Buhari mourns NSCIA Deputy President-General, Babalola



President Muhammadu Buhari has commiserated with the Nigeria Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) on the death of its Deputy President-General, Alhaji Sakariyahu Babalola.

The president’s condolence message was communicated in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Wednesday.

The president also extended sincere condolences to the “family and friends of Alhaji Babalola and all Muslim Ummah who are mourning the loss of the accomplished businessman, whose life was defined by service to others.”

He noted with delight Babalola’s contributions to the Islamic community in Nigeria, particularly in his capacity as the President-General of the Muslim Ummah of Southwest Nigeria (MUSWEN).

The president also affirmed that Babalola would be long remembered for promoting peace, generosity and compassion.

The president prayed Almighty Allah to grant the soul of the departed eternal rest and comfort all mourning him.


(Edited by Mufutau Ojo)


Arik Air resumes services to Asaba



Arik Air on Thursday announced the resumption of flight services to Asaba Airport in Delta.

Arik Air Chief Executive Officer, Capt. Roy Ilegbodu, said in a statement in Lagos that starting from Dec. 18, the airline would be operating daily flights from Lagos to Asaba.

Ilegbodu said that the resumption of flights to Asaba was coming at a time when people were looking for seamless travel during the Yuletide.

Arik Air’s return to Asaba is nostalgic as the airline was the first to commence commercial flights to Asaba when the airport was inaugurated in 2011.

Similarly, Arik Air, in the spirit of the Yuletide season, will be increasing its frequency from Lagos to Owerri to thrice daily.

The additional flight will operate at 7:00 a.m. daily in addition to the 1:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. departures,” he said.

Speaking on the latest development, Ilegbodu said: “The resumption of flights to Asaba is a promise kept as we had assured our esteemed customers that we would be back on the route before the Christmas festivities.

“We once again assure our customers of a high operating safety standard and excellent customer service during the Yuletide and beyond.”

Edited by: Tayo Ikujuni/Adeleye Ajayi


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Christmas: FRSC to pitch camps at Onitsha Bridge, other gridlock areas



The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) says it will pitch camps near the Niger Bridgehead, Onitsha and other gridlock areas in Anambra to tackle traffic challenges during Christmas and New year celebrations.

The State Sector Commander, Mr Ayodele Kumapayi disclosed this in Onitsha during the lunch of “Operation no Wawawa on the road” organised by management of 93.7 Wazobia FM, Onitsha on Thursday.

Kumapayi said no fewer than 600 officials would be deployed to the Onitsha Bridgehead and other flash points with traffic congestion in the commercial city.

The camps are to be manned 24 hours by our men, who would be drawn from the various unit commands, so we don’t overburden those in Onitsha,” he said.

Kumapayi commended Wazobia FM, Onitsha for volunteering to partner with the corps in ensuring a hitch-free traffic during the festive season.

The sector commander, who called for commitment and discipline on the part of the Wazobia personnel, assured them of maximum support and corporation.

We in the FRSC are set to ensure safety on the highway. We are synergising with other relevant stakeholders to ensure there is ease of movement before, during and after the festive season.

You will be booed and insulted by the motoring public, but keep your calm. You will be working hand- in- hand with my men and I expect the best from you,” he said.

Also speaking, the Managing Director, Anambra State Traffic Management Agency (ATMA), Mr Chris Uzoechina urged the staff of the media outfit to see the work as a sacrifice.

Uzoechina urged them to carry out the voluntary service with courtesy and decorum.

You must acknowledge that this job is a state responsibility, because the Bridgehead is a gateway to the state.

We expect you to be courteous so as not to represent the state in a bad light,” he added.

Earlier, the Head of station, Wazobia FM, Onitsha, Mr Ugo Enwerji explained that the exercise was part of the organisation’s corporate social responsibility.

Anambra is generally peaceful but we have traffic problem in the state because drivers out here do not obey rules and regulations.

We carried out a similar campaign in 2018 and continued on our radio station because we expect massive vehicles on the road following the closure of the Enugu Airport,” he said.

The station manager said the media outfit was also partnering with the FRSC in Delta to make sure that the bridgehead was clear during the festive season.

Enwerji said the campaign will run from Dec. 12 through Dec. 25 and continue on Dec. 29 till Jan. 1, 2020 between the hours of 11a.m and 4p.m.

Edited /Felix Ajide


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Implement 5% national appointment quota for PLWD, Anenih tells FG



Former Minister of Women Affairs, Dr Josephine Anenih, on Thursday called for the implementation of the five per cent quota reserved for Persons Living With Disability (PLWD) in national appointments.

Anenih, who made the call at the 22nd investiture ceremony of Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) in Lagos, also called for the establishment of a National Commission for PLWD.

