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Amaechi advises tricycle and motorcycle riders on regulation



Amaechi advises tricycle and motorcycle riders on regulation

…FG says PIA clearly provides for safe workplace***

Former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has urged tricycle and motorcycle riders to regulate themselves to ensure a smooth land transportation system that accommodates them.

Amaechi made the call at the Strategic Stakeholders Summit organised by the Amalgamated Commercial Tricycle and Motorcycle Owners, Repairs and Riders Association of Nigeria (ACOMORAN) in Abuja, Thursday.

While noting that some members of ACOMORAN were graduates, he said the stereotype that they were bad could only be corrected, and their operations respected if their mode of transportation was fully regulated.

According to Amaechi, what we see in Nigeria is a chaotic land transportation system and this is because it is a responsibility shared between the federal and state governments.

“I think that if we regulate the motorcycle riders, then we’ll have a solution to complain about their indiscipline.

“I agree that genuine and real operators in this sector are not criminals.

I believe that if the government regulates you properly, you can be at home or you can be riding, and people will call you to come and pick them up.

“When I was Minister of Transportation, and they were telling us to ban you completely, I asked the question, where will go if we ban you?’’ he asked.

He said that for the government to ban motorcycle riders there should be an alternative provided for them to earn their livelihood.

“Where we don’t have an alternative means of employment, the best thing to do is to leave you and regulate you.

“So I replied to that request, saying I believe that your association creates huge employment that people are taking for granted.

One reason why I supported you is that you are part of the economic growth of this country.

“I realised that contrary to the impression that people have of you as illiterates and touts, things have actually changed,’’ he said.

Amaechi said that it is amazing that among them especially at the association’s leadership level; there were people who were well-educated, exposed and patriotic.

“I believe that graduates are also motorcycle riders, and I believe that some of you may not want to be Motorcycle riders, but you are forced by the economic realities,’’ the former minister said.

He advised the tricycle and motorcycle operators to streamline their operations and work together to provide better and safer transportation at their level of operation.

“Work together, work in unity, provide better transport, and if the government has not provided a regulatory framework for your sector yet, please regulate yourselves through your association,’’ he said.

In another development, the Federal  Government says the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 clearly provides for a healthy and environmentally conscious workforce and safe workplace for businesses to thrive in the oil and gas industry.

Mr Farouk Ahmed, Authority Chief Executive (ACE), of Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) said this on Thursday in Abuja.

Ahmed made this known at the maiden edition of the Health, Safety, Environment and Community (HSEC) Managers forum for the Midstream and Downstream Operators in the Oil and Gas Industry in Nigeria.

The forum, organised to probe into HSE challenges facing sustainable development of the industry, will provide framework for innovative and practical solutions to these challenges for the benefit of our environment, workforce, host communities and investment initiatives.

The ACE, while underscoring the critical role HCE could play, said the statutory provisions of the PIA on HSEC administration clearly indicated that the government appreciated the importance of a healthy and environmentally conscious workforce.

This, according to him, led to the creation of a directorate to manage the Health Safety Environment and Community matters in the mid and downstream value chain.

“In the past, the regulator and the industry through this platform exchanged ideas, thoughts and deliberated extensively on topical operational related HSE issues which yielded positive results as well as fostered relationship between the industry and the regulator specifically on HSE issues,” he said.

The ACE, however, said it was in this regard that the Authority decided to revive the forum to build on its past achievements, adding that the emergence of the forum was in response to heightened environmental consciousness and the global need for sustainable development in the industry.

“The oil and gas industry has for several decades maintained pride of place at the top of the global energy mix despite the threat posed by renewable and cleaner energy sources.

“However, recent concerns about global warming, exponential improvements in the efficiency of renewable energy alternatives and the politics of oil pricing have combined to pose almost an existential threat to the global petroleum industry.

“The threats of renewable energy sources which in the past were almost always dismissed by energy industry experts have today become more real than ever.

“As we speak, some of the big International Oil Companies are funding gigantic research into alternative fuels. As sweet as Nigeria’s crude are renowned to be globally, recently we lost our valued customers, and agas buyers are now competing with us in the same market space as suppliers.

“Nigeria is to continue to benefit from its vast petroleum resources, now more than ever is the time to build sustainability into our oil and gas value chain as well as management of its wastes.

“And, this task rests on the shoulders of not only the Regulators but all stakeholders. It is thus fitting that all the theme for this maiden edition of the HSE Managers forum for Mid and Downstream operators is: “LETS BEGIN,” he said.

