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Government, Health

…Governor receives Lagos Command Comptroller


Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has charged the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to rise to the occasion of a disturbing event being observed in the management of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and save the nation from imminent third wave of the virus’ spread.


The Governor spoke against the background of fresh transmission recorded in the past few days in Lagos and confirmation of highly contagious Delta variant of the virus in the country.


Sanwo-Olu said the Immigration had a statutory responsibility to prevent further spread of the virus by keeping their eyes on immigrants coming into the country through land, sea and air borders. This, the Governor said, would help the Incident Command team to curtail the rate of transmission and manage cases already confirmed.


The Lagos helmsman spoke on Monday when he received the Comptroller of the Lagos State Command of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Bauchi Aliyu, in a courtesy visit at the State House, Alausa.


The Governor’s meeting with the Immigration boss came after Sanwo-Olu raised the alarm over the disappearance of some air passengers, who came into the country via Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos but could not be reached for COVID-19 status monitoring by EKOTELEMED because they supplied wrong contact details.


As the gatekeeper, Sanwo-Olu charged NIS to work with frontline responders stationed at ports of entry across border posts to ensure in-bound travellers adhere to laid down COVID-19 protocols.


He said: “We are monitoring events that may lead to the third wave of COVID-19 in the country and this is why we need to work together with the Nigeria Immigration Service. As the gatekeeper, you have statutory responsibility to work with our frontline health workers to ensure that people that are coming into the country obey our rules and conform with the protocols.


 “Nobody is above the law. We have designated some countries as red zones, and this is not discriminatory. We want to be able to monitor anybody coming from countries with high burden of the virus. We want the Immigration Service to play its role, so that we can nip the influx of new variants in the bud. We know that the virus is usually imported; we must be vigilant and ensure all protocols and guidelines are strictly observed, especially at airports.”


The Governor urged the Service to ensure passengers coming into the country were duly monitored and accounted for.


Sanwo-Olu accepted the Comptroller’s proposal for the mop-up of irregular migrants in Lagos, noting that such operations would help improve security in the State and aid the Government to identify non-Nigerians working illegally in Lagos.


The Governor promised continued support and collaboration with the Service in order to make the State safe for investment and living.


Bauchi praised Sanwo-Olu for the State Government’s support for the Service, pledging that the Immigration was ready to partner with the current administration in improving the State’s mega city status.


The Comptroller also submitted a letter requesting the Governor’s support on logistics and operations.


Economy, TRAVEL

The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr Bashir Jamoh, has reiterated that assets deployed under the Deep Blue Project, recently launched by President Muhammadu Buhari, are manned by proficient officers from the Nigerian security services.


Dr. Bashir Jamoh, stated this in Lagos during   the graduation ceremony of officers trained to crew the Special Mission Vessels, the main maritime component of the project also called the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure.


Dr. Jamoh, who was represented by the Agency’s Executive Director, Operations, Mr. Shehu Ahmed, said the graduation of 30 officers trained in various part of the globe marked a significant addition to the team of competent personnel manning assets under the maritime security scheme.


According to him “this event is remarkable. It guarantees us competent manpower required to man the Special Mission Vessels. It is a further indication of our commitment to bequeathing a crime free maritime domain to Nigerians and the global maritime community.”


The Director General also stated, “Early in the year and in line with a Presidential directive, we deployed the Special Mission Vessels and the Fast Interceptor Boats to the Lagos Port Secure Anchorage Area. But the event of today takes us further to the full deployment of the two Special Mission Vessels with fully trained and certified crew”.


The Crew of the Special Mission Vessels have concluded localized training and terrain familiarization courses after their initial technical based training abroad.


Also speaking about the training, Coordinator of the Deep Blue Project, and Director, Planning, Research and Data Management Services Department (PRDMSD), NIMASA, Mr. Anthony Ogadi, said the crew had nine foreign and 10 local trainings on various platforms of the Deep Blue Project under the supervision of the project contractor, HLSI. Ogadi stated that some local trainings for the operation of other assets under the maritime security scheme, including the Special Mission Aircraft, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, and armoured personnel carriers were simultaneously on-going at Ikeja and Ojo in Lagos, and Elele in Rivers State.


Speaking on behalf of the crew, Captain of DB Lagos, Captain Uche Aneke, and that of DB Abuja, Captain Mohammed, thanked NIMASA for facilitating the training. They assured the Agency that they would carry out their duties with a high sense of proficiency and professionalism.


Certificates were presented to the officers at the ceremony, which also had in attendance NIMASA’s Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Hon. Chudi Ofodile, and Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Bar. Victor Ochei.


