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Stakeholders task quantity surveyors on meeting global standards

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Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), FCT chapter and other stakeholders,  have tasked quantity surveyors on the need to measure up with global best practices and standard for better service delivery.

The stakeholders gave the advice during a two-day workshop, organised by the NIQS, with a theme “Adoption of Building Information Modelling for Project Delivery in Nigeria’’.

Mr Otaru Omokagbo, the chairman of the institute, said that the essence of the workshop was to ensure that the NIQS equipped its members with appropriate skills that could assist them in quality service delivery.

He said that in an evolving world, “where new technologies are introduced on a daily basis, the institute has to come up with an idea of carrying their members along.

“The Building Information Modelling (BIM) will help to save time, save cost and you can get quality for you money.

“It will also help to ensure that all professionals in the construction industry are on the same page and work together as a team.

“The architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, electrical engineers will not have to work on their own.

“This, in turn, will reduce the issue of building collapse in the country.”

Mrs Mercy Iyorter, the immediate past president, NIQS, said that building information model was a holistic package for those in the construction industry.

She said that cases of abandoned projects as well as building collapse would be a thing of the past when professionals adopt the application.

“This BIM will ensure that all players in the construction industry know what each person is doing, so no one can use substandard materials in any project.

“I will also advise Nigerians to ensure that all their building projects are BIM- compliant because with that, I can assure you of quality projects,” Iyorter said.

Mr Adewumi Akinpelu, former Secretary-General of the institute, said that the model would ensure construction reduction cost and encourage optimal value for all construction cost.

BIM is digital files that describe every aspect of a project and support decision-making throughout a project cycle.
MRO/OYE/KAY

Edited by Celine-Damilola Oyewole/Kayode Olaitan

Education

Unilag VC urges stakeholders to support project, programme or student

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The Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe has urged stakeholders and friends of the institution to key into his vision of ‘picking a project, programme or student’ in a bid to promote excellence.

Ogundipe made the appeal in an interview on Thursday in Lagos.

He spoke on the sidelines of the inauguration of the newly renovated Human Resource Development Centre (HRDC) building and meeting rooms donated to the University of Lagos Business School.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Dr Akintoye Akindele, Chairman of Platform Capital, carried out the renovation and made the donation to the institution.

Ogundipe said that with such vision, the institution would contribute more, not only to the nation but the world at large.

”Part of the vision that God gave me when I applied for the position of the vice chancellorship  is: Pick a Project, Pick a Programme and Pick a Person.

”And what we are doing here today is part of that pick a project which Dr Akintoye, through the Platform Capital, is doing now in the renovation of this building.

“We also have a similar one currently going on in the Faculty of Law, being carried out by Alhaji Femi Okunu and many others like that.

In the area of Pick a Programme, we are talking to the alumni and friends of the university to pick a department and try and support it, by buying equipment and many others, in a bid to enhance the teaching and learning in that department, especially now that we are talking about online teaching.

For Pick a Person, you can pick an indigent student and train such student from first year to when he or she is going to graduate.

“You can also pick someone in a department and sponsor such person to an international conference outside the country or even within.

“We are indeed grateful to all our donors so far and expect more of such, to take our university to where we truly want it to be,” he said.

Ogundipe expressed delight at the gesture by the Platform Capital, saying it was the way to go, as it would continuously boost the culture of  excellence of the university.

”Today’s commissioning is not just for the renovated classrooms by platform Capital, there is also the lecture theatres, the old building in itself, and they also brought in IT system into the space.

“There are other facilities that enhance someone to deliver lectures to any part of the world, that is virtual teaching platform in the classrooms, where a lecture will be recieved and even examination conducted online.

”This will also impact on students in terms of entrepreneurship. As you know, this is HRDC building and the facilities are renovated for the UNILAG Business School. The entrepreneurship centre is a part of this because there is an aspect of entrepreneurship teaching that goes on now.

”If you look at the recent ranking by Forbes, the UNILAG Entrepreneurship Centre has just been ranked as the best in Nigeria and the third best in Africa.

