: Fulfil your $100bn promise on Climate Finance

Guterres to Developed Countries: Fulfil your $100bn promise on Climate Finance

António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, says Developed Countries must honour the promise of $100bn a year in Climate Finance.

He said they must also deliver a clear Plan on how they would meet their commitment to double Adaptation Finance to at least $40bn a year by 2025.

Gutteres made the call on Monday at a Virtual News Conference organised by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to launch the 2023 Edition of the Emissions Gap Report.

The EGR 2023 is the 14th Edition in a series that brings together top Climate Scientists to look at future trends in Greenhouse Gas Emissions and provide solutions to the challenge of Global Warming.

According to Guterres, the EGR shows that if nothing changes in 2030, Emissions will be 22 Gigatons higher than the 1.5 Degree limit will allow.

He said it showed Greenhouse Emissions reaching an all time highs, a 1.2 per cent increase on the last year, when those levels should be shooting down.

Guterres said at a time of doubt, division and distrust, the response to the Global Stock-take was needed to restore credibility in Climate action.

“Specifically in their response to the Global Stock-take, Countries must commit to triple Renewables Capacity, Double Energy Efficiency and bring Clean Power to all by 2030.

“They must also commit to phasing out Fossil Fuels with a clear Timeframe aligned to the 1.5 Degree limits. Otherwise, we are simply inflating the Lifeboats while breaking the Horse,” he said.

According to Guterres, achieving these depends on Countries cooperating and working together.

He noted that the recent Climate Statement between China and the U.S. was a positive first step, adding that much more needed to be done.

This, he said, depended on restoring trust between Developed and Developing Countries, which had been badly damaged by broken promises and sluggish action.

“Leaders must drastically up their game now with record ambition, record action and record Emissions reductions. The next round of National Climate Plans will be pivotal.

“These Plans must be backed with the Finance, Technology Support and Partnerships to make them possible and the task of Leaders of CoP28 is to make sure that happens.

“CoP 28 must set us up for dramatic Climate action now.

“This CoP will respond to the Global Stock-take an Inventory of Countries Climate Plans which will show just how far the World is from meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement. That response is vital,” he said.

He added that voluntary initiatives, non binding commitments could play an important role, but they were not substitutes for a Global response agreed by all and the response to the Global Stock-take must light the fuse to an explosion of ambition in 2025.

For her part, Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive Director, said Climate Change, Greenhouse Gas Emissions and the Global Average Temperatures were hitting new highs, while Extreme Weather Events were occurring more and more often.

“The 2023 Edition of the EGR tells us that it is going to take a massive emergence shift to avoid these records falling year after year.

“We must start setting other records on cutting Emissions, on Green and just transitions and on Climate Finance,” she said. 

20-Nov-2023 NUPENG, Petrol Tanker Drivers dismiss Strike Report, says it is fake

NUPENG, Petrol Tanker Drivers dismiss Strike Report, says it is fake

The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, (NUPENG) and Petroleum Tanker Drivers Branch (PTD), have jointly dismissed Reports of threats to embark on a Nationwide Strike.

NUPENG General Secretary, Olawale Afolabi, in a statement on Monday in Abuja, said there was no plan whatsoever by the Petroleum Tanker Drivers to protest over Leadership tussle.

He also said there was no division in the Union as being speculated by some Individuals and their Sponsors, adding that the Report was false and unfounded and should be disregarded.

The General Secretary said the motive of those behind the speculation was to create panic in the Public Space and cause artificial scarcity of Petroleum Products.

Afolabi tasked Security Agencies to fish out those behind the Reports which he said was capable of creating social upheaval and security concerns.

He explained that the statement was to avert any form of panic and to ask Members of the Public to ignore the false and misleading Report.

The Secretary General assured that all Petroleum Tanker Drivers were fully committed to National Services for effective and efficient distribution of Petroleum Products across the Country.

“We earnestly call on Security Agencies to urgently fish out the Writer of this very misleading and panic creating News Items.

“Make them face the full wrath of the Law if they cannot prove the Source and Authority of the Fake News which is very capable of creating social upheaval,” Afolabi said.

The PTD Branch of NUPENG National Chairman, Augustine Egbon, said the Report was being spread to create panic in the Supply Chain of Petroleum Products Distribution in the Country.

The Chairman maintained that there was no division within the Union’s rank and therefore, no need for any form of protests.

“The PTD-NUPENG wishes to alert the General Public of the antics of some desperate and mischievous Individuals to cause unfounded and dangerous panic in the Supply Chain of Petroleum Products Distribution in the Country.

“This they are doing through spreading of Fake and False News Items, Petroleum Tanker Drivers are not embarking on any form of protest.

“We are determined to continue our Services to the Nation and wholeheartedly support the efforts of the Government of President Bola Tinubu to put our Economy on the right track for the good of all,” he said.

The Chairman added that the unity of the Union’s Workers could never be defeated.

Egbon implored the General Public to ignore every Mischief Maker and called on Security Agencies to fully investigate the panic-creating News Reports.

This, he said, was especially because Citizens were already going through enough tough times and situations.

 

16-Nov-2023 We found Ribadu's offers credible, Labour explains suspension of Strike

We found Ribadu's offers credible, Labour explains suspension of Strike

The Organised Labour has explained why it suspended the Nationwide Indefinite Strike that commenced on November 14.

Emmanuel Ugboaja, General Secretary, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), explained the Action in a statement he jointly signed by Nuhu Toro, Secretary General, Trade Union Congress(TUC), on Wednesday in Abuja.

“The NEC in Session had a thorough review of the offers presented by the Federal Government through the National Security Adviser(NSA), Nuhu Ribadu.

“We found the offers credible and decided to reconsider our action,” he said.

It would be recalled that the Organised Labour earlier met with the NSA and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong.

“After the Meeting, we directed all Affiliates and State Councils of both the NLC and TUC to demobilise, cease any further escalation of the Indefinite Strike Action.

“We fully resume work tomorrow, Thursday, the 16th day of November, 2023,” he said.

He added that a Resolution was reached to suspend the ongoing Nationwide Strike, which commenced on the 14th November, 2023.

According to Ugboaja, the suspension is intended to facilitate further discussions after the Federal Government had met crucial demands.

“We expect Government to address the distressing abduction and brutalisation of the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero, and others.

“These incidents occurred in the hands of the Police and Governor Hope Uzodimma’s Thugs in Owerri, in Imo, on the 1st day of November, 2023,” he recalled.

He noted that an apology was tendered on behalf of the Government by the NSA, who promised to coordinate the investigation.

He added that some of the Perpetrators had been arrested while others would be fished out and prosecuted.

Ugboaja said that high-powered Investigation was currently being carried out and the Leadership of Labour Centres would be briefed continuously as progress is being made.

He commended all Affiliates and state Councils for their unwavering commitment and tenacity that made the Strike a success.

“Once again, we convey our appreciation for your cooperation, resilience and determination in ensuring the success of the indefinite nationwide strike.

“We encourage you to remain vigilant as we await the fulfilment of the remaining agreements,” he said.

15-Nov-2023 FG in last minute move to stop Strike as Labour maintains position

FG in last minute move to stop Strike as Labour maintains position

Simon Lalong, Minister of Labour and Employment, has said that the Meeting between the Federal government and Organised Labour over the ongoing Nationwide Strike was fruitful.

Lalong said this while speaking with Journalists at the end of a Closed-Door Meeting at the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) on Wednesday in Abuja.

It would be recalled that Organised Labour, on November 13, Directed all its Affiliates to embark on an Indefinite Nationwide Strike.

The Strike was called to press home their demands, including the “non action by the Federal Government over the attack on the NLC President, Joe Ajaero in Imo state”.

Lalong said that there was hope and that he does not expect the Industrial Action to last long.

“The Meeting was held especially in respect to what happened in Imo, with all the Labour Leaders present and we had a very, very fruitful discussion.

“The discussion was very genuine and very frank which they have agreed to take back to their Constituency. There was a plea to stop the Strike so that we can continue in out deliberation.

“No commitment yet but it is an ongoing discussion, and we don’t expect the Strike to go on for long,” he said.

Speaking, Festus Osifo, President of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), said they had a robust conversation.

According to him, a lot of assurances were given in furtherance to the release that was made by the National Security Adviser (NSA) this morning.

Osifo said that the NSA indicated that “Some people involved in the attack have been apprehended and further investigations are on.

“But at the end of the day, they made several appeals to us and several promises on what they are going to do and the once they have done currently.

“We said we will go back and re-appraise all the conversations we had and then we will communicate accordingly.

“So, every discussion we have had here, we need to take it back, examine it and take a decision,” Osifo said.

The NLC and TUC are having joint National Executive Council (NEC) to decide on the ongoing Strike. 

13-Nov-2023 Organised Labour spoils for war, vows Indefinite Strike over attack on Ajaero

Organised Labour spoils for war, vows Indefinite Strike over attack on Ajaero

Organised Labour says it will commence a Nationwide Indefinite Strike from midnight of November 14, despite a Court Order restraining it from such action.

This is in protest against the “physical attack and brutalisation” of the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero.

Festus Osifo, President of Trade Union Congress(TUC), gave this indication at a Joint News Conference with the NLC on Monday in Abuja.

It would be recalled that the NLC had declared a protest in Imo, led by Ajaero on November 1, over alleged Anti-Workers’ Policies and non-payment of 20-month Salary Arrears by the State Government.

Ajaero was attacked and brutalised in the State even though the Police have refuted the claim.

The National Industrial Court had restrained Organised Labour from embarking on the planned Nationwide Strike.

According to Osifo, the two Labour Unions have resolved to stand firmly by the decision of their joint National Executive Councils (NECs) that was held last week Tuesday.

He said “effective from Midnight on 14 November, we shall declare a Nationwide Strike.

“All Affiliates of the TUC and NLC, and all State Councils of the two unions have been mobilised adequately.

“This is going to be indefinite until Governments at all Levels wake up to their responsibilities.

“This is the decision of the Joint NEC of NLC and TUC and we are going to carry it out to the letter,” he said.

The TUC President, however, noted that for the Labour Unions to suspend their Strike, the Government must investigate the issues surrounding the attack on Ajaero.

He added that all those involved in the attack must be prosecuted or disciplined.

Osifo also said the NEC of both Unions are demanding an immediate, independent and unbiased thorough Professional Medical Examination of all Victims of the attack.

“We are also demanding for the immediate ‘restoration’ of all Properties lost.

“We also call for urgent implementation of all the outstanding Industrial Relations Agreements previously entered into with the Imo Government,” he said.

12-Nov-2023 NSIB probes Abuja Airport Incident involving Aircraft belonging to Aero Contractors

NSIB probes Abuja Airport Incident involving Aircraft belonging to Aero Contractors

The Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau, has been notified and has commenced investigation into a serious incident involving a Boeing 737 with Nationality and Registration Marks 5N-BYQ belonging to Aerocontractors Airlines.

This is contained in a statement signed by James Odaudu, the NSIB Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, on Sunday in Abuja.

Odaudu said there was no injury or fatality.

“The incident occurred around 10:47am (Local Time) on 12th November, 2023.

“The Aircraft upon landing at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja from Lagos and in a bid to exit Runway via A4 had its Nose Wheel stuck in the grass verge with its Fuselage on Runway.

“Consequently, the Runway was closed pending the towing of the Aircraft. There was no injury or fatality,” it said.

According to him, the NSIB, hereby, solicits information from the General Public in form of pictures, video or recording evidences to assist in conducting a comprehensive Investigation.

He said the Bureau could be reached through info@aib.gov.ng and NSIB_Nigeria on its Social Media Platforms and on its Emergency Line +234-807-709-0909.

”The NSIB will appreciate that the General Public and Press respect the privacy of the People on Board and not assume the cause of the serious incident until formal Report is released.

“The NSIB is a Multimodal Investigation Agency charged with the mandate to investigate Transportation accidents and serious incidents in Nigeria with the aim of identifying the probable causes and proffer safety recommendations that can prevent reoccurrence,” it said.

