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Lake Chad water transfer possible, but expensive



Lake Chad water transfer possible, but expensive

… As FG worries over illegal mining moves to prosecute offenders***

The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu on Friday said the proposed Inter-Basin Water Transfer from Congo River into Lake Chad was possible, expensive and would require more consultations.

Adamu said this at a Media Forum, with the theme, `Engage, Educate and Empower Nigerians on the Legacy Project of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources in Abuja.

He said massive interventions ongoing in the basin, had been largely impacted by the effects of climate change.

The newsmen report that no fewer than 40 million people depend on the natural resources of Lake Chad.

He hinted that Nigeria was currently working to improve the hydraulicity of River Chari and Logone through dredging and improvement of the river banks.

He noted that this was crucial as environmental challenges like silting, and new flood plains due to climate change were affecting the lake.

“The inter-basin water transfer is supposed to traverse many countries, we are taking water from the Congo Basin and transferring it to another 400 km into Chad, it is technically feasible.

“But it is very expensive.

It requires a lot of studies and we are going to be using the existing rivers, so it requires a lot of planning.

But what we are doing is to start with the low-hanging fruit.

“So what we want to do is to improve the hydraulicity of river chari and river Logone, the two rivers are the ones that bring water into lake chad.

“In addition to the climate change issue, even when you have good rain, the water just flows into the banks and creates new floodplains rather than flow directly into the lake.

“So it’s a lot of technical issues to deal with before you finally talk about the money, and the money of course, it’s a lot of billions of dollars.

“One of the good things is that it has been taken as a PanAfrican project, but even at African Union, they are now talking about it seriously.’’

Speaking on the ministry’s dam projects, the minister said the River Basin Development Authorities were being revitalized to deliver on their mandates.

He noted that the Songhai model, as an integrated agricultural practice was introduced to boost agricultural production and achieve integrated rural development.

He said since his tenure, 253 farmlands have been leased to the private sector for commercial farming while 42 small dams have been constructed across the nation.

Newsmen report that in 2017, the federal government successfully conducted a feasibility study toward recharging Lake Chad through an inter-basin water transfer from the Congo basin at an estimated cost of 15 billion dollars.

This is a part of the projects envisioned to transform the region into a more stable economic hub as the counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations against Boko Haram in the Northeast draw to a close.

In another development, the Federal Government says it is worried over illegal mining activities in the country and reiterates its commitment to prosecute people who fail to comply with extant environmental laws.

The Director-General, National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Prof. Aliyu Jauro, made this known while briefing newsmen on the agency`s activities on Thursday in Abuja.

Jauro said NESREA was saddled with the responsibility of enforcing all environmental laws, guidelines, policies, standards and regulations in the country.

He said the agency also prohibited the processes and use of equipment or technology that undermined environmental quality.

Jauro said the agency had recently been inundated with several complaints on the resurgence of the activities of artisanal miners in the country.

He said the situation had raised fears of degradation of the environment, destruction of farmlands and contamination of water sources, especially the Osun River.

The NESREA boss said such mining activities were not new in the area because the state is sited on a schist-belt that is richly endowed with mineral resources such as gold, tourmaline, and tantalite, among others.

He said that the sites, however, attracted the artisanal miners, adding that the river also played important roles in the area.

“The river is a key source of water for humans, plants and animals within the area, and it has an international interest because it passes through the Osun-Osogbo sacred grove.

“The area is designated as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage Site.

“Indeed, the river is reputed for its cultural, religious and economic significance,’’ he said.

The director-general said that the agency had carried out sensitization workshops for artisanal miners drawn from different parts of the state.

He said the miners were enlightened on the effects of the activities on human health and the environment and were encouraged to carry out their activities in a more environmentally sound manner.

Jauro said that a total of 300 full kits of personal protective equipment were distributed to the miners after the workshop.

“According to him, following the recent reports, the agency has intensified its compliance monitoring of the affected areas which revealed a large presence of Chinese miners.

“The Chinese miners with the aid of excavators and related equipment, mine and wash the minerals along or close to river courses.

“There is also high activity of artisanal miners who scavenge surface minerals at abandoned mine pits and wash them in nearby rivers, most of which flow into the river.

