ASUU calls on govt. to address outstanding issues

The Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU), National Executive Council (NEC) on Tuesday called on the Federal and State Governments to address all outstanding issues with the union. Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, President, ASUU said this in Abuja while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the ASUU-NEC meeting held at Obefemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife between May 11 to May 12. Osodeke said that the union had rejected all the ongoing illegalities and flagrant violation of university autonomy in public universities as a result of non-reinstatement and reconstitution of governing councils. He said that NEC observed with dismay the continued erosion of autonomy of public universities, contrary to the provisions of the Universities Miscellaneous Act (1993, 2012). He said, 'The dissolution of Governing Councils by the present administration has paved way for all manner of illegalities in the Nigerian University System. 'University administrations now place advertisements for the appointment of Vice-Chancellor with out authorisation from the appropriate quarters - the Governing Councils. 'Outgoing Vice-Chancellors, working in cahoots with the Federal and State Ministries of Education, are illegally running the universities on daily basis. 'They routinely usurp the powers of governing councils to recruit and discipline staff as well as manage university finances in manners bereft of transparency and accountability.' He said that for the past 11 months universities were being run without a governing council which had given room to all sorts of illegalities in the universities system. Osodeke said the union undertook a dispassionate and comprehensive review of the status of its engagements with Federal and State Governments on how to reposition Nigeria's public universities for global reckoning and competitiveness. The president also said that the meeting took a critical look at the worsening living and working conditions in universities and the nation at large. 'The meeting received alarming reports on the failed pr omises of the Federal and State governments towards addressing the lingering issues that forced the union to embark on the nationwide strike of February-October 2022. 'As our union has consistently stated, salary awards are no substitutes for a negotiated agreement. 'Each negotiated Agreement between the Federal Government of Nigeria and ASUU is a comprehensive package that captures not the just salary component. 'But also a gamut of requirements for benchmarking a competitive university system designed for addressing the developmental challenges of Nigeria. 'ASUU's demand for negotiated salary and other conditions of service is anchored on the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) Convention No. 98 which underscores the principle of collective bargaining. 'The last FGN/ASUU Agreement was in 2009. Consequent upon the union's advocacy spanning almost one decade, our union went into the renegotiation with the FGN as in 2017,' he said. Osodeke said that NEC shall reconvene after two weeks from the date of the NEC meeting to review the situation and take a decisive action to address the issues. On the issue of the indefinite strike in university of Abuja, he said they were fully in support of the action. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Lawmaker warns parents against overindulging children with technology

Hon. Stanley Olajide (PDP Oyo State), a member of the House of Representatives, has issued a caution to parents regarding the excessive use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) by their children. Olajide, representing Ibadan Northwest/Southwest Constituency, delivered the advice during the 4th stakeholders dialogue on 'Child Protection' organised by the Hope for Second Chance Foundation (HOSEC), an NGO. The event, themed 'Safeguarding Our Future: Nurturing Safe Digital Spaces for Nigerian Child,' aimed to address concerns surrounding child safety in the digital age. Olajide emphasised the importance of implementing proper controls when allowing children to use ICT devices, noting the potential risks associated with unrestricted access to the digital space. He warned that without appropriate measures in place, the rapid expansion of the digital landscape could pose more harm than good to children. Olajide revealed that legislative efforts are underway to regulate the use of ICT, underscoring the need for parents to fulfill their responsibilities in guiding their children's technology usage. He urged parents to remain vigilant and proactive in safeguarding their children's well-being amidst the evolving digital landscape. 'People are using the children through the cyberspace to perpetrate crime. There are organ harvesters on the internet, they are everywhere now. 'Parents must stop indulging their children in ICT use, but if you must do so, put the right control in place. 'Technology as a tool is more powerful than the friends we keep, we must be cautious.' The lawmaker also advised children to be contented with whatever their parents gave them, saying 'some parents are really struggling for their children.' See also Indomie clears air on price reduction in spite inflation Mrs Ibukunoluwa Otesile, the Executive Director, HOSEC, said that the safety of the digital space is the responsibility of all and sundry. She lamented that if Nigerians are not careful with the use of technology, the countr y may have corrupt children. 'We must all lend our voice to this call, that is the whole essence of this event, all voices must be amplified, the digital space must be safe for children, ' she said. On his part, Prof. Adebusuyi Adeniran, the Head of Sociology and Information Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun, emphasised the need to control the cyberspace. He said that 'the problem can be better addressed through primary socialisation, as parents must think of the message they are passing to their children with the use of ICT. 'There is no way ICT use can be stopped in Nigeria, but we can have control over it on children. 'We must make internet align with the country's cultural practices. The Church, Mosque and school cannot train our children for us, the onus is on us to do it ourselves,' Olajide said. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

