NLC rejects CBN’s cybersecurity levy

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has rejected the recent directive by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) of 0.5 (0.005) per cent Cybersecurity Levy on electronic transfers. Mr Joe Ajaero, NLC President stated the NLC position in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja. Ajaero was reacting to a recent circular issued by the CBN, mandating banks and payment service operators to effect the deductions, effective in two weeks. The CBN has said that the move, 'ostensibly aimed at bolstering cybersecurity measures, threatens to exacerbate the financial strain already faced by the populace'. Ajaero said the NLC vehemently condemned the directives and therefore called for immediate stoppage and reversal of the policy. According to him, this levy, to be implemented by deduction at the transaction origination, is yet another burden on the shoulders of hardworking Nigerians. 'The Nigeria Labour Congress recognises the importance of cybersecurity in today's digital age. 'However, imposing such a levy on electronic transact ions, without due consideration for its implications on workers and the vulnerable segments of society, is unjustifiable. 'This levy stands as another tax too much for Nigerians, burdening them with additional financial responsibilities. 'We see in this levy as another gang up by the ruling elite to continue its extortion and exploitation of hapless and helpless workers and the masses,'he said. He noted that while the CBN had exempted interbank transfers and loans transactions from the levy, the broader impact on everyday transactions would not be overlooked. He added that such deductions directly affect the disposable income of workers and further diminish the purchasing power of the common citizen. The NLC president also noted that domestic manufacturers and other businesses were already shuttering as a result of the stifling socio-economic environment. He added that, yet, instead of creating a business-friendly environment to encourage greater investments in the economy, the opposite seems to be what is being practised. Ajaero, therefore, called on the Federal Government to reconsider the directives and prioritise policies that alleviate the financial burdens of Nigerians. 'We urge a collaborative approach between the government, regulatory bodies, and stakeholders to develop sustainable cybersecurity measures that do not unduly burden the populace. 'We reiterate our commitment to championing the rights and welfare of Nigerian workers and masses,' he said. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Fidelity, others distribute food palliatives to families in Keffi

Fidelity Bank Plc in partnership with Abbasid Charity Foundation and Sen. Wadada Ahmed have distributed food palliatives to no fewer than 1,000 families in Keffi, Nasarawa state. Distributing the food items on Wednesday, Ms Victoria Abuka, the Team Lead, Corporate Social Responsibility, Fidelity Bank said the gesture was to cushion the effects of the high cost of food items. She added that the gesture was part of the bank's initiative known as, ''Fidelity Food Bank'. Abuka said the initiative which commenced in April, 2003, was aimed at contributing to food security in the country. She said that since the inauguration of the initiative, over 100,000 food packs had been distributed across the country. 'One of the major problem in the country now is food. People are hungry and it is difficult to pursue dreams and aspirations. 'That is why Fidelity Bank, as a socially responsible organisation, started the initiative for food distribution to families in dare need of food. 'We have visited over 100 communit ies across the country,' she said. Abuka said the bank was working with 19 partners who identified communities to benefit from the initiative. Hajia Hauwa Abbas, the Founder of Abbasid Foundation, said the food drive started when she was chosen as the bank's food bank ambassador in the North. She listed some of the beneficiary states to include Jigawa, Zamfara, Zaria, Kebbi, Bauchi, Kano and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). 'I am very pleased with Fidelity Bank because as much as they are collecting money from us, they are giving us back, especially women. Sen. Ahmed Wadada, representing Nasarawa West Senatorial District, said he partnered with the Fidelity Bank's drive to provide food for his people. Wadada, represented by his wife Zainab, said the move was in continuation of his philanthropic gesture to his constituents especially orphans and widows. 'We are here today to give back to our people and considering the hardship in the country, this is the little that we can do. 'I appeal to well-mea ning Nigerians to try and collaborate to see how we can help the people that do not have some of the opportunities that we have,' he said. Mrs Susan Nyikwagh, a recipient of the food pack, commended the bank and other partners for the gesture. 'I am so happy for receiving this gift in a time like this when things are not easy. 'The bank and their partners are wonderful,' she said. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the food pack contained one kilogramme of rice, garri and packs of indomie. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Make Lagos environment friendly for new corps members, Sanwo-Olu tells residents

Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has called on Lagos residents to make the environment friendly for the new corps members posted to the state. Sanwo-Olu made the call at the closing ceremony of the 2024 Batch A, Stream II orientation, held on Tuesday at the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) temporary orientation camp, Iyana-Ipaja, Lagos. He also urged the corps members to make the service year have meaningful impact on the social-economic and political development of Lagos State and Nigeria at large. 'I implore you to accept your posting to any part of Lagos and see it as an opportunity to participate in the community development programmes, impact your host community and leave indelible legacies. 'These, your predecessors did in the areas of healthcare delivery system, educational services, social services amongst others, just as your services may be needed in the aforementioned.' Sanwo-Olu, represented by Mr Ibukun Dosunmu, Director, General Service, Lagos State Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmenta l Relations, said that the state government would continue to recognise and reward outstanding corps members at the end of the service year. Baderinwa urged the corps members to be good ambassador of the scheme, family and communities in their places of assignment. She said that it was fundamental for them to obey rules/regulations of NYSC. 'Let the team spirit you cultivated while in camp guide your conducts, set aside tribal sentiments, 'I wish you productive service year, remember that any erring corps member will be penalised in line with the NYSC by-law. 'As these young patriots move to the next stage of their service year, being the primary and secondary assignments, I am optimistic that they'll perform excellently, having been properly intimated with the tenets of the scheme,' she added. The coordinator expressed appreciation to corporate organisations and collaborating partners. She said that some made impactful presence in the orientation camp, sponsoring social and sporting activities which a dded colour and variety to the purpose of the course. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some corps members and camp officials were identified for their outstanding performance during the three-week orientation course and given commendation letters at the event. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Groups identify strategies for improved women’s participation in democracy

Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) and Women for Women International have identified social and cultural norms as barriers to women's freedom of speech and participation in democracy in Nigeria. They made this known on Tuesday in Abuja at a roundtable on the publication of a research project titled 'Listen to Women: Identifying Barriers to Women's Freedom of Speech and Participation in Democracy in Nigeria.' They said that addressing these challenges would not only enhance women freedom of speech, but also enhance adequate participation in democracy. Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, Founding Director, WARDC, noted that the prevalence of sociocultural norms still affected the ability of women to participate in peace processes in their communities and states. Akiyode-Afolabi said 'Women who have information and could support peace processes are being denied the opportunity to participate in spite of the fact that the country has signed the UN security council resolution. 'The peace securit y architecture in the state is not allowing women and accepting women to be part of it. 'The project is called Listen to Women: Identifying the barriers Against Women's Freedom of Speech and Participation in Democracy. It's a project that focuses specifically on Plateau State but however has a national coverage.' She explained that one of the recommendations of the research was for government to engender its security architecture to ensure that more women participate, especially in Plateau State, where the research was carried out. 'Plateau State has signed the Gender and Equal Opportunity bill into law, which allows for women's equal participation, so we are calling on the government to ensure that the law becomes activated,' she said. Also, Zainab Gbobaniyi, Advocacy Coordinator, Women for Women (WfWI) said the event was aimed at disseminating the research findings. 'The research being an evidence based and carried out in five communities in Plateau State cutting across three local governments of Jos E ast, Riyom and Pankshin, tells the stories directly from the women themselves,' she said. Also, Adedayo Benjamins-Laniyi, Federal Capital Territory, (FCT), Mandate Secretary, said the direction of the present administration was geared towards promoting the well-being of women, increasing their political participation and empowerment. Bemjamins-Laniyi, while speaking on domestic violence and early child marriage, said 'forming coalitions, working with traditional councils and working with male champions have yielded a lot of results and I think that is a very good approach.' Source: News Agency of Nigeria

