One person was arrested in connection with a shooting and grenade attack that left two people dead in the eastern German city of Halle and has prompted German authorities to say they are dealing with an ongoing “rampage situation”.
Federal anti-terrorism prosecutors have taken over the investigation and police have warned the public to remain alert as other assailants may still be at large after several people escaped the scene in one or more cars.
A dpa reporter saw one of the two victims of the attack lying about 30 metres away from a local synagogue.
The body was covered with a blue blanket.
Security at the synagogue managed to prevent one or more armed assailants from entering, local Jewish community leader, Max Privorotzki, told the Spiegel news outlet.
Privorotzki said there were between 70 and 80 worshippers inside the synagogue at the time.
The incident coincides with Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year in Judaism, and comes amid a heated public debate about the safety of Jews in Germany. Anti-Semitic crimes, especially violent ones, are on the rise in the country.
Shortly after the deaths and the arrest were announced, a police spokeswoman said shots had been fired in Landsberg, a town some 15 kilometres away from Halle.
She did not give further details.
Police in both Halle and Landsberg urged residents to remain indoors.
They said on Twitter that those on the streets should seek shelter.
Witnesses in Halle said that one of the assailants had worn combat gear and had been armed with an automatic weapon.
“The man came towards the kebab shop.
“He was wearing a balaclava and carrying an assault rifle.
“He threw a grenade, which bounced off the shop’s doorframe and exploded in front of another guest on the floor,’’ a witness told German broadcaster n-tv.
The witness, who had been ordering a kebab at the time of the incident, said he hid in the shop’s toilet, texted his family that he loved them and only came out once he was asked to do so by police.
Other witnesses said that a suspect had thrown a grenade into a nearby Jewish cemetery.
The city’s main train station was closed down due to an active police investigation, rail operator, Deutsche Bahn, said.
The operator added that all trains to and from that location would be delayed.
The European Parliament held a minute’s silence for the victims in the Halle attack at the start of its plenary session in Brussels on Wednesday.
Edited by Abdulfatah Babatunde
MAN solicits collaboration with varsities to revamp education
Mr Samuel Kolawole, the chairman of the association, made the observation at the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between MAN Southwest and the First Technical University, Ibadan on Tuesday.
The event which took place at the premises of the university had the top management of the institution and MAN in attendance.
Kolawole said that it was a very good development for a university to consider MoU to try and blend theory with practice.
“We are glad as manufacturers that they have deemed it fit to reach out to practitioners because that is what we are as manufacturers.
“Wen you say someone is an engineering graduate in a technical area and he is not able to perform in practice what he has learnt in theory, then there is a problem.
“There is a disconnect between the ivory towers and the practitioners who will put into practice all the research findings and all the knowledge.
“So with this kind of arrangement now it is possible for us to integrate from what the memorandum of understanding contains.
“It means that research that is done in this university can be practicalised in the organisations of our members in the processes that we go through,” he said.
Kolawole who is also the Managing Director of University Press Plc., said that the MoU, if well implemented, would allow students of the university to have first-hand experience of what manufacturing is all about right from the onset.
“What they are being taught in theory they can go and be experienced in our members’ organisations and that is also a good thing.
“If that is done it means the gap between the theory and practical would be bridged.
“It has also been said that many fantastic research findings from the Nigerian institution lie there just published in journals that are not taking into practice.
“This kind of MoU will ensure that findings from this university can be practised in the various organisations where they will be useful to the society.
“There is a lot to learn and there is a lot to gain in this kind of understanding that the university is signing with the MAN, especially within this environment in which the university is located,” he said.
In his remarks, Prof. Ayobami Salami, the Vice-Chancellor, First Technical University, said that the need for industry expertise and bridging the gap for a robust education necessitated the MoU.
Salami noted that the university would ensure that the collaboration with MAN was implemented to produce the set goals outlined by the institution.
“Let me say that from the onset as a university, we recognised the critical role the manufacturing association of Nigeria took in achieving the aims and objectives and the vision and mission of this university.
“After my coming in 2017 and then we want to start the academic programme in 2018, we brought in the first set of students in January 2018 we tried to look at the curricula of the university.
“Because one major problem we have at universities is that graduates are not fit for the market and it is unfortunate for most of the graduates not all of them.
“But the reality as at now is that most of the graduates are not fit for the market and one of the objectives of this university as a technical university not a university of technology was to produce graduates who fit perfectly into the market.
“I keep on telling people that there is a difference and not only a difference but a gulf between technical university and university of technology. ”
Salami further noted that technical university is about teaching students theory, processes and products that distinguishes it from University of technology.
