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Editor’s Pick: No NIN, No train, as Abuja-Kaduna Rail service starts in 6 days

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Editor's Pick: No NIN, No train, as Abuja-Kaduna Rail service starts in 6 days

…Customers to provide phone numbers, National identification Numbers before buying tickets; Sambo travels the tracks to assure on Safety ***

The Federal Government says train services between the Abuja and Kaduna route will resume within seven days from Nov. 27. Customers must however provide phone and National Identification numbers before buying tickets.

The Minister of Transportation Mua’zu Sambo disclosed this on Sunday while inspecting the test running of the train route.

The Minister said that this was to enable passengers to get used to the new requirements for enjoying the train service.

He said: ”The issue of whether the train will start tomorrow or not, we have not said the train services will start tomorrow.

”I want to be very categorical about that. Now, we have introduced a new system before you buy a ticket.

”Your purchase of a ticket requires you to provide a phone number and a national identification number in order to profile because that is the beginning of the security checks.

”So, at any point in time when a train moves from one station to another, we know who and who is on board.

”If you don’t have a NIN you are not going to board our train. It is as simple as that.

”If you are a minor, an adult will pay for you and will register for you and an adult can only register for not more than four minors.”

Sambo added that: ”Now, we want to give sufficient time for the Nigerian public to listen to these and assimilate this new system, because if we start tomorrow, a lot of people will be disgruntled.

”Definitely between three, four, five days, certainly not more than a week.”

He assured Nigerians that 90 percent arrangements had been completed for the smooth commencement of the services.

Sambo added that the remaining 10 percent measures would be achieved in a couple of days for a smooth commencement.

”I think we are 90 percent ready as far as what we are set out to do is concerned.

”The remaining 10 percent I am sure would be achieved in the next couple of days for full resumption of train services.

”Certain concrete measures that are feasible include ticketing. Security starts from ticketing so now you don’t buy a ticket unless you have a valid phone number and you have a NIN.

”And if you are a foreigner you also have a means of identification you can use which is produced by the National Identity Management Commission.

”Having secured your ticket, you will not get access to the lounge until the machine reads the barcode in your receipt.

”Your details will show and your complete profile will show on the screen. Only then will you be allowed to go into the lounge. This is what we call customer profiling,” Sambo said.

According to the minister, there will be an increased number of security personnel some of which may not be wearing uniforms in order to guarantee the safety of passengers.

He said: ”The other thing is that for every journey the train is monitored every second and the train driver can see up to a certain distance.

”If there are any threats on the track, that would enable him march the break before getting to the perceived threat.”

Sambo explained that there would be a reduced number of trips on the route and as the traveling population picked, the number of trips would increase.

”But we will certainly not travel at night,” he said.

He further said that some other sensitive equipment that would not be disclosed had also been put in place to ensure the safety of life and property.

On fares, he said discussions were in place and the fares could be increased.

”My assurance to Nigerians is that even I will be using the train and other of my counterparts who have homes in Kaduna.

” In fact, from next week they will start using this train so I am giving Nigerians full assurance that a human being can give that this train is safe for them to use.

”There is absolutely nothing to fear. We have learnt from what has happened and life is about learning lessons and adopting measures with the lessons.

”As a responsible government, we have seen those lessons and we have devised appropriate measures to counter it.

”Like I always say that I was not going to allow this train to resume until everybody in captivity was released and to the glory of God I have achieved that.”

The train services along the corridor were halted due to terrorist attack on March 28 which led to loss of lives and kidnap of some passengers.

In the meantime, the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, has expressed satisfaction over the level of security measures put in place along the Abuja- Kaduna train route, ahead of the resumption of service after being shut down for eight months following attack by terrorists.

The Minister indicated this on Sunday in Kaduna during an inspection of security and other measures put in place to forestall subsequent attack that may occur in the course of plying the Abuja-Kaduna corridor after resumption.

Sambo also reiterated that the use of National Identification Number (NIN) is now compulsory for purchase of train tickets while adults can only use their NIN to register for not more than four minors, adding that it would also take care of ticket racketeering. 

The Minister also expressed confidence that the measures put in place is adequate enough for the train service to commence.

“There are sensitive equipment which we have deployed that I will not reveal. The other thing I can tell you is that for every journey, the train is monitored every second on the screen. 

”The train driver can see from a distance if there are any threats on the tracts that will enable him match the break long before getting to the threat, and that is why I am telling you confidently,” said the Minister. 

The Minister debunked the rumor that train services will resume on Monday, adding that the newly introduced measures will delay the resumption of business along the corridor for a few more days for passengers to get acquainted with the new protocol involved in train boarding before it will resume service.

“We have not said that train services will start tomorrow. I want to be very categorical about that. 

“Now, we have introduced a new system before you buy a ticket. The purchase of a ticket requires you to provide a phone number and a national identification number in order to profile you because that is the beginning of the security checks. So at any point in time when a train moves from one station to another, we know who is on boar

“If you don’t have a NIN you are not going to board our train, it is as simple as that. If you are a minor, an adult will register for you and an adult can only register for not more than four minors.