The Director affirmed that the Bureau would release the Preliminary Report as soon as possible.

11-Nov-2023 Obaseki remains my friend despite our differences, says Oshiomhole

Obaseki remains my friend despite our differences, says Oshiomhole

Adams Oshiomhole, the Senator representing Edo North Senatorial District and former Governor of Edo, says the Incumbent Governor of the state, Godwin Obaseki, remains his friend in spite of their Political and Party differences.

Oshiomhole spoke while giving his Goodwill Message at the ongoing 2023 Alaghodaro Summit in Benin.

The Summit has as its Theme, “The Edo Story: Creating Shared Opportunities into the Future.”

The Alaghodaro Summit is held yearly by the Edo Government, in partnership with the Private Sector, to mark the Anniversary of Obaseki in Office.

The State Government usually avail itself of the opportunity to showcase the progress being recorded in transforming the State into an Investment Haven.

Oshiomhole, who thanked Obaseki for hosting the Alaghodaro Summit and inviting him, noted that the World should know that he and Obaseki were friends not enemies.

According to him, being friends doesn’t mean we can’t disagree or have different opinions; but we must treat ourselves with love and care.

“Regardless of what People say, we should not give the impression that different options translate to war.

“People don’t need the tears of leaders joining them to lament but taking bold steps to solve the problem facing the People.

“Having the privilege as a Governor, I have high regard for the Office of the Governor and for the Governor himself.

“To have all the Civilian Governors elected in the State present here today speaks volumes.

“We definitely belong to different Political Parties but the sum total of those Parties is not equal to Edo State.

“What this means to me is that we can politic differently but never have doubt about the shared commitment to the Citizens of the State that should be the greatest in Nigeria.

“The Language of Leaders matters to followers. What defines Democracy is that of Ideology, even if we share the same destination but the route to get there may differ, it should not be a matter of war.

“I thought the World should know that Godwin is my friend. It doesn’t matter; being friends does not mean we cannot debate or disagree but being friends means we treat ourselves with love and care and bring our Followers together.

“I am happy that with all the challenges in Nigeria, Nigeria is greater than the challenges,” he said.

Earlier, Obaseki said his government had, in the past seven years, reengineered Edo for growth and development, and consciously laid a solid Foundation for the state’s future.

The Governor noted that the Government focused on six Thematic Pillars, including Institutional Reforms, Economic Revolution, Social Welfare, Infrastructure Development, environmental sustainability and arts and culture.

Obaseki noted that the bold reforms had positively impacted the lives of millions of Edo people, placing the state on the path of sustainable and accelerated growth and development.

NAN reports that two former governors of the state, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and Chief Lucky Igbinedion, were also present at the event.
Though they spoke at different times during the programme, both former governors commended Obaseki’s  lofty achievements and visionary leadership. 
11-Nov-2023 Police to probe brutal assault on NLC President

Police to probe brutal assault on NLC President

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Kayode Egbetokun, has ordered an Investigation into circumstances surrounding the alleged assault on the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero.

The Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, stated this at a Press Conference on Friday in Owerri, ahead of Saturday’s Governorship Election in Imo.

“Consequently, he has directed the Deputy Inspector-General (DIG) in charge of the Force Criminal Investigation Department, to take over the Matter with the primary objective of ascertaining the true facts surrounding the incident.

“The DIG is to address any ambiguities that may exist as the Police have been inundated with different versions of the incident making investigation imperative to clear the conflicting accounts.

“The Nigeria Police Force understands the importance of transparency and accountability in maintaining Public Trust,” he stated.

Adejobi reiterated IGP’s assurances to the Public, most especially the Leadership of Organised Labour, that a thorough and unbiased Inquiry will be conducted to provide clarifications.

He urged Organised Labour and the Public to remain calm, as the IGP has personally intervened to address the issues surrounding the incident.

“Investigation has commenced, and the Nigeria Police Force guarantees that it will be followed to a conclusive end, and appropriate actions will be taken based on the findings of the Investigation,” he said.

It would be recalled that on November 1, Ajaero was reportedly arrested by Police Operatives in Owerri and later beaten up by suspected thugs after being taken to an unknown destination.

The NLC President had barely led Workers to protest over unpaid Salaries in the State on the fateful day when the incident occurred. 

10-Nov-2023 Keyamo to NLC: Stop disrupting Flight Operations at Airports

Keyamo to NLC: Stop disrupting Flight Operations at Airports

The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo has warned the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) against disrupting Flight Operations at the Airports.
 
Keyamo gave the warning  at the Ministerial retreat for  Minister, Permanent Secretary, Directors and Head of Agencies of the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development on Thursday in Effurun, Delta.
 
He said that as the Political Head of the Aviation industry in Nigeria, he
would not tolerate the activities of the Labour Leaders blocking  Access Roads to the Airport.
 
Labour Leaders on Thursday morning blocked Access Roads to the Abuja Airport in protest over maltreatment of the NLC President, Joe Ajaero.
 
“Please, I want to beg the Labour Leaders, leave Aviation alone. You can not target Aviation in trying to address your grievances.
 
“In targeting the Aviation Industry  you are targeting a Global Village.
 
“I am addressing the Labour Leaders across the Country, do not allow the Labour Party (LP) to destroy the Labour Movement.
 
“I repeat, do not allow the LP and Party Politics to destroy the Labour Movement.
 
“As a Minister, I will not allow the Labour Movement to target the Aviation. If they do, I will fight back. They should not bring politics into Aviation.
 
“They can deceive others but they can not deceive me. So I am appealing that the Labour Movement should not destroy themselves on the Platform of Politics,” he said.
 
Keyamo said that the Industry was key and central to any Sustainable Growth and Development in other Sectors of the Nigerian Economy.
 
Keyamo said that he identified a Five- Point Agenda for the rapid transformation of the Sector in line with the Eight Priority Areas of President Tinubu.
 
According to him, some of the Priorities were: ensuring strict compliance with the Nation’s Laws and Regulations and International Obligation among others.
 
According to him, Others are support for the growth and sustenance of Local Airline Business; Human Capacity Development and optimisation of Revenue Generation.
 
The Minister said that the objective of the Retreat was to brainstorm, deliberate and carried out a “SWOT” Analysis of the Industry to proffer practical solutions to attain the desired results.
 
“We need to be proactive and circumspect in our deliberations regarding where we are today as an Industry, where we desire to be and most importantly, how to get there.
 
“There is no doubt that growth and development in the Aviation Sector should be Private Sector driven to attract Foreign Direct Investment.
 
“As Policy Makers, we have a responsibility to ensure that deployment of Policies, Programmes and Projects are well articulated and in compliance with ICAO Standard.
 
“Mr President is passionate about transforming this Nation. I share in that passion through the transformation of the Aviation Sector.
 
“In the same vein, I expect you all to share same passion in transforming your Department and Agencies for the good of the  sector and the Nation at large,” he  said.
 
Also speaking, Thomas Ereyitomi, Chairman, House Committee on Aviation Technology said that the Retreat would served as a testimony of a collective commitment to elevate the Standard of Aviation in Nigeria.
 
Ereyitomi said that effective Aviation Management was a cornerstone upon which the Industry thrives.
 
“The decisions and strategies we formulate during this Retreat will have a great impact on our National Development,” he said.
 
Emmanuel Meribole,  Permanent Secretary, in the  Ministry of Aviation, urged Participants to utilise the opportunities of the Retreat to contribute their quotas to the successes of the Administration.
 
“In the long run, the achievements of our National Vision of the Industry which is to make Nigeria the Aviation Hub in Africa will be achieved,” he said.
 
The three-day Event which started on Thursday, would end on Saturday.
07-Nov-2023 Reps vow to tame Financial Crimes

Reps vow to tame Financial Crimes

The House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes has declared its commitment to root out the enablers of Financial Crimes and Criminal Activities in the Country.

The Committee also asserted that the 10th National Assembly would not tolerate corruption.

Ginger Obinna, Chairman of the Committee, made this pledge during the Inaugural Meeting of the Panel in Abuja on Tuesday.

He unveiled a series of Strategies and Policies aimed at safeguarding the Nation’s Financial System and upholding the Rule of Law.

He expressed confidence in the Lawmakers’ abilities to confront the inherent challenges posed by Financial Crimes in the Country.

Addressing the Committee Members, he emphasised the importance of collective efforts to combat various menaces, including Financial Crimes and Illicit Financial Flows.

Others include Money Laundering, Terrorism Financing, Advance Fee Fraud (419), and Cybercrimes, which continue to plague the Nation.

Obinna commended the Committee Members for their dedication to transparency, fairness, and accountability, setting high standards for their work.

He expressed optimism that their joint efforts would have a profound impact on society by ensuring that those engaged in Financial Crimes and Criminal Activities are held accountable and brought to Justice.

He said, “the Committee is gearing up for its Activities and will have jurisdiction to oversee the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Monitoring Agencies involved in the detection of Financial Crimes, including Institutions established by Law to handle Financial Crimes and their Annual Budget Estimates.

Obinna acknowledged the immense responsibilities of the Committee but expressed confidence in its capabilities to confront Financial Crimes in the Country.

He emphasised the commitment to make positive changes in the Nation’s Economy, aligning with the Administration’s Agenda to fight corruption.

The Lawmaker pledged to maintain an Open-Door Policy, ensuring that everyone is carried along during his tenure as the Committee's Chairman. 

05-Nov-2023 Lagos shuts Market, demolishes Illegal Structures in Ajah

Lagos shuts Market, demolishes Illegal Structures in Ajah

Lagos State Government on Sunday shuts Ajah market in Eti-Osa over sundry waste disposal offences.

The action was carried out by a combined Enforcement Team of Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), State Task Force on Environmental Sanitation and Special Offences (LASTMA) and Lagos Government Special Environmental Corps (KAI).

This is contained in a statement issued by Director, Public Affairs of LAWMA, Folashade Kadiri, on Sunday in Lagos.

Kadiri said that Shanties and Illegal Traders’ Structures around Ajah BRT corridor and Ajah Jubilee Bridge were also cleared by the Enforcement Team.

Commenting on the development, Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab, said the enforcement was a continuation of the Administration’s onslaught on filth and indiscriminate waste disposal by Markets and Business Facilities across the State.

“We are stepping up action on this Administration’s zero tolerance for filth and reckless waste disposal by Traders and Business Facilities.

“We have continuously warned Business Owners to expect action if they refuse to do the needful to sustain the Environment,” he said.

The Commissioner said that the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led Administration would not relent in the pursuit of the lofty objective in the overriding Public good.

Managing Director/CEO of LAWMA, Muyiwa Gbadegesin, said that the Zero Tolerance Campaign was a continuous one, advising Markets and Business Stakeholders to take steps to ensure a clean and hygienic Premises.

“For the umpteenth time, we are encouraging all Business Owners and Markets to shun filth and put measures in place to guarantee responsible waste disposal in their Places of Operation,” he said.

Gbadegesin, who said that enforcement action would reach the doorsteps of defaulters, urged them to play by the Rules.

04-Nov-2023 Military to Terrorists, Bandits: The war is on, your days are numbered

Military to Terrorists, Bandits: The war is on, your days are numbered

The Defence Headquarters, has warned Terrorists and Bandits that their days are numbered as the Military thwarted the Criminals in several Operations within the last one week.

“The Military will continue to deny the Terrorists, Insurgents and Violent Extremists the ability to achieve their selfish objectives.

“The war is on and their days are numbered, unless they surrender,” Defence Spokesman, Edward Buba, said in a statement in Abuja.

He said during the Operations, 67 Terrorists were eliminated, 190 apprehended, while 47 kidnapped Hostages were rescued.

The Operations were conducted in the North West, North East and North Central Zones and had substantially inflicted casualties on Terrorists, Insurgents and Violent Extremists.

Buba said 112 assorted Weapons and 989 assorted Ammunition were recovered by Troops across areas of the Operations.

