NSC urges connectivity, modernisation in transport system



The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council(NSC), Hassan Bello, has reiterated the importance of connectivity in the various transport systems in the country so as to ensure rapid growth of the economy.

Bello said this in a keynote at the maiden National Transportation Summit organised by the Chartered Institute of Transport Administration in Nigeria(CIoTA), on Tuesday in Abuja.

The theme of the event is ”Unlocking the Potentials of Transportation for Sustainable Development’’.

According to Bello, it is also important to ensure the use of modern technology to fast track the nations transport system to enable it compete with the global trends.

“If you have modern transport system, it will affect your economy, if you have outdated infrastructure, your economy will be sluggish and it will not grow.

“The growth of your economy depends on the modernity of your transport infrastructure; we have not been able to do that for a long time because we don’t have professionals running the transport system.

“So, we want the institute to look at the economy seriously and situate transport within that contextp such that if we have a dry port in Kaduna, it should bring economy to the door step of the people.

`We have lost billions of dollars to freight; imagine what this country would have become if we owned the freight we are paying for crude oil.

“If we want Nigeria to work, there is no place to look at than transportation. It is important that we adjust our transport system to the current trend,’’ he said.

According to Bello, lack of transport infrastructure in the country has pushed the cost of production by 45 per cent.

He said:“ The cost of doing business in Nigeria and connectivity of pipeline, inland waterways, railway and air transportation are critical.

“The port in Baro must be able to speak to the Inland Dry Port in Kaduna. Nigeria’s transportation system lacks connectivity.

“UNCTAD scored Nigeria very low over lack of connectivity. We want CIoTA to take over and to concentrate in making things better; they should begin massive advocacy by ensuring transport policy for integrated infrastructure.”

Bello explained that there was massive distortions in the transport system which, according  to him, is not good for a country that wants to diversify its economy.

He urged the institute to concentrate on formulating a transport policy and work with key stakeholders to ensure integrated infrastructure in the country.

“What we want is multi-modalism, but we need inter-modalism more, where goods are brought by sea by the ship, offloaded and taken by the train or inland waterways.

`There must be a policy that certain percentage of goods must be carried by inland waterways, road, pipeline and a majority by rail.

“If we have the pipeline, why will tankers go to Apapa? We have chaos, indiscipline in Apapa and the port is presently overwhelmed. That was why we said that the NPA should own the whole of Apapa,’’ Bello added.

In his goodwill message, the Managing Director, Nigeria Water Ways Authority (NIWA), Mr George Moghalu, urged the institute to partner with various strategic stakeholders to drive the sector.

Moghalu expressed optimism that the institute would ensure ways of expanding the transportation footprint across the country.

He said:“This summit should offer the opportunity to all stakeholders in the sector to discuss and generate ideas  to enable a more efficient transport management and administration in Nigeria.

“Stakeholders should, at this summit, network and share informations on ways of unlocking the potentials of the industry for sustainable development.

“Also, practical solutions should be proffered and factored into government policies and programmes to improve the sector, create jobs and further grow the Nigerian economy,” he said.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the three-day event was attended by various key stakeholders in the transportation sector.


Aisha Buhari pledges to champion advocacy against maternal, child deaths




Abuja, Dec. 9, 2019 The First Lady, Aisha Buhari, has expressed her readiness to champion the advocacy towards improving maternal and child health so as to minimise infant and maternal mortality in Nigeria.

Mrs. Buhari said this on Monday, during a peer review meeting with Governors’ Wives Advocacy Coalition, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The meeting was organised by the first lady to ascertain the progress so far made on their advocacy toward improving reproductive, maternal, adolescent health and nutrition at the various states.

She expressed the need for stakeholders to make a strategic partnership to aggressively tackle the raising cases of maternal and child deaths.

”In 2017, we gathered to discuss the disheartening situation of maternal and child health in the country and realised the need to aggressively address the issue to avoid a situation where more women will have to choose whether to give birth to a child or stay alive.

“I am happy that we have demonstrated a commitment to making life better,” she said.

The first lady commended the wives of Governors for their commitment and the progress made so far on the advocacy towards addressing the menace in their various states.

”It is encouraging to receive the progress report from each state since the establishment of the coalition; I must appreciate the support you all provided.”

She, therefore, reaffirmed her commitment towards championing the course of women and children, especially in improving the maternal and child health in Nigeria.
Mrs. Buhari also used the occasion to decorate the wife of th3 Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, and other wives of Governors as “Tberculosis champions”. 