“So, this centre will further enhance our teaching in entrepreneurship too,” he assured.

The vice chancellor also gave an update on the institution’s position as it concerns academic activities in view of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

He said: “I want all our students to know that it may be a bit difficult for us to bring all our students back to campus now.

”This is because they are more vulnerable to COVID-19. So we are going to do the online teaching and we want to assure them that we will put them into consideration at a particular stage.

”Management has met on that. At a particular point, we are going to put them into consideration, in such a way that they will not need to buy the data .They will only buy the data when the lectures are going on.

”But when it is time for examination, management is looking at it, we are going to recommend it to council, whereby the university will pick part of the bill for the data that the students are going to use for their examinations.

Right now, I want to assure you that once we have a directive from our principal, we will migrate online. We are fully ready concerning what we are going to do in that regard,” he said.

On his part, Dr Akindele, of the Platform Capital, who is also a teacher at the University of Lagos Executive MBA programme, said education remained the key driver of growth.

According to him, there is need for individuals and corporate organisations to continue to find means of supporting the government in its quest to develop the sector, as it cannot do it alone.

”For us, education is a key part of growth and for us too, we spent enough time analysing and looking at government.

“We believe that it is almost wrong or almost hypocritical for everybody to believe that government must do everything.

”We also believe that the private sector and individuals can play a major role in the development of this nation and that if we all run our governments, in our own small governments, we will be the larger government.

”You run a government in your home being a parent, you run a government of your own being a Chief Executive Officer and if we all run our governments, optimally, we can build a community of government that is all network and all connected.

” And what are the key areas for that? For us, education is one, secondly, it is entrepreneurship, thirdly, is gender equality and finally health.

“These are the four key areas that we are passionate about and we are not just talking about it, but putting in place things that will drive them.

”So, looking at education, it includes adopting any primary school around, fix the classrooms, buy students uniform and pay the teachers and not just the universities alone,” he said.

According to him, Platform Capital feels UNILAG is already doing a lot that is great, hence the need to give it the support.

”You know if we rally round the best in class and make it world class, we will all benefit from it.

”So for us, doing this is furthering the dream and vision of the Prof. Ogundipe-led team, supporting the fantastic faculties that they have here, hoping that we can make them the number one in Africa.

”This will then attract not just grants, the best minds, but the best teachers and the best students will then stay back.

”So, with this, we expect that our best minds will get what they intend going to get abroad here,  because this is a world class facility.

”With this, we now have prize for the best students here, job opportunity given and internship,” he said.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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General news

Kaduna Govt consults stakeholders on steps to reopen economy

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Kaduna State Government has urged people to wait for the guidelines to ease the lockdown of different segments of the society and economy in the state.

The Deputy Governor, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, made the plea in a statement on Thursday in Kaduna.

Balarabe said publication of the guidelines would soon be out, adding that it would be followed by ‘’a formal announcement on the re-opening of permitted sectors’’.

She recalled that the state government had last week extended the Quarantine Orders by additional two weeks during which stakeholders would be consulted on the conditions for a safe re-opening of the state.

“Further to that commitment, the state government has initiated consultations with traditional rulers, business community, market and transport unions, proprietors of private schools and religious leaders.

“This was aimed to discuss the protocols for re-opening more segments of the society and the economy.

“Clear protocols and guidelines for the reopening of approved sectors will be published before the current Quarantine Order expires on Tuesday, June 9, 2020,” the deputy governor said.

According to her, this will spell out what is required and the measures to be taken in the economic and social sectors that will be reopened.

“The markets, places of worship, schools and other facilities whose operations were prohibited under the Quarantine Orders, will remain shut until the approved protocols are announced next week.

“Citizens should note that congregational worship is not yet permitted.

“Religious leaders are aware of this fact, and we expect everyone to live up to their obligations and avoid needless, and illegal activity,’’ she added.

Balarabe, who is also the Chairman of the State Task Force on COVID-19, said that government had consulted widely with stakeholders who have pledged to assist the state government’s efforts in reopening of the state.