He said that graduates we’re supposed to be able to identify problems, proffer solutions and implement it.
Edited By: Kayode Olaitan (NAN)
NGO wants FG to make mining intervention funds more accessible
The centre’s Executive Director, Mr Monday Osasah, made the call in a statement on Sunday in Abuja, while commending Federal Government for initiating the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative to enhance gold mining.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), with the Bank of Industry (BOI) in August 2017, to give N5 billion intervention fund to Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners across the country.
The intervention fund was a joint venture between the BOI that provided N2.5 billion and the ministry that provided another N2.5 billion.
The effort was to rejuvenate the mining sector as part of Federal Government economic diversification plan.
It is expected to eliminate illegality while supporting youths, who are interested in mining, to do their business properly and legitimately.
Osasah advised government to extend its political will to ensure that the conditionalities attached to the N5 billion loan facility put together by the ministry and BOI were looked into.
He said the measure was critical to make the loan easily accessible, particularly those that had formalised and perfected their registration with the ministry and the Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN).
“As government warms up to expand the scope of the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative to States with gold endowment, it should ensure fairness by making sure that no state is left behind.
“The biometric exercise that will bring this about should rely on data of formalised mining co-operatives known to the ministry.
“A good timeframe announcing the commencement of the exercise should be determined and released early so that artisanal miners, who are yet to register and formalise with the ministry, can have ample time to do so,” Osasah said.
He further advised government to demonstrate its willingness for diversification and formalisation of co-operatives by supporting the initiative of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development of organising 25 artisanal mining co-operatives in two states in each geo-political zone.
He said government should also support the ministry’s initiative of one mineral per local government area.
Osasah said government’s support for the initiatives was critical because it could help address the effect of the drop in oil price and the country’s growing debt profile.
He added that government’s support for the initiatives was critical to strengthening its diversification policy and catalysing the investment potentials in the solid mineral sector to create jobs and wealth.
NAN further reports that the N5 billion mining intervention loan was supposed to be made available to certified mining industry participants at a single digit interest rate of five per cent.
The aim of the intervention was also to address lack of access to funding which has been hindering artisanal and small scale mining operations in the country.
He said that rather than putting stringent measures in place, the bank should work out modalities to allow the association guarantee its worthy and certified members.
The president, who said that the loan facility had been laying in the bank for three years, noted that it was only one person that was able to access N90 million from the fund since it was deposited.
“There is need for both the bank and the Federal Government to come up with suitable formula to enable miners access the fund, and we are ready to collaborate with both parties to achieve this,” he said.
Muhammed advised that any miner with proven identity and a site that had large deposit of gold or other mineral, which had been certified by international organisations, should be allowed to use his certificate as collateral.
MAN welcomes CBN’s unification of exchange rates
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) says the unification of the country’s exchange rate is a welcome development that will engender increased investment inflow in the real sector of the economy.
Mr Mansur Ahmed, MAN President, made this remark in a report made available to newsmen on Friday in Lagos.
Ahmed said that the association had, over the years, been advocating for a unified exchange rate to promote a market-friendly rate in the country.
The unified rate, he said, is capable of facilitating stable production planning and engender sustainable economic growth.
He said that drawing from basic knowledge of the transmission mechanism of exchange rate management and experiences of Cuba and India, the current forex unification agenda would entrench a convergence and enhance exchange rate stability.
“It is, therefore, gratifying as it appears that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has now unified the country’s exchange rate.
“Clearly, this is a welcome development and a laudable initiative that has come at the right time.
“`This is more so, particularly, now that the economic outlook is gloomy in light of the impact of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic that has culminated in uninspiring macroeconomic situations,’’ Ahmed said.
He recalled with delight that IMF and World Bank had at different times advised the country on the need to unify the multiple exchange rate windows to prevent distortions in investment decisions in the public and private sectors of the economy.
“In fact, the World Bank had attributed the country’s loss of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to investors’ exasperation from perceived manipulation of the foreign exchange market.
“The unification will also boost investors’ confidence, control rising inflation and promote transparency, entrench better exchange rate management and eradicate distortions to the barest minimum.
“It is expected to also eliminate the notorious socially destructive rent-seeking activities, halt the incidence of round-tripping, ensure better allocation of resources, facilitates income expansion and stimulate the inflow of foreign investment into the economy.’’
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the CBN had on July 7 made an adjustment which moved the rate at the Special Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS) to N381 per dollar.
The MAN President, however, stressed the need to recognise the existence of the unavoidable pains that naturally came with the transition from a multiple exchange regime to the domain of a single exchange rate.