The Deep Blue Project is an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Transportation and Federal Ministry of Defence, which is being implemented by NIMASA, with personnel drawn from the Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Army, Nigeria Police, Department of State Services, and other security agencies.



*VP charges team, recalling notable exploits of 1996 Atlanta, 2000 Sydney Olympics teams


As Team Nigeria to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics prepares to leave the shores of the country, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has called on the team to replicate the outstanding performances of past Nigerian Olympians, noting that “you stand on the shoulders of giants.”


Recalling the exploits of past Nigerian teams, the Vice President added that “you will also carry with you the encouragement of the great exploits of Nigerian Olympians before you.”


Prof. Osinbajo stated this today at the send forth ceremony for Team Nigeria to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, at the Presidential Villa. The event also marked the formal handover of the Nigerian contingent to the Nigeria Olympic Committee and the unveiling of the team’s official outfit and kit.


He reminded the team of “such legends as Chioma Ajunwa who won the gold medal at the 1996 Olympics for the long jump and became the first black African woman to win an Olympic gold medal in a field event.


 “The Super  Eagles in 1996 who won the gold medal for football; that was the team that had the greats; Augustine Okocha, Celestine Babayaro, Daniel Amokachi (who was present at the event,) Sunday Oliseh, Taribo West, Kanu Nwankwo, Abiodun Obafemi, Emmanuel Amuneke, Emmanuel Babayaro, Garba Lawal, Joseph Dosu, Kingsley Obiekwu, Mobi Obaraku, Uche Okechukwu, Teslim Fatusi, Tijani Babangida, Victor Ikpeba, and Wilson Oruma —that was the year we defeated the world’s best footballing nations – Brazil and Argentina and we all held our heads high.”


Continuing, the VP said “in 2000, in Sydney again we beat the best in the world, we won the gold in 4×400 meter relay after the American team was disqualified for using performance-enhancing drugs. Our team then was Clement Chukwu, the late Sunday Bada, Enefiok Udo-Ubong, Jude Monye, and two other members of the team, Fidelis Gadzama and Nduka Awazie.


 “And for anyone who thinks we are joking, maybe they haven’t seen our exhibition basketball game on Saturday with the USA team, especially that amazing block by Precious Achiuwa against KD – Kevin Durant, who is probably the best player in the NBA right now. So Precious, you are the real MVP!


 “You stand on the shoulders of giants and with the quality and intensity of training you have received and your exploits during the qualification series for the Olympic Games, I am confident that by God’s grace, you will again make history and beat the best in the world.”


Urging the team to promote the Olympian ideals, Prof. Osinbajo said “Olympics is about fair play, honesty, teamwork, respect, and friendship. I trust that you will, as worthy ambassadors of Nigeria, represent our nation excellently.


 “Fair play clearly enjoins every athlete not to use any prohibited substances or to cheat in any way.  Half of the joy and satisfaction of victory is that it was won fairly.”


 “Every one of you participating in the games is opening a page in history for yourself, your families, your community, and the nation.”


Prof. Osinbajo then assured the team of the prayers and support of all Nigerians as they compete with athletes from other nations.


His words: “Your performance at the games will inscribe your names in national and world sporting history.  You carry the hopes and aspirations of millions as you compete in Tokyo. But you will in this endeavor, have the assurance of the prayers and best wishes of all Nigerians.”


While commending the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare for coordinating the various sporting Federations in preparation for the Games, the Vice President urged the athletes to make good use of facilities at its training ground in the City of Kizarazu to put themselves in proper shape ahead of the Games.


He urged the team to continue to observe all COVID-19 protocols and to strictly adhere to the IOC Playbook in order to safeguard their health and those of others around them.


Earlier in his remarks, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, said the athletes were ready to do the country proud and presented to the Vice President, the made-in-Nigeria kits for the Nigerian contingent.


“I am happy to announce today that the complete kit for Team Nigeria to the Tokyo 2020 Games was produced with a heavy dose of local content. We thank AFA Sports, Africa For Africa, a local sports equipment manufacturing company for delivering on the production of uniforms for Team Nigeria. This is a veritable testament and commitment of the Buhari administration to support and grow local content and industry in all sectors of the Nigerian economy.”


On his part, President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Engr Habu Gumel thanked the President and the Vice President for honoring Team Nigeria and assured that the contingent will not disappoint the country.


 “I am happy to inform Mr. President that all the 15 athletes on Olympic Scholarships qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games. Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, which slowed down the training momentum for the Games, we are still optimistic that the crop of Nigerian qualified athletes will do our nation proud at the Tokyo Olympic Games.