On her part,  the wife of Niger State Governor, Dr Amina Sani Bello, who read the seven-point communique at the end of the meeting, said that there was need for training and retraining of Governors wives on issues-based advocacy.

The communique urged organisations interested in working for the health and wellbeing of women and children in states to involve the state’s first ladies from the planning to implementation stages. .

Edited by: Ephraims Sheyin

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FG assures local printers, publishers of more patronage



The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, on Monday said that the Federal Government would patronise local printers and publishers of educational materials over their foreign counterparts.

The minister, who gave this assurance in Abuja, when a delegation from the Academy Press Plc. paid him a working visit, said that the decision was to promote the industry.

He assured indigenous printers and publishers of the Federal Government’s support.

Our  decision to support the industry was necessitated by the need to support indigenous printers and publishers in line with the present administration’s policy of local content usage.

The government has resolved to make the industry more conducive for practitioners by evolving policies.

Since government is aware of the industry’s huge job creation potentials, it behoves on us to make it more viable,’’ the minister said.

In his remarks, the Chairman, Academy Press Plc., Mr Wahab Dabiri, called on the Federal Government to give to the printing and publishing industry the same support given to manufacturing and agricultural industries.

He said that the Academy Press Plc was an indigenous printer and publisher of educational and examination materials.

It is important that the government reviews some of its policies as regards the sector, especially in its current quest to create employment opportunities in the country.

The industry, which has the potential of creating huge employment opportunities and growing the revenue base of the economy, is currently producing below 50 per cent of its capacity,” Dabiri lamented.

Mr Gbenga Ladipo, Managing Director, West Africa Book Publishers, a subsidiary of Academy Press Plc, noted that the use of foreign printers was inhibiting the growth of local printers.

Ladipo said that if government did not intervene, the printing and publishing industry would go the way of moribund industries in the country.

He urged the government to reduce the tariff on books produced locally, which was as high as 35 per cent, while imported books are at zero tariffs.

Edited by: Oluyinka Fadare and Ephraims Sheyin

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Presidential aide advocates regulation of Social Media to curb lawlessness



A Presidential media aide, Malam Garba Shehu, said on Monday that the Federal Government is not against free speech.

He however warned that leaving the social media to operate without regulation can result in more lawlessness, violence and deaths.

Shehu was quoted to have said this in a statement issued on Monday by Mr Attah Esa, the Deputy Director, Information, State House.

He was speaking at the Kawararafa Media Award in Abuja.

Shehu, who is the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, was chairman of the award ceremony organised by Kwararafa Reporters, a news magazine.

He said the emerging modern media platform had played a strong role in promoting information sharing, strengthening democracy, and building networks of relationships, but added that without supervision or control, the nation risks more havoc from such platforms.

For instance, the entire Kasuwan Magani saga that resulted in the death of more than 50 people is because someone posted misleading information on Whats App that went viral.

All countries in the world are trying to make laws to check the excesses. Many countries are trying to control the situation. The Europeans have placed a new law that holds the companies responsible.

In United Kingdom, the parliament has received a report on social media. There is a youth addiction to it, just like cigarettes. Without any form of control, it has done harm to women, ethnic minorities, individuals, institutions and countries,’’ he said.

Shehu said the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had consistently called for a meeting of stakeholders to agree on modalities for regulating the social media, but was rebuffed.

The Federal Government is saying that stakeholders should come together and agree on regulation. We know that no matter how bad the situation it favours someone.

Some have argued that our constitution already has laws in libel, but the laws of the ‘60’s never anticipated social media.

No government has the right to muzzle freedom of speech. We don’t support the taking of lives as punishment. People insult others and share false information on social media.

I hope that hate speech will be tackled so that Nigeria will be a sane place to live in,’’ he added.

The president’s media assistant noted that “in every part of the world journalists go through some form of training, accreditation and licensing before playing their trade, like doctors, but with a phone, a tablet or laptop anyone can reach millions, sometimes for good and other times with ulterior motives’’.

Shehu said hate speech preceded the social media, but it was traceable through the media platform and controlled, explaining that the social media, “while emerging, portends a great force, and needs to be regulated for safety and peaceful co-existence’’.

The Chief Executive Officer of Kwararafa Reporters, Mr Emmanuel Bello, said the publication was non-political, and it rewards politicians, public servants, business executives and individuals with distinguished record of service to the nation.