Particularly, he said, there is the burden of dollar-denominated loans and offsetting existing credit commitments to foreign suppliers of raw materials.
He advised that the CBN put a measure in place to minimise the intensity of the pain by considering outstanding obligations of manufacturers from the second quarter 2019 till date.
“Given at N345 to a dollar prior to unification and allows such to settle at between N330 and N360,’’ he said.
According to him, this will enable banks to redeem these obligations to foreign suppliers of manufacturers.
He said that many factories might close and the CBN stimulus packages to the manufacturing sector would suffer a huge setback as cash flow crunch becomes the order of the day.
Ahmed also recommended that the apex bank should develop an appropriate implementation strategy that would engender a successful transition from the current multiple windows to a single efficient one.
“The CBN should also ensure that the strategy pursues two fundamental objectives.
“The first, is to limit the short-term pains until efficiency gains materialise by responding swiftly with an inward-oriented rescue guideline while the second should seek to boost the pace at which such efficiency gains materialise.
“It should also submit all the instruments of exchange rate determination gradually to the unseen forces of demand and supply as a matter of necessity,’’ Ahmed advised.
He also urged the apex bank to completely avoid the temptation of interference in order to fully harvest all the benefits that foreign exchange unification can offer.
Edited By: Cecilia Odey/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
Association says BOI’s stringent loan conditions frustrating miners
The Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN) has said that stringent loan conditions by the Bank of Industry (BOI) had frustrated miners from accessing the Federal Government’s N5 billion mining intervention fund.
Alhaji Kabir Muhammed, President of the association, said this on Thursday in Abuja when a delegation of the African Centre for Leadership Strategy and Development, a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), paid him a courtesy visit.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the BOI in August 2017 to give N5 billion intervention fund to Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners across the country.
The intervention fund was a joint venture between the BOI that provided N2.5 billion and the ministry that provided another N2.5billion.
The effort was to rejuvenate the mining sector as part of the Federal Government economic diversification plan.
The loans was supposed to be made available to certified mining industry participants at a single digit interest rate of five per cent per annum.
The aim of the intervention was also to address lack of access to funding, which was hindering artisanal and small scale mining operations in the country.
The MAN President while commending the government initiative, however, said there was need for BOI which was saddled with the responsibility of disbursing the fund to review the loan conditions, to enable miners access to it.
He added that rather than putting stringent measures in place, the bank should work out modalities to allow the association guarantee its worthy and certified members.
“This money had been laying in the bank for three years now, and this is very unfortunate.
“There is need for both the bank and the Federal Government to come up with suitable formula to enable miners access the fund, and we are ready to collaborate with both parties to achieve this.
“I am one of the earliest applicants who requested for the loan even before I became president of the association.
“I had gone to look for N100 million, but the cumbersome nature of the conditions placed by the BOI made it impossible for me to access the fund, as they kept demanding for one thing or the other.
“Only one person was able to access N90 million from the fund since it was deposited. You can imagine if at my level I cannot access such loan, what more of others,” he said.
Muhammed advised that any miner with proven identify and a site that had large deposit of gold or other mineral, which had been certified by international organisations, should be allowed to use his certificate as collateral.
He added that all that such miner needed to do, was to deposit his license and certificate in the bank and if he defaults for whatever reason, the bank could always recover the fund.
The MAN president further suggested that in the event of equipment purchase, receipt of such should also be deposited in the bank, thereby making selling of such equipment impossible without the notice of the bank.
He said it was unfortunate that even when the association had agreed to form cooperatives as directed by the Federal Government to enable its members access the loan, their efforts were still being frustrated by the bank.
“We have agreed to act as guarantors to our registered miners because we know their capacity.
“We have also put in place mechanism to ensure that no one diverts government fund and that equipment were bought and handed over to miners instead of giving cash.
“But this bank had been frustrating our efforts, and I don’t know what their motives are because those in the agricultural sector and other small scale industrialists had been accessing government intervention fund, so why not miners.
“If they feel we do not have the capacity and cannot develop a suitable formula where the money can reach miners, they should return it back to the Federal Government,” he said.
According to the Muhammed, until the association raised an alarm, the Federal Government was not aware that miners were yet to access the funds.
Mr Omaojor Ogedoh, Senior Programmes Officer of the NGO, who led the delegation, said the visit was to find out how the association was interfacing with government to ensure the welfare of miners and sustainable mining in the country post COVID-19.
NAN further recalls that the Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, had earlier charged miners in the country to form viable cooperatives, to enable them access the loan.
He said government intended to deepen operations of the mining sector so that Nigerians could enjoy its potentials.
Edited By: Bayo Sekoni/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)