The Ammunition, he said, comprised one GT3, 42 AK47 and 11 locally fabricated Rifles.

The Defence Spokesman added that seven Pump Action Guns, one locally made Double Barrel, Pistols, three Dane Guns and two locally made Pistols were also recovered.

According to him, the Ammunition recovered include 342 rounds of 7.62mm NATO, 321 rounds of 7.62mm special, 190 rounds of 7.62x51mm NATO, 34 rounds of 9mm, 74 live cartridges, 166 rounds of 7.62mm NATO, empty Shells and 27 Magazines.

Buba added that 23 Vehicles, 33 Motorcycles, 31 Mobile Phones, five Boafeng Radios, four Bicycles, Cutlasses, Axes, Digital Camera and the sum of N3.2 million were recovered.

Giving breakdown of the Operation in the North East, Buba said Troops of Operation Hadin Kai neutralised 42 Terrorists, apprehended 15 and rescued 10 kidnapped Hostages within the week.

He said that the Troops recovered 41 AK4 and two locally fabricated Rifles, 241 rounds of 7.62mm Special Ammo, 57 rounds of 7.62mm Special (refilled), 22 Magazines, seven Motorcycles, three Mobile Phones, one Camel Bag, one Bicycle and the sum of N2,200.

He added that in the North Central, Troops of Operations Safe Haven and Whirl Stroke neutralised seven Terrorists, apprehended 23 and rescued 17 kidnapped Hostages.

The Defence Spokesman said several caliber of Arms and Ammunition as well as Motorcycles, among other Items, were recovered.

In the North West, Buba said Troops of Operation Hadarin Daji neutralised five Terrorists, arrested four and rescued five kidnapped Hostages.

He also said Troops of Operation Whirl Punch neutralised two Terrorists, arrested seven Suspects and rescued two kidnapped Hostages. 

03-Nov-2023 INEC defends N18bn Staff Welfare, Allowances Supplementary Budget before Lawmakers

INEC defends N18bn Staff Welfare, Allowances Supplementary Budget before Lawmakers

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has defended a Supplementary Budget of N18bn at the National Assembly, largely aimed at addressing the issue of Staff Welfare and Allowances.

The Commission’s Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, according to the INEC Daily Bulletin on Thursday in Abuja, led a Team from the Commission to defend the Supplementary Budget before the House of Reps Committee on Electoral Matters and the Senate Committee on INEC.

It recalled that the Commission had earlier sent a proposal of N18bn to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and defended it before the Executive, who referred it to the National Assembly for approval.

It quoted Yakubu during the Budget Defense, stating that N10.6bn out of the sum will enable the Commission to pay its Members of Staff the 40 per cent increase in Peculiarity Allowance approved by the Federal Government in April in 2023.

Yakubu added that the over N3bn of the Budget was meant to pay INEC Staff Members the award of N35,000 approved for each Public Servant across the Country for six months by the Federal Government, as well as the new Duty Tour Allowance.

He said the Commission would spend N1.6bn on the conduct of 11 outstanding Bye-Elections, comprising five Federal Constituencies, four State Constituencies and two Senatorial Districts.

According to Yakubu, another N1.4bn is for the augmentation of the cost differentials in the Budget for the Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi Governorship Elections,

The Bulletin explained that the development was expected to bring relief to the Commission’s Staff who have clamoured for improved Welfare in the face of the Economic hardship being experienced due to the removal of the fuel subsidy and consequent increase in the prices of fuel.

It recalled that Yakubu at a consultative meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in Abuja, appealed to the RECs to inform staff in their respective states of measures being put in place by the commission to address the economic challenges facing them.

Yakubu explained that the six agencies including INEC have not received funds to offset payment of the 40 per cent peculiar allowance as approved.

He noted that the Commission was not unmindful of the Economic hardship being experienced by the Staff.

Yakubu said that the commission was not resting on its oars in its bid to get the necessary Funds to pay the Allowances as soon as possible.

03-Nov-2023 Reps say no to N4.7 Budget Allocation for Presidential Yacht

Reps say no to N4.7 Budget Allocation for Presidential Yacht

The House of Representatives has rejected the N4.7bn Budgetary Allocation for Presidential Yacht in the N2.1trn 2023 Supplementary Budget, moving the amount to Students Loan, thereby increasing the allocation from N5.5bn to N10bn.

Abubakar Bichi, the Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation said this at a News Conference in Abuja on Thursday.

He said that the N35,000 Wage Award for Federal Workers had been approved in line with the request of
President Bola Tinubu, adding that about N210bn was approved for the Workers.

“I’m sure they are going to see the great impact as soon as possible. So, it has been approved by the House of Representatives,” he said.

He added that the Committee also increased the Budgetary Allocation for the Ministry of Defence from N476bn to N546bn following security concerns.

“Today, our Committee has submitted our Report, and the House after careful consideration, the House has approved our submission and the breakdown is as follows.

“As you know, the Budget is about N2.177trn and Ministry of Defence is having N456bn but currently they have the largest Share because we know how important our Security is.

“And as you are aware we have interaction with them yesterday. And they requested additional funding so that they can continue their work.

“So, we have increased their Budget from N456 to N546,209,009,671,” he said.
He added: “Then Police Formation and Command we gave them N50bn while the FCT has about N100bn.

”You know FCT is very important to us because we want to make sure FCT can compete with any City in the World, that’s why we decided to give N100bn.

“Office of the National Security, we know how important that office is, their Budget initially was N27bn but currently we have increased their Budget to N50bn.

“While the State House, their initial Budget was N28bn and we still maintain their figure at N28bn as well.”
“The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, you know how important it is, you are talking about food security, and of course it’s very critical and important to our people across the Nation.

“So, we have maintained their initial figure of N200bn as well.

“While Ministry of Housing, you know how serious the Housing Deficit in this Country, and in Mr. President’s Agenda, he wants to build as many Houses as he can.

“So, we have approved N100bn for Ministry of Housing.

“Service Wide Vote, initially it was N615bn but currently, we’ve reduced it from N615 to N515bn as well”.

“For INEC, initially their request was N18bn yesterday we had engagement with INEC Chairman as you’re all aware. And we have maintained the N18 bn as well.

“So far, we have approved N2,176,791,286,033 only.

“So, this is what we are able to do today and will continue to do as much as we can to support Nigeria, to support the Government so that our People can see the importance of this Democracy.

Bichi while responding to question on the provision for Purchase of Yatch as captured under the Nigerian Navy said “as far as we are concerned we don’t have that Presidential Yacht any more.”

03-Nov-2023 Presidency: Budget for N6bn Vehicles, Yacht belongs to Navy, not Tinubu

Presidency: Budget for N6bn Vehicles, Yacht belongs to Navy, not Tinubu

The Presidency  on Thursday clarified that the N6bn Budget for Presidential Yacht and Vehicles, emanated from a request from the Nigerian Navy.

Temitope Ajayi, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity made the clarification in a statement in Lagos.

He noted that the trending issues on Social Media were two Items in the 2023 Supplementary Budget.

“One is the provision for a Presidential Yacht in the Supplementary Budget by the Navy and the other is over N6bn for Vehicles to the State House.”

The statement reads:
“It is important to state clearly that President Bola Tinubu didn’t ask for a Presidential Yacht and I doubt if he needs one to perform the functions of his Office.

“From what I know, the request for a Yacht, however it is named or couched in the Budget, is from the Navy and they must have operational reasons for why it is required.

“The Budget Office should be in a position to also explain to the Public why such Expenditure should be accommodated.

“I must readily admit that the one reason our Budgeting System has been a Subject of Public attack is the very simplistic way some of the line Items are described by Civil Servants, who prepare the Budget.

“Examples abound; Sometimes in 2016, an Enterprise Resource Planning ( ERP) Project of the Ministry of Solid Minerals worth over N300 million then was captured in that year’s Budget as “Website”.

“Naturally, it generated a massive controversy as People, rightly, asked to know the type of Website that will be built with N300 million.”

According  to him, it is important to say that Journalism should enrich Public enlightenment and not create an atmosphere of siege.

He pointed out that always reducing  State House Budgetary Provisions to the President and Vice President was poor reporting.

“When the State House makes provision for Vehicles, it is reported as if it is the President that will use all the Vehicles or eat all the food when a provision is made for Food and Catering Services.

“We have had such inaccurate reporting in the past. A President and Vice President cannot, for any reason, spend N20 million to eat in a year if it is about the food they will eat as First and Second Families.

“How much food can a Person really eat? Yet, we will read Headlines that Tinubu, Buhari, Jonathan or whoever the President is wants to spend N5bn on food and catering in a year when in actual fact such Budgetary Provisions are made to accommodate many State Events, Meetings, hosting of VIPs, Foreign Dignitaries, and even visits by other Heads of State, and Bilateral and Multilateral Meetings that the State House will deal with in a given year.

“It is worth stating that in August,  President Tinubu as the Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Governments of ECOWAS hosted two Extraordinary Summits of the Regional Body over the political crisis in Niger Republic.

“The two Summits required Catering Services for the ECOWAS Leaders and their Delegation. Just this past Sunday, German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz was on a State Visit to Nigeria with a Delegation of top Business Men and Women from Germany.

“The President hosted the visiting Chancellor and his Delegation to a State Banquet. State House Budget for Food and Catering Services is spent on such Events. It is not spent essentially to feed the President and Vice President.

According to him, on matters of vehicles, the N6bn Budget Provision is not to buy Vehicles for the President and Vice President alone.

“President Tinubu and Vice President Shettima are not using any new Vehicles in their Fleet. They are using inherited Vehicles.

“There are hundreds of Civil Servants and Political Aides working at the State House who need Operational Vehicles.

“I am a Senior Aide of the President. I am using my Personal Car and at my own expense since I resumed work more than five months ago.

“Like me, virtually all the Appointees of the President are using Personal Vehicles at their own expense for Official Duties. Most of the Vehicles in the Pool for various Departments are run down.”

He noted even Members of the State House Press Corps do not have a Functional Bus to ease their movement.

“I know for a fact that a request for a new Bus for State House Press Corps is captured in the Supplementary Budget for Vehicles.

“It is necessary to add that none of the Political Appointees has drawn any benefit and perks from Public Treasury.

I must add that in five months, we have not even received a kobo as Salary because of procedural issues involved in capturing new Appointees on the Payroll via IPPIS.

“The Presidency is a huge Bureaucracy with hundreds of Staff. Any Budget Head for the State House is to run the System, not for epicurean fantasy of a sitting President and Vice President.

“In this Pageview-Centric and Social Media age, it is easy to provoke Public rage.”

According to him, it is also tempting for Bloggers and quack Journalists to take the easy road of sensationalism to attract traffic to their Blogs and News Websites. But good Journalism, I believe, should be about substance and nuanced Reporting. 

01-Nov-2023 FG to close Third Mainland Bridge for repairs November 6

FG to close Third Mainland Bridge for repairs November 6

The Federal Government on Wednesday said that it had perfected plans to close a Section of the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos for five weeks comprehensive repairs.

A statement by the Federal Controller of Works in Lagos State, Olukorede Kesha, said that the repairs would start from Monday, November 6, 2023.

“The Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Works wish to inform the Motoring Public that it has perfected plans to carry out comprehensive repairs of the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos.

“In view of the above, the Motoring Public are hereby notified that the repair works will begin with the Ramps connecting Oworonshoki to Adekunle and Lagos-Island (Adeniji Adele) to Adekunle simultaneously.

“Consequently, the two Ramps mentioned above will be closed to traffic by 7.00 a.m. on Monday, November 6, 2023 for five weeks.

“Motorists are, therefore, advised to cooperate with the Traffic Management Officials by obeying and observing all diversions as directed. They are encouraged to use the alternative routes as attached,” she said.

The Controller in a Traffic Advisory urged Motorists to comply with Traffic Rules, adding that Traffic Officers would be deployed at all diversion routes for effective monitoring, management and control.

