- Okays N100bn to equip police, destroyed stations
The Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) says it has set aside N150 billion for a youth development programme to support the Federal Government’s job creation initiative.
The private sector-led coalition also said it planned to spend N100 billion in the next two years to renovate and buy rifles as well as other security gadgets for the Nigeria Police Force, with special focus on the 44 police stations destroyed by hoodlums in the wake of the #EndSARS protest against police brutality.
Co-Chair, CACOVID and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, gave the detailed projects at a media briefing in Lagos on Wedneday.
He spoke in the company with the President, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; Chairman, United Bank for Africa Plc, Mr. Tony Elumelu; and Group Managing Director/CEO, Access Bank Plc, Chief Herbert Wigwe.
Emefiele said, “As a result, CACOVID has committed to creating a high impact youth development programme that will provide technical and vocational education to over four million Nigerian youths over the next five years.
“Students will be trained on craftwork, plumbing, masonry, carpentry, and other artisanal related skills for which sufficient demand exist in Nigeria.”
According to him, selected students on the conclusion of the programme will be certified by the appropriate standards board and will be eligible to receive loans to support their entrepreneurial pursuits.
“So far, over N25 billion will be domiciled in a fund to support these entrepreneurial pursuits, which would also include acquisition of related equipment to conduct business activities.
“The ultimate objective is to provide young Nigerians with employable skill sets that will enable them to live a gainful life. We believe this initiative can lead to the creation of over four million jobs over the next five years,” he added.
For the out-of-school graduates that possess certain entrepreneurial skills, Emefiele also said CACOVID would be working with the Bankers’ Committee to complete the creative centre at the National Arts Theatre, Lagos in four select areas namely: ICT and software design / development, fashion, music, and movies.
The project is expected to cost the Bankers’ Committee over N40 billion, he said.
“Given the impact, the unrest had on the conduct of business activities, members of CACOVID has committed to developing a business continuity plan that will enable businesses and firms to share timely information and resources to forestall physical or cyber-attacks, which could derail the smooth functioning of business activities in the country,” he stated.
However, Emefiele while rendering account of the activities of the private sector-led initiative, said the group received a total of N39.64 billion as donations from members of the private sector and spent N43.272 billion on various interventions, including N28.7 billion on food relief, as palliatives to 1.7 million households translating to eight million Nigerians.
He explained that the ultimate objective of CACOVID is to work with the government in providing support in areas that would result in improved health and societal outcomes.
He said the group sought to aid the government in improving testing capability, and management of positive cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
In addition, CACOVID was expected to provide palliatives to vulnerable members of the society, particularly those who earn daily incomes, and had been severely affected by the lockdown.
He thanked Nigerians and businesses that supported CACOVID in its efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria, as well as in catering for vulnerable Nigerians.
He said banks and financial institutions would extend reliefs through concessionary loans to affected businesses and firms, to enable them to rebuild and restock their stores and continue to conduct their business activities.
Emefiele said to further strengthen the security apparatus in the country, CACOVID has committed to providing over N100 billion to procure equipment and gadgets for the Nigerian Police Force over the next two years as its contribution to fully modernise the Nigerian police.
“Providing adequate security is not only the task before the government but also that of the private sector,” he said.
The CBN governor said owners of business premises desire a secure environment to conduct their legitimate businesses.
“We, therefore, seize this opportunity to once again, appeal to members of the private sector, who we will be calling on again, to rally round CACOVID to secure not only our businesses but also our country,” he said.
Speaking at the briefing, Dangote explained that training the youths on technical and vocational jobs would also enable the federal government to draw a database on various skills for vocational jobs.
He said: “We would have a database so that you don’t just call an armed robber to your house. You can go into that data and call someone. We all have repairs, and with that data, you can know who to call for repairs.
“What we are doing is that we are providing them with money to buy tools. So as soon as they get the training which is free, which we are paying for, then they have the guarantee that they would get jobs.
“We have about 30,000 workers at our (Dangote) site, which we are planning to get to 50,000. Only 25 to 28 per cent of that would be foreign workers and the rest will be Nigerians who would be trained.”
Elumelu assured Nigerians that CACOVID will support the federal government.
He said: “The CBN governor has done extremely well. We used to be in banking together, but I didn’t realise his level of passion for the country until we started CACOVID.
“With the level of passion, every day since March this year, we spent several hours discussing how to intervene in the economy through CACOVID.
“So, at times when you hear things outside, you begin to shake your head and say if only people knew the efforts being made by the CACOVID leadership. We had people stay awake throughout the night.”
He noted that it was not easy to reopen the economy, adding that to get the airlines to start flying they had to assure the government that things would happen in certain ways and that they provided money for certain things.
“All I will say is that let’s have a bit of patience. The private sector in Nigeria is committed to poverty alleviation because poverty anywhere affects any of us. So, let’s work together to create more jobs,” he said.