The theme of the lecture was “Managing Diversity in a Modern Democracy; A Case for Equity and Justice in Lagos.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had on Jan. 28 signed into law, the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act.

NAN recalls that the act enjoins all public organisations to reserve at least five per cent of employment opportunities for these persons.

The former minister also urged the government to implement 35 per cent women’s inclusion at all leadership categories to promote justice, equitable representation and fairness in the nation.

There cannot be true democracy without recognition of diversity and failure to manage diversity can lead to war.

Diversity should be promoted and must include all voices, no matter what across the nation,” she said.

Addressing the challenges faced with Rural Grazing Area (RUGA), Anenih urged citizens to recognise cattle rearing as a way of life for a certain group of Nigerians and advised a workable solution to accommodate it to foster a sense of national unity.

In her words: “We can talk and agree on how to live as one and must be committed to diversity by recognizing and legalising one another.”

She also advised the restructuring and reorganisation of the nation for greater achievement and urged the ruling party to be more tolerant of criticisms.

She challenged the institute to use its position to influence policies that promote national progress and unity.

Anenih also called for the establishment of a South East Commission charged with the responsibility of the reconstruction of the geographical zone ravaged by the civil war.

As an Ibo woman, I lived through loosing loved ones and properties to the Nigerian civil war due to mismanagement of diversity,” she said.

The outgoing president, Prof. Olukunle Iyanda, who spoke about his tenure, said his team through advocacy activities, addressed management issues to enable the nation leveraged its enormous human and material resources for greater output and progress.

The newly inducted president and Chairman of Council of NIM, Mrs Patience Anabor, said the task ahead of her administration would focus on thriving on continuity and consolidation to sustain all the good programmes of her predecessors.

We shall strive to put the institute’s professional certificate on the right pedestal, deploying every means under the ambit of the law to pursue the rating of the Institute by the National Council on Establishment.

NAN reports that Late Dr Christopher Abebe, Late Jerome Udoji and Dr Michael Omolayole were inducted into the management hall of fame of the Institute for their admirable ethical managerial contributions to the nation.

Also, 19 others were elected alongside Mrs Patience Anabor into various leadership positions.

Edited by: Abdullahi Mohammed/Wale Ojetimi


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FRSC’ll be strict on vision acuity test, Oyeyemi tells motorists



Dr  Boboye  Oyeyemi, the Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC),  on Thursday,  said that the corps would be strict on its conduct of vision acuity test as part of the ember months strategies.

Oyeyemi said this in an address at a 2019 Ember Months Campaign organised by the Lagos State Command of the corps in partnership with the Beer Sectoral Group (BSG).

He said that the move became necessary in order to reduce road accidents and fatalities.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the mega campaign was tagged: “Road Safety is a State of Mind, Road Traffic Crash is the Absence of Mind, Stay Alert, Stay Alive”.

Oyeyemi, who was represented by Mr Samuel Obayemi, the Zonal Commanding Officer, RS 2 Command comprising Ogun and Lagos States, said it had become imperative to make sure drivers on the roads did not have defective eyesight.

The FRSC has been firm with its campaigns for safe motoring environment since its inception, and this has driven the corps to map out strategies to achieve the reduction of road traffic crashes by 20 per cent and fatalities by 25 per cent on yearly basis.

” Operational strategies lined up for the 2019 ember months campaigns are to ensure safety and to enforce safety culture by improving the visibility of the corps on all national roads.

The corps is going to be strict on its conduct of vision acuity test to make sure all drivers on the road do not have defective eyesight, and the responsibility equally falls on other traffic agencies to collaborate with FRSC to achieve this.

” This is to equally inform participants present that the weather condition is fast changing, hence the need to make sure the headlamps are in working condition in case of low visibility, ” Oyeyemi said.

He said that many people erroneously believed there were evil forces on the road in ember months that are responsible for crashes and fatalities, whereas it was the negative attitude of road users that caused most accidents.

It is the struggle on the part of most people to travel to meet their loved ones and more trips on the part of commercial drivers to make more profit in preparation for the Yuletide without adequate rest that are mainly responsible for the road mishaps.

The resolve of the corps as of today is to use the media and all public enlightenment platforms to dispel the erroneous belief and to proffer a way forward for the reduction of road traffic crashes,” the FRSC boss said.

Oyeyemi, who counselled drivers to obtain genuine licences, highway codes and new Number Plate, said that enforcement would be carried out concomitantly with the enlightenment campaigns.

He said that the corps would enforce its ‘Operation Cobra ‘which was initiated to curb specific offences such as light violation, drunk driving, dangerous driving, use of phone while driving, and route violation.

In his address of welcome, Mr Hyginus Omeje, the FRSC’s Sector Commander, said that the mega campaign was to elevate consciousness of Nigerians to the realities of road traffic crashes.

