General news

FG will support partnership to tackle `out of school children’ challenge -Osinbajo



Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the Federal Government will support any partnership that addresses literacy and educational challenges including the problem of out of school children and girl child education in Nigeria.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Thursday said the vice president made this known when he received a delegation from Google Global Services in the US at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

According to Osinbajo, it will be helpful to look more in the area of literacy type skills because the government is working on how to expand the whole scope of education especially for girls.

“So, the question really is how we can use technology to make it easier for girls, in particular, to go to school, because if we somehow bring education to their doorsteps, it might take care of some of the problems around taking them out of their home environment.

“For us, our education mandate is so crucial; it is an interesting partnership – business, government and civil society working together. We are already looking forward to a lot of the great work that will be done.

“All of that fits into our education agenda which partly aims at addressing the out of school children and the girl child education issues.”

Speaking on behalf of the Google delegation, Mr Doron Avni, the firm’s Government Affairs and Public Policy Director described Osinbajo as an excellent partner whose support had enabled the organisation record remarkable success in Nigeria.

According to him, Google has an excellent partner in Osinbajo who has been doing God’s work.

“It is thanks to leading partners like him that we are able to be helpful in communities in which we operate.

“We had made a pledge to train 10 million people in Africa by 2022, I am happy to report to you that so far we have trained more than 5 million people; most important is the fact that out of those 5 million, 3 million are Nigerians.

“With the collaboration that we have with the Ministry of Education, we have now integrated some of Google’s curriculum on online safety into the school’s curriculum.

“So, we will be reaching 56 million students in Nigeria this year,” he said.

He added that the company’s target of training up to 10 million people in Africa by 2022 was realisable.

Earlier in the day, Osinbajo received a delegation from Procter and Gamble led by its President for Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, Mr Suran Magesvaran.

He said the initiatives of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in the past four years would boost local industries and make them more competitive on the African continent.

“We are concerned about making sure that our industries are competitive by fixing power and other infrastructure. We are looking at port operations, trying to connect the port to the Lagos-Kano rail line,” the vice president said.

On his part, Magesvaran announced the company’s plans to set up a new multi-million dollar plant in Nigeria as part of its new investments in Africa.

Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz


FG affirms commitment to eradication of ozone depleting substances



The Federal Government has said that it is  committed  to phasing out Ozone Depleting Substance (ODS) to mitigate  the impact of climate change and enhance  growth and development  of local manufacturing industries.

The Minister of  the Environment, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, said this on Tuesday while  inaugurating the System House at Vitapur Nigeria Limited  established for  the production of Methyl Formate Based Pre Blended Polyols in the Rigid Polyurethane Foam Sector in Lagos.

He listed the  benefits of waste recycling which the firm was promoting through the project to include: reduction of  pollution, checking  environmental degradation  and  preservation  of  the environment.

He said that with the completion of the project, Vitapur was expected to phase out the  use of Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC)-141b in their operations by January 2021 in the manufacture of rigid polyurethane foam.

“Vitapur is also expected to supply methyl formate systems to downstream end users. These will lead to the phasing  out of 425.4 metric tons of HCFC-141b in the foam sector,” he said.

The minister quoted a 2013 report in the journal of climate change, as saying that “these and other effects of global warming, if left unchecked, may contribute to the disappearance of one-half of the earth’s plant and one-third of animals by 2080″.

He expressed satisfaction at the completion  of  the project last year  which involved: retrofits/replacement of equipment, training, establishment of laboratory/quality control facilities and trials.

“This is at a time that we are preparing for  the commencement of  the implementation of Stage II of the HPMP Project as well as the Kigali Amendment on phase down of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

“HFCs are greenhouse gases with high global warming potential used essentially as cooling agents in the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning sector.

“Thus, the commissioning ( inauguration ) of this project is a laudable achievement for us in our plan to  phase out  Ozone Depleting Substances and in the  mitigation of climate change,” he said.

The minister commended the efforts of implementing agencies which include: UNDP and UNIDO in the implementation of the Hydrochlorofluorocarbon Phase Out Management Plan (HPMP) project for shrinking the volume of wastes for recycling.

“It is on this note that I commission the System House today. I will also be presenting the handover Protocol for the project of Vitapur Ltd, which is jointly signed by my humble self on behalf of the government and UNDP,” he said.

Earlier, Dr Babatunde Makanjuola, the Chairman of Vitafoam Nigeria PLC and Vitapur Nigeria Ltd., said that the firm had been able to beat global record by reducing the final waste generated from its foam factories to only one per cent.

He said that Vitapur Nigeria Limited as  a subsidiary of Vitafoam had successfully  used its technology to both shrink waste and control weather conditions.

