The National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) on Thursday said the continued increment in the price of local and international air fares was unacceptable to Nigerians and the trade association.
Mrs Susan Akporiaye, NANTA’s National President, during a media briefing in Lagos, urged the Federal Government to engage necessary stakeholders in the aviation industry on the development.
According to her, the increment is hostile to the survival of Nigerian aviation downstream sector.
Akporiaye said It was disheartening that Nigerians had to buy tickets to the tune of N3million and be charged as high as N1million to change travel dates, even on tickets bought before the problem began.
“This is unacceptable, exploitative, and hostile to the survival of Nigerian aviation downstream sector.
” We call for sanity and return to the best inventory practices and deployment.
” We urge government, as a matter of urgency, to open further windows of engagement by calling for a meeting with all parties involved,” she said.
Akporiaye said such parties include the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Minister of Aviation, Minister of Finance, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, the International Air Transport Association and NANTA.
“We appreciate government for the release of some funds for the aviation industry and we hope this problem will be attended to promptly,” she said.
Akporiaye said the nation was going through one of the most difficult times in its travel economy.
She said there were issues of foreign exchange scarcity, unbelievable local and international travel fare increases, visa restrictions and threats of deportation at the slightest whims of some foreign countries.
The NANTA president said that businesses must be considered, as they were on the verge of total collapse and staff in the industry might be forced into the streets.
She advised the foreign airlines to have a rethink, knowing well that Nigeria remained a high net worth destination for them to do business.
” We request that the foreign airlines pause and have a rethink on this that we find exploitative.
” They are advised to restore inventories across board and think of the good days when they flew in and out of Nigeria, enjoying the best patronage from us and Nigerian travelling public.
”She said the delay in the repatriation of funds of foreign airlines in the country assumed an embarrassing scenario when IATA labeled Nigeria as a debt bearing nation.
According to her, NANTA embarked on empathy visits to all the foreign airlines to share in their pains.
She said NANTA rubbed minds with the airlines on engaging government through the Ministry of Aviation and the Central Bank of Nigeria to readily find solutions to payment and release of the trapped funds.
She noted that in the course of these strangulating circumstances, the airlines withdrew lower inventories across board, selling at the highest possible openings as a way to cushion their funds being trapped.
” Amidst the challenging exorbitant option for our clients and other travelling publics, not excluding the threat to job losses and closure of shops by most of our members, we held on to optimism that our government will respond.
” Just recently, the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria released about 265 million dollars to service this trapped funds and to which IATA hailed Nigeria for taking strategic measures to end the problem.
” Sadly, that gesture resulted to foreign airlines visiting the Nigerian travelling public with most exploitative response in the name of protecting their business.
” Their response, which we could describe as ‘High Fare Pandemic’, is solely targeted at Nigeria and Nigerians, and cannot be seen anywhere in Africa, even in countries where they also have their funds being trapped.
” This problem must be resolved promptly,” she said.
The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) has appealed to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to partner with it on issuance of travel documents to seafarers.
The Comptroller General of Immigration, Mr Isah Jere, made the appeal during a working visit to NIMASA headquarters in Lagos on Thursday.
According to Jere, the partnership with NIMASA on issuance of travel documents to seafarers will ensure harmonisation for ease of control.
“Sections 2 and 9 of Immigration Act, 2015, confer the power to issue travel documents on the NIS.
“We think that it is important that as government agencies we need to deepen conversations on how to streamline our processes and procedures to ensure that we do not allow unnecessary duplication or overlap of functions.
“The Ease of Doing Business policy of government demands that agencies of government consistently endeavour to deploy streamlined and seamless processes and procedures for the comfort of the public across various windows,” he said.
The immigration boss noted that the service saw enormous strengths in collaborations and synergy.
He said NIMASA and NIS had a lot to gain if they deliberately deepened partnership and synergy in their operational activities.
He added that the services would make useful contributions to the maintenance of Blue Border security and national economic prosperity if they joined forces to address emerging challenges across the country’s coastal lines.
“NIMASA, NIS and other critical stakeholders in the maritime sector need a lot of joint operations and collaborations to meaningfully address the violation of our maritime lines and rich natural endowments.
“It is on this note that I considered this visit as very strategic to enable us deepen conversations on how best we can work for a well-regulated and secured maritime territorial integrity.