He urged the participants to come up with a communique that would reflect the collective commitment to sustainable development, with actionable ideas and recommendations for enhancing the HSE performance of the industry.

In an remark, Captain John Tonlagha, Executive Commissioner, HSEC, Nigerian Upstream,  Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC)
said the forum was tailored towards addressing the Midstream and Downstream operational and regulatory issues in the industry.

He said the platform which was emplaced in the then Department of Petroleum Resources era had served as a veritable tool to bridge the gap between the regulator and the entirety of the value chain in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

“Having put the HSE Managers’ forum into proper perspective based on its gains that we in the commission can attest to, I believe that the NMDPRA and all the players in this industry are on lasting partnership.

“This will consolidate gains of the PIA and institutionalise key and laudable HSE-related programmes that will further help in the actualisation of our collective mandate,” he said.



LASG Issues Travel Advisory Ahead Of Students Rave Event



LASG Issues Travel Advisory Ahead Of Students Rave Event

… Says traffic will be restricted between Police Zonal Headquarters, Zone 2 and Onikan Roundabout from 7:00 am*** 

The Lagos State Government has advised Motorists to plan their movement around Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Old Onikan Stadium, Lagos Island ahead of the Students Rave 2023 event scheduled for Friday, 27th January 2023.

As a result of the above rally, the Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde disclosed that traffic will be restricted between Police Zonal Headquarters, Zone 2 and Onikan Roundabout from 7:00 am on the aforementioned day. He assured that Officers of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, (LASTMA) will be available to manage traffic flow.

Explaining the alternative routes, Oladeinde advises Motorists plying Island Club road by Police Headquarters Zone 2, Onikan to go through Ozumba Mbadiwe road inbound Falomo Bridge (Five Cowries Bridge) to link Alfred Rewane and Osborne road to complete their journeys.

In the same vein, Motorists from Bonny Camp according to the diversion plan can access CMS/Marina Bridge after Independence Bridge (Mekunwen Bridge) and loop it down towards Cathedral Church to connect Lagos Island proper through Odunlami Street for their desired destinations,

The Transport Commissioner also advises Motorists to utilize Force road beside Muson Centre to link J.K Randle Avenue (Race Course) or go through Onikan Roundabout to connect JK Randle Avenue/Water Board area to access CMS Bridge by the State House/Old NITEL Building.

He further explained that Water Board inbound Broad Street to Tinubu Square will be available to Motorists, adding that they can equally access Old Defense road/ Ganiyu Smith from Water Board to link Igbosere/Sandgrouse to Simpson Street and connect Third Mainland Bridge to continue their journeys to other parts of the State.

The Transport Commissioner reiterated that Security and Law Enforcement Agencies will be at all strategic junctions and intersections to ensure the safety and security of all road users and the free flow of traffic within the perimeter of the venue and alternative routes outside the venue.

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Aregbesola: Immigration Produced More than 1.7m Passports in 2022



Aregbesola: Immigration Produced More than 1.7m Passports in 2022

…Agrees there are human-induced challenges***

Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, said in Abuja on Thursday that the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) produced more than 1.7 million passports in 2022.

Fielding questions at the 64th edition of the State House briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team, Aregbesola said the figure was a landmark achievement.

He rated the Ministry of Interior and its agencies as having scored above 80 percent in terms of performance.

“By Dec. 31, 2022, we produced more than 1.7 million passports.

“In the annals of Nigeria that has not happened before; as I am talking to you, we have more than 200,000 booklets in our store.

“We are not denying the fact that there are human-induced challenges if you look at the number of applications, vis-a-vis the number of passports produced.

“We are above 80 percent in performance; in any way, take it as given that we produced more than 1.7 passports in 2022,’’ Aregbesola said.

The minister said that a presidential directive had been issued with regard to the domestication of passport production.

He said the Ministry of Interior, in collaboration with the NIS, had impanelled a “project steering committee’ with a mandate to actualise the goal.

Aregbesola also said there was a major reformation and digitisation of passport issuance and administration as a temporary electronic passport had been introduced.

“We are digitising the process; my plan was to fully digitise the Ikoyi Registry in Lagos by Dec. 2022 but I could not fully achieve that.

“What does that mean? When this process is concluded, an applicant does not need to bring anything anymore; you complete your process online and by that time, you don’t need an agent.

“There can’t be racketeering. I am on it and I want to guarantee that we will do it before we leave.

