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FG, ASUU reach agreement on lingering issues

By News desk

In a bid to end the ongoing industrial action embarked upon by Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the Federal Government has reached a partial agreement with the striking lecturers.

The minister for Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, made the announcement yesterday after a reconciliation meeting in Abuja aimed at finding ways of resolving the strike which commenced last month.

“We have finished our deliberation for today. I am happy to report that we touched some areas of understanding in implementation from the Memorandum of Action which we agreed to in 2017.

“Some of these areas we have substantial compliance and some other areas have not been fully dealt with.

“Like the issue of shortfall in salaries of some Federal Universities’ workers and lecturers,  ASUU has given a list to the Accountant-General’s Office and we have agreed that by Wednesday that list should be cross-checked by the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Auditing.

“So, the Accountant-General’s Office is to get back to us by Wednesday.

“We also have the issue of Earned allowances, revitalisation, these are issues of 2009 agreement and partial implementation and we have agreed on the modus operandi to look into the fund situation, this is due to low revenue on the part of government. ”

He noted that the meeting  identified one area to look for the fund for the revalidation,  that the appropriate government organ would be contacted on the issue.

Ngige said that government was sure to have good information for the striking lecturers.

He said the same situation applied to other allowances, adding: “we have agreed on what we are going to do to make sure that the outstanding amount is handled in a way that all parties will be properly accommodated.

” We also discussed the issue of state universities and agreed also that even if education is on the concurrent list, the universities should be properly funded and staffed so that we do not produce half-baked students from those universities.

“In realisation of this the Ministry of Education will set up a committee, that would engage the Nigeria Governors’  Forum, and the Minister of Education has taken steps in that direction to formalise the interaction.

” The discussions are fruitful and we do hope that in the next adjourned date we would have had the requisite result on the few agreements reached today.”

The minister said he hoped with the agreement reached that the union would call off the  strike in order for students to go back to school and those who had exams could go and take their exams.

He said the next meeting would be at 4p.m. on Dec. 17.

On his part, Prof. Abiodun Ogunyemi, ASUU National President, said they had a useful discussion.

“Our own understanding is that we heard promises made on the part of government, we shall await the report on all the issues, which they have made  promises.

“Only after that, we can get back to our members to take a decision,” he said.

N500bn Enyimba City project showed Buhari’s love for South East-UPP

By News desk

The United Progressive Party (UPP) has lauded President Muhammadu Buhari over the recent signing of agreement on the N500 billion Enyimba Economic City project.

National Chairman of the party, Chekwas Okorie, gave the commendation yesterday  in a statement in Abuja.

Okorie said by signing the agreement, the president had demonstrated that his government would support development programmes initiated by state governments without partisan prejudice.

The commendation came days after Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the N500bn Enyimba Economic City was signed at the Presidential Villa between the Federal Government and Abia Government.

The national chairman described the step as a landmark achievement considering FG’s commitment of 20% equity of about N100bn to the project.

He also lauded Okechukwu Enelama, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment who hails from Abia for facilitating the approval and his commitment to the project.

According to him, the project is estimated to provide over 650,000 direct jobs and boost economic development not only to the people of Abia, but to all Nigerians.

The chairman stressed that citing of the project conformed with UPP’s manifesto of job creation, infrastructure development and exploring comparative advantage of each state for national development.

He said in the 16 years of PDP, no initiative of such massive advantages was supported by FG in any part of the South East.

Olorire accused the PDP of willful halting of geometrics power project built to provide uninterrupted electricity power supply to the Ariaria Industrial Area covering about nine out of 17 local government areas of Abia.

The chairman also lauded the FG for injecting N33 billion to the ongoing construction of the Second Niger Bridge which the Federal Government scheduled to complete in 2022.

He listed reconstruction works going on at Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, Enugu-Onitsha Expressway and Owerri-Aba expressway as justification to campaign for the re-election of the president.

Great news IGers: Select who can view your stories

 

Yes! Now you can get really personal on your Instagram social media, with the Close friend feature introduced by the application.

You can handpick people from your followers who will view your stories by using this feature, and it will be hidden room your other followers and the public. Awesome right!

Instagram is helping you achieve your privacy need as the social media world keeps expanding every second. For someone that has the mom or dad, or that nosy aunt or a stalker on your list, you can successfully keep your activities awa from him/her.

Here’s all you have to do;

Make sure your app is the most recent version,

  • Go to your Profile page by tapping the profile icon in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen.
  • Tap the three lines icon in the top right corner of your screen.
  • Tap Close Friends and then tap Add next to the names of people who you want to add to your Close Friends list. You can also tap Search to search for a friend.
  • Once you’ve finished adding people to your list, tap Done.

You can easily add more or remove from this list using similar process.

 

And just like regular Instagram Stories posts, your story will be available to view for only 24 hours for your Close Friends list.