Omeje said that road traffic incidents and fatalities in the state had been on the increase, as distracted driving stole minds drivers away while on the roads.

In Lagos State, Road Traffic Crash incidences and fatalities recorded from first to third quarters in 2018 stood at 225 and 74 respectively. The statistics over the same period in 2019 stood at 419 crashes and 84 fatalities.

” This translates to 51 per cent increase in crash cases and 14 per cent increase in fatality notwithstanding the command’s numerous intervention.”

In his remarks, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, the Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, who commended the FRSC for addressing cases of unnecessary deaths on the road, urged motorists to change their negative attitude and recklessness.

Obasa, who was represented by Mr Temitope Adewale, the Chairman, House Committee on Transport, urged FRSC to intensify measures at clamping down on fake driving documents to ensure safety.

According to him, FRSC should work more with the state ministry of transport and avoid complicating traffic congestion while carrying out their duties.

NAN reports that the event had in attendance stakeholders in the transport sector such as the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) and the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) among others.

Edited by: Modupe Adeloye/Oluwole Sogunle

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South African, Mashale, wins Daily Trust African of the Year Award



A South African, Rosie Mashale, popularly known as Mama Rosie and founder of Baphumelele Children’s Centre, has emerged winner of the 2019 Daily Trust African of the Year award.

Mr Mannir Dan-Ali, Editor in Chief of Daily Trust, disclosed this in a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday.

Dan-Ali said that Mama Rosie was announced as the winner by a seven-member award selection committee led by the former President of Botswana, Dr Festus Mogae.

He said that the announcement as the winner was made on Nov. 29, after rigorous selection meetings in Abuja.

Dan-Ali quoted Mogae as saying that Mama Rosie deserved the award for her continuous courage and dedication to save the lives of thousands of abandoned children affected by HIV and AIDS.

He congratulated her for emerging the winner of the prestigious Daily Trust African of the Year Award for 2019.

“Mama Rosie won the 2019 award for her continuous commitment to providing loving care to thousands of orphans mostly from Khayelitsha, a community largely afflicted by the epidemic.

“The abandoned children are mostly as ‘children-no-one-wants’.

HIV and AIDS are endemic in South Africa, infecting and killing hundreds of people, leaving babies as orphans, many of them also infected.

“In 1989, when Mama Rosie moved to Khayelitsha, one of South Africa’s poorest townships, as a teacher there, she saw children scrounging for food in a garbage dump, and brought them into her home to feed them.

“This was the start of a remarkable programme that has been sustained since then.

“Founded in 2001, Baphumelele Children’s Home was a response to an alarming situation Mama Rosie is contending with,“ he said.

Dan-Ali said that she had no money when she decided to provide a home and place of safety to children who were orphaned, abandoned, abused, and neglected.

He said that she had a vision, a large heart, a lot of resolve, and the constant support of her community.

According to him, the children’s home now provides these orphans and vulnerable children with a stable, loving and permanent home.

“ It also serves as a place of safety for children in crisis 24/7 because so many of these children are sick. Baphumelele now includes a medical centre to treat HIV and/or other diseases.

“Mama Rosie has won several local and international awards for her unprecedented care for the orphans,“he said..

Responding to her selection, Mama Rosie expressed gratitude to the committee for selecting her for the award out of more than 400 nominations from across Africa.

She confirmed her personal attendance at the award presentation ceremony to be held on Jan. 15, 2020 in Abuja.

News Agency reports that the Daily Trust African of the Year Award Project was instituted in 2008 by Daily Trust, one of Nigeria’s leading independent newspapers.

This is in line with its commitment to African unity and sustainable development, to recognise and reward annually an exemplary African who has made extra-ordinary contributions to human development in any part of the continent.

Africans who have distinguished themselves in their various walks of life or do charity projects that are of positive impact to the continent’s people have since then been recognised for the award.

Denis Mukwege, a Congolese medical doctor, was the first African of the Year award winner in 2008.

Exactly 10 years after the Daily Trust recognition, Dr Mukwege won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018, for his wonderful work of treating women who had been abused and raped in his war-torn country.

The award winner is selected by a seven-member pan-African committee chaired by Dr Mogae with other members of the Advisory Board/Prize Committee as Prof. Sylvia Tamale (East Africa), and Amb. Ms. Mona Omar (North Africa).

The committee also has Mr Pascal Kambale (Central Africa), Ms. Gwen Lister (Southern Africa), Mr Amadou Mahtar Ba (West Africa) and Mr Kabiru Yusuf (West Africa).

The award comes with a cash prize of $10,000. The presentation of the award will be done on Jan. 15, 2020 at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja, Nigeria.

Edited by: Donald Ugwu

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