Thank God we have responsible leaders who understand the dangers and challenges of COVID-19, and are prepared to help the state and society to achieve navigate safely,” she said.

According to her, the recommendations and suggestions that have emerged from the consultations will help to strengthen the re-opening strategy.

“The draft guidelines and discussion documents shared with the stakeholders will be improved with inputs received,’’ she said.

Balarabe said it was only prudent to allow the sacrifices that had been made to be followed, to achieve the desired results.

She commended the citizens for their perseverance through hardship occasioned by the enforcement of the lockdown period.

The deputy governor noted that the burning desires of the state government to save life against COVID-19 neccecitated the adoption of stringent preventive measures announced back in March 2020.

The chairman of the State Task Force on COVID-19 recalled that the state government strategy to curb the spread of the virus was aimed at protecting lives and the economy.

“That is why the lockdown has from inception been partial to allow for essential services and the operation of some economic sectors.

In April, we also tasked a committee of senior officials to plan post-lockdown scenarios for the state.

“The report of this committee has since been discussed by the state task force on COVID-19 and published,’’ she added.


Edited By: Angela Okisor/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Environment

LAWMA reaffirms collaboration with Environment Ministry, stakeholders for cleaner Lagos

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The Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) has reaffirmed its collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources and other stakeholders to achieve a cleaner Lagos.

Its Acting Managing Director, Mr Ibrahim Odumboni, made the disclosure at a media parley in Lagos on Thursday.

Odumboni said the authority had been having continuous dialogue with the Private Sector Participation (PSP) to enable them to achieve the minimum standards.

According to him, they are engaging the PSP on capacity building programmes on agreeable minimum standards before informing Lagos residents.

He said that Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu had been working toward empowering PSP to ensure that there was sustainability in environmental management to avoid pandemic in the future.

“We are repositioning the Blue Box Initiative of Gov. Sanwo-Olu’s administration to have an in-depth spread of sorting waste from the source before getting to the recyclers.

“At the moment, we have 20 registered recyclers in 57 Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas (LGDAs).

“Presently, PSP operation is known in 11 LCDAs, and to cover all the local governments, the authority has decentralised its operation into Central, East and West to move closer to people in the community.

Before the end of August, we should be able to have recycling presence, at least two each, in all the 57 LCDAs,” Odumboni said.

While urging residents to sort their wastes from homes, he pleaded with local government chairmen to create space for recyclable wastes in their communities to enable recyclers to pick them up for usage.

Odumboni said the authority would improve on its mandate to ensure cleaner environment as from 6.00a.m, adding that anyone who noticed any infraction, should contact the Customers Service on 0805990660 and 07080601020.

He said LAWMA would participate more in ensuring that regulation of PSP were done,.

The acting managing director said that the authority would partner with Kick Against Indiscipline, Health Sanitation and others to sanction environmental offenders.

Odumboni appealed to residents to stop patronising cart pushers and endeavour to pay their bills to sustain the operation of PSP.

He commended the state government for providing excellent rehabilitation of the three dump sites.

Odumboni said that the land field had improved from 11 to 20, and increased the turnaround time of truck.

According to him, a total of 500 trips are made daily by the PSP, while the authority is working toward increasing the trips to 850.

He said that the authority would also engage farmers and medical facilities to ensure they complied with the separation of their wastes to avoid epidemic outbreak.


Edited By: Moses Solanke/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Metro

UN Decade of Action: Stakeholders harp on enforcement, education to reduce road accidents

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Some stakeholders in transport on Thursday canvassed increased enforcement of traffic laws and education of road users to reduce road accidents and resultant deaths.

The stakeholders spoke during an online meeting organised by National Drivers’ Merit Awards (NDMA).

The meeting was monitored by the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.

 

The two-day online meeting, which commenced on Wednesday, was organised to celebrate the end of the first UN Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011–2020).

The decade ended in the midst of a global pandemic, making the Road Safety Week and other activities to be  overtaken by the health crisis.

