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NEWS REVIEW: Buhari Pledges to gift the nation ‘Nigeria Air’ by December

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President Buhari’s Christmas Message 2022

President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that the National Carrier he promised, would commence flight operations no later than December this year.

The president gave the assurance last week, at the 3rd Ministerial Performance Review Retreat on Monday in Abuja.

According to him, the establishment of the National Carrier for Nigeria is at 91 percent completion, saying the feat is being boosted with the certification of Lagos and Abuja International Airports by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

He said Kano and Port Harcourt Airports are undergoing similar certification processes.

Nigeria Air gulps N14.6 billion, under five percent government’s equity share.

The Federal Government has already taken delivery of nine out of the 20 training aircraft meant for the smooth preparation for the Nigeria Air project.

On the economy at the retreat, the President restated that the country had witnessed seven consecutive quarters of growth, after negative growth rates recorded in the 2nd and 3rd Quarters of 2020.

According to him, high-impact projects have also been implemented across the country meeting the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.

The president highlighted remarkable progress made in the areas of agriculture, infrastructure, security, health and anti-corruption, among others.

He told participants and guests at the retreat, including the Keynote Speaker and immediate past President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, that over 3,800km of roads had been constructed across the country.

The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who also addressed the participants on Tuesday, pledged to build on the legacies of President Muhammadu Buhari if elected as president in 2023.

Tinubu, who made an appearance at the retreat on the invitation of the organisers, commended Buhari for doing so well for Nigeria since he assumed office in 2015.

Also at the closing of the retreat on Oct. 18, Buhari warned Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, and Heads of Government Agencies not to abandon the business of governance for electioneering, saying ”any infraction will be viewed seriously”.

He told participants that with the commencement of campaigns towards the 2023 general elections, the business of governance must continue to receive the needed attention during this period.

The president, who signed the Executive Order 012 on Improving Performance Management, Coordination and Implementation of Presidential Priorities, directed the Ministry of Transportation and relevant security agencies to ensure the provision of maximum security along the nation’s railway corridors.

On Oct. 19, the Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, commiserated with Buhari after severe floods claimed many lives and affected millions in the country.

In the condolence message, the Japanese prime minister expressed deep sadness over ”the recent floods caused by heavy rainfall in many states in the Federal Republic of Nigeria which have claimed many precious lives and forced many people to evacuate”.

Buhari also signed into law the Nigeria State-up Bill 2022 on Oct. 19.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, confirmed this to State House correspondents shortly after the president appended his signature on the bill to become an Act.

According to Pantami, the new Act will come into effect with so many economic benefits for the country.

On the same day, the Nigerian leader received a Special Envoy from President Julius Mada Bio of Sierra Leone, where he wished the West African country best of luck in its general elections, billed for June 2023.

Buhari said: “I am pleased that you are pursuing your political programmes effectively, just like us. We wish each other the best of luck.”

The Special Envoy, Andre Thomas Hope, said that his country was bidding for a non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, and solicited for Nigeria’s support.

On Oct. 21, Buhari conferred Nigeria Excellence Awards in Public Service (NEAPS) on former President Goodluck Jonathan and 43 other prominent Nigerians.

NEAPS was set up to recognise distinguished public service to Nigeria, either contributions to individuals, state or local community or the public through excellence in leadership, service or humanitarianism.

The president inaugurated the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as well as unveiling the Action Plan of the APC Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in Abuja on Friday.

At the event, Buhari says the APC-led Federal Government has ”managed to make Nigeria stable,” laying a solid foundation for progressive growth despite the socioeconomic challenges facing the country.

According to him, the APC-led administration has continued to stabilise the country despite the unfavourable circumstances of global economic downturns, COVID-19 pandemic and very low international oil prices resulting in low revenue.

Buhari concluded the week with the inauguration of the Pinnacle Oil and Gas FZE Terminal in Lekki, Lagos, on Saturday, saying the operations of the facility will ease congestion at the Apapa Port area.

In a video message at the inauguration of the facility, the president said it had also reduced cost and delivery of petroleum products distribution to many parts of the country.

He congratulated the Chief Executive Officer of Pinnacle Oil and Gas Ltd. Mr. Peter Mbah, for establishing the massive terminal facility and for providing hundreds of jobs for Nigerians.

The president has since departed Abuja for Seoul, South Korea, to participate in the First World Bio Summit 2022, and other official engagements.

The two-day (Oct. 25-26) summit with the theme: ”The Future of Vaccine and Bio-Health,” is jointly organised by the Government of the Republic of Korea and the World Health Organisation

 

Economy

Lagos-Ibadan Expressway Rehabilitation: LASG announces traffic diversion at Old Tollgate/ Berger axis

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Lagos-Ibadan Expressway Rehabilitation: LASG announces traffic diversion at Old Tollgate/ Berger axis

In continuation of the ongoing rehabilitation of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway by the Federal Ministry of Works, the Lagos State Government has announced that traffic will be diverted at the Old Tollgate to Berger section of the road from Monday 30th January till Friday 15th April 2023.

In the notification received by the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, it was disclosed that the construction will be carried out in short segments to minimize inconveniences for Motorists while traffic on the Ibadan-bound carriageway will be narrowed to two lanes to allow for the reconstruction of half of the Ibadan bound carriageway.

The Transport Commissioner, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde further stated that the U-turn in front of the Lagos State Emergency Centre will be temporarily closed to traffic, adding that Motorists on the Expressway will be diverted to the next U-turn at the Old Toll Gate by the traffic control point.

 In the same vein, Traffic from CMD Road intending to connect 7UP and Motorways on the Lagos bound carriageway will make use of the Old Tollgate/Traffic Point U–turn as well.

He equally stressed that trucks and heavy-duty vehicles will be diverted to Ojota Interchange. 

The Commissioner also explained that traffic on CMD Road inbound the Expressway will be diverted to the entry point beside the FMW weighbridge to access the Expressway on a contraflow as the exit route to the Expressway by Caleb International School will equally be temporarily closed, adding that CMD Road will be used as an alternative for the displaced Ibadan bound traffic.

Oladeinde appealed to the citizenry to shun indiscriminate stopping, waiting and parking along CMD Road as it will complement the efforts of the Traffic Management Team that will be deployed to manage vehicular movement. He also affirmed that signage with directions will be mounted along the road to guide Motorists.

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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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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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