FCTA demolishes illegal shanties in Wuse Zone 3

The Department of Development Control, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council of the FCT Administration, has demolished shanties illegally built on a road corridor in Wuse Zone 3. The Coordinator of the Council, Mr Felix Obuah, told journalists after the exercise in Abuja on Wednesday, that the move was part of efforts to clear all shanties in the city. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the shanties, called by the occupants as Unguwan Yan Lambu, were built over 27 years ago. The shanties have been demolished several times but were rebuilt by the occupants. Obuah said that the location was preserved for a road corridor, adding that the illegal occupation has became a security threat, apart from defacing the beauty of the city. 'Also disturbing is that criminals and miscreants have made this location a safe haven. 'So, we decided to come and clear all the shanties and remove the criminals that have taken over the road corridor to give Abuja its desired beauty. 'We can't allow this again. Our a im is to beautify the city and make Abuja a city we will all be proud of,' he said. He added that a taskforce would be set up to make sure that none of the illegal occupants rebuild any shanty in the area again. He also announced plans to relocate the occupants to a permanent location to ensure that no one returns. 'We are going to write a memo to the FCT Minister, Mr Nyesom Wike, to seek his approval and see how far we can go about the relocation plan. 'From what we can see, there are huge number of people illegally residing here. So, if we can relocate them within a very short possible time, they will not come back here again. 'We are also going to make provisions to make sure that they do not suffer undue hardship. 'You see, some of the occupants are very young; some with children, and out of my pocket, I have donated a small amount of money to enable them to relocate immediately. 'If we don't take this measure now, they will go to another place and create nuisance,' Obuah said. Responding to the d evelopment, Malam Mohammed Musa, the chairman of the community, said that the area was occupied by about 1,000 people, including women and children. Musa said that the occupants, predominantly dry season farmers, have been there for about 27 years, with some made up of 15 family members. He acknowledged receiving a notice of the demolition and thanked the government for allowing them to stay there for over 27 years and to make a living in dry season farming. He, however, called on the FCT Administration to come to their aid, adding that some of them were displaced from their homes by bandits and other forms of insecurity. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

We’ve taken measures to rid Nasarawa of bandits, kidnappers- Sule

Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa on Wednesday said that his administration has put measures to rid the state of bandit and kidnappers. Sule stated this in an interview with newsmen shortly after a courtesy call on the Vice President Kashim Shettima, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. He said that the State Government with the support of the Federal Government established a Military Super Camp in the area that was prone to bandits and kidnappers. 'It took us a while to be able to stabilise the area. The road leading to the area where some of the bandits, kidnappers were actually settled down was very bad. We now constructed a major road in the area. 'The Federal Government also constructed a major road that comes all the way from Benue into Nasarawa State which most of the transporters from the Eastern part of the country are actually using at the moment. 'So, because of that we also established what you called Military Super Camp in the area. So there is presence of military in the area. 'So, all those ki nd of kidnappers, bandit and so on have all left, we don't have any as far as those areas are concern.' Sule stated that Nasarawa was always considered as one of the safest states to do agriculture and other things. The governor said the state over the past three years, had been leading in so many areas of agriculture. 'Today I'm happy to tell you we are number one in Sesame farming in the whole federation nobody does more than that. 'We are number two in Yam production throughout the country. We are number two in cassava production throughout the country and we are number five in rice production. 'So, if people are not going to farms, we will not be achieving this kind of numbers. These are the realities on ground. 'These are things that you can go and find out on your own. So, as far as we are concerned there are no kidnapping in Nasarawa. 'With the oil drilling I don't think any of you has ever heard about kidnapping and things like that taking place. I think that is where we are,' he said. On why he visited the Vice-President, Sule said he came to brief him about the agricultural activities in Nasarawa. 'So, I came to visit him for two major issues, we have been doing a lot in the area of Agriculture which he has taken upon himself to ensure that things are going well. 'So, he has been monitoring that himself and from time to time we visit and discuss on the agriculture which is of great importance to him. 'I came also to discuss about the commissioning of the Lithium Factory that we are having on Friday. 'As you know that this Friday we are going to commission a 4,000 Metric Tonnes per day Lithium Processing Factory which he has always been interested in knowing the outcome of what is happening. 'We came to discuss that part of the preparations. In fact we are hoping Mr President himself will come to commission that factory on Friday.' Source: News Agency of Nigeria