The online meeting was tagged: ‘’An X-Ray of the Decade of Action on Road Safety in Nigeria’’.

The meeting, moderated by Mr Ike Okonkwo and Mrs Bola Edwards, featured talks on: ‘Appraising the Decade of Action (2011-2020)’, ‘Data Integrity: A panacea for Effective Road Safety Management in Nigeria’ and ‘Road Safety Enforcement and Road Safety Education on a Scale’.

Mr Hyginus Omeje, the Lagos State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), said at the meeting that enforcement and advocacies remained key in achieving the UN Action Plan of 50 per cent reduction in road accidents.

Omeje, who called on various state governments to institute viable traffic management agencies, said that road safety required strategic documents, training, right funding and personnel.

“How many state governments or local governments in Nigeria train their drivers annually?

UN Decade of Action on Road Safety needs the commitment of all; there is a need for private participation, also.

“We must engender safety right from the inside. Before fleet operators will operate, a lot of things must have been done (on drivers and vehicles).

“We need increased road safety education and culture,” he said.

The FRSC boss, who called for a national transport policy, said  that one of the reasons why motorists disregarded traffic laws was meagre penalties for offenders.

Another speaker, Dr Charles Asenime of the School of Transport, Lagos State University, attributed slow reduction in Road Traffic Crashes (RTC) to poor driving attitude and underfunding of road infrastructure, among other factors.

Asenime also listed the factors to include low enforcement and a depressed economy which forced motorists to patronise substandard spare parts for vehicle maintenance.

He decried lack of road safety education in primary to secondary schools, poor established driving schools and lack of modern teaching equipment such as traffic signal simulations in many driving schools.

The Executive Secretary of the Transportation Growth Initiative (TGI),  Dr Adeyemi Omidiji, said that driving culture in the country was dangerous.

He added that many road users could not interpret road signs.

“Enforcement and prosecution have impacted positively in changing behaviour pattern of motorists, thereby reducing the rate of RTC across the country,” he, however, said.

A discussant, Mr Hafis Toriola, Director, Transport Operations, Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, said that enforcement and education were very key to road safety.

Toriola said that education would lead to voluntary compliance by motorists.

Another discussant, Dr Tolulope Olufunlayo, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Community Health and Primary Care, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, called for community engagement in road safety education and risk assessment.

NAN reports that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognises that road safety is a prerequisite to ensuring healthy lives, promoting wellbeing and making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

The Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020, officially proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in March 2010, seeks to save millions of lives by building road safety management capacity.

It also seeks to improve the safety of road infrastructure, enhance the behaviour of road users and improve post-crash response.


Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)

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Science & Technology

ICT expert urges stakeholders to exploit online platforms for virtual meetings

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The Founder, African ICT Alliance, Dr Jimson Olufuye, has urged stakeholders to leverage on online platforms as COVID-19 pandemic has increased dependence on virtual meetings and conferences.
Olufuye said this during the bi-weekly webinar of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Abuja chapter, on Thursday.
According
to him, virtual meetings and conferences will remove the usual cost of travels, accommodation and renting of halls.
“An advocacy push to encourage sustained virtual engagement will be highly beneficial, just as many businesses may not need to rent offices, as many staffers are able to do their work from home.
“It increases advocacy for a declaration by the government and the National Assembly that whatever law applies off-line also applies online,” he said.
Olufuye said that this had strengthened and upgraded ICT infrastructure and advocacy for the National Universities Commission (NUC), Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) and the Ministry of Education for approval of e-learning education paradigm across all levels.
He said it had brought about implementation of segments of the cybercrime law, adding that more citizens were online through targeted policy application.
Olufuye also called for an increased engagement of key stakeholders in advance internet governance paradigm nationally, regionally and internationally.
NCS has done well nationally thus far, but the time is long overdue for it and many other nationally-focused organisations to advance their perspectives and be more involved at the national level in the Nigeria Internet Governance Forum,” he said.
Olufuye stressed the need for leveraging on the knowledge of how the internet worked with lots of inter-connectivity and interdependencies, resulting in harmony at the data production, manipulation, retrieval, storage and application levels.
He called on NCS to come together more and be good example.
According to the ICT expert, government, which is the key stakeholder, should be engaged with the goal of improving the living conditions of people, for the creation of wealth and jobs, and in the process, facilitating the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The President of NCS, Abuja chapter, Mr Olusegun Alabi
, said that the biweekly Webinar Series (BWS) was one of the major initiatives of the chapter to create values for the society and enhance membership drive.
He said that the webinar was also aimed at increasing knowledge sharing and training on virtual platform resulting from the worldwide COVID-19 lockdown.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that NCS is the umbrella organisation of all information technology (IT) professionals, interest groups and stakeholders in Nigeria.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Health