“Now, we want to give sufficient time for the Nigerian public to listen to these two requirements, to assimilate this new system. So if you go and start tomorrow, a lot of people will be disgruntled. Why didn’t they tell us that this is a new way of doing it? Why didn’t they give us adequate time to do it? So we want to give you adequate time. Definitely between 3,4,5 days, certainly not more than a wee

Sambo assures Nigerians that a smooth and secure train ride is guaranteed, also noted that the trains will not travel at night for now, while there is also going to be a review in train fare

“I can assure you that we are a very sensitive government and will consider the masses in the review of the train fare

We are not going to tell you what we have done. It is a security matter and I have no apologies for that.  

“We’ll be monitoring it on a daily basis and improve on wherever we find some snags.

“The ticketing called e-ticketing has already been contracted to a company called secure ID. That concession has gone through the entire concession process under extant laws, including approval by the Federal Executive Council. So that concession remains in place for the duration of the concession period, which I think is 10 years.

Sambo said that although only God can guarantee maximum security, he assured Nigerians that everything is in place to guarantee a secure and smooth train ride.

“We are not going to tell you what we have done. It is a security matter and I have no apologies for that. 

“We’ll be monitoring it on a daily basis and improve on wherever we find some snacks.

The Minister assured that Secured ID will continue to handle the e-ticketing service.

“The ticketing called e-ticketing has already been contracted to a company called secure ID. That concession has gone through the entire concession process under extant laws, including approval by the Federal Executive Council. So that concession remains in place for the duration of the concession period, which I think is 10 years.

The Minister was accompanied by the Minster of State for Transportation, Ademola Adegoroye; Minister of Water Resources Eng. Suleiman Adamu; Managing Director, Nigeria Railway Corporation Fidet Okhiria; Chairman Governing Board Nigeria Railway Corporation Ibrahim Musa amongst others.

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Economy

MAN Warns: Cash-strapping may lead to 25% Drop in Sale of locally-made goods

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MAN Warns: Cash-strapping may lead to 25% Drop in Sale of locally-made goods

 The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) on Friday in Lagos, warned that Cash-strapping may unwittingly lead, to a 25 percent drop, in the sale of locally-made goods.

The Director General, MAN, Mr. Segun Ajayi-Kadir, stated this, emphasizing the need for the CBN to intensify efforts at ensuring a seamless transition from old naira to new naira notes, as anything to the contrary would be inimical to manufacturing.

He said if the current hardships being experienced in accessing money persisted for the next three weeks, there would be a possible drop of 25 percent in monthly sales of made-in-Nigeria goods.

He noted that as purchases from the retail end, mostly transacted in cash dry up; there would be a sharp drop in wholesale purchases leading to a glut of unsold inventories in factories.

He added that the situation which was no good for manufacturing, for the government and for the ordinary citizen would lead to compounded crippling lack of patronage for the domestic manufacturer.

Ajayi-Kadir also stressed that the development would also deny government the revenue that would have accrued from consumption taxes and result in the disruption of the daily life and need of the average Nigerian.

“To be clear, there is no doubt that the currency redesign is desirable; there are socioeconomic and political imperatives for the change.

“It is a critical element of the CBN cashless economy policy that should have far-reaching positive results for the economy.

“However, the continued scarcity of the newly redesigned naira notes is quite worrisome.

“With our growth prospects heading further south, we can ill afford a downturn in our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“The negative impact it portends for local producers, the agricultural and distributive segments of our economy is huge.

“It may worsen the bashing our economy has received from both external and internal shocks in recent times,’’ he stressed.

Ajayi-Kadir cautioned that adequate measures should be put in place to ensure a smooth currency transition, particularly in the unbanked areas of Nigeria.

He charged the CBN and Bureaux de Changes to be most engaging at the highest level at this time.

According to him, there is a need for strategic communication and joint operations to ensure widespread and sustained availability and circulation of the redesigned naira notes.

“It is baffling to approach a bank only to be told that there are neither the old nor the new naira notes.

“We hope that the resumption of payment across the counter in the banks and the intensification of the CBN special cash swap arrangement in remote areas will yield positive results.

“I hope that what the country is experiencing is temporary pain and that government will do well to bring the hardship to an end immediately.

“We must make haste to ensure that the price to be paid for this otherwise laudable policy does not outpace the gains,’’ he also cautioned.

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Disdain Towards Nigerian Passport: My regret as Foreign Affairs Minister – Onyema

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Disdain Towards Nigerian Passport: My regret as Foreign Affairs Minister – OnyemaDisdain Towards Nigerian Passport: My regret as Foreign Affairs Minister – Onyema

…Shed tears, when he saw Nigerian girls forced into prostitution in Libya***

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema, says his regret as minister is the disdain with which Nigerians are being treated outside the shores of the country and upon siting their international passports.

