[10.08am] #Ikorodu #lastmareports
A fatal accident involving a loaded trailer going inw Ikorodu that skidded off the main carriageway to collide with a high capacity bus on the BRT corridor. @TrafficChiefNG @Gidi_Traffic @trafficbutter @lagostelevision @lagostraffic961
Fidelity Bank Plc, in partnership with Gazelle Academy and Bayero University Kano, at the weekend, concluded an entrepreneurship training programme for over 200 students in Kano State.
Organised under the Fidelity Youth Empowerment Academy stream 5 (YEA 5), the week-long training programme seeks to equip undergraduates with requisite skills, know-how, and capabilities needed to take start businesses even whilst in school.
Participants received training in various skill areas including fashion designing, makeover, henna design, new media marketing, baby bag making, bead making, etc.
This empowerment programme, which is part of the bank’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, is primarily targeted at creating a new breed of entrepreneurs amongst Nigeria’s boisterous youth population.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, the bank’s Deputy Managing Director, Mohammed Balarabe, said that the skills acquisition programme seeks primarily to offer undergraduates of tertiary institutions with vocational skills and enterprise training needed to become thriving business owners.
Whilst stating that the programme teaches students vocational skills as an alternative to white-collar jobs, Balarabe explained that the initiative would guarantee financial independence among the youths and ultimately alleviate poverty.
“Since its inception, four editions have held successfully at institutions in Enugu, Birnin Kebbi, Anambra and Rivers states with over 2,000 participants. In essence, we have succeeded in making entrepreneurs out of students who will be financially responsible and independent,” he said.
Balarabe commended the students for their commitment and performance during the course of the training programme.
The DMD, while quoting John Maxwell, said: “Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.”
He challenged the students to go out there and fulfill their dreams.
The Director, Public Affairs of BUK, Malam Ahmed Shehu, who commended Fidelity Bank for the initiative, called on other corporate organisations to emulate the bank in giving back to the society through laudable youth empowerment programmes like YEA5.
Shehu also lauded the bank for consistently delivering unmatched financial services to the university community and the citizens of Kano State.
Speaking in the same vein, Muna Onuzo, Founder, Gazelle Academy, thanked the participants for their zeal and active participation as evidenced by the number of things ranging from bags, clothing apparels, beadworks, cocktails that were made by them and on display for visitors who thronged the school to witness the closing ceremony.
“We give our students the ability to stand and build their business. We start by teaching them the skills of the trade and then we empower their mind so that the inner disabilities won’t limit them from actualising their true potential. We also teach students how to run a business that is clean, sustainable and viable,” she explained.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday approved the immediate termination of the appointment of the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission, NCPC, Rev. Tor Ujah.
This was contained in a statement by the Director (Information) at the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Willie Bassey on Tuesday.
It added that “Ujah has been directed to hand over to Mrs. Esther Kwaghe, Director of Administration in the Commission, who is to oversee the Office, pending the appointment of a Substantive Executive Secretary.”
The Lagos State House of Assembly has inaugurated a committee to probe the administration of ex-Governor Akinwunmi Ambode over the purchase of buses worth N45 billion allegedly without the approval of the House.
As part of its mandate, the Honorable Fatai Mojeed-led committee is mandated to probe the purchase of 820 buses that had been scheduled for public transport in the state.
The House said it was important to investigate the purchase of the 820 buses out of the 5,000 buses proposed by Ambode for mass transit because the lawmakers objected to the idea originally.
In a motion titled, ‘Lagos State House of Assembly Motion Number 2, member representing Eti Osa 2, Gbolahan Yishawu, stated that the executive proposed to spend N17bn to purchase the buses in the 2017 budget, which was not approved by the Assembly.
“In the 2018 and 2019 budgets, the state government proposed N24bn and N7bn respectively, but these were not approved.
“The state government still went ahead to import 820 buses at N7bn, and out of them, 520 are still awaiting clearance at the ports,” he said.
He added that the House was worried that 520 buses were still awaiting clearance from the bonded warehouse and that they were purchased with taxpayers’ money without approval.
President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the
National Intelligence Agency and the Inspector General of Police to conduct a thorough investigation into Process and Industrial Developments Ltd which was recently asked by a UK court to seize $9.6 bn dollars in Nigerian assets.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday.
Mohammed said the decision was based on the fact that the Federal Government suspected foul play in the contract which was negotiated and signed in 2010.
He said, “We want to place on record that the Federal Government views with serious concerns the underhanded manner in which the contract was negotiated and signed.
“Indications are that the whole process was carried out by some vested interests in the past administration, which apparently colluded with their local and international conspirators to inflict grave economic injury on Nigeria and its people.