FG begins 2024 oil block bidding round

The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) on Tuesday announced the commencement of the 2024 oil block licensing round. Mr Gbenga Komolafe, Commission Chief Executive, NUPRC, announced this at the Miami, Florida International Roadshow for the 2024 licensing round, hosted by the NUPRC, in collaboration with Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN). The commission said the 2024 block licensing round would last for approximately nine months. Komolafe, while unveiling the bidding round, said the exercise which was initially announced in April 29, 2024, was a significant leap in the strategic hydrocarbons development initiative. He said the round would introduce 12 meticulously selected blocks across diverse geological spectra from the fertile onshore basins to the promising continental shelves and the untapped depths of Nigeria's deep offshore territories. 'Each block has been chosen for its potential to bolster our national reserves and stimulate economic vitality. 'The NUPRC on behalf of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is committed to conducting the licensing round in a fair, competitive and transparent manner, ensuring a level playing field for both indigenous and international investors. 'Our approach is underpinned by the robust legal framework of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 (PIA), which ensures compliance with best practices to boost investors'confidence. 'In keeping with the provisions of the PIA and regulations made under the Act, the commission has issued a licensing round guideline and published a licensing round plan for the twelve blocks. 'The blocks are PPL 300-CS; PPL 301-CS, PPL 3008, PPL 3009, PPL 2001, PPL 2002, PML 51, PPL 267, PPL 268, PPL 269, PPL 270, and PPL 271,' he said. See also FG extends Brevity Anderson Consortium contract for energy summit He said the seven deep offshore blocks from the 2022 mini-bid round exercise which covered an area of approximately 6,700 km2 in water depths of 1,150m to 3,100m would be concluded along with this licensing r ound. He said rhe blocks on offer had extensive 2D and 3D seismic data coverage, including multi-beam and analogue data. 'Additionally, a 3D reprocessed Pre-stack Time Migration of remarkable quality is also available to prospective bidders. 'The availability of advanced seismic datasets and analytical tools via our dedicated portals exemplifies our commitment to excellence and technological advancement,' he said. According to Komolafe, the licencing round is indeed expected to be a huge success for Nigeria and is a big step towards growing the nation's oil and gas reserves. This, he said would be through aggressive exploration and development efforts, boosting production, expanding opportunities for gas utilisation and end-to-end development across the value chain. 'In addition, the licencing round presents us with the opportunity to reinforce Nigeria's commitment to openness and transparency in line with the principles of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI),' he said. On the global scale, Komolafe said the licensing round would no doubt be beneficial to all stakeholders, add6that in the long run it would contribute to long-term global energy sufficiency. 'The implementation process will, in addition to technical and commercial considerations, pay requisite attention to strategies, processes and implementable plans consistent with net zero carbon emission targets, eliminating gas flares'. He said competitive entry fees that were responsive to prevailing realities would be adopted in the 2024 block licensing round. See also 42 bidders win gas flare commercialisation licences - NUPRC Komolafe said that considerations for the commerciality of projects would be made on a case-by-case basis for the determination of appropriate entry fees. The 2024 block licensing round is scheduled to last for approximately nine months and interested parties should visit the dedicated NUPRC portal for details on how to participate. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