 

 

Here’s how to share a story to your close friends:

  • Tap the camera icon on the top left corner.
  • Choose an image or video you intend to share.
  • Once you do that, you will see two icons at the down left side of your screen with “your story” and “close friends” text underneath.
  • Tap close friends and voila done

Once you’ve posted an Instagram story to your Close Friends list, your profile image will appear with a green circle around it, both on your Profile page (which only you can see) and in your Close Friends’ feed.

The green circle helps it stand out from the other pink circles that usually highlight an account has live Instagram Stories posts you haven’t seen yet. Others that are not on your list can’t see it.

 

 

By Mariam Haruna

haroonmaream3@gmail.com

70m Nigerians still homeless-FG

By Newsdesk

The Federal Government has raised concerns over the growing number of Nigerians homeless, disclosing that atleast 70 million persons were without roof above them.

It described the growing number of Nigerians without adequate shelter as worrisome and needed urgent intervention.

The Minister of State 1 for Power, Works and Housing, Mustapha Shehuri, who disclosed the statistics in Calabar on Sunday during an interview with newsmen, stated this after the inspection of the National Housing Programme of the Federal Government at Ikot Omin community in Calabar.

He assured that President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration was determined to provide affordable houses for millions of Nigerians, who do not own houses.

According to him, the Ministry has since embarked on strategies on how to launch the phase two of the project in the state with a view to providing more houses for Nigerians.

‘‘This is National Housing Programme and it is meant to provide affordable houses for Nigerians.

‘‘There is a value that one has to pay to own a building like this; that is why the buildings here are for all Nigerians that can afford it.

‘‘This is an attempt to make houses affordable to all Nigerians because according to statistics, more than 70 million Nigerians don’t have houses.

‘‘The contractors have written to us that they need more release of funds to enable them complete the project. I am going to take this up to ensure that money is released to enable them complete the building in the first quarter of 2019,’’ he added.

According to contractor from Tictos Limited, Orok Effangha, the project had brought development to the Cross River community.

He added that the Federal Government’s efforts would go a long way in solving the housing deficit in the country.

The minister, who also inspected the Emergency Repair of Washout at Pamol, along the Calabar-Odukpani highway, praised the Sermatech Construction Company for the good work done.

Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit hits $878bn by 2040

By Newsdesk

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has appealed for utilisation of green bond for Nigeria’s infrastructural gap, warning that the infrastructure deficit could hit $878 billion by 2040

Acting Director-General, SEC, Mary Uduk, gave the warning at the 2018 annual workshop organised by the Capital Market Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CAMCAN) in Lagos.

She said that Nigeria should tap into green bond opportunities, assuring that the commission would continue to promote an active enabling and regulative environment for its issuance.

“The future holds opportunities for renewable energy, energy efficiency, infrastructure, food, agriculture and the task ahead is to ensure funds are channeled to green projects with multiple socio-merits,” Uduk added.

She said there must be more domestic participation in green bonds investment for Nigeria to claw its way out of deficit in infrastructure, power and energy, transportation and eliminating environmental degradation.

Uduk, who was represented by Head, Registration and Market Infrastructure Department, SEC, Emomotimi Agama, said that it was necessary for Nigeria to stand at the fore-front of innovations and initiatives.

The acting director general stated that the second tranche of green bonds which had been issued, presented an opportunity for the country to solve its infrastructural deficit.

“The biggest opportunity, to my mind, which green bond issuances will present, is the potential to solve Nigeria’s infrastructural deficits, improve agriculture and alleviate poverty while also protecting the environment. – a multi-faceted strategy,” she said.

Also speaking, Managing Director, FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange,  Bola Onadele, said that $155 billion dollars had been realised from the green bonds issuance, thereby gaining attention of investors.

Onadele, who was represented by Senior Vice President, Economic development division at the Exchange, Emmanuel Etaderhi, said that
the country’s resources was not growing in tandem with the rising population.

He said that the reason for Nigeria’s woeful performance in the power and energy sector was due to its inability to tap into energy utilisation from the sun like other European countries.

According to him, the challenges affecting green bonds include low level of local participation in green bond verifiers, lack of investible projects, cost of verification and lack of understanding on the part of key investors.

“Green bond investors enjoy waivers relating to tax and in the next 15 years, we will require $7 trillion in investments connecting sustainable finance to capital markets,” he said.

He noted that the FMDQ had set a sustainable finance committee to engage private and public and will engage in training partnership with FSD Africa and Climate Bond Initiative (CBI).

Commenting further, Director, Climate Finance Advisor, CBI, Dr Jubril Adeojo, said that green bonds was made for Africa and with the deficits seen in major sectors of the economy.

Adeojo stated that green bond opportunities were enormous, noting that the nation would focus more on renewable energy, hybrids to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels.

Saudi earmarks $113.7m for Sahel development

By Newsdesk

The Saudi Arabian Government has pledged $113.7 million to support priority investment programs in Africa’s Sahel region.