“In view of the above, and in an attempt to unravel the circumstances surrounding the entire transaction, the Honourable
Attorney General of the Federation, with the approval of Mr President, has requested the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the National Intelligence Agency and the Inspector General of Police to conduct a thorough investigation into the company, the circumstances surrounding the agreement and the subsequent event, which includes commencing a full-scale criminal investigation.”
Mohammed, however, said despite the court judgement, Nigeria was not about to lose any of its assets.
He added, “Despite the recent recognition of the award by a UK court, and contrary to some reports, Nigeria is not about to lose any of its assets to P&ID. There is no imminent threat to Nigeria’s assets!
“In the first instance, the enforcement of the award cannot even commence now because the judge in the UK court ordered that the P&ID cannot enforce the judgment against Nigeria until after the court resumes from its current vacation.
“The Federal Government, therefore, wishes to use this opportunity to assure Nigerians that there is no immediate threat to Nigeria’s assets as has been wrongly interpreted by a section of the media.
“Nigerians should be assured that the Federal Government is taking all necessary steps to appeal the decision of the UK Court, to seek for a Stay of Execution of the decision, to defend its rights and to protect the assets of the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Mohammed was joined at the press conference by the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN); Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; and the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele. (Punch)
The United States Embassy in Nigeria says effective from Thursday, August 29, 2019, Nigerians applying for tourism, student and business visas will not only pay the N59, 200 fee but will have to pay an extra $110 (N40, 700) after the visa has been issued to them bringing the total cost to N99, 900.
However, applicants who are denied visas would not need to pay the extra N40, 700.
Applicants seeking the L1 Visa (work permit) will pay an extra N112, 100 if given visas while those applying for H4 Visa (dependency/spousal) will pay an extra N66, 600.
The US Embassy adopts the rate of N370/$1 for Nigerians which is higher than both the official rate and the black market rate.
The increment also comes amid complaints from hundreds of Nigerian visa applicants that they had not been able to secure US visa appointment dates despite making payments for visas.
The embassy said in a statement that the increment was done based on reciprocity.
It lamented that Americans were paying too much to secure Nigerian visas and thus the US government decided to retaliate.
The US embassy said it had been holding talks with the Nigerian government to reduce the fee but the Federal Government refused to accede to its requests.
The directive comes less than four months after the US canceled the dropbox system for Nigerian visa applicants which used to allow Nigerians who have a travel history to the US to apply for visas without going for interviews at the embassy.
The statement read in part, “Effective worldwide on August 29, Nigerian citizens will be required to pay a visa issuance fee, or reciprocity fee, for all approved applications for non-immigrant visas in B, F, H1B, I, L, and R visa classifications.
“The reciprocity fee will be charged in addition to the non-immigrant visa application fee, also known as the MRV fee, which all applicants pay at the time of application. Nigerian citizens whose applications for a non-immigrant visa are denied will not be charged the new reciprocity fee. Both reciprocity and MRV fees are non-refundable, and their amounts vary based on visa classification.
“US law requires US visa fees and validity periods to be based on the treatment afforded to US citizens by foreign governments, insofar as possible. Visa issuance fees are implemented under the principle of reciprocity: when a foreign government imposes additional visa fees on US citizens, the United States will impose reciprocal fees on citizens of that country for similar types of visas.
“Nationals of a number of countries worldwide are currently required to pay this type of fee after their non-immigrant visa application is approved.
“The total cost for a US citizen to obtain a visa to Nigeria is currently higher than the total cost for a Nigerian to obtain a comparable visa to the United States. The new reciprocity fee for Nigerian citizens is meant to eliminate that cost difference.
“Since early 2018, the US government has engaged the Nigerian government to request that the Nigerian government change the fees charged to US citizens for certain visa categories. After 18 months of review and consultations, the government of Nigeria has not changed its fee structure for U.S. citizen visa applicants, requiring the US Department of State to enact new reciprocity fees in accordance with our visa laws.
“The reciprocity fee will be required for all Nigerian citizens worldwide, regardless of where they are applying for a non-immigrant visa to the United States. The reciprocity fee is required for each visa that is issued, which means both adults and minors whose visa applications are approved will be charged the reciprocity fee. The fee can only be paid at the US Embassy or the US Consulate General. The reciprocity fee cannot be paid at banks or any other location.”
The complete reciprocity fee schedule, organized by visa classification, can be found below.
The reciprocity tables displayed on travel.state.gov will be updated to reflect the changes above.
Detectives are presently questioning the founder of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly, Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo, over the rape allegations levelled against him by Busola, a photographer and wife of popular singer, Timi Dakolo.
The Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba, said this during an interview with The PUNCH on Tuesday.
Responding to a question, Mba said, “Yes, he is in our custody.”
When asked if the pastor was being detained, the Force spokesman said it was too early to say.
He also said the investigation of Fatoyinbo was proof that the police had not swept the matter under the carpet as was being insinuated in some quarters.