Wigwe said: “Every transformation comes with its own pain and hitches. CACOVID right from inception came to help with the issue that came with COVID-19 and also to protect the livelihoods of people.
“Obviously in that process, there would be hitches from time to time. As we share more information, people will have a clear picture of what we are trying to do. The most important thing has to do with issues of employment.”
NMDPRA seals 16 gas plants, arrests five suspects in Edo
The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has sealed 16 illegal gas facilities in Edo State.
Some filling stations were also sealed over an alleged breach of rules and regulations.
The agency arrested five suspects during the exercise.
The agency’s state comptroller, Ebi Ogionwo, said the clampdown was to curb the activities of illegal and unlicensed oil and gas operators in the state.
He alleged that some misguided operators were setting up oil and gas facilities in areas not suitable for the business and without necessary approval from the agency.
Ogionwo said, “It is an offence for anyone to site such facilities without due approval from the NMDPRA. The agency is out to bring sanity to the operations of midstream and downstream petroleum business in the state.”
He further warned investors against taking laws into their hands by setting up gas and petroleum facilities in areas not approved by the agency.
Ogionwo said five suspects arrested during the exercise would be charged to court.
“There are laws, guidelines and regulations that people must follow before setting up oil and gas facilities. So, the purpose of the operations is also to check the level of compliance by those who have set up these facilities in the state and take necessary actions that are required,” he said.
Ogionwo added that the illegal operations of oil and gas facilities compromised the safety of lives, property, environment as well as deprived both the state and Federal Governments of the revenue that should accrue to them through taxes and other sources.
Lagos suspends RTEAN activities, sets up caretaker committee
The Lagos State Government has suspended all activities of Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) in the state.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Sola Giwa, who announced the suspension, said the action became imperative following some pockets of violence recorded in Ojo and Lagos Island on Wednesday.
Already, he said a 35-man caretaker committee had been constituted to take over activities of the union.
The caretaker committee is headed by Sulaiman Adeshina Raji, with Bamgbose Oluseyi as deputy chairman and members are Sunday Aransiola, Sulaiman Onabanjo, Azeez Abdulrahman, Isiaka Seriki, Victor Ifemenam, Kareem Babatunde, Amusan Abdulrahman, Teslim Adeshina, Sulaiman Surajudeen and Fatai Rauf.
Others are Sunday Banjo, Segun Omole, Thomas Akinkayode, Taiwo Lasisi, Gbenga Kashimawo, Samson Ajala, Taiwo Daodu, Sule Aliu, Ahmed Musa and Oladipupo Ibrahim. Adewale Adeniyi, Olatunji Durojaiye, Wasiu Olanrewaju, Taofeek Onileola, Yusuf Afolabi, Bode Ogungbade, Alh. A.A. Ussaini, Saliu Usman, Saheed Badru, Kolawole Yusuf, Kayode Thomas, Idowu Oyewole and Salami Babatunde Ope, are to also join them.
Giwa reiterated that suspension became necessary to prevent further acts of violence in the state, stressing that men of the Lagos State Police Command would be deployed in different parts of the state to enforce the action and ensure safety of lives and property.
He said the state government met with some representatives of the RTEAN on Wednesday, following a protest by some members of the union demanding the removal of their national president, adding the government had assured them of a thorough investigation into the allegations levelled against the union’s president with a promise to resolving all lingering issues.
Ade.Ojo hails Mandilas GM @60, says Toyota family proud of you
The Founder of Toyota Nigeria Limited, TNL, Chief Michael Ade Ojo, has described the General Manager of Mandilas Motors, Ms. Kemi Koyejo as a performer, who takes her job very seriously.
Chief Ade Ojo, who spoke at the MUSON Centre, Lagos during the 60th birthday ceremony of Koyejo as the chairman of the occasion, showered encomiums on the GM for her contributions towards driving Toyota brand sale and development in Nigeria.
He said, “Olukemi is a performer, a wonderful lady, who takes her job very seriously. She is “Lady Toyota”. She never misbehaves and I want to pray that God should continue to bless you the more.”
Chief Ade Ojo, who recalled that Kemi’s father was his senior in high school, expressed no surprise at Kemi’s sterling performance and behaviour, given her family background.
“The Toyota family in Nigeria is very proud of you and God will continue to be with you,” he prayed.
The 84-year-old business mogul attended the event with his wife, and senior management staff of Toyota Nigeria Limited including the Managing Director, Mr. Kunle Ade Ojo.
Reiterating Chief Ade Ojo’s commendation on the Mandilas General Manager, the Managing Director of Toyota, Mr. Kunle Adeojo, also said that the Mandilas General Manager is very hard-working and has brought many ideas that have led to the growth of the Toyota brand in Nigeria.
He also used the occasion to announce that the Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers has conferred on him a Fellow of the institute.
A trained engineer, Mr. Kunle Ade Ojo, has been at the helm of affairs at TNL and has taken the company to greater heights despite the challenges in the Nigeria’s auto sector.
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