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Emirates Airline will resume flights to Nigeria soon — NCAA

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Emirates Airline will soon resume its flight operations in and out of Nigeria, the Director-General of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, Musa Nuhu, has said.

He spoke during the national briefing of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 in Abuja on Monday, adding that there were ongoing discussions with the airline and the outcome would be disclosed within the next 48 hours.

The Federal Government had in March 2021 banned the airline from operating in the country over its continuous refusal to fly passengers without a pre-boarding rapid diagnostic test.

“As regard the issue of Emirates Airline’s resumption of flight to Nigeria, the PSC deliberated extensively on this matter and the gap has been significantly closed between the position of Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates,” he said.

Nuhu also said the Port Harcourt and Enugu International Airports would soon resume international flights.

He said, “Three airports: Kano, Port Harcourt and Enugu, were declared by the PTF to resume international flights.

“Port Harcourt is almost there, just a few things to go and in the next couple of days, we expect Port Harcourt to be released for resumption of international flights.

“Hopefully, in a couple of weeks, Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu will join the list, making a total of five international airports that will resume international flights.”

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FG spent N8.9tn on rail, other infrastructure in 2020 – Osinbajo

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said the Federal Government spent N8.9 trillion on infrastructure in 2020.

He said this on Friday in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital, during the inauguration of the 21-storey Dakkada Towers and the flag off of the Dakkada luxury estate.

Osinbajo said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had invested more in infrastructural development than previous administrations.

The Vice President said the Lagos-Calabar rail project and the Ibom Deep Sea port as well as the Dakkada Towers, among other projects executed by both the Federal and State Governments have positioned Akwa Ibom as a major industrial hub in Nigeria, and the West African sub region.

“Since the inception of our administration, Mr President has prioritised the development of infrastructure, roads, rail, power and despite the severe economic head winds we have experienced in the first six years, we have invested more than any administration in infrastructure.”

“As of last year, we had expended over N8.9 trillion on infrastructure. Just last month, the Federal Executive Council approved the Lagos, Calabar rail project which will pass through Uyo as a major station. At the end of last year, the Federal Executive Council also approved the full business case of the Ibom Deep Sea port, and of courses as a result of the active demands of Governor Udom Emmanuel.

“These infrastructural developments are set to establish Akwa Ibom State as a major industrial hub for not just Nigeria, but in the West African sub region,” he said.

The Vice President said International Oil Companies (IOCs) have no excuse not to relocate their administrative headquarters to the state as the problem of office accommodation has been taken care of by the commissioning of the building.

He commended Governor Udom Emmanuel for keeping to his promise to build the 21 storey tower, saying the investments in the Dakkada Towers was already yielding results and will attract more revenue to the state.

He described the Dakkada tower as government’s efforts to create an enabling environment for investment to thrive in the state, adding that the tower is a catalyst for the private sector.

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Uproar as NYSC denies asking corpers to prepare for ransom payment

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The National Youth Service Corps is currently facing an uphill task trying to clear a controversy generated by its reported advice asking corps members to alert their loved ones to prepare ransom when plying high-risk roads in case they are kidnapped.

The advice to the corps members is contained in a section of the NYSC’s handbook, which has gone viral.

Many people, mostly parents, recently spoke against the continuation of the NYSC scheme as they argued that it no longer served its original intention of forging national cohesion and unity among young graduates from different ethnic nationalities. They cited the unwarranted killing, kidnapping and attacks of innocent corpers serving in places far away from their states of origin.

The offensive section in the NYSC handbook is titled ‘Security Awareness and Education Handbook for Corps Members and Staff.’

In the book, the scheme gave several safety tips to the corps members amid the rising insecurity in the country.

The NYSC mentioned some of the high-risk regions to include Abuja to Kaduna and Aba to Port Harcourt roads.

“When travelling in high risk roads such as Abuja-Kaduna, Abuja-Lokoja-Okene or Aba-Port Harcourt roads, then alert your family members, friends and colleagues in order to have someone on hand to pay off the ransom that could be demanded,” it read.

But it was learnt that not all the corps members got the version of the handbook containing the directive.

Some 2021 batch B stream I and II corps members in Oyo and Ogun states respectively claimed that they had a copy of the handbook.

But the NYSC in a statement by its spokesperson, Adenike Adeyemi, denied giving such advice as contained in the handbook.

It also described the claim as “antics of mischief makers out to ridicule the scheme.”

It stated, “The attention of the management of the National Youth Sevice Corps has been drawn to a fake release making the rounds on the social media to the effect that corps members travelling on ‘high risk roads’ should alert their families, friends and colleagues in order to have somebody to pay off the ransom that could be demanded in the event of being kidnapped.

“Management wishes to emphatically state that the clause quoted is not embedded in NYSC security tips pamphlet which was put together by a highly respected retired security expert.

“Management wishes to appeal to the general public to always clarify issues with the scheme. Please, be wary of falling prey to the antics of mischief makers out to ridicule the scheme.

“Management shall continue to prioritise the security and welfare of corps members and staff at all times.”

 

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Osinbajo: How Nigeria can banish poverty with $450bn AfCFTA insurance market

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The Nigerian insurance industry can tap into over $450 billion (N185 trillion) available at African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) potential trade market to take millions of people out of poverty, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has said.

He shared this at the closing ceremony of the 47th African Insurance Organisation Conference and Annual General Assembly, urging the operators to come up with homegrown international insurance groups.

He said, “The free trade agreement presents a major opportunity for African countries. By some estimates, if we get it right, we can bring several millions out of extreme poverty and raise the incomes of 68 million others who live on less than $5.50 per day. There are potential income gains of up to $450bn, and just cutting red tape and simplifying customs procedures alone could drive up to $250bn of that sum.”

The vice president applauded the operators for putting the country in the spotlight and charged them to work towards having homegrown international insurance conglomerates.

He urged the insurance companies on the African continent to leverage AfCFTA to increase productivity, adding that every smart economic grouping, whether government or business, must be thinking, planning and strategising for these new times.

He added, “Services can be set up faster than manufacturing plants. Nigerian financial services companies, especially banks, are already in many African countries, the likes of Zenith, Access and UBA. How about insurance companies? We should now be looking at developing homegrown international African insurance conglomerates. The time is now.”

The Commissioner of Insurance, Pension and Provident Funds, Insurance and Pensions Commission, Zimbabwe, Grace Muradzikwa, said traditional insurance companies must adapt to emerging realities in developing insurance products and selling them if they must remain in business.

She opined that insurance innovation was critical at this time because just 3.5 per cent of the African population was insured and that Africa was lagging behind other emerging markets.

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