FG inaugurates 3 gas infrastructure in Delta, Imo to boost economy

The Federal Government on Wednesday inaugurated three critical gas infrastructure projects in Imo and Delta to drive the country's gas sector. President Bola Tinubu, while inaugurating the projects virtually, expressed delight and congratulated Nigerians for the achievements recorded within months of his administration. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the president inaugurated the ANOH-OB3 CTMS gas pipeline and ANOH gas processing plant in Assa, Ohaji/Egbema in Imo State. Tinubu also inaugurated the expansion of the AHL gas processing plant 2 gas project in Kwale in Delta. The projects are being undertaken by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd.) and partners in line with Tinubu's commitment to leverage gas to grow the economy. According to the NNPC Ltd., the projects will add 500MMscf/d gas production capacity to the country and also increase the available gas pipeline network by 23.3 kilometres Tinubu said: 'this inauguration is highly significant to our country as it demonstrates the administration's concerted efforts to accelerate the development of critical gas infrastructures. 'It is also geared at significantly enhancing the supply of energy to boost industrial growth and create employment opportunities. 'Also, the projects are fully in line with the decade of gas initiative, and the Federal Government's quest to grow value from the Nation's abundant gas assets. 'While concurrently eliminating gas flaring and accelerating industrialisation,' he said. The president said approximately 500MMscf of gas in aggregate would be supplied to the domestic market from these two Gas Processing Plants, which represented more than 25 per cent incremental growth in gas supply. See also Authority promises technical support for CNG provision Tinubu said: 'in practical terms, this is more gas to the power sector, gas-based industries and other critical segments of the economy. 'I, therefore, commend the strategic vision of the NNPC Ltd. and its partners Sterling Oil Exploratio n and Energy Production Company Limited (SEEPCO) and Seplat Energy Plc for this laudable and value-adding projects.' The President, while reiterating the desire of his administration to diversify from petrol and diesel, said significant progress had also been recorded in incentivising gas development through Presidential Executive Orders. He assured Nigerians of the Federal Government's commitment to step up its coordination of other landmark projects and initiatives that would ensure the earliest realisation of gas-fueled prosperity in Nigeria. Similarly, the president assured investors in the energy space that his government would not relent in facilitating the ease of doing business. He said that the theme of the commissioning - 'from Gas to Prosperity; Renewed Hope', must be adopted by all gas sector participants and would-be investors. 'As a clarion call to ramp up efforts to accelerate investment and developments of projects in the gas sector on a win-win basis.' The president commended the effort s of NNPC Ltd., alongside SEEPCO and Seplat Energy on the business partnership while congratulating Nigerians on the successful implementation of the three projects 'I want to reiterate the Federal Government's resolve to continue to provide support in deepening domestic gas utilisation. 'To increase national power generation capacity, revitalise industries and create multiple job opportunities for economic growth. 'I have the singular honour to inaugurate the expansion of the projects in line with this administration's resolve to provide energy for Nigerians. See also Tinubu signs data protection bill into law 'I urge NNPC ltd. as our national energy company of choice to continue its relentless efforts and record more successes in the energy sector for the benefit of all Nigerians,' he said. Earlier, the Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPC Ltd., Mele Kyari, re-assured of the company's commitment to maintain energy security by continuing to execute more strategic gas projects for the benefit of Nigerian s. 'The three infrastructure projects will enable additional gas processing capacity and also increase the supply of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), thereby reducing the dependency on importation. 'Also, the projects are fully in line with the Federal Government's quest to derive value from the Nation's gas assets while eliminating gas flaring and moving towards environmentally friendly energy sources. 'Nigeria is endowed with significant natural gas resources of over 209TCF of proven gas reserves, with the potential to grow to over 600TCF. 'As a commercial enterprise, these milestone projects present an opportunity to monetise our abundant natural gas resources, by expanding access to energy to support economic growth, industrialisation, and job creation,' he said. While reiterating efforts of the corporation to drive the sector, Kyari said NNPC was deploying CNG delivery installations in its retail stations across the country. He then, appreciated the support of its various stakeholders in ensuring ach ievement of these projects. The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas), Ekperikpe Ekpo, reiterated that the projects would enhance domestic gas availability, boost power generation and hasten industrialisation in Nigeria. He said the administration's effort in keeping with the climate control accord would move the nation towards achieving green energy sufficiency by 2060. See also NNPC Ltd, TotalEnergies sign MoU on adoption of methane detection technology He commended the president for his futuristic leadership and encouragement which had helped in achieving the projects being inaugurated. NAN reports that the event was attended by senior government officials, partners and stakeholders in the sector. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

FG, stakeholders review youth development policy

The Federal Government has begun the review of the Youth Development Policy to comprehensively address the challenges being faced by young people in the country. Dr Jamila Ibrahim, the Minister of Youth Development, said this in Abuja on Wednesday during a meeting with critical stakeholders from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The meeting with the theme: 'Leadership and Public Policy: Grassroot Mobilisers - The Challenges and Remedies through Remodeling', highlighted the government's commitment to youth development. Ibrahim emphasised the need for inputs from all stakeholders before presenting the draft of the policy to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval. According to her, the government's aim is to involve all relevant parties in the process of establishing sustainable solutions to the prevalent issues, particularly by ensuring accessible financial resources for the younger generation. 'Meaningful inclusion of the youth and addressing the requirements of individuals with special needs. 'We cannot progress without a comprehensive policy. Upon our arrival, we encountered an outdated policy, prompting us to devise programmes and initiatives that actively engage young people and allow them to influence policy decisions. 'The current administration is committed to fostering trust between young people and the government. 'To achieve this synergy, we must wholeheartedly be committed to delivering on President Bola Tinubu's 'Renewed Hope Initiatives' as promised,' she said. Abbah Isah, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on People with Special Needs and Equal Opportunities, emphasised that 40 per cent of Nigerian youth living with disabilities face hardships. According to him, the hardships are limited access to basic social amenities, economic instability leading to financial hardship, and inadequate healthcare services. Abah expressed his appreciation for Tinubu's unwavering dedication to ensure that all segments of society receive the necessary support and att ention within the framework of the 'Renewed Hope Agenda' of his administration. In his closing remarks, Dr Dunoma Ahmed, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry thanked the participants, adding that the meeting would be a continuous engagement with critical stakeholders across the country. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