“We have also concluded arrangements on the temporary passport issue; we have the passport, but we have some issues with our sister ministry – the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and we are solving it,’’ he said.

According to the minister, the temporary passport will facilitate a return to Nigeria for Nigerians living abroad if they need to get back in emergencies and did not have current passports.

Such Nigerians would return home, carrying their expired passports also, the minister said.

“Much as that won’t be a problem for us to take at our reception desk, some airlines could be difficult.

“I can even tell you that we are discussing with South Africa now; South Africa does not allow the use of expired passports as a nation contrary to International Civil Aviation Orgnanisation (ICAO) regulation.

“ICAO says that every citizen of a nation dead or alive cannot be denied entry to his home; which is logical anyway.

“The last time I treated a file from South Africa through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, they were insisting that if one’s passport is not current, one cannot be taken in or out of South Africa’s space.

“It is their policy; you cannot deny a nation its national policies and programmes.

“To avoid that, we introduced what is called temporary electronic passport; it is a one-way passport to return home,’’ Aregbesola explained.

He said that under the temporary passport regime, citizens who had the data pages of their expired passports could take them to Nigeria’s embassies to get the temporary electronic passport after paying the appropriate fees.

“The temporary electronic passports are almost exactly the same as their expired passports.

“It does not have more than one page to take you home; when you hold the electronic passport, you cannot go anywhere but home.

“We are still in negotiation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,’’ Aregbesola said.

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Court Again adjourns, for report of settlement in suit against Dana Air MD



Court Again adjourns, for report of settlement in suit against Dana Air MD

…Ranesh still shuns Court*** 

 A Federal High Court, Abuja has fixed May 31 for report of settlement in a suit filed by the office of Attorney-General of Federation (AGF) against Managing Director (MD), Dana Air, Hathiramani Ranesh.

Justice Obiora Egwuatu fixed the date on Wednesday following an oral application for adjournment by counsel to the AGF, M. Okeya.

Though the prosecution counsel was in court when the matter was called, neither Mr Ranesh nor his lawyer was in court.

The suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CR/101/21 which was number 10 on the day’s cause list, was for the arraignment of Ranesh and two others.

Upon resuming the hearing in the case, Okeya told Justice Egwuatu that the parties in the suit were exploring settlement options.

The lawyer, who informed that a sister case was also before a Lagos court, said the matter would be coming up later in the year.

She, however, sought a longer date for a report on the outcome of settlement and the judge consequently adjourned the case until May 31 for a report.

Egwuatu had, on Oct. 13, 2022, adjourned the matter until Jan. 25 for arraignment of the defendants following the absence of Mr Ranesh and the prosecution lawyer in court.

However, Ranesh’s counsel, Ade Adedeji, SAN, was in court and he hinted that the prosecution and the defence were exploring reconciliation.

It is incisive that since the commencement of the matter, Dana Air MD had not been present in court.

On June 30, 2021, when the matter came up, while other defendants were in court, Ranesh was absent.

Adedeji had told the court that the absence of his client in court was to the knowledge of the prosecution.

When the matter was called, Adedeji, said he was in court to represent Ranesh after they were served with the notice of arraignment.

The lawyer had told the court that his client was not in the country.

“The charge before this honourable court is a serious matter.

“We came in from Lagos just to come and explain to your lordship the circumstances that informed our acceptance of service without knowing that the date is coming so soon.

“We didn’t know before we accepted it. We have an option not to accept this but as officers in the temple of justice, we felt we are under obligation to accept on his (Ranesh’s) behalf.

“But to the knowledge of counsel to the prosecution, the principal defendant is not in the country which was made known to the prosecution.

“It is on the basis of these circumstances that we shall be appealing to your lordship for an adjournment my lord to enable the defendant appear before this honourable court,” he had said.

Counsel to the AGF, Wilson Michelangelo, did not oppose the request for an adjournment, and the judge fixed Oct. 13, 2021, for arraignment of the suspects.

On Oct. 13, 2021, when the matter came up, Justice Egwuatu was said to be on an official engagement in Lagos State and the matter could not proceed.

Although the counsel who appeared for the AGF, Moshood A., and lawyer to the defendant, Adedeji, SAN, were in court, Mr Ranesh was not.

Consequently, the court then fixed Feb. 15, 2022, for the arraignment of Mr Ranesh and two other defendants in the matter and on the adjourned date, the case was also fixed for May 26, 2022, for arraignment.

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