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173 more Nigerians return from Libya

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The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on Tuesday received 173 Nigerians assisted to return from Libya, where they had been stranded.

The returnees, who arrived the country in two different flights, were received by the Coordinator, Lagos Territorial Office, NEMA, Alhaji Abubakar Muhammed at the Cargo Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

Muhammed said that the Nigerians were assisted back home by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the European Union (EU) under the Assisted Voluntary Returnees Programme which began in April 2017.

He said that 162 of the returnees arrived from Misrata in a chartered aircraft belonging to Al Buraq Air with registration number 5A-DMG, at 4.52a.m.

According to him, another 11 returnees arrived via a commercial flight from Bengazi at 5.15a.m.

“The profiling of the returnees on arrival indicated that there were 52 female adults, four female children and four female infants as well as 106 male adults, two male children and five male infants.

“Twenty-one of the returnees had medical issues and were immediately attended to by the medical team on ground,” he said.

One of the returnees, Miss Aishat Areni, from Ogun State, told newsmen that she was deceived with the promise of travelling to New York City, USA to practise catering.

The 23-year-old said her aunt was the person who lured her into the perilous journey, which she got to find out after leaving Nigeria.

“It was my mates that revealed to me that it was Libya that we were heading and I started making trouble that it was USA that I was promised.

“When we got to Libya, I was told that there’s nothing like catering job; that is either you be a house girl or to be sold out to Connection House, which is prostitution network,” Areni said.

The returnee said she worked for one year and three months but paid her trafficker N90,000 monthly for five months.

She said : “I decided to return home because the nature of the work is not ideal for a human being.

” I will advise whoever is thinking of going to Libya never to contemplate doing so.

“Nigeria is far better than Libya; Libya is dangerous. It is either you are kidnapped, killed, raped or robbed, and there’s bombing here and there. Nigerians are not safe there.”

Areni said her journey back home began after her mother contacted the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) .

“A phone number of a staff of Nigerian Embassy was sent to me and it was the embassy staff that facilitated my return to the country.

” I am grateful to the Nigerian government for helping me back to the country, ” she said. (NAN)

YO/AWA/SOA

Edited by Olawunmi Ashafa/Oluwole Sogunle

Metro

NiMet predicts sunny, dry conditions for Sunday

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The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted sunny and dry conditions over the nation on Sunday.

NiMet’s weather outlook pedicted sunny and dry condition over Northern region with partly cloudy to sunny conditions over the Central region.

It further predicted few chances of thunderstorms and rains over the Southern region.

According to NiMet, sunny and dry conditions shall prevail over Northern region with day and night temperatures of 32 to 37 degree Celsius and 14 to 24 degree Celsius respectively.

“For Central states, partly cloudy to sunny conditions are anticipated over the region with chances of thunderstorms over Mambilla plateau during the afternoon/evening period.

“Day and night temperatures are expected to be 28 to 37 degree Celsius and 13 to 23 degree Celsius respectively, ” it said.

NiMet forecast partly cloudy to cloudy conditions over Southern states with few chances of thunderstorms over Ijebu-Ode, Calabar and Port Harcourt in the morning hours.

It envisaged partly cloudy to cloudy skies with prospects of thunderstorms and rains over some parts of the region during the afternoon/evening hours.

It predicted that the region is expected to have day and night temperatures of 30 to 34 degree Celsius and 20 to 25 degree Celsius respectively.

Edited by Jane-Frances Oraka/Ali Baba-Inuwa

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Metro

Dana Air flew 5.4m passengers in 11 years – official

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Dana Air said it flew 5.4 million passengers in its 11 years of operation in Nigeria.

The airline’s Media and Communications Manager, Mr Kingsley Ezenwa, said this in a statement issued in Lagos on Saturday.

Ezenwa said the airline expected to double the figure by sustaining its operational efficiency, increasing its fleet size, maintaining its record on-time performance and raising the bar of its excellent service delivery in the coming years.