It had been using its products  such as insulators for  the construction of cool classrooms for schools in  Northern Nigeria  during the  hot season, he said.

According to him, we have been initiating products that will benefit Nigerians.

He said that the  occasion marked a turning point in the nation’s quest to further demonstrate corporate e- social responsibility and commitment to global efforts at preserving the environment.

“It gives me tremendous joy and a deep sense of satisfaction that Vitafoam Nigeria PLC, through one of her subsidiary companies, Vitapur, is part of the global initiatives aimed at eradicating the use of ozone depleting substances in industrial processes and its existential threat to mankind and nature,” he said.

Edited By: Shittu Obassa/Peter Dada
Source: NAN
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Staff, fire fighters put fire under control  at LASTMA headquarters



A fire incident was put under control on Tuesday at the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) head office by the swift intervention of its staff and some of the  officials of the   state fire service.

Mr Olajide Oduyoye, the General Manager of  LASTMA  confirmed the development  in a statement by the  authority’s spokesman, Mr Olumide Filade.

The LASTMA boss said: “There was a minor fire incident at the LASTMA Headquarters today, which emanated from a faulty air-conditioner on the second floor of the building.”

Filade quoting Oduyoye said, “Immediately the fire was noticed from  the air-conditioner; the headquarters staff, following the past fire drill training, evacuated from the building to a muster point where head counts were taken.

“Some of the staff trained in proper fire drill used the fire extinguishers located on all the floors of the building to douse the fire, before the fire service  officials were invited  through a telephone call.”

Oduyoye noted that the Lagos State Fire Service promptly responded to the call and put out the fire which was still slightly burning from the air-conditioner.

He said that the fire fighters ensured that the fire did not spread beyond  the office where it occurred.

Oduyoye thanked all the staff and the firemen for taking prompt actions to avert the  damage that the fire could  have caused the human and material resources of the authority.

The general manager, who said that if the fire  had  excalated, it could have been a setback to LASTMA, enjoined all residents of the state  to always be at alert to  happenings  around their environments.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that a fire incident at the LASTMA office in Oshodi left several vehicles destroyed on Aug. 14.

The cause of the fire could not be ascertained, but no life was lost to it.

Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Peter Dada
Source: NAN
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General news

Max Air to begin Jos-Abuja flight operations Sept. 28



An Airline, Max Air, will commence commercial flight operations on the Jos/Abuja route on Sept. 28, the Plateau Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr Dan Manjang, has said.

Manjang said in Jos that the flights had been scheduled for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

He said the operations followed the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Airline and  the State Government on Sept. 1.

According to him, on the scheduled days, the aircraft will depart Abuja at 3:20 p.m. and arrive Jos at 4 p.m.

“Same days, the flight departs Jos at 4:45 p.m. to arrive Abuja at 5:25 p.m.

“By this development, interested passengers are encouraged to take advantage of the new opportunity for easier and faster connection between Plateau, the Home of Peace and Tourism, and Nigeria’s Capital, Abuja,” the commissioner said.

He said that Gov. Simon Lalong would inaugurate the Abuja to Jos flight on Sept. 28.

“In view of this, citizens of Plateau, businessmen, tourists, Nigerians, foreigners and all members of the public are called upon to take advantage of this new opportunity.

“Also, explore the wonderful economic and social opportunities in Plateau,” he said.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye and Abdullahi Yusuf
Source: NAN
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COVID-19: FG receives 38,000 applications for N75bn MSME survival funds – Katagum



Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs Mariam Katagum, says government had received 38,000 applications for the N75 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) survival funds.

Katagum made this known in her opening remarks at a Business Advocacy Roundtable webinar by the

Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) on Tuesday.

According to her, the applications were coming in barely one day after the registration portal for the fund was opened on Sept. 21.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the webinar had as its theme: “Economic Recovery beyond COVID-19”.

She explained that N75 billion survival funds would serve 1.7 million beneficiaries across the country.

Katagum said the MSME survival funds with payroll support scheme for different sectors would start with educational institutions, followed by businesses in the hospitality industry and then small businesses.

She said that Kano had the highest number of applicants who had registered for the funds.

“The payroll would provide support between N30,000 and N50,000 for 500,000 vulnerable MSMEs to meet their obligations per employee over a duration of three months.

“A total of 250,000 new businesses will get free Corporate Affairs Commission business name registration,’’ the minister said.

According to her, 100,000 businesses affected by the pandemic will get N50,000 each and 330,000 artisans and transport business operators would get N30,000 to reduce the effect on loss of income.

“Already, we have received 33,000 applications by just opening the portal for registration yesterday and Kano has the highest number of applicants.

“As at this morning, we have received 38,000 applicants.’’