“For us in the NIS, our blue border operational areas cut across the sea borders where we undertake the following activities among others: crew examination and control, signing off of embarking and disembarking vessels’ crews.
“Others are stowaway control, processing of Temporary Work Permit (TWP), handling of passport referral cases, sighting of passport for consignees, granting of transit pass to crew members, granting of shore passes to deserving crews,” he said.
He added that the service would collaborate with NIMASA on operationalisation of the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act, 2003, seeking ways of standardising Seafarers’ Identification Document (SID) in line with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) specifications.
Others, he said, are: of visas, Temporary Work Permit (TWP) and other immigration facilities to foreign seafarers and participation in various joint committees aimed at ensuring the successful implementation of the Cabotage Act. Responding, Dr Bashir Jamoh, DG, NIMASA noted that the agency could not have had easy movement of its own seafarers without the help of the NIS.
Jamoh added that the NIS was in the forefront of identification of nationalities, with regards to tribe, to ensure who belonged to Nigeria and other countries.
He cited an example of the Danish citizens that were arrested at sea and how the NIS was able to identify them.
“The Danish Embassy called and said that they didn’t have travel documents of these suspected criminals, how their nationality will be identified because they were arrested outside Nigerian territorial waters but very close to her borders.
“The only thing we could do was through the NIS who are the experts trained for this.
This shows the interface and collaboration between the agency and the service, which was more paramount.
“On the issue of crime at sea, those at the correctional centres, it is the immigration service that has custody of those individuals.
“So, technically looking at it, there is nothing that the agency can achieve in terms of maritime security without the help of the immigration service,” he said.
He pointed out that in essence, both organisations must ensure that they continue to maintain the tempo and the successes recorded.
“The issue of cooperation, collaboration, coordination and information sharing is vital in whatever they are going to do,” he said.
The Police Command in Bauchi State says it has arrested 1,460 suspects for various offences from November 2021 to date.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Umar Sanda said this during the North-East zonal sensitisation organised by the Police Public Complaint Committee (PPCC) on Thursday in Bauchi.
He said the Police prosecuted 722 cases and rescued 55 kidnap victims within the period under review, and reitrated readiness to tackle public complaints and other legitimate grievances in the state.
“From my assumption of duty on Nov. 29, 2021 till date, the Command recorded 722 cases.
“It arrested 1,460 suspects in connection to various crimes committed within and outside the state, and rescued 55 kidnapped victims from their captors,” he said.
Represented by Bello Shehu, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Operations, Sanda said the Police recovered seven AK-47 Rifles, 145 live ammunitions, 20 locally made revolvers and 23 Dane guns, He listed other recovered weapons to include 20 cartridges, 45 machetes, one single barrel, one double barrel, 14 motorcycles, five laptops, 10 tricycles, 81 parcel of Cannabis sativa, 101 cell phones and N7.19 million, among others.
The CP said the command recorded significant successes in the fight against crimes through actionable intelligence from members of the public, He commended the Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Mohammed Dingyadi for police community initiative that bring members of the public closer to the Police.
The Chairman, Nigeria Society of Engineers, Bwari branch, Mrs Halimat Adediran, says the engineering sector has the capacity to drive the nation’s economy .
This is contained in a statement by the chairman on Thursday in Abuja.
Adediran said that in view of crucial role of the sector in the nation’s economy, especially in manufacturing and industry, engineering had become a driven tool for economic development, She said that the branch had organised several technical workshops to improve the standard of engineering profession in a bid to contribute to the country’s economic growth.
“The branch has modestly contributed to the Federal Government’s desire to diversify the country’s economy in the post-COVID-19 era,’’ she said.
According to her, the effort is to provide a platform for a robust discourse and interaction between policy makers, investors and other stakeholders.
She expressed gratitude to the minister of agriculture for collaborating with the branch to grow the country’s agricultural sector.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry has launched the Lesotho Entrepreneurship Hub and Seed Financing Facility at the event held in Maseru on Wednesday.
The Government of Lesotho has received funding from the World Bank to implement the Competitiveness and Financial Facility Inclusion (CAFI), which aims to facilitate the development of a comprehensive business ecosystem in the country.
