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Balogun Market Fire: Minister expresses concern, commiserates with victims



Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has commiserated with victims of Balogun Market fire disaster in Lagos, expressing concern over ”repeated Market Fires” in the country.

Farouq in a statement on Saturday said the repeated cases of fire outbreaks in markets around the country ”are source of great concern to government.”

She said she felt saddened by the unfortunate incident of Balogun market fire, describing it as a huge loss to Lagos and the nation as a whole.

“In the recent past, we as a nation have experienced incessant cases of fire outbreaks that have led to huge losses to traders, their families and the Nigerian economy as a whole,” the minister said.

According to her, the efforts of emergency responders like the Lagos State Fire Service, State Emergency Management Agency, State Police command and others contributed in extinguishing the fires in the markets.

“I find their efforts heartwarming. I  encourage those affected to remain strong and resolute in the face of the extreme loss.

“The Federal Government through the Ministry in collaboration with other relevant institutions are working on finding lasting solutions to fires and other disasters in the country.

“We will ensure structures that will mitigate, prevent and ensure that a high level of preparedness are put in place to engender quick and appropriate responses when fires break.

“This will bring to the barest minimum the impact of fire outbreaks,” Forouq said.

She encouraged shop owners and landlords to ensure that safety mechanisms are put in place in their business premises and buildings.


Edited by Jane-Frances Oraka/Tukur Muntari.

General news

Lagos BRT operator to roll out 50 more buses



The operator of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Lagos, Primero Transport Services Limited, says it will roll out 50 more buses before the end of the year, to reduce the waiting time of commuters at bus stops in the state.

The Managing Director of the firm, Mr Fola Tinubu, told the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos on Thursday that the firm was committed to making life easier for commuters.

According to him, the firm engages 300 buses daily to serve residents of the state in ensuring that they reach their destinations on time.

He said efforts were, however, being made to improve the services and that part of such efforts was to increase the number of buses engaged from 300 to 350 daily.

“We move an average of 150,000 passengers in Lagos daily, and we intend to increase that to 200,000 daily.

“We roll out 300 buses each day, and we intend to add another 50 buses to make life easier for people.

“We have done a lot in fulfilling the goals of the scheme and we are constantly working to improve our services. We will not fail or disappoint the teeming commuters in Lagos who rely on our services,” Tinubu said.

He said that the company was committed to reducing the waiting time at bus stops to a maximum of 10 minutes and did not want anyone to be stranded at bus stops.

The managing director said that the company had good maintenance mechanisms for its buses, which made many of them, though four years old, to be looking new.

Tinubu said the firm had 600 drivers aside other staff on its payroll.

The drivers, he said, undergo quarterly training to provide the best of services to the people.

He said this had become imperative to ensure commuters at bus stops and onboard were safe and secure.

According to him, the company has zero tolerance for any form of misbehaviour, disregard to safety, speed, recklessness and use of drugs or alcohol by its drivers and other staff.

He said that those who had been caught in such acts had been shown the way out of the firm.

“Our rule is that no driver should engage in drugs and alcohol, and we check randomly for this.

“We do computerised selection of 20 drivers in the morning and 20 drivers in the afternoon for drug and alcohol tests.

“No driver, not even me, knows who will be selected for the daily drug test. We do this to further strengthen safety onboard,” he said.

Tinubu commended the Lagos State Government for its efforts to stop commercial motorcyclists and other road users from encroaching into the BRT dedicated  lanes.

He assured commuters that the company would continue to improve on its services and mitigate their suffering in terms of movement from one destination to another in the state.

Edited by Moses Solanke/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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Boundary commission says AUBP will control crime in border areas



The National Boundary Commission (NBC) says African Union Border Programme (AUBP), will control crime in border areas across the West African sub-region.

Mr Adamu Adaji, its Acting Director-General, stated this in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency , on Wednesday in Abuja.

Adaji said that AUBP was targeted at ensuring peace and stability at the international boundaries among the West African states.

“AUBP will provide facilities that will engage border communities which will inevitably curb the rate of crimes and other vices at our borders.

“The German Government has indicated willingness to provide support which will help affected countries to ensure they have defined boundaries. We are looking out for modalities towards managing and policing the affected boundaries,” Adaji said.

Edited by Joseph Edeh and Ephraims Sheyin (NAN)

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World Children Day: UNICEF pledges to support Nigeria’s child rights programmes



The United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF), has pledged to support programmes targeted at promoting the rights of children in Nigeria’s local communities.

