News and Entertainment.

North East Governors Vow to Boost Small-Scale Irrigation Farming...

The North East Governors Forum is committed to enhancing small-scale irrigation farming to counter the effects of climate change in the region. Governor Babagana Zulum, the forum's chairman, emphasized the importance of agriculture in the region's economy and livelihoods. He also expressed the need to collaborate with key stakeholders to promote industrial development and harness local resources. The governors are determined to address challenges such as security, poverty, and unemployment. It's great to see their dedication to improving the region's agricultural sector! 🌾🌱

Rising Inflation Takes a Toll on Bread Prices in Nigeria

The cost of 500g unsliced bread in Nigeria has surged by 52.69% in just one year, as reported by the National Bureau of Statistics. In October 2023, the price reached N736.68, compared to N482.47 in the same month the previous year. Similarly, sliced bread saw a 45.43% increase, with a price of N760.82 compared to N523.16 in October 2022. These rising bread prices are contributing to Nigeria's overall inflation rate. It's a challenging situation for consumers! 🍞💰

Financial Experts Applaud CBN's Move to Recapitalize Banks.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has received praise from two financial experts for its plan to further recapitalize Deposit Money Banks. Dr. Samuel Nzekwe, former President of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, welcomed this decision, stating that Nigerian banks need to strengthen their capital base due to the devaluation of the country's currency and rising inflation. With the inflation rate so high, it's crucial for banks to have enough financial backing. It's an important step for the stability of the banking sector! 💪🏦

Nigerian Governor Chooses Country Home Over Multi-Billion Naira Government House

Governor Alex Otti of Abia State has made an interesting decision since taking office. Instead of using the newly built multi-billion naira Government House in Umuahia, he has been running the government from his country home. This choice has raised eyebrows and sparked curiosity among the people. The previous governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, commissioned the new Government House just before his tenure ended. It's an intriguing situation in Abia State! 🏛️🏠

Mauricio Pochettino Slams Chelsea Players as 'Soft' After Disappointing Loss to Newcastle

In a fiery post-match interview, Mauricio Pochettino didn't hold back in criticizing his own players after Chelsea's 4-1 defeat at Newcastle. Pochettino questioned their mentality and accused them of being "soft" in every challenge. Despite Newcastle's injury crisis and inexperienced bench, Chelsea couldn't find their footing and made it easy for their opponents. Pochettino emphasized the need for better energy and preparation. It was definitely a tough loss for Chelsea. 😔⚽️

Sowore Rejects Tinubu's Intervention in Ondo Crisis, Calls for Akeredolu's Resignation

Human rights activist and #RevolutionNow convener, Omoyele Sowore, has strongly criticized President Tinubu's involvement in the political crisis in Ondo State. In a recent post on his X platform, Sowore described Tinubu's intervention as unacceptable and urged Governor Rotimi Akeredolu to resign. Sowore emphasized that the intervention failed to provide any concrete solutions. The meeting held between Tinubu and Ondo State lawmakers, deputy governor, and elders in Abuja resulted in no clear resolution, with Tinubu allegedly imposing Akeredolu as governor without addressing the governance vacuum.

APC Takes Control of Plateau House of Assembly as Court Declares Nimchak Nansak Winner...

In a significant ruling, the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has granted the All Progressives Congress (APC) control of the Plateau House of Assembly. The court also declared Nimchak Nansak of the APC as the winner of the Langtang north-north constituency poll. This decision overturns the earlier declaration of Nannim Langyi from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The court held that Langyi was not qualified to contest the election and that the PDP's structure in Plateau had collapsed since 2020. Consequently, the APC now holds 22 out of the 16 seats in the house of assembly. Exciting news for the APC! 🎉🏛️

2 Oct 2023

Here are the some of the Biggest Stories from the Weekend

  1. Tinubu Approves N35,000 Provisional Wage Award for FG Workers.
  2. US Court Orders Chicago University to Release Tinubu's Academic Records to Atiku.
  3. FG, NLC, TUC Meet over Planned Strike.
  4. FG Removes VAT on Diesel for Six Months
  5. Nigeria Marks 63rd Years of Independence.
  6. Ilebaye Wins Big Brother Naija "All Star", Bags N120m.
  7. Liverpool Receives Apology from the PGMOL after VAR Blunder.
  8. President Biden Vows Continued Support for Ukraine.

Kwara North senator assures continuous scholarship to constituent

Senator, representing Kwara-North Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Umar Sidiq on Tuesday reaffirmed commitment to continue to provide scholarship awards to his constituents from primary to postgraduate level.

Sadiq gave the promise while featuring on the 34th Kwara State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Media Parliament with the theme “Raising the bar of good governance in Kwara North Through Effective Legislation” held in Ilorin the the state capital.

The lawmaker disclosed that ten classrooms fully equipped with instructional materials were built by him to ensure easy access to quality education in the area

He acknowledged the infrastructural development of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq in developing the area to upscale living standard of the people of Kwara-North.

The Senator who sunk about One Hundred boreholes for different Communities in Kwara-North assured his people of more social amenities, women empowerment and human capital development to make them self reliant.