“The river has become more turbid with reddish coloration from the disturbance of mining and washing into the rivers,’’ he said.

Jauro said the situation was worrisome since the cultural practices at the Osun grove required contact with the water and people also use the water daily in their homes.

He said that the agency had conducted an investigation in which the water and soil were collected for laboratory analysis to determine the level of pollution of the activities.

“When the investigation is concluded, the provisions of the National Environmental Mining and Processing of coal, ores and industrial minerals Regulations, 2009 will be invoked against those involved in the activities.

“This will definitely mean that perpetrators will have their facilities sealed and they will be charged to court for an environmental violation.

“As citizens, we have very important roles to play in protecting the environment and the agency continually educates Nigerians on the agency’s roles and responsibilities.

Jauro, however, urged Nigerians to support the government to ensure a cleaner and healthier environment.



LASG Reiterates Ban On Commercial Motorcycles In Restricted Areas



LASG Reiterates Ban On Commercial Motorcycles In Restricted Areas

The Lagos State Government has reiterated that the ban on commercial motorcycles popularly called ‘okada’ in 10 Local Government Areas, (LGAs) and 15 Local Council Development Areas, (LCDAs) in the metropolis still persists.

Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Hon. Sola Giwa declared this at the weekend, while on tour of some restricted areas within the state, where large numbers of motorcyclists (okada riders) had resumed operations.  

Reaffirming the State Government’s ban on okada in the Local Government Areas which include; Kosofe, Oshodi-Isolo, Somolu, Mushin, Apapa, Ikeja, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, Surulere and Eti-Osa, as well as the Local Council Development Areas under them which are; Ojodu, Onigbongbo, Lagos Island East, Yaba and Coker Aguda. With others at; Itire-Ikate, Eti-Osa West, Iru Victoria Island, Ikoyi-Obalende, Ikosi-Isheri, Agboyi-Ketu, Isolo, Ejigbo, Bariga and Odi-Olowo, the Transport Special Adviser urged both riders and passengers to keep off.

He implored the general public to comply as both the riders and passengers are liable to 3 years in prison if apprehended and prosecuted, with their motorcycles impounded and crushed in the public view, in line with the provision of Section 46, sub-section 1, 2 & 3 of the Transport Sector Reform Law (TSRL), 2018.

While soliciting support on government policies by all and sundry, the Special Adviser noted that despite the available existing interventions and viable alternatives provided for okada operators which were expected to cushion the effect of the ban on their livelihood, the recalcitrant riders have refused to take advantage of them.

Highlighting some of the viable alternatives made available for the operators by the State Government, Giwa stated that the; Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA); (vocational training), Ministry of Wealth Creations and Employment; (internship programmes), Office of Civic Engagement, Office of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) (Loan for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises MSMEs), Lagos Economic Acceleration Programme “LEAP”) and the Ministry of Agriculture (Agric YES) are all trade support for the riders.

He also said the State Government’s First and Last Mile Bus Transport Scheme, the BRT Scheme, the Lagos e-hailing taxi Scheme (LAGRIDE) and other sustainable modes of transportation were also part of interventions provided to minimize the inconveniences of the motoring public in executing their daily activities.

Giwa averred that the position of government on okada is very clear, stressing that there is no going back in order to consolidate on the achievements made so far in the decrease in accident and crime rates as well as the return of sanity to the communities within the State.

He added that the Security formations who have been partnering with the State Government including the Nigeria Police Force, the Army, Navy and Air force are still on ground to sustain enforcement on all the banned corridors, as well as the State Traffic Management Authority, (LASTMA) and the Anti-Okada Squad.

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Manufacturers urge FG to dialogue with NLC over plan to picket CBN offices



Manufacturers urge FG to dialogue with NLC over plan to picket CBN offices

…Says Business no longer lucrative***

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), has urged the Federal Government to dialogue with the NLC on its planned picketing of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) offices nationwide.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), President, Joe Ajaero on Wednesday directed workers to embark on strike over the lingering cash crunch and fuel scarcity.

Ajaero also directed that affiliate unions constituting the NLC should be on standby to picket all branches of the CBN nationwide during the strike which is expected to begin on Wednesday, March 29.