UNICEF Country Representative, Mr Peter Hawkins, said this on Wednesday in Abuja at a ceremony to mark the 2019 International World Children’s Day.

The theme of the 2019 World Children’s Day is “Children of Today, Our Keepers Tomorrow”.

Hawkins also said that more attention must be paid to educating the children to enable them know and defend their rights in the society.

He said that the celebration of the 2019 World Children’s Day, which coincided with the 30th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC), was to showcase the talent of the Nigerian child and re-affirm the need to value and recognise his or her rights.

He described the Nigerian child as the light, dream and the hope of tomorrow.

“Thirty years ago, world leaders made a commitment to the world’s children by adopting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which made provision for 42 rights in the passports as enshrined in the convention on the rights of the child.

“Every Nigerian Child is born with a talent and a future.

“Today, UNICEF Nigeria says the children are the tomorrow of Nigeria; that is why this year’s 2019 world Children’s Day, which coincides with the 30th anniversary of the CRC, provides a platform to showcase their talent,” he said.

Addressing the students of Government Day Secondary School, Garki, a special guest at the event, Mr Cobhams Asuquo, said that the Nigerian children have the chance and opportunity to re-write all that is wrong with the country.

According to him, “you are all that is right with Nigeria because you all have the chance to re-write all the wrongs the previous generations before committed. I envy you all because you have the chance”.

Cobhams, who called for equal and better treatment of the Nigerian child, challenged the students to do better than anyone they had ever admired in the society.

“Greatness is achievable for all Nigerian children; you are every thing that is right with Nigeria and you have a chance to make it better and greatness is in you and you all deserved to be treated well,” he said.

In his statement to the children of the world, the UN Secretary General, Anthonio Gutteres, called on the governments of the world to build on advances and re-commit to putting children first.

Gutteres said: “Around the world, children are showing us their strength and leadership. They are advocating for a more sustainable world for all. Let’s build on advances and re-commit to putting children first.”

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the event showcased dance competitions with two winners receiving a cell phone each.

Edited by Ephraims Sheyin (NAN)

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NLC urges workers to intensify fight against injustice



The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has urged workers in Africa to intensify the fight against injustice so as to fast-track the continent’s democratic and economic growth.

Its National President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, made the call on Wednesday in Abuja at the 4th Quadrennial Congress of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

“To win any fight, we must strive to build workers and trade unions’ power. We must bear in mind that the fight for stronger unions are the best safeguards for democracy.

“I urge us as workers and leaders of workers’ organisations to always be in the forefront of the struggle for a sustainable planet that provides guarantees for a just transition to a future of socially protected work.

“We must continue to strive for redistribution of global wealth and continue to call on our governments to be alive to their distributive role through progressive tax reforms, welfare programmes and widening safety nets,” he said.

According to him, Africa wants to add value to her raw materials.

“The continent wants to create jobs for her teeming youths; we want to export semi-finished and finished products for the global market without overbearing restrictions of trade tariffs and unwieldy standardisation constraints placed by the developed world,” he said.

He added that Africa wanted to reverse her dismal contribution to global trade which United Nations Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) 2015 Report did put at 2.39 per cent.

“Fair trade is the only way Africa can attract genuine investments on the continent, accumulate capital, industrialise, create decent jobs, bring peace, stop forced migration and beat poverty, disease and untimely deaths.

“Africans want global support and solidarity to institutionalise a democratic culture that is popular, transparent, accountable and beholden to Africans.

“The challenges before us as workers and as workers’ representative are not only daunting, but also almost overwhelming. We must be strengthened by the fact that the fight before us is a fight for survival.

“There are very few options left to us. We are condemned to fight for our very life and to engage in a good fight, we must draw strength from the avalanche of our survival instincts.

“The most useful of these instincts is the instinct to unite because our greatest strength lies in our unity; unity of purpose, unity of voice, and unity of action. Another profound instinct is the instinct to organise.

“We cannot do more than our abilities to organise. There is no force on earth that can withstand the power of an organised working-class movement,” he said.

Wabba, who said that the event came by the Centenary of the International Labour Organization (ILO), pointed out that it was also important to rally round progress and profound declarations made at the ILO 2019 conference.

He added that the event also marked the time popular protests had taken place for the past few months in many parts of the world.

