The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, has said that 590 stranded Nigerians have been successfully evacuated from the United Kingdom (UK) and are expected to arrive Abuja and Lagos on Tuesday.
Onyeama disclosed this in his twitter handle @GeoffreyOnyeama, on Tuesday, as he gave an update on the evacuation process.
The minister also confirmed the evacuation of 305 other Nigerians from Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), via @Emirate Airline.
The evacuees from Dubai are reported to have arrived the country through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
“590 Nigerian evacuees have departed Gatwick North Terminal, #UK on Air Partner UK.
“261 passengers departed at 1.00 p.m for Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, while 329 passengers departed at 1.30 p.m for Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
“All evacuees will then proceed on the 14-day self isolation,” Onyeama twitted.
Onyeama also gave an update on the fifth evacuation of Nigerians stranded in the United States in a statement signed by the Consulate General of Nigeria in Atlanta, United States.
According to the statement, Ethiopian Airline Flight Number ET 507, will depart George Bush International Airport, Houston, Texas on Friday, July 31, 2020 at 4:00pm.
It stated that the flight would be expected to arrive the Murtala Muhammad International Airport, Lagos, on Saturday, August 1, 2020, at 8:00pm.
“In this regard, all prospective evacuees duly registered with any of the three Nigerian missions in the USA can purchase their one-way tickets through www.ethiopianairlines.com.
“The air fare is USD 1,500 for economy class and USD 3,000 for business class for adult/child, including all taxes, with the usual percentage reduction for infants under two years,” the statement read.
Edited By: Debo Oshundun and Ephraims Sheyin (NAN)
10,000 professionals to participate in 2020 ICPSP COVID-19 virtual conference – Registrar
In a statement issued on Monday, Adelakun said that the virtual conference holds on Aug. 8.
She said that the participants would include experts and professional in the corporate and public sectors.
She explained that the conference would also add value to the economy and discuss the role of the third-party of the sector during and after the pandemic.
“Expected outcomes from the conference include opportunities amidst COVID-19 and how to manage the risks and opportunities during a challenging moment.
“Also, how ICPSP as an institute and its members can lead a change agenda in other to foster economic recovery, poverty eradication and nation-building,’’ she said.
Prof. Babatunde Yusuf, Dean, Faculty of Management Sciences, Lagos State University and Keynote Speaker for the conference, was quoted in the statement as lauding the institute for its initiative to steer such discussion amongst professionals at this period.
“I am highly honoured to be selected among people of high repute to give a keynote address during the conference and suggest to the society, the methodology and measures to be taken during and after the pandemic,’’ he was quoted as saying.
Mr Olanrewaju Sharafa, the lead paper presenter said it would be a great privilege for him to speak on the topic: “Extreme Poverty: A symptom of COVID-19 in Africa during the conference”.
Mr Moshood Taiwo Chairman, ICPSP 2020 Conference, expressed optimism that the conference would be one of the best so far and would add value to the economy and the profession.
Comrade Agnes Sessi, Chairperson, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Lagos State Council, expressed hope that the conference would be of tremendous help for professionals to gain more knowledge in diverse ways.
“It is a great honour and privilege for me to be nominated as one of the guest speakers at the conference to speak on ‘health matters’, during and after the pandemic,’’ she said.
Mr Raheed Lateef, ICPSP, Chief Examiner, said it would be a great achievement for the institute to bring together experts during a global crisis to proffer solutions in handling various challenges during and after the pandemic.
The theme of the 2020 conference is “Lessons From COVID-19: Sharing Ideas with Experts”.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
Agro expert wants ban on maize importation beyond economic benefits
An agriculture expert, Mr Ismail Olawale, has advised the Federal Government that the ban on maize importation should go beyond economic benefits.
The expert speaking in reaction to the recent ban on importation of maize by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said the government should have considered the ripple effects of the ban before its commencement.
“The question we are asking is what is the actual basis for the ban on importation of maize? Are we banning because we have large quantity of maize in stock or because of the quality of our local maize?
“Has the government considered all the variables affecting local maize production like quality and quantity produced before implementing the ban on importation?
“If they have, what has the government come up with to salvage the ripple effects of the ban on the importation of maize?
“We should not just consider the economic impact of the ban but also consider how it borders on the quality and health of our local maize.
“If the ban is just for economic reasons alone without factoring in the substitutes if they are healthy enough, if they have the best quality and other favourable factors to the end users, then it is not fair,” he said.
Olawale reiterated that the ban should not just be about increasing the nation’s Gross Domestic Product but also about improving the local value-chain of the crop.
In addition, he said a balanced communication on the reasons for the ban should be communicated to the consumers, producers and also the farmers.
“If we are serious about banning the importation of maize, then we need to improve our production value-chain line.
“Is the ban on maize importation just about not allowing the cost imported maize affect the patronage of local maize?
“The banning has come, so how well have we marketed local maize production, because most producers and consumers of maize product are used to the imported ones.
“We need to do an analysis of the ripple effects of the ban beyond our farmers having the competitive capacity of the imported maize and their ability to make more money.
“What have we done to convince the consumers on patronizing locally grown maize or else we should be expecting an increased level of maize smuggling into the country,” Olawale said.
The expert also added that the first effect of maize importation ban is the hike in the price of maize in the local market, if the ban is mainly for maximization of GDP, as soon as the ban takes off, the effect reflects on the local price.