“Having completed a commercial analysis of our loads in the last 11 years and confirmed it to stand at 5.4 million, we have set the ball rolling for the next 9 years.

“We have commenced reviewing plans and we intend to raise the bar of our operational efficiency, increase our fleet and improve on our excellent service delivery to remain on top and keep the commitment and loyalty of our staff and guests.

“With the addition of two of our recently acquired B737 aircraft, we are looking at creating more flights and providing massive capacity at underserved destinations within our route network this yuletide.

“This is to ensure seamless travel experience for our guests to avoid the uncertainty of last year.”

“On our product and services delivery, we have the Dana miles club which offers benefits such as miles plus cash, miles in exchange for ticket, excess baggage allowance, discount at partner outlets and upgrade from economy to business class.

“Our Dana Miles guests should expect more in terms of innovation and rewards.

“Our business class service is amazing and the service is second to none, tailored for customers who love to travel in style, luxury and comfort.

“We would like to keep the travel experience as topnotch as always.

“We have dedicated each day to serving our customers even better and we have upped our enlightenment for passengers to use their correct details so we can interact with them directly via our multiple channels.”

The Dana Air spokesman said that airline was one of Nigeria’s leading airlines with a fleet size of nine aircraft and daily flights to major destinations in Nigeria.

He said that the airline was reputed for its innovative online products and services, world-class in-flight services and unrivaled on-time performance.

Edited by Tajudeen Atitebi

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Metro

Restructuring: Fashola fears `Brexit experience’ for Nigeria

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The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has expressed fears that Nigeria may experience the Brexit experience, unless youths in the country are given political education to make them understand the issue of restructuring.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that a cross-section of Nigerians has been clamouring consistently for Nigeria’s restructuring as basis for national cohesion, progress and peaceful co-existence.

Fashola was speaking as guest speaker at the 76th anniversary of the Island Club in Lagos at the weekend.

According to him, Nigerian youths need to be given the right political education to help them understand the issue of restructuring, to avert the Brexit experience.

Brexit refers to the decision by some people in Britain for the country to leave the European Union (EU), a choice that has thrown the country into confusion.

Fashola argued that the quest for better life had resulted in relentless agitations by some Nigerian groups pushing diverse ideologies in their demands for restructuring.

He said that Britain was currently grappling with the problem of whether to stay in the EU or not because the youth segment of the population did not fully understand the implications of the referendum they participated in.

The minister stressed the need for adequate education of the younger segment of the Nigerian population to ensure that right choices were made in repositioning the nation’s diversity to avoid the Brexit experience.

Fashola noted, however, that he was speaking in his capacity as a member of the Island Club and not as a member of the Federal Executive Council or the ruling All Progressives Congress.

Speaking on “Restructuring: Lessons from Brexit,” Fashola gave a detailed history of the evolution of the United Kingdom, which he said, was similar to Nigeria’s 1914 amalgamation that merged the Northern and Southern Protectorates.

He explained that the insatiable quest for better life was the root of the clamor for restructuring in Nigeria, noting that measures to create new identities had compounded problems throughout human history.

The senior advocate of Nigeria argued that young people, who were not aware of the history of the emergence and evolution of Britain voted in favor of leaving the EU without understanding or weighing its implications, resulting to the current logjam.

He pointed out that ignorance of voters had left Britain in a difficult position of taking a decision whether to leave or not, which had led to the exit of three prime ministers with no headway in sight.

The senior lawyer warned proponents of restructuring in Nigeria to make their definitions clear and to also educate youths on the implications of their choices to avoid retrogression in Nigeria.

Fashola noted that there had been confusion in the restructuring agitation with people clamouring variously for confederation, secession, constitutional amendment and state police, among others, adding that restructuring in whatever guise must be made clear to youths.

“Let us decompose that word and let everybody be specific. There is so much confusion. Don’t hide restructuring under one word. Bring it out, so that we know what to choose.

“Some people are calling for parliamentary system of government. The new generation must be told that it was the parliamentary system that caused crisis which was difficult to resolve and which led us into civil war.