Speaking at the launch, the Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr. Thabiso Molapo, said that the Ministry is confident that this initiative will address the challenge faced by Basotho entrepreneurs, especially women and youth.
Dr. Molapo said that the Lesotho Entrepreneurship Hub and Seed Financing Facility will be an entrepreneurial knowledge center and business incubator that will work with entrepreneurs to help them learn how to turn their ideas into a business, saying that this initiative came at an opportune time when The country faces socioeconomic challenges that include poverty and a high rate of youth unemployment.
He further mentioned that these situations were aggravated by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic that led to massive job losses.
He said that the establishment of the Lesotho Entrepreneurship Hub and Seed Financing Facility is the most transformative intervention that is designed to address the lack of access to business support, services and financial products in Lesotho.
He urged all key players in the business ecosystem to make full use of this facility and other initiatives under this project that aim to strengthen compatibility, increase trade, promote investment, foster innovation and promote entrepreneurship in Lesotho.
Dr. Molapo assured the full support of his ministry to this established initiative.
In closing, he thanked the World Bank for its technical and financial support in launching this project and other developing partners.
The World Bank Country Director, Ms. Marie-Francoise Marie-Nelly, said that she is pleased to be part of the launch and noted that it is backed by USD 52 million, which is M900 million.
Ms. Marie-Nelly thanked the Government of Lesotho for recognizing that it was important to allocate so many resources for this project that supports Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
She said that she believes that they are beginning a journey towards creating the authentic private sector in Lesotho for innovation and entrepreneurship.
She said that they are looking at young people and women because they have done a gender assessment and it showed that there are women who are still behind in the area of the economy but who can participate in creating wealth and developing innovative ideas.
She said that she was pleased to see that the project will address the issue of gender equality in the country.
The South African High Commissioner for Lesotho, Ms. Constance Seoposengwe, expressed the belief that this is a real opportunity for Lesotho entrepreneurs who are just starting out and those who are established as they seek to grow their business.
Ms. Seoposengwe said that she was pleased to help promote the initiative here in Lesotho and said that the South African Department of Science and Innovation has initiated the design and development of innovation through digital.
She applauded the efforts of the Lesotho government in revamping the innovation portal in partnership with the Southern African Small Business Department, the Department of Science and Innovation and the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
She therefore secured her support for the Lesotho Entrepreneurship Hub and the Seed Financing Facility.
In the same note, the Head of the Project Management Unit, Mr. Chaba Mokuku, said that the objective of the project is to increase access to business support and financing services that are aimed at MSMEs and entrepreneurship, especially women and youth.
Mr. Mokuku said that improving financial inclusion and resilience of MSMEs will improve access to financial services and enhance digital services to serve MSMEs more effectively, saying that this will strengthen the resilience of MSMEs to disasters and climate crises.
The Lesotho Entrepreneurship Center and Seed Financing Fund were established to facilitate the development of a comprehensive entrepreneurial ecosystem in Lesotho through the establishment of a privately run and sustainable Entrepreneurship Centre.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says Federal Government’s efforts at tackling malnutrition and its attendant challenges are beginning to take shape.
Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Thursday in Abuja, said the vice president chaired a virtual meeting of the National Council on Nutrition.
The vice president said that nutrition specific budget estimates were likely to be included in the 2023 Appropriation Bill. “We are at a point where we can move the needle especially with the creation of nutrition departments in line ministries and ensuring that we get nutrition on the budget line and it is actually done properly.
”Osinbajo said that the council with the approval of the president had ensured that nutrition departments existed in several Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
He listed Ministries of Health, Agriculture, Humanitarian Affairs, Women Affairs, Information and Culture, Industry, Trade and Investment, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), and National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), among others.
During the meeting, presentations by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning and Nigerian Governors Forum were made on the implementation of the National Multi-Sectoral Plan of Action on Nutrition particularly on the funding of nutrition activities in the country.
“We intend to follow up on all of these especially in the coming days, working with the relevant Ministers and the Governors Forum.
“And an important point that was made in the presentation earlier was that we need to do a chart of account.
It is really important,” he said.
The meeting had in attendance, Minister of Science and Technology, Sen. Adeleke Mamora, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouq, and the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan.Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Mrs Olusola Idowu, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mr Aliyu Ahmed, and the Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, also attended.