CAS warns against NAF lands encroachment

The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar, has warned communities and institutions against encroaching on the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) lands across the country. This is contained in a statement by AVM Edward Gabkwet, Director, Public Relations and Information, NAF, on Wednesday in Abuja. Abubakar said he recently discussed issues related to NAF land encroachment by some communities in Benue, when he visited Gov. Hyacinth Alia of the state. He said the warning was in view of the fact that such encroachment had negative consequences on national security. The CAS expressed concern that even though NAF had built a fence to contain encroachment at the western boundary of its base in Makurdi, encroachment had persisted at the eastern boundary. Abubakar raised alarm about the potential loss of 1,537.8 hectares of the 4,486 hectares of NAF land in Benue, representing about 34 per cent of the land originally allocated for establishment of the base in 1977. 'It is important to note that the 4,486 hectares of land currently serving as the home base of Tactical Air Command in Makurdi was allocated to the NAF in 1977 as depicted by the Signature Plan signed by the then Governor, Col. Abdullahi Shellenge. 'The siting of NAF Base at the location was to meet set operational and strategic National Security objectives. 'Ceding such a significant portion of NAF land would limit the required space for medium, and long term infrastructural development necessary for future operational readiness and capability development. 'These are in addition to immediate security and safety concerns that are apparent with such boundary reduction,' he said. The CAS said that encroachment on NAF land over the years had resulted in protracted disputes between the NAF and its neighbouring communities. 'Previous efforts to resolve these disputes have failed to achieve desired results,' Abubakar said. The CAS, however, said a tripartite committee comprising the representatives of the Benue government, NAF and affected communit ies had been set up to seek lasting solution to the problem. He expressed the commitment of NAF to tackling communal clashes, banditry, kidnapping and other forms of criminality in Benue and other parts of the country. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

NAEng 2024 Forum: Shettima calls for revamping of engineering education

Vice President Kashim Shettima says revamping engineering education is crucial to national development. The Vice President stated this on Tuesday in Abuja at the Nigerian Academy of Engineering (NAEng) 2024 Public Forum, with the theme: 'Engineering Education'', in Abuja. Shettima, represented by Dr Sadiq Wanka, his Special Adviser on Power Infrastructure, said empirical evidence had demonstrated the strong interlink between engineering capacity and economic development. 'In Nigeria today, we find ourselves in a global economy, underpinned by digital technologies, and in a world, faced with the reality of climate change. 'We also find ourselves facing rapid urbanisation in the country, as estimates suggest that by 2050, 70 per cent of the Nigerian population would be living in cities. 'Given the nature and scale of the challenges ahead, the strength of our engineering capacity is inextricably linked to our economic and social progress,' he said. Shettima however, said the good news was that Nigeria is i mmensely blessed with a young population and resources, among others, to drive the process, in line with President Bola Tinubu's agenda. He said it was therefore critical for the government to continue to work with professional bodies like NAEng, to ensure that the quantity and quality of engineers meet the moment and match national needs. He also called for the need to promote inclusivity, by ensuring the advancement of women in the engineering profession. The Vice President said, doing so would address historical and cultural biases that had limited girls and women from choosing engineering courses. The President of NAEng, Prof. Azikiwe Onwualu said, if Nigeria gets engineering and technology right, all other sectors will be taken care of. Onwualu said the successful development of the various sectors depended on the availability of engineering and technological ideas, tools, processes, facilities, equipment, and skills, required to build facilities, machinery and maintain them. 'Education and trainin g of engineers, technologists, technicians, artisans that drive the economy should therefore receive special attention as that will ensure Nigeria has the right personnel to drive the fourth industrial revolution. 'The state of Engineering Education in Nigeria is definitely not good. Many scholars and practitioners, especially people from the productive sector of the economy have identified many challenges. 'The challenges include the theoretical nature of the teaching and learning for engineering graduates, inadequate laboratories and workshops, poorly executed industrial training, poor curriculum, and high unemployment rate for engineers and so on', he said. Onwualu said the forum would provide major inputs for policy formulation, policy adjustment and more importantly policy implementation guidelines for the relevant MDAs involved in engineering education. The Speaker, House of Representatives, Abbas Tajudeen, represented by Inuwa Garba Chairman House Committee on Science and Engineering, commended NAE ng for its unwavering commitment to advancing the field of engineering in Nigeria. 'As representatives of the People, the House of Representatives is committed to supporting initiatives that promote the advancement of engineering and technological innovation in our nation. 'Together, let us work hands in gloves to harness the power of engineering for the betterment of our society and the Prosperity of future generations,' he said. The Minister of Steel Development, Shuaibu Audu, represented by Mr Jeremiah Adejoh, Assistant Director in the ministry, said there was a need to enhance the quality of engineering curriculum in Nigeria. Audu said the standard of teaching and learning facilities needed to be improved, adding that there was also a need to foster greater collaboration between academia, industry, and government for greater achievement. Source: News Agency of Nigeria