In his welcome address, Chairman, Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Kwara Council, Abdul-lateef Ahmed, explained that the Media Parliament is geared towards engaging the elites particularly public officeholders for them to understand the responsibilities placed on theirs shoulders.

Ahmed described Senator Sadiq as a consummate pharmacist and politician with impactful representation of his people.

Also Speaking, Chairperson, Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Kwara State Chapter, Bola Ipinlaye charged the senator to be gender sensitive particularly in the area of women empowerment

Shettima arrives in Havana for G77+China Leaders’ Summit

Nigeria’s Vice President, Kashim Shettima, has arrived in Havana, Cuba, for the G77+China Leaders’ Summit. His arrival was announced by the official Twitter handle of the presidency.

Shettima will be representing President Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the summit, which will also have other world leaders, including Antonio Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, in attendance.

The vice president is expected to deliberate on development issues facing members, mostly from the global south.

The tweet from the Twitter handle read, “The Summit will equally explore proactive ways of addressing challenges facing the development of the member states, leveraging science, technology, and innovation to enhance socio-economic growth.”

Flooding looms in 13 states as heavy rainfall continues

The federal government warned on Wednesday that heavy rainfall could cause flooding in 13 states from September 13 to September 17.

The National Flood Early Warning Systems Central Hub of the Federal Ministry of Environment said the states most at risk are Kano, Kebbi, Katsina, Niger, Kwara, Zamfara, Bauchi, Taraba, Borno, Adamawa, Yobe, Jigawa, and Gombe.

The report said the rise in the water levels of River Benue and River Niger could also affect communities along the rivers up to Bayelsa State.

The government advised residents in these areas to take preventive measures, such as moving to higher ground and storing food and water.

The Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Utsev, said the government was working to mitigate the effects.

“We are striving to curtail the excesses of floods caused by heavy rainfall and the recent release of water from dams and rivers,” he said.

He urged Nigerians always to implement the recommendations of the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency.

The report from the National Flood Early Warning Systems Central Hub is the latest in a series of warnings about the risk of flooding in Nigeria.

In 2022, the country was hit by devastating floods that killed hundreds of people and displaced millions.

The government has said it is working to improve its flood management systems, but experts say more must be done to prevent future disasters.

ASUU, parents protest as more varsities hike fees

As tertiary institutions across the country begin a new session next week, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, parents and students started protests as more varsities continue to hike their fees amid a worsening economy.

ASUU as well as the associations of parents and students warned about the likelihood of mass dropouts of students following the hikes in fees by the universities across the country.

The union was worried about the development just as apprehensive parents expressed concerns over the implication of the fee hike for their children and wards in public tertiary institutions.

The National President, ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, frowned on the fee increases, noting that the university is not a profit-making commercial centre.

The management of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, announced a new school fee regime on Wednesday.

The decision, according to a communiqué released by the university’s Public Relations Officer, Abiodun Olarewaju, was taken by the school’s Senate at its emergency meeting held on Tuesday.

The statement disclosed that fresh students in the Faculties of Arts, Law and Humanities would pay N151, 200, while returning students of the same faculties would pay N89,200.

Checks by The PUNCH indicated that returning students in Faculties of Arts, Law and Humanities as of the last academic session paid N20,100.

According to the management, new students being admitted into the College of Health Sciences and the Faculty of Pharmacy are to pay N190, 200 while returning students, who paid N28,100 in the last academic session, will cough out N128, 200.

 The statement read partly, “For those in the Faculties of Arts, Law and Humanities, the fresh students will pay N151, 200 while returning students of the same faculties will pay N89,200.

“For those in the Faculties of Technology and Science, the new students will pay N163, 200 and the returning students of the same faculties are to pay N101, 200.

“In addition, the new students being admitted into the Faculties in the College of Health Sciences, and the Faculty of Pharmacy are to pay N190, 200 ( new students) and N128, 200 ( returning students), respectively.”

 The same scenario was observed at the University of Benin where new fees had been introduced by the management for full-time undergraduate courses for the 2022/2023 academic session.

 Before the increment, science students who used to pay N73, 000, are now required to pay N190, 000.  Non-science students who used to pay N69, 000, are now mandated to part with N170, 000.

 A breakdown of the increment for new science students included exam and lab fees of N30, 000; library N15, 000; sports N5, 000;  ICT N5,000;  counselling  N1,000;  utility N20,000;  medical charge/life insurance N5,000 and accreditation N24,000.

 Other levies included sanitation N7,000; bank/portal charges N5,500; development levy N20,000;  students union dues  N2,500;  orientation brochure N5,000; certificate screening N5,000; academic gown N5,000 and  ID  card N5,000.

Non-science student are to pay N10, 000 for the laboratory while other fees are the same.

 However, after a meeting between the Students Union Government and the school management, the fee was reduced to N105,000 for non-science students and N115,000 for science students.

 Subsequently, the non-science students will pay N85, 000 while the science students will pay N95, 000.

 Several federal universities began the implementation of increment in fees following the suspension of the industrial action by the ASUU in October 2022.