Council members of the Board of Trustees Chairman, Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Chief Executive Officer, Aliko Dangote Foundation, Ms Zouera Youssoufou; representatives of civil society and development partners, among others also attended.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has reaffirmed its stand on the report of the monitoring team for APC Yobe North primary election.
INEC stated this in a statement by its National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye in Abuja on Thursday.
” The attention of INEC has been drawn to a counter affidavit filed in the Federal High Court, Damaturu Judicial Division relating to the primary election.
“Notwithstanding the matter in court and without prejudice to the consideration or likely outcome of the case in court, the commission reiterates its earlier position that it stands by the report of its monitoring team.
“ It was on the basis of that report that the commission did not publish the name and personal particulars of any candidate for the Yobe North Senatorial District,” he said.
Okoye said that INEC would review its quality assurance protocols, as well as ensure the preview by appropriate ranking officials of all processes filed on its behalf.
This according to Okoye was to ascertain their correctness in all material particulars with all reports and all information at its disposal before their presentation so that the situation would not be repeated.
UK’s Prime Minister, Liz Truss has described the Late Queen Elizabeth II of England as the spirit of Great Britain.
She gave the description in a television broadcast monitored on Al-Jazeera on Thursday by the News Agency of Nigeria .
In the broadcast, Truss who became prime minister on Tuesday said the death of the queen was “a huge shock’’ to UK and to the world.
“She was the spirit of Great Britain.
She was loved and admired by the people of the United Kingdom and around the world.
“Our country has grown and flourished under her.
“In the difficult days ahead, we will come together with our friends; of course, the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and the world to celebrate her extraordinary life of service.
’’ Truss said.
Queen Elizabeth II died on Thursday following health challenges.
The Queen was born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, in Mayfair, London, on April 21, 1926. She visited Nigeria in October to take part in the African country’s independence celebration from Great Britain on Oct. 1, 1960. Few could have foreseen she would become monarch but in December 1936, her uncle, Edward VIII, abdicated the throne to marry a twice-divorced American, Wallis Simpson.
Elizabeth’s father became King George VI and, at age 10, “Lilibet’’, as she was known in the family, became heir to the throne.
Within three years, Britain was at war with Nazi Germany.
Elizabeth and her younger sister, Princess Margaret, spent much of wartime at Windsor Castle after their parents rejected suggestions they be evacuated to Canada.
After turning 18, Elizabeth spent five months with the Auxiliary Territorial Service and learned basic motor mechanic and driving skills.
“I began to understand the esprit de corps that flourishes in the face of adversity,’’ she recalled later.
Through the war, she exchanged letters with her third cousin, Philip, Prince of Greece, who was serving in the Royal Navy. Their romance blossomed and the couple married at Westminster Abbey on Nov. 20, 1947, with the prince taking the title of Duke of Edinburgh.
Elizabeth would later describe Philip as “my strength and stay’’ through 74 years of marriage, before his death in 2021, aged 99.
The UN says achieving full gender equality, one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), can take close to 300 years if the current rate of progress continues.
Executive Director at UN Women, Sima Bahous, said this while addressing correspondents on the “Gender Snapshot 2022” report at UN Headquarters in New York. The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the study, which was published on Wednesday showcased how cooperation, partnerships and investments were essential to put the world back on track.
The report was published by the UN Women and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA).
The study reveals how gender disparities are worsening in the face of “cascading” global crises – such as the COVID-19 pandemic, violent conflict, and climate change – coupled with the backlash against women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.
As a result, countries will not meet SDG5 by the 2030 deadline.
“This is a tipping point for women’s rights and gender equality as we approach the half-way mark to 2030. “It is critical that we rally now to invest in women and girls to reclaim and accelerate progress,’’ Bahous said.
The data showed undeniable regressions in their lives, made worse by the global crises – in incomes, safety, education and health.
The longer we take to reverse this trend, the more it will cost us all.
” Without swift action, legal systems that do not ban violence against women, or protect their rights in marriage and family, may continue to exist for generations to come.
The report warns that at the current rate of progress, it will take up to 286 years to close gaps in legal protection and remove discriminatory laws.
Furthermore, it will take 140 years for women to achieve equal representation in leadership positions in the workplace and 40 years for the same to happen in national parliaments.