According to him, the common denominator in the protests is the resolute will of the people to resist low wages and pensions, adverse labour laws reforms, and punitive austerity robes sewn by international financial institutions.

He said that the voice of working people of the world through the protests was very loud and clear as workers demanded improved working and living conditions, real democracy and social progress through creation and sustenance of decent jobs.

“In the struggle of the past few weeks, we draw a useful lesson ‘a people united can never be defeated’. Indeed, it is possible to unite and make a difference.

“We regret the loss of lives and injuries in the course of these protests. We call for diligent investigation and prosecution of those who used excessive force on peaceful protesters.

“For us in Nigeria’s labour movement, the timing of this congress is also very significant as it coincided with the implementation of the N30,000 increase in our national minimum wage and the consequential adjustments for all salary grades.

“We commend the support of the ITUC throughout this struggle using the Wage Review in Africa Mechanism (WRAM),” he said.

The theme of the congress is “Unite and Make a Difference”.

Edited by Saidu Adamu/Ephraims Sheyin (NAN)

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NiMet predicts good visibility for Thursday



Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted stable atmosphere in good visibility for Thursday.

NiMet’s weather outlook on Wednesday in Abuja predicted pocket of thunderstorms over the southern region within the period of forecast.

NiMet predicted sunny and hazy conditions over the Northern states with day and night temperatures of 34 to 39 degree Celsius and 18 to 24 degree Celsius.

“For Central states, partly cloudy to hazy conditions should prevail over this region throughout the forecast period.

“Day and night temperature values are expected to be 29 to 36 degree Celsius and 14 to 23 degree Celsius,” it said.

The agency envisaged partly cloudy to sunny conditions over Southern states in the morning hours with chances of thunderstorms over Calabar, Yenagoa, Uyo and Port-Harcourt.

It envisaged thunderstorms over Enugu, Warri, Benin and Abakaliki axis later in the day.

According to NiMet, day and night temperatures of the region are expected to be 31 to 35 degree Celsius and 18 to 24 degree Celsius.

Edited by Felix Ajide (NAN)

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Christmas: Gov. Obiano begins distribution of rice to workers, pensioners in Anambra



Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra on Wednesday began the distribution of rice to civil servants, public servants and pensioners in the state.

Obiano, represented by Mr Harry Uduh, Head of Service (HoS) in Anambra, said the gesture was to keep his promise of ensuring that workers in the state enjoyed their Christmas since he assumed office.

He said the rice was for workers in the state and local government services, judiciary, legislature, ministries, departments and agencies as well as retirees.

“What we are doing today is to flag off the distribution of the rice to the owners, that is the workers of Anambra State.

“It is the usual Christmas largess of Gov. Willie Obiano for the workers to have beautiful Christmas celebration, so every worker and every pensioner will get one bag each.

“I cannot tell you the number of bags that will be distributed off-hand, but I can tell you it will be more than 50,000 bags because it is not just the regular civil servants we have public servants in the state and council workers.

“He has been consistent with this since he assumed office and we thank him for keeping faith with workers. This goes to show that he never makes a promise he does not intend to keep, which is why workers trust me,” the governor said.

Obiano said that he had directed in the implementation schedule for payment of workers salary that they be paid their November salaries on the 25th, receive their leave allowance on Dec. 5 and December salary on Dec. 15.

He lauded Anambra workers for their loyalty and charged them to reciprocate and to support the kind gestures.

Anambra workers deserve this because they are hard working, but there is always room for improvement; they are loyal, they have helped the government to successfully implement its policies.

“This is another way the governor is adding value to Agriculture; the rice being distributed are Anambra rice. Government is encouraging people to cultivate and consume Nigerian rice, there is ready market for the produce,” Obiano said.

One of the workers who received her rice, Miss Amaka Uzoezie, expressed both surprise and gratitude that Obiano could fulfill his promise in spite of the country’s economic situation.

Uzoezie said the largesse would serve as a motivation for her and make her to be more productive in the coming year.

Also, Mr Ifeanyi Okechukwu, Chairman, Trade Union Congress in Anambra, thanked Obiano on behalf of his members and urged workers to continue to support the governor.

“I want to thank the governor for his kind disposition to Anambra workers, for ensuring that we enjoy our Christmas every year, and more importantly for extending it to retired civil servants.

“He is a good leader, I pray for him and his family and also call on workers to support him to do more,” Okechukwu said.

(Editing by Oluyinka Fadare/Peter Ejiofor)

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