Kesha said Tow Trucks and Vehicles would also be deployed for prompt removal of Distressed Vehicles and Trucks.

She attached a Traffic Management Plan for seamless movement during the emergency repairs of the Third Mainland Bridge.

Motorists coming from Iyana-Oworo on the Mainland and going to Adekunle were advised to avoid the Third Mainland and use alternative routes.

Likewise, the ones coming from the Island on the Adeniji side going to Adekunle should use alternative routes because there will not be access to Adekunle.

01-Nov-2023 Perform or get out of my Cabinet, Tinubu warns Ministers

Perform or get out of my Cabinet, Tinubu warns Ministers

President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday in Abuja urged Members of his Cabinet to work assiduously towards achieving the Mandate of their Ministries or be ready to leave the Government.

Tinubu stated this in his address at 2023 Cabinet Retreat for Ministers, Presidential Aides, Permanent Secretaries and Top Government Functionaries.

The Theme of the Three-Day Retreat is, ” Delivering on the Renewed Hope Agenda.”

The President reminded the Ministers of their responsibility to served the People who entrusted their Mandate on him.

Tinubu reiterated the commitment of his Administration to take 50 million Nigerians out of poverty, saying “poverty is not a shameful thing, it is only unacceptable.”

” And we have to banished it because it is unacceptable,” the President said.

He also enjoined the Ministers to focus on their Ministries progress and come up with bold endeavours, stressing that his Administration was determined to turn the Nation’s Population into an Asset.

”That is why we established Results Delivery Units. At the end of this Retreat you are going to sign a Bond of Understanding between the Ministers, the Permanent Secretaries and myself.

”If you are performing there is nothing to fear. If you missed the objective, we review, if no performance you leave us. No one is an Island and the bulk stops on my Desk.

”I assure you will have a free hand. you must be intellectually inquisitive to ask how? Why? When? and why it must be immediate.

”I have taken a young lady, very dynamic Hadiza Usman to Head that Delivery Units. If you have any complain about her see me. If you are ready to work with her stay there. Delivery yes! We must achieve it for the sake of the millions of the People.”

He said that the Country was blessed with great Talents around the World, adding that Nigeria was the biggest intellectually sound Country in Africa.

”Yes we have challenges in Sahel, we have challenges of Climate Change. South and North of Nigeria is battered, we’ve all seen such.

”You have desert encroachment in the North but we are still blessed with arable lands. We can do it, we can build our Country.

”It is not about the Theoreticians, it is about practical determinations and focus evaluation. Yes it is our Country, we have no other one.

”Let be proud that we are Nigerians, that we can do it, you can show Leadership. We can fight to make Democracy a lasting reference for the rest of Africa.”

The President, who enjoined Ministers and other Government Officials not to be afraid in taken decisions, however, warned them against being antagonistic to their Supervisor.

”If they are wrong debate it. I stand before you and I have clear several occasions and I will be saying today again as the President I can make mistakes.

”Point it to me I will resolve that conflict, that error, perfection is only that of Almighty God, but you are there to help me succeed. Success I must achieve by all means necessary.

”We have great minds, great intellects and all that we need. When we were discussing this Retreat. I said other than Members of Diplomatic Corps to give us goodwill and inspiration.

”Don’t invite any Foreigner to give me Lecture about Governance. I have been through it and I believe in Nigeria.

”It started from the day I was sworn in that bold endeavor is only achieve through courage, determination and focus Leadership.”

Tinubu said that the Country was going through a Reform painfully, saying ”and we still have other challenges.

”Don’t be a clog in the will of Nigeria's progress. Let us look forward. Let us be determined that corruption will go, progress will be achieve.

”Better living wages for our Workers. We will transform the Economy to work for millions of our Citizens. We must take 50 million People out of poverty.

”We must build Healthcare that works for all. Look around don’t be wicked. Look at the standard of Education. Look at the Classrooms, look at the Roads.

”We can only spend the money. We will find it, we cannot spend the People. No crime in borrowing,” Tinubu said.

The President also urged the Civil Servants to cooperate with the Ministers to form a formidable team for the good of the Country.

“As I’ve stated before, no one succeeds alone. You the Civil Service, you must not see a Minister as he or she will come and go and you will be there.

“You must make a positive Team for the good of this Country. Yes! I admit and accept the Asset and Liability of my Predecessor, is part of the definition in my professional background.

“But you are in this Ship you will make good of it but not wreck it. You are a Member of a great family don’t see that Minister as opportunistic.

“See, he or she as a Partner that we must take the Ship forward. Navigating through turbulence and clear weather,” the President said. 

29-Oct-2023 Nigerian Navy launches new Offshore Patrol Vessels

Nigerian Navy launches new Offshore Patrol Vessels

The Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla has launched a High Endurance Offshore Patrol Vessels (HE OPVs) for the Nigerian Navy at the Dearsan Shipyard, Tuzla in Istanbul, Turkey.

This is contained in a statement by the Director of Naval Information, Commodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, on Sunday in Abuja.

Ayo-Vaughan said the Vessel is one of two 76m HE OPV awarded to be constructed by Dearsan Shipyard on November 3, 2021, while actual construction began on September 16, 2022.

Ogalla, said the Vessels were meant to add to the Fleet of the Nigerian Navy and enhance its capacity in the protection of Nigeria’s Maritime Domain.

“Today’s Ceremony is, therefore, a solemn one in which the Ship is dedicated and committed to the Sea, while also praying for blessings of good fortune for the Ship, its Crew and its Passengers.

“These Ships when fully completed and commissioned into the Service of the NN, would complement and further sustain the efforts of the Fleet in ensuring Naval presence at Sea.

“This would help to curb the menace of Oil Theft and other illegalities in Nigeria’s Maritime Environment in particular and the Gulf of Guinea in general.

“Additionally, the OPV would assist the NN in managing Nigeria’s Exclusive Economic Zone, including provision of Maritime Security and effective disaster relief,” he said.

Ogalla thanked President Bola Tinubu for his support to the Project and commitment to the recapitalisation of the NN Fleet.

He said the Federal Government was committed to its obligations towards the successful completion of the two OPVs.

The CNS appreciated the Nigerian Ambassador to Turkey, the Nigerian Defence Adviser, Dearsan Shipyard, the Nigerian Navy Project Control Team in Turkey and others for their various contributions.

“Following this giant step of the Launching Ceremony of the first 76m HE OPV P203, it is expected that all the Ship’s installations would be fixed, connected and worked between January and May 2024.

“Other expectations include conducting Harbour acceptance test for the Ship between July and August 2024 and delivery of the Ship in August 2024 or September 2024.

“It is also planned that the Launching Ceremony of the second 76m HE OPVP 204 will hold in February 2024 at the Dearsan Shipyard, Turkey,” he said.

The CNS expressed satisfaction with the commitment of Dearsan Shipyard towards timely delivery of the two HE OPVs, and sustaining the mutually beneficial cooperation between Nigeria and Turkey.

29-Oct-2023 Nigeria Navy Warships conclude Exercise in Gulf of Guinea, return to Base

Nigeria Navy Warships conclude Exercise in Gulf of Guinea, return to Base

No fewer than 10 Nigerian Navy Warships have returned to Base after a Military Exercise to checkmate Criminals in the Nation’s Waters and the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).

The Warships are Nigeria Navy Ship (NNS) Sagbama, NNS Nwamba, NNS Ibeno, NNS Dorina, NNS Gongola, NNS Ikene, NNS Badagry, NNS Oji, NNS Ose and NNS Okpoku.

Addressing Journalists after the Warships berthed in Onne, Rivers, the Flag Officer Commanding Central Naval Command (CNC), Rear Admiral Umar Chugali said the Exercise code-named “Exercise Sea Guardian” was a huge success.

He said Troops participated in Anti-Crude Oil Theft Operation, Vessel Seizure, Fleet Manoeuvres, Man Overboard and Gunnex.

“Other activities include Communications and Emergency Drills such as Firefighting, Steering Gear Breakdown, Machinery Failure, Abandon and Man and Cheer ship.

“The Exercise was used to exercise and demonstrate the capacity and capability of our Ships at Sea, to secure Nigeria’s Maritime Space and the Gulf of Guinea.

“The four-days Exercise was used to highlight our readiness in tackling all forms of Maritime Crimes within Nigeria’s Maritime Environment and GoG,” he added.

Chugali said aside the Warships, two attack Helicopters and a Detachment of the Navy’s Special Boat Service, equivalent to United States Navy Seals, participated in the exercise.

Rear Admiral Olusola Oluwagbire, Flag Officer Commanding ENC, said the exercise was carried out by troops from both Eastern and Central Naval Commands located in Calabar and Yenagoa, respectively.

He said the Exercise was part of actionable steps taken by the Nigeria Navy to end Crude Oil Theft, Sea Robbery and Sea Piracy, among others, in Nigeria’s Waters.

“We are using this Exercise to test our capability and readiness to safeguard our waters and the GoG from Criminals.

“We are doing our best to present the best foot (Personnel) in our deployments – both in terms of Personnel and Assets,” Oluwagbire said.

For his part, the Commanding Officer, NNS Sagbama, Cdr. Stephen Ebute said the Exercise had improved the expertise of Troops in Onshore and Offshore operations.

According to him, it was a platform for the troops, including commanding officers of the various warships, to enhance their training objectives and operational realities.

“This will enable us to expertly tackle Emergencies in our Ships as well as curtailing the various threats in our Maritime Domain,” he added. 

28-Oct-2023 FG: Total rehabilitation of Third Mainland Bridge begins November 1

FG: Total rehabilitation of Third Mainland Bridge begins November 1

The Minister of Works, David Umahi, on Saturday said comprehensive rehabilitation of the 11.8-kilometer Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos would begin on November 1 for a period of three months.

Umahi said this during an inspection of the Under Deck, Lagoon Sections of the Third Mainland Bridge and other Bridges.

Umahi, a Team of Engineers, Directors of the Federal Ministry of Works and Journalists inspected the Lagoon Sections of the Third Mainland, Carter, Independence and Falomo Bridges.

Umahi also inspected the deteriorating Marina Shoreline, the failing portions of the Five Cowries Bridge located inside Zone Two Police Headquarters in Onikan, Ijora Bridge and Marina Bridge in Apapa.

He said the entire stretch of the Third Mainland Bridge would undergo total resurfacing with minimal discomfort to Road Users, and the repairs would be carried out by midnight during the weekend.

He said he carried out inspection of the top surface of the Bridge on Friday before embarking on inspection of the Lagoon portions.

The Minister explained that patching of various Sections of the top surface of the Bridge had led to undulating surfacing, which was not healthy for its safety, hence the need to remove and relay the entire Asphaltic covering.

“We are going to mill out the excess Asphalt and retain only two millimetres,” he said.

The Minister said the proposed maintenance of Third Mainland Bridge, which would last three months was the first phase meant to secure the integrity as well aesthetics of the Upper Deck Components of the Bridge.

He explained that the maintenance of the aesthetics would include replacement of the Railings, installation of Solar-Powered Lights and CCTV Cameras for optimal security of the Bridge.

The Minister assured that the three-month maintenance work would be without discomfort to Motorists, as it would take place only between midnight and 4.00 a.m. and during weekends.

He added that more than one Contractor would be engaged due to the emergency nature of the work, which would end in Phase Four; that will entail the repairs of deflected Slabs, Bearings, Piers and Pile Caps.

He lamented that most of the Bridges were about 60 years old and had outlived their Design Lifespan, hence the need for constant rehabilitation.

Umahi, who is a Civil Engineer, said the Marina Shoreline had deteriorated and was threatening the Foundation of some parts of the Blue Rail Line, hence the need for urgent protection which had begun.

“Marina Shoreline is gone,” he said.

The Minister warned that henceforth a 10-year maintenance responsibility would be attached to Projects for Contractors to bear Repair Costs within the period if the Road failed.