“Where people are diverse, a federation is better. There is a great deal of work to be done by the protagonists.’’

Fashola listed countries that broke up without being able to resolve the issues of separation to include Yugoslavia, Sudan, the Soviet Union, North and South Korea, warning against agitations to split Nigeria.

The minister said there were currently 86 unresolved boundary disputes as a result of state creations in the country, explaining that the Federal Government was still building secretariats for some new states.

Fashola said that sometimes the fears of over concentration of powers in the central government was not real, citing various processes, including budgeting that depended on other arms of government for approval.

He said that the Federal Government was being blamed for all problems, ranging from education to other sectors dominated by states or the private sector.

“One of the items on restructuring is that we want quality education.

“The default argument for poor quality education is government but I say, it is true to the extent that government is the regulator.

“It licenses. It approves, sets and enforces standards but today the records indicate that there are about 165 universities in Nigeria.

Forty three belong to the Federal Government, 47 belong to State Governments and 75 are private.’’

Fashola said there were constitutional provisions already for distribution of equal opportunities, citing the 13 per cent revenue allocation for mineral producing areas as an example.

The minister said that the constitution could show direction but that Nigerians must imbibe the right attitude for it to work.

“A good document not backed by the right attitude does not take a people far. If anything really needs restructuring, it must start with us as a people, with our attitude and with our mindset.

“Better life does not necessarily exist in a new document without a right political education; a change of attitude and an inflexible commitment to the public rule.’’

Fashola, however, supported calls for state police but stated that Nigeria missed the opportunity to have it because people did not follow up with it at various levels of government.

Also speaking, a former Minister of State for Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro, said that experience had shown that “where you have injustice, humans will resist and opt for their independence”.

He called for equal opportunities to remove increasing inequalities and endless agitations for session in the country.

The Chairman of the Island Club, Mr Philip Abumere, lauded Fashola for his commitment to nation building, citing the minister’s strides when he was governor of Lagos State.

Edited by Silas Nwoha

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Metro

Building Collapse: Lagos Govt. to step up material testing, surveillance, enforcement

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The Lagos State Government says it will begin enforcement of material testing at construction sites, to achieve its vision of zero tolerance for building collapse in the state.

The Acting General Manager, Lagos State Materials and Testing Laboratory (LSML), Mr Olalekan Ajani disclosed this in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency , on Saturday, in Lagos.

Ajani said the agency was passionate about forestalling incidences of building collapses, adding that the Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration had empowered the agency with increased workforce across all local governments and local council development areas.

Lagos State is stepping up operation in construction sites to see that builders comply with the quality assurance of the state to forestall cases of building collapse.

“We want to ensure a zero incidence of building collapse through regular visits to the construction sites; this is the only way to save lives in conformity with the state’s extant laws.

“Our officers are now recruited in all local governments, working and checking all the sites for compliance and enforcement; that is what we are stepping up now.

“LSML officers are mandated to visit construction sites frequently now to ensure that builders have quality assurance certificate; and if anyone is found wanting, the site will be shut down, he told NAN.

Ajani said that even completed structures would not be spared from supervision and quality control, as they would also undergo non-destructive tests.

“Even already built houses especially the commercial buildings in Lagos will also undergo a non-destructive test, while subsequent materials for use will be tested.

“For buildings already erected, we will be asking if they have carried out non-destructive test and issue them certificates, however, they do not need to destroy their buildings in the process.

“The non-destructive test is conducted with the state-of-the art scientific equipment; we are only interested in knowing the condition of the house, maybe for reconstruction, rehabilitation or rather reinforcement or re-engineering.

“Ours is to see to the quality of the materials used in building houses, we have other professionals such as technicians, geo-technical engineers, such as soil engineers, surveyors, planners, material engineers, quantity surveyors, and others, he said.

Ajani warned the contractors against cutting corners; adding that the process of getting the certification for their building permit was not expensive as envisaged, rather it was designed to save lives.

The Acting General Manager also called for collaboration of professionals to eliminate quackery and corruption in the building sector.