The Minister disclosed this in Abuja at the 22nd edition of the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration Scorecard Series (2015-2023) organised to project the achievements of the government.

Onyema was responding to a comment by a journalist who expressed displeasure about how Nigerians travelling abroad were being subjected to harassment upon sitting on their green passports.

The Minister agreed with the position of the newsman and attributed the challenge to the desperation of many Nigerians who took desperate and illegal measures to travel out of the country.

“If there is one thing that I look back to with the greatest regrets in my seven and half years in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is the situation of Nigerians in foreign countries,” he said.

The minister gave some of the instances he had witnessed and had to wade in to rescue trapped victims in the middle of the desert.

“I went to Libya and I actually shed tears when we went to this camp where they were holding Nigerians.

“There is that whole issue of slavery and of course, all the exploitations that go with it and they told us that there were only a hundred or two hundred Nigerians there,”

“So, we went to the yard and it was one of the most touching things I ever experienced.

“We have all these young boys, 13, 14, 15 years old and they all came out, over a hundred of them and they all stood up to attention,” he narrated.

The minister continued: “As soon as they saw us, they started reciting the Nigerian national anthem and tears came to my eyes.

 “We were told that the girls were used as prostitutes at night.

“When we saw them, the girls told us there were more Nigerians and we insisted they should bring them out.

“Lo and behold, twenty minutes after, they brought out another set which was about 200 Nigerians.

“The President gave directives, that we should charter planes in order to get them out and we did.”

Onyema attributed the despicable situation to the push factor leading a lot of young Nigerians to take desperate and ridiculous risks through the deserts and the high seas.

He said when they even finally got to their so-called dream countries, they got involved in drugs and all sort of crimes which made it difficult for Nigeria’s passport to be respected.

“Those of us in government have to blame ourselves, particularly in the immigration and even in foreign affairs,” he said.

Onyema narrated another scenario where the U.S., Ambassador to Nigeria came to show him the list of Nigerians that were issued visas through Note Verbal to go to the U.S. but they never attended the events they were scheduled for, but absconded.

He said he was also shown the list of those who were not respecting their visa deadlines and requirements, including top Nigerians.

The minister said all the illegal acts and sharp practices contributed to the manner Nigerians were being treated with disdain abroad when they cited their passports.

“In order to reverse the situation and ensure Nigerian passport is given the due respect it deserves, we all have to work hard and behave ourselves.

“We are all suffering from this because we have people with genuine missions seeking to travel abroad looking for visas and they are denied.

“It is a challenge for each and every single one of us and it is impacting negatively on our country.

“We all have the responsibility to salvage the situation,” he said.

Onyema said President Buhari had never rested on his oars on the issue because whichever country he travelled to, he stressed to Nigerians in Diaspora to be good ambassadors of their country.

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Digital Economy Crucial to Nigeria’s Dev’t — Pantami

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Digital Economy Crucial to Nigeria’s Dev't — Pantami

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami on Thursday said the sector was crucial to the realisation of Nigeria’s full potential.

Pantami said this in Abuja at a two-day workshop on Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS), a flight demonstration within the Nigerian Airspace by Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) Ltd using the NigComSat-1R payload, the L-Band.

The NigComSat-1R navigation (L-Band) payload provides Navigational overlay Services, which have disruptive applications in the aviation and non-aviation sectors.

The event was organised by the SatNav Africa Joint Programme Office (JPO), in collaboration with the ANGA programme and NIGCOMSAT and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).

The overall aim was to provide a knowledge-sharing platform to support stakeholders’ decision-making in the creation of synergies.

This is to enable the collective reaping of benefits provided by SBAS in the continent, including safety, efficiency and environmental protection benefits.

The minister said communication and digital technology was the key enabler of other sectors like security, defence, health, agriculture, education and aviation.

“The satellite covers part of the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean, it covers parts of Asia and Europe.

”Our satellite here in Nigeria has the capacity to provide the navigation overlay services.

The Nigerian Communications Satellite has the capacity to support the implementation of the SBAS not only in Nigeria but in the whole of Africa with 54 countries,” Pantami said.

He, however, urged African nations to consider the Nigerian Communication Satellite when the need arises.

Pantami also said the deployment of SBAS by using the navigation overlay services would significantly improve accuracy of signal, its availability and integrity.

“I have directed NIGCOMSAT to collaborate and reach out to the aviation sector to ensure successful implementation of SBAS in Africa,” he said.

The Managing Director of NIGCOMSAT Ltd, Mr Tukur Lawal said the success of the flight demonstration underscored the need for collaborative efforts by the relevant agencies.

He said that this would facilitate the efforts of the Federal Government in meeting the desired goals of a digital Nigeria, which he said would bring unprecedented results.

”For NIGCOMSAT Ltd to contribute its own quota in digital economy and industrial revolution, we cannot remain in the comfort zone, but rather look for areas of exploring the market both local and international.

”We will give all the support needed and innovations that will meet and convert all weaknesses to successes,” Lawal said.

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