He added that Contractors who constructed Roads that failed within two years risked jail term in line with Global Practices to curb shoddy constructions.

The Third Mainland Bridge was earlier closed for 24 hours repairs from midnight on October 21 to midnight October 22 for emergency resurfacing of some bad portions.

26-Oct-2023 Amaechi: Nigeria's Democracy needs serious rethinking, Obasanjo our only National Leader

Amaechi: Nigeria's Democracy needs serious rethinking, Obasanjo our only National Leader

Former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, says  Nigeria is still in search of National Leaders and that its Democracy needs serious rethinking in terms of scope and focus.

Amaechi was the Guest Speaker at the 2023 TheNiche Annual Lecture Themed:  “Why We Stride and Slip: Leadership, Nationalism and Nigerian Condition,” on Thursday in Lagos.

The Lecture, in its Fourth Edition was organised by TheNiche Foundation for Development Journalism to engage Nigerians and proffer solutions to some of the Countries most difficult questions.

The former Rivers Governor said Nigeria’s Nationalism and Nation Building were younger than the Nation as an Independent Entity and that there had been more Rulers than Nationalistic Leaders.

While lauding Nigerian Nationalists who fought for the Independence, Amaechi said genuine Nationalistic Leadership transcends Ethnicity.

According to him, Public Service equips People with both practical experiences and some inside knowledge on how Nigeria works, as well as why it did not work and how it should work.

He questioned the extent to which Nigerian Leadership had been imbued with the necessary sense of National Unity.

“The only Person near that point of Nationalism with all respect is Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo. The rest are Ethnic Leaders.

“Truly, remarkable National Leadership is the ability of a Leader to galvanise the totality of a Nation around the Common National Banner with a Vision and a sense of Mission.

“The truly remarkable National Leader is the one that is able to rise above limitations to take the Nation and its People to that place where they long for but have never been before.

“It is a place of National greatness, pride, achievements and shared goals, aspirations and prosperity,” he said.

He said that most Nations are Products of amalgamation of diverse Nationality under a Common Sovereignty and many had tried to resolve the problem of internal diversity.

Amaechi said that many Nigerian Leaders are at the Corridors of Power for the interest of their Ethnic Groups, noting that the Identity of Nigeria is still being tormented by Ethnicity.

“There can be no credible Leadership for a diverse Nation without some forms of Resolutions on the National Questions as it pertains to the particular Nation in question,” he added.

Also speaking, Uma Eleazu, Chairman of the Lecture said that in spite of all the problems the Country is facing, the Future Generation still has hope.

Questioning how the Country got to its present point, Eleazu said the toxicity of living in Nigeria had birthed the ‘Japa Syndrome’ among the Youth.

“Once  the boundaries of National Social Order are removed, there will be problems.

“Men and Women of goodwill must make the necessary Investment of time and energy to counter these forces to build within the Next Generation lasting values.

“These values are embodied in Politics of Character, self-discipline, respect for Authority and for one another, commitment to speaking the truth always no matter whose horses is gored, and unshakeable love for God and Humanity,” he said.

In his remark, Ikechukwu Amaechi, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of TheNiche said that the Lecture was organised to have various opinions that would shed light on why Nigeria’s enormous potential are not realised.

Amaechi and Eleazu were inducted into TheNiche Hall of Fame, joining other prominent Nigerians including Remi Sonaiya, Kingsley Moghalu, Babatunde Fashola, among others. 

25-Oct-2023 You are critical to our performance, Chief of Army Staff tells Lawmakers

You are critical to our performance, Chief of Army Staff tells Lawmakers

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, on Wednesday, said that the effectiveness of the Nigerian Army would depend on adequate Appropriation by the Legislature, critical to its Operations.

Lagbaja stated this when he received the Senate Committee on Army led by the Chairman, Abdulaziz Yar’adua, at Army Headquarters, Abuja.

He pledged that the Army would continue to work harmoniously with the Senate Committee toward performing its Constitutional Responsibility effectively in meeting the needs of the generality of Nigerians.

“I want to start by appreciating this distinguished Senate Committee for the critical role you play in the effective functioning of the Nigerian Army.

“The Nigerian Army recognises the critical role of the Legislature in the effective functioning of the Military, and the Committee is critical to the performance of Constitutional Responsibility as an Army.

“We know quite well that without you appropriating Funds, the Army cannot perform its day-to-day function.

“The Nigerian Army will continue to conduct Operations in the Field, combat the myriads of security challenges that confront us across the Country.

“It will also bring the Military Instrument of National Power to bear and other areas where we can provide interventions and relief to Nigerians,” he said.

The Chairman of the committee, Yar’adua, commended the Nigerian Army’s effort in curtailing the security challenges in the Country.

He said the visit was to present the Senate’s Legislative Agenda for the Army to the Chief of Army Staff with a view to ensuring a harmonious working relationship between Army and the Committee.

Yar’adua promised to ensure that the Army gets the needed funding for its successes in all its Operations and activities as well as improved Welfare for Personnel.

 The Committee Chairman said that the visit had afforded them the opportunity to have insight into the Operational Engagements of the Army and its needs.

“I want to assure the Chief of Army Staff that all the challenges that have been highlighted in this Interactive Session, the Committee will make sure we do our best.

“I also assure you that we will give you total cooperation and support to ensure that these challenges are surmounted.

“We all know what the Army has been doing in terms of ensuring the safety of lives and also performing its Statutory Functions as mandated by the Constitution.

“We will synergise and ensure that whatever is required by the Army is provided to ensure the safety of lives of Nigerians and Nigeria,” he said.

25-Oct-2023 Tinubu approves N18bn Group Life Assurance Benefits for Families of Fallen Heroes

Tinubu approves N18bn Group Life Assurance Benefits for Families of Fallen Heroes

President Bola Tinubu has approved N18bn for the payment of the Group Life Assurance benefits and other entitlements to the Families of Fallen Heroes.

Tinubu announced this at the Launch of the Emblem and Appeal Fund for the 2024 Armed Forces Remembrance Day, held at the Presidential Villa on Wednesday in Abuja.

He said the Country owed a debt of gratitude to its gallant Troops, who have risen to the challenge of securing the Country.

“In appreciation of the sacrifices of the Men and Women of our Armed Forces, and to underscore this Government’s commitment to their Welfare, I have approved the sum of N18bn for the payment of their Group Life Assurance.

“The payment will also cater for the benefits and other entitlements to the Families of Service Members who lost their lives in the line of duty.

“I also call on Businesses to key into this patriotic spirit and support our Service Personnel, whether in the form of preferential treatment, discounts, or rebates on Goods and Services.”

Tinubu assured that his Administration would continue to reposition and strengthen all Nigerian Security Agencies.

“It’s a commitment that we must take seriously. Our foremost objective is to provide a conducive Environment, free from threats and criminalities, to enable all who reside within our Borders to thrive and live in peace.”

Tinubu noted that the Defense Health Maintenance Limited (DHML), was living up to its expectation in providing Healthcare Services to Veterans.

“But we will do more. Equally important is the expansion of its Services through the establishment of Zonal and State Offices and regular Sensitisation Programmes.

“As a Government, we will continue to prioritise the provision of quality Healthcare Services to our esteemed Veterans and Citizens.”

He commended the Nigerian Legion, under the coordination and supervision of the Ministry of Defense, saying “It continues to be a rallying point for Veterans, to cater for the Welfare of their ailing Members.

“I enjoin the Leadership of the Nigerian Legion to continue in this spirit and as its Grand Patron, I wish to pledge my full support and that of the Federal Government.”

He appreciated State Governors and Patrons in their respective States, for the support they give to the Nigerian Legion,

The President urged them not to relent, but to improve on their efforts.

He also encouraged Government Agencies at the Federal and State levels to continue to patronise the Services of the Nigerian Legion in the provision of security and other administrative services.

“The potential of our Ex-Servicemen remains enormous and can indeed be tapped for National Development.

“The emblem remains a symbol of remembrance and a beacon of hope for a peaceful future in this Country.

“It is also our humble way of appreciating the Veterans and the Families of their Fallen Colleagues.

“I therefore wish to call on all Nigerians and Non-Nigerians residing in the Country, irrespective of their Political Affiliation or Religious Belief, to adorn the Emblem with pride, and identify with those who laid down their lives for the peace and security of our dear Country.”

Tinubu also encouraged Donors to contribute generously and support Veterans and Families of Fallen Heroes.

For his part, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, appreciates Fallen Heroes for the enormous sacrifices they made for the Country.

“For the Services they offered to keep our Nation together, the President, leading other Members of the Federal Executive Council, the Service Chiefs and the Minister of Defense, commemorate this day every year.”

Also, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Christopher Musa, said that the event signified the concern and appreciation of the Tinubu Government to the sacrifice of the Armed Forces.

“Because of their sacrifices, we have a lot of Widows, a lot of Orphans and those without Breadwinners,” saying “this for us is significant because it tells us that we have not been forgotten.

“And then it also serves as a morale booster to those of them still in Service that whatever it is that happens to you, the Nation is solidly behind you.”

Similarly, Retired Major General Abdulmalik Jubril, the National Chairman, Nigerian Legion, said “I feel highly fulfilled with the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Bola Tinubu,  for launching the Emblem for the 2024 Armed Forces Remembrance Day.

“It is gratifying to note the huge turnout of People at the Event, the pledges and contributions made in order to help the Families of the Fallen Heroes.

“We are, therefore, very gratified with this achievement today. It’s very memorable for us.”

25-Oct-2023 Nigerian Navy deploys Warships, Helicopters, Ballistic Boats to fight Crude Oil Thieves

Nigerian Navy deploys Warships, Helicopters, Ballistic Boats to fight Crude Oil Thieves

The Nigerian Navy on Wednesday deployed 10 Warships, two attack Helicopters and 500 Ballistic Boats in a special Amphibious Exercise to curb Crude Oil theft and Sea Robbery in Nigeria’s Waters.

Rear Admiral Umar Chugali, Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Central Naval Command (CNC), headquartered in Bayelsa flagged-off the Exercise code-named “Exercise Sea Guardian” in a short Ceremony in Onne, Rivers.

He said the Joint Military Exercise conducted by both the Navy’s CNC and Eastern Naval Command (ENC), Calabar, was launched to reduce insecurity to its barest in the Nation’s Territorial Waters.

“So, this Joint Exercise covering both the Defence and the Policy roles of the Navy consists of 10 Ships, two Helicopters and over 500 Boats for four-days at Sea.

“This Exercise will be used to exercise and demonstrate the capacity and capability of our Ships at Sea, to secure Nigeria’s Maritime Space and the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).

“Overtime, our Maritime Space has been inundated by some threats both Onshore and Offshore, hence this Joint Exercise that was last conducted in 2021,” he said.

Chugali said the objective of the Exercise was to ensure that the Maritime Environment remained safe, secured, and conducive for Socio-Economic activities to thrive.

“The deployment of our Capital Ships and other Assets will complement the gains recorded in curbing Sea Piracy, Sea Robbery, Crude Oil theft and other illegalities on our Waters.

“Every Operation presents new sets of challenges considering that security challenges in the Maritime Environment have become dynamic, emerging, and complex.

“So, with the emerging complexities in the Waterways, the Navy is evolving its tactics and strategies to ensure the insecurities are reduced to the barest minimum,” he added.

Chugali said, “although the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) had on March 2022 exited Nigeria from Countries with Sea Piracy incidences, but that the Navy cannot afford to drop its guards.”

The FOC said the Country was able to record zero Piracy and subsequent exit from the IMB Piracy list due to changes in the Navy’s tactics and support from the Government.

According to him, Maritime Crime was transboundary, hence collaboration with GoG Countries to ensure that fleeing Maritime Criminals from Nigeria’s Waters were not allowed entry into those Nations.

“To this end, this Exercise is not going to be any other Exercises conducted in the past as we have learnt from previous Exercises.

“Every Exercise or Operation is an improvement over the previous one, and so, we are ready and willing to ensure that Criminals no longer have space in our Maritime Space.