“Also because of the ban on maize importation, most local farmers begin to hoard the stock they have so that after sometime they can have good market value for it.
“We need a deep analysis on how the ban on maize importation and how it affects the local farmers, consumers and producers,” the expert said.
Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Ekemini Ladejobi (NAN)
Monarch urges strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols
Oba Mufutau Oyekanmi, the traditional ruler of Asipa (the Alasipa of Asipa) Ilufemilloye Fashina V111, near Ipetumodu in Osun State, has urged Nigerians to support the government on strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols to curtail the spread of Coronavirus across the country.
He made the call on Monday at Asipa in Ife North Local Government Area of Osun when he met with some journalists in his palace.
The monarch commended the efforts of the local, state and Federal Government on measures put in place to ensure safety of lives of the citizenry in tackling
Oyekanmi said “recently, government took bold steps at the right time to curtail the spread of Coronavirus by not allowing congregational prayers.
“Some people were not happy with the ban of the Muslim Eid festival prayer by the Osun State Government but it is simply because of us so we
can celebrate many more of Eid el-Kabir.
“We thank God by sparing our lives to witness this because it’s the living that celebrates.”
Sikiru Ayedun, former Osun State Commissioner for Home Affairs, Culture and Tourism, said
Ayedun said that the order of the state government on no Eid prayer for the 2020 Eid-el-Kabir was because of the COVID-19 “and a
test of faith.
“Whatever people are doing today is part of sacrifice, because at this point in time, our faith is being tested.”
The former commissioner assured that at the end of the tunnel, there would be a new dawn, but Nigerians should seek peace,
tranquility and live with one another in brotherliness.
Alhaji Eluyera Oyewole, former Education Secretary, Ife South Local Government, Ifetedo, Osun State, said that “everyone has
now realised that COVID-19 is real and that the pandemic is killing both the rich and the poor.
“Osun State Government did not make mistake in banning congregational prayer for the Eid el-Kabir festival, for this can increase human contact
during celebrations and that can cause more infections.
“Thank God for our government that is 100 per cent proactive, by doing the needful, else, it will have spread the virus.
“Government is doing its best; we urge for support from all by obeying the COVID-19 protocols.”
In the same vein, Alhaji Fatai Kolawole, former Permanent Secretary, Osun State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), commended
the efforts of the state government for trying to save the lives of the citizenry against COVID-19.
Kolawole said that banning congregational prayer for this year’s festival was a welcome idea, saying this is just for a brief period as it would not last forever.
He asked everybody to co-operate with government on directives given, adding that“COVID-19 is a joint task that government alone cannot fight.
“Very soon, COVID-19 will be eradicated, whereby things will be normalised educationally, economically, socially.”
He urged all and sundry to co-operate with local, state and Federal Government in curbing the spread of the Coronavirus by strictly adhering
to the use of face mask, regular washing of hands with soap and sanitizer, as well as keeping social distance, among others.”
Edited By: Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu (NAN)
`NDDC yet to pay contractors that handled road projects I facilitated’-Orji Kalu
Senate Chief Whip, Dr Orji Kalu, said on Monday that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) had not paid contractors that handled roads he facilitated in Abia.
Kalu stated this in a statement issued by Mr Emeka Nwala of Office of the Senate Chief Whip and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria
The former governor of Abia was reacting to claims by Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio that 60 per cent contracts awarded by the commission were handled by members of the National Assembly.
Akpabio mentioned ex governors Emmanuel Uduaghan, James Ibori, Sen. Ifeanyi Ararume, Sen. Orji Kalu and others as beneficiaries of several contracts awarded by the NDDC.
“The road projects mentioned by the minister are the interventions I facilitated for the communities as a private citizen before I became a senator,’’ he said.
Kalu argued that his name was mentioned because he used his letter headed paper to write a sympathetic letter to NDDC in 2016 pleading with the commission to rescue roads in Abia.
“I was Governor of Abia between 1999 and 2007 and never held any public office until June 11, 2019 when I was sworn in as a senator.
“Between 2016 and 2018 during my tour to several communities, leaders and welfare unions of most communities pleaded for urgent intervention on some dilapidated roads.
“The NDDC in their consideration which I am very grateful to, awarded the roads to companies that duly tendered for the projects and not myself.
“Whatever link I have with the projects is because it was considered due to my intervention,” Kalu said.
The senate chief whip also noted that the contracts were awarded by fully constituted body of NDDC with its board and not any interim management of the commission.
He said “the roads I requested for intervention as mentioned by the minister were repairs of Ezere-Acha-Ndiokoukwu road, Amaubiri-Eluama-Uru ring road and Lokpaukwu, Umuchieze Ndi Oji Abam-Atan road.
“Others are Okafia-Ozuitem-Bende and Ozu-Amuru-Abam roads.
“The contractors have completed and delivered these roads long time ago except Abam-Atani road, which I learnt from the contractors was slowed down due to rain but still ongoing.
“Meanwhile, the contractors who built these roads have not been paid any dime.
“I am much concerned about roads because I understand the economic importance of good roads.
“As a community leader, I do not intend to stop my interventions on roads in NDDC states because all the states need good roads.
“Good roads help to drive the economy,’’ Kalu said.
He, however, urged the commission to focus on paying contractors that delivered their jobs.
Edited Obike Ukoh