Stakeholders urge FG to increase epidemic funding

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Health stakeholders on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to increase funding for epidemic preparedness to guard against being taken unawares by any outbreak in future.

They made the call during a virtual training organised for journalists and other stakeholders by Nigeria Health Watch (NHW), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO).

The training, which attracted 110 participants from across the country, was aimed at training participants on reporting the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and related issues.

Speaking during the training, Dr Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu, a Consultant Paediatrician, explained that allocation for epidemic preparedness at the States and Federal Government levels had been grossly inadequate over the years.

Dr Shinkafi-Bagudu, who is also the Wife of the Kebbi State governor and an Advocate for Women’s Health, said the country was taken unaware by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

She attributed the increasing confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country to inadequate allocation for epidemic preparedness in the nation’s budget despite the weak health system.

The first lady however commended the government, health personnel and other stakeholders for their commitment towards containing the virus.

She also commended NGOs for organising training for journalists and other stakeholders, adding that it will help in curtailing the spread of the virus.

Similarly, Dr Zouera Youssoufou, the Managing Director, Aliko Dangote Foundation, said the private sector would continue to support the government where necessary in its efforts to contain epidemic.

“All hands must be on deck because the budgetary allocation from the government alone will not be sufficient to tackle outbreaks.

Also, I urge the government to open up the economy gradually and safely to enable the people return to work as the virus has come to stay just like ,” Youssoufou said.

The managing director said that the government should only ensure adherence to safety measures in all business premises, organisations and offices against the virus.

Speaking on the training, Mr Ifeanyi Nsofor of Nigeria Health Watch, said it was done virtually in a bid to further contain the spread of the pandemic.

He explained that the training was aimed at supporting media professionals to disseminate the correct information to the public in order to dispel the increasing misinformation being peddled by non-professionals about the virus.

According to Nsofor, the training has exposed the participants to where and how to get information on the COVID-19 and to properly disseminate same to members of the public.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the training featured paper presentations by resource persons on different topics as well as a question and answer session.


Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Education

Stakeholders advocate research management in Nigerian varsities for national development 

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Stakeholders in the education sector have stressed the importance of research management development in Nigerian universities as a tool for promoting national development.

According to the stakeholders, it will also ensure realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Prof. Ayodele Jegede, the Director, University of Ibadan Research Management Office (UI RMO) disclosed this in a statement in Ibadan on Wednesday.

Jegede in his reflection on the 10th anniversary of RMO as well as well as its achievements, said the help of collaborators was also worthy of note.

Also speaking, Prof. Idowu Olayinka, the Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan (UI), eulogised the pivotal role of RMO in the development of the institution and how it had opened a new chapter for the institution.

UI will professionalise research management in order to open up job opportunities in research administration.

“The university will digitise the research management system in order to ensure that the institution remains the choice brand for cutting-edge multinational institutional research collaborations.

“Considering the role of research in national development, government should channel resources to research management.

“As a properly organised research management system is a necessary condition for a nation to maximise the opportunities in the fourth industrial revolution and knowledge based economy.”

Also, Prof. Olufemi Bamiro, a former Vice Chancellor of the university, noted that multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary researches were veritable tools to address national development initiatives.

He, however, stressed the importance of the triple helix which involves government-academia-industry partnership as a powerful tool for achieving socio-economic development of nations.