The Special Adviser to the President, Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, and Shehu were honoured with “Media Excellence of the Year Award’’ at the event.

Edited by: Emmanuel Nwoye/Muhammad Suleiman Tola

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Buhari to participate in peace, dev’t forum in Egypt



President Muhammadu Buhari will depart Abuja on Tuesday for Aswan, Egypt to attend the Aswan Forum designed to set “An Agenda for Sustainable Peace and Development in Africa.”

The president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, confirmed this development in a statement in Abuja on Monday.

The Forum which holds between Dec. 11 and Dec. 12, is an initiative to address the interconnections between peace and development in Africa while promoting Africa-led solutions through strengthening policies and practices.

The initiative is being launched by the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in his capacity as the Chairman of the African Union (AU) and as an advocate of Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development in Africa – a recurring theme of his tenure as the AU Chairman.

It is also grounded in the AU’s Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want, and the search for African solutions to African problems.

The gathering is expected to bring together heads of state and government, leaders from regional and international organisations, financial institutions, private sector and civil societies.

”(Others are) scholars, visionaries and prominent experts for action-oriented discussions on the threats, challenges and opportunities.

It is also expected to end with a Declaration on the theme of the Forum and become an annual event,’’ he said.

It would be recalled that the Speaker of Egypt’s House of Representatives, Ali Abdel Aal had delivered el-Sisi’s message to Buhari in Abuja on Oct. 28 inviting him to the inaugural Aswan Forum.

According to the presidential aide, the President will be accompanied by Governors Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa, Godwin Obaseki of Edo and Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State.

Others are: Bashir td); Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Amb. Zubairu Dada; National Security Adviser, Maj.-Babagana td); and the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Abubakar.

Buhari is expected back in Abuja on Friday.

Edited by: Ismail Abdulaziz

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Agency assures Anambra road users of zero potholes ahead of Christmas celebration




Awka, Dec. 9, 2019 The Anambra Road Maintenance Agency has assured road users of government’s commitment to fix the dilapidated portions of the roads in all parts of the state ahead of the Christmas.

Mr Emeka Okoye, the Managing Director of the agency, gave the assurance in an interview with newsmen, while inspecting road rehabilitation in Awka on Monday.

He said the state government also engaged contractors to complement the agency’s efforts to ensure zero potholes across the state.

Okoye, who said that the agency was currently fixing the roads in Awka, said that over 30 roads had been fixed since the end of the rainy season.

He listed Roban Stores Road, Udoka Estate, Prisons Road, Aroma-Ifite Road and Amaku Hospital- Amaenyi Market Road as some of the roads already fixed.

Others are Club Road, Crescent Spring Road, St. Thomas Aquinas Church Road and Best Western Meloch Hotel Road, among others.

He said: “We are doing asphalt patching. We are also patching with the Dura Patcher vehicles acquired by the state governor.

“Three of them are working in three different locations and they have been doing that for the past three weeks.

“The government also engaged contractors, who are aggressively carrying out similar patching in Onitsha North, Onitsha South, Nnewi North, Nnewi South and other local government areas.

“Our aim is to meet up with the set target of filling every pothole in the state before Christmas and the job will continue even after the celebrations.’’

Okoye, who expressed satisfaction at the pace and quality of work done, said that the job was being done with a mixture of stones and bitumen as against concrete used earlier during the rainy season.

He further promised that traffic would be effectively controlled in major towns and cities of the state during the festivities to ensure smooth vehicular flow.

(Edited by: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Sam Oditah)





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Air Peace to commence flight operation to Ibadan



Air Peace says it will soon begin flight operations to Ibadan from Kano, Owerri and Abuja.

The Chairman of the airline, Mr Allen Onyeama, made the announcement in a statement issued in Lagos on Monday.

Onyema said: “Very soon, we shall start flying Abuja-Ibadan-Abuja daily, KanoIbadanKano and OwerriIbadanOwerri, three times a week.

This is part of our no-city-left-behind initiative and our plan to interconnect various cities of Nigeria.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the airline in November announced the commencement of KanoOwerriKano flights.

Onyeama explained that the recent Corporate Award of Excellence to the airline by University of Ibadan was in recognition of its unparalleled excellence in the delivery of safe and comfortable flights.