Saudi State minister for African Affairs, Ahmed Qattan, made the announcement at a donors meeting for the five-member Sahel group, held in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott, it said.

The other countries making up the Sahel group are Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Niger.

China launches probe to explore Moon dark side

By Newsdesk

The China Government has launched a first probe ever to explore dark side of the Moon, marking another milestone in its ambitious space program.

In the probe, according to the government, the Chang’e-4, was expected to make the first-ever soft landing on the far side of the Moon.

It would be recalled that previous spacecraft have seen the far side of the Moon, but none has landed on it.

The Moon is tidally locked to Earth, rotating at the same rate that it orbits our planet, so the far side is never visible from Earth.

Advancing China’s space program has been a priority of its leaders, with President Xi Jinping calling for China to establish itself as a space power.

At 2:23 am (1823 GMT Friday), a Long March-3B rocket, carrying the probe including a lander and a rover, blasted off from the satellite launch center Xichang in southwest China.

The tasks of the Chang’e-4 probe include low-frequency radio astronomical observation, surveying the terrain and landforms, detecting the mineral composition, and measuring the neutron radiation and neutral atoms to study the environment on the far side of the moon.

China aims to catch up with Russia and the United States to become a major space power by 2030. It is planning to launch construction of its own manned space station next year.

However, while China has insisted its ambitions are purely peaceful, the U.S. Defense Department has accused it of pursuing activities aimed at preventing other nations from using space-based assets during a crisis.

FRSC establishes 201 mobile courts ahead yuletide

By Newsdesk

Worried by flagrant disobedience to traffic laws across the country, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has disclosed that plans have been concluded to establish 201 mobile courts, basically to prosecute traffic offenders during yuletide and others.

FRSC stressed that the mobile courts were in line with the directive of the Federal Executive Council that relevant agencies must ensure smooth movement of persons and goods during the period.

Corps Marshal and CEO of FRSC, Boboye Oyeyemi, who disclosed this to State House correspondents on Thursday in Abuja, explained that the corps was putting adequate measures in place and setting machinery in motion to achieve the goal.

He revealed further that they have divided the country into 52 corridors, adding that the corps would deploy 21,000 personnel and 1,000 vehicles on the roads.

The corps marshal disclosed that there would be 40 road camps across the nation when they begin the one month exercise.

The exercise, Oyeyemi hinted would commence on December 15 and ends January 15, 2019.

FG announces Second Niger Bridge new completion date, funds released

By Newsdesk

Apparently to end the controversy trailing completion of Second Niger Bridge project, the Federal Government has disclosed that the project will be completed in 2022.

The Government added that atleast N33 billion has been released to ensure completion of controversial project, aimed at reducing travel time for commuters visiting South Eastern part of the country.

Managing Director, Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, (NSIA), Uche Orji,  gave the figure while speaking shortly after an inspection of the project, stressing that the government was committed to speedy completion of the project.

Orji, who visited the site with the Obi of Onitsha, Nnaemeka Achebe, expressed optimism that the project, which is estimated to gulp about N220bn, would not experience further delay.

He added that private sector funding for the project was being planned to be raised by 2020 through bond and equity.

It would be recalled that the project was awarded in 2014 by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan. But since then, the project estimated to gulp about N220bn, has been experiencing delays owing to various challenges which had affected its timely implementation.

To end challenges confronting the project, Orji explained that already, a Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund to be managed by the NSIA had been set up for five critical road and power projects across the country.

He said the PIDF, with a seed funding of $650million, was targeted to catalyse funding for the Second Niger Bridge, Lagos-Ibadan expressway, East-West road, Abuja to Kano road, and Mambilla Hydroelectric Power.

The Managing Director said the PIDF would eliminate the risks of project funding, cost variation and completion that have plagued the development of the nation’s critical infrastructure assets.

“The Second Niger Bridge project was conceived to provide an alternative crossing between Asaba and Onitsha within reasonable distance from the current.

“It is expected to spur an increase in investments, agriculture and trade particularly with the Onitsha Main Market in the region, due to the improved and quicker access.

“There are three phases of the second Niger Bridge. The first one is the 11.9 kilometer bridge connecting Asaba and Onitsha. The entire work is a 44km project.

“The mobilisation for the project was released in August. We are confident that the funding is more stable now and we are looking at a completion date of 2022, it’s a big project,” he added.

Court fixes $2bn FG, MTN case for 2019

By Newsdesk

The federal High Court sitting in Lagos will commence hearing on the $2 billion tax dispute between Federal Government and South African telecoms firm MTN Group.

According to the Court registrar, the hearing would commence on February 2019.

In a statement released on Monday, the court registrar disclosed that the hearing would commence February 7, 2019.

A judge was scheduled to hear the case on Monday but a registrar stressed that the court would not sit and the hearing had been moved to February.

MTN faces a $2 billion tax demand from the country’s attorney general, a claim which the company has said is without merit.