EU ambassador says global partnership crucial to tackling terror

Ms. Samuela Isopi, the European Union (EU) Ambassador to Nigeria and the ECOWAS on Wednesday, identified global partnership as an ingredient for successful peace-building and the fight against terrorism. The envoy expressed the thoughts in Abuja, at the Road to Schuman Security and Defence Forum 2024, organised by the EU, in collaboration with the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) and the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA). The event had the theme, 'Reducing Vulnerabilities Through Partnerships- a Stakeholders' Engagement'' on regional defence and security perspectives. Isopi said, 'We live in a single security theatre, where crises and conflicts travel at the speed of light and what emerges locally becomes global with far-reaching effects.' She quoted Josep Borrell, the European Union High Representative Vice President (HRVP) as saying at one time that 'No country or institution, acting alone, can address challenges such as the weakening of multilateralism. 'The return of power in pol itics across the world, the renewed assertiveness of authoritarian regimes, and the mix of conventional and hybrid threats that we are facing ' The envoy added that '' this is why the EU has launched the Schuman forum and invited under the leadership of the EU HRVP, Josep Borrell and the 27 member states, and over 60 partner countries and international organisations in Brussels from May 28 to May 29. 'The Schuman forum will have three objectives which are to listen to our partners on peace, security, and defence issues. 'To jointly assess the threats and challenges we face, and to explore ways for deeper cooperation,'' she said. See also EU calls for more action against human rights abuses According to her, the EU is Africa's leading partner in peace and security. Speaking at the event, Nigeria's National Security Adviser, Mr Nuhu Ribadu, said the forum was organised to engender effective partnership in the changing security dynamics. Ribadu who was represented by Maj.-Gen. Adamu Laka, National Coordin ator for NCT, said 'the event is noting the crucial situation of our country, Nigeria, with the multi-faceted security challenges confronting it. ' Therefore, the employment of whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches toward enhancing national responses to these emergent security threats in the country. 'This becomes a critical objective which we must pursue to enhance national development, not only in the country but the ECOWAS sub-region as a whole. 'The scourge of terrorism is a menace which affects Nigeria and other countries around the globe,'' he said. Speaking also at the same event, the Minister of Defence, Mohammed Badaru, represented by Dr Ibrahim Kanami, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, described terrorism as a global challenge to national security. He added that the collaboration with the EU and Nigeria would surmount the security threats such as Boko Haram and its likes in the near future. Badaru also said that the world is a global village and this is a time for the worl d to come together to address the scourge. 'But now, Nigeria is faced with these security challenges with different issues surrounding the causes of the rising challenges. But our dream and desire is for Africa to be a united force as the EU bloc,'' he said. He emphasised that job creation can create lasting peace and is key to curbing most of the security challenges faced in Africa. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