“We are sending a very strong message to the remnant of Criminals lurking around our Maritime Environment to disappear as we push to secure our Waters,” Chugali said.

For his part, the FOC ENC, Rear Admiral Olusola Oluwagbire, debunked claims that some of the Navy’s Personnel were involved in complexities surrounding Crude Oil theft in the Country.

He said the allegations were unfounded considering that those who made the accusations have not come forward to present any evidence to buttress their claims.

“However, we are constantly policing ourselves, and as such, any erring Officer caught engaging in such illicit activities is disciplined and dismissed from Service accordingly.

“We are doing our best to present the best foot (Personnel) in our deployments – both in terms of Personnel and Assets,”  Oluwagbire said.

23-Oct-2023 Tinubu: Judgment proves Nation States would no longer be held hostage by conspiracies between Private Firms, Corrupt Officials

Tinubu: Judgment proves Nation States would no longer be held hostage by conspiracies between Private Firms, Corrupt Officials

President Bola Tinubu, on Monday extolled the Judgment rendered by Judge Robin Knowles of the Business and Property Court in London.

The Court awarded a landmark victory to the Federal Government of Nigeria over a Firm known as Process and Industry Development (P&ID) Limited

Tinubu made the commendation in a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale.

He said the Judgment proved conclusively that Nation States would no longer be held hostage by Economic Conspiracies between Private Firms and Solitarily Corrupt Officials.

Ngelale said, ”Following Judge Knowles’ dismissal of the $11.5bn (USD) value of the award plus accumulated Interest, previously won by P&ID over a failed 2010 Deal to allegedly build a Gas processing plant, on the grounds that the Award was obtained by fraud.

”President Tinubu commends the UK Court for prioritising the merits of the Case above all other considerations.

”This landmark Judgment proves conclusively that Nation States will no longer be held hostage by Economic Conspiracies between Private Firms and Solitarily Corrupt Officials who conspire to extort and indebt the very Nations they swear to defend and protect.”

He said the victory was not for Nigeria alone, adding that it was a victory for the long-exploited Continent.

”And for the Developing World at large which has for too long been on the receiving end of unjust Economic malpractice and overt exploitation.

”Nigeria is appreciative of the tremendous efforts of the Defense Team and acknowledges the role of the Federal Ministry of Justice and the Office of the Attorney-General in the process of defending Nigeria’s interest in this case,” the President was quoted as stating. 

23-Oct-2023 P&ID: British Court quashes $11bn awarded against Nigeria, says Justice obtained by fraud

P&ID: British Court quashes $11bn awarded against Nigeria, says Justice obtained by fraud

A Business and Property Court in London presided over by Justice Robin Knowles of the Commercial Courts of England and Wales has quashed the $11bn awarded against Nigeria in a case filed by the Process and Industrial Developments Company, (P&ID).

Judge Knowles held that the award was obtained by fraud and that what had happened in the Case was contrary to Public Policy.
The Court also declared that it did not find any merit in the charges of bribery levelled against a former Attorney-General of Lagos State, Olasupo Shasore, SAN, who represented Nigeria in the Arbitration.

The Case marked: CL-2019-000752, the Federal Government sought to overturn $6.6bn Arbitration awarded in favour of P&ID in 2017.
The award had continued to accrue interest since then, rising to approximately $11bn before the Judgment.

The Dispute dated to 2010 when P&ID Limited entered into a Gas Supply and Processing Agreement with Nigeria, with plans to establish an Accelerated Gas Development Project in Cross River State.

The Project never materialised, and P&ID subsequently accused Nigeria of breaching the Contract Terms.
P&ID claimed Nigeria violated Terms of its Agreement by failing to provide Gas for the Power Plant it wanted to build for the Country.

In 2015, P&ID won a Judgment for a $10bn Compensation.
This frustrated the construction of the Gas Project agreed to during the Government of former President Umaru Yar’Adua and deprived P&ID the potential benefits expected from 20 years’ worth of Gas Supplies with “anticipated profits of $5 to $6bn.”

The Arbitral Tribunal unanimously decided that the Federal Government had repudiated the GSPA by failure to perform its obligations under the GSPA and ruled that P&ID was entitled to $6.6bn in 2017.
The fine, along with the interest, subsequently rose to $11.5bn.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan Government reached an Out-of-Tribunal Agreement for the payment of $850 million and passed on the disbursement to the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
But Buhari refused to pay the negotiated sum, set aside the Settlement Agreement and challenged the enforcement of the award before the English Commercial Court.

However, the London Court added $2.4bn in interest making it $9bn.

Also, Shasore was accused of obstructing Nigeria’s Legal Proceedings against the British Virgin Islands-based Company.
Shasore was charged with allegations of negligence and inadequate due diligence in handling the Case.

In his defense, the ex-Lagos A-G maintained that he had done everything within his power to secure the best outcome for the Country.
Delivering the Judgement, Justice Knowles ruled that the award was obtained by fraud.
Knowles, in his verdict, stated, “As far as I am aware, Shasore, SAN, has not, in my judgment, been shown to be corrupt.

“His actions are inconsistent with Nigeria’s Theory that he was.

“I add that in my view, Nigeria (and specifically Abubakar Malami SAN, the former Attorney-General of the Federation) did not in truth believe Shasore, SAN was corrupt.

“On 21st November, 2017, Shasore, SAN was engaged by Nigeria to represent the Ministry of Power in a $2.4bn Arbitration claim by Sunrise Power and Transmission Company.

“His Appointment was approved by Malami, SAN, on 6th March, 2018, and formally confirmed by Malami, SAN, on 18th March, 2018,” he said.

The Judge cited several reasons for his decision, highlighting Shasore’s sound advice to Nigeria to investigate and obtain expert evidence, his assistance in succeeding in Nigerian Court Applications, his contribution to reducing settlement figures, and his vigorous challenges against P&ID during the Liability Hearing.
22-Oct-2023 Repairs of damaged portions of Third Mainland Bridge completed

Repairs of damaged portions of Third Mainland Bridge completed

The Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Olukorede Kesha, on Sunday, expressed satisfaction with repairs done on the Third Mainland Bridge, assuring Motorists of smooth ride till the commencement of comprehensive rehabilitation in January 2024.

Kesha gave the assurance on Sunday during an on-the-spot assessment of the repairs on the Bridge.

The Controller had, on Thursday, announced a 24-hour closure of the Bridge to allow for repairs of some critical portions.

The closure took effect from midnight of Saturday till midnight of Sunday (today) to reduce the hardship being faced by Motorists.

During the inspection, the Controller stopped on various portions between Iyana-Oworo and Adeniji-Adele where remedial repairs had been done on a 9.7-kilometre stretch of the Lagos Island in-bound lane.

She stated that the construction done was just palliative works to keep the Highway in good condition pending the comprehensive rehabilitation scheduled for January 2024.

“This repair is going to last beyond January; we don’t intend to do any work that will last only one or two months. Even by January, the Road will still be good,” she said.

Kesha said that some of the components needed for the comprehensive rehabilitation works were being imported for the emergency repairs to begin.

She added that what the Federal Ministry of Works had been doing before now was attending to failed portions, adding that the comprehensive rehabilitation would involve total removal and replacement of the asphalt surface.

The Controller added that damaged Ramps and Expansion Joints would be replaced, in addition to the painting of the Parapet Walls and other major repairs.

According to her, the Contract awarded for comprehensive rehabilitation of the Bridge in January would last for six months, but would be divided into two segments of three months for each phase.

Kesha explained that the comprehensive repairs would give the Infrastructure a new lease of life, after which the Bridge would wear a new look.

She urged Road Users to continue to enjoy smooth ride on the Highway, adding, however, that they should observe Traffic and Safety Rules on the Highway.

The Bridge, which starts from Oworonshoki, linking Apapa-Oshodi Expressway and Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, ends at the Adeniji-Adele Interchange on Lagos Island.

It was constructed in 1990 and adjudged as the longest Bridge in Africa until 1996 when the construction of October 6 Bridge in Cairo, Egypt, was completed. 

20-Oct-2023 We're not undermining Agreement reached with Organised Labour, says FG

We're not undermining Agreement reached with Organised Labour, says FG

The Federal Government says it is not undermining the Agreement reached with Organised Labour on October 2.

It would be recall that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had alleged that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, had undermined the recent  Agreement reached with Organised Labour.

Olajide Oshundun, Director of Information in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, said this in a statement he signed on Friday in Abuja.

According to Oshundun, the attention of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment has been drawn to a Press Release issued by the NLC) on 18th October, 2023.

“It alleged that the Minister is moving to undermine the critical Labour-Federal Government Agreement of October 2, 2023.

“We wish to unequivocally refute the allegation and put it on record that it is unfounded.

“Let it be reiterated that since assuming Office and upon the dispute between the various Groups within the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) being brought to his attention, “the Honourable Minister has given consistent, adequate and fair attention to the matter with a view to resolving it.

“Several Meetings have been held to resolve the issue with Representatives of the disputing Groups, and the efforts are still ongoing.

“Therefore, it is not correct to suggest that the Minister is supporting any of the Groups in the course of the negotiations,” he said.

Oshundun said that Members of the NURTW, the NLC, and the entire Labour Movement should be assured that the Minister, as the Chief Conciliator, would continue to work with all Parties.

He added that this is to ensure that there is reconciliation, harmony and Industrial peace,” he said.

20-Oct-2023 Tinubu waives 'no work, no pay order' against NARD, ASUU

Tinubu waives 'no work, no pay order' against NARD, ASUU

President Bola Tinubu has approved the waiver of the “No Work, No Pay” order instituted against Striking Members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) on August 1.

The waiver was in accordance with the Principle of the Presidential Prerogative of Mercy.

This is contained in a statement by Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, on Friday in Abuja.

He said that the Order was placed on the NARD Members following the commencement of their Industrial Action on July 26.

The NARD called off the Strike after several consultations with the Federal Government on August 12.

The Federal Government has, however, directed the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation to withhold all salaries accrued by striking NARD Members during the 17 days of their Strike action.

“In view of the faithful implementation of Terms which were agreed upon during the fruitful deliberations between the Resident Doctors and the Federal Government of Nigeria, President Bola Tinubu has directed the grant of an exceptional last waiver of the “No Work, No Pay” Order on Resident Doctors.

“(This) will allow for the Members of the NARD to receive the Salaries which were previously withheld during the 17-day Strike Action.”

The President  granted the waiver with a mandatory requirement that the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment must secure a Document of Understanding (DoU).

The President said that the DoU must establish that this exceptional waiver granted by the President would be the last to be granted to the NARD and all other Health Sector Unions.

Similarly, the President approved partial waiver of the “No Work, No Pay” on Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and ordered the release of their four months withheld Salaries.

“Invoking the Principle of the Presidential Prerogative of Mercy, President Bola Tinubu has approved the partial waiver of the “No Work, No Pay” Order that was instituted against Striking Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).”

The Order follows the commencement of their eight-month Industrial Action which began on February 14, 2022 and was terminated on October 17, 2022.

“In view of his determination to mitigate the difficulties being felt during the implementation of key Economic Reforms in the Country, as well as his recognition of the faithful implementation of Terms which were agreed upon during the fruitful deliberations between ASUU and the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“President Bola Tinubu has directed the grant of an exceptional last waiver of the “No Work, No Pay” Order on ASUU, which will allow for the previously Striking Members of ASUU to receive four (4) months of Salary Accruals out.”

The amount is to be paid out of the eight months of Salary which was withheld during the eight-month Industrial Action undertaken by the Union.

The President also directed the Federal Ministry of Education and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment to secure a Document of Understanding (DoU) from ASUU.

The DoU is establish that this exceptional waiver granted by the President will be the last to be granted to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and all other Education Sector Unions.

19-Oct-2023 Tinubu: Unacceptable to me that 63 per cent Nigerians are very poor

Tinubu: Unacceptable to me that 63 per cent Nigerians are very poor

President Bola Tinubu has restated his commitment to growing and strengthening Nigeria’s Economy to improve the well-being of Citizens.