Dr Okwara Udensi Edo/Delta Chairman of MAN, in an interview in Benin, said embarking on strike was not the best option as it would compound the present sufferings of Nigerians.

“For us as manufacturers, strike is not the best option, dialogue is the best thing so that we will not suffer more.

“Embarking on industrial action will ground our businesses, road transport workers might join the strike and this will cripple our activities.

“But unfortunately, it seems strike is the language the government understands.

“I read on the news that the CBN says it will mop up the old N500 and N1,000 notes to commercial banks.

“Must people tell them they want to go on strike before they mop up cash to banks, he said.

He regretted that the manufacturing sector had continued to witness high costs of production, a situation that was not good for economic development.

“We now buy diesel for between N820 and N830 per litre, how many litres of diesel will you buy to run your generator to produce?

“Raw materials we used to pay between N350,000 and N400,000 to convey from Jos to Benin City in 2022 is now about N800,000 as of today.

“Business is no longer lucrative, profit margin has been swallowed by the high cost of production.

“Customers are not ready to buy at higher prices, manufacturers are just selling to stay afloat,’’ he said.

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Ojerinde: Absence of ex-JAMB Registrar’s children in court stalls alleged fraud arraignment



Ojerinde: Absence of ex-JAMB Registrar’s children in court stalls alleged fraud arraignment

The absence of the four children of Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, former Registrar, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), in a Federal High Court, Abuja, stalled their arraignment on Friday.

 Ojerinde and his children; Mary Funmilola, Olumide Abiodun, Adedayo and Oluwaseun Adeniyi, alongside their companies, were to be arraigned before the court.

Olumide Abiodun Ojerinde was a member House of Representatives at 9th Assembly representing Irepo/Orelope/Olorunsogo Constituency of Oyo State.

The Federal Government, through the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), had, in a charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/119/23, sued the Ojerindes on 17 counts bordering on money laundering.

Ojerinde and his companies are currently facing a money laundering trial before Justice Obiora Egwuatu.

The former JAMB boss was, on Jan. 26, re-arrested by the operatives of the anti-graft commission while he was heading to his car with one of his sons after trial Justice Egwuatu adjourned further proceedings in the charge preferred against him.

ICPC lawyer, Ebenezer Shogunle had, on Feb. 15, notified Egwuatu that Ojerinde was re-arrested on suspicion that he might have committed some other offences not unconnected with the present charges before the court.

He said for this reason, the commission obtained a warrant from the court dated 6th of Dec, 2022 for his re-arrest.

But Ojerinde, in a suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/179/2023, sued the commission for alleged unlawful detention and breach of his fundamental rights.

While Ojerinde’s suit before Justice Egwuatu was adjourned until May 4 for mention, his trial was fixed for the same date for hearing continuation.

The fresh criminal charge against Ojerinde and his children before Justice Ekwo, it was gathered, was connected to the latest finding by the anti-graft commission.

While the FG is the complainant, Ojerinde, Doyin Ogbohi Petroleum Ltd, Cheng Marbles Ltd, Sapati International Schools Ltd, Trillium Learnings Centre Ltd,, Standout Institutes Ltd and Esli Perfect Security Partners are 1st to 7th defendants respectively.

Mary, Olumide, Adedayo and Oluwaseun are the 8th to 11th defendants in the trial.

Although they were not in court, they were represented by a lawyer, Ajibola Bello.

Upon resumed hearing, ICPC’s counsel, Henry Emore, informed the court that the matter was slated for the defendants to take their plea.

He said the 2nd to 7th defendants were corporate persons while the 8th to 11th defendants were natural persons.

Emore said though the defendants were to be arraigned, the 8th to 11 defendants were not in court.

He said the matter was filed on Monday and the court, on Wednesday, graciously gave them today for the defendants to take their plea.

He, however, said they were unable to serve the 8th to 11th defendants.

The lawyer prayed the court for a short adjournment.

Justice Ekwo directed Emore to serve their lawyer in open court since he was present.

“I grant you a leave to serve them now through their counsel. Let the court record shows that this is by leave of court.

“When a lawyer is representing defendants in court, it means that the lawyer knows the contact of the defendants and can reach them,” he said.

The judge, who adjourned the matter until April 19, said: “there shall be consequence if the defendants are not in court in the next adjourned date.”

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