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Buhari tasks Ogoni leaders on protection of national assets

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Buhari tasks Ogoni leaders on protection of national assets

DISASTER AVERTED: Buhari summons Emergency Security meeting, following alleged Bandits train attack

… As Stakeholders urge FG to strengthen regulatory framework for cybercrime control***

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Ogoni Leaders to sensitize indigenes on the value of protecting national assets like pipelines and other oil installations, saying willful damage usually creates more havoc on their environment and hamper development in the area.

The president, who stated this when he received some leaders and people of Ogoni Land at the State House, Abuja, on Friday, noted that willful damage usually creates more havoc on their environment and hamper development in the area.

He said that the Federal Government was committed to the cleaning up of Ogoni land so that, indigenes could regain their lives, return to farms and reactivate economic activities.

“You will need to educate the people of Ogoni land and the region more than when pipelines are broken, the damage is more to the immediate environment and the people.

“The majority farmers and fishermen struggle because the fishes now move to the deep sea,’’ he said.

The President said that bad industry practices coupled with security challenges had resulted in massive spills with attendant environmental degradation of Ogoni, leading to agitations and strife.

Also read: Buhari, Turkish President in bilateral talks in Aso Villa

He said that the government would bring to a close all pending issues on sons of Ogoni Land.

“Your Royal Highnesses, distinguished representatives of the people of Ogoni Land, I note the need to ensure completion of segment of the East-West road traversing Ogoni Land, and steps will be taken to ensure delivery under the Infrastructure Development Fund as earlier conceived.

”We intend to complete this vital artery of Nigeria.

“Furthermore, we are committed to ensuring clemency and national integration as part of this Administration’s bid to lay the foundation for genuine reconciliation and bring closure to the issues of Ogoni Land.

“The unfortunate incidents of the early 1990s leading to the loss of lives of distinguished sons of Ogoni Land and the collateral judicial processes are indelible in our memories.

“In spite of the grievous circumstances, the Federal Government will consider the request for the grant of pardon to finally close the Ogoni saga,’’ President Buhari noted.

According to the President, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Ltd (NPDC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has been granted license to operate OML11, which will stimulate economic activities and integration in the zone.

“To ensure the stimulation of economic activities in Ogoni Land as underpinned by the vast petroleum resources underlying Ogoni Land and neighbouring communities, NPDC, a subsidiary of the NNPC has been granted licence to operate OML11.

“Accordingly, NNPC is hereby directed to engage all host communities, particularly Ogoni people to ensure inclusive processes of oil and gas exploration and production is anchored on optimum involvement of host communities.

“NPDC will lay a broad-based programme for the emergence of a new Ogoni Land for the benefit of the Ogoni people and Nigeria as a whole,’’ he added.

President Buhari said he was aware of the passage of the Bill on the Federal University of Environmental Technology by the National Assembly and awaits transmission for further necessary action.

“This Administration has placed the rehabilitation of the Niger Delta as a top priority and has committed a lot of resources to tackle existing problems, including launching a one billion dollar oil clean-up exercise to reverse the terrible damage and restore the ecosystem.

“I am pleased that the restoration and amelioration activities under the auspices of the United Nations and the vehicle of Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project have commenced work since we assumed office as we promised.

“We will take further steps to ensure faithful and speedy execution of the project so as to restore the environment and enable farming and fishing activities to resume in the affected areas,’’ he added.

The President also appreciated the leaders for recognition of the Federal Government’s efforts to clean up the area and stimulate more economic activities.

“Your Royal Highnesses and very distinguished people of Ogoni Land, I thank you very much for your kind words and recognition of efforts made by our administration to bring progress to your part and all parts of the country.’’

In his remarks, the president of the Supreme Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers, King Godwin N.K. Giniwa, thanked President Buhari for various interventions in the area, particularly on clean-up of the environment.

The paramount ruler noted that the people believe in the unity of Nigeria and the future of every group could only be guaranteed in one nation.

He congratulated the President for achievements in critical infrastructure in the country, especially in railways and road constructions, urging more efforts in the provision of potable water.

In the meantime, stakeholders at the second Nigeria Army Education Corps summit have called on the Federal Government to strengthen the regulatory framework for the control of Cybercrimes, as part of national security.

The newsmen report that the call was contained in a communique presented by Col. Usman Ndana, at the end of the Summit in Sokoto, on Friday.

The conference had as its theme: “Education development and national security: issues and way forward.”

In the communique, the stakeholders also called on the Ministry of Defence to develop its capacity to dominate  cyberspace, through investments in modern technologies.

“The ministry should devise means of identifying both ethical and unethical hackers, with a means of harnessing their potentials and capacity.

“This is for the purpose of national growth and development, especially in the area of information and communication technology,” it said.

The stakeholders further called for an increase in budgetary allocation to education, in order to address infrastructure deficit and ”provision of adequate security gadgets to improve the security situation in schools across the country.”

Earlier, the Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samaila Mera, who was the Chairman at the closing ceremony of the Summit, called for an effective synergy among security agencies and stakeholders to fight insecurity in the country.

“There cannot be any meaningful development in an atmosphere of rancour and violence, hence the need for concerted efforts against the security challenges in the country.

“We are all fully aware of the security challenges which are injurious to the nation’s national economy.

“As such, there is the need for joint efforts and synergy among all national security stakeholders to ensure an end of the menace,” he said.

Mera further said that the outcome of the summit would help in maintaining the corporate existence of Nigeria as a country and assist in facing the contemporary challenges of education.

He urged the participants to take advantage of the summit in finding lasting solutions to the challenges facing the country.

On his part, Corps Commander, Education, Maj. Gen. Mohammed Augie, expressed confidence that the summit will aid in bolstering national security.

“The lectures and papers delivered at the summit captured the contemporary challenges facing education in the country, and by extension, it’s national security,” he said.

 

Economy

LASG Issues Travel Advisory Ahead Of Students Rave Event

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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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Economy

Aregbesola: Immigration Produced More than 1.7m Passports in 2022

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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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Economy

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

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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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