One highpoint of the occasion was the formal handover of Team Nigeria to the Nigeria Olympic Committee by the Vice President and the Sports Minister, and the unveiling of the official outfit and kit of the team.


Present at the ceremony were Federal Legislators, officials of the Japanese Embassy in Nigeria, 45 athletes and their coaches, officials of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, and the Nigeria Olympic Committee, among others.



The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) on Monday said that there is no plan to privatise the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).


Mr Yunana Malo, Director, Energy Department, said at a media conference in Abuja that, “Government is not thinking of privatising, it is thinking of ways and means that the private capital can be brought into the transmission component without giving out the ownership of Transmission Company.”


He said transmission was the weak link in the power reform, as generation which was privatised had since attracted a lot of investments, making it more efficient.


He said the generation capacity had improved, adding that 60 per cent of the distribution segment had also been partially privatised and was beginning to pick up through the reforms of the Federal Government.


“The seemingly weak link is the transmission component, it is still 100 per cent owned by the FG.


“The idea is to think outside the box and bring in solutions that will make the transmission component service the value chain, and make it more efficient.”


He explained that the Bureau would concession the transmission segment, “so that we can have somebody building the high tension lines, covering areas that have not been reached or to maintain the existing ones to get maximum value, to move from the radial system we have today into a mesh.


“So the idea is not to privatise but to reform and make it efficient, bringing in private sector operational modalities within the transmission company.”


On the Federal Government’s 40 per cent stake in the Distribution Companies (DISCOS), Malo said the shares were still intact and protected by BPE.


Mr Alex Okoh, BPE Director-General, said over the years, N1 trillion had been generated from 234 concluded transactions of previously government-owned enterprises from various sectors of the economy.


He said the Bureau expected to generate N493.40 billion net revenue from various transactions as approved by the National Council on Privatisation (NCP).


He said over 30 projects had been categorised under five segments with 22 of them carried over from 2020.


He, however, said the plan to privatise the nation’s refineries had been dropped as the Federal Government was considering other approaches to revitalise and improve on them.


The director-general said BPE was very close to resolving the issues surrounding the Ajaokuta Steel Company, especially the litigation and that once that was done a decision would be taken on how to proceed with it.


Okoh said the rationale for privatisation was to generate revenue for government, reduce operational inefficiencies, revitalise and optimise public sector entities and increase investment level as a catalyst for growth.


 “The country’s fiscal space is getting increasingly constrained, as a result government cannot provide the resources required to meet all of its obligations and bridge the huge infrastructure gap.


 “The most feasible option is to attract private sector investments. BPE’s current initiative in its 2021 work plan and additional roles in the Public Private Partnership (PPP) space is, therefore, poised to impact on the economy positively.


“This is in the areas of infrastructure development, improved health care service delivery, power generation and supply, employment creation, food security and human capital development,” he said.



The Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), has pointed out that it guidelines for Co-location and Infrastructure Sharing (C/IS) will promote fair competition in the communications industry as it will encourage and promote infrastructure sharing among its licensees.


According to commission, the recently release guidelines proceed from a premise that all Access Providers and Access Seekers have the liberty to negotiate C/IS arrangements in accordance with mutually agreed terms.


It added that the guidelines were designed and developed to encourage C/IS between Access Providers and Access Seekers within a predetermined framework to remove uncertainty and create an environment for better co-operation.


The guidelines explained the commission’s role in achieving the most efficient use of facilities amenable to sharing.


Specifically, Part V of the guidelines sets out the processes for implementing Active Infrastructure Sharing amongst Network Service Providers licensed by the Commission.


On the status, NCC explained that the guidelines shoul be read subject to the Act, the Telecommunications Networks Interconnection Regulations, Competition Practices Regulations, Quality of Service Regulations, other laws, rules and subsidiary legislations that may be developed by the Commission from time to time and relevant Licence Conditions.


The C/IS Objective


According to the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC Prof Umar Danbatta, the aim of the guideline was to establish a framework within which Access Providers and Access Seekers can negotiate C/IS arrangements.


He said, “Specifically to ensure that the incidence of unnecessary duplication of infrastructure is minimised or completely avoided; protect the environment by reducing the proliferation of infrastructure and facilities installations;


“Promote fair competition through equal access being granted to the installations and facilities of operators on mutually agreed terms;  Ensure that the economic advantages derivable from the sharing of facilities are harnessed for the overall benefit of all telecommunications stakeholders;


“Minimise capital expenditure on supporting infrastructures and to free more funds for investment in core network equipment, and Encourage Access Providers and Access Seekers to pursue a cost-oriented policy with the added effect of a reduction in the tariffs chargeable to consumers.”