In his remarks, Mr Shubham Chaudhari, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, said the pandemic had put the nation at a very critical juncture.

Chaudhari advised the nation’s response to go beyond the immediate crisis to exploiting the various opportunities that abound going forward.

He praised the government’s bold steps by its various economic sustainability and recovery plans.

He urged robust implementation and follow through to ensure the country floats through the pandemic.

He also called for a level playing field for all private businesses (small and large) to thrive.

“Nigeria has the potential to be one of the world’s largest economies.

“On the economic front, the population of Nigeria is young and can withstand the pandemic.

“The pandemic has provided opportunities that can be harnessed even in crisis.

“We would continue to provide bilateral and multilateral support to ensure trade channels are opened,’’ Chaudhari said.

Also, Mr Hamzat Subair, Executive Chairman, Lagos State Inland Revenue Service (LIRS) urged businesses to take advantage of current opportunities, which hitherto were not apparent.

Subair, represented by his Special Adviser, Tokunbo Akande said that Lagos had, during the pandemic, leveraged on technology to provide tax services to residents.

He urged business owners within the metropolis to take advantage of the state approved waivers and payments instalments plans suited to their business capabilities.

“Close to 80 per cent of business owners with access to telephone had access to tax services during the pandemic.

“Quite a number are also taking advantage of the various audits waivers, extended tax payments plans among other services the state is offering.

“We are also working on the multiplicity of tax interfaces to reduce the tax burdens on businesses in Lagos,’’ Subair said.

Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Abdulfatah Babatunde
Source: NAN
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FG affirms commitment to eradication of ozone depleting substances Coronavirus: WHO reports highest weekly increment of nearly 2m cases globally Staff, fire fighters put fire under control  at LASTMA headquarters UN chief warns of ‘new Cold War’ between United States, China Lack of fans will be devastating for many clubs, official says Max Air to begin Jos-Abuja flight operations Sept. 28 2 receive death sentences for deadly 2012 Pakistani factory fire COVID-19: FG receives 38,000 applications for N75bn MSME survival funds – Katagum Edo 2020: Youth group congratulates Obaseki  Russia’s institute recommends people over 80 vaccinate against COVID-19 Tears, pains as army buries war commander in Maiduguri Anambra coordinator of African Cleanup Initiative advocates environmentally responsible citizens Police arraign carpenter for allegedly receiving stolen property Flood: Youth council impressed with Gov. Sule’s prompt response Cancer tops South Korea’s cause of death in 2019 Ogun State pensioners protest, demand immediate payment of gratuities  Unilorin to resume classes Sept. 30 – Management DPR, marketers set up committee to enhance safe distribution of cooking gas COVID-19:British government postpones return of fans to UK stadiums Ministry distributes diapers, palliatives to FCT communities New Plateau NSCDC Commandant assumes duty in Jos Gov. Oyetola urges Nigerian universities to intensify research on Coronavirus Court remands man, 23, over alleged defilement of a minor World Teachers Day: 774 teachers to benefit from excellence award Onaiyekan urges FG, States, LGs re-commit to address injustice Fayemi appeals for partnership as new Oluyin of Iyin Ekiti gets staff of office ARP presidential candidate urges Buhari to sign electoral bill Lagos assembly begins probe on auditor-general’s report on MDAs Court remands 2 men in SCIID custody over alleged murder of policeman Bleak winter ahead for sports in UK as fans kept out of stadiums Police arraign 2 over alleged tresspass, mischief in Abuja Gov. Sule urges IFAD, World Bank to support women-small-holder farmers Chef in court over alleged theft of employer’s $2,350 Delta Commissioner urges students to leverage teleclass programme to excel Edo election: INEC presents certificates of return to Gov. Obaseki, Shaibu World needs cooperation, UN platform provides necessary conditions for dialogue – Russia All 26 FRSC operatives kidnapped have regained their freedom, says Gov. Sule Alleged defilement: Court admits man to N500,000 bail Run people-oriented programme as `godfatherism` ends – Ex-agitator tells Obaseki Ember months: FRSC wants improved strategies against road accidents Police arraign businessman over alleged N1.4m airline ticket fraud Italian police probe alleged fixing of citizenship exam for Suarez Climate Change: Environmentalist advocates an end to coal mining, usage NSCDS says intelligence gathering, security reporting skills essential for officers 2 farmers bag 1 year imprisonment each for stealing 16 bags of maize Uganda arrests security officers after fire guts country’s top university JOHESU ends strikes, resumes normal activities at National Orthopaedic Hospital BBNaija enthusiast predicts Laycon as winner of Sunday’s grand finale   Court orders student to cut grass in police station for 2 days for stealing phones JOHESU strike: Health workers resume work in Kaduna