When asked why it took so long for the pastor to be invited, Mba said the police wanted to get statements from several witnesses and then build a solid case before inviting him.
The police spokesman said, “We have done a whole lot of background investigations and spoken to a whole lot of people before now. It was a deliberate investigative procedure to bring him last. Although we may invite others later depending on how investigations go.
“We were not in a hurry to bring him because we wanted to have enough background information that would be used in interrogating him. We have done an extensive investigation.”
Mrs. Dakolo accused him of raping her 20 years ago while she was still a teenager.
The pastor had shunned a panel set up by the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria to investigate the rape allegations, stating that he was advised by his lawyers not to appear before the panel because it was prejudiced and may not conduct an impartial session.
The cleric in a statement last Friday, however, said he could appear before the panel after the police investigations.
The PFN had disclosed on Thursday that its probe into the allegations against Fatoyinbo was inconclusive because he failed to honour the invitation to appear before the panel.
But the Senior Assistant to the COZA Pastor, Ademola Adetuberu, in a statement in Abuja on Friday, disclosed that the legal advice was also premised on the statement issued and personally signed by the PFN President, Bishop Felix Omobude, “where our Pastor was publicly disowned.”
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) generated N311.94 billion in revenue between April and June through the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT),, statistics provided by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) have shown.
The figure, according to the NBS represents a 7.92 per cent Quarter-on-Quarter increase from the N269.79 billion generated in Q2 of 2018, and a 16.95 per cent Year-on-Year.
The manufacturing sector generated the highest VAT figure, bringing in a total of N34.4 billion. Professional services delivered the second highest with N29.58 billion, while commercial and trading, which placed third, generated N16.27 billion.
In the fourth place is the textile and garment, which generated N316. 91 million. The pharmaceutical sector brought in N250.09 million, while mining generated N50.6 million, the least amount.
Of the total VAT collection for the quarter, the sum of N151.56 billion was generated as non-import VAT locally and N94.90 billion as non-import VAT for foreign. The balance N65.48 billion was generated as NCS-Import VAT.
A female passenger was killed after a truck of Dangote cement collided with a BRT bus in Ikorodu area of Lagos state about 10am on Tuesday.
Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, director-general of LASEMA, who disclosed this in a statement, said all the occupants of the bus sustained injuries and that an investigation would be conducted on the incident.
‘’On getting to the scene of incident, a Dangote truck fully loaded with cement had a brake failure and had a head-on collision with a Primero blue Mass Transit bus with registration number LSR-228XS conveying 40 seated and 20 standing passengers, he said.
‘’All passengers on board suffered various degrees of injuries with one female passenger losing her life and the driver suffered severe life threatening injuries with his leg totally decapitated. The combined efforts of the Agency’s Assets/Medical Unit are on ground working alongside LNSC, Nigeria Police, FRSC and LASTMA to ease vehicular movement and ensure a swift recovery of the accidented truck. Recovery operation ongoing.’’
Earlier, Lagos State Traffic Managememt Authority (LASTMA) tweeted about the incident on its handle.
“A fatal accident involving a loaded trailer going into Ikorodu that skidded off the main carriageway to collide with a high capacity bus on the BRT corridor,” the tweet read.
[10.08am] #Ikorodu #lastmareports
LASTMA said evacuation process has started as victims of the accident have been rushed to the hospital for medical treatment.
Governor Emeka Ihedioha on Monday August 26, denied claims of one the arrested FBI suspects, Chika Odionyenma sponsoring his 2019 political outing which got him elected as Governor of Imo State.
The Imo Governor’s Special Assistant on New Media, Izuchukwu Akwarandu stated that those linking Odionyenma’s alleged fraud dealings to the governor were only being “mischievous.” Also insisting that the fraud case against Odionyenma is personal, Akwarandu alleged that the Imo State Governor appointed him as a member of the committee that oversaw his inauguration because he is an indigene of the state.
He further disclosed that the former member of Governor Ihedioha’s inaugural committee who is one of the 77 suspected Nigerian fraudsters arrested by the FBI, had no fraud case against him anywhere in the world when he was appointed.
He said, “He (Akwarandu) is an Imo State son and it was in that capacity that the governor attended the programmes that he organised. Moreover, those programmes were meant to empower the people and you know that the governor is a man of the people.
“It is important to note that as of the time the governor appointed him into the inauguration committee, there was no fraud case hanging around his (Odionyenma) neck anywhere in the world.”
The move by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to fully implement the Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO) designed in 2015 and the Minimum Remittance Order for the Year 2019 has raised new arguments on the structure of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).
NERC has the mandate to implement the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act 2005, especially Section 32, which allows it to ensure prices charged by licensees (distribution companies) are fair to customers and sufficient to allow the licensees finance their activities and make reasonable profit for efficient operations.