LASPPPA initiates public awareness on building planning permits

The Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LASPPPA) on Tuesday introduced several initiatives to enhance public awareness of the importance of obtaining building planning permits in the state. The Authority also appointed Mrs Aishat Salami, a Town Planner, as the face of LASPPPA. Dr Oluyinka Olumide, Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, at the unveiling in Lagos, said that Salami was expected to promote the agency and its operations across the state. He added that the agency had also launched LASPPPA nuggets and car stickers, reproduced in different dialects, as sensitisation tools to build trust, capacity and credibility in the planning permit processes. According to him, this is to ensure compliance with the three-month amnesty window for completed building owners in the state to obtain planning permits. The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that the state government had directed property owners and developers of existing buildings without approvals to obtain Building Pl an Approvals from LASPPPA between May 2 and July 30. The state government said that property owners could apply for planning permits without paying the usual penalties during this period. Lagos state government stated that the house owners can do that without payment of statutory penalties that usually go with erecting buildings without approval in the state. Olumide said LASPPPA would embark on the public awareness campaign across the state in weeks ahead to change the poor narrative of response to obtaining planning permits. He noted that physical planning involves making decisions about land uses, infrastructure, transportation, and environmental conservation in a manner that will create functional, attractive and sustainable places for people to live, work, and play. 'You will all agree with me that the importance of this noble profession in creating sustainable and resilient villages, towns and cities may not be felt by people without adequate publicity or public sensitisation. 'Public sensitisatio n in physical planning parlance is a method of information dissemination and engagement between Town Planners and relevant stakeholders. 'It allows for public consultations and awareness campaigns of plans, policies and development proposals transparently and inclusively that meet the aspirations and buy-in of benefitting stakeholders,' he said. In his address, Mr Kehinde Osinaike, General Manager, LASPPPA, urged residents, property owners, developers and stakeholders in the built environment to key into the dream of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu by obtaining planning permits for their projects. Osinaike said that the state government's approval of a three-month amnesty programme for existing buildings across the state is part of its palliative measure to ameliorate the effect of the present economic situation. The general manager noted that Gov.Sanwo-Olu equally approved a five per cent rebate for anyone who keys into the programme by paying a processing fee for the grant of planning permit within 10 days of i ssuance of assessment. According to him, the governor has also granted a 40 per cent rebate for serving civil servants in the state public service with existing buildings. 'Let us educate and inspire our fellow citizens to make planning permits a priority for their building projects,' he said. In his goodwill message, the Commissioner for the Ministry of Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotosho, lauded LASPPPA for the initiative. Omotosho charged the management and staff of the agency to ensure that the sensitisation travels far and wide to the interior parts of the state. He urged property owners in the state to ensure that they obtain their planning permit within the three-month amnesty window provided by the state, noting that ignorance of the law is not an excuse. 'It is unfortunate that some people build houses on drainage channels, gas pipelines and under high tension which is very risky to life and property. 'Any city that is not well planned will suffer for its consequences; hence, existing and intending property owners must ensure to get their planning permits from LASPPPA for proper planning of the state,' he said. Other dignitaries who spoke at the event included: Mrs Bilkiss Adebiyi-Abiola, General Manager, Lagos State Residents Registration Authority(LASRRA) and Mr Olumide Sotire, Permanent Secretary, MPP and UD, Office of Physical Planning. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

BOI launches RAPID initiative to empower rural businesses

The Bank of Industry (BOI) has introduced the Rural Area Programme on Investment and Development (RAPID), which aims to empower youth and women-led businesses in underserved regions. RAPID is to provide capital and opportunities to rural communities, in addressing challenges like rural-urban migration. The Managing Director of BOI, Dr Olasupo Olusi, during the launch in Lagos on Tuesday, said that RAPID was designed to foster economic inclusion by providing rural dwellers with equitable access to capital. Olusi stated that this access to capital was crucial to enhance commercial and economic activities as well as address the inadequacies in existing intervention programmes, primarily favoured urban areas. He said that the initiative offered substantial financial support, with potential funding of up to 10 million naira per project. He added that RAPID targeted existing small businesses seeking expansion capacity and new startups with a focus on youth and women-owned businesses. According to him, the ter ms include a three-year repayment plan with a six-month moratorium at a concessionary interest rate of five per cent. 'As a pilot launch, it is limited to 10 beneficiaries per state and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) totalling 370 beneficiaries. 'The grant component is developed to incentivise good repayment and businesses with significant social impact in employment generation for women and youth. 'To ensure the programme's accessibility, applications can be submitted via a dedicated online portal or physically at any BOI district office nationwide starting May 15,' he said. The Executive Director of Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, BOI, Mr Omar Shekarau, said that RAPID, covers all 36 states and the FCT. See also Loan recovery: SMEDAN to reward top performing MFBs According to him, it will focus on sectors like agriculture, textiles, garment manufacturing, leather goods, and food processing and preservation. He said this comprehensive coverage would ensure that the benefits of economic growth were felt across the country, transforming rural areas into burgeoning economic hubs. Shekarau added that beyond financial support, capacity building was a critical component of the initiative. He said by empowering entrepreneurs with the necessary knowledge and skills, RAPID aimed to ensure sustainable development and long-term self-sufficiency for rural businesses. 'As RAPID rolls out, the BOI anticipates significant improvements in job creation, financial inclusion, and economic diversification, which are expected to contribute to national prosperity and stem the tide of migration from rural areas to cities. 'The programme not only represents a significant investment in Nigeria's rural economies but also serves as a model for future initiatives. This aims to achieve inclusive growth and sustainable development across West Africa,' he said. Source: News Agency of Nigeria