“With the government facilitating the flow of research-driven knowledge and innovation from universities to the industrial space, the power of the triple helix toward the building of industrial competitiveness with the centrality of academia -universities and polytechnics – is illustrated by the case of Tshumisano Trust Agency of South Africa.

“This is being done through its funding of research-driven innovation for transfer to the target industrial sectors to improve competitiveness.

“Under the programme, universities and technicians in polytechnics are challenged by the government with industrial problems with research-driven solutions deployed to the relevant Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

“In a continual process of increasing the industrial competitiveness of these actors, significant results are being achieved under the scheme,” he said.

Bamiro said that there were a great number of researches from Nigerian universities that litter the system proudly displayed in research fairs with no takers to commercialise them.

He added that maximising the triple helix was the way forward and toward relevance of universities and problem solving.


Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Ese E. Ekama (NAN)

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Metro

Aviation stakeholders seek review, sustainability measures as airports reopen June 21

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Some aviation stakeholders have urged the Federal Government to ensure an effective review of the sector and its sustainability before reopening airports on June 21.

 

The stakeholders, under the aegis of Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI), said this in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Lagos.

 

They appealed to the government to ensure that the resumption of flights would be in compliance with approved protocols for safe operations by the airlines.

 

NAN reports that the Federal Government has approved June 21 for resumption of domestic flights, after shutting  down airports for three months, to curtail the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The President of ASRTI, Dr Gbenga Olowo, said that  the sector required more initiatives than just reopening the airports.

 

“Three weeks is good enough to do the needful by all stakeholders, because we never stopped strategising and talking all through the lockdown.  It’s time to walk the talk.

 

“It is expected that all states should open up their economies  and indeed all countries should open simultaneously their activities because aviation connects economies.

 

“So, while we continue to battle with the virus, our economic life line must not be destroyed. The two are directly related. Just as disease can kill, hunger can also kill and even kill faster.

 

“Hunger destroys the immune system and makes citizens susceptible to Covid and non Covid attack,” he said.

 

Olowo said that airlines had been advancing in technology prior to COVID-19 on social distancing through self service for online ticketing and payments, self service check in, self service security and passport controls,among others.

 

Olowo  said: “Face masks, handwashing and sanitisation will be a necessary and sufficient condition for travel.

 

“Health certificates valid for at least 14 days, scannable on phones just like boarding pass, should be a necessary condition for travel to avoid isolation at the destination.

 

“This is a challenge for port health.

 

“As we continue to advance in technology, the ease of doing business without or limited human contact will progress the industry further and challenge the skill set of employees,” he said.

 

Olowo said that on board, social distancing would be quite challenging except aircraft would be configured to all first class seating arrangements for economic operations.

 

According  to him,no airline can ever break even with less than 40 per cent load factor at the extremely low fares prevalent in the market, where pasengers pay less than 100 dollars per hour on jet engines.

 

“This was the level 30 years ago, precisely 1990.  Lagos to Abuja was N2, 200. Exchange rate was N22 per dollar.

 

“The dichotomy is, can the passengers afford higher levels of tariff ?

 

“This is where government’s intervention in airline economics is needed in Nigeria by deliberate application of subsidies on fuel, taxes, airport charges,VAT, five per cent  or lower interest rate on loans,  and quick foreign exchange (FX) availability in order to lower airlines’ cost of operations,” he said.

 

Also, the Secretary General, ASRTI, Group Capt. John Ojikutu (rtd), said that government’s non-fiscal monetary bailouts for aviation operators should only be given to airlines not indebted to the government’s service providers.

 

Ojikutu said that the industry was going through a hard time under the pandemic, adding that  the stakeholders needed to  make sacrificial efforts instead of insisting on financial bailouts from government.

 

He said: “We may come out worst of the present situation than we are now.

 

“Government on the other hand should give the operators  palliatives but it must not be monetary because previous financial interventions running to hundreds of billions of Maura giving  to the domestic airlines are yet to be recovered fully after almost 10 years.