Tinubu restated the commitment while declaring open a Retreat on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms for Senators in Ikot Ekpene on Thursday.

The President, who was represented by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, said that he would do all within his powers to engender better life for all Nigerians.

He said that  unacceptable to him that 63 per cent of the Nigeria's Population and ovit was unacceptable to him that 63 per cent of the Nigeria's Population and over 84 million People formed the Multi Dimensionally Poor.

Tinubu said that he would pay close attention to building Women and Youths, adding that he hoped to achieve that with the cooperation and support of the National Assembly.

“The antidote to this is that, this Government is committed to doing all we can to make Nigerian Economy grow and achieve rapid, sustained and inclusive growth.

“I cannot do this alone, there has to be team network and of course Legislators. The Senators have a key role to play.

“At this time, when we are considering the Medium-Term Economic Framework and Fiscal Sustainability Programme.

“It is topical and timely that we should be having this Retreat, because after now, we will be considering the Budget,” he said.

Tinubu tasked the National Assembly to be committed and ensure speedy passage of the Budget for Assent before December 31.

Speaking earlier, the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, charged his Colleagues to meet the expectations and hopes of People who voted them into Office.

While urging Senators to work for development of the Country, Akpabio said he would ensure the Senate does not work at cross-purposes with the Executive Arm of Government.

Akpabio said the major objective of the Retreat was to improve the knowledge of Senators and build their Technical Capacity to generate concrete and consistent Legislation that would promote peace and Sustainable Development in tandem with the Renewed Hope and Eight-Point Agenda of the Tinubu/Shettima Administration.

He added that the Retreat was aimed at deepening Participants’ knowledge of Public Expenditure Management, Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms.

“We must unbundle the Federal Government. We cannot continue to vote money year in, year out for Primary School Construction, Primary Education and the Federal government does not have a single Primary School in this Country.

“Why then do we vote billions of Naira at the Centre,” Akpabio said.

Akpabio also said poor regulation of mining of Natural Resources across different States ,without remittances to the Centre ,was a major cause of Insecurity in the Country.

The Senate President called for a long- term plan to improve on the Internally Generated Revenue of the Country.

In his welcome remarks, Abubakar Sulaiman, Director -General, National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), Organisers of the Retreat, said the focus on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms demonstrates the commitment of the National Assembly to align with Fiscal and Sectoral Reforms.

He said the Retreat would strengthen measures to further enhance Legislature–Executive Relationships and address issues of Insecurity, which have hampered meaningful development.

In his remarks, Governor Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom, said the Retreat showed the commitment of the 10th Senate to making Laws for the Economic prosperity and well – being of Nigerians.

Eno ,who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Akon Eyakenyi, said already the State Government had keyed into prudent management of scarce Resources by undertaking People -oriented Infrastructural Projects.

18-Oct-2023 If you swallow sandpaper that will not digest, you will be questioned, EFCC Chairman talks tough

If you swallow sandpaper that will not digest, you will be questioned, EFCC Chairman talks tough

The Senate has confirmed Ola Olukoyede as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The Senate also confirmed Muhammad Hammajoda as Secretary of the Commission.

The Confirmation was sequel to the screening of the duo during Plenary on Wednesday.

While answering questions from the Lawmakers, Olukoyede said that “we will do our work with utmost respect to the Provisions of the Law. We are going to be guided strictly by our mandate.

“There is no way you can fight corruption successfully without respect to the Provisions of the Law.”

Speaking on the issue of investigating Political Opponents, Olukoyede said “this is neither here nor there.

“There must be two salient questions that must be asked and answered; has the Person committed crime, has he committed Financial Crimes; if he has, then I will have cause to investigate him.

“Whether you are in the Ruling Party and you deep your hands in what you are not supposed to deep your hands into, you will be called to question.

“You’re in the Opposition, you swallow sandpaper that will not digest, you also will be called to answer questions.

“The mandate that EFCC gives to us does not discriminate. This is where Equity and Justice comes in so you will not be seen as chasing a particular Section.”

Olukoyede also spoke on  the synergy between EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).

“Some years ago, I was privy to developing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between ICPC and EFCC to the extent that we don’t want to begin to do things that will end up in double Jeopardy.

“We developed that MoU. But I don’t think that the MoU is executed. If I’m given the opportunity to be confirmed, one of the first think I’m going to do is to ensure that, that MoU is executed to form a working relationship between ICPC and EFCC.”

 The Senate Minority Leader, Simon Mwadkwon in his contribution advised the new Leadership of the Commission not to be used as an Instrument to fight Political Opponents.

“This is because we have seen this clearly that if you don’t like my face or if I’m contesting an Election, you may decide to go into Political Issues instead of fighting Economic crimes and therefore you take sides.

“You have to tell this Senate that you must be immune to any Political-High Profile Person to level innocent Financial Crimes against them, to deter them from achieving their right to contest Elections.

“The only way you can prove to us  that you are out to fight Economic Crimes is for us to see that transparency is in you.”

Confirming the Appointment of Olukoyede, the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio said that EFCC had engaged more on sensation than on real investigation.

“We need to take a critical look at EFCC and look at whether the act setting the EFCC even allows them to function.

“This Hallowed Chamber has the gavel and we have the right to review the Law setting up the EFCC for proper functionality and effectiveness”.

17-Oct-2023 FG promises adequate attention for Labour

FG promises adequate attention for Labour

The Federal Government has assured Labour Unions that it would always give adequate attention to their grievances and concerns with a view to ensuring their successful resolution.

Simon Lalong, Minister of Labour and Employment, said this when the Leadership of the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI), visited him  on Tuesday in Abuja.

This is contained in a statement signed by Olajide Oshundun, Director of Press and Public Relations in the Ministry.

He said that the Federal Government had already initiated processes to ensure that the challenges faced by Nigerian Workers were handled expeditiously.

Lalong also reassured the Association that their concerns were receiving the undivided attention of the Federal Government.

“We are already putting things in order to ensure that within the period of our tenure, we will do our best to address some of the issues you have raised,” he said.

Olusoji Oluwole, President of ASSBIFI, presented the concerns of the Association, and implored the Minister to ensure that they were amicably resolved.

Oluwole called on the Federal Government to enforce existing Labour Laws, lamenting, “many Employer Organisations had flouted the Laws, especially by denying the Employees the Right of Association.

”There is need for Government to revive the discussions on our Sectoral Collective Bargaining Agreement.

“That is to come up with a reviewed Document that would be signed by all Parties, as an Agreement, which is supposed to be reviewed every two years.

“But this has not been reviewed in a decade.”

Oluwole added that some Organisations flouted the Agreement on the ground that it was outdated, or they claimed not to be party to the signing.

He, however, called for the enforcement of Guidelines on Casualisation in order to protect Nigerian Workers who were employed on Casual Basis.

He said this would pave the way for them to develop and grow within their Organisations.

Oluwole also congratulated Lalong, and noted that his Appointment as a Minister was a demonstration of the recognition of his high capability.

He added that the Appointment was a testament to his knowledge and expertise in Public Service.

16-Oct-2023 Economy, Agreement with Labour top Agenda at Tinubu's second FEC Meeting

Economy, Agreement with Labour top Agenda at Tinubu's second FEC Meeting

The second Federal Executive Council (FEC) Meeting took up the issues of Economy and the Agreement reached between Government and the Labour Unions early this month to avert an Industrial Action.

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, disclosed this to State House Correspondents after the FEC Meeting in Abuja on Monday.

He said that the issues were significant to the current realities and expectations of Nigerians on the Tinubu-led Administration, adding that it was also hinged on the Renewed Hope Agenda.

‘’The issues raised at the Meeting include Economy, Road Infrastructure around the Country, Memo about the Agreement reached between Government and the Labour Unions, as well as the Export Processing Zone revitalisation,’’ he said.

The Minister also disclosed that the Meeting approved Mondays for the holding of the Weekly FEC Meeting instead of the Wednesdays adopted by the previous Administrations.

‘’This does not, however, mean that it will hold every week. If there is any need to postpone it, that will be done and pending matters would be forwarded to the next Monday,’’ he said.

The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, said that the Meeting approved the Application for financing from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA).

He said that the Country was able to access $1.5bn from the IDA, which is the virtually free or zero-interest Lending Arm or Financing Arm of the World Bank.

‘’Nigeria has been able to make the kind of Macro-Economic Moves to take the tough decisions to restore balance in the Economy in the Government’s Finances that has warranted support.

“This had engendered support from the Multilateral Development Banks.

‘’It is on this basis that the World Bank is willing to consider and to process on our behalf $1.5bn of concessional financing, relatively cheap financing and financing that will be dispersed relatively quickly,’’ he said.

Edun said that another $80 million financing from the African Development Bank was approved by the FEC for the Ekiti Knowledge Zone (EKZ) Project aimed at empowering the Youths in the Sector of Knowledge Economy through Technology and Communications generally.

He said, ‘’This is basically to support Young People and their quest to take on Technology to use it to be employed to be trained and to benefit from being part of the Knowledge Economy.

“This is being part of the technological wave that is present very much in Nigeria, which is becoming a bigger and bigger share of the Economy.’’

While briefing the State House Correspondents, Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong , said that FEC gave approval for the Agreement between Labour and the Government during the October 2 Meeting.

‘’Presidential Approval was given after analysing the Agreement to provide for Industrial harmony. Similarly, the 30 days implementation timeline agreed on was also approved by FEC,’’ he said.

16-Oct-2023 Odeyemi assumes duty as NIPOST CEO, engages Staff amidst uproar

Odeyemi assumes duty as NIPOST CEO, engages Staff amidst uproar

Tola Odeyemi, the new Postmaster General of the Federation and Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST), on Monday assumed duty.

Odeyemi, while addressing the Management Staff pledged to build on the legacy of her Predecessors to advance the Postal Organisation Locally and Globally.

She promised to leverage Technology and make NIPOST Logistics, e-Commerce, and other Postal Services Arms efficient.

“The essence of every Administration lies in the ability to ensure continuity, staying focused on its core values and mandate, while striving to maximise its potentials, and adapting to change.

“NIPOST has a legacy that was forged by hard work and the Vision of those before me, and posterity will indeed be kind to them.

“I came to build on the commendable work of my Predecessors, my aspirations are not only to solidify NIPOST status as a leading Postal Operator.

“As I assume this role, I also want to make NIPOST a World Class e- Commerce and Logistics Hub,” the PMG said.

She sought the cooperation of the Staff and urged them to join her in providing Postal Services that meet the needs of Nigerians irrespective of their locations.

Odeyemi, while expressing her gratitude to President Bola Tinubu, promised to lead NIPOST into a new era of innovation, modernisation, and transformation, in line with the President’s ‘Renewed Hope Agenda”.

Odeyemi is an experienced and Professional Engineer, with over 15 years wealth of knowledge spanning from both Public and Private Sectors in Technology Policy and Government Regulatory roles.

She had worked in Senior Capacities at both State and Federal Government levels.

Odeyemi is also the first female to hold the position since NIPOST came into existence in 1995.

16-Oct-2023 Tinubu presides over second FEC Meeting, swears-in three new Ministers

Tinubu presides over second FEC Meeting, swears-in three new Ministers

President Bola Tinubu on Monday swore in three new Ministers  during the second Federal Executive Council holding at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The new Cabinet Members are Balarabe Lawal from Kaduna State as Minister of Environment, Jamila Bio-Ibrahim from Kwara, Minister of Youths and Ayodele Olawande from Ondo, Minister of State for Youths.

The Ministers were the three nominated by Tinubu to take charge of the newly created Ministry of Youths and a replacement for former Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai.

The Ministry of Youth was formerly with the Ministry of Youths and Sports Development.

el-Rufai was rejected during the Senate Ministerial Screening Process when a Member brought up a Petition against him.