Edited by: Wale Ojetimi

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Lawmaker facilitates N40m skills acquisition equipment donated to Apapa Vocational Centre



Rep. Ayodeji Joseph, representing Apapa Constituency in the House of Representatives, said through his efforts, Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA) donated N40 million worth of equipment to Apapa Vocational Centre in Lagos.

Joseph made this known in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos on Monday shortly after handing over the equipment to the Chairman of Apapa Local Government, Mr Owolabi Adele.

NAN reports that items donated are, industrial sewing machines, industrial ovens, catering equipment, chairs, furniture, refrigerators, desktop computers and LG plasma television.

Others are, hair dressing equipment, industrial fans, cameras, pressing irons, generators and clippers, for different skills acquisition.

I started facilitating this equipment to the vocational centre when I was the Apapa Council Chairman in 2008 and many people who did not learn any vocational skill got involved and became professionals in different fields.

When I became a member of the House of Representatives, I felt the best I could do was to improve my support to attract facilitation of more gesture.

That is the reason why I used my good office to talk to Border Community Development Agency (BCDA) to provide the equipment for the vocational centre.

All the equipment are for the vocational centre; not for any individual. Over a thousand people in Apapa community have benefited from the training,’’ Joseph said.

He, therefore, urged youths in Apapa to avail themselves of the opportunities at the vocational centre to acquire one skill or the other free to become useful to themselves and to help their families.

“If we cannot provide enough jobs for people, we should give people the opportunity to become entrepreneurs,” the lawmaker added

While receiving the equipment, Adele commended the efforts of the lawmaker and the support of BCDA to the residents of Apapa.

Adele promised that the council would hand over the equipment immediately to the vocational centre for the benefit of the youths in the area.

Edited by: Shittu Obassa/Adeleye Ajayi




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Extend fight against corruption to attractive industry, CCB boss urges



Prof. Muhammed Isah, Chairman, Code of Conduct Bureau, has stressed the need to extent the fight against corruption to the attractive industry.


He stated this on Monday at a high level seminar organised by the Anti -Corruption Inter-Agency Task Team to commemorate the 2019 International Anti Corruption Day in Abuja.

“United Against Corruption.“

According Isah, corruption cannot be completely fought without focusing on the natural resources of the nation.

He said that it was important to check corruption in the attractive industry, adding that that funds from this sector remained important for the infrastructure development needed in the country.

 about 70 per cent of these raw materials remain untapped.

“The bulk of every developing nation lies on its resources and if these resources are being diverted, it will not go down well for that country.

“The mining industry is the bedrock of every industrial development and it is important to check what is going on in the extracting industry.

“However, if these resources are being diverted by way of syndicated organised crime, you will find out that such nation cannot be among the nations aspiring to be developed.

“Even if there is a GDP growth on the pages of the newspapers, the people of that nation on the other hand, will continue to suffer because wealth will not reach out to them,” he said.

NAN reports that the event was organised in collaboration with the European Union, Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) programme.

Others are: UNODC, MacArthur Foundation, Centre for Democracy and Development and the United States Embassy.

Editor by Modupe Adeloye/Dada Ahmed

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NiMet predicts hazy, thundery weather conditions on Monday



Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted

dust haze and hazy conditions over the North and Central cities with possibilities of thunderstorms over some parts of the coastal cities on Monday.

NiMet’s Weather Outlook on Sunday in Abuja forecast dusty hazy conditions with localised visibility range between 2 to 5 km over Potiskum, Maiduguri, Katsina, Kano, Damaturu, and Yola of Northern states during the forecast period.

It further predicted day and night temperatures of the region to be between 31 and 36 degree Celsius and between 14 and 19 degree Celsius respectively.

According to NiMet, hazy conditions are expected to prevail over the central states within the forecast period with day and night temperatures of 27 to 37 degree Celsius and 12 to 23 degree Celsius respectively.

“For Southern states, partly cloudy to sunny conditions with early morning mist/fog over Calabar, Abeokuta, Ijebu-Ode, Akure, Oshogbo, Ibadan, Ado-Ekiti, Port Harcourt, Eket, Yenagoa, and warri are envisaged over the region in morning hours,” it said.

The agency envisages chances of thunderstorms over Port Harcourt, Calabar, and Lagos during the afternoon and evening hours.

It predicted day and night temperatures of the region to be between 31 and 37 degree Celsius and between 20 and 24 degree Celsius respectively.

Edited & Vetted By: Emmanuel Yashim

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