“All the professionals working with us are driving towards one aim, which is safe delivery of projects, and if citizens can engage them, it will bring to fore the integrity of such structure.

“Some people think it is expensive, but is always cheaper to save lives. So we encourage the developers to always ensure that they do not bypass process.

“Builders must ensure that they engage the professionals for approval, and be certain about integrity of the site to ensure that such construction did not contravene either the state law or natural law.

“There should also be a quality design before construction can be embarked upon and also due supervision because some artisans like to cut corners by using substandard products.

“Contractors should also ensure that they get the right people for supervision, and the materials needed for construction. Everything must be checked right from water to reinforcements for quality control and assurance, he said.

Edited by Nyisom Fiyigon Dore

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General news

NECA raises concerns over CBN’s directive to banks on lending

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The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), has raised concerns over the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) directive to banks on lending, saying it could pose a risk to financial stability.

NECA’s Director-General, Mr Timothy Olawale, who raised the concerns in a statement on Saturday in Lagos said that effective monitoring mechanism should be put in place to avert the negative effects.

Nigeria News Agency reports that NECA is the umbrella organisation of employers in the organised private sector of Nigeria.

Olawale recalled that CBN had on July 4, directed commercial banks in Nigeria to maintain a minimum Loan Deposit Ratio (LDR) of 60 per cent.

According to him, this is aimed at promoting growth of the real sector of the economy.

“The objective of the Apex Bank is clear as regard improving the flow of needed credit to the private sector to stimulate growth.

“We are concerned that these methods being deployed to achieve this aim may have many unintended negative effects if effective monitoring mechanism is not put in place.

“The attempt by the CBN is worthy of commendation considering our peculiar situation as a nation and the fact that over N1.5 trillion additional money will be available as credits to the real sector of the economy.

“However, forcing the banks to lend under the current macro-economic situation will only result in a likely build-up of non-performing loans in the medium to long term, given the sluggish growth of the economy.

“Also, the high risk in the operating environment, this could pose a risk to financial stability, ” he said.

The director-general also identified high interest rates, which remained at a double digits as a challenge to businesses.

“With the volatility of the Nigerian economy and the unpredictable regulatory environment, the risk of a double digit interest rate could be too high for businesses.

“This is especially for the Small and Medium Enterprises that are supposed to also be beneficiaries of the directive.”

He urged CBN to ensure the effective implementation and monitoring of the directive.

According to him, more deliberate efforts should be made to ensure a hospitable business environment that will make lending attractive and borrowing by the real sector even more attractive.

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Edited by Ese E. Ekama

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Metro

NEMA launches National Disaster Risk Management Policy

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The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), on Friday, launched its National Disaster Risk Management Policy document in response to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 to 2030, adopted by UN member states in 2015, outlines targets and priorities for action to prevent new and reduce existing disaster risks.

Mr Mustapha Maihaja, Director-General, NEMA, while launching the document, said that the document is aimed at building safer and more resilient communities.

He added that the policy document concentrated on four priority areas namely: awareness governance, capacity and resilience, in order to support development of strong governance structures in the country.

Maihaja added that to build resilient and sustainable societies capable of addressing both climate and disaster risks, it was important to integrate risks, into development,planning and budgeting.

“Globally, disaster risk management has witnessed improved legislation, awareness, early warning systems, better preparedness, including establishment of sustainable structures and national platforms for disaster risk reduction.

“But, these have not been sufficient, to generate the transformational change required in risk governance.

“If we truly want to get ahead of the curve of humanitarian need and economic losses we must set up strategies to address underlying risk drivers.

“It is projected that if we continue with the current business as usual, an estimated amount of 3 trillion naira will be required to curb and respond to disasters across the 36 states in Nigeria in 2020.

“This will be mainly for providing short term relief and replacement of damaged infrastructures.

“To achieve this, we must deploy appropriate instruments and we have developed several plans and guidelines,”he said.

NAN reports that the event had in attendance, representatives of the Police, Fire Service, UNOCHA, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development among others.

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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