Meanwhile, to eradicate child marriage by 2030, progress will have to be 17 times faster than in the last decade, with girls from the poorest rural households and in conflict-affected areas expected to suffer the most.
“Cascading global crises are putting the achievement of the SDGs in jeopardy, with the world’s most vulnerable population groups disproportionately impacted, in particular women and girls.
“Gender equality is a foundation for achieving all SDGs and it should be at the heart of building back better,” Maria-Francesca Spatolisano, an Assistant Secretary-General at UN DESA, said.
The report also highlights a worrisome reversal on poverty reduction, with rising prices set to exacerbate the situation.
By the end of the year, roughly 383 million women and girls will live in extreme poverty, compared to 368 million men and boys.
Many more will have insufficient income to meet basic needs such as food, clothing, and adequate shelter in most parts of the world.
If current trends continue, more women and girls in sub-Saharan Africa will live in extreme poverty by 2030 than today, according to the report.
Other daunting facts from the report reveal that globally, women lost roughly $800 billion in income due to the pandemic.
Despite a rebound, women’s participation in the job market is projected to decrease this year to 50.8 per cent, compared to 51.8 per cent in 2021. The report has been released ahead of the Transforming Education Summit, which will be convened on the margins of the UN General Assembly later in Sept. Although not enough by itself, achieving universal girls’ education would help to boost gender equality.
Each additional year of schooling can increase a girl’s future earnings by up to 20 per cent, according to the report, with further impacts on poverty reduction, better maternal health, lower child mortality, greater HIV prevention and reduced violence against women.
Alhaji Muhammad Zayyanu-Abdullahi, the Emir of Yauri in Kebbi State, on Thursday lauded the efforts of President Muhammadu Bihari-led administration for extending infrustructure development to his emirate.
He made the commendation while receiving the Managing Director, National Inland Water Ways (NIWA) on a courtesy visit in his palace in Yauri, Yauri Local Government Area of Kebbi State.
He identified some of the projects executed by President Buhari’s administration to include road construction from Koko to Yauri and connecting Yauri alongside nine other local government areas with national grid, 33 KV line.
Others according to him, are establishment of HYPADEC and appointment of an indegene of Yauri emirate as pioneer boss, establishment of Ngaski Tomatoes Factory and the Federal College of Education Technical, Yauri.
“I don’t think if there is any place in Kebbi State where the Federal Government showed its presence more than Yauri; therefore, on behalf of myself, our Senator, the Emirate and the entire people of Yauri, I want to extend our profound gratitude to God Almighty and then to the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Bihari.
“We had experienced serries of banditry, but today, we thank God, a troop of Nigerian Army is now stationed here and our people can now go to farm and cultivate their crops peacefully,” he said.
Earlier, the Managing Director, NIWA, Dr George Moghalu, told the emir that they were in his palace to seek royal blessings, support and cooperation towards the success of the agency.
He said the visit to Yauri was the second to the emirate and hoped that the relationship between the agency and the emirate would be sustained for the good of all.
While appreciating the reception accorded to him by the emirate, Moghalu extended a hand of friendship and invitation to the emir to be in Abuja or Lokoja.
The MD said his visit was in fulfilment of the promise that he was coming back to Yauri for an important activity – foundation laying of boat station in Yauri Emirate.
The Senator representing Kebbi South, Bala Ibn Na’Allah, assured the emir of support and cooperation to bring anything that would propell rapid growth and development of Yauri Emirate.
He said it was part of their promises to open up Yauri to get access to Mali up to Bokinafaso, through water transportation.
Na’Allah also said that they once pledged to construct a modern boat station, assuring that “today, we are going to lay the foundation here in Yauri Emirate.
“This is a modern boat station where all the passengers travelling by water will comfortably seat, relax and formally register; in case of anything God forbid, number and names of people onboard will be available.
”The lawmaker promised to continue to do everything possible to bring positive development to Yauri Emirate.
The President, Yauri Development Association (YDA) Alhaji Abubakar Umar, said one of the objectives of setting up NIWA was to develop infrustructural facilities and ensure effective inter modern transport system in line with global best practice.
He described Kebbi State as a gateway of River Niger into Nigeria, saying it covered the point of entry.