 

“Government should make  airport landing and parking free,  free air navigational charges for not more than  three months  for domestic airlines only after  easing of lockdown on operations.

 

” Fifty  per cent Passengers Service Charge (PSC) discount for three months on all domestic passengers only should be considered.

 

“Gradual charges reversal and the incremental of all the service charges to 50 per cent of the normal  charges in the next three months  on all services provided by the government’s service providers should be considered .

 

“The next three months  will attract 75 per cent changes of the normal charges. The next three  months after  the first one will  attract 100 per cent revert to the full charges.

 

The Passenger Service Charge will also revert to 100 per cent  after the first three  months of  concession”.

 

Also,  Mr Olumide Ohunayo, a member of the association, said that the resumption of airlines was normal which should be subjected to  the directives and the guidelines  of the airports’ authority  for effective safety procedures.

 

Ohunayo said that social distancing and nose masks’ wearing should be enforced before boarding and while on board.

 

He added that serving of food should be stopped on board, while sanitisers should be given to passengers.

 

“The cabin crew should also put in place measures to ensure effective safety procedures within the three weeks’ window before reopening.

 

“Training and retraining of operational staff should be in compliance with government’s regulations,” he said.

 


Edited By: Folasade Adeniran/Peter Dada (NAN)

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Why illicit drug trade persists in Nigeria– Stakeholders

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Some stakeholders in  criminal justice administration have identified dearth of personnel in prosecuting agencies, unemployment, obsolete laws and compromise among security agents as factors responsible for the thriving illicit drug business.

The respondents told the News Agency of Nigeria in separate interviews on Monday in Ibadan that cases of illicit drug trade had continued to surface in courts in spite of frequent arrests, prosecutions and convictions by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA)

Mr Ayokunle Morakinyo, an NDLEA counsel, who had served as a prosecutor in many states of the federation, said that the agency lacks adequate human and material resources to execute its work properly.

He said that government had so many responsibilities that it was contending with, adding that this had made it difficult to meet all the needs of the NDLEA.

“Sometimes, we don’t have enough support to do a thorough job.

“When I was in Niger State as an NDLEA prosecutor, many people who were convicted and sentenced to years in prison soon went back into drug dealing after completing their jail terms.

“It is the same story when I got to Kebbi State, and the situation was the same when I was in Oyo State.

“In fact, some defendants who were granted bail also went back into drug trafficking and were arrested and arraigned for fresh offences when they had not been discharged from previous crimes.

“Unfortunately, state governments don’t seem to be interested in drug-related matters because they believe that the NDLEA, which is a Federal Government Agency, is there to handle it.

“There is also a psychological angle to the issue of drug dealing in Nigeria because some of the criminals feel that unless they buy and sell cannabis and the likes, they cannot survive.

“Socially, there is wide-spread unemployment where idle hands engage themselves in dealing in the  illicit trade,” he said.

The NDLEA counsel expressed worry that the situation might worsen if something urgent was not done to curtail the rising cases.

Mrs Oyinkansola Odebunmi, a counsellor and Founder of Oyin Counsel Concept in Ibadan, said drug trafficking was on the rise because the punishment attached to the commission of the crime remained light among other factors.

“This problem has also remained because some influential persons are out there encouraging the criminals.

“Another reason why drug dealing has persisted is that it is the only means of livelihood for some people and there must be a strong alternative before the dealers can stop peddling it,” Odebunmi said.

Also speaking, an Ibadan-based lawyer, Mr Stephen Raji, contended that some security operatives involved in investigating drug dealers sometimes compromise.

“I challenge you to watch court trials involving drug traffickers, you can hardly find big guys like barons being tried.

“The people you will find being made to face prosecution are ordinary smokers and sellers because the real dealers would have bribed their way through,” Raji said.

The legal practitioner called for a department to be established to supervise the day-to-day operation of NDLEA officers so as to forestall any compromise during arrest and investigation of suspects.

He also advocated regular training and retraining of the officers to boost human capacity development and productivity.

(
Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare/Mufutau Ojo (NAN)
)

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