The varsities which hiked their fees included the Federal University of Health Sciences, Azare; University of Maiduguri; Federal University, Dutse; Federal University, Lafia; University of Uyo; Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, among others.

The universities in separate memos attributed the development to the rising cost of learning materials and the need to adequately fund activities in their respective institutions.


Post-subsidy talks: Labour threatens indefinite strike, gives one week ultimatum

Barely one week after leading a two-day nationwide warning strike,  the organised labour on Tuesday threatened to begin an indefinite strike should the Federal Government fail to meet its demands at the end of a 21-day ultimatum which will expire in approximately one week’s time.

The workers union said the proposed strike was necessary following the failure of the Federal Government to provide palliatives to assuage the Nigerians hardships as a result of the fuel subsidy removal.

The Nigeria Labour Congress said the industrial action which may commence any day from next week would lead to an indefinite shutdown of commercial and economic activities across the country.

Speaking with The PUNCH on Tuesday, the National Assistant General Secretary of the NLC, Mr Christopher Onyeka, said the FG was wrong to share a bag of rice to a dozen citizens while reportedly giving N100m palliative to each member of the National Assembly.

The union had on September 1 handed down a 21-day ultimatum to the FG over the delay in sharing of palliatives, saying it might be compelled to declare an indefinite labour action if its demands were not met.

“If the government fails to provide the appropriate responses to our demands, we encourage you to maintain your steadfast resolve. The same passion and determination that fuelled this warning strike will be crucial if we find ourselves compelled to embark on an indefinite nationwide strike,’’ the labour body said in a letter to the FG.

To demonstrate its seriousness, the NLC mobilised workers for a two-day warning strike on September 5 and 6, partially grounding social and economic activities in several states with banks, ministries, agencies and departments closed to the public in some states.

The NLC leadership had said the action was in preparation for a total shutdown which would start at the expiration of the ultimatum next week.

Among other demands, the NLC and the Trade Union Congress were asking for wage awards, implementation of palliatives, tax exemptions and allowances to the public sector workers and a review of the minimum wage.

Though the FG made a commitment to restructure the framework for engagement with organised Labour on palliatives, the eight-week timeframe set for the conclusion of the process expired in August with no action whatsoever.

The committees were given eight weeks to conclude their assignment and hasten the implementation of the framework in cushioning the effect of petrol subsidy removal on Nigerians but weeks after the timeframe expired, the sub-committees had yet to meet or actualise their mandates.

President Bola Tinubu had since June 19 set up the Presidential Steering Committee and various sub-committees to discuss the framework to be adopted on the palliatives.

The sub-committees had been created to implement FG’s palliative package in areas such as Cash Transfers, Social Investment Programme, Cost of Governance, Energy, and Mass Transit and Housing.

This was a fall-out of the President’s closed-door session with the leadership of the NLC and the TUC during a nationwide protest by the organised labour.

Nationwide protest

Giving an update on the planned walk out following the lukewarm attitude of the government, Onyeka insisted that the FG had absconded from the negotiation table, noting that it had also failed to meet the workers’ demands.

The union leader hinted that the strike would not notify the government before carrying out any action it deems fit.

He said, “We sent the letter to the Federal Government on September 1, 2023, so by September 22, 2023, the 21-day ultimatum will end.

 “We have made it clear that the Federal Government has abandoned and absconded from the table for negotiation; that government is no longer negotiating with Nigerians and there is no good faith negotiation that is going on.’’


Nigerians to start clearing goods from Cotonou ports – Customs

The acting Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Adewale Adeniyi, on Tuesday, announced that Nigerian importers would soon be able to clear their goods from the ports in Cotonou, Benin Republic.

He disclosed this in Abuja at the end of a two-day working visit by the director-general and senior officials of the customs service of Benin Republic.

Customs personnel from both countries entered into various agreements during the two-day meeting in order to boost trade relations between Nigeria and Benin Republic, as well as curb smuggling.

While responding to a question at the event, Adewale said, “We are building confidence in the system offered by the Republic of Benin, our importers are using their ports and vice-versa. If there are people in Benin Republic who want to use our ports, we try to build trust in our systems.

 “And by virtue of this agreement, what it means is that Nigerian importers willing to use the ports in Cotonou can have their goods cleared in those ports because there would be an opportunity for them to pay duties on goods that are liable for payment of duties.

“We can account for the duties on those goods in the ports of arrival. So they will now be free to enter Nigeria.”

Reacting to concerns about vehicle smuggling, he said, “It goes beyond vehicles. Any goods arriving in Cotonou ports, duty can be accessed and payment can be made and from there, it comes into the Nigerian territory.

“It is just like what happens when goods come in through Lagos or Port Harcourt; it is pretty much the same. But we have not got there. We have agreed in principle that we can operationalise this.

“So the steps that we are going to take to get us to that particular destination is what we are going to be working on. It was mentioned in the communique that we are going to establish timelines when we hope to achieve that particular milestone.”

Adewale said the partnership between both nations would enhance customs administration, trade facilitation and regional cooperation.

He added, “The occasion we celebrate today marks a significant milestone in our journey to strengthen collaboration, eliminate barriers, and promote legitimate trade within the West African region.

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