Some stakeholders, however, insisted that the recent review of electricity tariffs by the commission amounts to exploitation of consumers, given the shoddy performance of the power sector. Besides, lapses in the operations of Meter Asset Providers (MAPs) are still generating criticism.
Other stakeholders also expressed worry over the effect on national development, warning that unless cost-reflective tariff is permitted in the sector, projected economic growth might remain a mirage.
The sector was designed to be self-sufficient. Now near bankruptcy, the Federal Government is sustaining it with taxpayers’ resources. But there are indications that lack of proper structure and implementation by the commission could deny the sector about $900 billion needed to address energy infrastructure in the next 30 years.
Pursuant to the authority given to NERC under Section 76 of the EPSR Act 2005, the commission had established a methodology for determining electricity tariff in NESI and subsequently issued the MYTO, which sets out tariffs for generation, transmission, and distribution in Nigeria.
It also published a minor review of the tariff order indicating that from 2020 consumers would pay a maximum N14 addition for every kilowatt-hour of energy, depending on their status and their distribution companies.
NERC’s General Manager (Public Affairs Department) Dr. Usman Abba Arabi had issued a statement saying there was no tariff increase approved by the commission. But Sharfuddeen Mahmoud, NERC’s General Manager and Head (Market, Competition, and Rates) said there was indeed a review, which factored the current economic indices, particularly inflation, exchange rate and others. A court in 2016 halted the increase in tariff.
Some of the stakeholders said the current development smacks of fraud and duplicity, suggesting that the NERC leadership cannot be trusted. They further noted that the move was too hasty, as the new helmsman in the ministry of power should have been allowed to assess the situation prior to implementation.
Reacting, Prof. Segun Ajibola, former president of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, said: “These are charges not expected to be borne by electricity consumers under a deregulated regime. Yet consumers have no choice. NERC and its allies often cite high operating cost as reason for rise in tariff, forgetting that the high cost is itself a reflection of inefficiencies and, at times, corruption and mismanagement. Nobody would bother much to pay higher tariffs as proposed by NERC if the quality of service is commensurate because alternatives to power supply in this country are unbearable to households and businesses.”
The immediate past president of the Nigerian Association for Energy Economics, Wumi Iledare, faulted the way NERC currently operates. “Commissioners, in my opinion, cannot be involved in the day to day operations. They are political appointees and quite often, this constitutes a big problem, in my opinion. They need to let the skilled professionals supervise operations while they pay attention to the big picture of the commission and making final decisions,” he said.
He said the power sector laws were drafted in a hurry to justify the privatisation objective and called for a review. According to him, “Not much attention was paid to the cultural context of the country and the level of development at that time. Secondly, we tend to have too many experts with limited understanding of the principle of energy economics.”
Regarding tariff, he noted that the global best practice is to have an autonomous, independent and apolitical power commission with skilled professional workforce for rate determination, particularly with terms that are based on investment to deliver services.
“There should be nothing like DisCos clamouring for new tariff increase without verifiable investment to build new capacity. Investments in MAP are not a justification for the new tariff. However, the current tariff rate is too low to guarantee power delivery. So, something has to be done and quickly too.”
The president, Nigerian Consumer Protection Network, Kunle Olubiyo, also condemned the development, saying the decision was unilateral.
“Tariff is not the final solution. There are other areas of a regulatory regime that are not properly enforced. There are issues of collection and remittance inefficiencies and other issues. Electricity consumers are being made to bear the burden of the market. NERC needs to change its approach.
“Doing a review retrospectively is not good for the consumer. There is not supposed to be a review that will cost so much impact. If the review is around five per cent, consumers will not feel it. This is out of negligence. It will affect the disposable income of consumers. Consumers need to be consulted,” he said.
Also, the executive secretary, Association of Power Generation Companies, Dr Joy Ogaji, said the technical and operational inefficiencies of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and DisCos remain a critical barrier.
“This practice of variabilising generation capacity is punitive on GenCos as it discountenances idle capacity and serves as an incentive on non-performance for other sector players such as the TCN and the various distribution companies, who represent the associated value chain operator in the delivery of power to the end-user in the country.
“The technical and operational inefficiencies by these operators negatively impact the GenCos in different ways. With a total available generation capacity of more than 7,500MW and maximum wheeling capacity of not more than 5,500MW, there will always be a recurring instance of about 2,000MW idle generation,” she said.
She noted further that idle generation represents capital investment not able to yield revenue that will hence impact the ability of the GenCos to support efficient operations and service loans used in developing the power plants.
She said that out of the 5,500MW of transmission wheeling capacity, the DisCos have not proven to be able to distribute more than 4,500MW continuously, leaving yet another 1,000MW of generation capacity unutilised.
“In addition to the issues of incapacity, DisCos are also unable to account for up to 75 percent of the power they have distributed to end-users in terms of revenue remitted to the Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET).” (Guardian)