Tinubu, who is chairing the FEC Meeting, administered their Oath of Office and Allegiance and took photographs with the new Cabinet Members.

The Council also observed a minute silence for a former Member of Cabinet, Mobolaji Ajose-Adeogun, former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory.

Ajose-Adeogun, who died on July 1 at the age of 96, was appointed the FCT Minister in 1976 by the Murtala Mohammed Military Administration and served in the position until 1979.

The Inaugural Meeting was held in August were new Ministers attended to take their first Brief from the Executive Arm on their Roles and Responsibilities in the Renewed Hope Agenda.

The FEC is a Constitutional Institution where Government Policies are discussed and endorsed by Ministers, with the President serving as the Chairman and the Vice President as the Vice Chairman.

Tinubu at the August 29 FEC Meeting, unveiled Eight-Point Agenda to revive the Country’s ailing Economy.

He had said that the Eight-Point Agenda was based on eight priority Areas, with identified targets that would be delivered in the next three years.

These are Food Security; Ending Poverty, Economic Growth and Job Creation, Access to Capital, particularly Consumer Credit, Inclusivity in all its dimensions, particularly as regards Youths and Women, improving security, improving the playing field on which people and particularly Companies operate, Rule of Law, and of course, fighting Corruption.

13-Oct-2023 UNILAG VC: The World will prosper when it recognises the value of Africa

UNILAG VC: The World will prosper when it recognises the value of Africa

The Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos, Folasade Ogunsola says the Institution’s International Week is one of the various avenues to change negative narratives about Nigeria and its Citizens.

Ogunsola made the assertion on Friday, in Lagos.

The Institution kick-started the International Week with the Theme: Breaking the Borders of Partnership, on Monday.

The celebration, the third in the Series, had no fewer than 17 Representatives of various Foreign Universities and Embassies in attendance.

Vice-chancellor, University of Dundee, U.K., Iain Gillespie, was Keynote Speaker at the Opening Ceremony, while Nigeria’s  Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, among others, was also present.

Ogunsola said, “The whole essence of this Event is to bring our Partners together to meet with us on our soil. The Nigerian narrative outside is not great.

“We have realised a long time ago, that when you talk to People by Email, Zoom, WhatsApp or other Social Media Platforms, you will discover that they haven’t really experienced you, so, it is a chance for us to experience ourselves and show them who we are.

“It is also for us to have increased engagement. When you are yet to meet someone, there is always that distance. But when you bring them in, they meet us and then they see Nigeria and her Citizens.

“In my One-on-One Dialogue with the Vice Chancellor of Dundee, we exchanged ideas and knowledge that will sure benefit our Institutions and citizens of the two Countries at large.

“So, when they hear the inaccurate Information in the News, they can actually put that against what they saw, especially as some are coming for the first time.”

According to her, bringing them in is also important because a lot of Persons may not have first hand Information about the University’s knowledge based Resources and Operations.

“I am yet to meet anybody, that didn’t feel that the University is not just great, but exceptionally great. And I think what we keep hearing from these People is that we must tell our stories better.

“What we are taking from that is that we need Professional help, in actually articulating our story,” she said.

Ogunsola said the take home message from her Dialogue with the Keynote Speaker at the Event was that the Partnership that worked was that which recognised the value of each other.

According to her, when there is Partnership with the World, the tendency that may suggest that one Party is inferior or giving a helping hand to the other will not arise.

“We are not inferior to anyone and they are not to see themselves as helping us. We know who we are, what we bring to the table and what we can say.

“So, we can say comfortably that our alliance with Dundee is that we are Strategic Partners.

“What it means is that we are Equal Partners. We will co-design, we will co-research, decide the questions we want to answer.

“I think when the World recognises the value of Africa; that is when the World is going to prosper.

“I listened to a quote recently that said the World cannot prosper till Africa prospers, and that is true.

“Apart from that, the fact that we have the Mineral Resources, we also have the largest quantum of Young People, that if you do not take care of them going into the future, there could be a major challenge.

“The rest of the World is generally aging, who will take over? So, it is better for them to see us as Equal Partners, to work with us in Development, ” the Vice- Chancellor said.

12-Oct-2023 Why Tinubu appoints Olukoyede as EFCC Chairman

Why Tinubu appoints Olukoyede as EFCC Chairman

President Bola Tinubu has approved the Appointment of Ola Olukoyede as the Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.

This is for a renewable term of four years in the first instance, pending Senate’s Confirmation.

This is in accordance with the Powers vested in the President as established in Section 2 (3) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004.

The Act states: “The Chairman and Members of the Commission, other than Ex-Officio Members, shall be appointed by the President.”

Olukoyede is a Lawyer with over 22 years of experience as a Regulatory Compliance Consultant and Specialist in Fraud Management and Corporate Intelligence.

He has extensive experience in the Operations of the EFCC, having previously served as the Chief of Staff to the Executive Chairman (2016-2018) and Secretary to the Commission (2018-2023).

Ngelale said that Olukoyede’s Appointment followed the resignation of the suspended Executive Chairman of the EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa.

He said that Tinubu also approved the Appointment of Muhammad Hammajoda to serve as the Secretary of the Commission for a renewable term of five years in the first instance, pending Senate’s Confirmation.

Hammajoda is a Public Administrator with extensive experience in Public Finance Management, who holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Maiduguri.

He began his Career as a Lecturer at the Federal Polytechnic, Mubi.

From there, he went into Banking, including successful stints at the defunct Allied Bank and Standard Trust Bank.

Tinubu tasked the new Leadership of the EFCC to justify the confidence given to them in this National Assignment.

The President said the Appointment would re-invigorate the War on Corruption based on a reformed institutional architecture.

10-Oct-2023 Nigerian Army Court commits General to Prison for stealing

Nigerian Army Court commits General to Prison for stealing

The Nigerian Army Special Court Martial on Tuesday, convicted a former Group Managing Director of Nigerian Army Properties Limited (NAPL), Maj.-Gen. Umaru Mohammed to seven years imprisonment.

The Court also ordered the convicted Senior Officer to refund $2.17m and N1.06bn being amount of monies he stole, back to the Company’s Coffers.

Pronouncing the sentence, the President of the court, Maj.-Gen. James Myam, said the Officer was found guilty on 14 of the 18 count charges brought against him.

Myam said the sentence was based on the Provisions of the Criminal Code Act Cap C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, and Section 174 of the Armed Forces Act cap 20 Laws, 2004.

According to him, the verdict was made after due consideration of the plea of mitigation by the Defence Counsel.

“These sentences of this Special Court Martial are all to run concurrently and are subject to the confirmation of the Confirming Authority.

“This sentence is dated this day, the 10th of October 2023 and the Court is hereby adjourned Sine die,” he said.

Myam said that on count one which borders on stealing, Mohammed was found guilty and will spend five years in Prison and refund $1.04m back to NAPL.

The Court also found the Officer guilty on count two and sentenced him to five years imprisonment, in addition to paying back the sum of $400,800 to NAPL.

On count three, Mohammed was sentenced to five years imprisonment and to refund the sum of $85,400 while count four also attracted five years imprisonment with an Order to pay back the sum of $35,300.

On count five, the former NAPL Boss was sentenced to five years imprisonment with an Order to pay back the sum of $55,500 to the NAPL.

Count six also attracted five years imprisonment with an Order pay back the sum of $46,500.

The Court however discharged and acquitted him of the charge in count 7, but sentenced him to seven years imprisonment on count eight, while the remaining charges he was convicted of, attracted five and two years imprisonment.

The Defence Counsel, Olalekan Ojo (SAN), citing Section 157 of the Armed Forces Act, prayed the Court to move his client to a Custodial Centre instead of Military Detention Facility, which the Court rejected.

Ojo also prayed that the sentence should run from the day of the Court’s pronouncement.

On whether he will appeal the Judgment, Ojo said he will consult his Client on that.

“If he tells us tomorrow or after the confirmation that he is not satisfied with the findings and sentence, then we must carry out his instruction to appeal if he so instructs us, the decision is his,” he added.

09-Oct-2023 Police Officer who shot dead Pregnant Lagos Lawyer to die by hanging

Police Officer who shot dead Pregnant Lagos Lawyer to die by hanging

Justice Ibironke Harrison of a Lagos High Court on Monday sentenced to death, a Police Officer, Darambi Vandi, who shot dead a Lagos-based lawyer, Bolanle Raheem, on Christmas Day.

Vandi, was on Janaury 16, arraigned by Lagos State Government on a count charge of murder.

Lagos State Government, which prosecuted the case, had said that Vandi shot dead pregnant Raheem on December 25, 2022, at Ajah Roundabout on Lekki- Expressway.

The Court sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square remanded the Defendant after his arraignment and granted accelerated hearing of the Case.

While delivering judgment, Harrison said that non of the Eyewitness actually saw the Defendant pull the trigger.

She, however, held that circumstantial evidence was overwhelming to prove that Vandi murdered Raheem.

According to the judge, a defendant can be convicted when circumstantial evidence is overwhelming.

The Judge said, “The question in the mind of the Court is: Did the Prosecution provide any additional evidence?

“The Court finds that the ammunition of the other Officers who were on Patrol with the Defendant remained intact but two of the Defendant’s ammunition were missing.”

Harrison said that the Defendant had alleged that the shortfall in his ammunition was because it was counted in his absence.

The Judge also noted that Vandi testified that the bullet tendered in Court was not his, saying, however, that Vandi constituted himself as a Ballistician Pathologist without tendering a Certificate to that effect.

She, therefore, dismissed the evidence.

“The court finds that the Forensic Expert and the Medical Doctor’s evidence confirm the circumstantial evidence that the Defendant had the opportunity to shoot the Victim and that the Victim was shot and died from the gunshot.

“Every Eyewitness heard the loud noise and Passers-By shouted in Yoruba Language (oti pa eyan) meaning: you have killed someone,” she said.

Harrison held that the Prosecution proved its case beyond every reasonable doubt that it was the Convict who shot the gun that killed the Deceased.

“The death of the Deceased was instantaneous. There is no other explanation, it was the gunshot that shattered the side glass and pierced the Victim’s chest.

“It was the Defendant who had an AK-47 Riffle whose ammunition was missing after the Armourer counted it,” she held.

She also held that the Defendant did not say that he pointed the gun to force or scare People in the Vehicle to obey Order and park the Vehicle.

She added that the Defendant did not  say that the shooting was accidental which would have earned him a smaller sentence of manslaughter.

“Therefore, the Defendant is found guilty of the one count charge and sentenced to death by hanging until he dies,” she held.

The Prosecution called 11 Witnesses, including eight Police Officers during the Trial.

The first Prosecution Witness, Mattew Ameh, had on January 16, testified that the Defendant, Ebimine Fiyegha and himself were sent to Ajah Under Bridge on a Stop-and-Search Operation.

He testified that a Toyota Car with no number plate was flagged down by Fiyegha, but it did not stop.

The Witness said that he also flagged the Car to stop but it did not.

He said that the next thing he heard was a gunshot.

Vandi, in his defence, told the Court that he had never come across the bullet shown in the Court as the weapon used to murder Raheem.

He said that the bullet was not the same ammunition in his Rifle on the day of the incident.

The Prosecution closed its case on February 25.

On February 28, Vandi, through his Counsel, Gbenro Gbadamosi, filed an Application, praying the Court to quash the charge against him.

Gbadamosi argued that evidence of the Prosecution Witnesses were inconsistent and did not link Vandi to the murder.

On April 3, the Court, however, dismissed the No-Case Submission.

Harrison held that Prosecution established sufficient Oral and Documentary Evidence linking Vandi to the  Crime, which required explanation from him.

Harrison  added that evidence by Vandi would shed light on what happened.

Vandi gave evidence and closed his case on May 31.

His Counsel had told the Court that Vandi was the sole Defence Witness.

On July 13, the Parties adopted their written addresses, and the Court reserved Judgment until October 9.

Murder contravenes Section 223 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015